A Black Balloon Publication ©
April 18, 2012

Let Me Recite What History Teaches: April

By Anjuli Kolb
Transient

Swedish artist Makode Linde performed in his own piece "Painful Cake" at a party for World Art Day at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm on Sunday. With his head stuck through a hole in the table, which bore a giant pastry in the shape of a “black African woman,” he screamed as pieces of the cake were sliced from the groin. Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Lijeroth presided. It is thought that she was supposed to whisper "Your life will be better after this," before making the first incision. The internet has gonewhat Thackeray might call “black in the face” with horror. When someone sasses you, Perfect Party Cakes Made Easy suggests baking them in effigy.

1.

“Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was invited to open the festivities by performing a clitoridectomy on the cake, which she did by slicing off the part of the cake depicting female genitalia. She then proceeded to feed that part of the cake to a performance artist, done up in blackface, his head protruding through the table.”

—Fria Tider, “Shocking Photos Show Swedish Minister of Culture Celebrating with ‘N*g*er Cake,” 17 April, 2012.

2.

“ ‘Marry that Mulatto woman?’ George said, pulling up his shirt collars. ‘I don’t like the colour, sir. Ask the black that sweeps opposite Fleet Market, sir. I’m not going to marry a Hottentot Venus.’ Mr. Osborne pulled frantically at the cord by which he was accustomed to summon the butler when he wanted wine—and almost black in the face, ordered that functionary to call a coach for Captain Osborne.”

—William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1847.

3.

“If your child has a tendency towards cheekiness and you want to get your own back, this cake could well be the answer. Personalise it with your child’s hair colour, perhaps making it longer if it’s to be for a girl. You could also change the blue and white sweater to the colour of their favorite garment.”

—Carol Deacon, “Horrible Child,” Perfect Party Cakes Made Easy: Over 70 Fun-to-Decorate Cakes for All Occasions, 1996. 

Let Me Recite What History Teaches (LMRWHT) is a weekly column that flashes the lavalamp, gaslight, candlelight, campfire, torch, sometimes even the starlight of the past on something that is happening now. The form of the column strives to recover what might be best about the “wide-eyed presentation of mere facts.” Each week you will find here some citational constellation, offered with astonishment and without comment, that can serve as an end in itself, dinner party fodder, or an occasion for further thought or writing. The title is taken from the last line of Stein’s poem “If I Told Him (A Completed Portrait of Picasso)."

Image: The Local