Back in 1998, I adored cookies, especially chocolate chip. But even before I started saying no to cookies, candies, and cake (on doctor’s orders) for the sake of my health, I never condemned others, especially beloved fictional creatures, for shunning cookies—especially in an article that thousands would read.
So I’m simply appalled that certain fellow journalists have been griping that “Sesame Street’s” beloved large-mouthed, goggly-eyed “Cookie Monster”—who used to devour cookies by the plateful—is becoming a nutrition-savvy creature who eats fewer and fewer cookies.
That’s right, some reporters and columnists—even from three publications to which I’ve either previously contributed or served on staff—have been finding fault with the fact that the endearing, grinning, blue critter now joyfully sings, “Me eat less cookies! Me eat less cookies!”
Ah come on, given our climate of runaway obesity and related diseases, how can it be a bad thing that the blue furry furrball—whose purpose is to entertain and educate our nation’s young kids—is learning restraint and cutting down on cookies?
In case you’re baffled (as I am) why some would view it “blasphemous” for the Cookie Monster to change his cookie-chomping habits, let me bring you up to date.
After “Sesame Street’s” 36th season kicked off April 4 on PBS Kids, some writers blasted the blue creature’s new, positive food habits, as the Washington Post explains it.
“We’re not taking cookies away from Cookie,” Truglio told the Post. “It’s about teaching moderation. We are not about intervention, we are about prevention — putting healthy habits in (kids’) daily lives.”
To be fair, some enlightened writers and bloggers are applauding Sesame Street ’s positive changes. Kudos to Brett Levy of “Dad Talk,” who in an aptly titled item, “For Monstrous Columnists, ‘C’ Is for Crazy, Not Cookies,” also condemns some of these Cookie Monster-condemning media reports.
“The only thing that is unnerving to me is how idiotic these columns are,” Levy writers. “I rarely go out and attack the average journalist or column writer, but you folks should be ashamed of yourselves. Before you spend all this energy defending the sanctity of a blue furry puppet, take a good hard look at the millions of obese children in this nation and start worrying about them.”
Hear hear. Let’s face it. “C” isn’t for cookie anymore. “C” is for “change,” “challenge,” and “create”—new habits, that is.
“From California to Australia, from New York to Oregon, fears have arisen about the sanctity of ‘Sesame Street,’ the childrens’ show that just started its 36th season. The Los Angeles Times editorialized on the crisis, a staffer at the South Australia Sunday Mail declared herself “rocked to my foundations” by Cookie Monster’s transformation, and the Associated Press bemoaned Cookie’s new circumstances in a missive sent across the land.
“The blue fuzzball even wound up on this week’s “Hit List” in Entertainment Weekly. `Cookie Monster To Cut Down on Sugary Treats’ reads the EW item, followed by a rant that begins with the word `Sellout!’”
After doing a Lexis-Nexis search and scouting around on the Internet, I found several passionate arguments against this cookie-curbing change. Jonah Goldberg on the National Review Online fumes and frets that the adorable creature’s signature tune, “C is for Cookie,” has been changed to “A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food.” (So what?) Well, Goldberg insists that “this is a complete and total reversal of Cookie Monster’s ontology, his telos, his raison d’etre, his essential Cookie-Monster-ness.” (Who cares?)
“His comedic, gluttonous sweet tooth is his raison d’etre,” gripes Heather Svokos of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Whoah! Phooey on raison d’etre! How can members of the press bewail and bemoan the fact that Cookie Monster is becoming more health conscious? Hey, the critter isn’t even cutting out cookies totally, “Sesame Street” executives explained.
“We are not putting Cookie on a diet,” Sesame Workshop’s Rosemarie Truglio, vice president of education and research, tells the Washington Post, “with a hint of patient exasperation.”