November 16, 2012 seemed to be a day that would forever live in infamy. Hostess Foods—producer of the Twinkie—announced it was liquidating its assets and going out of business.
But this week there was good news for grieving Twinkie fans everywhere: After an eight-month hiatus, Twinkies once again grace store shelves across the land.
Perhaps this is part of some kind of trend this summer. Superman (the “Man of Steel”) is back…the Lone Ranger is back…and now Twinkies are back as well.
It’s as if there’s some kind of resurrection going on. Cultural icons that once seemed dead are coming back to life, and I’m not referring to zombie movies here.
What are we to make of this improbable revival?
Like “mom and apple pie,” Twinkies are something you could always count on in the American culture. Even though I hadn’t eaten one since I was a kid, I was comforted by the fact that they were available if I ever suffered from an unexpected “Twinkie attack.”
The apparent demise of Twinkies last fall seemed to signal deeper issue: Many other icons of traditional American culture were likewise passing into oblivion. Newsweek magazine had announced it was only going to be available online, no longer in print. Cassette tapes and 8-tracks have long ago been replaced by CDs, and now even my CD collection is at risk of being replaced by new technology. And how much longer will we have land-line phones?
Everything is changing. That seemed the central message of the Twinkie death.
Now, in recent months, it has become increasingly evident that even the definition of the American “family” is rapidly sifting. You’re considered a narrow-minded bigot and homophobe if you still cling to the ideal of a family like “Leave It to Beaver,” “Father Knows Best,” or “The Cosby Show.”
Twinkies are an emblem of simpler days—a time when most Americans were attuned to the same cultural values. It seemed we all watched “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “Perry Mason,” and “American Bandstand.” But what are we left with now? “The Simpsons” and “Jersey Shore”? Is this progress or regress?
The death of the Twinkie was just one more sign that nothing is dependable in secular society. Many of the things we thought we could count on are no longer available. Everything is shaking, as Hebrews 12:25-28 predicted, and sometimes the changes come suddenly and unexpectedly. Instead of Who Moved My Cheese, the new bestseller could be Who Stole My Twinkies?
The good news for believers is that our lives can be firmly grounded on the unchanging truth of God—“a kingdom which cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:25-29). In a rapidly changing world, He never changes (Malachi 3:6).
While Twinkies are hardly an apt symbol of the kingdom of God, there is an encouraging parallel. If Twinkies and other cultural icons can go from death to life, maybe there can be a revival of biblical values and morality as well.
Traditional values seem to be dying, if not already dead. Right and wrong has been replaced by 50 shades of grey. Absolutes have been discarded in favor of relativism and “different strokes for different folks.”
But it’s not time to play a dirge for God’s truth. If Twinkies can be resurrected, anything is possible!