These are difficult arguments, and so, as good symbol-using animals, we tend to reduce the abstract complexity to symbols and fight over those instead. Why challenge American exceptionalism when we can argue over the best baseball team?
Our goal as a consumer society is to eat, eat, and eat. The chocolate chip cookie has ever been, therefore, that perfect product of American consumerism.
It began very soon after Mama Ka’Kaw was “discovered” by the Europeans when they first “explored” the “New World.” Chocolate, once an indulgence of the elite who could pay for it, fast became accessible and commonplace to everyone once slavery dropped the price.
We had been invited to participate in the sacred creation of chocolate, just as it was practiced by the ancient Mayan discoverers of chocolate. I was in awe, but I was also–at least partly–ashamed.
How could the shape or slicing of a cookie change its identity? (And, please, let’s not get into all the “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” or “Is cereal soup?” questions. We know the answer. We just do.)
It’s true that Frodo is given gifts beyond what any ordinary person could expect (swords, rings, chain mail, lights of Galadriel), but in the end it is his sheer act of will that gets him to the chasms of Mount Doom. And there he fails.