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Did anyone else just see the STUPID and pathetic characterization of Jacques Pepin as a badass?

alkapal Oct 24, 2011 12:47 PM

Come on, CHOW, get with it. This was just plain STUPID!

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  1. kaleokahu RE: alkapal Oct 24, 2011 01:25 PM

    Hi, alkapal:

    Well, thanks to you, I read the article...

    Atrociously titled for sure, and poorly written. However, it is quite laudatory of Pepin, and the only characterization of Pepin qua badass was this non sequitur:

    "...and is a badass simply for doing his job and doing it well for six decades."

    Picking the pop-word from an aside at the end of the article to plunk into the title constitutes the atrocity. For some inexplicable reason, the author chose a stultifyingly stupid thesis that Pepin is all three (simultaneously lowbrow, highbrow and badass), and tore a writer's ligament to cover "badass".

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    12 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu
      alkapal RE: kaleokahu Oct 24, 2011 01:57 PM

      yes…laudatory…but the way that chow is presenting their content is indeed, as you say, "atrocious." i guess that it is not "smart" or "savvy" or "hip" to actually represent what is the truth about a subject of the article in the headline.

      <PFFT>

      1. re: alkapal
        kaleokahu RE: alkapal Oct 24, 2011 07:52 PM

        Hi, again alkapal:

        "i guess that it is not "smart" or "savvy" or "hip" to actually represent what is the truth about a subject of the article in the headline."

        Maybe so. My bet is that it's the result of the MBA/marketeers counting clicks for selling ads. What about... "Archfiend, Crudite Addict 'Jacked Up' Pepin, 76, Sets Olympic High Jump Record, Creates Hydrogen Bombe in Charlotte Mold!!!"?

        Cheers,
        Kaleo

        1. re: kaleokahu
          alkapal RE: kaleokahu Oct 25, 2011 04:56 AM

          there -- now THAT's a headline! LOL

          1. re: alkapal
            h
            HillJ RE: alkapal Oct 27, 2011 12:46 PM

            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/19/din...

            here's an article w/class.

        2. re: alkapal
          meatn3 RE: alkapal Oct 27, 2011 06:03 AM

          Yep, this is why I rarely pop over to chow. Either something that sounds promising but is empty or a ridiculously written piece.

          Actual writing with real substance doesn't need the bs.

          The videos, especially the obsessive series, are usually very good. Maybe because the subject gets to speak for themselves!

          1. re: meatn3
            mudaba RE: meatn3 Oct 27, 2011 07:31 AM

            Hey meatn3, Have you read the Jacques piece that Rebecca wrote? It's very well-written and researched. Take a look and see if you think the piece itself is ridiculously written: http://www.chow.com/food-news/94746/j... Did you know about Pepin's response to the Food Network, for example? Or that the Food Network asked him not to continue his PBS show? There is a lot of good stuff in there.

            As the producer of the Obsessives video, it's great to hear that you liked them. Since you are obviously a person of good taste, hahah, I encourage you to read the piece and see if you still think it's empty! Cause the people writing for CHOW are pretty amazing journalists, and I think too many people write off the work due to misconceptions that "it's not for me." It is for all of you!

            Thanks, Meredith

            1. re: mudaba
              kaleokahu RE: mudaba Oct 27, 2011 08:40 AM

              Hi, Meredith:

              I don't think anyone called the piece vacuous or empty. Certainly, there must have been research. IMO, it's just poor writing capped by an inane, attention-grabbing title. If I had to guess, I'd say the article was written and Rebecca or the editor had trouble picking the title. I'm sure Rebecca is a much better writer than this one piece would suggest.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. re: kaleokahu
                Servorg RE: kaleokahu Oct 27, 2011 08:55 AM

                Rebecca paid homage to a chef she called a "national treasure" and did so effectively and warmly. At the same time she painted Jacques as someone down-to-earth and totally unconcerned with celebrity, (including his own). One can quibble with the title of the article, but the piece itself was concise, informative and well written from where I sit.

