Friday, October 2, 2009

Cookie Monster, Re-educated -- Writer's Poke #261

The only Cookie Monster my daughter knows plays soccer with Ernie, ice skates with Big Bird, and likes to eat healthy foods, such as apples, salad, and milk.

This was not the Cookie Monster I grew up with. In the 1970s, Cookie Monster was always shoving cookies into his mouth. But even at the age of 5, I could tell that he wasn't actually eating any of the cookies. You see, the Cookie Monster didn't have a throat, and un-eaten cookies were obviously flying everywhere.

Nevertheless, the good people at the Children's Television Network decided in 2006 that the Cookie Monster was a bad example for children, and soon thereafter, he was shown exercising and eating healthy snacks. He can still "eat" the occasional cookie, but for all intents and purposes, he's been neutered.

Not surprisingly, no one seems to care that Cookie Monster doesn't speak grammatically-correct English. When he talks, he sounds like he learned English from either Frankenstein's monster, or by watching Indian actors in 1940s Hollywood films.

And have we forgotten that Cookie Monster is, after all, a monster! Since when do we learn morals and values and proper eating habits from monsters? Monsters should set bad examples. If you want to show the consequences of eating too many cookies, I don't have any problem with that. Show Cookie Monster after a bender, but don't take away what was his sole purpose for existence for the first 30 years of his life.

What has changed from your childhood that really annoys you?
"A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five." -- Groucho Marx

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vin Diesel for a Day -- Writer's Poke #260

Vin Diesel has a facebook site for his fans, and he recently posted a picture of himself in Japan. He's over there to promote the premiere of a new film, and one of the captions for a photo in his online album reads: "Hiding in plain sight." Vin is standing on a Tokyo street, and none of the passersby seem to notice him. Certainly, they notice that he's an American, and perhaps they know that he is Vin Diesel. Maybe it's the culture that allows him to be out in the open without a mob of fans attacking him. If he tried to walk down the street in any American city, he'd probably need body guards, and I'm sure there'd be professional photographers out stalking his every move.

When I saw this picture, I thought: I'd like to be Vin Diesel for a day. I'd have no interest in switching lives with him, or anyone else, on a permanent basis, but wouldn't it be fun to be someone else for a day?

I'm not sure exactly how that would work, as you'd still want to be yourself, but it wouldn't work just to be yourself inside someone else's body. You would need to be able to access the other person's memories, behaviors, etc., but you would need to be able to retain access to your own mind, too. Otherwise, how would being someone else for a day actually work?

Being someone else for a day might have a downside, too. Would it be fun, for example, to be Hugh Hefner for a day? Guys can imagine the fantasy of what that would be like, but imagine if his real life was as boring as anyone else's? And on the flip side, if his life somehow lived up to the fantasy, going back to your life would be even more painful. Perhaps it's better just believing that the fantasy image of Hugh Hefner is just that: a projection. Finding out that the fantasy was real might be too much knowledge to bear.

Speaking of fantasies, Mariah Carey agreed to take off her make-up for a role in an upcoming movie. This is not something that any diva should ever be allowed to do. Mariah, you are not allowed to look like a real woman. You have a flawless image to uphold, and it's not your right to bring harm or disappointment to the imaginations of your fans. Shame on you.

If you could be anyone else for a day, would you do it? If so, who would you pick? If you wouldn't do it, why not?

"The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." -- Albert Einstein