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At the buzzer, the best meme of 2023 is actually the nihilist football Pop-Tart

Tanya Chen   

At the buzzer, the best meme of 2023 is actually the nihilist football Pop-Tart
  • The mascot of the inaugural Pop-Tarts Bowl stole the hearts of football fans nationwide.
  • The game's victors devoured actual Pop-Tarts, as the pastry paragon descended into a giant toaster.

It's been a long time since we've had a really good meme online.

And even longer since we had one that speaks to the helpless nadirs of humanity in this country: to remain joyous and pure as we drown in the molasses of capitalism.

On Thursday evening, the human Pop-Tarts mascot of the inaugural college football bowl between Kansas State and North Carolina State gave us just that. The Kansas State Wildcats won the match and were rewarded with a morbid and delectable prize: Players consumed actual Pop-Tarts as a human-sized Pop-Tarts mascot descended into a giant set toaster to be (fake) cooked.

Sports journalist Rodger Sherman asked the mascot's handler if it was "offensive" to eat the pastries in front of the mascot. "ITS [sic] THEIR DREAM," he apparently yelled back.

By Friday, the mascot and the entire spectacle became the perfect fodder and canvas for discussing how we're all feeling these days. The Pop-Tarts mascot became a mascot for the human condition.

The mascot represents our creeping and penetrating anxieties.

Like Barbie, the Pop-Tart smiles brightly but looks to be on the precipice of questioning its existence and will to live.

People on X (formerly Twitter) noted that the Pop-Tarts mascot holding a sign reading "dreams really do come true" as it's baked in the toaster machine is a brilliant commentary on how corporate work culture kills all our souls in the end.

To the Pop-Tarts Bowl mascot who's accepted its fate, smiling with a dream in hand as it descends into hell: You are me. You are us. For the last few days of 2023, you are our god. We feel seen.


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