I have to say I never thought in my lifetime the White House press secretary would be not only communicating directly with citizens but also name-dropping chefs. The Big O’s intermediary actually did a #FollowFriday for Bobby Flay and Cat Cora. I guess it’s progress — I can’t imagine Dana Perino having the faintest clue who Maricel Presilla even is, given that if she were ever on Jeopardy she would have picked the Caja China for Bay of Pigs.
Talk about taking the bait: Some particularly deluded wingnuts (if that phrase isn’t redundant) started saying the Big O was going to ban sport fishing, and of course every kkkrazy lost it. If he were the malicious sort, he could wake up every day with a new way to yank their chains. Like threatening to take away their Cheetos. Or tax them.
Given how bamboozled the media was about the Iraq war, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that reporters were so flummoxed by the Big O’s medical checkup. Suffice it to say: Pie does not equal elevated cholesterol. Burgers, neither. It could just as well be all the stress of trying to steer the Titanic as the icebergs melt, but the stenographers just heard and typed. Without noting that a doctor never once advised the Chimp to “continue to use alcohol in moderation.” Bottoms up, indeed.
I confess to wandering over to digital monkey cages on occasion just to watch the occupants smear themselves with their own feces — there’s no entertainment like wingnuts posturing, with flagrant disregard for reality. So I’m quite enjoying the arguments that farm subsidies are inalienable rights for the corporations that really control agrarian food. Aesop had a fable or two for this, but I wouldn’t count out the impact of a First Family who walks the walk. You can’t grow high-fructose corn syrup in a backyard garden.
I know we’re all supposed to pretend 2001 to 2009 never happened, but I had one thought on hearing — and hearing, and hearing, and hearing — the big White House party was crashed: The Secret Service must have been worn out by all those years of chasing the Skank Twins on their margarita binges. Not to mention hiding the pretzels from the Chimp. The return of honor and dignity and a wine-drinker in chief must be freaking everyone out. But I really blame “Iron Chef.” Once the freckled calves got in, the barbarians were through the gates.
Back in 1999, when I was trapped in an Aeron chair there, DI/DO ran a piece wondering why New York City had so few top women chefs. It didn’t really come to a conclusion, and looking back I see the reporter got her best walker’s name wrong, but at least it was a stab at something substantial. Today the paper where only Krazy Rhymes-With-Lunts get ahead thinks the Big O not playing a boy’s game with girls is front-page news. Can’t we go back to debating whether Craftsteak was too Top Cheffy for him? Or just put matchboxes on P1?
Then again, this nonsense seems part of the new media drive to bring back the Clinton glory days, with all trumped-up scandal all the time. One surly cretin in the LATimes of all papers even attacked Mrs. O for promoting eating right and exercising (something the Chimp wife he worked for never did while idly smoking and reading for eight miserable years). We the readers are left to discern from heritage sheep’s entrails that the reason Big Food had to pull back on its up-is-down, war-is-peace, Froot-Loops-R-nutritious campaign is that there’s a new sheriff in town. The crap those processors got away with doesn’t fly anymore.
Given that the food world so often feels like seventh grade, it was rather entertaining if not reassuring to see the whole world acting like the food world. The Big O wins the equivalent of 30 stars from Michelin and everyone reacts as if the Schnorrer did the honor? The race is definitely not to the swift.
Just when you think the wingnuts cannot get any wingnuttier, you read that an obese blowhard with an obscene appetite for prescription drugs and Dominican boys is trashing Mrs. O for buying that Tuscan kale at the White House farmers’ market simply because the Italian name for it is cavolo nero — black cabbage. Which makes it or her racist (not sure even he’s clear on which). On the upside, that sound you heard was pinheads exploding when he dared to use furrin language.
Easily the most ridiculous column of the week was the one by the unfunniest jester in Washington, mocking Mrs. O for getting a farmers’ market to open two blocks from home. The jackass, to use the dis du jour, started off by twisting history, saying the Big O got in hot water for mentioning arugula in Iowa only because the state has no Holy Foods. (No matter that he won there.) Worse, a guy who is probably paid more each year than many farms gross in five mocked the prices — $5 for a dozen eggs when a shopper could get five dozen for that at Giant (is he aware the salmonella comes free?) And he doubted shoppers using food stamps could afford to indulge. Maybe he needs to get out to the Applebee’s salad bar more often, or at least to the market in my neighborhood, where the food stamps are flying. Five dollars for a quarter-pound of mesclun is no big deal. Artisanal cheese has to cost more than Velveeta. Bison will always be pricier than beef. A guy near the top of the media food chain has to know that; if he eats iceberg it’s only to be cool. You’d think the idjit would have learned after the silly stunt trashing Hillary Clinton that cost him his video gig. But there’s no fool like a faux-prole fool.
I can’t believe I’m longing for the good old days when the wingnuts could work themselves into an idiotic lather over mustard on a burger rather than whether schoolkids should listen to a black president. Might be time for another date night at a culinarily correct restaurant to distract the mad dogs with fresh meat. Or maybe Mrs. O should show up in a school cafeteria and tell the little impressionables she doesn’t like to cook. Pinheads would explode.
Given the insane beer coverage, the Big O would be smart to release his previous dinner’s menu every morning and let all the serious journalists go into a feeding frenzy second-guessing his choice of monkfish (unsustainable!) over wild salmon (too “let ‘em eat brioche”!) or pork (heritage? what, is he too good for Smithfield shit?) over pasta (furrin food? where’s the beef?) The NYTimes could assign three or four reporters just to blog about every bite. Meanwhile, he could move on in peace to the big issues that are so bad for ratings. Like: Will it ever be possible to have a country where 99-cent-burger handlers with hepatitis could get treatment before infecting half a town? Sorry, there are bad bitch jokes to be made.
Among the Big O’s many talents, his political slyness may be the best. By inviting the aggrieved professor and the cop who acted stupidly to the White House for a beer, he makes the clear point that the dry drunk all those fool Americans wanted to have a beer with could never have done something so intelligent and conciliatory. One drink and the Chimp would be over the line. Obama can even have a second or third without winding up bruised, battered and bewildered. AA, I see in so many comments, now means African-American. And that’s a healthy first step.
The only good thing about being wiped out for days by all the symptoms of cookie dough poisoning with none of the cookie dough: Nonsense about “dangerous” lead contamination of the White House garden had time to be debunked. Even I was almost suckered in, although I turned up very little in recent news about the findings two seemingly respectable sites had used to build their sludge case. I did detect a whiff of organic character assassination when the Clintons were blamed for the “clean poo” spread by the Reagan EPA. And I should have been convinced when the onetime advocate of all things natural got caught carrying dirty water for Monsanto. Pretty scary when the most powerful couple in the country are undermined at every turn in trying to do the right thing with food. I take it all back about Bobby Flay. Bring him on.
Also funny to watch Panchito get his expandable knickers in a knot over the Big O’s choice of a date-night destination. Anyone with a quarter of a brain understood any restaurant would be the wrong restaurant to some idiot or other. So his rant reeked of the same link-craving desperation as the silly attack on Mrs. O for being honest about her feelings about cooking. Worse, it reminded some of us of what a truly lousy judge of presidential character he is. Didn’t he cover the Chimp eating cheese sandwiches at the “ranch” right up to the 8/6 warning of 9/11? Inadvertently more amusing was Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum, who got his wedgie over the audacity of a couple even heading to Manhattan for a night out. His prescription for a good time is to stay home and fuck your turtle.