filthy lucre

Using children to pick their parents' pockets since 50,000,000 B.C.

THE TRUTH IS this is the second version of this page, revised to include Barney's lawyers. But blaming the attorneys is like blaming the parasite for the host. Sometimes parasites can simulate independent action, and the more short-sighted ones can damage or even kill their host, but the prime mover in this case is no doubt Barney itself.

WHAT IS THE BARNEY CREATURE? It is not a purple dinosaur. In this article, the most brilliant thing ever published in the Journal of Improbable Research (sadly, in their first issue, but life is often like that) the biologists Edward Theriot and Earle Sapamer demonstrate that it is a primate, to which they assign the name Pretendosaurus barneyi. In spite of the zoological (i.e., bad) Latin, the name is apt, because Barney's public persona is a lie.

"BARNEY IS WHOLESOME" claim the Creature's defenders. Theriot and Sapamer note that it is always associated with human children (in fact, although they do not point this out, the word "barney" means "island of children" in Norse). They speculate that it survives by integrating itself into this protected ecological niche. Unfortunately, there is a more sinister explanation. Barney's teeth are clearly those of a carnivore (its mother, Sheryl Leach, fashioned it after a Tyrranosaurus rex). There is no reason to doubt the Creature's professed love for children, but the form that its love takes may not be in the children's best interests. Note well that very, very small and tender children know enough to be scared by Barney.

BARNEY IS SERIOUSLY NOT GOOD FOR KIDS, argue this article and other articles listed here. No surprise; Barney was created for the convenience of adults, as something to mesmerize children so that they could be parked in front of the tv. "You don't understand," the negligent adults whine. "Kids love Barney." Sure they do; they love to play in the toilet bowl, too. But for some reason, parents find brown poop disgusting, even though they'll snarf up purple poop. Well, not all parents. One wrote (on the Barney Fun Page) , "Hi. I am 33 yrs old with 3 daughters. Two years ago, we had Barney over for a birthday party. When he left, he almost got hit by a car. We all cracked up."

BARNEY IS TO CHILDREN AS OSAMA BIN LADEN IS TO ISLAM. The children are an excuse, the innocent means to a perverse end. Barney's true prey is adults or at least their money. The claim of wholesomeness would be more convincing if the Barney Creature were not so relentlessly pushing an astonishing array of merchandise, and if its creators were not so obviously energetic in their pursuit of money. The Creature's profits have already been the subject of the stupidly named " Barneygate" (summary: PBS subsidizes Barney, partly with taxpayer money, while Barney's parents stuff their pockets), but  Sheryl Leach's tender maternal instincts did not preclude her selling her offspring to a British law firm. "I love you, you sell me."

MORE! MORE! The Barney Creature is a voracious, bottomless pit. All who oppose it with ridicule must be destroyed. The Barney Creature's weapon of choice is the Legal Absurdity which seems to have been honed to a dull edge by a Darwinian process - that is, with no controlling intelligence  - and the Creature wields it with the finesse of Wile E. Coyote®. First the Barney Creature took aim at a chicken, and shot itself twice. The San Diego Chicken, in costume, would beat up Barney, also in costume, for entertainment. Barney sued, and the fight was metaphorically re-enacted in the courtoom, as a federal  judge summarily dismissed the suit.  Eager for another beating, Barney appealed, and wound up having to pay the chicken's legal costs.

THE BARNEY CREATURE THEN CHANGED TACTICS, figuring that if it couldn't beat a single opponent, it might have better luck again a multitude, so it sent out inane but scary legal notices against websites, threatening suit for trademark and copyright infringement. A legal analysis of these absurdities is here. These succeeded in scaring enough people that the original version of this page now reads like a cemetery of dead links. But people who stood up to the Creature were able to face it down easily. Then, emboldened by this Pyrrhic vicory, it has started a sending out a new round of inane but scary letters, this time threatening to complain to the websites' Internet Service Providers. A non-legal analysis can be found here . The Creature's follow-up letter with a non-legal analysis can be found here; a legal analysis can be found here. The Creature's tactic, for perhaps the first time, actually makes sense - the Creature has been beaten up so badly in court that it has finally learned to try its case in a non-legal venue, such as an ISP.

Will the Creature succeed this time? It's difficult to care.
original version of this page
nastygram 1
nastygram 2
legal analysis

not pretty Barney as a 
                  juvenile delinquent

October, 2005: UPDATE! New Nastygram! You can't keep a phony dinosaur extinct!
nastygram 3
legal analysis


clipart courtesy