Friday, November 30, 2007

B is for Broccoli

Cookie Monster is no longer a cookie freak. How can this be? What is the world coming to?

This is apparently not new news (how's that for a repetitive redundancy?) but it is to me. Not sure which cave I was living in when the Sesame Street people announced this, but somehow the info slipped past my radar screen. In 2005, the Children's Workshop announced that the beloved blue character would adopt more healthful habits.

Instead of the classic "C is for Cookie" song, of which I must admit I know all the words, the lovable furry friend now growls out "Cookie is a Sometimes Food" to encourage moderation and better food choices among the viewers. Aside from the questionable grammar of the title (sometimes is an adverb not an adjective), the whole idea is so, well, wrong.

Yes, it's true that American children are getting fatter -- 1 in 3 is now considered overweight -- but changing the essential nature of a cartoon-like character is not the answer. For starters, I'd guess that most kids who watch Sesame Street are not the problem. Parents who choose public television are generally more enlightened and thus, more than likely, aware of the risks of childhood obesity.

Add to that the "forbidden fruit" notion -- make something bad and it instantly becomes desirable -- and the reality that children rarely do EXACTLY what they see a character on TV doing and you see that the trend toward political correctness has gone way out of control.

We all know that speeding is dangerous so should Road Runner slow down to 30 mph on those steep winding turns? Should Porky Pig clean up his closing line so as not to offend people with speech impediments? Where does it stop?

Lighten up, folks! It is a children's show. Leave Cookie alone and add balance in more subtle ways -- I've got a great recipe for zucchini chocolate chip cookies.

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