Slime isn’t just a toy: it’s the embodiment of the times we’re in

Neither solid nor liquid, it’s unpleasant and yet strangely moreish, no wonder slime as a children’s toy is a topical reflection of the world we live in

It came free with a kid’s magazine, a small plastic pot containing a handful of blue mucus, into which one was advised to pour an accompanying sachet of small beads, to create “crunchy slime”. I chew the words over in my head during breakfast time as I eat a yoghurt.

The day before, I had read a piece in the London Review of Books about the recent translation of a German book by Susanne Wedlich. It was called Slime: A Natural History. Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness,” wrote Liam Shaw, “concludes with the idea of the visqueux. Sliminess is horrible to Sartre because it has neither the reassuring inertia of a solid nor the yielding shapelessness of a liquid, but a clinging contamination that envelops and consumes the investigator.” The visqueux, he continued, “is the ultimate ‘revenge’ of unconscious matter (‘being-in-itself’) against conscious matter (‘being-for-itself’).” And on the kitchen table beside my mug was something worse because this, this was “crunchy”.

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