17 November 2006

More evidence of Barney’s sinister agenda

ASIDE from the fact that he deceives children by telling them he loves them several times per show, today he was teaching them how to sing and play Ring Around the Rosy.

Now everyone knows the rhyme’s about the effects of the Bubonic Plague in mid-seventeenth century England. There was little more greatly feared during the Elizabethan era than the Black Plague, from the Queen herself to her lowliest subjects. The first sign of plague was a roseate rash in the shape of a ring; the posy (or herbal sachet) was kept in the pocket either to hide the stench of the victim, or in the belief that bad odors transmitted the disease. “Ashes, ashes” refers to the dead’s cremated remains, and “We all fall down” highlights the plague’s indiscriminate effect on low- and highborn alike (interestingly, the English version replaces “Ashes, ashes” with “A-tishoo, A-tishoo,” in reference to sneezing, a symptom of the disease). By the time the Great Fire of London in 1666 ended the plague (by killing the disease-carrying rats), at least 60% of the population had died.

Why do I let my children watch the show? Tsk, tsk, tsk.