When Hostess went out of business, I immediately faced the prospect of not eating a Ho-Ho ever again. I am familiar with Swiss Cake Rolls; it’s possible I ate an entire box of them this weekend, but they are not Ho-Hos. It’s not even that I like a Ho-Ho so much. It has that flavor and that texture, though, both of which lie between chocolate and wax. A Ho-Ho is not good so much as it is particular, and the idea of never having another one makes me appreciate the alcoholic’s principle of One Day at a Time. In short, I am addicted, like the American food executives in Michael Moss’s million-page exposé want me to be.
I loved Clerks and Mallrats when I was in high school, which makes thinking about Kevin Smith now particularly uncomfortable, like thinking about a bad ex-girlfriend. “How did I once love this person?” one asks, and the answer casts unsettling aspersions on the very notion of a self. It’s possible I’m overthinking this. My point is that Kevin Smith once seemed awesome and is now—for that reason and also because he made this and, Jesus, this—embarrassing. He is proof that anyone with enough gumption and perseverance can rise from obscurity to become a Hollywood hack, and that the things we love occasionally turn out to be, in retrospect, pretty awful—not that they remain wholly without merit. Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but he’s really fat now.
Last Thursday, while the rest of us were eating stuffing and probably violating the Constitution, Sarah Palin was participating in a 5k Turkey Trot in Kennewick, Washington. As is often the case with Palin, though, the word “participating” does not mean what you want it to mean. It turns out that the former Alaska governor dropped out of the race midway through, ostensibly to avoid the crowd of onlookers waiting for her at the finish line. See, she just wanted to run in the race and meet some Real Americans, not turn the Red Cross charity event into some sort of Going Rogue publicity spectacle. That’s why she announced her participation only two days before on her Twitter feed, and why her team was called the Rogue Runners. And shame on you for finding some cruel poetry in Palin’s decision to quit a charity race she had time to enter because she quit the governorship of Alaska. You try operating the complex assemblage of touch-screens and levers required to synchronize the Palin II‘s legs for 3.1 miles.
Assuming that you get all your news directly from press releases, you’re probably already familiar with this story of the truth shining forth despite the best efforts of the sugar-industrial complex to cover it up. With the dead bodies of fat kids. “Today,” it reads, “the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) launched a new million dollar ad campaign designed to put an end to the blatant inaccuracies surrounding the much-maligned ingredient: high fructose corn syrup.” Ah, yes, the Center for Consumer Freedom—so named because “People’s Center for Consumer Freedom,” “Glorious Center for Freedom and Truth” and “Southern Poverty Law Center” were already taken. Apparently so was “Corn Refiners Association,” because that’s who sponsored the press release. They’ve also created the website Sweetscam.com, which sheds some long-overdue light on the conspiracy to make people think that eating a bunch of high-fructose corn syrup will make you fat, when in fact “Some research demonstrates that lean people actually eat more sugar (and less fat) than obese people.” That’s one of the many myths debunked on Sweetscam.com’s Myths and Facts page, along with “sugary sweeteners are bad for your teeth” (in fact, “almost any food left on your teeth for too long will lead to tooth decay over time”) and “high-fructose corn syrup is actually high in fructose.” See, that’s actually sort of a private joke among high-fructose corn syrup’s friends, like the way you call an enormous black man “Tiny.”
Due to recent financial troubles, the New York Times has been forced to sell their building in Times Square and relocate news operations to an office park on the moon. But don’t worry—they’ll keep observing us earthlings through high powered telescopes, reporting on each trend that sweeps through our surprisingly complex society. “Secrete not mucus from your eyes and nose, indicating sadness or physical discomfort,” a Times spokesman said from his hydro-suit. “Each human statistical emergence will be chronicled with the depth and up-to-the-minute [whirring sound] you have come to expect from America’s most respected newspaper.”
Making good on that promise is this piece declaring that as of this summer, it’s “hip”—a term meaning “following the latest fashion, especially in music and clothes”—to have a pot belly. Guy Trebay, whom you should Google search now before the results are swamped with re-posts of his Pulitzer acceptance speech, calls it the Ralph Kramden. The Kramden is “too pronounced to be blamed on the slouchy cut of a T-shirt, too modest in size to be termed a proper beer gut, developed too young to come under the heading of a paunch.” Basically, he’s narrowed it down to this one guy he took home from Union Pool. He should have called it the Rod Masters (Which I Looked Him Up On Facebook and That’s Totally a Fake Name.)