So, in November, there was a marvelous article about macarons in the New York Times. It’s a perfect, perfect example of a lovely inanity.
There is no practical reason for this article to exist. None whatsoever. (I mean, if you are the protagonist in a Run, Lola, Run style techno-thriller-dance-party sort of thing, but the villains are extremely prickly French dessert connoisseur-terrorists who hiss things like, “Bring us zee macarons, and not just any macarons, but zee best macarons!” while, I don’t know, strapping a bomb to your boyfriend [who is a mime, so every time he freaks out about the bomb he has to be like “—-!” and then make elaborate silent stress and/or fear gestures with his arms and face, which in turn makes him more freaked out because he’s concerned he’s going to move too much while miming it up and set off the bomb, leading to still more silent freaking out in an endlessly generative cycle of suffering] then maybe. But otherwise really no.)
But it’s so lovely!
Let’s examine how it’s lovely:
- Far-from-oblique homage to 19th century purple prose and 20th century bodice-rippers.
- Reference to Euclidean geometry.
- Hilarious cupcake vendetta.
- Use of the phrase “lurid gimcrack.”
- Sentence structure.
The thing is a joy to read, and all the more impressive because it is essentially a shopping review. In other words it is,due to the constraints of its genre, among the most commonly vapid, boring, and useless forms of journalism, but somehow manages, despite such poor genre-vectored odds, to be a profoundly satisfying aesthetic entity unto itself. I don’t like macarons. In fact, anything meringue-based makes my teeth feel like cheap velour, and I find it creepy. But I care about macarons because Ligaya Mishan cares about macarons, and this matters to me because damn: the woman can write. And was I thinking about any of this as I read? No, because I was too busy caring about macarons that I don’t even want to eat.
Thus, the first Lovely Inanity of DBDBTRH. (There’s going to be a sister theme that deals with damaging inanities, but I haven’t found an offensive enough example to really earn the title and I’ve already said everything that can be said about Muffie Potter Aston to myself while questioning whether I mightn’t have just preferred that Harold Camping’s predictions come true before I had to be exposed to her thoughts on Birkin Bags.)