Oh, bother: Even Winnie the Pooh can't get a break these days!
The beloved bear was banned from being the mascot of a Polish playground because of his "dubious sexuality" and being "inappropriately dressed," according to a Croatian Times report on Wednesday. According to the paper, a town councillor in the small town of Tuszyn said, "The problem with that bear is that it doesn't have a complete wardrobe."
"It is half-naked," the councillor added, "which is wholly inappropriate for children."
He then suggested a Polish fictional bear serve as the playground's mascot, saying, "Ours is dressed from head to toe, unlike Pooh who is only dressed from the waist up."
According to the report, one town official said Winnie the Pooh "doesn't wear underpants because it doesn't have a sex. It's a hermaphrodite."
Another town councillor reportedly turned the tables on Pooh's creator, A.A. Milne, saying, per the Croatian Times, "This is very disturbing but can you imagine! The author was over 60 and cut his [Pooh's] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity."
Um, think maybe something was lost in translation somewhere? It's happened before! According to a 1989 Chicago Tribune article, Poland has previously struggled with translations of Pooh's adventures, which first came to the country just before World War II.
There was outrage, some 50 years later, when a publishing house in Lublin, 100 miles southeast of Warsaw, released an "absolutely awful" translation of the classic. "Children should not read it," an employee at a major Polish publishing company said. "We looked at the translation after it was published and we cannot believe that something like this can be printed. It is a scandal."
According to the Chicago Tribune article, it's difficult for translated Polish versions of Pooh's story "to capture the English absurdities" of his tale. One linguistics professor explained that Milne's story told in the Polish language is more of an "adaption" than a straight "translation." In other words, the professor said, it's "a Polandized version of an English classic."
Perhaps those town councillors in Tuszyn need to acquaint themselves with a better translation of Winnie the Pooh!