Summer’s other sad news reminded me of a coworker at a certain big media outlet who mocked a certain food&word genius for “showing up at the White House looking like an unmade bed.” In retrospect, maybe DC needed more like him and fewer of the polished but incurious.
As much as I rant about risotto emails getting us into this mess, I have to remember the botulism goes much deeper. The puke funnel that slimed Hillary for the last 25-plus years was mainstreamed by the likes of MoDo, who had such a giddy old time at a $505 Beluga-and-Porterhouse-and-1990 Corton-Charlemagne dinner with the junkie who would go on to gull listeners into staying behind in a liberal-hoax hurricane while he decamped to LA. Hooker or reporter? You decide.
I quit reading the Sunday Arts & Leisure section literally decades ago after a couple of theater people I met at a dinner party pointed out the obvious: It is nothing but promo copy to fill up the spaces around, and justify, the theater/movie/gallery ads. The food pages of course have no ads, so there really is no excuse for a huge feature that amounted to a press trip for which subscribers paid by kicking in to pay “journalist” salaries. I mean, really? Signing on to shill for a teevee show as a way to explore a story you could find literally in the backyard with all the cheap-and-shitty Thai restos on Ninth?
Then again, on one of my increasingly regular trips to the consort’s hometown, I happened upon a laudatory story in the hometown paper on how all the local taxpayer dollars were paying off in high-profile coverage of a city that has been, for at least 10 years, a food scene happening in plain sight. Lede: “America’s favorite city. One of the top places to see in 2016. A top 10 food city in America. These are the accolades that Travel & Leisure, CNN and National Geographic, respectively, have showered on Buffalo recently. Over the past few years, writers from USA Today, The New York Times, popular travel media and newspapers nationwide have visited the Queen City and shared their intrigue and, ultimately, their love . . . Last year, we were able to influence well over 230 stories, and some of them, of course, went viral in other ways. They had a media value of $4.1 million.” How much was in “clean” coverage? And how did we get to this so-called president, anyway? On Kerala wings?
Any restaurant review in Harlem really should acknowledge that “the neighborhood” is not what the cliché would have you think. But if you arrive at the next hot spot by commuter car rather than A train or shank’s mare, of course you’ll mourn for all the church ladies shut out of the fried guinea hen.
I almost dropped my SBT slice at Freddy & Peppers on coming across a Laurel for the restaurant reviewer who can’t talk and eat soup. So she’s a heroine for “being immune to Internet hysteria.” Maybe what the judges were really praising is how quickly and voraciously she took to old-media fame whoring. (Also left unexamined: Where Anderson Cooper now gets his scoops and publishers now find their new authors — on that vile series of tubes.) I’m slow, but maybe I’m starting to get it. Anyone/thing print-positive must be deified.
This is turning out to be the lyingest campaign ever, so I shouldn’t be surprised readers were informed that a woman who owns and rides $100,000 horses, and whose husband is worth a quarter of a billion, makes meatloaf. And it’s his favorite! Back in the age of the Fairness Doctrine all the other candidates’ wives would have been able to showcase their bogus recipes, too. I’m sure Mrs. Gingrich III makes a mean tuna casserole. But even she doesn’t bake it in two ovens.