Between House debate on the Equality Act and the Senate confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine, Republican lawmakers have spent much of this week spewing wild falsehoods and fearsome rhetoric regarding transgender and nonbinary people.
The absurd notion that trans people are a new phenomenon or product of political correctness run amok is a common sentiment among Republican circles.
That discourse only worsened on Thursday when news outlets initially reported that the beloved Mr. Potato Head toy would be dropping the "Mr." from his name.
Conservatives across the Twittersphere erupted.
@AP It’s time for Republican states to secede.— Mark Dice (@Mark Dice) 1614274413.0
Mr. Potato Head has now been renamed to be gender inclusive. He’s now just going to be called Potato Head. When w… https://t.co/Lz49H7WnJZ— Lauren Boebert (@Lauren Boebert) 1614281149.0
The political correctness mafia is at it again. https://t.co/YrNKgKZv2P— Brigitte Gabriel (@Brigitte Gabriel) 1614301898.0
Potato Head manufacturer Hasbro Inc. clarified the development on Twitter, noting that the character's name wasn't changing, but the name of the overall brand.
Hold that Tot – your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn’t going anywhere! While it was announced today that the POTATO… https://t.co/bZqGo9PGVx— Hasbro (@Hasbro) 1614285437.0
The conservative hysteria was all for nothing, but it did generate a wealth of mockery online.
One viral tweet came from legendary comedian Jon Stewart, who's generated over a million followers since joining Twitter last month.
First they came for Mister Potato Head...and I said nothing...because it didn’t seem like something to get that upset about.— Jon Stewart (@Jon Stewart) 1614290578.0
For those unfamiliar, Stewart was alluding to a famous quote from German pastor Martin Niemöller describing the Nazis' horrific rise to power:
"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
Stewart, a descendent of Jewish immigrants, was highlighting the ridiculous outcry over the name of Mr. Potato Head.
People on Twitter related to the quip.
Same https://t.co/O9BGnlAgX4— geeohhkay (@geeohhkay) 1614296445.0
I really wish my life was so easy that only Mr. Potato Head would upset me. https://t.co/aHaaqyr7rk— Barbara Bessette (@Barbara Bessette) 1614309136.0
Nailed it. https://t.co/apxvJjTneG— Technically Brilliant (@Technically Brilliant) 1614290713.0
The world needs more of Jon. https://t.co/qt2XVBvzWh— Kelly Holloway (@Kelly Holloway) 1614291923.0
Stewart wasn't the only one to mock the outcry.
A toy company changed the gender of a potato, so fascism really was my only option. https://t.co/lxB89VFb81— Séamas It Ever Was (@Séamas It Ever Was) 1614326478.0
can't BELIEVE i have to refer to this as a 'potato' and not SIR. woke culture gone mad https://t.co/EMUY2xHEBw— Ellen C Scott (@Ellen C Scott) 1614336488.0
(screaming from the bottom of the stairs) YOU LISTEN TO ME, MISSY -- IN THIS HOUSE, OUR PLASTIC POTATO DOLLS HAVE *GENDERS*— Kevin M. Kruse (@Kevin M. Kruse) 1614286137.0
Cis people: Trans people make such a big deal about gender, it's just biology Also cis people: THEY RE-BRANDED MR… https://t.co/Js9VFMbfRX— Katy Montgomerie 🦗 (@Katy Montgomerie 🦗) 1614333223.0
Hasbro is presumably enjoying the boost in publicity.