William Gates III, chairman of Microsoft Corp, was hit in the face with a cream pie Wednesday in the Belgian capital, Brussels. If early reports are to be believed – and we fervently hope they are – the world owes its gratitude to the extraordinary Noel Godin, the French-speaking world’s most famous prankster and self-appointed […]
William Gates III, chairman of Microsoft Corp, was hit in the face with a cream pie Wednesday in the Belgian capital, Brussels. If early reports are to be believed – and we fervently hope they are – the world owes its gratitude to the extraordinary Noel Godin, the French-speaking world’s most famous prankster and self-appointed deflator of egos. Godin and his band of supporters, the Pastry International, are dedicated to fighting depressing laws, authority, and the return of the moral order.
By Gary Flood
As influenced by anarchism 1968-style as twitchy 1960s British comedian Norman Wisdom and The Three Stooges, Godin has become famous in both his native Belgium and neighboring France as L’Entarteur – the Pieman. While his methods are not limited to cream pies – he and his team, according to an LA Times profile of last December, are apparently plotting an aerial bombardment with soccer balls of the World Cup’s final game in Paris this summer – but his past exploits have mainly centered around pastry subversion. It may stretch credibility, but the language- chauvinistic French have been forced to coin a word for his antics, entarter, meaning to hit someone in the face with a pie. His published works include both the appropriately titled Cream And Punishment (an autobiography) and Anthology Of Radical Subversion, an 800-page anarchist manifesto. The attack on Mr Gates was in some ways a departure for Godin, who tends to mainly choose French targets (such as nouvelle vague director Jean-Luc Godard, or novelist Marguerite Duras) because hardly anyone takes notice when a Belgian is entarte. A particular target is French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, a man who Godin describes as in love with himself to the most spectacular degree of imbecility, and who has been entarte five times.
Finest patisserie products
A flanning requires meticulous planning, involving a photographer and filmmaker, and an assistant to hold the delicacy itself – he uses only the finest patisserie products, and if all goes wrong, he and his fellow pranksters just eat them. The first five seconds after a flanning offer the key to the personality of the celebrity, he believes; a key to Gates’ inner life may be that he seems to have been simply led away stunned, while other target reactions range from Godard licking the cream off (a gesture which ensured he was never attacked again) to Levy, a man of academic distance and intellectual hauteur, who punched Godin out and then offered to then kick his head in. Godin says that he targets figures with small sense of irony about themselves, and that We only attack the wicked – the great and the wicked. No world figure more truly sums up those qualities, surely, than the man who laughs Uncle Sam’s judicial process to scorn. None of Godin’s French targets have pressed charges so far, for fear, he claims, of their public reputations. How fitting that the humorless Gates is reported to be thinking of breaking that mold and getting Godin charged. We here say – all power to the Pastry International, and when is Larry Ellison next in Paris?