              2. re: mudaba
                meatn3 RE: mudaba Oct 27, 2011 07:37 PM

                I do admit that I have not tried CHOW in some time. Nothing stays the same, so a revisit might not be a bad thing.

                My visits there in the past have felt that I am not representative of the demographics CHOW is writing for.

              3. re: meatn3
                h
                HillJ RE: meatn3 Oct 27, 2011 08:07 PM

                Oh there's plenty that great on CHOW. Obsessives, Cooking with Grandma, the CHOW tips I marvel at...but the occasional tweeky article or author on some other food plane than I recognize as journalism snaps into place and makes me scratch my head. That's no slight to the effort of the collective that makes up CHOW. Hard workers all I'm sure. But cheeky, cheesy journalism sometimes comes off as lazy and cheap....and on CH such writing would get called out.

            2. re: kaleokahu
              goodhealthgourmet RE: kaleokahu Oct 28, 2011 10:23 AM

              tore a writer's ligament to cover "badass"
              ~~~~~~~~
              LOL! thanks for the laugh kaleo.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                kaleokahu RE: goodhealthgourmet Oct 28, 2011 10:34 AM

                Add "Comic to the Stars" to my c.v. ;)

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

            3. Servorg RE: alkapal Oct 24, 2011 01:51 PM

              Well, just to keep others from having to track this article down (like I did) I'll just link to it here and save you all the time: http://www.chow.com/food-news/94746/j...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Servorg
                h
                happybaker RE: Servorg Oct 24, 2011 08:11 PM

                I read the article, I am a big fan of Jacques and I swear, he's a badass just for his ninja knife skills! He reputedly beats a Cuisinart in face-offs.

                However he is so much MORE than that and the title was silly for how it attempted to "grab" folks. Yeesh!

                1. re: happybaker
                  Servorg RE: happybaker Oct 25, 2011 03:06 AM

                  A blatant attempt at marketing to some preferred demographic? Who could have predicted such a thing in today's world? ;-D>

              2. h
                HillJ RE: alkapal Oct 25, 2011 10:29 AM

                There have been a fair number of articles written on CHOW that just make me scratch my head. Right now the story about Jeff Smith (Frugal Gourmet) is just silliness, hardly a read but apparently the headlines grab us and the clicks it generates is enough buzz for CHOW to operate under. Which remains an ironic pet peeve in contrast to the moderation CH posters receive under a diff scrutiny. I'm with you alkapal, it's dumb.

                1 Reply
                1. re: HillJ
                  Vetter RE: HillJ Oct 30, 2011 07:56 PM

                  YES. The quality control of the writing is really underwhelming. I'm sorry, guys, but I see a lot more articulate and intelligent writing in the boards, done on the spur of the moment, by folks who don't get paid to write content. Most of the Chow stuff is just embarrassing.

                2. cowboyardee RE: alkapal Oct 25, 2011 03:35 PM

                  'Badass' is just young people talk for someone who is extraordinarily competent and good at what he/she does. A 'badass cook' isn't a cook who beats people up but one who really knows what he's doing.

                  It's not an especially clever or skillful use of the English language, but it's not particularly shocking either. Same thing as how people used to call things 'radical' when they were in no way actually radical. People realize that Chow is written for (by?) a younger audience, right?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    h
                    HillJ RE: cowboyardee Oct 25, 2011 05:19 PM

                    Hold on, CHOW is written by/for a younger audience? Really. Since when and why in the world would that even be true.

                    1. re: HillJ
                      cowboyardee RE: HillJ Oct 25, 2011 06:50 PM

                      Should I take your post as sarcasm or honest disagreement?

                      If it's the latter, I could come up with plenty examples that I feel support my point. Chow.com is not an outgrowth of Chowhound, and has never seemed to court the same audience.

                      If it's the former, what gives?

