f is for fungible

Not You, Too, Cookie Monster!

Photo: Sesame Street

The rent is due on Sesame Street and Cookie Monster is resorting to fast-money web3 grifts to pay it before Mr. Hooper beats down his door with a baseball bat. Variety reports that Sesame Workshop is launching a collection of Cookie Monster NFTs with 5,555 editions priced at $60 each. They are all the same digital image, but it will be the first in a “series of collectibles” featuring Sesame Street characters, according to the co-founder of the host platform Veve.

The NFT itself is an image of Cookie Monster, vacant-eyed and staring right at you, waiting by an oven, presumably with cookies inside. It looks like it could be a Christmas ornament or a Happy Meal toy, but it isn’t, because it isn’t anything beyond a digital image. This development is a sign that Sesame Street may be going the way of its KAWS-Uniqlo collab: out of touch and behind the times where it was once progressive, catering to bros as much as babies. It all reminds me of the parable of Cookie Monster and the Computer: When Cookie Monster first tried to use a computer in the ’80s, he was baffled and disappointed at the digital image of cookies on a screen that he could not eat. He tried to sniff the screen and eat the computer and patiently sat through a very (very, very, very) basic lesson about writing a computer program, but the digital representation of cookies could never be cookies.

Later, in the year 2000, he encounters the illusion of the digital image again, when Prairie Dawn shows him how to draw a cookie on a Microsoft Paint–style app, and he sighs with frustration that this does not lead to anything of real value, which is to say, the computer did not bake him a cookie. “And you call this state of art?” he says. “You always denying me!”

At the end of this video, Cookie Monster prints out a JPEG of his unique proprietary cookie image, and gobbles it down fresh out of the printer. A thin, pathetic substitute for the real thing, but one he has to convince himself tastes of “chocolate chippies.” A dark harbinger of compromises he will make down the road as an older, jaded monster.

Not You, Too, Cookie Monster!