Athena Offers Her Take on the Greatest Existential Question of Our Time

This is definitely one of those “you either get it or you don’t” things.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

71 replies on “Athena Offers Her Take on the Greatest Existential Question of Our Time”

Obviously, with the knife extended out towards the camera and the cake pulled back towards her, she’s saying “My cake, your death.” Best answer I’ve seen yet!

Huh. Have to admit I’m rather baffled. My guess:

“Q: Will John Scalzi’s daughter stab you in the face if you try to take her cake? Mmm. Come to think of it, that cake looks…”


Am I close?


“There was even going to be a party for you, a big party that all your friends were invited to. I invited your best friend, the companion cube. Of course, he couldn’t come because you murdered him. All your other friends couldn’t come either because you don’t have any other friends because of how unlikeable you are. It says so right here in your personnel file. ‘Unlikeable. Liked by no one. A bitter unlikeable loner whose passing shall not be mourned. SHALL NOT BE MOURNED.’ That’s exactly what it says. Very formal. Very official. It also says that you were adopted. So that’s very funny too.”

It’s actually a post-modernist take on Marie Antoinette, isn’t it? Historical photographic still life, translated into modern commentary on the enduring class struggle between rich and poor.

The utilization of repetitive color — the deep royal blue — set against the neutral beige and earth tone are indicative of the deep delineation between the entitled classes and the common folk. That Athena sits in such a way as to block the door, itself marked by the same rich blue, suggests there is only one way out — and that only the wealthy have access to the exit.

The placement of the delicious and rich looking cake on a black plate further symbolizes the fate of of Marie Antoinette for being so careless and offhand about the poor — for her, death was indirectly related to the cake just as it was directly related to the guillotine (the knife).

There’s so much texture here, so many’s a brilliant composition, Scalzi, and Athena, with her resolute, yet innocent face, is the perfect stand-in for both the spectre of fate and the incomprehensible Marie.

I do think that it might be better served, however, if Athena were looking askance, perhaps to her left, as if contemplating the unseen but inevitable future, with the knife pointed along the tracking of her gaze…just a little more left…little more…

*steals cake — runs*

Presenting false dichotomies simply shows she is a helpless product of our crappy school system. She has solid career prospects in talk show punditry though.

Huey @20: Clearly, you haven’t been watching enough Doctor Who. If you were keeping up, you’d have seen The Doctor explain that anyone can have their cake, then eat it. The real trick is to eat your cake and still have it afterward.

Well, you know, to still have it in cake-form.

Annalee @ 39: actually, if you use a TARDIS to power a paradox machine, I’ll bet you could eat your cake and have it in cake form afterwards. Okay, so that’s probably bad for the universe in some cosmic way, but what has the universe done for you lately? It’s probably making fun of you right now with that incessant padapa-pum, padapa-pum that it does just to irritate you.

Thanks to you, I realized Eddie Izzard is on tour. Thanks to the Husband of Wonderfulness (i.e., MINE) I now have tickets to go see him in D.C.

I am filled with glee.

Did she get the cake from the Death Star Canteen?

This seems like a trick question. How do I know that the cake isn’t laced with arsenic?

Alternatively, we have not established whose death we are bargaining for in this arrangement.

Chicken, please!

This would have been a harder one if you hadn’t so recently squee’d about yer Izzard tix, ya know. Context is everything.

Well, as a writer, you probably know that. So never mind.

But I’m going to post this anyway. Can’t force myself to take the “or silence” option. The posting is just too tasty.

Shouldn’t it be the other way round?

Cake or death… Now in Hebrew!

This seems like a trick question. How do I know that the cake isn’t laced with arsenic?

Um, sorry, but the question isn’t “cake XOR death.”

And thanks to comment #4, I finally, viscerally understand why Wil Wheaton is awesome.

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