First-World Cookie Problems
Happy Gay Pride Month Everyone!!
When I was a child I took my silver spoon and scooped the wet white contents from the center of Oreo sandwich cookies. Assembling three or four together I would scrape their sweetness into my palm and roll the pile between my black-flecked fingers to make a sphere about the diameter of a golf ball. Then, with diabetic glee I would pop that sugary load into my mouth and relish the feel of calories squishing between my teeth as the saccharine goo flooded my gums and was absorbed into an immediate sugar high. Pupils dilating, heart rate speeding, cold sweat beginning—I was 10 years old and completely stoned.
Fast forward to 2012, when I understood things like taxes, sorting laundry, real drugs, and what it’s like to have hair on your ass. A lot of things have changed, but still when I got an Oreo in my hands I can’t contain myself from dissecting it. For the sake of dignity I settle on just twisting off the top and sliding the fatter half across my tongue, watching the sugar slowly melt away. Unless I was truly in some kind of self-pitying funk, then I would go back to that ball thing.
But one final fast forward more, and we get to yesterday: the day when my Oreo joy was shattered.
No matter where I went on the internet, I couldn’t avoid this photo. It lurked rainbow bright at the corner of my screen and in articles on every blog and news outlet I visited. “Oreo supports gays. Gay-haters now hate Oreo.”
Repeat: What was just hours before a cookie to a graphic designer, was now a “political thing”. And worse: a story that I was going to have to hear about for God knows how long.
To be clear I have somewhere between “little” and “no” feelings about homosexual snacks. Especially Oreos. Nobody should have been surprised by the ad; this is, after all, the cookie that has been subverting conservative culture since 1912, when it first sandwiched a creamy white center between two excitingly firm black halves. (Now that’s what I call “double stuffed”.)
No, I guess what got me out of my wingback chair and to the window puffing my pipe aggressively, is all the outrage. Yes, I guess I’m upset with the people who claim they’ll never eat another sinful Oreo again, but I expected it from them. Unfortunately we have to accept that there is always going to be some flat-earther out there denying the holocaust and spreading vitriol as fast as they can melt the ice caps. But…do we really have to all play along with this? Or better yet: should we? Allow me to illustrate.
At the elite Private University I attended (I’d tell you the name, but it costs $2,000 just to hear it), there was a march one weekend by some rather surly Nazis. Sorry… that’s redundant. By some Nazis. The administration insisted we were justifying their existence by gathering to watch them shout racial slurs into tiny megaphones, but nevertheless we crowded the streets with the kind of determined groupthink slack-jawed stupidity that only college students can muster. Sure enough, that group of 6 or so Nazis walked the block twice and then blithely billed the turnout of gawkers as a huge show of support for the cause.
That is the story of how I accidentally supported the Nazi party.
Fast forward to another example, when over the course of months I watched person after person argue with the same crazy religious guy on a street corner. You know, the one screaming about how our flagrant masturbation was really building to an eternal climax of damnation? That guy. Well until Mr. “I’m a-gonna set it right” came along, nobody was really paying much attention to him: he was clearly crazy. But when the taunters surfaced, they actually ended up doing him a favor by drawing WAY more attention to the guy. By paying attention, they gave the whole situation credibility. I think they actually energized him to “preach” harder.
That’s the story of how I realized that you can’t argue with these people.
Because it turns out, when people are crazy…it means they’re fucking crazy. And by giving them your time and energy all you end up doing is legitimizing them, even if what you meant to do was mock them.
Before you take me out back and hang me, yes, I understand that there is a time and a place to stand up. Like when the country club tries to wash and reuse your towels rather than burn them after each use. What are we, animals? But in my book, this Oreo thing isn’t that. It’s another case of a much bigger story being made of a few hateful assholes then ever should have been. As much as you might want the social credit for being a “progressive thinker” by posting the link on your Facebook and bashing some half-wit from the sticks who hates “the gays”, this whole thing really doesn’t matter. Really. Because for a lot of gay people, having their cookies boycotted might actually be a windfall compared to regular life, where they get hateful things said to their faces. Or they can’t go certain places because they’re not welcome. Or they go to schools where they’re teased mercilessly or treated like second-class citizens in general, and in some places they’ll even face the prospect of being killed. I’d say that only happens in other countries, but it doesn’t.
Fortunately, those situations things aren’t always the case—especially in our country. Once in a while, if the world is going just the right way for you, you could be gay in 2012 in a city where you don’t have to fear for your life and someone you will never see happens to take 15 seconds to write a mean message about you on the Oreo Facebook wall. And on the occasion that this happens, in light of how much real tragedy is already going on around the world and even in parts of our own country, the best thing we can all do is really just not give a fuck.