Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cakegate: Sweetest Mommyblogging Drama of the Week [Note to self: work "unicorns are racist" into text for SEO]

This post is for the entertainment of readers who aren't deeply involved in the blogosphere.  If you follow a lot of parenting-ish blogs, and especially if you went to the humongous BlogHer 11 conference, then you're probably sick to death of this story and you should go read something else.  If not, I hope you will find it hilarious.  I do.

BlogHer 11, which I attended for a number of reasons, not the least of which being it was staged five miles from my house, seems to have been a big success.  About 3,000 people attended, probably 2960 of whom were women, and I haven't heard many complaints about the content of the actual conference.

It was a little weird being there as a dude; but in that respect, it was much like the first parent-blogging conference I went to, Mom 2.0, in New Orleans, which I wrote about here.  I also wrote about some funny stuff that happened to me at BlogHer 11 here.

Let me just continue to preface this (I'll stop prefacing soon, I swear) by saying that the bloggers who are the main characters in this drama ("teh dramaz" in bloglish) are people I know(ish) and who have always been helpful and kind to me in any interaction I've had with them.  So I'm not trying to bash on any of them. 

For the last three years, the BlogHer conference has featured a big ol' throwdown called Sparklecorn, a dance party hosted by MamaPop, that pop culture site I briefly wrote for.  Past Sparklecorns are the stuff of legend, and every year, they get more outrageous and extravagant.

This year, they hired a super-famous DJ, called DJ Skribble, to keep the mommyblogger rumps shaking.

But the centerpiece of the whole party was undeniably the EPIC cake, made by Charm City Cakes, which is on some TV show or something.  Naturally, I failed to take a decent picture of this cake, and in fact it was kind of hard to see the damn thing in the low light of the party, so all I can do is share (without permission) this pretty crappy picture my friend took.

Unicorn Deathmatch

Pretty cool, right?  MamaPop, and the mommyblogosphere in general, have an institutional obsession with unicorns, and this is an homage to the mommyblogers' favorite mythical beasts.  Those suckers were about four feet tall (or "13 hands" in elven unicorn rancher parlance), and the whole cake was a good six feet long.

And it was pretty cheap, too, according to the scuttlebutt.  Only $11,000.  Or, put another way, eleven large.  $11k.  ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!  FOR CAKE!

It was a cool-ass looking cake.  I didn't get to taste it, because when I asked for a piece, a security guy closed up the velvet rope surrounding it and told me I couldn't have any.  I think other people ate some.  I don't know.  There were some big hunks out of it when the party was over.  Anyway, I don't think that eating it was really the point, and it didn't really bother me that I didn't get to try it.

So the party goes down, everyone's dancin' and sweatin' and huggin' and carrying on.  I miss some of it because I have to go do some stuff, but it seems like people were having fun.  Here's a slide show to prove it.

And then, a couple days later, when everyone who went to the conference is posting their BlogHer wrap-up...


Another mommyblogger, whose whole shtick is criticism, provocation, iconoclasm, and sacred cow-tipping, writes a flippant, critical recap of the conference, in which she pokes fun at some of the parties, including Sparklecorn.  One of the remarks she makes, ostensibly in jest (?), is that the unicorn cake is "not wholly devoid of problematic racial imagery."  You know, because it's a black unicorn fighting a white one. 

The comment section in the critical post fills up with others who bash on aspects of Sparklecorn and the parties, and complain that the cost of the DJ and the cake left nothing in the budget for things like food and something other than cheap beer and wine to drink.* Some suggest that the money should have gone to some social cause.  Others defend the cake and the party and tell everyone to lighten up and have fun. Twitter blows up with comments about the "racist cake," most of which defend the cake, Sparklecorn, and their creators, and denounce the critical mommyblogger.  Meanwhile, comments on her post continue to accumulate, including plenty of critical analysis.  Of cake.

When the dust settles (if it has indeed settled) there are around 200 Tweets with the phrase "racist cake" in them, and probably dozens of blog posts.  Oh.  Including this one.

So, if you are one of those people who thinks mommyblogging is all about parenting tips and poignant stories of adorable tykes, I hope this will clear things up for you.  We are not afraid to tackle the serious issues of our day.  This drama is about more than cake.  It's about more than racism.  It's even about more than unicorns.  It's about fighting for your right to party.  

*There was even a rumor that some daddybloggers made a liquor run and smuggled booze back into the party  

Some Other Stuff I Wrote this Week

My other recap of BlogHer, on DadCentric.  The phrase "titties hanging out" is used quite injudiciously.

On Parentables, I wrote about a study regarding families' fast-food eating habits.  It was conducted at the fast food restaurant at the hospital that was doing the study.

Also on Parentables, I wrote about some research that suggests we should tailor our parenting styles to mesh with our kids' personalities.


  1. You came to blogher to meet me, don't lie.

    I hope it was good for you, too. *wink*

  2. I hope you're okay with knowing that I was only using you for your vodka.

  3. Perhaps in this instance we should adapt "let them eat cake" to "let them take Xanax". I personally love a good socio-politically charged slice of cake. They should have had Boehner-Obama cake and then a vote to see which one tasted better.

  4. @Mr Lady--Our brief time together will always be precious to me. Unforgettable.

    @Kristine--That's fine. I'll take whatever kind of attention I can get. I just regret that I didn't get more. Attention, that is. And vodka.

    @Mai--It would be hard to beat a delicious Boehner cake, what with the yummy orange frosting and all.

  5. I am SO HAPPY to see a dad blogger with the balls to tackle the serious issues.

  6. I obviously need to do more research - I can't believe that I thought the mommy bloggers would be more interested in getting a good night's sleep than partying. then again...maybe if they had gotten more sleep, they would have been less concerned about racist cake.

  7. @Muskrat--It was just something that was on my heart. I couldn't NOT write about it.

    @Tarisa--Mommybloggers never sleep.

  8. Racist cake or not it gave everyone a something to talk about other than the conference and the free swag!

  9. Now that I know you're going to write about Serious Issues, I am totally subscribing to your blog. Well, that and you used proper elven equestrian parlance; that's what really tipped the scales in your favor.

    Also: you're not supposed to eat the fondant. Ask me how I learned that the hard way.

  10. That cake is simply OOZING magic awesomeness. I can't imagine the tales of BlogHer that AREN'T being told.

  11. I'm going to assume it took so long for the dust to settle because it was actually glitter.

  12. It sounds like a lot of fun was had by all...but I have to admit that I am most impressed by your mastery of the "elven unicorn rancher parlance".

  13. I was at Blogher and I never heard a thing about this. Hahaha, so glad I googled "Blogher drama" and got this.


Don't hold back.


Related Posts with Thumbnails