Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Oreo magnification hypothesis

Oh, a kid'll eat the middle of an Oreo first. Or will he, if the flavor is waffles and syrup?

Nothing appears sacred anymore. When the most popular cookie in the world feels that it has to try unusual things in order to appeal to the market, as it has recently with waffles and syrup (as well as myriad other flavors), it is easy to wonder just what's going on with the world. Sure, there's no evil in trying new tastes per se, and if that's what folks want, well, so be it. After all, waffles and syrup do seem popular with breakfast.

But why do we see all this, I don't know, innovation seems an overwrought term to use. There are lots of tasty treats out there and sugary ones are prominent. Yet waffles and syrup in cookies? Especially beloved ones such as good old Oreos? The whole idea simply strikes me as bizarre.

One easy explanation is that the makers of the famous treat, Nabisco, are merely responding to market forces. There's nothing wrong with that, again adding the caveat per se. The market tends to make things better indeed by offering choices and by making improvements on various levels and in various ways which are sometimes heretofore unimaginable. Having said that, I cannot ignore the implications of changing things simply to change them. If the markets are doing nothing more than reflecting upon that, what does that say about us?

What are we looking for, that we can't be satisfied with good old Oreo cookies? Why ought things change merely to change, merely to be different? To display our individuality? Surely when we have to do things differently solely to display our independence we are in fact the most dependent of creatures. If we must have waffles and syrup Oreos in order to be special then we aren't so special. We're merely being contrary. Our personalities and outlooks, if dependent on change (which is after all merely doing things differently) are actually rather shallow.

Yes, yes, yes, I realize the hyperbole in what I've just asserted. I know, I've already said, that there's nothing wrong with experimenting with new cookie flavors let alone habits of fashion per se (yes, I must again add that dreaded as such). I even readily concede that the flavor of an Oreo isn't substantial in any useful philosophic sense. And I certainly do not want to be the reactionary conservative who opposes simply to oppose, who sees every change as dangerous if not sinful. Those reactionaries are as wrong in their attitudes as the revolutionaries who want to alter everything. I simply want people to understand that what was once accepted can continue to be accepted without surrendering any true individuality on our parts. I want also for folks to accept the converse of eternal change: that if you must change what are mere habits, simple personal proclivities, simply to be different, you aren't particularly individual after all.

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