Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Primo Don Vents about Food Bloggers

I suck. Apparently, so do all my fellow food bloggers - most of whom (Dan? Rachel? the Amateur Gourmet?) are much better at this blogging thing than I ever will be :) - and the rest of the foodie blogosphere. I am being overly dramatic, of course. This level of suckiness is not my opinion, but specifically that of Iron Chef Mario Batali (as linked to at the Hungover Gourmet).

Batali posted on "Why I Hate Food Bloggers." Geez, tell us how you really feel. Twat.

Truthfully, he seems more irritated at food bloggers who don't check facts and who spread misinformation, but his condescension is out in the open. Dan makes many good responses to Batali's post. Read the rest of them here, but here's one that strikes me:

...we have the temerity to actually say what we think (or, as Batali calls it "rant their snarky vituperatives") without having an editor – who may be pals with or belong to the same country club as the chef/owner in question – tell us to tone it down or go easier

We're not real journalists, Mario, and we're not trying to be! We are just men and women expressing our opinions and sharing our experiences. Why be threatened by that? Of course, many major newspapers and magazines now have prominent blogs for their critics and pundits to post their comments, and maybe his vitriol is more directed toward them. Maybe. And definitely, academic integrity is what any blogger should strive for - hell, I certainly do. But to dismiss a whole class of web posters the way he does, hobbyists for the most part, because we aren't living up to his expectations? Arrogance, sheer arrogance.

What I noticed the most, however, was not Batali's post. Actually, I read that last. What I read first were the many, many comments to this post. The first few came from supporters who totally agreed with Batali - some fanboys and sycophants, some truly irked chefs who dealt with the type of things about which Batali vented - and a few folks who just had nasty comments to make about Mr. Batali (not as nice as what I said above).

Most of the rest, however, were a mixture of commenters committed to a more serious discussion of what had been said above. Check out comments 29, 30, 37, 60 and 67 as they are the most constructive (read the others - some are just a hoot). The first three bring up some good points - and 30 is posted by another food blogger, LA's Foodette at the Restaurant Review World blog. She also made comment #67, a response to #60 (also read the response to it at #70), answering general questions about why a food blogger blogs. I won't post the whole thing but note the following, which came to be a big bone that many commenters had to pick with the vile, filthy lot of food bloggers:
"What qualifies you to determine what a good restaurant is?"

Well, I could say that I am qualified since my father owned a restaurant for 30 years while I was growing up. But, honestly, I just think I am qualified because I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love the experience of a great restaurant. I am a patron, I pay good money to make eating at restaurants my number-one source of entertainment. Those are the reasons I am allowed to have an opinion, and share it with anyone who cares to read it.

And there you go. She, I and the rest of us are all qualified to do this blogging thing because we like eating and cooking, and we pay good money to the places that feed us. And they're just opinions. Enough said.

Food haiku (TWO for the price of one):

I hate food bloggers -
They lie, and are very mean.
These jerks don't check facts!

WHOA there, Batali:
You know it's a hobby, right?
Stop being an ass!


foodette said...

Hey, thanks so much for the shout outs, the link, and the quote - I am very honored to have been a part of this post. I can almost thank Batali for giving us all something to think about - why do we do this anyway? - and for bringing many of us together who didn't know each other before.


Also, thanks for your comment on my blog - I definitely like what I have read so far on yours, and plan to come back in the A.M. to do some back-reading.

John said...

Groovy, thanks! I do think those were some good questions to pose. I hope more of us think about why we are doing this. Not that there will be any profound change, mind you. It's just sort of satisfying to sit down and think about why you like doing this sort of thing.

I try to get out to the Inland Empire once or twice a year to visit friends, and I always search for good restaurants to try out in LA. Next time I swing out that way I will definitely be checking your blog out for suggestions!