Magazine article The New Yorker

FOOD FIGHT; LOOK OUT BELOW DEPT.; LOOK OUT BELOW DEPT. Series: 2/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

FOOD FIGHT; LOOK OUT BELOW DEPT.; LOOK OUT BELOW DEPT. Series: 2/5

Article excerpt

Consider the doughnut: workingman's food, light to the touch but heavy in the gut, beloved by Homer Simpson, cops, and Canadians. No snack sneers so winningly at pretension. Mayor Bloomberg, at both of his City Hall inaugurals, demonstrated his populism by dispensing doughnuts (first glazed, then plain). This Labor Day, for his efforts, he was served a doughnut in return by his constituency. The doughnut was chocolate, frosted, and stale. (Furthermore, according to the Mayor's spokesman, it was half-eaten.) It came from above--nine floors? ten floors? One couldn't be sure--and landed, according to Newsday, with a "popping sound," not far from the Mayor's lectern.

At the time of the doughnut drop, Bloomberg was wearing a hot-pink sweater and matching socks--an easy target--and facing an apartment tower at the Wyckoff Gardens housing projects, in Brooklyn, to announce the installation of high-tech security cameras there. The identity of the assailant is not known, nor is the intended meaning of the projectile, which may explain Bloomberg's uninspired response: "Just another reason why we need cameras." By contrast, when the former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson was pelted with rotten eggs, at Cambridge in the nineteen-sixties, he parried successfully, replying that even students "can afford eggs to throw under Labour."

The Mayor's girlfriend, Diana Taylor, ran for cover at the sight of the doughnut. If physical harm had been intended, the doughnut, however stale, represents a peculiar choice, especially when compared with weaponized foodstuffs of recent renown, like a twenty-pound turkey (one was lobbed, to nearly murderous effect, onto a Long Island road in 2004); hot coffee (pitched, by a New York state senator, in the face of an aide); and cream pies (tossed at both Bill Gates and Ann Coulter). Sports lore lends some symbolic context: in a famous incident in 1988 (termed DoughnutGate by the press), the pro hockey coach Jim Schoenfeld called the referee Don Koharski a "fat pig," and twice exhorted him to "have another doughnut." The referees' union boycotted the next game, and scabs were called in. Officer Koharski became the name of a character--a cop, at a doughnut shop--in the movie "Wayne's World": a dubious honor, even for a ref. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.