I’m mainly just posting this so I can share this image in a discussion about agricultural fair dominance over at MetaFilter.
What’s going on here? It seems that there was one entrant in the Peanut Butter Cookie category, and the panel of judges awarded it second place.
Let that sink in for a second. What it means.
It means that — in the opinion of the Kingston fair judges — the absence of a cookie is a superior option to this cookie. That if somebody presented this cookie to them and said “do you want this cookie?” the answer would not be a polite “no thank you”, but a dead-eyed glare and “I abjure this cookie” delivered in a monotone.
They could have just given the only entrant first prize. By default. If there’s a single racer in the race, they win the race. If there’s one apple in the bowl, it’s the best apple in the bowl. This is how these things generally go.
But this was a deep ontological choice to award nothingness a higher status than this cookie. The judges, in their wisdom, effectively told poor Yvonne Brownlee that she had created the anti-cookie, a cookie that inverts the very idea of cookiehood.
This feels harsh. Maybe the judges were having a bad day.
But I think of this cookie more often than I expected when I first saw it. A reminder that the only option can still be rejected, that just because there’s only one path ahead of you there’s still another option: reject the premise.
So — whatever the merits or flaws of this peanut butter cookie — I respect and appreciate that you went in there swingin’, Yvonne. Thank you, and thank your cookie.