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Hate the food, hate the music…

April 18, 2010
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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.

Exhibit A:

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?

Exhibit B:

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.

Exhibit C:

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.

Exhibit D:

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.

18 Comments
  1. April 18, 2010 1:51 pm

    I THOUGHT the only thing wrong with the reporter was that he wasn’t American…

    DAMN, I’m good.

  2. April 18, 2010 2:04 pm

    No one could have ripped a new one so resoundingly for the deserving dickface Richman like Ash. No one.

  3. mac permalink
    April 18, 2010 2:20 pm

    just today pulled up that lolis article after reading his latest in the oxford american. worth the read.

    http://www.oxfordamerican.org/articles/2010/apr/05/lolis-eric-elie-explores-origin-myth-new-orleans-c/

  4. jeffrey permalink
    April 18, 2010 2:33 pm

    For a while one local publication (I’m pretty sure it was ANTIGRAVITY) was reviewing CDs on a 0-5 little Richman heads scale.

  5. doctorj permalink
    April 18, 2010 4:05 pm

    Oh I forgot about that one! Senility has its perks. LOL! What a jackass. I feel Mr. Simon made the character a non-American on purpose as to not to alienate the audience. In truth, it should have been a self righteuos American.

  6. April 18, 2010 4:22 pm

    OMG, I totally remember that piece of shit ‘review’ by that piece of shit douchemook! May he never be able to get a seat at any New Orleans restaurant ever again. He doesn’t deserve to enter the city!
    Good job Ray – I had let that slip into the memory crevasse until you brought this up…righteous indignation is back on high for that mook.

  7. April 18, 2010 4:46 pm

    I will always remember that one because I thought my D was going to rip this guy a new asshole. A food critic ripping on NOLA food? Bish please.

  8. rickngentilly permalink
    April 18, 2010 7:21 pm

    ray you da man.

    that made me think of that pic of you and ash eating takeout from dookies on the steps of the lafite.

  9. April 18, 2010 7:41 pm

    These pictures here:

    http://ashleymorris.typepad.com/ashley_morris_the_blog/2007/12/world-class-foo.html

    Yeah, that was a good day.

  10. April 18, 2010 7:49 pm

    Wow, thanks for that link. I only got halfway through it so far, had to run out to a dinner thing, but it’s fascinating. I’ve never seen historical credit for Creole food going much beyond the so-called “black hand in the pot” referenced by Chef John Folse and others, which, though vaguely condescending in phrasing, at least acknowledged that the backbone of the cuisine was provided by the African-Americans who were always here as French, Spanish and English colonists came and went as politics required.

    But this is the first time I’ve seen the argument that gumbo actually originates from okra stew indigenous to West Africa. I need to read more. And Elie needs to write books and make more films. He’s kinda awesome when he gets going.

  11. April 18, 2010 8:18 pm

    But this is the first time I’ve seen the argument that gumbo actually originates from okra stew indigenous to West Africa.

    That I did know. Some variations use peanuts, though it’s usually called ground nut stew when they do, but it’s very similar. Also lots of sweet potatoes. I got a West African peanut, sweet potato, okra stew recipe you’d die for. Also easy peasy.

  12. April 18, 2010 10:10 pm

    As far as I know, Robert over at Appertites was the only person to interview Richman about the piece:

    http://www.appetites.us/archives/000469.html

  13. mac permalink
    April 18, 2010 10:36 pm

    yes indeed. lolis and Sara Roahen gave a talk about the article at the southern food and bev museum on saturday, for the release of the oxford american food issue. they were great. great discussion about the credit to french, spanish, italian, whatever influences on creole cuisine in cookbooks, magazines, etc…, then the black folk added the “magic”. agree, lolis needs to be published more, definitely on this subject.

    jessica harris’ book “beyond gumbo” has a great introduction on the definition of “creole”, which lolis references in the article.

  14. April 19, 2010 3:04 am

    yes indeed. lolis and Sara Roahen gave a talk about the article at the southern food and bev museum on saturday, for the release of the oxford american food issue. they were great. great discussion about the credit to french, spanish, italian, whatever influences on creole cuisine in cookbooks, magazines, etc…, then the black folk added the “magic”. agree, lolis needs to be published more, definitely on this subject.

    jessica harris’ book “beyond gumbo” has a great introduction on the definition of “creole”, which lolis references in the article.
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  15. April 19, 2010 8:56 am

    We need a recipe thread. All this food discussion makes me wanna try it all.

    I gotta friend who is always trying to talk me into liking okra. Shit looks weird to me.

    A.

  16. April 19, 2010 9:56 am

    Okra’s only gross when you’re cooking it. After that, it’s goooood. Don’t fear the okra, A.

  17. April 19, 2010 10:44 am

    Shit tastes awesome, though. I have some good Indian okra recipes, ones that don’t make it less gooey and all.

  18. April 19, 2010 11:31 pm

    Roast it first. Gets rid of the goo. (Not recommended if you’re using it to make gumbo, though.)

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