Sunday, April 24, 2016

The latest thing wrecking your childhood is the new Cracker Jack bag without prizes.

Just to be clear: nothing, after the fact, can ruin your childhood. Your childhood is in the past, immutable, altered only by your own perception of it.

The future, marching forward in ways you do not understand and do not want to take part in, does not wreck your childhood. But refusing to accept change can wreck your adulthood.

In other words, putting Cracker Jack in a bag and taking away the prizes, while also altering how the boy and his dog are drawn, is neither an "affront to baseball fans" nor an "affront to American innovation," contrary to what this writer bemoans in an article on Gizmodo.

What's remarkable about this article is how little thought or research went into it.  The article complains about how the "prizes" in Cracker Jack are "now" QR codes to access apps on a phone. This began in 2013, 3 years before the writer had a conniption about it. That last article appeared in Huffington Post in 2013, and also noted that the company was introducing new forms of Cracker Jack, including one with unsafe levels of caffeine.

Sailor Jack and the dog were not icons for the first 20 years or so of Cracker Jack's existence; same with the toys. Both were innovations two decades in, so removing them entirely would be far more in keeping with the snack's history.  They've not always been the consumer-friendly young lad and the rescue dog:

Pretty sure that's a troll strangling a puppy.

Meanwhile, this article from 2009 says Cracker Jack was being sold in bags already back then, so the affront to American innovation and baseball is older than the Gizmodo article, which is an affront to journalism.  (Even more of an affront? Gizmodo's writer probably just cut-n-pasted the news from sites like Today and CBS News. Hip'n'trendy writing notwithstanding, Gizmodo is just a news aggregator like HuffPo.)

As for "American" innovation, "Cracker Jack" was developed by a German who came to America, bought out his partner and brought his brother over from Germany. The brand's roots as a snack first presented at the World's Fair in 1896 is likely a lie.  the inventor of the packaging lived in Ontario -- not a part of America! -- at the time of his death.

Changing a box, a prize, an ad, a logo is not an insult to America, or baseball.  But pretending that 3-year-old news copied from another website is original thought is an insult to me.

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