Two Americas

by: Art Rosch ((Header art by Greg Groesch.))

It’s US (Progresso Soup) versus THEM (Hostess Twinkies) in an all-out battle for the fate of the nation…

I detest this sense of polarization that is occurring in the United States these days. This propaganda-driven idea that it’s US versus THEM, where there exists two teams, facing off daily for the fate of the nation. In light of this apparent divide, I thought I might take a closer look at the two warring groups, the US and the THEM, and see if I can’t breakdown their differences, and possibly find some kernel of understanding.

First of all, let me state that I am firmly in the US camp. I wouldn’t let a THEM in my house, or even allow my sister to marry one of THEM. With that said, I believe that there are essentially two kinds of people in the United States: Hostess Twinkie People and Progresso Soup People. Stay with me here…

I heard a snippet of a rather generic political speech the other day. Some years ago I heard this identical speech from Sarah Palin, back when she was running on the Republican Presidential ticket. This generic speech, it seems, is making the rounds yet again, many years later. I don’t even want to mention the name of the speaker I heard yesterday giving this repackaged speech. He gets far too much attention as is, but the speaker in question is most definitely a Hostess Twinkie Person. The speech begins with a rather direct question: “Dontcha’ wanna’ get back to the good ol’ America that we grew up with?”     

This is the archetypal Hostess Twinkie question. It’s the soft white piece of cake on the outside query. The question has no authentic meaning, no nutritive value, and is uttered to appeal to the most childish type of person. Then the speaker follows this question up with another question: “Doncha’ wannna’ return to the America that was great, the America that respected values, like honest hard work? Values like believing in God and in your family?” This is the payoff, the creamy center, made from shortening, corn syrup, fructose, sodium glycol and unspecified binding agents. The follow-up question does not require teeth to be eaten, and it does not require a shrewd mind in order for pleasure to be derived from the experience. It just needs to be sweet and gooey.    

In contrast, the Progresso Soup People are looking for an honest, hearty lunch in a can. The packaging of Progresso Soup conveys a return to old-country quality and nutrition. If the brand was called “Progress Soup” the contents of the can would sound cold and industrialized. The addition of the “o” transforms the food into grandma’s comforting, homemade blend of split peas, onions, celery, noodles and chunks of succulent chicken. At one point, this soup of Progresso’s became so successful that it forced Campbell’s Soup to make better-tasting soups in order to compete. Which in turn, produced the hearty, filling Campbell’s soups that NFL players’ moms force them to eat before a big game.        

I’m not saying that a Progresso Person won’t eat a Twinkie or that a Twinkie person won’t eat Progresso Soup. The point I’m making is that there are a lot of people in this country with empty minds. They have no curiosity, and are too lazy to figure things out for themselves. They are content to be fed the intellectual equivalent of cake. Due to their lazy childishness, these people are easy to manipulate. That’s what scares me. Twinkie People are being lied to. They are being told that Progresso Soup People are not real Americans, that they’re trying to undermine the Constitution and destroy the values imbued in this country by the Founding Fathers. They believe these lies because they want to, because it’s easier to believe a comforting lie than to search out a truth that might not go koochy-koochy-koo.

I worry that Twinkie People are slowly being turned into thoughtless mobs who will soon chase Progresso Soup People down the street, force them to hide in attics, and, sooner or later, put them on trains going nowhere. We will look a little odd when they make us wear Progresso Soup labels on our jackets.  However, we will be squirting little doses of Ecstasy into the creamy centers of their Twinkies, so I expect the results to be well worth the struggle.

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