Plus Also It Almost Bleeds!

April 17, 2012 - 9:18 pm
Irradiated by LabRat
Comments Off

So, I saw this link mentioning a racist cake, and went “It’s a cake, it cannot be THAT bad”, and then I clicked on the link, and I scrolled down to the picture, and I went “HOLY FUCK!”

Now, there’s a debate in the comments over whether the cake can really be racist, since the artist is black (that’s his head serving as the cake’s head). I feel ill equipped to decide the question, beyond noting

a)It’s in such incredibly bad taste that “is it racist” is kind of a semantic decision when it comes to accurately describing its overall wrongness

b)Given that all other examples of the artist’s artwork I can find are of various permutations of old, incredibly racist blackface parody, it’s safe to say he has Issues and a bunch of them are old National Geographics with naked Africans…

I want to know how many people looked at this idea before it was implemented, and thought it was a good idea to carry though. How many people had to sign off on “Yes, let’s have an appearance by the Minister of Culture in which she cuts into a cake that is a representation of every single hideous European stereotype of Africans ever, plus also it will be screaming and crying and begging for mercy. Let’s also make sure we get a nice photograph of her winning smile as she cuts into it and feeds a bit of itself back to it.”, and go “yes, this will be hip, edgy, artistic, and above all cultural“. Bonus points if someone caught the Hottentot Venus reference and thought THAT was a really good idea.

I’m sure at this point the Swedish Minister of Culture is muttering to herself something along the lines of “God damn, my country had an African colony for about fifteen minutes in the seventeenth century, why am *I* getting this shit”, but… given the sheer self-evidentness of the bad idea, I don’t have a ton of sympathy.

No Responses to “Plus Also It Almost Bleeds!”

  1. Peter O Says:

    And the Words that she whispered into his ear. Yeash.

    Definitely something that proves the point of this essay:
    http://www.dennisprager.com/columns.aspx?g=1e4a1744-4ff5-4453-b052-f67807fbaef9&url=still_the_least_racist_country_in_the_world

  2. pun the librarian Says:

    The whole affair is even weirder when you realize that swedes are quite politically correct in public and accusations of racism can end careers in politics and the public sector.

    And even weirder than the blackface-stuff is that as the whole affair was against female circumcision, apparently the minister first cut the cake at the crotch. That’s really ha-ha funny.

  3. Mike James Says:

    Perhaps the Swedes are so progressive, and modern, and have been for so long, that they pat themselves on the back, and give themselves a pass for this sort of thing.

    I think if some politician tried that in here in Kern County that they would shortly feel the need for a defense of some sort. Sort of a non-starter, if you will. We’re not at all progressive around here, but I think there is a rough-and-ready sort of common sense to be found.

  4. Mike James Says:

    Thinking some more about it, if some politician did that in Kern County it would end up being regarded as a very baroque way to end one’s political career. We are part of California, for all that we lack prog credentials.

  5. Oatworm Says:

    I strongly suspect what happened here was less about “is this a good idea” or any sort of overt racism and more about “I don’t want to look un-hip or insensitive”. Basically, the artist successfully trolled the Swedish establishment into thinking this exhibit was a good idea because, um, “art”, “diversity”, and, uh… um… “sensitivity”. Yeah, that’s it. “Sensitivity”. Let’s go with that. Oh, you think this is a bad idea? Well, that’s probably because it’s too edgy for you squares. You’re not a square, are you? No? So you must just be insensitive to the plight of Africans, right?

    One of these days, we’re going to learn that people that shame is a two-edged sword, one as likely to humiliate and embarrass as enlighten. That’s why our culture has been steadily moving away from using shame as means of control for the past 50 years now.

  6. pun the librarian Says:

    OK, saw a better picture of that cake and she cut it at abdomen. Still too close for comfort considering the subject of that “protest”.

    By the way, the museum where this was done has been closed because somebody called in a bomb threat calling the museum racist.

  7. Old NFO Says:

    That is a strange one, no question… But NO idea how that one slipped through the myriad of checks/balances these days…

  8. JFM Says:

    OK, I watched the video, well some of it, and all I can think is “Fuck! That’s sick. That artist guy is one sick fuck.” It would be just as sick if the cake was “white”. Yeah, I’m supposed to cut and eat a piece of cake while some guy screams. Pardon me while I throw up.

  9. bluntobject Says:

    Creepy.

