Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Let's Do Lunch

Once I was just a humble young man with a dream. I like to eat. I like to write. I wanted to put the two together in a Reese's Peanut Buttercup of a vocation.

And lo and behold a local website made the call for a new lunch reviewer, and I applied. One of a chosen twelve, I was, entering a season longer than the NBA's, and just as meaningless it seems when play-off time comes around. For now, after six reviews and four-and-a-half months of playing the game, I am eliminated. If I am the Last Critic Eating it's only because I am choking upon my own words.

Thanks to all of you who voted for me, I owe you much more than too-clever-by-half mixed allusions to Salinger and Nabokov in one sentence.

For those of you who didn't vote for me, well, we all know how voting works in this country. Might as well just start calling it dumb-ocracy, so as not to confuse how we do things with a meritocracy.

There's just not enough said about the pleasures of bitterness. So much of wit is the needling of another, and I have to admit I like the fine-tuned put-down. It's not just the easy way to self-elevation, but it's something more elemental, a release of the even greater evils we all hold but most of us barely let bubble to the surface. There's a Luis Bunuel line about "isn't it amazing how we can behave at the table when we all hold the story of Oedipus in our heads," and that means something from a guy who made a film that seemed so shocking it was banned for decades.

At least there's Hazlitt, sounding ultra-modern in 1826, ending his essay "On the Pleasure of Hating" with these lines:

What chance is there of the success of real passion? What certainty of its continuance? Seeing all this as I do, and unravelling the web of human life into its various threads of meanness, spite, cowardice, want of feeling, and want of understanding, of indifference towards others and ignorance of ourselves--seeing custom prevail over all excellence, itself giving way to infamy--mistaken as I have been in my public and private hopes, calculating others from myself, and calculating wrong; always disappointed where I most place reliance; the dupe of friendship, and the fool of love; have I not reason to hate and to despise myself? Indeed I do; and chiefly for not having hated and despised the world enough.

Or I just might be a bad loser.


Blogger Lori said...

Geez, George, sorry you didn't win.

California is a strange place. The same people who elected Conan the Barbarian as their governor seem quite bothered by the presence of grammatical errors in their food reviews. Bizarre.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous amy said...

Their loss, really. I think you nailed it with the "dumb-ocracy," no one seems to want to think or work at reading (or watching for that matter) anything.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

Hey, don't let that stop you from posting reviews in your blog. Besides, nobody reads that stupid edhat anyway. It's so last week.

6:19 PM  

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