When Breakfast Attacks

The PETC (People for the Ethical Treatment of Cereal) today called for a national boycott of all genetically modified breakfast foods that attempt to engage the consumer in conversations regarding the consumer’s health, nutritional choices or general level of morning fun.

“On a daily basis,  Americans  are confronted by an increasingly aggressive array of capering Pop-Tarts, dancing Cinnamon Toast Crunch and classroom-ready Mini-Wheats,” asserts a PETC press release. “What we choose to consume has a moral dimension. If it has a face and is capable of carrying on even a limited conversation with you, our stance is you shouldn’t be eating it, no matter how entertaining, charming or sweet it is. Even if it is sitting in your cereal bowl urging you to ‘bite me’ you should just say no.”

Cannibalistic, erotic or both?

Since the successful introduction of gene-splicing, hard-partying Hollywood celebrities and the man-on-the-street alike have seen the wisdom of keeping a spare liver or two growing in a petrie dish at the back of the fridge or an eyedropper of some frozen spawn on liguid nitrogen as insurance against uninteresting children, but no one looked beyond the immediate benefits of square tomatoes and self-buttering corn to the fateful intersection of genetically-engineered food with ambitious marketing.

“In retrospect,” says a PETC spokesperson,  “being chatted up by talking tigers, toucans or dancing leprechauns about our breakfast choices seemed perfectly harmless. The quantum leap came when  the food began to talk for itself, eliminating the advertising middle-man. We went from our cereal snap, crackle and popping to yelling at us bowl-side.

Yelling at us to consume them may be the least of our worries. Much has been written in the popular press recently about the predispostion of many breakfast foods to suffer from suicidal, masochistic or canabalistic tendencies. “When you couple these profiles with a constant proximity to childen you are just asking for trouble,” states a recent FDA clinical advisory. “Children often pit the cereals against each other, gladiator-style, with the victor often being fed to a larger pastry. It’s a grim spectacle to consider, before the school day even starts.”

Sapient Cereal: Are we playing God with Breakfast?

And one for which we have no cultural context. Our great-grand-parents came from hardier stock and contented themselves by starting the day with a bowl of rutabagas, dust and government butter. They had simple entertainments (principally religious intolerance, seltzer bottle fights and kite-flying with keys attached during lightning storms) and a comfort level with killing and eating anything slower than they were. They were happy to talk with their food, but certainly didn’t need or expect it to talk back.

Many clinical psychologists, genetic engineers and vending machine suppliers (who often get nipped by surly cereals while restocking) feel that we have reached a critical point in the evolution of our foodstuffs. Rumors of food riots (or more exactly, rioting food) in China have to date been unsubstantiated, but many feel it is simply a matter of time.

“We have been descending a slippery slope for at least a half a century,” states a PETC infomercial.  “Many now feel we face a day of reckoning. You are, after all, what you eat, but if we are not careful, we are what we eat will be eating.”

The FDA has rejected such warnings as “Needlessly provocative and overstated,” but has quietly confirmed that they are testing firetrucks retrofitted to spray two percent milk at great velocity “… as a reasonable precaution against unrest.”


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