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#151 mongo_jones

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 05:16 PM

right. i don't mean to imply in my piece that mcmillan is saying that. but he's not going all the way in taking responsibility for the things he himself was involved in. a fuller accounting, a fuller taking of responsibility before the narrative of redemption: that's all i'm saying.


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#152 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 05:21 PM

Yeah, but that's exactly where I disagreed with your initial MFF posts about this, long before your excellent blog post.

 

You were coming down very hard on the Joe Beef guys for not taking responsibility on the terms you (and I) wanted.  When most of the industry isn't taking responsibility AT ALL.


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#153 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 05:30 PM

And also -- it's hard to say this without sounding snobbish, but so be it -- you can't expect chefs to be intellectuals.


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#154 mongo_jones

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 05:31 PM

the very fact that these are old reports make me wish that mcmillan had included them in his bon appetit story about his alcoholism. frankly, the discrepancy between the two (his essay and goldfield's) is a large part of what makes me feel iffy about this. it feels like he left out the stuff that would have made that redemption narrative more complicated but including which might have been a more honest way to start making amends in public.

 

like wilfrid, i also have reservations about the new yorker article which can't seem to find a coherent position on the issues.


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#155 mongo_jones

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 05:32 PM

And also -- it's hard to say this without sounding snobbish, but so be it -- you can't expect chefs to be intellectuals.

 

 

no, and i've said as much on twitter in other contexts. but you can expect the new yorker to be a bit more rigorous in its framing/probing.


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#156 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 05:36 PM

Right right right.  But we can't be blaming Joe Beef for the New Yorker's faults.

 

My point has always been that the Joe Beef guys came out of that article looking (relatively) good, especially considering Friedman/Bloomfield's and Batali/Bastianch's responses to similar (well actually worse) situations.  Not that the article was a good piece of analysis or journalism.


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#157 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 06:45 PM

I wonder whether the reason Chang's organization has never been subject to any reporting in this regard is that Chang continues to have press immunity or that -- as has always seemed extremely possible -- Chang is an essentially good boy only fronting as a bad boy.


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#158 joethefoodie

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 07:42 PM

I wonder if the reason Chang's organization has never been subject to any reporting in this regard is that Chang continues to have press immunity or that -- as has always seemed extremely possible -- Chang is an essentially good boy only fronting as a bad boy.

Always my thought about Bourdain as well - except for the drugs, where he was harming only himself.  And Bobby. And let's face it, Chang had been know to like to get wasted in those earlier days.



#159 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 07:49 PM

- excess in cuisine as a form of good hospitality and celebration is deeply rooted in many cultures, obviously including that of Quebec, but also let's not forget you can go to Damas nearby or to any good old feast in the levant and then have to spend several hours rolling around in pain before you can get back on your Mini Camel 500. That those roots are of course linked to the images of big burly men going to do maple things in the cold, or to the levantine patriarchy


Conversely, I've always considered the overabundant servings of horrendous food characteristic of Ashkenazic Jewish cooking as a female attempt to exact revenge on a patriarchy.
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#160 joethefoodie

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 08:02 PM

 

- excess in cuisine as a form of good hospitality and celebration is deeply rooted in many cultures, obviously including that of Quebec, but also let's not forget you can go to Damas nearby or to any good old feast in the levant and then have to spend several hours rolling around in pain before you can get back on your Mini Camel 500. That those roots are of course linked to the images of big burly men going to do maple things in the cold, or to the levantine patriarchy


Conversely, I've always considered the overabundant servings of horrendous food characteristic of Ashkenazic Jewish cooking as a female attempt to extract revenge against a patriarchy.

 

Now you're talking! Though my grandmothers' latkes were worthy.



#161 Steve R.

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 03:19 AM

I think part of the problem with the New Yorker piece, which led to Mongo's reaction, is that it used the term "alcoholic" rather than "substance abuser". "Alcoholic" is part of our current therapeutic culture; it sounds like an excuse: "I'm not responsible for my actions, I had a disease." But I don't think that's what the Joe Beef guys meant to be saying. I think they meant to be saying, "We chose to abuse a substance that impaired our attentiveness and impulse control. It permitted bad behavior that, now that we no longer abuse the substance, we expect to put an end to." I think it's an interesting sign of our current therapeutic culture that Mongo reads that as an abnegation of responsibility. I read it as the opposite. But the use of the term "alcoholism" didn't help.

