Thursday, June 26, 2008
Cookie Monster and Colbert
Three years ago, Jonah Goldberg weighed in on the matter:
After three decades, they’ve announced he’s not a Cookie Monster at all. In the interests of teaching kids not to be gluttons, CTW has transformed Cookie Monster into just another monster who happens to like cookies. His trademark song, “C is for Cookie” has been changed to “A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food.” And this is a complete and total reversal of Cookie Monster’s ontology, his telos, his raison d’etre, his essential Cookie-Monster-ness.
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 be 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?