Saturday, August 20, 2005

Cereal and culture

Here's a quote from the blog punkybrister69 reviewing a book, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman:

"The Lady or the Tiger" [essay] is an exploration of American individualism, consumerism, and peer pressure using cereal as a metaphor. And it totally works. Klosterman starts off with the development of cereal--a story I've heard before, but which I always find entertaining--and develops the idea that breakfast cereal is an American idiom. If you think about it, it really is. The marketing of cereal to children vs. adult-oriented marketing plays a part, of course, and the resulting analysis is hilarious, but eerily true. One of my favorite bits, concerning the Trix Rabbit:

"An inordinate number of cereal commercials are based on the premise that a given cereal is so delicious that a fictional creature would want to steal it. We are presented with this scenario time and time again. The most obvious is the Trix Rabbit, a tragic figure whose doomed existence is not unlike that of Sisyphus. Since the cereal's inception, the rabbit--often marginalized as 'silly'--has never been allowed to enjoy even one bowl of his favorite foodstuff, and the explanation for this embargo smacks of both age discrimination and racism (we are to accept that Trix is reserved exclusively 'for kids')." (p. 121)

In this essay, the public's relationship to breakfast cereal is likened to our relationships with others in society... AND IT WORKS. The argument may sound silly, but--if you think about it--a lot of us are who we are based on our relationship to pop culture.

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