The Daily Beast on Foodies

The Daily Beast ran a post today, Foodies Make Me Sick, that takes some digs on foodies, the "fussy eaters who glorify the transformation of nutrition into fashion. Foodie culture. Foodie bloggers." Some of it is well-reasoned, some a little ranty:

I remember the first time I heard a co-worker refer to himself as a foodie. It immediately irritated me. Was he implying that he appreciated food more than other people? That his love of eating was somehow more evolved than mine? Don’t all people love the thing we can’t live without? The word strikes me as absurd. It’s as if I called myself an “Airie.” Because I’m simply nuts for air.

Separating it out a bit, there are two aspects of the foodie culture Jessi Klein has a problem with: one is the amateur "foodie" fanboys, the clucking commenters, the loser-generated content genererators on Yelp and Chowhound, the sheep that continue to frequent and prop up the sub-standard pizzeria or average cupcakery. For that, she gets a high-five. We are not fans of those self-professed "foodies."

The other part of Jessi Klein's post takes on the food media engine, from the dead-tree media on down to the solo blogger:

It’s not that wonderful food doesn’t make me drool—I’m a bit of a St Bernard when I start thinking about cheese—it’s just the foodie chatter I can’t stand, the circle jerking in print and on an ever growing number of websites over this new place and that revamped old place, the obsessive fawning over such and such amuse-bouche, the kerfuffle over truffles.

It's here that she really undercuts her position. As much as she dislikes it, "chatter" and "obsessive fawning" are the currency of new media. There are analogs to the food obsession all over the internet – entire websites and blogs and boards devoted to politics, shoes, cameras, makeup, Nintendo games, whatever. Every niche topic is being exploded and explored, ad infinitum (and, as Jessi notes, ad nauseum).

The challenge is in sorting through all the chatter — separating out the original, critical, uncompromised voices from the morass of fawning press releases masquerading as "reviews" or the uninformed, overly simple write-ups. Just as there are websites and bloggers who'll take pictures of anything new and gush over it (especially if it's free), there are bloggers and writers out there who know what they're talking about. It just takes some critical aptitude and some time to sort out which media to consume, but bitterly complaining about it isn't going to solve anything.

As for hating foodies, it's too easy. They make you sick? Stop eating them.

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