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Sun Aug 20, 2017, 03:28 AM

The Brilliance of Tina Fey's Cake Satire, Explained [View all]

http://www.playboy.com/articles/tina-fey-cake

By Tom Carson

August 18, 2017

When Tina Fey vented about Charlottesville, neo-Nazis and Donald Trump while cramming her mouth with handfuls of a sheet cake decorated with an American flag on Weekend Update: Summer Edition last night, the internet went nuts. “Love Tina Fey, but I’m REALLY not feeling her ‘Ignore racism and stress-eat instead’ take. It strikes me as willfully naive and privileged,” bloggers Tom & Lorenzo tweeted. “Tina Fey’s 'Eat Cake’ Strategy After Charlottesville Is Bad Advice,” The Daily Beast somberly opined.

Thanks for that sharp insight, Daily Beast. The only problem with it is that Fey isn’t in the advice-giving business. She’s in the satire business, so don’t call us crazy for suspecting that when she urged viewers outraged by white nationalism’s depredations to “find a local business you support—maybe a Jewish run bakery or African-American run bakery—order a cake with the American flag on it…and just eat it,” she was mocking a clueless attitude, not endorsing it.

To anyone who took to Twitter to complain that her recommended solution to Trump-induced stress looked like “white privilege in action,” all we can say is bingo. We’ve watched the routine more than once, and it’s brilliant. It’s a brainy, self-lacerating caricature of how easily Trump-phobic vanilla liberals with relatively pampered lives, knowing they’re at little or no risk of being oppressed or marginalized themselves during his reign, can settle for venting their genuine but ineffectual rage without consequences.

Since the likes of Fey don’t feel remotely threatened (and would sound crazy if they pretended to be), they aren’t under any real pressure to convert their anger into action. That’s how anger ends up turning into self-gratification by other means. We’ll never know how anyone could watch her stuffing her face until her lips were covered in goo as she tried to spit out anti-Trump, anti-Nazi venom while choking down another bite—even Lucille Ball was never crueler to herself for a joke’s sake—and imagine that Fey was earnestly proposing this as a good coping strategy. Not only was it satire, but it was pretty damn brutal satire in the bargain.

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