Imitating film

An article on AOL Health (“All The News That’s Fit for Hypochondriacs”) reports that children all around the country are being infected by salmonella, breaking out in warts, and hungering for flies after kissing frogs in imitation of Disney’s animated feature The Princess and the Frog. There have even been reports of children in France becoming so orally fixated on frogs that they are actually eating the things! The story seems ridiculous on its face (for example, not even a crazy person would eat a reptile, and everyone knows you get salmonella from salmon, not frogs), but it does have an echo of truth in it — over the years, there have been many cases of children doing silly things in imitation of Disney films.

For example:

  • In the 1950s, little boys all across the country, in imitation of their TV hero Davy Crockett, donned raccoon-skin caps and ran for Congress.
  • The popular Frisbee toy was invented to sate children yearning to imitate the disc-battling antics of their movie hero Tron.
  • After the release of Beauty and the Beast, little girls followed the movie heroine’s lead and began to read books for entertainment (much to the annoyance of film-based corporations, causing Disney to focus its next animated film, Aladdin, on a more commercial female role model — a marriage-obsessed princess in scanty clothes who hangs out with big, fluffy animals).
  • Many children who saw Toy Story subsequently wanted toys.

This is not to say that The Princess and the Frog has had no impact on children. Quit the contrary — although there are no reliable reports of children doing anything so ridiculous as kissing frogs, a number of youths in the southern U.S. have been devoured (whole or in part) while trying to teach alligators to play jazz music.

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