Apparently, Which? have declared the likes of Tony the Tiger, Coco Monkey, and similar characters to be 'cartoon villains', and called for them to be banned. They feel that these characters never advocate a healthy option, and blame them for contributing to childhood obesity. Quite what their objection to Snap, Crackle and Pop, and their Rice Krispies is, I do not know.
While I would normally be in favour of anything that would discomfort Captain Ric on principle, I really feel I must object to this. Indeed, the mere notion that it might be done makes me extremely angry.
Firstly, there is history to consider. Tony the Tiger is over fifty years old, the Honey Monster thirty, and Coco Monkey twenty. These characters were fixtures at my breakfast table growing up. I remember with dread the horror of having to eat 1,000,000 boxes of Sugar Puffs in order to get a special stuffed Honey Monster (which turned out to be rubbish!). They are every bit as significant as Fred Flintstone, He-Man, or even Optimus Prime himself. Unless you're Michael Bay, you don't get to mess around with such things lightly.
And what's more, in an age of tarnished celebrities and edgy anti-heroes, these are characters that have never lied to us. You see Tony the Tiger on a box, and you know the contents will be a sweet taste of childhood. Coco Pops really do make the milk turn chocolatey.
Besides, I doubt this is actually going to change anything; it would just make the world that bit less bright and enjoyable. What are kids going to eat for breakfast instead?
Weetabix? Shredded Wheat? 'cos I remember being a child, and when we had these we would heap spoonfuls of sugar on top, just to make them palatable. At which point any dubious benefit of the switch has been undone.
Perhaps instead they'll go for Fruit & Fibre, Special K, or All Bran? No, I didn't think so.
Perhaps they'll just have nothing? Yep, that's an improvement.
Okay then, obviously parents will step into the breach, and cook a hearty and healthy breakfast for their children? Actually, I was barely able to type that, as the effort of suppressing my laughter caused my whole body to shake.
No, what will actually happen is that most of the kids who currently eat Frosties, Coco Pops, Sugar Puffs, Ricicles (or, horrors, Rice Krispies) will continue to eat those cereals because those are the nicest ones. It isn't the characters that have made the cereals popular; it is the cereals that made the characters popular.
Perhaps I'm over-reacting. Being stuck in the midst of the diet, each morning I eat my Shredded Wheat. And each morning, I think to myself, "I'd rather have a bowl of Coco Pops!"