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A bear in the woods

Reagan-Bush '84 campaign
"There's a bear in the woods ..."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Bears. I seem to see them everywhere. Just now, getting my children’s “Lil’ Critters” vitamins, I noticed a cartoon bear with two children on the bottle.

And last night, while watching TV, I was put off by a creepy Valentine’s Day ad for Vermont Teddy Bear. The commercial was telling guys out there that their girlfriend doesn’t want cut flowers or candy for V-Day … nope … they would prefer a four-foot tall Vermont Teddy Bear!

“Do you guys find this Vermont Teddy Bear to be as creepy as I do?” I said to my companions.

All of them agreed that it was very creepy.

And we then started watching a show about “Wild Russia” and the wildlife in the Urals and Siberia. An interesting show, considering how much attention Russia has been receiving these past few months – particularly now with the Sochi Winter Olympics.

But what caught my attention was the program’s interest on bears living in the Russian wilderness. Bears. There they were again. And of course everyone knows how the bear is a symbol for Russia and that the first Olympic mascot to receive large-scale, commercial merchandising success was in 1980 with “Misha the Bear” at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

And four years later, Ronald Reagan effectively used his “bear in the woods” campaign ad – a representation of the perceived Soviet threat – to get the attention of voters. “Isn’t it smart to be as strong as the bear? If there is a bear?”

Again, the bear symbology has been remarkable.

And as I watched the “Wild Russia” wildlife program, and saw the “bears in the woods,” I immediately thought of a scene in Terry Gilliam’s brilliant 1995 film 12 Monkeys, where Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) and James Cole (Bruce Willis) are “plotting” an escape from a mental institution. Jeffrey has a “key” and Cole is dosed but trying to keep it together. Jeffrey tries to distract his fellow patients and the guards.

“If you play the games, you’re voluntarily taking a tranquilizer,” Jeffrey tells Cole in the confines of the mental hospital. This, after Jeffrey shows Cole the first game – an oversized, stuffed bear that makes a baby-toy squeaking sound.

As a bear in the woods morphs into a bull, a narrator’s voice is heard saying“If you see a bearish future in the decade ahead, consider the changes sweeping the world and the opportunities they offer.”

“And the opportunities they offer …” repeats Jeffrey.

"Yes. Now! Buy! Sell! Stocks! Bonds! Purchase! Sell! Yes! No more monkey business!" Jeffrey yells amidst the startled patients as Cole makes his escape.

With that in mind, I couldn’t help but notice this story this morning: “Scary 1929 market chart gains traction.” In it, the Dow Jones Industrial Average “eerily follows a pattern that preceded the stock market crash of 1929. See it here.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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