Show Lucky Charms that you care

Nearly 35 years ago a diminutive leprechaun named Lucky embarked on a journey from his native Ireland, across the Atlantic Ocean and into the hearts of children throughout America. In his pocket were four “magically delicious” marshmallow charms that were to become the cornerstones of Saturday morning breakfasts everywhere.
Remember those mornings when you’d open a box of Lucky Charms, carefully selecting a couple of marshmallow shapes and popping them into your mouth before you even got a bowl off the shelf. Remember the way you would eat it quickly so that the cereal wouldn’t became soggy and the marshmallows wouldn’t dissolve. Remember pink hearts, orange stars, green clovers and yellow moons.
The charms were more than part of a well-balanced breakfast, though. They were cultural icons, part of our collective psyche that not only revealed something about us, but also quietly passed along a message to the youth of America. The marshmallow bits were a testament to international cultural diversity and peace between different nations and religions.
Where else would you find an orange, six-pointed star of David nestled down near a traditional Islamic symbol like a yellow crescent moon and a green shamrock, the standard of St. Patrick and Irish Catholics everywhere? Keeping the peace were the pink hearts. They helped us understand and even love our neighbors despite superficial differences of skin or belief.
But take a look at a box today. The message of tolerance is gone, replaced by a distinctly conservative, capitalist agenda.
It started innocuously in 1975 with the introduction of blue diamonds to the mix. In subsequent years, the General Mills marketing machine forced technically innovative, but politically irrelevant marshmallow bits on an unsuspecting public. By 1994, no less than six permanent and temporary bits had been inserted into Lucky Charms. Of them only the multi-colored rainbow, introduced in 1992, and the temporary whale marshmallow of 1986 demonstrated any social sensitivity by the company. The rest, like purple horseshoes and yellow and orange pots of gold, only baffled the cereal-eating public who could see no rhyme nor reason for their presence.
General Mills executives slowly made plain their true intent. By not only adding new marshmallows, but by eliminating or mutilating beyond recognition the veterans, a new message could subliminally be conveyed to U.S. children while they watched Saturday morning cartoons.
Once the upstarts were in place, the yellow moon and blue diamond quietly disappeared in the night. Americans may not have made it into space first, but we were first on the moon. Now Lucky Charms denies us the opportunity to bask in that glory every morning.
The astronomical assault didn’t stop there. The orange star brutally lost one of its points during its transformation to a shooting star, and is no longer the symbol of Jews everywhere, but a harsh reminder of comet Hale-Bopp, which instigated the Heaven’s Gate tragedy.
Children are being led away from the ideals of their parents. Tolerance and love have been condemned to a past of discarded pink hearts and yellow moons. The message in that box of Lucky Charms on the grocer’s shelf today is that of militaristic, corporate, satanic dominion in a capitalist world. The red balloon, 80s symbol of nuclear war, the five-pointed orange star pentagram and the yellow and orange pot of gold all send the wrong message.
Not that the other charms are much better. Horseshoes, rainbows and leprechaun hats are all pagan icons, tempting us away from better established, more wholesome religions.
But these concerns dodge a more important underlying issue. Not only are the new marshmallows questionable ethically, they just can’t compare to the originals aesthetically. When there were just four solid colored marshmallow bits, the world was a simpler place, and breakfast was a calm, leisurely meal. Those of us who grew up in those times look back fondly. There is no doubt that progress is a good thing, but obnoxious marketing is not progress; it is an insult to the consuming public.
Is it any surprise that children today are so socially maladjusted? Our breakfast cereals have abandoned a once powerful message and replaced it with a call to violent egoism; the downfall of our culture cannot be far away.
Show Lucky Charms that you care. Avoid their product until they return to the wholesome one they once sold — until they bring back a more pleasant morning experience. Make them return the moons, hearts, diamonds and clovers that we all grew to love.
They may be “magically delicious,” but for the time being, they leave a bad taste in America’s mouth.

Chris Trejbal is the Daily Opinions Editor. He usually wakes up in time for lunch.