Pies and Lies

Belgium is a small country squashed between France, Holland, and Germany, inhabited by 11 million Belgians and close to a million immigrant Muslims. More than half of the Belgians speak and think Flemish, which is actually Dutch, and they tend to be anti-EU and conservative. The rest speak French, eat French fries non-stop, and commit adultery ad nauseam. The Walloons, as the Frog speakers are known, are among the most promiscuous people on earth, and throughout their short history (Belgium was created as a buffer zone against the French by the Brits in 1830) have not distinguished themselves in any way except for the great Georges Simenon, the crime writer who claimed to have bedded 200,000 women. They were mostly prostitutes, and he may have exaggerated a bit, but what’s a few hookers, give or take 100,000. 

Georges Simenon

The greatest living Belgian by far is my pen pal Noël Godin, alias Georges Le Gloupier, who lives in France and whose profession is pie-throwing. Pies in France are known as tarts, and Georges covers people’s faces with his pies—the receivers being those who take themselves seriously among politicians, philosophers, journalists, and not a small amount of thespians. 

Tart-throwing may seem a bit violent nowadays—what with Hollywood, women, gays, lesbians, transgenders and other minorities being awfully touchy—but only symbolically. It only hurts the victim in his, her, or its pride. Georges explained it all in his great book Cream and Punishment. His motto is very simple: Custard pie-throwing is a time-honored tradition against pseudo-intellectuals and media culture elite. Georges’s greatest successes have always taken place in such fertile grounds for phonies at the Cannes Film Festival or at certain literary parties such as the Booker Prize Awards, and so on. Airports too are good places to expose phonies and their ilk. France’s greatest phony is the pseudo-philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy, and he has been the recipient of George’s projectiles not once, not twice, but five times. Lévy has always got it wrong where politics are concerned. He’s always on stage and pinches his vowels and blunts his consonants to convey incisiveness. The last time it was in Nice airport and Lévy was surrounded by Georges and four of his helpers who fired away non-stop. Lévy lost his temper and tried to kick the Belgian. The latter is non-violent and just kept throwing his pies. Eventually the fuzz—in fits of laughter—restored order, but not before Georges had announced over the police megaphone that his pies had been baked only by the best “patissiers.” Georges is very proud of his products and uses nothing but the best creams and milk and lemons. 

Bernard-Henri Lévy

Le Gloupier has many phonies in mind, such as Martin Amis in England, and while I was Atticus on The Sunday Times during the ’90s, he asked me for a list of names worth receiving his custard pies. I made a list for him and, being a punctilious man, he assured me that he would check out my list very carefully. 

Although I haven’t spoken to him recently, I have a plan to fly him over to New York—Los Angeles would be too easy, like bringing a man-eating tiger into a steam room full of Sammy Glicks—and as I write, I am busy making out a list. It would start, of course, with those purveyors of fake news at the New York Times. Let’s see, there is such a plethora of phonies on the Times who take themselves ever so seriously, I feel like a thief from Baghdad inside the Taj Mahal. I’ll start with that matinee idol, Paul Krugman, and follow up with the lachrymose Roger Cohen. Then we have the ever-mendacious Michelle Goldberg, who recently praised that Michigan Congresswoman for using the word mother f—-r when referring to The Donald. (With such good manners, it’s obvious Goldberg was raised by old-fashioned WASPs in Newport.) And of course David Leonhardt, who recently accused Donald Trump of using the presidency to promote business, accepting financial gifts as bribes from foreigners, lying about his dealings with hostile foreign powers, and tolerating cabinet ministers who use their position to enrich themselves. All lies and unproven, but stated as facts by a man who makes The Donald sound honest and himself as a bigger liar than Baron Munchhausen. 

Michelle Goldberg

The New York list could be endless, and the pies needed would be very expensive. The Kardashians and the Hilton women come to mind, but they are all West-Coasters. Maybe if celebrities and rap stars who take themselves seriously were met by Godin, they might take stock and stop self-mythologizing. And never forget: It was all begun by a Belgian, the first and only Belgian hero.