Bread, Circuses, and … Cupcakes?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Posted in category Boom-Bubble Phenomenon

Joe Queenan has written a fantastic article for the Wall Street Journal about America’s “fawning subservience to the cupcake.”

Like the Macarena, Tofutti, the pedestrian scooter, the urban cowboy look of the early 1980s and America’s brief, misguided obsession with Paris Hilton, the era when the cupcake was in the ascendant deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history. What a nightmare it has been.

Joe joyfully exclaims that the era of the cupcake idiocy is over. Except I don’t necessarily categorize the cupcake circus along with other American cultural phenomena. A fad is a fad – they can be awful or fun or hilarious or ignorable. Part of the joy of an ever-changing culture is watching fads come and go, making fun of them, or watching the more meaningful trends become a part of the culture.

What Joe doesn’t mention is that the gourmet cupcake craze is a boom-bubble phenomenon – just one of many infantile fads easily accessible to the masses that attract people driven to excess by cheap money and the have-pulse-will-loan mentality of the boom years. Cheap-and-easy loans and an abundance of borrowers having no skin in the game created an environment where any scatterbrained idea can be turned into a brick-and-mortar business almost overnight. According to what I keep reading, it was Sex and the City – another repulsive obsession for the life-imitates-Hollywood crowd – that spawned an entire culture of cupcake worship. So let it be written on Sex and the City, so let it be done. Thanks to Shawn Ritenour for the tip.

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One Response to Bread, Circuses, and … Cupcakes?

  1. Bill Anderson says:

    May 25th, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Joe Queenan is one of my favorite writers. If you want to get a good howl, here is something you will love: Queenan on the worst movie ever made.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/mar/21/1

    He writes:

    While it may disappoint those who welcome my occasionally unconventional opinions, I am firmly in the camp that believes that Heaven’s Gate is the worst movie ever made. For my money, none of these other films can hold a candle to Michael Cimino’s 1980 apocalyptic disaster. This is a movie that destroyed the director’s career. This is a movie that lost so much money it literally drove a major American studio out of business. This is a movie about Harvard-educated gunslingers who face off against eastern European sodbusters in an epic struggle for the soul of America. This is a movie that stars Isabelle Huppert as a shotgun-toting cowgirl. This is a movie in which Jeff Bridges pukes while mounted on roller skates. This is a movie that has five minutes of uninterrupted fiddle-playing by a fiddler who is also mounted on roller skates. This is a movie that defies belief.

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