In Vogue

Let Them Eat Cupcakes

November 06, 2011


Notes the always entertaining online Urban Dictionary:

Cupcakes are not just a normal baked good, in fact, by some they are considered infinitely powerful tools. Essentially, they are synonymous with complete Global Domination. Thus, the ability to bake these sweet delicacies is seen as an extremely valuable asset to those wishing to pursue the goal of total global control.

So now we’re onto something. That something is control, because if James Bond movies have taught us anything, the guaranteed way to fail at Global Domination is by going full-frontal on it.

By now most people know that Marie Antoinette never said, “Let them eat cake.” She didn’t even say, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.” It was made up by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and he attributed it to Marie-Thérèse, not Marie Antoinette. The line had nothing to do with the queen but was his own excuse for disdaining ordinary bread as being too common for him.

In the 1760s, the perpetually broke Rousseau apparently walked into a chic Parisian p”tisserie, snatched a fancy brioche to accompany his shoplifted wine, and made a meal to match his self-image as an urban sophisticate in control of his world. His economic and social situation was closer to today’s diner waitresses than he cared to admit. Marie Antoinette keeps getting blamed for an eloquence she did not possess, and we go on happily swallowing cakes that have achieved total media domination while everyone was watching. How sneaky is that?

Today we turn up our noses at muffins, baskets of which were the corporate gift of the 90s. (“How do you know about these things?” asked the younger teenager in awe. “Because she was ALIVE in the 90s,” the older girl sniffed. I am officially old.)

In China, there is a similar tale told about an emperor who learned that his people didn’t have enough rice to eat. He replied, “Why don’t they eat meat?” So I told my dad, because he asked, “I butchered the deer on the dining-room table. I have knives.” He gave me a blank look, because I am five feet tall and literally resemble a cupcake, given my ratio of height to width. “Never mind,” I said, wiping the thought from the air because my elderly dad is a retired Methodist minister. He thinks well of the human race. “Next time you come for lunch, I’ll make cupcakes. You can share them with your friends.” My dad’s ladylike friend smiled and buttered another slice of homemade bread. She’s retired, too, but she works in handbags at Macy’s. I think the two of them deserve some special cupcakes.

 

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