                      1. re: cowboyardee
                        h
                        HillJ RE: cowboyardee Oct 25, 2011 08:15 PM

                        hi cowboyardee. Neither intended. I just don't understand the perspective. It's one site. The audience that comments on CHOW, comments on CH. It courts all forms of chow loving readers. I just never thought of CHOW as a separate or younger audience when plenty of young people contribute to CH and dozens of articles and reference points made on CHOW originate from CH threads.

                        1. re: cowboyardee
                          e
                          escondido123 RE: cowboyardee Oct 30, 2011 08:12 PM

                          I'm with you cowboyardee. I think Chow.com tries for a younger audience, but I still consider Pepin a badass regardless of my age. I would bet he could out cook so many of the young chefs.

                    2. mudaba RE: alkapal Oct 25, 2011 04:16 PM

                      I can't soothe your pain or hatred of the word badass, but I can tell you that the CHOW video team is lucky enough to be shooting a My Go-To dish with Jacques Pepin Nov 8, so there will be a very reverential video in JP's honor appearing on the site around early December. Does that help? Meredith of CHOW

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: mudaba
                        h
                        happybaker RE: mudaba Oct 25, 2011 06:09 PM

                        A video of Jaques Pepin ALWAYS helps : )

                        1. re: mudaba
                          kaleokahu RE: mudaba Oct 25, 2011 10:24 PM

                          Hi, Meredith:

                          I can see it now.... "Bitchin' Pepin!" Can't wait.

                          Aloha,
                          Kaleo

                          1. re: mudaba
                            mudaba RE: mudaba Oct 27, 2011 07:24 AM

                            Bad news about Jacques' video! Apparently his hip situation has worsened (he was supposed to have a hip replacement in early December), and he has canceled his trip out West and will be undergoing emergency hip replacement surgery. We are all disappointed, but more worried for him than anything else. So in the midst of being mad at CHOW for calling him a badass, concentrate on sending Jacques healing thoughts. And we'll try to get a video of him together when we can. Thanks! Meredith

                            1. re: mudaba
                              Servorg RE: mudaba Oct 27, 2011 07:58 AM

                              So the next article's title will be "Jacques Pépin - Hipper Than Most" ;-D>

                          2. h
                            hetook RE: alkapal Oct 27, 2011 08:29 PM

                            Did this article talk about God and Pepin?

                            1. The Professor RE: alkapal Oct 27, 2011 08:35 PM

                              I don't understand the fuss.
                              In his own way, Pepin is most certainly badass.
                              And a living treasure.

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: The Professor
                                Servorg RE: The Professor Oct 28, 2011 03:09 AM

                                I wonder what JP would (or did) say about the characterization? I have the feeling he would have (did) laugh and get a kick out of it...

                                1. re: The Professor
                                  twyst RE: The Professor Oct 28, 2011 08:33 AM

                                  "I don't understand the fuss.
                                  In his own way, Pepin is most certainly badass."

                                  Pretty much this. Pepin is most definitely a badass.

                                  1. re: The Professor
                                    kaleokahu RE: The Professor Oct 28, 2011 08:46 AM

                                    Hi, Professor:

                                    It's a minor fuss, to be sure, because it isn't about Pepin. The fuss is about the way the article was written. The man is 76, exceedingly polite gracious and honorable, a consummate gentleman, and yes, a *world* treasure. I would say reigning king in an ancient and rich culinary lineage.

                                    Lauding Pepin as a "badass"? Sure, if you don't mind reducing him and that term to utter vapidity. There are hundreds of better words with which to garland him. The author chose a title that--unintentionally yet stupidly--demeans him, IMO.

                                    That help explain the fuss?

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                      Servorg RE: kaleokahu Oct 28, 2011 09:05 AM

                                      Normally authors don't choose the titles that accompany their articles, but rather that is done by an editor (or some other functionary that works to caption the piece) of some sort.

                                      1. re: Servorg
                                        kaleokahu RE: Servorg Oct 28, 2011 09:34 AM

                                        Hi, Servorg:

                                        Thanks again. Do you think the editor is also responsible for penning the too-clever thesis, found within the body of the article, that Pepin is "all three", namely a badass? Do you think it makes any difference in the stupidity of result who, as between the author and editor, erred in titling the article?

