“Popeye the Sailor Man”

19 Oct

The power of the correlation between thoughts and tangible items such as food allows food to become something greater than simply a meal for sustenance. Momotaro heavily emphasizes the power of the millet dumplings. Whether it is the power of coercion or strength, this symbolism holds importance. Even in the anime adaptation of the story the millet dumplings hold a certain level of prominence. This same concept of propaganda in the symbolism of food shows up in the cartoon and comic “Popeye”.

Growing up I loved watching Popeye fight for Olive. I thoroughly loved his crazy antics and almost unintelligible garbled speech. Also I soon correlated spinach with strength because whenever Popeye would eat spinach he instantly became unstoppable. Whether or not it was done intentionally the product placement promotes eating spinach: directly relating its consumption to fantastic feats of strength. It even mentions in Katie Hewitt’s article “How to Win Kid v. Veggies battle” from The Globe and Mail how kids increased vegetable consumption after watching “Popeye” cartoons.

Under these circumstances Spinach is being turned into a symbol of strength. Rather than a mere vegetable it creates the notion that eating it will make you stronger. Spinach is both mythical in its properties of granting you strength. It also serves as propaganda to increase spinach sales. Whether or not this was its original intention, it still has the effect of getting kids, the cartoon’s primary demographic, to eat spinach. Looking back I see how Popeye’s example has influenced my feeling on spinach.

“How To Win the Kid v. Veggies Battle”

Hewitt, Katie. “How to Win the Kid v. Veggies Battle.” The Globe and Mail. 16 Aug. 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2010. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/family-and-relationships/back-to-school/how-to-win-the-kids-v-veggies-battle/article1674200/>.

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