Saturday 27 February 2021

Mr Potato Head Has Had His Chips

 I had forgotten, if ever I knew, that the original Mr Potato Head was just a collection of the bits - nose, eyes etc - that a child would require to personalise an actual potato.

Now, of course, Mr Potato Head comes with his own plastic body. And much excitement has been caused by the suggestion of a new, gender-neutral marketing approach to "Potato Head".  Which among other things makes me wonder - why is the sort of people who shout so loudly about "snowflakes" that get so upset about things like this? Is it possible that the sort of person who shouts "snowflake" is basically just a bit thin-skinned? Like a Yukon Gold potato? Which would probably be eaten by Stinky Pete if he were prospecting in the far North-West.

That Mr and Mrs Potato Head are married asks all sorts of questions. Before they married were they Mr Potato and Miss Head? Or has he always been Mr Potato Head and she was formerly Miss Spud or something? Should Potato-Head be hyphenated? Are they related to the Somerset Potato Heads?

And since they are married - were they matched by the Reverend Potato Head, as Michael Moran suggested? Or in a registry office? If the former, is he married or could be a monk or - indeed - a Friar?  Presumably wherever they married, they will have had excellent witnesses as they will have had so many eyes.

If they have children will they be sprouts? 

Either way, here's a bit of basic biology. Potatoes, like many plants, are hermaphroditic. They can act as male - producing pollen - or female - being pollinated. So there is no Mr or Mrs Potato Head. They are all whatever pronoun and title they like Potato Head.

Not only that. Potatoes are capable of reproducing asexually, by the use of the tubers (or potatoes, as we tend to call them) that they produce every year. No need for lipstick, top hats or bushy moustaches. Potatoes can just produce new potatoes without needing to get all lovey dovey. No need for Father Potato Head, little bridesmaid potatoes or the Father of the Bride giving away Miss Spud while the Mother of the Groom says that Mr Potato Head is a chip off the old block.

Not only that - but even in the world of Mr and Mrs Potato Head, the couple's facial parts and limbs can be mix and matched (or Mx and matched if you prefer) between the two. They are plastic toys. They don't have to fit your stereotypes. Let's face it - they don't even have bodies, just giant heads which the limbs stick out of. How are they supposed to digest their food? And what do they eat with no teeth? Mash?

Maybe it's time to move beyond anthropomorphic members of the nightshade family for children's face-based fun activities. Let's consider the possibility of smaller members of the vegetable clan being able to adopt their own expressions and limbs. In the interests of the planet - using less plastic and yet achieving the same objective - let's try a tiny veg-based toy.

All we are saying, is give peas a chance.


  1. When the chips are down, what it all boils down to, is your giving it quite a roasting.

  2. The Archdruid isn't the only one this has fried:

  3. I wonder what happened in that Great Potato famine in Ireland in the 1840's and onward, which caused a great exodus from Ireland to other places, including America and the Colonies, let alone the thousands who died from starvation. The Blight which caused the famine, might have been compared with our modern day pandemic, apart from the fact that we are unable to travel, and are locked down in place.

    The virus is the equivalent of the blight, which caused potatoes to rot in the ground, while the virus has caused many millions of death across the world, we can only hope that the virus will rot away and disappear.


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