(To be completely upfront, I say this as someone who chooses to abuse alcohol himself. I recognize what it often does to me [although in my case it leads to arguably unwise late-night online record purchases rather than an abusive work environment], and see it in others. I think Wilfrid's problem would also be mitigated if we replaced "alcoholic" with "substance abuser": nobody's making discriminatory claims about people who have no choice or claiming that substance abuse excuses certain actions; we're only asserting that in the real world, certain choices often have certain consequences. There's a reason bartenders cut people off.)

I fully agree with you & think that the term “alcoholic” is regularly misused. It is a chemical/biological term & totally irrelevant. It’s the resultant (mis)behaviors of the abuse that are the issue &, personally, I could care less if those behaviors are exhibited by an alcoholic or an alcohol assisted uninhibited a-hole. But I disagree that being an alcoholic gives one a pass on responsibility, while being an abuser does not. Having a disease does not stop one from getting medical treatment for the disease, just as being an abuser doesn’t excuse continued abuse.

As for the JB guys, well its been said. It’s nice that they recognize their past misdeeds, fueled (or not) by substance abuse and the surrounding “culture”. It’s good that they are interested in being better people. I’m all for rehabilitation. But there’s also the restitution to victims to consider. I find it more believable when admission is coupled with some sacrifice and not just a “let’s move on”. I haven’t been following the aftermath & hope they’ve considered this aspect as well.

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#162 Wilfrid

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 03:54 AM

It's also not particularly surprising that Wilfrid brings up the usual music stopped fallacy - exists(A&X) & exists(B&X) => P(X|A) = P(X|B) (that is, if there's a sober vegan abuser it means drunken steak eaters are no more likely to be abusers)

Pfui. I am a competent logician at that level. (“Vegan,” as you know, is hyperbole.)

In all walks of life, not just in the restaurant world, abuse occurs at this hands of men who are not drunk at the time, nor habitual drinkers, let along alcoholics. Banks, law firms, supermarkets, churches. (I am assuming that the kind of abuse we’re talking about is not reducible to outright violence). Is there a higher rate of abusers among those who do happen to drink to excess? Possibly. I don’t know. But being a drunk is clearly neither a necessary nor sufficient condition of being an abuser.

If in the rest of the post you are saying that culture and history can be sources of abuse, and cuisine, and drinking habits, then yes, of course.

#163 Wilfrid

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 03:59 AM

Or more simply, I’m looking at this from a perspective outside of the kitchen, from offices of all kinds where I’ve witnessed (and still do) unacceptable behavior from stone cold sober assholes.

#164 Orik

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 09:21 AM

Right, but the perspective presented in the New Yorker article is that alcohol was used to fuel an environment where people could pretend that they're not in an office (or a food factory), but also one where they were more susceptible to bad behavior.

You might say the article overstates this, but you can't use the fact that sober assholism exists to claim alcohol consumption (especially in a high stress, close proximity environment) isn't an explaining factor in bad behavior or that the participants in the Joe beef party and many like it all over the world would have carried out the charade sober*, that's all.


* I think we know more than a dozen of these everywhere from Tel Aviv to Tokyo that opened in the mid to late 00s and every one of them has either gone more or less sober while successfully maintaining the party for their guests (e.g. ahiru store), or just went far away. ETA: and they all ended this way because the party kings didn't want do die, not because of abuse or allegations thereof. The really bad ones like batali and co. Just don't seem to have that fear.
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#165 Orik

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 10:09 AM

The second part responds to the idea that if an artifact was created by someone who is bad (whether by the standards of their time or ours) or is the fruit of a bad ideology or is somehow enjoyed by bad people then that artifact is itself bad.

Prevailing bullshit, but bullshit nonetheless.
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