They would survive nuclear holocaust. At least, this is the urban legend that pervaded my childhood – a storehouse of Hostess Twinkies would keep us all alive long enough to find our way to the pocket of humanity left in some bucolic compound unaffected by our self-destruction. The yellow, little cakes represented a permanent indication of our ultimate civility. Even if we couldn’t preserve our great buildings or the teetering amalgam of our races and beliefs, these snacks would long serve as a reminder of our great, if unsustainable, society.
Now we’ve got to rethink our food source during Armageddon. Twinkies, at least as we know them, are going away. In a particularly proud moment for central Indiana, a woman in the Indianapolis Hostess plant’s picket-line represented a union point-of-view on the front page of USA Today when she reportedly responded to warnings from the company that union demands were unsustainable by chanting, “Do it, shut it down.” And, she got her wish. Hostess is no more. Her job is gone with it. Fear not, the extensive unemployment network and other safety-net programs will keep the woman from feeling real pain from her choice – at least for some time. And for the rest of us, it is very likely that we can still get our junk-food fix. Won’t some Chinese company snap up the brand and produce our empty calories without any pesky labor or environmental constraints? If the snack’s recipe could survive nuclear fallout, surely it could make the transpacific trip on a freighter.
Was there another solution? Who knows? But the outcome has been decided. 18,000 Hostess employee taxpayers were converted into tax-consumers. And, our snack dependency is in peril. At least Hostess and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union got to make a point.