It’s Muffin Time

I love memes.  But since I am a busy enough person that I do not have time to figure out what the hottest new memes are, or the best ones that are worth remembering for a long time [1] are, I tend to need to have my memes curated by others who have more free time and whose interest in memes is good for both fun and profit.  So, it happened that recently when I was watching one of my favorite online music critics, and an author of three enjoyable Minecraft fanfiction novels that I have read and reviewed, one of the top 100 songs from 2018 prompted him to make reference to a song called “Muffin Time,” a meme about a suicidal muffin that, in his mind, was more profound in dealing with the question of suicide than the hit song by Logic featuring Khalid and Alessia Cara whose title is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.  He was right.

The story the meme song tells is a compelling and complicated one, even more enjoyable to read in Spanish where the translators try to explain the layers of humor in it.  The song begins with a suicidal muffin (is it a girl?  do muffins have a gender?) who is trying to urge someone to eat her so that she can die.  After that the song adds other stories about a father who names his daughter hungry to her frustration, a man who wants to kill a potato who tries to save his (is it a male?  do potatoes have a gender?)  life by baking him a pie, a man who faces death for the folly of trying to teach a llama to drive, people getting vanity photos while being afraid of the apocalypse, and so on.  The song as a whole is a complex ode to various kinds of death and disaster, and the way in which we face oblivion while wrapped up in trivial activities, which would include watching animated meme videos with immortal (!) suicidal muffins in them.  For a meme about suicide, the song is quite surprisingly complex in its treatment as well as in its polyphony.

What would lead a muffin to become suicidal, and why would anyone care?  The fact that people care on at least some level is in evidence by someone having made the video, by millions of people having seen it, and by some people having even taken the effort to translate the video into other languages.  Clearly the fate of a cute and appealing if self-destructive muffin is of interest to others.  And why not?  Human beings find it easy to anthropomorphize other parts of creation and to think of them as beings with feelings and concerns of their own that we can take interest in.  And this is not unreasonable to do.  We know our pets, for example, have an emotional life and if we have pets we can understand what they are about by their body language, by their fear and cowardice or their bravery or anxiety.  If we are decent people and treat our pets decently, we find ourselves rewarded with affection and friendliness.  Even plants seem to respond to music and happiness with better life and growth, and if even plants have some sort of emotional life, then it is not unreasonable that we should figure that muffins, tasty foods that we create ourselves, have emotional lives.  After all, we were endowed by our creator with deep and complex emotions.  Why should not our creations have the same?

Although writing about suicide is admittedly pretty rare in my own body of literature, one of my earliest poems as a child was a limerick about a gloomy chicken who was distraught that he had been raised for the slaughter and that his master would soon want to dine on him.  I have probably always been a morbid person with a love of what is dark and problematic about existence to have written a poem, even as an elementary school student, from the point of view of a chicken when I have always been fond of eating poultry myself.  Perhaps I was able to understand that even food animals have an emotional life that is worth knowing.  If chickens are not particularly bright animals, they are animals that have a surprising degree of bravery given the bad reputation their name has when it comes to courage.  Some friends of mine have felt particularly fond of their chickens and have deeply mourned their loss to various predatory animals.  Even food animals have lives that we celebrate, at least within the terms of their temporary existence.  Given this, it is little surprise that we would think the same thing about animated pastry goods.

Is it worth thinking that one’s food has an emotional life and could quite possibly see being food as a way of committing suicide?  Could ugly fruit who are not chosen to be put out on the shelves feel the sting of rejection just as ugly people no one asks out on dates or asks to a dance?  Sometimes viewing ourselves as being a part of a larger psychodrama helps us to better understand the sort of existence we have.  It is all too easy for us as human beings to forget that others are human beings, to honor the sensibilities and emotional lives of our enemies or rivals, or even our friends and family members.  We are all too quick to believe that others are simply robots or parasites or something inhuman whose feelings and interests we have no need to gratify or even to acknowledge.  To the extent that we fill our world with the possibility of the emotional life of others, we remember to ponder the possibility of depth in our existence, something worth investigating, something worth appreciating before we are to consumed with our own existence and its problems.  And perhaps, if we are wise enough, we will think enough about the emotional lives of those around us to be kind and understanding to those we are around, seeing them as beings not unlike ourselves.  Even if it is only pretend, it is for the best if we learn to treat other beings as if they have layers worth discovering.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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