2010.06.03 No kidding - Cartoon characters are not real

Written by David Green.

No kidding-Cartoon characters are not real


BY RICH FOLEY

I guess some people out there have trouble separating real life from fantasy. Otherwise, why would anyone bring cartoon character Dora the Explorer into the debate over Arizona’s new immigration law? No matter where you stand on immigration, it is clear that Dora is only a cartoon, isn’t it? Apparently not to a lot of folks.

According to a recent Associated Press story, those on one side of the issue see Dora as a friendly, likable person we can all relate to. The other side notes that Dora’s birthplace, citizenship and immigration status have never been made clear.

Some believe that her home is obviously in Mexico, while others insist that her iguana and monkey pals could just as easily place her in south Florida.

So far, representatives from Nickelodeon have refused to comment on Dora’s background.  It’s too bad they just didn’t tell everyone to get a life. How about a statement along the lines of, “Get serious, folks! Dora is not a person, she’s a cartoon! She has no immigration status because she’s not real! She doesn’t care about this or any other real life issue because she doesn’t really exist! Is that too hard of a concept to grasp?”

What’s next for these people? Wondering what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles think about the oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico? After all, they are turtles. Surely, they must have some special knowledge about the subject. And what about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? Couldn’t they do something to stem the flow of oil? Why hasn’t President Obama asked then to step in? And where is Ronald McDonald during all of this? Wait, here’s another story. It turns out Ronald has his own fish to fry, so to speak.

Apparently, there are critics out there who think the clownish corporate symbol promotes bad eating habits and “should go the way of the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel.” Retired physician Alfred Klinger told the AP that “Ronald McDonald is a pied piper drawing youngsters all over the world to food that is high in fat, sodium and calories.”

McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner defended the clown as a “force for good” before a group of shareholders, adding, “He communicates effectively with children and families around balanced, active lifestyles. He does not hawk food.” Are you laughing yet?

Actually, in a roundabout way, I kind of agree with Skinner. Not so much about the balanced, active lifestyles part, but about the imaginary clown being a hawker of food.

I’ve probably eaten more than my share of the clown’s offerings over the years, but it was never about the clown. I don’t really care for clowns, not even a little. No, eating at McDonald’s was more because of price, convenience, and, when I was younger, those awesome Happy Meal toys. Heck, I’d buy a Happy Meal today if it had one of those cool Hot Wheels cars with it. Ronald the clown? I don’t really care.

I don’t suppose that helps McDonald’s case any. But even I find Ronald less objectionable than Burger King’s super creepy King. And their toys are lousy besides. That still doesn’t keep me away from the occasional Whopper. But it might be more than occasional without the King. I don’t think you need an imaginary spokesperson to represent a restaurant. If you don’t believe me, ask KFC.

The chicken chain, which has no symbol other than a representation of their late founder Harlan Sanders, recently announced they would continue sales of their Double Down sandwich, which had been scheduled to end after a brief promotional period. Of course, the Double Down is no ordinary sandwich, at least by the usual definition.

The “sandwich” is a filling of bacon and cheeses, surrounded by two fried chicken filets instead of bread or a bun. Sounds pretty healthy, doesn’t it? Even without a cartoon character’s endorsement, sales have been so brisk, KFC has decided to offer it as long as demand warrants.                                                                                                       

 So let’s sum this all up: First, cartoon characters aren’t real, no matter how badly we might wish they were. Second, the idea that people choose a restaurant based on a cartoon spokesperson is questionable. And third, even if you think Dora the Explorer is real, this isn’t the best time to invite her to Taco Bell.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017