THE BLOG

No Twinkies Please, We're Dying

11/28/2012 06:20 pm ET | Updated Jan 28, 2013
  • Mark Morford Columnist, SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle; Author, 'The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism', ERYT yoga instructor

Surely you must see. Surely you must understand. Don't you know rockets are falling all over Gaza and Israel? Do you not read that more than 100 people have died already in brutal and insidious fighting that's been going on since God was knee-high to a bogus misconception?

Jesus Christ, quit whining about Twinkies already. Stop anonymous commenting about your little pet-peeve-social-issue-tech-glitch-culture-itch-fashion-bitch. You do not have it so bad. You have never, comparatively speaking, and with the proper sort of lens in place, had it so bad.

Don't you understand the planet is ever at peril? Surely you're aware that we've had 332 straight months that were warmer than average, and even the notoriously heartless World Bank is a nervous wreck about it?

Surely you know diseases and wars are ravaging Africa, that factory pollution in China is causing cancer rates to skyrocket, that it is just slightly pathetic that American teenage girls hate on each other so violently on Facebook, when a 14-year-old girl in Afghanistan just got shot in the face for suggesting that teenage girls are actually human in the first place?

You gotta keep it in check. Should there be a note of shame attached to any CEO bitching about health care reform by threatening to add eight cents to the price of barely edible chain pizzas? Maybe. Should anyone feel a little stupid spending two hours writing raging diatribes about how the iPad Mini does not having a retina display? Probably. Are you upset that someone who has better taste than you dared to suggest that Twilight is unwatchable swill best tolerated while completely smashed drunk? Hush now. First World problems are no problems at all.

Or are they? See, there is a strange relativity clause in American culture whereby we, being a comparatively isolated social and ideological landmass, being wildly solipsistic, being all up in our own s--t every single day because we think we're the noblest and greatest country that ever was, when, historically speaking, we're really more like 137th, think we have serious troubles. Life-threatening troubles. Dead-serious troubles.

And in some ways, we do. Our economy is struggling. People are going without jobs for a long periods of time. Health care is still a mess. Old white guys are running more scared than ever. Obesity is a plague. Young, insipidly kowtowing Republicans still claim they don't know how old the Earth actually is. Black Friday is now Black Thursday Evening, beginning right after Thanksgiving dinner, where you gave thanks for not getting trampled to death by rabid shoppers at Walmart trying to save 20 bucks on a crappy $69 Blu-Ray player that will quickly find its way into a local landfill you have no idea exists but which is right now poisoning the groundwater and giving your kids cancer because we have no concept of what's really going on, and never really did, and that's just the way the PTB at monoliths like Walmart like it. See? Now that's a problem.

Do you ever pause to collect yourself, widen your personal lens, compare your ills to the horrors of the world? Do you ever take a deep breath and realize it's not really so bad, that life is a messy chaotic funhouse of beautiful, nonsensical madness it's just all kinds of freakish joy that we get to enjoy the various polarities, horrors and orgasms of it all for such a short ride in the first place?

Do you express any fundamental awe every morning that you are fed, clothed, warm and you have instant and immediate access to clean water, good coffee, endless love, happy dogs, fine cameras, good porn, free books, decent pens, excellent stemware, stretch denim and reading this very column on wildly advanced technology that's pretty much indistinguishable from magic?

Of course you do. Anyone with a functioning soul knows that reality checks are always helpful things, that in moments of giving thanks and bowing before giant platters of meat, stuffing, wine and excess everything, slapping awake one's tired and spoiled-rotten perspective is essential to understanding just how good you've got it.

So let us be clear: The silly outcry over the potential end of Twinkies? Amusing and ironic. Genuine rage and tears over the possible end of one of humanity's most disgusting foods? Disturbing and sad. These are not real problems. These are only irritating little beach balls of white noise to toss about and squeal. These are tiny intellectual cysts, spiritual rashes on the pinkie toe of your id. You know, just like most problems.

Count your blessings, they say. But that doesn't feel quite right anymore. In the end days of 2012, in the age of a priori cynicism and myopia, we must modify the maxim: Understand that you have blessings in the first place, work toward cultivating more, and lick the hell out of the ones you have like a divine sucker made of sunlight and flowerspit and God. Better?

Oh, and it wouldn't kill you to give a bunch of them away. For free. Blessings are sort of infinite that way.

Not that I want you to feel guilty. This is not about shaming ourselves into silence for caring too much about seemingly mundane, pointless effluvia. Far from it.

It is more about calibration...

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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate. He's also a well-known E-RYT yoga instructor in San Francisco. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...