rex the homeland security lion and yucca mountain johnny

As long as we’re talking action figures and propaganda, Tom Shoop at FedBlog has written a few posts (here, here, and here) about federal agency mascots.

Above: BAC, Power Panther, Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and Thermy at the Macy’s parade, from FedBlog. Thermy apparently needs the rangers to protect him from the other guys.

Shoop lists at least 23 mascots in total, from the old school Johnny Horizon to the most recent, apparently still TBD “transparency and accountability” mascot– decided by contest, of course. CNNMoney reported in 2009 that $51,500 of stimulus funding was spent by the Army Corps on costumes for Bobber the Water Safety Dog, Coastie the Water Safety Education Seaboat and Seamoor the Sea Serpent Robot.

Faceless government bureaucracy no more! Although these do seem a little behind the times when compared to the barely anthropomorphic mascots for the Olympics these days– Thermy and the USPS’s Zip are clearly going that direction. At least Johnny Horizon had a rugged maturity about him, and instead of teaching kids safe temperatures for cooked chicken, he had them discovering how polluted their landscape was. Take that Playmobil.

Which is your favorite? Should agencies go the sports team route? What animal best represents “transparency and accountability”? And hasn’t anyone learned by now that if you crowdsource a naming contest, you’re just inviting Stephen Colbert’s private mercenary army to vote bomb it?

Written by carolinewlee

August 2, 2010 at 4:53 am

2 Responses

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  1. What animal best represents “transparency and accountability”?

    I nominate a ferret, based on the expression “ferret out” secrets (which, in turn, is based IIRC on the use of ferrets to hunt animals hiding underground).

    Although ferrets do look a bit like weasels, which would give quite the wrong impression.



    August 2, 2010 at 6:15 pm

  2. Genius. Perfect for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency (RAT) Board. I was leaning more towards the jellyfish for transparency, but they’re not so accountable, seeing as they still sting people when dead.



    August 2, 2010 at 11:14 pm

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