Cereal Box Literature Reviews

a

By Professor Friar,  PhD in Cerealogical Linguistics

a

Crispix

The box starts with a dark blue color on top, with serious nutrition information in the upper right corner.

The tones then gradually change into a lighter-blue,  ending where the Crispix pieces dance gleefully in bowl of milk, with the help of the whimsical Snap, Crack and Pop.

The transition is seamless, and is a an apt metaphor for the North American post-modern lifestyle.

Even though we adults have many responsibilities, the author reminds us to “lighten up”, and to remember our childhood roots, which made us who we are today.

As if to emphasize this point, the back of the box repeats this theme, but this time, our elf companions are replaced with sweet fruit and berries.

A commentary, perhaps, on our obsession withe materialism: we should take time to enjoy the simpler things in life.   We can still have our cake and eat it to, provided we adopt an attitude of responsibility and moderation.

So as not to take itself too seriously, and not to alienate younger audiences,  the back of the box displays friendly alien creatures, who invite us to check out a “mission nutrition” web sit.

In addition, the side of the box provides a recipe for Kellogg’s Crispix Krispies Original Mix, an activity that the whole family can participate in.

All in all, I found this box an excellent read:  informative, yet entertaining for both adults and children alike.

a

Cheerios

The title proudly announces itself in bold black letters.  It is assertive, confident and inviting.

The golden rays emanating from the single oaten O dotting the “i” suggest warmth and goodness, a treasure that the Godless Demeter herself would be proud of endorsing.

This theme is then suddenly punctuated by  “1 gram of sugar per serving “.  At first, this appears as an afterthought, but upon repeated readings, it soon becomes apparent that this is a crucial side-story.   The 1-gram sugar is the Duncanesque foil the Macbethian Cheerios.

The heart-shaped bowl, however, is somewhat over-the-top.   Whether indicating true amorous feelings, or cardiovascular benefits, the symbolism was a bit too obvious here.     However, the intentions are well-meaning, and most readers will accept this minor oversight.

At this point, however, the plot unexpectedly shifts.   Out of the blue (literally), the storyline is abruptly broken by a free yogurt ad.

The boldly emblazoned banner takes over the story, and seems rude, crass, and out-of-place.  Cheerios has been around for decades.  However, the yogurt is just another johnny-come-lately trying to ride on its coattails.

The yogurt character development continues on the back, which the reader cannot identify nor sympathize with.   The familiar heart-shape cereal bowl weakly tries to make a reprise, but the damage is already done.

This box started off well.   But the author allowed the yogurt to completely over-shadow the cereal itself, leaving the reader confused, and without a sense of closure.

a

Cap’n Crunch

The story line is deceivingly  simple, yet we find ourselves drawn to the box, again and again.  There is a riveting sense of anticipation here.

The Cap’n admires his cereal, yet he seems to be reluctant to eat it, let alone touch it.

It leaves the reader puzzled.   What’s stopping him?  Is it lack of confidence?  Is it fear of disappointment?

No.  There is almost a Zen-like childish innocence here.    The Cap’n seems enthralled by the beauty of it all, almost like he wishes to make this magic moment last forever.

This sense of optimism is reminiscent to that found in early 20th-century literature.  The Cap’n is our modern-day Hemingway.   He’s a sea captain, and a rugged outdoors-man, a man of many talents.

Even when losing his sled dog in the Arctic, for example, he maintains a stiff upper lip.   Rather than wallow in self-pity, he enlists our help to find the do, which we gladly do.    The dog shares his optimism, also smiling, despite a sharp mountain peak wedged on his posterior.

However, the Cap’n is not 100% sincere.  Just as we are drawn into his adventure, he averts his gaze away from the ice-capped peaks and dangerous mountain trails, and directs us towards the Aeroplan offer on specially marked Quaker Products.

“Come join me”, he seems to invite us.   But it comes with a price.

I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.

This is a harsh lesson for less mature-readers to learn.

But a valid one, no less.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Friar's Grab Bag

Tags: , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

12 Comments on “Cereal Box Literature Reviews”

  1. Deb Says:

    Such depth, such insight! Never before have I seen the humble cereal box elevated to works of art!

    Behold! Deep Friar: Guru of the box! Why think outside the box when you can gain enlightenment by what’s *on* it!

