There are few candy bars as iconic as Toblerone. The popular nougat-and-chocolate bar, invented in Switzerland but now owned by the U.S.-based Mondelez International, became internationally famous in large part because of its distinctive triangular shape.
But that very shape is now the subject of controversy in Britain, where a recent announcement that some versions of Toblerone would feature larger spaces between the triangles is being viewed as a political scandal.
Why exactly? Well, many Brits think they know what is to blame for the sudden change: Brexit.
Excerpt for the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/11/08/brits-blame-strange-new-toblerone-shape-on-brexit/
Image and following excerpt from the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/08/toblerone-gap-brexit-falling-pound-2016
It’s easy to scoff at the fact that it takes food to act as a focal point for what is happening in this country, when there is so much that has been truly awful about this year, not least a lurch to the far right that has horrified people across the political spectrum. Child poverty, hate crime, the immediate retraction of a promise of extra NHS funding – all of these things should be more alarming than a slightly smaller chocolate bar, or a pricier snack. Even if that snack is a Pot Noodle, a fish finger sandwich, or a packet of Walkers crisps.
But all of these things have become part of a slow, heavy, ominous collective sigh that has summed up the past few months. Indeed, 2016 has been defined by a creeping sense of dread that all the progress humanity has made over the past few decades – centuries, if you’re feeling particularly doomy – might be about to unravel. The anxiety over what could happen in America on Wednesday, and by extension to the rest of the world, is almost too great to contemplate.
So in many ways, it’s little surprise that it takes something seemingly trivial to cut through the incessant bleakness. Toblerone is just a bar of chocolate, like Marmite is just a divisive topping for toast, but it takes these unusual disturbances in the domestic everyday to jolt us out of what has become an enormous, abstract feeling of doom. These small differences make all of the bigger differences seem so much more real, and like they’re actually happening.
And besides, even if you don’t like Toblerone, it’s impossible to escape the irony of the fact that the latest emblem of Brexit Britain is quite literally a widening of the gap.
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I wonder where we will “eat” the US Election results early next year? How will the coming regime manifest in “unusual disturbances in the domestic everyday”?
I’m afraid. I need chocolate…
2 thoughts on “Widening the Gap: Toblerone and the US Election”
Nearly every paper and TV channel covered this Reuters story. Dangling this gappy-toothed Toblerone in front of people in an attempt to stir up civil war between those who voted for and against Brexit. Get real people. No-one gives a damn about it. Chocolate bars have always increased and decreased over the years – it has nothing to do with voting for Brexit. There are bigger things in the news – food banks, VIP child-rape, banks banning notes in India, department stores closing, ai robots evolving. But you are right – the fact that it was in the news is news.
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I just find the use of food in how we understand our political, social, ecological, emotional, familial world reflective of what we desire and fear in the most digestible terms. You are right that this is not at issue but how we pour meaning to it, may be. Thanks again for writing and sharing your opinion.
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