Thursday, June 14, 2007

They're very American!

I was walking through Target when I spotted a wall of these, enough to cover an entire endcap in the Pantry section:

spirit cakes

Good God, I thought. Is there nothing people won’t slap a flag on? And what kind of people buy these out of all the other cupcakes in boxes? Is there really someone who’s going to look at these and think, “I like Ho-Ho’s and all, but they’re not very, you know, AMERICAN. I better get these instead.”

On the other hand, perhaps they’re not so absurd after all. What could be more American than driving to a big box store in walking distance to buy 3000 calories, utterly devoid of a single vitamin and individually wrapped in non-biodegradable plastic, for a dollar and change?

I don’t know about the other nationalistic shoppers at Target, but that argument was enough to sway me. And there is something more American than buying them:


Eating them.

So many people have written over the years that America is a sham, an empty dream, all flash and no substance, an oddly tasteless snack cake with waxy frosting that looks interesting but leaves your mouth dry. Could it be that Little Debbie, far from being a jingoistic Americentric flag-waving baker is actually a subversive metaphorist? Is she making her own comment on the “Spirit of America” by embodying it in the form of empty calories in a pretty wrapper?

Probably not.

Sometimes a snack cake is just a snack cake.

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