The lifework of Jim Henson has always awed me, but with the notable exception of Grover – who is the unblemished embodiment of honesty, kindness, and sensitivity – I’ve never had much love for the cast of Sesame Street. Nevertheless, I got an unsettling feeling when I saw this cosplay image and it took me a while to figure out why.
For all intents and purposes, this is a wickedly clever costume. It’s original, well crafted, and ironic. It is savage temerity expertly cut with tongue-in-cheek satire. It’s uncomplicated. Versatile.
It’s also a bit creepy.
But the creepiness factor doesn’t come from the hunter’s prey being a cute children's TV show icon; that’s the whole damn joke. And Cookie Monster’s blood matching our own in color and consistency is highly unlikely, but not altogether perturbing. The unsettling thing, I finally realized, is that this crazy bitch is wearing the hide of a bipedal, English-speaking mammal.
Think about that for a moment. Even people who enjoy draping themselves in fur would have to admit there is something inherently morbid about wearing the skin of something that, prior to being pared and peeled, was capable of discussing the culinary benefits of butter over vegetable oil in Snickerdoodle recipes.
An anthropology professor I had in college once posited a theory that people normally feel inclined to modify the names of those food animals closest to them on the evolutionary scale. Her contention was that people have no problem referring to a salmon steak as “fish” because fish are so far removed from humans, but when it comes to mammals like cows and pigs, they change the names to “beef” and “pork” as a way of distancing themselves from them. I suspect the affective impulse to which my professor was alluding is the very same as was stirred in me by this costume.
So I guess the obvious question is: Are her lips blue from devouring Cookie Monster meat?
Panda just pointed out that if Cookie Monster's blood is red, then eating him would stain the lips red, not blue. In other words, she just did to my punchline what the chick in the photo did to Cookie Monster…