Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Post-modern Halloween candy

W. from the gallery office just came across the hall with a plastic pumpkin full of Halloween candy. I depend on the gallery office for the occasional sugar rush as they are usually well supplied with unhealthy treats, so this was kind of par for the course. (I try to return the favor whenever I travel, coming back with something yummy.) I discovered that among these mini candy bars were Crunch bars, which I usually like; but these were filled with caramel, which I found very off-putting. I want my Crunch bars to be crunchy, my peanut butter cups to be full of peanut butter, my Snickers to contain peanuts... you get the idea.

W. agreed and went on a long and hilarious riff on the problems of post-modern Halloween candy. The basic issue seems to be one of category creep, due to marketers in the candy companies who worry that they will lose their jobs if they don't keep redefining the product. How is it new and improved (to choose a random example) to put caramel in a 3 Musketeers bar? Isn't that just a Milky Way? The Wikipedia entry on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups lists twelve different varieties that exist or have existed. This is all kinds of wrong. What's next? Rolos filled with something other than caramel? Different flavors of Mounds?

I am a member of the generation of children whose cosmic worldview was rocked in 1982 when the movie E.T. introduced Reese's Pieces to the world. You can put peanut butter inside an M&M shell? So I'm no stranger to the cognitive value of radical change. But I'm here to advocate against the post-modern category-breaking that leads to things like caramel inside a Crunch bar. In the wake of postmodernism, we rediscover the value of received forms and traditional categories. So this is my stump speech in support of traditional values when it comes to Halloween candy. Respect the sacred relationship between chocolate and peanut butter!

That said, I still hate Dum Dum Pops.

3 comments:

atlanticmo said...

1. If it weren't for the post modern candy bar movement there would be no Milky Way Dark, which would be a tragedy.

2. I tried to buy Dum Dums for our house, since you can't eat a whole bowl of the leftovers in one sitting (unlike mini candy bars). They were all out. So I got Tootsie Pops instead.

3. You will be glad to hear that Reeses PB Cups are still the most coveted treat by kids and parents.

SEB said...

I have to concede the Milky Way Dark point. My life has been significantly improved by the existence of dark chocolate M&Ms.

The other thing I want to know is, whatever happened to Squirrel Nut Zippers?

atlanticmo said...

More good news, Necco bought Squirrel nut zippers so they are safe and right here in Mass.

http://www.necco.com/OurBrands/AdditionalBrands.asp