The troubled run-up to the Beijing Games hasn't spared the cartoon mascots, the Wall Street Journal reports. China's critics have already created mock characters for the five—like "GenGen Genocide"—and superstitious Chinese fear a link between the "witch dolls" and the disasters the country has suffered this year. The already hyper-commercialized "Fuwa," or good-luck dolls, are a fish, panda, Tibetan antelope, swallow and the Olympic flame.
The Fuwa join a long line of lampooned Olympic mascots. "Whatzit," the blob-shaped blue mascot of the 1996 Atlanta Games, was derided for looking like either a blue slug or a sperm in sneakers, and disappeared by the closing ceremony. Sydney's 2000 kookaburra, anteater and platypus mascots ended up being overshadowed by "Fatso, the Fat-Arsed Wombat," created to protest the games' rampant commercialism. (Read more China stories.)