Crackers the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken was a recurring character on TV Nation and The Awful Truth, the television series of activist documentarian Michael Moore. Crackers was portrayed by various men in a mascot-style fursuit with yellow feathers; orange legs and beak; purple cape, gloves, and wraparound eyemask; and a large red badge on his chest. Crackers fought corporate crime.

Crackers appeared in several segments of the two shows, and they were all crap. In truth, Crackers was a bit of a cheat. Moore's documentary schtick relied on calling attention to various betes noires by staging telegenic, comedic stunts. His highest-profile works were theatrically released films focused on a single subject, with running times of 2 hours or less, produced over the course of months or years. A single season of his television series, in contrast, could include more than five hours of content, with upwards of 40 different segments. Crackers segments (which, best I can tell, numbered only six in total) basically allowed Moore to narrate his complaints about some corporate practice while the camera followed a man in a chicken suit.

I'm convinced that Crackers' lineage can be traced to Howie Makem, the Quality Cat, an internal General Motors mascot of the 1980s. Part of a GM drive to focus on "quality" in manufacturing in the face of competition from Japanese imports, Howie would make occasional appearances on the factory floor. The main record of Howie's existence comes from the work of Ben Hamper, an assembly line worker and columnist for the Moore-run alt-weekly The Flint Voice (later The Michigan Voice). When Hamper, who later collected and expanded on his columns in the genuinely worthwhile memoir Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line, mentioned Howie's arrival and the line workers' bemused reaction, Moore became fixated on the figure's absurdity and regularly pumped Hamper for more Howie-related content. The next decade, in need of half-assed publicity campaigns of his own, Moore seems to have called the "pointless mascot" idea back into service. And thus, Crackers.

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