Home > 3. et cetera > Barney, Berenstein Bears & “Pseudo-gemeinschaft”

Barney, Berenstein Bears & “Pseudo-gemeinschaft”

October 3rd, 2007

My 3 year old daughter was watching the Berenstein Bears today and I remarked at the crazy verse of its theme song:

They’re kind furry around the torso
They’re a lot like people, only more so!

More like people than real people themselves?! Holy cow. But the show that my 18 mo old son watches is even worse: Barney. how do these shows get their tentacles around our kids?

“Pseudo-gemeinschaft” is loosely translated as false community. “Pseudo-gemeinschaft” is a powerful technique for persuasion , because a sense of community is a basic human need. Professor Nass at Stanford drove the concept home by deconstructing the nightmare that is Barney. Consider how manipulative Barney’s theme is:

Barney Theme Song (& commentary)

I love you “I” — a guy in a purple dinosaur suit on the TV!
you love me You, whatever you are, tell me to love you! Oh, the audacity
We’re a happy family family! that’s pseudo-gemeinshcaft for ya
With a great big hug
And a kiss from me to you Pretty intimate, don’t you think?
Won’t you say you love me too?
I love you
You love me
We’re best friends Best friends?
Like friends should be *should* be?
With a great big hug
And a kiss from me to you
Won’t you say you love me too? I submit….I love you Barney!

And don’t forget that we ask the kids to sing along (see any of these 300+ videos on youtube made by proud parents). Creepy, isn’t it?

3. et cetera ,

  1. DJ
    September 13th, 2008 at 08:38 | #1

    Very interesting post on barney and pseudo-gemeinschaft…
    perhaps its a little more obvious with children television programmes.. i think the real danger lies in nuanced imagery and words used by politicians to make them seem they do care about the population… especially in political ads about themselves…

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