By Kevin Wilson
We’ve been told time and again over the last few years about how obesity is becoming an epidemic. We’ve looked desperately for solutions, while we’ve looked inwardly and outwardly for who or what is responsible.
I’ll tell you who’s responsible. It’s PBS. More specifically, it’s an offshoot of the network — its famous Sesame Street program.
Of course, we can all make positive changes, and the program is doing that in its 35th season. Elmo is teaching us the importance of exercise, and Big Bird shows us the importance of washing our hands.
These are good ideas, and these are things that I learned while growing up.
The other lesson is a healthy diet, and Sesame Street is turning that over to the Cookie Monster. Yes, the Cookie Monster. The spokesman for a responsible diet has “Cookie” in his name.
Folks, “C” still is for cookie, but apparently that’s not good enough for some people anymore. The new Cookie Monster (we’ll call him C.M. from here on out) is going to focus on self-control, only eating cookies sometimes. In their place, he’ll have a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables.
The “C is for Cookie” song will fade away, and with it will go its many educational tenets:
• When you bite into a donut, the resulting shape is a C. As C.M. tells us right afterward, a donut is still not as good as a cookie.
• At times, the moon also looks like a C. But, as C.M. rationalizes, who would want to eat that?
I ask you, where will our children be without this education? And how did I seriously explain to people that I was listening to the song for reference purposes? I’m not sure I have the answer for either one.
I’m just not sure if Sesame Street is going to be able to get out the message, though. If you’ve seen the documentary “Supersize Me,” you know that a child sees 10,000 advertsements every year, many for sugar-loaded foods. No matter how well-intentioned their efforts, the staff at Sesame Street won’t be able to match that kind of exposure.
And if they get the message out, how effective will it be? Remember that French fries are now classified as fresh vegetables.
No matter how unorthodox they are, I applaud Sesame Street’s methods even while I concurrently make fun of it.
Now, we’ve just got to focus on one more aspect of healthy living. Unless, of course, it’s healthy to live in a trash can.
Kevin Wilson is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 33, or by e-mail: