Hard to Swallow
I was a very fearful child, finding basically everything everywhere scary. Or at least unsettling. Among others, I was especially terrified of certain mascots. Not so much sports-team mascots, but mascots for brands of foods. Now they tend to be very disturbing anyway, but doubly so when they’re an anthropomorphized version of the actual food they’re pushing. Does it bother anyone else that some of our most loved mascots are imploring you to eat them?
Okay, so Charlie Tuna’s not very lovable (Is that his hair? Is he wearing a beret?), but everyone loves the Pillsbury Doughboy and what man wouldn’t want to be the dashing Mr. Peanut? What woman wouldn’t want to spend a night embraced in his… arms? So it’s easy to miss the gruesome irony behind their smile of lies. With other mascots, it’s not, such as the horrifying Halo Burger Cow.
As a child, I was terrified by this sign. It’s not enough that you have to be reminded of how adorable the thing you’re eating used to be, no, Halo Burger trips even the most clearly defined boundaries of taste and decency and shows the cow licking its lips! Somehow it’s tasted the blood of its own species–perhaps the flesh from its very own hide–and is hungry for more!
Equally disturbing, especially to a schooled and cowardly child like me, was the knowledge that cows are herbivores, and if Halo Burgers were enough to spur 1400 pounds of peace-loving mammal into a goddamn cannibalistic frenzy, just imagine what it’d do to a mincing little tot like me!
But I decided to face my fears and go in search of other similarly disturbed mascots. What I found was that pigs are chillingly overrepresented in the creepy-mascot crowd:
Somehow I don’t feel as off-put about pigs telling you to eat them or their families, since pigs will eat anything, so it’s likely they had it coming, but this trend of endorsing cannibalism should make a lot of people uneasy. And I shudder to think why so many have let it slip by unnoticed…