Friday, April 22, 2005
On this day:

C is for Obesity

The Social engineers are a serious bunch, and nothing is safe. Not even puppets. Let Cookie Monster be Cookie Monster by Jonah Goldberg
If the Cookie Monster is no longer a cookie monster, what is he? Why didn't they just name him "Phil: The Monster Who Sometimes Likes to Eat a Cookie"? Conceptually, this is no different than the idiot animal rights types who want their dogs and cats to be vegans, too. Cookie Monster cannot help being a Cookie Monster any more than your tabby can stop liking fish. It is their nature to do so. Why not just declare that Big Bird is now an elm tree? If the ineffable, inexorable, immutable nature of Cookie Monster's cookie-eating can be erased for some good cause, why should Big Bird's birdness be safe? Sesame Street and its defenders say they are just trying to do their bit in the war against child obesity. That's nice. But at what price? The whole point of the Cookie Monster character was to have a character who was silly because he ate so much. If Cookie Monster were a Greek god, he'd be the god of gluttony. Wouldn't it have been more honest and simply better to implore kids not to be too much like the Cookie Monster rather than make the Cookie Monster like everyone else? We all understand we shouldn't like Oscar the Grouch. Who says that making Cookie Monster into moderate eater will improve kids behavior anyway? Indeed, for years, Cookie Monster has devoured not only cookies, but things which merely look like cookies, including plates, Frisbees and the moon. If Cookie Monster is so influential, why haven't I heard more about kids going to the hospital after trying to eat plates? [...] In fact, that's what makes this decision so hypocritical. "Sesame Street" normally drenches kids with "be true to yourself" pap and identity politics. In one episode, Elmo and Whoopi Goldberg (no relation) have a long talk about how they'd never want to give up, respectively, their skin or fur color because that would be changing who they are. Well, the hue of Elmo's fur is less essential to his identity than Cookie Monster's gluttony is to his. Rosita, the Hispanic Muppet, is often told not to be ashamed of her accent because that's just a part of who she is. Maybe they should ditch it, in the name of good diction. Heck, maybe the kids in wheelchairs should get up and walk next season because we're all in favor of kids being able to walk.