During a lengthy morning bike ride with fellow MFA student, Leyna Krow, we discussed the injustices dealt to the Trix Rabbit time and time again at the hands of the General Mill’s company and its advertising divisions. Being a middle child, I’ve always empathized with the overlooked characters flashing across my TV screen, wondering why couldn’t the Brady’s give Jan a little more attention? Why not give Eeyore a little sunshine (or Prozac) in Ashdown Forest? Why make Heart the worst imaginable character ever in Captain Planet? Anyways, this conversation led me to send this email to General Mills asking that they rethink their advertising choices. I have yet to receive a reply.
Dear makers of Trix cereal,
I am writing in the hopes that this letter may assuage the plight of the cartoon rabbit you choose to parade around as your mascot, yet neglect and starve publicly, and urge you to rethink the repercussions the message of exclusion and segregation sent to younger viewers through this campaign. Many 20-somethings such as myself grew up watching your brightly lit commercials, where the Trix Rabbit hatches schemes to con children into sharing their cereal with him. While these ploys vary in Wile E Coyote-like complexity, the end result is always the same: He is revealed as a rabbit and promptly refused food, being told that “Trix are for kids.”
Let’s break this scene down for a moment and note problematic messages being pushed upon youth (and 23 year-old men-children) in between episodes of Sponge Bob Square Pants. First is the establishment and the validation of a dominant class – in this instance children. All other sub categories of humans (and even animals, in this case) are refused similar rights and held inferior. Why are Trix only for kids? And what bitter echoes to America’s, even all of humanity’s, past does this scenario recall?
In addition, these parallels to racism, exclusion and segregation brought about at the hands of this class are being held up as a joke. We are meant to laugh at the rabbit’s failed attempts to achieve sustenance without knowing the broader context in which this abuse exits. Who is the Trix rabbit? Is he starving? Does he have children for whom he is trying to provide? Maybe a meager bowl of artificial fruit nuggets is all that is staving off the final crushing blow of malnourishment, giving way to oblivion where his small bunny children shiver around the frozen corpse of their father waiting for the cold of winter to take them as well while they ask, “why won‘t daddy wake up?”
In the maniacal laughter of these evil pixie children, we are reminded of the maddening chants of the National Social Worker’s Party, of burning crosses and continuing inequalities in incomes, and benefits amongst genders in the workplace. However, the screen displays vibrant colors and everyone, including the Rabbit, is smiling at the absurd parameters of this game.
Even at a micro level, when analyzing common behaviors of our kids, doesn’t the behavior of these children promote exclusion, and bullying in youth? In denying one of the most fundamentally moral acts- the choice to share- aren’t we justifying the foundation of a lifetime of selfishness and abuse toward our fellow men? Aren’t these commercials asking us to identify those who are different, to acknowledge the other and to penalize them for this strangeness? Let’s think what may have happened had Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, even Jesus always been denied the metaphorical bowl of Trix? Do you want to be the one to tell Jesus that he can’t have his cereal because the sandals he wears are a little different or because the average man can’t turn water to wine.
So I implore you, for the sake of not repeating history’s mistakes, for the sake of teaching our children basic lessons of humanity, and for the sake of Jesus, give the Rabbit his fucking bowl of cereal.