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07.12.2011 0

New Editions to the Endangered Species list: Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger and the Trix Rabbit

By Rebecca DiFede – Recently, First Lady Jill-of-all-trades Michelle Obama added another job to her ever-expanding repertoire: poacher. When speaking to reporters at an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on May 11th, she unveiled her “Let’s Move” campaign to stop childhood obesity which included getting rid of popular cartoon characters in the marketing of unhealthy foods (such as sugary cereals) and using those characters to only promote healthy alternatives (perhaps a donkey who eats veggies?).

Madame Obama claims that this program is meant to lower rates of childhood obesity and diabetes by encouraging kids to eat healthy and watch their weight, however she is missing one key fact: the foods that children eat are the choice of the parent, not the child. If a parent wants to buy their children Fruit Loops, they will, regardless of advertising. And by the same token, if a parent only wants their child to eat granola, it doesn’t matter how “Gr-r-reat” Frosted Flakes are, their child won’t be eating them.

This war on the General Mills characters (and any other animations related to the sale of children’s foods) is only a reprise of a previous war on Joe Camel, the popular cartoon camel who once adorned magazine pages and TV ads selling Camel cigarettes. This campaign was done to help prevent kids from smoking, however it goes without saying that juveniles are no less inclined to smoke cigarettes now that Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man have gone the way of the Dodo.

Michelle Obama’s campaign is not only patently ridiculous, but also a gross waste of our country’s time and energy. We need to be focusing on the economic crisis and the debt ceiling, not trying to stop kids from being “coo coo” for coco puffs.

In the weeks following this announcement, a campaign to combat this graphic slaughter was created, known as the Sensible Food Policy Coalition, which is ironically being headed by known Mao Ze Dong enthusiast and former Obama Administration communicator, Anita Dunn.

One main reason that changing the marketing strategy of so-called unhealthy products to children will fail in preventing them from becoming obese or contracting diabetes is because of the simple fact that kids do not like the taste of vegetables, preferring a sweeter snack. Not only that, but because of their parents insistence that they are “good for them”, they become rebellious and refuse to eat them (as we all did as children), and that wouldn’t change, even if Tony the Tiger suddenly became a fruit lover (eat gr-r-rapes!) or the Lucky Charms Leprechaun sang “catch me lucky carrots, they’re magically lowfat” (it’s just not as catchy).

Just one bite into their first bowl of these Captain Crunch Celery Berries, children would notice that despite their cartoon celebrity endorsement, they still tasted like vegetables. Count Cauliflower notwithstanding, if it doesn’t taste great, it is likely to be less filling. (Okay, wrong subject.)

By enacting this program the government is, in effect, trying to dictate to parents what is acceptable for kids to eat, which is a violation of their parents rights to feed them as they wish.

Michelle Obama is actively hunting down the beloved children’s icons and seeking to destroy them because she believes that if Toucan Sam no longer sells Fruit Loops, that kids will no longer want to eat them. If they were eating the box, that might be true, and then at least they’d be getting their fiber. However, since the product itself is not being changed, only the ways in which it is promoted, kids that already like these products will still want and be able to buy them, regardless of a different or missing animal doodle adorning the box.

What is revealed in this campaign is the Obama Administration’s obsession with style and marketing rather than focusing upon the details and substance.

Beyond this, the First Lady’s plan not only hurts our society on an economic level (by taking away advertising profits from all of these companies) but also from the perspective of big government coming into America’s kitchen and organizing the pantry.

Ironically, the same Michelle Obama who is rallying to get kids healthy by publicly executing the Trix Rabbit, has been revealed to be somewhat hypocritical in the healthy eating, ‘set a good example’ arena (she must get it from her husband). According to an article in the Washington Post, Michelle ‘Let’s Move’ Obama might not be able to move after her lunch on Monday, July 11th. Apparently she scuttled on down to her local Shake Shack where she consumed a meal containing 1,556 calories, nearly all of the recommended calories for an entire day. Good thing the Shake Shack doesn’t have an adorable cartoon mascot, otherwise some enterprising trial lawyer might be suing them for inducing the First Lady to gorge herself. Of course, it could just mean the food isn’t that bad, and should be enjoyed.

Michelle Obama’s own actions show that a government campaign to vindictively hunt down and erase Lucky the Leprechaun has nothing to do with the eating choices that parents make for their children. Perhaps it is nothing more than some deep seated anti-toon attitude that drives her to push for the extinction of these characters.

Is her toon hatred treatable? That is something that only a government paid doctor under the new ObamaCare law can properly determine. However, as a parent who makes these choices for her own children, she should know better.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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