In these dark times, the answer to one question could decide the fate of humanity. Are Mason jars useful, or are they, in a word, stupid? You might think there are more important things to worry about — climate change, mass shootings, the possibility of someone waltzing into your bathroom stall if you lock it incorrectly — but Twitter doesn't appear to agree. Recently, a heated debate about the true nature of Mason jars has broken out on the social media platform, because no matter is too inconsequential for people to have Opinions about it online.
Invented by John Landis Mason in 1858, the mason jar revolutionized food preservation back in the day. Not only were the jars transparent, so you could actually see their contents, but they also created a much better seal than the cork-and-wax methods most people used at the time. Finally, cooks had a reliable way of saving their food to be eaten months later. (There’s a point in the “useful” column.) After the invention of refrigerators and freezers, the Mason jar fell out of fashion for a few decades, but lately, it’s made a comeback. A quick browse through Pinterest will turn up dozens of Mason jar "hacks." You can turn them into candle holders or vases, fill them with hot cocoa ingredients as a cute holiday gift, or even use them to hold your salads.
The latter, apparently, is where the people of Twitter draw the line.
Mason jars are an increasingly popular alternative to plastic containers. Aside from giving your lunch a certain aesthetic appeal, the idea is that layering the food allows vegetables to stay crisp until you mix everything together right before you eat. Not everyone, however, is a fan of the Instagrammable technique.
Tweets deriding Mason jars date back to last year, if not earlier, but this summer, the topic picked up steam. The general consensus? Mason jar salads are douchey and impractical, and the people who make them are even more so.
The mockery wasn't restricted to salad lovers; Twitter users poked fun at literally anyone who uses Mason jars for anything but food preservation.
Some came to the Mason jar's defense, but they were heavily outnumbered.
To be fair, Mason jars are definitely fashionable at the moment. They're a staple at trendy bars across the nation; in 2014, 7-Eleven served Slurpees in Mason jars with mustachioed straws — a nod to their hipster reputation. In the comment section of any article about Mason jars, you can find people arguing about whether the containers truly "belong" in the city, where they're rarely used for their original purpose. In an article on the history of the Mason jar, The Atlantic took a stab at explaining why a simple glass jar can annoy people so much:
"Holding a cocktail or a Slurpee, it’s removed from its original context — which is rooted in functionality — and made into an icon of ironic contrast. Used to serve a drink in Hackney Wick, the Mason jar becomes a vacant signifier."
Yes, it's trendy to repurpose Mason jars — but that doesn't mean it's impractical. A container is a container, and if saving old jars of spaghetti sauce means you don't have to fork over the money a new set of drinking glasses, go for it. If you'd rather keep your food in a washable glass container rather than a plastic one, that's your business. If you go out and buy a bunch of Mason jars to hold random stuff on your mantle, who cares? How is this topic worthy of anyone's brain power?
The Internet is nothing if not petty, so people will undoubtedly keep hating on Mason jars the way they've hated on pumpkin spice and the dog Snapchat filter. In a few months, the Internet will find another hill to die on, and the pointless cycle will continue. See you again soon.