                                        Frankly if the "badass" theme is in toto the work of someone besides Rebecca, perhaps her writing career could be better advanced elsewhere, and I apologize for attributing her work to her. JMT.

                                        Aloha,
                                        Kaleo

                                      2. re: kaleokahu
                                        cowboyardee RE: kaleokahu Oct 28, 2011 10:15 AM

                                        It's not a great article, no "Jacques Pepin Has a Cold." Rather, it's more or less a hastily written fluff piece - one of many written about Pepin during his decades in the spotlight.

                                        Here's the thing: people seem to be objecting to this article on two basic grounds, and both of them have been blown slightly out of proportion, IMO.

                                        1) Confusion about the way the term 'badass' is being used. You guys are still seeing that term and envisioning Samuel L. Jackson's character from 'Pulp Fiction.' But increasingly, 'badass' has just come to mean someone who is especially amazing at what he or she does. Seriously - google something silly like 'badass ballerina' and you'll get plenty of hits. The term still carries only the slightest twinge of its former macho implications. Even that twinge may be misapplied to Pepin, but that wouldn't be the first time an internet writer used a word imprecisely, now would it?

                                        2) People object to the term as crass. Fine. But keep in mind that while Pepin himself has never been crass (that I've seen), he's also never batted an eye at crassness. He interacts with all kinds of people with his characteristic grace and good humor. Which is partly why he is equally beloved by both the Bourdain and the RayRay crowds. With that in mind, it seems a little weird to get worked up in his defense when Pepin himself would almost certainly just laugh off such an epithet.

                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                          f
                                          ferret RE: cowboyardee Oct 28, 2011 10:55 AM

                                          Not entirely sure why this would get anyone's panties in a bunch. Pepin's a regular guy and this isn't in any way unflattering. People need a reality check if they feel that a food website needs to maintain a reverent tone with respect to all its content.

                                          1. re: ferret
                                            kaleokahu RE: ferret Oct 28, 2011 11:09 AM

                                            Hi, ferret:

                                            No one's called for a pot of hot tar and a feather pillow. And Chow is *definitely* committed to irreverence; some of it is even occasionally funny. No problem with that.

                                            But, please... When someone tries`to blow smoke up my dress about how well that article was written, well, they're likely to get a response.

                                            Aloha,
                                            Kaleo

                                          2. re: cowboyardee
                                            kaleokahu RE: cowboyardee Oct 28, 2011 10:58 AM

                                            Hi, cowboy:

                                            LOL, I only get worked up when someone tells me not to get worked up...

                                            (1) Good point about the emerging use of 'badass'. It has now come (thanks to the author and many,many others) very close to meaning anything, and therefore *nothing*. IMO, internet writing is no special license or pass to bleed language dry of its meaning.

                                            (2) My criticism is not based on crassness. It is based on the fact that, again IMO, 'badass' is an astoundingly poor descriptor to choose to apply to Pepin. Has 'equanimity' come to be synonymous with 'badass'? Queen Elizabeth might also be crassless and deal perfectly with crassness, yet writing of her as the "Badass Queen" somehow just doesn't fit (and just might lead some to form the wrong impression, IYKWIM).

                                            Cheers,
                                            Kaleo

                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                              f
                                              ferret RE: kaleokahu Oct 28, 2011 11:32 AM

                                              The flaw in your argument is that Queen Elizabeth is clearly not badass. It would, however, likely be a fitting description for Angela Merkel.

