AskDefine | Define caking

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  1. present participle of cake

Extensive Definition

Pieing is the act of throwing a pie at someone. Originally a staple of slapstick comedy, pieing has also come to be used for political purposes, in which throwing a pie at an authority figure, politician, or celebrity is a means of protesting against the target's political beliefs, or against a perceived flaw — arrogance, hubris — in the target's character. (A variation of pieing, when the target is hit with a cake instead of a pie, is called "caking".)


The political act of pieing has its origins in the "pie in the face" gag from slapstick comedy (first popularized by movie director Mack Sennett around the year 1914 in his Keystone Cops silent movies). Throwing pies as a comedy staple came into its own in the Laurel & Hardy classic short film, "Battle of the Century" (1927) which, according to legend, required four thousand pies. Pie-throwing became a convention of early slapstick movies made by the Three Stooges, Aron Kay, also a Yippie, went on to take up Forcade's pieing tactics and pied singer and anti-gay-rights activist Anita Bryant in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1977 (audio footage of the incident is included in the Chumbawamba song Just Desserts, a homage to the concept of pieing). Kay subsequently pied, among many others, William F. Buckley, G. Gordon Liddy, E. Howard Hunt, William Shatner, and Andy Warhol. Kay retired in 1992 after pieing right-wing activist Randall Terry. His exploits live on though. He appears in cartoon form in a 2003 animated music video, "Death penalty for pot" by Benedict Arnold and The Traitors, where he and Dana Beal pie George W. Bush and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (at 2 minutes and 33 seconds into the video).
Concerning Kay a November 12, 1998 San Francisco Examiner article writes: "He considers the Three Stooges, whom he began watching on TV as a kid, as the true fathers of pie-throwing."
Recently, the Belgian anarchist and surrealist Noël Godin has gained a following for pieing figures whom he believes take themselves too seriously, most notably Bill Gates and filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard during the Cannes Film Festival. His favorite target was Bernard-Henri Lévy. (Godin stated that the men he most desired to pie were Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Pope John Paul II.) Godin's popularity has inspired many copycats.
The anonymous Biotic Baking Brigade has pied or attempted to pie, among others, conservative pundits Ann Coulter and David Horowitz; Green Party politician Ralph Nader; and Fred Phelps, the controversial leader of the Westboro Baptist Church. The Canadian group the Entartistes, founded by Rhinoceros Party of Canada founder François Gourd, has also pied many, including then–Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien. In 2003 in the city of Calgary they pied Ralph Klein, the premier of the Canadian province of Alberta, saying in their press release: "Is it surprising to see Ralph Klein opposing the Kyoto Accord for the right of big corporations to pollute, the same corporations that finance his campaigns?"
"The pie gives power back to the people because so many feel powerless in the face of big politicians and industrialists", explained Pope-Tart (a pseudonym), a member of the Entartistes. Newsweek columnist Gertz Kuntzman wrote that pieing "deserves to be one of the most celebrated traditions in our so-called culture."
Sometimes pieing targets suffer the prank with good humor. Godard was very pleased at being pied; he intervened with the Cannes authorities on behalf of Noël Godin to prevent him from being arrested. By contrast, Bernard-Henri Lévy has on multiple occasions attacked Noël Godin and his followers, and Ann Coulter pressed charges in 2005 when she was pied at the University of Arizona. Activist David Horowitz said of his pieing, "These attacks are sinister. The person who throws a pie is saying, ‘I hate you. I don't want you to speak.' I never saw it coming. And it took away my dignity. When you're lecturing, you're supposed to have an authority. But a pie turns it into a food fight." Anti-gay activist Anita Bryant said, upon being pied, that at least it was a "fruit" pie, referring to the gay slur.


External links

Further reading

  • Noël Godin (1989) Anthologie de la subversion carabinée. Éditions L'Âge d'Homme; ISBN 2-8251-0715-8.
  • Noël Godin (1995) Crème et châtiment: Mémoire d'un entarteur. Éditions Albin Michel; ISBN 2-226-07824-X.
  • Noël Godin (2005) Entartons, entartons les pompeux cornichons! Flammarion; ISBN 2-08-068546-5.
  • Agent Apple. Pie Any Means Necessary: The Biotic Baking Brigade Cookbook. Edinburgh: AK Press, 2004. ISBN 9781902593883
caking in German: Tortenwurf
caking in French: Entartage
caking in Dutch: Taarten
caking in Japanese: パイ投げ
caking in Finnish: Kakutus
caking in Swedish: Tårtning
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