The other day I got a package in the mail, which is always an exciting event, even during times when I’m not stuck at home. This package came with a philosophical question emblazoned on the side.
It wasn’t just theoretical, either. Inside there were three packages of... Twizzlers without twists, also known as Izzlers—Twizzlers minus the twist, “untwisted for a limited time only.” This is just another sign of the strangeness of the times we are living through.
I opened the packages. I removed a few ropes of candy. I ate them. They tasted pretty much the same as they always had. If you like Twizzlers, you will also like Izzlers.
So much time at home, though, has made me philosophical. Are Twizzlers still Twizzlers without the twist? I’m not a philosopher, at least in the sense that I have never developed an organized system of thought. So I turned to some systems of the past in order to answer the question (and to my friend Kate Schmidt, a former professor of philosophy, to make sure I understood those systems correctly):
It is futile to try to find any meaning in the universe, or in candy.
All Twizzlers are twisted
Izzlers are not twisted
Therefore Izzlers are not Twizzlers.
The word “Twizzler” is dependent on the twist. Without the twist, a Twizzler is not really a Twizzler.
Does the candy bring pleasure? Is the pleasure sufficient in and of itself? If so, then does it really matter what it’s called?
The candy exists, independent of any labels or other meanings we ascribe to it.
More candy! More! More! And when we finish this box, let’s move on to the Red Vines and the black licorice and then the chocolate, because if it brings us pleasure, then there is never enough in this world!
Thesis: Twizzlers are twisted.
Antithesis: Izzlers are untwisted.
Synthesis: Zlers have sections of both twists and untwists.
Is there not room in the world for Twizzlers with and without twists? After all, like everything else in the world save minds, they are but ideas.
How does the means of production of the Izzler differ from that of the Twizzler? If the proletariat workers are still being exploited, who the hell cares if there’s a twist or not?
Whether there is a twist or no twist, it doesn’t matter, because life is essentially meaningless anyway. Even candy.
Man is a heroic being, and the only thing that matters is his own happiness, whether that comes with a twist or not.
A Twizzler in its twisted form is the most perfect version of the Twizzler that exists in this world, and an Izzler is merely a perversion.
A Twizzler without twists tastes like Twizzler. It smells like a Twizzler. It is made of the same plastic-like material as a Twizzler. HOWEVER: It is more flexible than a Twizzler. It works better as a straw than a Twizzler. And the surface is smoother than a Twizzler since there are no twists. THEREFORE: A Twizzler without twists is not a Twizzler.
The idea of a stable and objective reality is an illusion. A Twizzler can be whatever we want it to be in this particular moment.
There is no practical purpose in making Twizzlers without twists, except as a marketing scheme, like when IHOP became IHOB.
We must reject the notion that the Twizzler needs to be twisted because the historical and cultural foundation upon which it is built is contested. For instance, the original press release I received claimed that Twizzlers had been twisted for 175 years. But then someone did some more research and found the original patent filed in 1899 by Charles Smylie, the candy’s inventor, that showed that the first Twizzlers had perpendicular ridges and that the twist only dates back to 1927.
There’s no authenticity of experience in a mass-produced candy anyway, nor anything sublime, so who cares?
By claiming that a Twizzler without a twist is “other,” we are rejecting it, just as traditional Christianity uses Satan as a way to reject people and things it dislikes.
The only thing one knows for sure is that one’s own mind is real. (Not anyone else’s mind. Just yours.) How do we know that Twizzlers—twisted or not-twisted—are even real and not a product of our imaginations?
Just accept the damned Twizzler as it is presented to you.
Twizzlers, with or without the twist, are all one just like everything else in the universe.
Does a Twizzler without a twist provide the same benefits and utility as a Twizzler with a twist? That is, is it still sweet? Does it still provide a reassuring jolt of sugar and fake strawberry flavor? Then it’s a Twizzler.