Hate the food, hate the music…
We’ve all seen the BBC interview scene where Creighton Bernette throws the reporter’s microphone into the Industrial Canal, and at least amongst some of us, it’s one of the most talked-about scenes when discussing one of the inspirations for Bernette, Ashley Morris.
But nobody has really talked about the person who most likely inspired the reporter himself.
Behold, I dredge up from your thought-you-had-forgotten memories of Debrisville, Year 2, the toadlike visage of the racist, ignorant, so-called “food writer” for GQ, Le Fuckmook Alan Richman:
In November 2006, Richman wrote a long anti-New Orleans screed masquerading as a food article for GQ, where he insulted New Orleans food as being overrated and past its prime by fifty years; called New Orleans people fat, drunk, ignorant, and lazy; claimed that the mess we found ourselves in post-Katrina was due to our being too stupid to not build a “subterranean” city and too interested in “endless revelry” to dig ourselves out; and insulted Creoles everywhere by implying that there was actually no such thing as a Creole.
New Orleans was always a three-day stubble of a city, and now, courtesy of Katrina, it’s more like ﬁve. The situation is worse, of course, in the devastated areas, where the floodwaters and the winds did their work. I know we are supposed to salvage what’s left of the city, but what exactly is it that we’re trying to cherish and preserve?
Of course, there’s the food. I’m not certain the cuisine was ever as good as its reputation, in part because the people who have consumed, evaluated, and admired it likely weren’t sober enough at the time of ingestion to know what they were eating.
New Orleans has always been about food and music, with parades added to the mix. (In the North, where I come from, we like to think we’re about jobs and education, with sports thrown in.) Vulnerability goes along with loving the dinner table too much—think again of our old friends the French. It might sound harmless for a civilization to focus on food, but it’s enormously indulgent. Name a society that cherishes tasting menus and I’ll show you a people too portly to mount up and repel invaders.
Something like that occurred with Katrina. It was never the best idea, building a subterranean city on a defenseless coastline. Residents could have responded to that miscalculation in any number of conscientious ways, but they chose endless revelry. New Orleans fell in love with itself and acted accordingly, becoming a festival of narcissism, indolence, and corruption. Tragedy could not have come to a place more incapable of dealing with it.
Supposedly, Creoles can be found in and around New Orleans. I have never met one and suspect they are a faerie folk, like leprechauns, rather than an indigenous race.
Ashley ripped him a new one, more than once. Lots of bloggers and journalists did, and the New York Times even wrote about the backlash. And the most caustic criticisms were in the GQ website comments section, which were heavily censored by GQ editors at the time and now, as far as I can tell, are gone completely. I think some of Ash’s best quotes were in those comments, so it’s kind of sad that they’re gone. (I don’t where the “hate the food, hate the music…” zinger comes from, but if Ashley didn’t say it, it’s something he should have said.)
At any rate, Ash linked to a really great evisceration of Richman the Fuckmook by Robert Peyton at his Appetites blog. There are lots of money quotes, so here’s one little amuse-bouche to get you started:
Mr. Richman is entitled to his opinion in that regard, of course. Lots of people think of food more as fuel for the body than something to savor, to enjoy. And it’s also true that one thread in the tapestry of culture that makes up the US is the Puritan spirit of some of the earliest settlers in Mr. Richman’s “North.” It’s certainly an odd position for a freaking food writer to take, but hey. He’s an award winning food writer, and he’s published in a widely circulated magazine. Again, he’s entitled to his opinions about New Orleans and our food. What really puzzles me about his recent article is how lazy it is. My first thought was when reading it was to wonder whether he has anyone doing research or fact-checking for him. The answer is either “no” or “yes, but the people doing the fact-checking wouldn’t know a fact if it sodomized them.”
Read the whole beautiful prison gang-bang here.