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Prominent Republicans have an apocalyptic meltdown over “woke” rebranding of Mr. Potato Head

Prominent Republicans have an apocalyptic meltdown over “woke” rebranding of Mr. Potato Head

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Hasbro announced today it will be renaming its famous “Mr. Potato Head” toy to the gender-neutral “Potato Head” and will roll out the change on shelves across the country later this year. The gender-neutral version will allow children to mix and match features and create vegetable root characters free of preset gender norms.

The makeover is an attempt to keep the product relevant and in step with modern sensibilities in a world where the once-ubiquitous toy has to compete for attention against everything from Netflix to virtual reality video games. Hasbro is making an effort to be more inclusive, yes, but they’re also out to make a buck and in this case, the two objectives synergize well. It’s a smart and commendable shift.

In a sane world, the announcement would be noticed by few and upsetting to none. Alas, we no longer live in a sane world. We live in a world where Republicans lose their minds at even the faintest whiff of anything that suggests we might be moving towards a more inclusive society. So, in predictably exhausting fashion the right-wingers are scuttling out of the digital woodwork to screech that the rebranding of Mr. Potato Head is the death knell for Western Civilization.

On some level, you have to suspect that Hasbro made this change because they knew the overwhelming outcry from right-wingers would garner them a ton of free publicity. If so, they were right.

The reason prominent conservatives are upset (or more likely pretending to be upset) is that they are always actively looking for something to get upset about. After four years of Donald Trump, they can no longer claim with a straight face to care about fiscal responsibility, or national security, or family values, or any of the principles they once professed. They’ve been exposed as a party that stands for nothing beyond reactionary grievances and which exists for no other reason than to engage in utterly stupid culture war dustups. No, they won’t help you get healthcare or secure a livable wage but they will try to distract you into getting mad about a children’s toy.

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Mark Dice, a right-wing commentator and conspiracy theorist who on his best days sometimes manages to crack the two-digit IQ threshold, suggested that Hasbro—one of those private companies Republicans claim to love—executing its powers in the free market to change one of its product is a reason for red states to secede from the Union.

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Ben Shapiro, the Republican Party’s diminutive golden boy, unleashed a string of pathetic tweets about Potato Head which were ostensibly jokes but which were clearly engineered to convince conservatives that this is an issue worth getting fired up about. To him, the very idea of making children more comfortable with their gender identities is laughable.

Matt Walsh, a cryptofascist colleague of Shapiro, also got in on the detestable fun.

Stephen L. Miller, one of Twitter’s most reliably bad faith blowhards, made a gross transphobic joke.

These people are truly unwell.

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