Plus I went to a media event the other week where you could almost hear the ka-ching, with so much splashy investment in promoting supermarket products. A certain someone would ride shotgun all over the grilled cheese in the video. But at least someone else probably got a full week at the George V.
When I worked at the NYTimes the second time, after 15 years on the outside, I constantly railed that it should sell decoder rings to readers. How the hell were they supposed to know why some book titles merited quotation marks and others did not? Now the public editor, in exposing T for Twaddle as the advertorial it is, has implicitly made that case. “Readers assume” more than she says, though. How are they to know the rules are different if you’re “not on staff,” which is defined differently from “freelance?” Luckily, I doubt you can take a gold-plated bidet with you.
I took the last of Dexter as a warning of what will happen if unions really are gutted: Already-overworked parents will never have time to cook. As someone Tweeted, thank Wisconsin it’s Friday — unions there “invented” the weekend with the 40-hour workweek. Americans are already giving up their lives for shrinking paychecks, but they could be working for the Pharaoh. Which would make it even less likely they will be able to indulge in what even the middle class can now do in India: hire help (my consort’s fixer in Bangalore had a cook before she even had kids). Mostly, though, the column made me very glad to be back among the gainfully unemployed rather than still spinning in the hamster wheel, which has to be speeding not just faster but nonstop. I’m so old I remember when a critic or wine writer could shriek when asked to produce one small extra feature in a week. Now they have to be reporting and blogging and writing and responding to comments and answering emails (slaving, in other words, like the freelancer who could never get hired on staff there). Now we know it’s not just the quality that suffers. It’s the home cookin’. If I were mean, I’d ask how this charade went on for two whole years as readers assumed all was magical. As always, the truth would have made a realer, richer story; it’s not as if this brought in the ads the magazine exists for. But I’ve been there. I’ve seen how the bratwurst gets made. . .
Eater National had a pretty good take on the Schnorrer’s new gig as etiquette expert: Essentially, he’s a capitalist tool, his advice spread over multiple clicks to generate page views for advertisers. My question is why these old curs are doing new tricks as 21st-century Miss Mannerses to begin with. Especially when they don’t even know the polite way to ask for a check.
In the grand oily scheme of things, it should be hard to get worked up about the small stuff these days. But every morning I flip through the WSJournal’s new New York section and despair over the Lunchbox, which must be copy-edited in Chennai (“New York’s Chelsea”?) Most egregious, I saw paninis, and in a headline, no less. Meanwhile, the NYTimes implies that Uniqlo’s new line must be very tasteful — it has a “softer palate.” Also, too, apparently that traditional Muslin concoction hummus is being given the all-American treatment and will soon be available in chocolate-raspberry-ranch flavor. And remember the Angostura bitters crisis? It was the Helen Thomas/ACORN of food hysteria. Everyone ran with news of the scary shortage without walking down to the corner store and checking to see if it might be available. Mani, near me, had it every day I saw dire warnings online. Mostly, though, inquiring minds would like to know why two such offbeat restaurants as a Brooklyn-born Mexican and a bizarro Asian wound up multiply reviewed on the same day. Funny to think there was once a time when what is now the Etiquette Expert could tear flacks new assholes for not giving her exclusives first. . . .
Dear Etiquette Arbiter: I would like to have my restaurant/product/event mentioned in the powerful outlet that has let you hang around for double donkey’s years. What is the proper approach, please?
A: Eat merde and die.
This is the funniest development since a certain desk had to be moved because a big editor complained that the constant barking was “just too unpleasant.” Remember, kids, always raise your pinky when you’re rude.
I know foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, but it still seems kind of whiplash-y for the same copy generator to spew 101 make-ahead side dishes for Thanksgiving and then turn around and say “chill the fuck out” about Thanksgiving. I don’t know whether I’m supposed to start stuffing(!) Brussels sprouts or just shoot Martha Stewart.
Speaking of which, I laughed out loud on the C train home while reading Mr. Ami’s profile of the terror of Hollywood when I came to this graf in the New Yorker: One corporate publicist says that calls from Finke are usually agreeable, but adds that two out of ten conversations are bad Nikki. He says, It feels like spit is coming through the phone, she’s so angry. Either the trades had something before she did, and she feels you should have told her first, or something happened that she asked you about two months earlier, and you denied it then—when it might not have been true—and she says, You lied to me! You lied to me! You lied to me!
Been there. Heard that. Only the fury was food-related.