Is this a parody? It certainly looks like one, but…it’s not clear that that’s what the Guardian intends.
Beware of cupcake fascism, it tells us. Oh come on, that has to be a parody.
The constellation of cultural tropes that most paradigmatically manifest in the form of the cupcake are associated in particular with infantilisation. Of course, looking back to a perfect past that never existed is nothing if not the pained howl of a child who never wanted to be forced to grow up, and the cupcake and its associates market themselves by catering to these never-never-land adults’ tastes. These products, which treat their audience as children, and more specifically the children of the middle classes – perfect special snowflakes full of wide-eyed wonder and possibility – succeed as expressions of a desire on behalf of consumers to always and forever be children, by telling consumers not only that this is OK, but also that it is, to a real degree, possible.
Parody. Has to be parody. But then you scroll down and come to
Something became clear to me in the aftermath of the London riots in 2011, when I sawthousands of people take to the streets with brooms at the instigation of a twitter hashtag (#riotcleanup), and “clean up” the effects of the anger of the rioters, which was already in the process of being dismissed and demonised in the media as opportunistic looting long before the police would find a way to have their killing of Mark Duggan declared “lawful”. This realisation was that if you wanted to found a fascist reich in Britain today, you could never do so on the basis of any sort of ideology of racial superiority or militaristic imagery or anything of the like. Fascism is, if nothing else, necessarily majoritarian, and nowadays racism is very niche-appeal (just look at how laughable every EDL march is, where the anti-fascists outnumber the alleged fascists by a ratio of more than two to one). But you could get a huge mass of people to participate in a reactionary endeavour if you dressed it up in nice, twee, cupcakey imagery, and persuaded everyone that the brutality of your ideology was in fact a form of niceness. If a fascist reich was to be established anywhere today, I believe it would necessarily have to exchange iron eagles for fluffy kittens, swap jackboots for Converse, and the epic drama of Wagnerian horns for mumbled ditties on ukuleles.
So beware of cupcakes, I guess.
But I refuse to get rid of my jackboots.