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Are Twizzlers still Twizzlers without the twists? A philosophical inquiry

Symposium, Akseli Gallen-Kalella, 1894
Symposium, Akseli Gallen-Kalella, 1894
Image: DEA / L. DOUGLAS (Getty Images)

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.

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Illustration for article titled Are Twizzlers still Twizzlers without the twists? A philosophical inquiry
Photo: Aimee Levitt

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.

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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):

Illustration for article titled Are Twizzlers still Twizzlers without the twists? A philosophical inquiry
Photo: Aimee Levitt

Absurdism

It is futile to try to find any meaning in the universe, or in candy.

Aristotelianism

All Twizzlers are twisted

Izzlers are not twisted

Therefore Izzlers are not Twizzlers.

Deconstructionism

The word “Twizzler” is dependent on the twist. Without the twist, a Twizzler is not really a Twizzler.

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Epicureanism

Does the candy bring pleasure? Is the pleasure sufficient in and of itself? If so, then does it really matter what it’s called?

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Existentialism

The candy exists, independent of any labels or other meanings we ascribe to it.

Hedonism

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!

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Hegelianism

Thesis: Twizzlers are twisted.

Antithesis: Izzlers are untwisted.

Synthesis: Zlers have sections of both twists and untwists.

Idealism

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.

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Marxism

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?

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Nihilism

Whether there is a twist or no twist, it doesn’t matter, because life is essentially meaningless anyway. Even candy.

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Objectivism

Man is a heroic being, and the only thing that matters is his own happiness, whether that comes with a twist or not.

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Platonism

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.

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Positivism

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.

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Postmodernism

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.

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Pragmatism

There is no practical purpose in making Twizzlers without twists, except as a marketing scheme, like when IHOP became IHOB.

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Illustration for article titled Are Twizzlers still Twizzlers without the twists? A philosophical inquiry
Photo: Aimee Levitt

Post-structuralism

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.

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Romanticism

There’s no authenticity of experience in a mass-produced candy anyway, nor anything sublime, so who cares?

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Satanism

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.

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Solipsism

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?

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Stoicism

Just accept the damned Twizzler as it is presented to you.

Taoism

Twizzlers, with or without the twist, are all one just like everything else in the universe.

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Utilitarianism

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.

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Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

This is just wonderful. Thank you for this article, made me laugh. Also, where can I get some of the not twisted Twizzlers?