Coverage of man who threw cake at the Mona Lisa fails to answer basic question: What kind of cake?

Journalism really disappoints me.

Example: A man disguised as a woman in a wheelchair threw cake at Leonardo da Vinci’s famed Mona Lisa painting at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The cake chucker apparently wanted to protest climate change.

Bulletproof — and apparently cake-proof — glass protected what is likely the world’s most famous painting.

French police took the assailant into custody for psychiatric evaluation.

Most of the news websites covered the details above well enough.

But correspondents worldwide failed us in the basic question that plagues most readers: What kind of cake was it?

The pictures showed a white splatter.

I’m ruling out pancake.

Layer cake or sheet cake?

If it was a sheet cake, did they put frosting a pudding between layers?

It could have been a sheet cake or made in a cake pan.

Vanilla or chocolate?

Or did the cake hurler throw a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting?

On the matter of frosting, are we looking at a cream cheese mixture or a sugar coating?

Coconut flakes?

I hope Amnesty International gets involved.

The suspect stands accused of both attacking a priceless art treasure and wasting cake.

The French take their pastries seriously.

I mean I think so.

I’m an American. I don’t know much about France.

I hear they’re famous for cheese, pastry, and being invaded by Germany.

Let’s hope it wasn’t a German chocolate cake.

That could raise international tensions and cause more supply chain interruptions.

I hope they find the suspect’s manifesto.

Everybody interested in social change has a manifesto.

I imagine his to be written in comic sans font (ironically, of course) and published to a Reddit subtheme.

If you don’t know what the previous paragraph meant, that’s OK. I don’t either.

I just throw language like that into my columns in hopes of catching the occasional reader under 45, if such a creature exists.

Somewhere in the manifesto, I hope, the climate change avenger links the crimes of the Mona Lisa to the problem of man-made global warming.

I am no expert in climate volatility, but it seems to me that the Mona Lisa is innocent. Da Vinci painted it in the early 1500s.

He certainly didn’t do it with the window air conditioner blowing while under tungsten lightbulbs.

Older readers remember tungsten lightbulbs. They cost about 50 cents for a box of four and burned bright enough you could see to read by them.

Today’s lightbulbs cost $10 for one and give off just enough light to convince you you’re going blind.

We’ve largely done away with tungsten lightbulbs because they used most of their energy creating heat than light.

Newer lightbulbs use most of their energy giving off light, even though it sure doesn’t seem very bright.

Then again, I’m middle-aged. It’s possible I am going blind.

Anyway, I would have understood if the cake guy had thrown a tungsten lightbulb — those vile, disgusting things — at the Mona Lisa in protest.

Cake crime is not new to the French.

History inaccurately attributes the sentence “Let them eat cake” to Queen Marie-Antionette.

The Queen lived a lavish lifestyle while France’s poor struggled.

Historians say the young, virile Marie-Antionette sympathized and cared for the poor, but some people didn’t like her and spread lies.

The “eat cake” lie went, for lack of better terminology, went viral, eventually leading to the Marie-Antoinette’s execution by guillotine.

Our modern-day cake-thrower won’t face such harsh penalties if he’s convicted of a crime.

Besides, I’m no expert in French law, but I believe he already has an excellent defense.

After all, everybody knows you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

Former journalist and future teacher Daniel P. Finney writes columns for the Marion County Express.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.


  1. littleoldlady72 says:

    Hey, Daniel…I’m 72 and represent that Reddit remark! Reddit keeps me humble, and connects me to more variety than other self-promoting social media. I use FB for posting my travel meals, so they’ll come back to haunt me as “your memories”, but I won’t tweet.

    I’m sending a strong hope for a successful job search.


  2. Luann Rowat says:

    Oh my God, Daniel! I have just finished rolling on the floor and holding my gut with laughter. You nailed it with this post! Much needed on this day after being diagnosed with non-alcoholic Cirrhosis of Liver, discovered just by chance needing an Ultrasound, after the CT scan in ER in January showed “some type” of abnormality which needed to be done after I arrived at Methodist Hospital downtown via ambulance after being injured in a high speed hit and run after getting off work at 8 that January evening and 5 blocks from my place of employment. Punk who hit me is still at large.

    Anyway, thank you so much for the laughter that came my way. Keep them coming!

    Sincerely, Luann Rowat Des Moines

    Liked by 1 person

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