The Twinkie: an indestructible icon of American capitalism
Behold, the magic of commodification! We never even liked the disgusting confection, but now we're gooey about the brand, not the out-of-work bakers!
Saturday 17 November 2012
... Friday, Hostess, the seminal American bakery, announced it was declaring a final bankruptcy. It ceased production immediately, and as its halls went silent across the nation, you could hear Americans realizing this was the end of the Hostess Fruit Pie, which has nothing resembling fruit in it, and is only a pie if you have a drunken and scandalous definition of "pie".
So, too, would pass the Devil Dogs, the Ding Dongs, the Funny Bones, and most mysteriously something called "Chocodiles", which I could Google to determine what it actually is, but I am happiest believing is a chocolate-cakey crocodile filled with a slightly sweet frosting made from Elmer's glue, soap, and human tears ...
All story is struggle. The story this week that won was nostalgia and desperation: the idea we would be deprived of a terrible food we all recognize, despite no one actually liking it. The story that lost was the story of the thousands of workers at the plants who baked (or foamed, it's not clear) that terrible food. The Wall Street firms reorganizing Hostess for profitability had no problem throwing the workers out, preferring to cut and run and sell off the brand.
They reasoned that this was what was valuable – the brand itself. The name. The dream associations that beat in our collective market consciousness … and the media served as proof positive that this was the right call. We never cared about the labor. Neither did Hostess' last six presidents, who mismanaged the firm into the ground. Neither did the hedge funds and equity firms that cut it into pieces and threw away the people ...