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I find mascots fascinating (and a bit disturbing).  Here are some of my favorite weird mascots:

Booberry is a Peter Lorre-esque apparition who shills blueberry cereal.

This really freaked-out small bird is the mascot of Ctown Supermarkets where I buy the majority of my food.

Frankenberry is a reanimated corpse who sells pink sugary cereal (kindly notice the steam whistle installed on his head).

Scrubbing bubbles frolic through your bathroom when your back is turned.

The Noppon Brothers somehow represent Tokyo Tower (which I now never wish to visit).

Chief Wahoo is the famously bigoted face of the Cleveland Indians (just kidding, please don't sue me, MLB).

This disconcerting child is Sento-kun, the official mascot of Nara in Japan.

Here is the wild turkey from Wild Turkey bourbon--a truly excellent mascot for a superior product.

Uncle O'Grimacey only arrives in March when McDonalds sells Shamrock Shakes.

These Japanese Mascots want you to give blood.

I may have gotten in over my head by including Japanese mascots.

Our politicians and our media greatly overstate threats to our wellbeing.

Media outlets are full of fear mongering stories about how common household chemicals will injure and kill us.  Global warming is bringing about the end of days (in the least dramatic and slushiest of possible apocalypses).  Our food is unsafe and toxic. Autism is on the rise.  Terrorists and enemies are everywhere. Measles is coming back…. You’ve looked at the news: you know the sort of  thing I’m talking about.

These reports do not exist because people worldwide are universally worse-off and more endangered than ever (substantial bodies of data suggest that the opposite is true).  Looking back at newspapers and magazines from yesteryear reveals headlines filled with the same sort of—now hilarious–language, concerning threats we have largely forgotten.  We’ve nearly been wiped out by Halley’s comet, Global cooling, a communist third column, holes in the ozone,Y2K, Swine Flu, and innumerable other deadly scourges.  News outlets know that we insatiably consume stories like this, so they oblige our awful tastes.

Politicians also tell us we should be afraid because it magnifies their authority and because it is a win/win proposition. If something bad happens—they warned us.  If nothing bad happens, it means they prevented it from happening.

Undoubtedly some of these threats are real and we should indeed worry about them (ah, but which ones?), however I wish our elected leaders would use some different arguments other than the hysterical ones hardwired in our desperate primate brains.  Being chronically frightened makes us a less successful, less happy society in obvious ways and in subtle ones.  To live trembling because of our own newspapers and our own leaders really does seems cowardly.

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October 2021
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