Tom Ridge Announces Television Debut of
"Timmy the Terror-Fighting Turkey"
wattles will "keep American kids vigilant"
August 20, 2004
Satire by David Albrecht
WASHINGTON (AP) - Tom Ridge, Secretary of the Department of Homeland
Security, today announced a new program designed to get even the
youngest Americans involved in the non-stop fight against terrorism.
Timmy the Terror-Fighting Turkey will debut on national television
networks on Labor Day weekend, "bringing his message of eternal
vigilance and family fun to kids across America," according to Secretary
Timmy, a charming and chubby rendering of an American wild turkey,
will make his debut as a public service announcement beginning on
the morning of Saturday September 4th, when cartoons and similarly
family-oriented programs fill the airwaves.
Although designed and drawn as a generally soft-edged and jolly
character, Timmy will still possess one ungainly attribute of an
actual turkey - his outsized dangling wattles.
As he struts his way onto the small screen, he'll rotate to face
his viewers, wave and puff out his fanlike tail. This is where the
wattles take over - they'll quickly change color to correspond with
the ongoing color-coded Terror Alert status.
A text box will appear below his feet for hearing-impaired children,
while Timmy gobbles out status reports.
"Code Green - everything's cool!" for example, or "Code Red - Hey
kids, check with Mom & Dad. If they're already dead, hide under
"This isn't just a talking terror turkey, but a program that we
think will be a valuable tool in letting America's children know
what they need to do in times of crisis," said Secretary Ridge.
"Along with ongoing terror status updates, we're also working on
a series of brief cartoon messages that tell kids how they can actively
fight back against those who hate our freedoms."
Three different versions of the Terror Alert PSA are ready for
broadcast. However, Homeland Security and its affiliated animagicians
aren't leaving it at that. Timmy will also host a continuing series
of cartoons dedicated to teaching children how to keep America safe.
In his first cartoon adventure, Timmy teaches children how to
deal with suspicious-looking taxi owners who may be from the Middle
"When Omar Stops, Call the Cops!" is the title of the first episode,
as Timmy leads a plucky and determined group of grade-school kids
to chase down clues and then call in reinforcements to arrest a
Lebanese cab driver. The payoff? A car trunk filled with plastic
explosives and hashish.
"It's a rollicking adventure in which a diverse group of American
children - Latino, African-American, Asian and white - fight long
odds to beat terror", noted Betsy O'Neill, a digital animator with
Pixar and assistant producer for the series.
"It really drives home the lesson that courage and curiosity are
traits that help everyone. Through the differing backgrounds of
Timmy's human friends, we also wanted to send a clear message that
in America, diversity is good - unless, of course, we're in a situation
where diversity is bad."
In the second episode, "Sunday Secrets," Timmy and his human sidekicks
help uncover an enduring mystery. Puzzled that some people in their
neighborhood don't go to church, Timmy enlists four of his closest
human friends - Connie, Javier, Dakota and Sachiko - to investigate.
The group is surprised to discover a pagan eco-terror tree-spiking
conspiracy funded by Colombian drug lords and the Audubon Society
and led by their own fifth-grade science teacher.
"It's a wonderful message of teamwork and bravery that Timmy and
his friends deliver - in an enjoyable way that kids can relate to,"
noted Secretary of Education Rod Paige, who was also on hand for
the press conference.
"These kids also learn that any behavior that is unusual and out
of the mainstream should be investigated and reported to the authorities,
whether or not there's a good reason to do so."
Paige also praised the episode's theme of investigating and rounding
up "non-Christian deviants" as the kind of positive message American
children need to see and hear.
Imam Reza Bakhtiar of the Philadelphia-area Muslim Citizens' Council
has denounced the PSAs and cartoons as "offensive and discriminatory,"
and similar complaints have been heard from Muslim communities both
inside and outside of the United States.
O'Neill, however, isn't fazed by these comments.
"We're planning on having Timmy end his first episode by puffing
out his tail feathers to form an American flag", she noted, "and
there's certainly nothing anti-Islamic about that. Timmy's a tough,
talking terror-fighting turkey who talks turkey, and we're behind