- Leaves changing color (assuming you live in an area where deciduous trees are common);
- The start of the new school year;
- Spirit Halloween Stores hermit crabbing their way into your local abandoned retail locations;
- Pumpkin spice-flavored products everywhere, heralded by the arrival of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and spiraling ever outward.
Pumpkin spice, though... that one's divisive. Some folks have weirdly strong feelings about it, and look upon the Pumpkin Spice Phenomenon with the sort of fervor or ire usually reserved for discussions about religion or politics. Pumpkin spice inspires deep, abiding, vocal love and hate in equal measure.
(It is possible, of course, that you don't fall into either category and are blasé on the whole issue. If so, you're probably a normal enough human being with actual concerns in life. Good for you, buddy.)
In the interest of full disclosure, I fall on the cusp of the former group. I can't claim to enjoy everything they add the chemically simulated pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavoring to each year, but I can promise you that I'm willing to try pretty much all of it at least once. I figure that anything that tries to get the world to taste more like a pie - nature's most perfect food - is worth giving the benefit of the doubt. Pumpkin beer, coffee, and cider are all amazing; pretty much any baked good can be pumpkined up; it even works well in candy (they've done M&Ms in regular pumpkin spice and pumpkin spice latte, and both were good). Some folks may take it too far, but they're mostly harmless.
The haters, though... I don't get the haters. I don't mean the people who simply dislike the flavor of pumpkin; that's an acquired taste, everyone's palate is different, we all have our things, blah blah blah. I mean the ones to whom the very idea of pumpkin spice anything is an affront to their very way of life. The ones who complain loudly to anyone who listen, the ones who make and post all the insulting memes, the ones who reduce all lovers of pumpkin spice anything to the stereotype of twenty-something women in scarves, Ugg boots, sweaters, and leggings who text constantly, Snapchat every second of their lives, and they love Fall but OMFG they can't even.
. . .
Okay, yeah, there actually are a lot of those and it's such a ubiquitous thing that even the brown M&M was dressed in a similar fashion on the packaging of the pumpkin spice late M&Ms a while back and it was such a flattering look on her that if I had been single I would have totally wanted to go on a coffee date with her and talk about books and our favorite bands.
|"I loved 'All the Birds in the Sky,' too... I've read it twice in the past year!"|
I'm not sure where it comes from. Seeing as the stereotype focuses so heavily on Millennial women, it's tempting to chalk it up to good ol' internet misogyny, and that's probably a contributing factor in certain sectors because it's 2017 and if there are things that people seem to hate on in this year of our lord Two-Thousand and Seventeen it's... well, it's a lot of things. Quite a lot of things. SOOOOOOOOO MANY GODDAMN THINGS IN CASE YOU SOMEHOW HAVEN'T NOTICED. But two of things on that long, sad list are women and Millennials, so yeah, it figures into the mix for some folks, but not for all. I see the hate coming from a wide range of people from as many walks of American life as you can name. I think it's deeper, more insidious, and far more basic than all of that.
We're at a point in societal history where the rise of so-called geek culture, where everyone is passionate about whatever it is they love and appreciate beyond all reason (remember, you don't need to be a geek to geek out anymore), has cross pollinated with the age old (but especially ramped-up in the early '00s) "you're either with us or against us" philosophy.
In other words, "I like this and if you don't like this and instead dare to like this other thing YOU ARE WRONG! And even if we like the same thing and you don't like it in exactly the same way as I do YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!"
(Yes, I get that some people are just doing this, no matter the situation, to be ballbusters, tease their friends and loved ones, etc. My wife, for instance, gives me shit all the time about my love for pumpkin spice and hundreds of other things; I do the same in return, because emotionally we're still in the first grade and we metaphorically pull pig tails because we're in love, damn it. But, you know, most of the others doing this are just assholes, man.)
This phenomenon is not limited to pumpkin snacks and beverages, of course. You see it in sports, in comics, in movies, in TV... oh, man, especially TV. I've had even close friends tell me, when I've informed them that I gave Breaking Bad a shot but it just wasn't my cuppa, "WELL OBVIOUSLY YOU WATCHED IT WRONG OR MAYBE WATCHED A WRONG EPISODE SO YOU NEED TO TRY IT AGAIN!" And to be honest, I'm positive I've said similar things about Doctor Who to people over the years ("NO, YOU NEED TO IGNORE THE EFFECTS AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE WRITING!"), so I'm not claiming to be above anything here.
But I'm trying, you know? Like what you like the way you want to like it, I say. Sometimes I even practice what I preach. Maybe it's Pollyanna of me to think that maybe everyone else could do the same across the board, but I'd like to believe it's possible. We just need to start putting aside the squabbling and accepting our differences somewhere, so why not start somewhere small just as a testcase? The pumpkin spice people get to enjoy their tasty Fall treats in peace, and in return they stop wishing that the bacon people get massive coronaries from all the salty pork strip goodness they purport to eat and won't stop talking about.
Also, not for nothing... all of the actual, serious, legitimately life- and world-threatening problems we have today and people are entering into a Klingon blood feud over gourd-flavored coffee? This is why they hate us, you guys.
|"I know, Brown, it's frustrating, Lets change the subject. Tell me about that Cibo Matto show you saw."|