At least for me, one of the more remarkable revelations on television lately has been that the Coppertone baby is now wearing two bathing suits.
Yeah. It's true. I haven't looked at or thought about Coppertone's sunbaked tyke in years, but I happened to glance at a commercial last night and realized that the dog is now pulling down her bathing suit to reveal... another bathing suit.
Putting aside for the moment the oddity of a child wearing two bathing suits, hasn't the point been lost? Wasn't it to show the tan line on the baby? Now it's just... what?
The top picture is the original Coppertone baby. Beneath it is the logo of the last few years. I can't even find a large enough picture of the new one, the triumph of puritanism over logic. It's not that I'm a frustrated baby-ass fan, I'm just a fan of ads that make sense.
Can it really be that people who read the Saturday Evening Post, with covers by Norman Rockwell, were less easily offended than we are today? That Richie Cunningham and the other Eisenhower-era youth were more able to withstand Coppertone's "smut" than today's kids?
What has happened to us? It's a baby! A cartoon baby, ferchrissake. And it's part of the American iconography.
If you want to modernize it, by the way, put a sun hat on the poor kid.