“Desert island” questions are classic conversation starters. They prompt discussions on favorite books and albums, idle “what if?” scenarios about how your friends would approach a life-and-death scenario, and force reflection on what people value most in life. Ask someone a desert island question and you will learn something about their personality.
Or, ask this kind of question on Twitter, hoping for some friendly, family-friendly brand engagement, and learn something broader and more troubling about the general population—like, for instance, that everyone is ready to eat Sesame Street characters as soon as the chips are down.
After the show’s account asked the nice, innocent question of which childhood friend would be best to have as company on a deserted island, many people took this as a cue to discuss the beloved Muppets’ unique personalities and their childhood memories associated with them.
This heartwarming display is, unfortunately, only part of the picture. It turns out Twitter is more concerned with the cold, hard practicalities of surviving on a desert island than explaining why, say, Cookie Monster would be a better conversation partner than Oscar The Grouch. Their choice of companion is not based on personality, but of potential caloric intake.
Here, for example, is a telling exchange about why Cookie Monster, the blue giant who loves baked goods and being kind, would be good to have around when food gets scarce.
Aside from the friendly creatures’ meat, others have considered the even more grisly matter of what value their hides and internal organs may have in a survival scenario.
All in all, the Sesame Street account’s question is less a pleasant excuse to think back on the innocence of childhood than it is a prompt to deeply contemplate the basic fact that we are eating, shitting animals who must view our world through a predator/prey lens when our lives are on the line. Elmo’s gentle smile vanishes from the mind as we think of the eighth day on this island, his skinned body roasting on a spit as hot goblets of fat drip onto the fire. Cookie Monster’s googly eyes, once a comfort, now stare at us lifeless as we see ourselves crawling into his hollowed-out torso for warmth on a cold night.
In short, thanks Sesame Street. You’ve ruined us.
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