  2. Friar Says:

    @Deb

    I figured it’s about time these fine pieces of literature were recognized.

    Maybe they’re not masterpieces, but they’re read by billions.

    Not everyone might have read “The Great Gatsby” or “Pride and Prejudice”.

    But EVERYONE’s read a cereal box.


  3. Lo, I was wishing you had talked about element juxtaposition creating the perfect tension.

  4. Friar Says:

    @Betsy
    Yes, I had thought of that.

    But that applies more for Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops, rather than the cereals critiqued here.

  5. XUP Says:

    Your brother in literary criticism, Northrup Fryer, would find the Crispex dismissively derivative. The repetition of snap, crackle and pop meant to echo Rice Crispies, in fact, only makes this cereal a plebian and unintelligent reworking of the original. Northrup would agree with most of your analysis of the Cheerios, though I’m sure he would find the heart more meaningful than you did. Given the epic historical struggle with aligning the cereal with heart-healthfulness implicit in that heart it speaks to us. It tell us that although oppressed by the larger government machine disallowing them to overtly proclaim themselves heart-healthy, they cheerfully decided upon this graphic device to tell their story. Cap’n Crunch would be completely beneath Northrup.

  6. Friar Says:

    @XUP

    I respectfually disagree. Sure, the Triad of Elves was originally from Rice Krispies, but it’s not uncommon to re-introduce popular characters from earlier works of literature.

    Our Archetypal triad of Elves merely serve as an introduction…It’s then left up to the reader to decide how they feel about Crispix. Which I think is a seperate entity all to itself.

    The bi-colored three-dimensional matrix that stays crispy in milk in no way resembles the faded, rice-like vociferous pellets that get soggy within seconds.

    As for the Cheerios, I was considering discussing the dramatic irony of that one, lone strawberry, but that would have made this post too long.

    Anyway, however Northrup decides to critique is his business. But it wouldn’t kill him to get off his high horse and examine more popular cereals like the Cap’n.

    Hmph. Sounds like he’s a snob who probably only reads Multi-Grain Muslix boxes from European distributors.


  7. once again I am forced to sit here and shake my head at the genius that you are.

    Brilliant, original and funny. I want a megaphone to shout you out at the world.

    Or wait… I have a better idea…ahem….

    *taps foot not so patiently* Come on Friar, the world is waiting…..

    (this is me…big Sis…being pushy…)

  8. Friar's Mom Says:

    @Wee Friar,

    Little did I know that leaving a cereal box on the breakfast table would impact my young Friar so deeply.

    Just out of curiosity, I Googled Captain Crunch recipes. Not only did I find recipes for Captain Crunch deserts but I also found a recipe for Captain Crunch Chicken. It’s served in the Hollywood Planet Restaurant chains. I also found the recipe for their Creole Mustard dipping sauce.

    You too can learn from Friar’s posts.

  9. XUP Says:

    Funny you should say that. I believe Northrop always insisted on authentic Swiss muesli only. But back to the abomination of elvish repetition. Literature that leaves interpretation up to the reader is vacuous and, dare I say, fatuous. An author without a definitive statement; without anything to say had best leave writing to those that do. Does Crispex snap, crackle and pop? I think not. So what purpose does the reiteration of those characters serve except as shameless pandering to readers who are too lazy and puerile to want to make the effort to open their tiny minds to something completely new? And speaking of redundancy, what could possibly be the point of the tautological, albeit alliterative, “Crispex Krispies” except to hit dunderheaded readers over the head once again with the Rice Krispies association?

  10. Friar Says:

    @Wendi

    I’m workin’ on it…I’m workin’ on it!

    @Friar’s Mom
    I dunno…I think you mainly taught yourself, on this one. My post didnt’ really have anything of much substance to say (not unlike most literary critics.)

    @XUP
    Well, the Snap Crackle and Pop are apparently here to stay on the Krispix box. I know you and Northrop will probably roll your eyes over that…but you’ll have to learn to accept it.

    But I think you should give the readers more credit than that. Nobody would read the box if the cereal was crap. Which it isn’t.

  11. aliastaken Says:

    I hate to differ, but I think the Captain doesn’t want to eat his cereal because he knows it will tear up the roof of his mouth…

  12. Friar Says:

    @alisataken

    Yes…the Cap’n always wreaks havoc on our upper palettes.

    Damn him.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: