The Art of Entarting (And Other Crafts)

I’m writing a copy about Belgium for a website, and I’ve come across the name of the Belgian actor and writer Noel Godin (left) who is famous for entarting diverse and sundry celebrities. The BBC states that the three reasons for the Entarteur to put someone high and mighty on his hit-list are: power, self-importance, and the lack of sense of humour. My printed country guide tells me that “… actor/writer Noel Godin achieved international notoriety in 1998 when he and his cohorts ambushed an unsuspecting Bill Gates and proceeded to cream the billionaire – literally. According to news reports, Godin and his groupies flung dozens of cream pies at the software magnate, scoring at least four direct hits” (Europe on a Shoestring). On the right, you can see the sweet result (apologies if this sounds slightly ambiguous!).

In 1969, the French novelist Marguerite Duras became the first target for Godin’s sweet revenge. Since then, his creamy anger struck against many a public figure, including the film-maker Jean-Luc Godard, the now French President Nikolas Sarkozy, and the now late choreographer Maurice Bejart. While being caked is undoubtedly humiliating, Godin seems to try and teach the celebrities a lesson in the importance of not taking oneself too seriously. It’s like he’s saying: don’t assume that everything that flies in your face is against you. Per chance, this pie was intended for someone else, and you simply happened to be in the way. Indeed, Sylvester Stallone apparently took being caked quite well (much to the surprise of the attackers), so he was crossed out from the entarteurs’ hit-list.
Mr Godin’s initiative is totally harmless and even gentle: he only uses traditional tarts, with whipped cream and possibly a bit of chocolate. But his many followers around the world realised that it’s best sometimes to use other kinds of tarts. In Britain, the BBC reports, the cakers preferred to use lemon meringue pies that held together well during the flight, as well as deep and large traditional custard pies. The caking groups take on “self-explanatory” names, like the original Belgian TARTE or London-based PIE.
Back in 2000, the BBC said that the caking movement took over America, targeting those worth of creaming on a twice-a-month ratio. For my part, I liked this episode with attacking the famous economist Milton Friedman. The attacker said: [Free market economists] offer us pie in the sky, but being a down-to-earth guy, I brought that pie and gave it back to him.” This is what I call the good sense of humour – witty and subtle.
I think we’ll have to wait now for the ultimate movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes, to take it to the letter. Of course, of course, to tomato a film maker or a movie star can be dangerous, if only because tomatoes can be fairly hard. But then cinema is all about entertainment, isn’t it, so a couple of bruises may well be justified by the maddening spur of publicity.
I was trying to remember, without diving into Google Search, about any incidents of caking, egging, appling, etc, of a public figure in Russia, but didn’t remember any at the moment. There was, however, an incident of cucumbering someone to death in Russian literature. The incident was narrated by Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) in his short story, What They Sell in the Shops These Days. The story below is quoted from the website of collected works by Kharms, prepared by Serge Winitzky, with translations in English and German.

Koratygin came to see Tikakeyev but didn’t find him in.At that time Tikakeyev was at the shop buying sugar, meat and cucumbers.Koratygin hung about by Tikakeyev’s door and was just thinking of scribbling a note when he suddenly looked up to see Tikakeyev himself coming, carrying in his arms an oilskin bag.Koratygin spotted Tikakeyev and shouted: – I’ve been waiting for you a whole hour!- That’s not true – said Tikakeyev – I’ve only been out of the house twenty-five minutes.- Well, I don’t know about that – said Koratygin – except that I’ve already been here a whole hour.- Don’t tell lies – said Tikakeyev – you should be ashamed to lie.- My dear fellow! – said Koratygin – Be so good as to be a little more particular with your expressions.- I consider … – began Tikakeyev, but Koratygin interrupted him:- If you consider . . . – he said, but at this point Tikakeyev interrupted Koratygin and said:- A fine one you are!These words put Koratygin into such a frenzy that he pressed a finger against one of his nostrils and through his other nostril blew snot at Tikakeyev.Then Tikakeyev pulled the biggest cucumber out of his bag and hit Koratygin across the head with it.Koratygin clutched at his head with his hands, fell down and died.That’s the size of the cucumbers sold in the shops these days!


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