By Brian Baek
As I glance over my bowl of cereal, looking at the colorful and inviting blue box of ‘Honey Bunches of Oats,’ I come across my younger brother’s snacks.
‘Handi-Snacks,’ it reads.
‘Cheez n’ Crackers,’ it reads again.
Any educated person will know that these snacks are filled with unhealthy ingredients like trans fats and hydrogenated oils. But few are aware of the bombardment of misspelled words that pass our consciousness undetected.
It is appalling to see the vast amounts of snacks and other foods children consume that are labeled with misspellings. Companies that target children as their prime demographic have done a great evil by promoting entire food lines around a unique brand, all in the name of the lucrative buck. Such a slow and unnoticed plague undermines a child’s confidence whether a word is indeed spelled correctly in the book that he is reading, or to trust in a brand that gives him so much fatty goodness.
Critics may say that children nowadays are too smart to be manipulated by companies such as Nabisco. Say that to a corpulent kindergartener who enjoys eating his ‘Cheez n’ Crackers’ every day at lunch.
Companies may reply that these names are not intended for any particular audience, or that the names make children buy their products. These are just lies. No company would spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, to advertise ‘Cheez n’ Crackers’ to an adult audience. Would the idea of misspelling Godiva ‘chalkolate’ be of any interest to a 35-year-old? To say that children like these names and doing otherwise would be a disaster for their industry only provides a scapegoat to an ever-increasing problem with literacy. Is there any company moral or ethical enough to make alternative products that actually have its products spelled correctly? Probably not.
Products ranging from snacks to entertainment products have seeped into American society and nothing is being done to fix it. Toy names are constantly substituted with K’s to replace the C’s because K is such a better letter to sell a product. Well-known rap stars such as Ludacris and Silkk the Shocker intentionally misspell their names to stand out and be original. Through continual advertisements and media flooding, I am embarrassed to admit that I had to recheck the word ‘ludicrous’ just to see if it was correct.
Something must be done to stop the ‘dumbing’ of society. There may not be a detailed survey or research project done on this very serious topic that most people do not know exist. But any reasonable person would know that continual exposure to incorrect information would eventually reinforce our mind to believing in the message presented to us.
Society has slowly gone into a dumb hole and we do not even bother getting out. Reading books may not always be the solution to fixing these unfamiliar attacks. The better answer would be to regulate advertisements by forcing companies to spell the name of their brands correctly. But that heads into a hotly-contested debate regulating our First Amendment rights and censorship. Still, there must be some answer to this problem.
On one final note. If this commentary did contain some mistakes in spelling other than the intended misspellings, this would make me a hypocritical author over a blisteringly bright irony.
Brian Baek is a first-year biological sciences major.
Filed Under: Opinion