James Lileks
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From time to time, you encounter celebrity news that seems beamed from another universe: "Lil Nax B is claps back at Meghan Thee Broodmare for Spilling Tea on the Gram, and we are here for it!"

I made that up, but it sounds like something you'd read, and then you'd think, "I am old and the world has left me behind."

Well, this one from People might make more sense: "Bethenny Frankel Shares a Snack Hack for Frozen Yogurt That She Doesn't 'Think You Can Handle.'"

Oh, I don't know. If I was capable of withstanding some other celeb's goat-cheese smoothie hack, I think I can take this in stride. You won't find me crumpled in the corner of the room, reduced to tears by my inability to handle a snack hack.

It's all drivel. But now and then a piece of celebrity news makes you pause because it seems so ordinary, and because it made the perpetually online ninnies of the internet throw their usual tantrums.

People headline: Reese Witherspoon Defends Her Choice to Eat Snow After TikTok Recipe Video Sparks Heated Debate.

On one hand, it's ridiculously wholesome. Nice actress consumes frozen precipitation, and people have opinions! A story like this is akin those odor-removing bags you stick in a musty basement. Somehow it has the power to soak up the waves of ick that emanate from the other celebrity stories.

On the other hand: Lordy, who cares? I mean, besides me, who's milking it for clicks and grins like everyone else. But really, I cannot think of a less important story that says "[Celebrity] eats snow and shares a recipe, and broke the internet," unless the celebrity in question is Winston Churchill.

But he's not a celebrity, you say, and he's dead. Well, if he suddenly reappeared, scowling, pouring brandy into a cup of snow, I think he'd get celebrity status PDQ. Everyone would assume it was a deep fake, so he'd have to do interviews. The matter of eating snow would quickly fade as he is prodded for his views on contemporary affairs and the state of England, and goes on to castigate the Tories for their spinelessness ...

At which point the People magazine audience would tune out, unless Churchill was drinking his snow-brandy from a Stanley metal mug.

The question of snow-potability is a good one, though. We may describe something as "pure as the driven snow," but if you look at the streets, the snow over which people have driven is not particularly pristine. Of course, Witherspoon wouldn't consume snow that bore the telltale canine tint. But I understand some people's hesitance.

I recall a moment from childhood when heavy flakes were falling, and we carefree kids, playing unsupervised in the Norman-Rockwell world of Fargo opened our little maws to catch the flakes on our tongues.

They did not taste right. Perhaps the problem was that they had a taste in the first place. Snow should have no flavor profile. You don't say, "First note of glacial runoff, top note of freezer fur." This tasted burnt.

I will never forget the horror that spread across our little band when one of the kids said it was something he'd heard about: fallout. It came from atom bombs! This was worse than opening a golf ball and being blinded by the mysterious liquid we knew was contained within.

We were goners. Unless, of course, it gave us superpowers. Maybe we would all gain the ability to turn into snow and control snow and shoot snow out of our hands! We could band together and fight crime.

In retrospect, we would have made a bad batch of superheroes, because we all had the same power. The people we were trying to rescue would wail: "Ugh — he's too strong — ice ... attack ... not working ... Help me!" And we'd respond, "Sorry, bro, that's all we got."

As I would later learn, it wasn't fallout. It was ash from the incinerator behind the grocery store. Whew!

I've never eaten snow since, except when I slip while shoveling. Nor will I eat snow now that Witherspoon has done so. However, I will not begrudge anyone their own snow-eating preferences. The subject is closed.

Next week: "Stung by Oscar snub, Margot Robbie moisturizes with Crisco, and the internet has some thoughts."