Friday, 11 April 2014

Cupcakes, Fruitcakes and Fascism. How to Get a Career by Writing Complete Bollocks.

Tom Whyman asks questions. He interrogates life, nay the lebenswelt. He is an academic at Essex University and he might even get paid to write of the connection between cupcakes and a process of 'infantilisation' that drives the consumer towards fascism.

He is profound. He sets out his case brilliantly with precision. But he raises questions,
'The cupcake is barely a cake. When we think about what "the cake-​like" ideally should be, it is something spongy, moist, characterised by excess, collapsing under its own weight of gooey jam, meringue, and cream. It is something sickly and wet that makes your fingers sticky. The cupcake is none of these things; that is, it possesses none of the ideal essence of cakiness. The cupcake is neat, precise, and uniform'.
Does that apply to a muffin ? A scone ? Maybe a tea cake is also sinister, invoking images of 'a past that never was, Miss Marple, Tea at the Vicarage and other insidious forces and cultural process and manufactured tropes geared towards subtle mechanisms of indoctrination and mind control.

'The cupcake is largely aimed at the sort of flat-​stomached people who think consuming sweet things is "a bit naughty" and who won't even permit themselves to go overboard on their binges. The cupcake is vintagey and twee. It invokes a sense of wholesomeness and nostalgia, albeit for a past never experienced, a more perfect past, just as vintage-​style clothing harks back to an idealised image of the 1920s through 60s that never existed. The cupcake appears as a cultural trope alongside the drinking of tea and gin and the lisped strumming of ukuleles.The constellation of cultural tropes that most paradigmatically manifest in the form of the cupcake are associated in particular with infantilisation. Of course, looking back to a perfect past that never existed is nothing if not the pained howl of a child who never wanted to be forced to grow up, and the cupcake and its associates market themselves by catering to these never-​never-​land adults' tastes.

These products, which treat their audience as children, and more specifically the children of the middle classes – perfect special snowflakes full of wide-​eyed wonder and possibility – succeed as expressions of a desire on behalf of consumers to always and forever be children'.
Indeed, that Santa Claus has fascist potentiality is certainly a contemporary issue that needs to be explored in depth. Moreover, 
' could get a huge mass of people to participate in a reactionary endeavour if you dressed it up in nice, twee, cupcakey imagery, and persuaded everyone that the brutality of your ideology was in fact a form of niceness. If a fascist reich was to be established anywhere today, I believe it would necessarily have to exchange iron eagles for fluffy kittens, swap jackboots for Converse, and the epic drama of Wagnerian horns for mumbled ditties on ukuleles'.
Yes. and swap tanks and dive bombers, conscript armies and concentration camps with barbed wire for cupcakes, shopping malls and detention centres which serve cupcakes, a sort of sinister Portmeirion-let them eat cupcake. Not real fruitcakes with their overtones of real work and substance.
'Fascism is, properly understood, a certain sort of response to a crisis. It is the reactionary response, as opposed to the radical one. The radical response is to embrace the new possibilities thrown up by the crisis; the reactionary one is to shut these possibilities down'.
Now I know what fascism really means-the closure of possibility. The fact that did not seem evident to rampaging psychopaths liberated from 'bourgeois values' and things like 'ethics' in Eastern Europe is a curious. Also the fact that communism was a radical response to a crisis ( hence good ).

Grab those texts in 'history books' and throw them in the bin with the cupcakes. Because they often contain reactionary tropes about how fascism was radical and revolutionary in its way and could only have originated out of the crisis after World War One.

Sinister. Reactionary. Badthink. Indeed,
 'If we see the paradigmatic mechanisms of social oppression operative today in the form of a cupcake, then the clue to the overthrowing of these mechanisms exists also in cake, albeit of an entirely different kind. It is precisely in the truly cake-​like, the spongy and the moist and the excessive and the unhealthy'
The revolutionary way out of the crisis is fruitcake and to be as one with it and its process of becoming.

Can I get a philosophy PhD now ?

Tom Whyman is working on one right now. He has a cosy position from which to warble on about cupcakes. I could sit on my buns and right about how various forms of food are connected to politics in some largely made up way. Here's my idea.

The baked  potato is a symbol of austerity and back to the soil. It stands in relation to the consumer of the King Edward potato as a symbol of warmth, of hearth and home after 'honest toil', it's metallic full tin jacket reassuring it it's quasi-militarist, quasi-imperialist connotations of 'protection'. 

To be 'half baked' is to imply not being a full or 'real potato' , that is a person in the full sense just as 'fruitcake' occupies part of our discourse in relation to madness is the same but opposite manner as the cupcake is indicative of prim 'nomality'

Great stuff isn't it?

Meanwhile, larger numbers of British people are so poor they have resorted to using foodbanks.Austerity means they don't have enough to eat-even, presumably, cupcakes with their 'middle class' connotations or the 'bourgeois values' they transmit by stealth.

But, alas, I'm not as qualified as Whyman. I might even be resistant to the idea cupcakes have anything remotely to do with fascism even though I can resist cupcakes and cream buns and muffins because not that keen on any of them.

My reaction is most likely a sad symptom of the mechanisms of infantalisation I have been subjected to as a child in helping my mother make cupcakes, even though I have not eaten one for over 30 years. I was conditioned to incorrect thinking at an early stage.

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