I am, I hope, a self-aware sort of guy. I think it’s important to know one’s limitations, because it allows you to more realistically assess possibilities. I am at least self-aware enough to know that I am an opinionated jackass about a lot of things.
There is little value to being self-aware if you do not change as a result of your self-awareness. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve grown more mellow as I’ve aged or whether I’ve grown wiser, but for the last few years I’ve had a difficult time getting incensed about things that used to drive me nuts.
What brought me to this line of thought was a link I followed from Eater.com about a hubbub between Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri. The article actually starts with a piece from GQ about the wines Fieri will be producing. The story is meant to humanize Fieri, and I suppose it does – he lost a sister to cancer, he loves his family, and he’s apparently good company – but I still don’t like what he represents about the direction our food culture has taken in some respects.
But then again, while I like Bourdain, his schtick has gotten a bit old over the years, and I’m not sure how he can personally justify returning to the Fieri well quite so frequently. Yes, I am aware of the word, “irony.”
I hadn’t thought about Fieri in quite a while, because through the magic of DVR, I have not had to watch more than 2 seconds of him on my television in the last 4 years. When I saw the article linked above, in fact, my first reaction was, “Guy Fieri is still a thing?” Yes, is the answer, at least enough of a thing that Eater.com finds it noteworthy when he and Bourdain get into a verbal slapfight.
I guess the point of all this is that while my opinion about Guy Fieri (everything about his persona is awful) hasn’t changed, I can’t muster the energy to truly be angry about his existence anymore. And the same holds true of Paula Deen and Sandra Lee and any of the host of other “food TV” personalities I don’t respect. Nor will I criticize you for liking them. Just because I find Ina Garten extremely irritating doesn’t mean you should.
I’m not saying there’s no reason to be critical of these people, but most of the time I can’t find the strength to push that particular boulder up Mt. Food Network any more. Because it rolls right back down, people, no matter how many times you push it up. And that’s particularly true when, at the moment, we have our little quadrennial beauty contest going on, complete with the Guy Fieri of politics in the lead on the Republican side.
Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
But also, it’s important to remember that we’ve all got some low-brow tastes in us, and while our tastes may not be entirely or quite as aggressively low-brow as Mr. Fieri’s, it’s in us. As I have noted before, I am a fan of the sausage egg McMuffin, and am also capable of consuming 2 or 3 Taco Bell “Mexican Pizzas” in a sitting. Neither are “good,” really, but they scratch an itch and I don’t care if they’re “good” at the time I’m eating them. I don’t care if they’re good for me, either, or whether they’re sustainable or whether the chickens that laid the eggs that were added to the Soylent Green slurry that goes into the McMuffin were cage free or not. I just want my McMuffin.
Recognizing this tendency makes it more difficult for me to cast judgment. I mean, I’m still going to do it, but it’ll take a wee bit more effort. Pity me. I’d be happy to hear about your guilty pleasures, or for that matter your pleasures even in the absence of guilt. Do let me know in the comments?