Back in the early 19th century, Mary Shelley wrote the enduring story Frankenstein. In it, a scientist, seeking to uncover the mysteries of life, creates a monster and ruins his and his family’s lives in the process. Terrifying then, Shelley’s vision now looks antiquated. Nearly two centuries since Frankenstein’s publication, we have created life from dead matter, yes, but its form is far more horrible than any walking corpse.
Our tale begins with this innocuous tweet:
It’s a good observational joke. You can hear “Bad And Boujee” in your head and have a little laugh.
But then, rain pounding against the windows of a corporate high-rise, a flash of lightning illuminates a desktop. Trembling hands hover above a keyboard. A moment of typing, then…
The monster of branding comes alive, the grim visage of the Wingstop logo twisting its decaying lips into a cruel mockery of human laughter.
Here is the fateful moment. How do we mere mortals react to this tweet? What do we do when faced with a corporation turning itself into some ghastly homunculus? Surely, not this, Twitter.
The beast is now emboldened, its evil legitimized. The following responses are presented without comment.
From a neighboring cemetery, a red-haired head begins to push upward through the soil. Another brand emerges, shaking stinking dirt and grave worms from itself as it lumbers into view.
Steel yourself for what comes next. Peek between your fingers as the corporate mouthpieces face one another in mutual recognition and proceed to spit on the sanctity of life itself by beginning… a full-on rap battle.
And here we are. There’s nowhere left to turn. Wendy’s and Wingstop’s brands have risen, and powered by the modern alchemy of thousands upon thousands of retweets and likes, we’ve ensured their eternal life.
Look how they celebrate, these dead things wanting so desperately for us to love them as if they belong to nature:
Shelley ended her novel with both Frankenstein and his monster perishing in the arctic cold. We finish the novel as if awakening from a nightmare, able to remember the author’s warning and internalize its lessons. In our new world, the monster (maybe subtitled The Post-Modern Prometheus?) will not vanish. We can only bar our windows and tuck our children in tight. The brands are alive and they’re coming for us all.
If something whispers in the night—if you hear the death rattle of “ain’t nothin’ like Wingstop ranch in a cup” or a tortured, groaning “we keep it spicy with our chicken, our flow, and memes”—squeeze your eyes shut tight. They’re coming for you.