    I’ll add to what Oatworm said: This strikes me as the result of someone whose head is so far up their own ass that they can’t imagine what it might be like to have a different perspective. “This can’t possibly be offensive; I’m not an offensive person and I didn’t intend it to offend. I think it’s a good idea because Art and Culture and stuff.” Basically, JELMS strikes again.

  10. Kristopher Says:

    Sweden has the same problem Japan does: A nearly monolithic culture and long isolation from anything that is even slightly different from them.

    Both Swedes and Japanese are horrified at the concept of racism. But they have no clue just how deep their racism goes because they are never confronted by anyone who is different.

    You might want to read the blog Gaijin Smash for a good example of a black man who has to deal with completely unconscious racism without losing his job in the process.

  11. LabRat Says:

    Apparently the whole event was at a Stockholm Art Museum, in celebration of World Art Day, and there was something said about the “right to offend”.

    So Oatworm is right, except it’s actually much worse than just shame, it was actively convincing themselves this was a good idea.

  12. Kristopher Says:

    Sorry, but at some point you just need to say no. People are too afraid to just drop kick some retard for being an ass while pretending to be an authority.

    Add “This is really just Art” to an insular society, and you get this kind of crap.

    I guarantee you that no one would have been castigated by anyone for walking out on that event. And just one person saying “This is crap” would have been enough.

    Strive to be that one person.

  13. Rustmeister Says:

    Regardless of who made the cake, that caricature is as racist as it gets.

  14. staghounds Says:

    Life imitates Art, panel 3…

    http://reason.com/assets/db/876e83220ec6bbc5348293e80a07fd48.jpg

  15. DirtCrashr Says:

    It’s so totally post-modernist as a caricature of itself-the-artiste and Uber-Feminist being *The Artist-She* that it’s also Svenska post-racist.

  16. Kaerius Says:

    I don’t really know what to think. But I think the artist knew what the reaction would be and did it deliberately to provoke this reaction, in fact he’s stated so himself. It’s supposed to challenge the historic view of racism, brutality and oppression (his words).

    The culture minister kinda stepped on a political landmine by participating though.

    And as noted, the artist is black(first name of Makode is a clue).

    Incidentally I inherited art of this style from my grandmother, plaster sculptured scenes intended as wallhangings. I might have some in a box somewhere if I haven’t thrown it away.

  17. LabRat Says:

    Yeah, he’s pretty blatant a peformance “artist” who thinks getting a reaction equates to making a point. The aura of “LOOK AT MEEEEEE” that oozes off him is practically palpable.

    I sincerely doubt if he was born in Africa, though.

  18. Laura Kellner Says:

    He might have been born with his head up his ass…

  19. Jennifer Says:

    Wow. Just wow. Making a cake of a racist caricature of a woman in protest of terrible violence against women.
    Fucking brilliant (not)
    For his next act, he’ll probably publicly fornicate with a Cabbage Patch doll in protest of the sex trade.

  20. mattH Says:

    but only after dying it yellow and making some modifications to the eyes…..maybe some fake teeth.

    “It’s supposed to challenge the historic view of racism, brutality and oppression (his words).”

    But what does that actually mean? Dose he every describe HOW he’s “challenging”. What view is he trying to replace and with what? In fact dose the man even know what his “point” is?

  21. BH Says:

    A lot more discussion of this cake here, especially in the comments under the article. Not sure I agree with the article though (if the aim was to expose hypocrisy or racism in Swedish society, it seems like the only people who are going to understand the message in that sense are those who already get it, no? Those who are in on the joke, so to speak).

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/the-brilliance-of-swedens-shocking-golliwog-cake/256168/

  22. LabRat Says:

    That’s not an easy thing to explain to people in words, but a screaming cake seems to have done it.

    No it didn’t. If it had then the Atlantic article would not have been necessary.

    …I’m going to have to decide just how many thousand words I disagree with the article by.

  23. phlegmfatale@hotmail.com Says:

    Speaking of the genital mutilation aspect of it, I saw a groin-centric photo which handily showed the first cut had been from the lady-bits area of the cake, exposing an interior of red sponge cake. This whole thing is just rather baffling, particularly that some must have found it quite clever, and in great enough numbers that they didn’t throw the brakes on before they actually executed this thing.

  24. BH Says:

    Of course a lot of people are going to be horrified, but that doesn’t mean they’ve learned anything they didn’t already know.

    And the people who actually need to understand all that stuff about how patronizing their attitudes are will at most just be bothered that the whole incident makes Sweden look bad, without really understanding why it makes Sweden look bad.