Political commentator and host of Human Events Daily Jack Posobiec unleashed a thread on Twitter recalling with affection the Pizza Hut chain, remnants of which dot the American landscape in the form of abandoned "huts" with iconic pitched roofs, many now covered with graffiti and signs of decay.
That thread went viral and made its way to the 11th top spot in the nation on Twitter.
It started when Posobiec noted that he'd tried to take his family to a Pizza Hut near Washington, DC, and found it to be entirely unwelcoming.
Posobiec, who lived and studied in Shanghai, shared a post showing the difference between Pizza Hut in China and an abandoned one in the US.
The issues raised surrounding the Pizza Hut chain and its steady decline is less about a restaurant chain and more about a decline of American values and the American exceptionalism, or nationalism, that gave Americans pride in place, and gave them good feelings about their culture, society, and life.
In a lengthy thread, Wokal Distance dug into the these issues, saying that Pizza Hut, and other establishments like it, were looked down upon by American elites in the 90s, considered too common and base, a kind of "empty consumerist kitsch to be enjoyed by unsophisticated rubes."
His take is that the art and experiences of middle class Americans were looked down upon by the coastal elites at the time, those who claimed to prefer esoteric films and obscure music. But the kids who were raised in that era "have grown up and are saying 'the cultural products I grew up with may have been mass produced, kitschy, simple, not cool, and lacking in sophistication... but they were fun, wholesome, affordable, and were part of a life that was stable and hopeful.'"
Life, despite it's commercial kitsch, or perhaps because of it, was stable, functional, hopeful, and every American family could dine out, partaking of a common, predictable experience. It gave Americans a feeling, Wokal Distance notes, "that life was wholesome, fun, and allowed for a sort of innocence."
"This no longer exists," he writes, because all of the common fare for cultural consumption has been corporatized by coastal elites and their corrupt values of radical politics. No matter what genre of experience American families attempt to engage in, political messaging surrounds it. Sports, films, TV, even dining out, all bring with them the stain of a corporate cultural consciousness designed to make Americans think and act in accordance with a divisive social justice agenda.
"That culture allowed for shared experience and cultural touchstones from a time where prosperity wad possible and the world was stable," he writes. "That culture, as mass produced as it was gave us an affordable 'cultural space' to inhabit as we made families, enjoyed prosperity, and came of age. It was home."
It isn't any wonder that Hollywood tries to tap into that nostalgic feeling of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, that saw kids riding bikes through their neighborhoods until just after dusk when they were called home for dinner, saw families dining out together at chain restaurants, and childhood was made in consuming a mass entertainment culture that was, at its core, about fun and play.
In closing, he said that it's essentially time to "reject the counter culture [cynicism] that says the mass produced culture that marked the middle class is empty and useless. No. That culture allowed for shared experience and cultural touchstones from a time where prosperity [was] possible and the world was stable."
Pizza Hut, and other chains like it, some local, some national "as mass produced as it was gave us an affordable 'cultural space' to inhabit as we made families, enjoyed prosperity, and came of age. It was home."
Posobiec suggested that new Twitter owner, Space X and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, "buy Pizza Hut and restore it to its former glory."
And it's not so much about Pizza Hut, but about what that space represents, the kind of experience that can be had there by families, or groups of teenagers who borrowed the family car Friday night.
And it's not so much about Elon Musk the man as it is Elon Musk the visionary, the hopeful entrepreneur who finds value in the American ethos and pride in her national history and culture. Musk is an American in a long history of Americans who set out for the unknown, bringing us all along for the ride, because it is fun, exciting, and because it can be done.
It is not just Pizza Hut, it is not just Musk, but a longing for that apex of American life, where families could anticipate prosperity through hard work, and prosperity looked like red and white checked table cloths at Pizza Hut.
Old ads from Pizza Hut show a welcoming pizza chain with red and white checked table clothes and families dining out together. Apparently they even had table service.
The Twitter alert was minted as an NFT.
Pizza Hut nationalism is reminiscent of 1970s era pop artist Andy Warhol, who canonized basic products like Campbell's soup cans, or Brillo boxes, and brought them into the realm of high art. In so doing, he also brought high art into the realm of basic, American consumerist culture. But Warhol was something of a nationalist. Though many of his cultural fans thought he was painting soup cans with irony, as something of a take down, he was painting them because he loved them, because they were so distinctly of us.
The high culture/low culture divide has been now completely upended by corporate social justice concerns that belittle Americans, their desires, their families and their values. There is a transparency to their elitism, and Pizza Hut trending on Twitter exposed it. For every tweet recalling with joy a night spent, with a Girl Scout troop perhaps, or out with mom and dad at a classic American chain, there were those accounts that scorned it, claiming that American values were not worth extolling anyway.