This column was so much fun, I had trouble stopping—the first draft was twice as long as could fit into the paper. And still two essential aspects were left out: I had hoped to consider candy corn as an iconic design, an instantly recognizable image. And I wanted to point out that the hidden subtext of all the hate about candy corn online illustrates the frictionless, consequence-free toxicity of the internet. Next time.
At least candy at Valentine’s Day makes sense. Love is sweet; you woo the object of your affection with a big heart-shaped box of chocolate.
But what’s with Halloween? The ocean of candy ladled out Thursday to an army of children. Bribes? An echo of when Tom and Huck would soap your windows if you didn’t satisfy them after they rang your doorbell? Rewards? You did such a good job putting on that Spiderman mask that I’m giving you a Snickers?
Controversies linger because they have depth, layers beneath the surface that sustain them over the years. For instance, I believe the whole you’re-not-a-Chicagoan-if-you-put-ketchup-on-your-hot-dog nonsense is not really about the mix of condiments atop a frank, but an unconscious parody of the get-off-my-block bigotry that Chicagoans used to casually exhibit. Can’t do that anymore but there are always hot dogs.
Ditto for candy corn, the white, orange and yellow triangular treats that proliferate in October.
For years the Internet has echoed with derision of candy corn. And not mild criticism. Full-throated condemnation.
BuzzFeed’s 2013 list of “19 Things That Taste Better Than Candy Corn,” included chalk, urinal cakes and earwax.
“Deodorant-flavored earwax nuggets,” Deadspin raged in 2014. “Wee little warhead-shaped misery pellets.”
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