Elsewhere (101)
Elsewhere (102)

The Cupcake Menace

Keenly attuned to pressing issues of the day, the Guardian’s Matt Seaton tells us we just aren’t agonising about cupcakes enough. And when I say cupcakes I obviously mean,

Butter-iced snares of self-loathing that sell precisely because they exploit young women’s insecurity about their looks and identity, and offer a completely false and self-defeating solace of temporary gratification, almost certainly followed by remorse and disgust. 

It seems our Guardianista is upset by cupcakes being a bit girly. And that somehow, for reasons that aren’t clear, these tiny cakes are exploitative and induce all manner of psychological problems in the womenfolk of the world. It’s a bold claim, I think you’ll agree. According to Mr Seaton, 

They’re not just cakes: like any cultural artefact, they have implicit values baked in. And the values I see in cupcakes are of a demeaning, self-trivialising sort of hyper-femininity. 

Two more, I think, for our ongoing series. Via Patrick Brown


After telling us at length just how terrible and mind-warping these tiny fancies are, at least among women, Mr Seaton adds,

I don’t want to ban cupcakes.

And yet he feels it necessary to say this, as if banning miniature sponges would be an obvious thing to consider, the kind of thing one does. And after banning them in his own office. An accomplishment that a fellow Guardianista, the daughter of the paper’s editor no less, regards as confirming Mr Seaton’s moral credentials:

I used to bring cakes into the office a lot, and Matt put a ban on it because he was worried about how much sugar we all ate. Practises what he preaches this man. 

Come work at the Guardian, where the party never stops.

A less impressed commenter, unrelated to the editor, asks,

What is it with people’s inability to ignore the things they don’t like? 

Meaning things you don’t like and which have no bearing whatsoever on your everyday life or the turning of the world. Say, “our” alleged “obsession” with cupcakes and their supposedly debilitating effects on helpless, hapless womenfolk. Women being so mentally insubstantial that even a tiny cake can unhinge their minds, apparently. But fretting ostentatiously about things of no importance has long been a standard template for Guardian articles, especially if you can shoehorn in some sophomoric theorising. It’s something most papers do to some extent, due to the obligation to Fill Space Somehow, but the Guardian is by far the greatest exponent and the most grandiose. Many of its contributors have mastered inadvertent surrealism. First you find some tiny, utterly trivial personal anecdote or grumble and then inflate it to sociological status with lots of wild, baseless assertion. Anything from the feminist politics of toddler excrement to the cruel, cruel agonies of spellcheck software. Whether the complaint is valid, or even sane, or can withstand a minute’s scrutiny, really doesn’t matter. It’s all about display - being outraged as theatre and social positioning. Which is why something as dull as temporary building renovation can be described vehemently, repeatedly and in all seriousness as “cultural apartheid.”

Feel free to tickle my tip jar.