                                              1. re: kaleokahu
                                                cowboyardee RE: kaleokahu Oct 28, 2011 11:52 AM

                                                But it doesn't mean absolutely anything. More like a combination of 'exceptionally competent' 'confident' and (sure) 'possessing equanimity.' And bleeding language of its former meanings and imbuing it with new connotations is the right of EVERY writer, of everyone who uses the language at all. Only dead languages aren't continuously evolving. (Interestingly, many writers don't fully realize this, but that's what makes it exciting to read those who do - Joyce comes to mind, as does Shakespeare)

                                                Calling Queen Elizabeth the 'Badass Queen' might fit better than you give it credit for, given the newer connotations of the word (I don't know all that much about her, aside from hazy memories of Cate Blanchette's portrayal). If there's a problem with that application, it could be mostly in the anachronism of it.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                  kaleokahu RE: cowboyardee Oct 28, 2011 02:46 PM

                                                  Hi, cowboy:

                                                  I didn't mean to convey that I thought Rebecca had reduced 'badass' to Zero Kelvin; in fact, I thought I said "very close" to meaningless. If 'badass' today means Xcompetent+confident+equanimous, I think that proves my point. We might as well add 'honorable', 'perspicatious' and/or 'agoraphobic' and other meanings every day or so. Basically, the only meaning that remains of 'badass' in popular use these days is a sense of approval or admiration. So not absolute zero, but maybe 10 degrees Kelvin. Mea maxima culpa.

                                                  I'm foursquare with you about living language and imbuing words with new connotations. But UNLESS you're Sharespeare or Joyce (WS was a friend of mine, and Rebecca is no Shakespeare), nothing is added to the language by attaching meanings completely at odds with long use, and much is lost.

                                                  Let's pretend Rebecca and urbandictionary fall in love with using 'syphillitic' or 'prevaricator' as expressions of approval similar to 'badass' . If I then, muddleheaded from reading their muddling free use of language, bestowed an honorific on someone, like: "The award tonight goes to X, a syphillitic prevaricator and badass of an editor!" while handing them their Pulitzer, would that serve the ends of language?

                                                  Kaleo

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu
                                                    a
                                                    acgold7 RE: kaleokahu Oct 29, 2011 11:38 AM

                                                    You, sir, are a linguistic badass.

                                            2. re: kaleokahu
                                              h
                                              hetook RE: kaleokahu Oct 29, 2011 10:21 PM

                                              maybe"badass" is a compliment?Jesus Christ was considered as one to others once.

                                              1. re: hetook
                                                paulj RE: hetook Oct 30, 2011 05:11 PM

                                                He hasn't made it on to this list yet
                                                http://www.badassoftheweek.com/list.html

                                                George Washington, though, was an early entry.

                                                1. re: hetook
                                                  kaleokahu RE: hetook Oct 30, 2011 10:14 PM

                                                  Hi, hetook:

                                                  I would need to learn Aramaic and Hebrew, and brush up on Greek and Latin to say with any confidence, but I doubt it.

                                                  Aloha,
                                                  Kaleo

                                            3. pikawicca RE: alkapal Oct 28, 2011 10:35 AM

                                              I think the author must have had this definition of "badass" in mind, otherwise, the piece makes no sense.
                                              http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                Servorg RE: pikawicca Oct 28, 2011 10:39 AM

                                                That definition reads like one of those "Most interesting man in the world" Dos Equis ad's...

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  pikawicca RE: Servorg Oct 28, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                  Sean Connery immediately came to mind.

                                                2. re: pikawicca
                                                  kaleokahu RE: pikawicca Oct 28, 2011 11:14 AM

                                                  Hi, pikawikka:

                                                  Is it too late to call in a literary airstrike on urbandictionary?

                                                  I especially like their hawking of adult t-shirts emblazoned "I pooped today"

                                                  LOL,
                                                  Kaleo

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu
                                                    pikawicca RE: kaleokahu Oct 28, 2011 11:31 AM

                                                    I love the Internet, but sites like Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia are, in too many instances, really lowering the common denominator.

                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                      h
                                                      hetook RE: pikawicca Oct 30, 2011 11:15 PM

                                                      better to go w/wha u know in yr heart.

                                                3. alkapal RE: alkapal Oct 31, 2011 05:20 AM

                                                  LOL -- oh the irony!!!! http://www.chow.com/food-news/93228/t...

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