Mario Batali hates food bloggers
I'm going to have to go back and reread "Common Sense" to find the parts that include
"untruths, lies and malicious and personally driven dreck to be quoted as fact." I seem to have missed those parts.
I'm OK with anonymity when your talking issues and policy. But when you're calling specific people out while hiding your own identity? C'mon.
As far as "if it's published it must be true...", I recently found someone from Baltimore had touted a coffeehouse he'd never visited which was in a crappy Pittsburgh neighborhood with a half block business district simply because it was included in the "Places of Interest" in the neighborhood's Wikipedia entry. "Well, it must be good if it's mentioned in Wikipedia!"
At which point I went to Wikipedia and created a "Places of Interest" category for my town's entry, then listed every single decent establishment in my neighborhood. I guess that makes me an expert.
I have heard stories of an anonymous troublemaker who wrote a hard-hitting opinion piece that ranted his snarky vituperatives from behind the smoky curtain of his anonymity . This allowed him a peculiar and nasty vocabulary that seemed to be taken as truth by virtue of the fact that it has been printed somewhere. He wasn't a journalist and he didn't have a publisher review his work, but he had a medium and just let his opinions flow and wouldn't even sign his name to the darn thing. I would even state that his work strangely superseded truly responsible journalism.
But, in the end, I do not hate Thomas Paine or his pamphlet "Common Sense."
No doubt the title of the piece is inflammatory. Mario took out after a blogger who, he says, got his facts wrong and left out a lot of important information. If reputable news media can get things wrong, what can we expect from 'regular folk' The internet has created a venue for untrained, non-professionals who get an audience by just being there. and reaching an audience which has no way of estimating the credentials of the material they're reading. It's a consequence of the technology age and we're going to have to live with it and sort it out for ourselves as time goes by. Notoriety does attract attention, and the internet is a place where virtually anyone can set themselves up as having some basis for comment (whether they really do, or not).
Hopefully, most people will apply the basic logic of "consider the source"...... but there's no real reason to believe that they will. For some reason people tend to give unwarranted credit to what they see 'in print' whether it is deserved or not. It makes sorting out the truth more difficult, but straight-thinking people should be able to sort it out.
Mr. Batali has his points but so do we... He has the clout and cache' to heard throughout media points across the food world and beyond. Individually, we can't even approach the same hemisphere of influence. However, collectively, we can be heard. Moreover, I strongly feel we know how to weed out the majority of posts that have personal grudges or ulterior motives behind them. We may not pick up on each and every one but trends become very clear as to what is behind an individual blogger's intentions.
As much as I want to feel for him, Mr. Batali has to accept the fact that once you become a celebrity, once you become known, whether locally or internationally, you will start to draw attention to those who may not like you or what you do for what ever reason. It's part and parcel of the territory. My opinion is that if you've done things on the up-and-up, if you've led your life, both personal and professional, in a manner that would leave you with far more admirers than skeptics, then your reputation will win out in the end. If you are constantly defending yourself, then maybe it's time to ask that person in the mirror if he or she has been a role model or a scoundrel. I think Mr. Batali is doing fine - he just needs to let his character build up a few more callouses.
I don't like the atmosphere of that site... it makes me feel stressed and angry. The post by Batali is alright, but it doesn't really hit true with most real food blog sites... at least not ones that don't try to make themselves sound authoritative on every matter culinary. And it should really be the food/service reviews that bother him, not the restaurant lease accusations.
But even more interesting is a link to an ABC article: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?sec...
In the "Roasting One of NY's Famed Restaurants" section, a blogger named Adam Roberts flames Le Cirque about their food and seating practices. The article gains attention. Maccioni, owner of Le Cirque, reads it and invites Roberts and his family back for a full on, all attention undivided star treatment free dinner. And suddenly, Roberts changes his tune... Now he's aware "that what I was writing on my Web site had ramifications in the real world." Ha! Kinda reminds me of Ruth Reichl's Garlic & Sapphires. I wonder if Roberts were to go back in disguise under an alias, would he be planted right back to the rear of the room and given the same mediocre treatment as before?