What Can We Learn From #HummusSelfies? Not Much
Sometimes, food and social media do wonders for a cause. After Chick-Fil-A, you know, botched up everything two summers ago, the great hashtag #ChickFilGay was born. Oreos won everything by posting the Rainbow Oreo that changed the world. Bertolli profited off of Barilla’s f*ck-up. Honey-Maid turned One Million Moms’ horsesh*t into social media gold (golden Teddy Grahams, to be exact). And then, you know, food brands like SpaghettiO’s post Pearl Harbor Tweets and everything goes to shit.
So naturally, when “hashtag activism” meets food in a very real (and threatening) global crisis, it’s enough to make us sit back and wonder what this all really means. #HummusSelfies doe exactly that — as in, what the hell do we do with a bunch of people posing with a container of Sabra?
We can’t entirely blame them — but we can’t entirely believe them either. Writes Erin Gloria Ryan for Jezebel:
So, I guess out of a feeling of utter uselessness and despair, a group called The Hummus Initiative invented the hashtag #hummusselfies so that people who wish they could do something substantive but in fact can (or will) not can feel like they’re doing something more productive than “nothing” to end the conflict in Gaza. Hummus is delicious, but will Netanyahu get the message? If he won’t listen to hummus, then what hope is there?
Well, not much. But hummus, as a cultural entity, is far more complicated than a Chick-Fil-A sandwich or rainbow Oreo. Taking a stance on issues via your chicken sandwich or brightly-colored cookie seems like a cakewalk, in fact. Even “social boycotting” an organic food company who — surprise! — doesn’t believe a woman should have access to contraception is easy to do in comparison to a #HummusSelfie. Because — surprise but not really! — hummus contains much of the hurt, anger, and misappropriation from both sides, Israel and Palestine, in a magical schmear.
Munchies gives perhaps the best all-around 101 on the complicated politics on hummus (worth a read from top to bottom). But while the issues are complicated, the stance of #HummusSelfies is not: “Centering a slacktivist campaign around a food that encapsulates the cultural and political tensions between Israelis and Palestinians suggests a deep misunderstanding of history and the very real sensitivities both groups feel about heritage and ownership.”
So for chips and dips’ sakes, what are we supposed to do with #HummusSelfies? Offer a sly grin at the Hummus Initiative’s mission statement to “counterweight the countless hate messages currently invading the social space” with a quick pic of hummus and hope for the best? Be sad that this is the best our generation can come up with for a meaningful dialogue of peace and understanding? Wish we could just go back when we knew who to come down against when it came to gay marriage chicken and pasta and Pearl Harbor SpaghettiOs? Or even back when Subway was making hummus and that was the very worst thing that could happen to hummus?
In the words of Liz Lemon:
Image via @ihned_zpravy