Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Perils of Blogging: A Cautionary Tale

All bloggers have opinions. Usually strong ones. That's what makes them bloggers. The drive to make unilateral declarations of "facts" (if you're a truly pompous blogger) or "opinions" (if you're marginally less pompous) is what pushes people to write into the anonymous shit-slinging universe of the internets.

But at the end of the day, a blogger's job is a blogger. That's it. He or she has a little space on blogspot or livejournal or whatever social networking or shared interest community group he or she belongs to where the blogger can rant and rave and comment and share.

Most bloggers, particularly those who deal with more controversial form or content, take deliberate steps to separate themselves from their 9-5 employment through disclaimers, pseudonyms, careful withholding of information, or whatever else.

But what happens when you combine a chef-owner's blog, an official website, marginal literacy, and an indescribably enormous ego? You get Pizzaiolo chef-owner Charlie Hallowell's poorly thought-out and even more poorly executed blog "Charlie's Rants" on the website.

As a side note, pizzaiolooakland is really freakin' hard to type correctly the first time. Try it.

You can read all of Charlie's Rants here.

A highlight from his most recent posting (these have been transferred verbatim from the website, so let's just slap a giant "sic" on the whole damn thing):

"Today I recieved a letter of complaint from a disgruntled girlfriend of a disgruntled customer who had a less than wonderful experience at Pizzaiolo. This customer however seemed to think that the negative experience somehow manifested because her boyfriend was an African American, not because we where crazy busy on a weekend night and he asked us to do something for him that would have made our lives a little harder, and we said no, sorry, we can't do that now."

Already we're seeing a general breakdown of one's internal censor by even sharing this story. But surely we can expect a successful entrepreneur like Mr. Hallowell to tactfully address the delicate subject of race?

"So... I would be a total asshole to deny being a racist, I'm white, I'm privilaged, I have benefited from a system whose entire foundation, and whose functional metaphores are so firmly rooted in captivity, slavery, and opression, that for me to claim any kind of trancendant stance in relationship to it would be total bullshit. However, I would never make a desision about weather or not I cut someone's pizza based on what they fucking look like.!!!!!"

No. Though apparently Charlie did take a cultural anthropology course that he only halfway slept through.

Also--why didn't you cut the fucking pizza? How do you make that decision? I've eaten at Pizzaiolo a few times and don't recall having any difficulty eating my pizza, so I'm pretty sure it came to my table cut.... Weird. Also, would you have cut the pizza on a slow night but not on a busy night? That's not fair, now is it?

But surely we can resolve this issue cleanly, right? Charlie's a Berkeley kid, been working and raising a family here for a while. He's sensitive to the cultural dynamics of his tense, gentrifying neighborhood, I'm sure. Let's see:

"Listen, I want you to feel taken care of, I mean I want you, hard working, middle class, hopefully with a kid, trying to make a life in this crazy town work, you. You are why I, a thirty year old cook with two kids who never made more than sixteen bucks an hour in his life, openned a place like Pizzaiolo. A place where for five bucks you can get a bowl of the best god damn beans you ever ate and a plate of rapini that will make your mouth water for days, and it will all be organic, and it will all be local, and it will all be cooked with love, and no, I can't and won't compete with MacDonald's prices, and if people in the hood want to keep throwin away their hard earned money on shit food thats killin them and taking that same money right out of the neighborhood and into some fucking franchise owners pocket in the burbs, so be it."

Wait, did he really use the word "hood?" What is "mouth water" and how does Charlie make mine? Did anyone tell Charlie that rapini is peasant food? To paraphrase a chef acquaintance of mine: "Charlie needs to realize he's just running a fucking pizza parlor."

Not to say it's a bad pizza parlor, but my experiences there have been entirely unremarkable, as any regular reader will know. Pizzaiolo serves an entire menu of the fresh, boring Chez Panisse-style pizzas that Charlie spent his formative years spinning for Herr Waters. Unrelatedly, I've enjoyed the two pizzas I've had at Chez Panisse Cafe in the time since he's left more than I've enjoyed my pizzas at Pizzaiolo (though the clam pie was pretty damn good). It's pizza. It's easy. Get over it.

But that's not really my point. My point is--why the fuck is a the chef-owner of a restaurant putting this incoherent, strangely racist rant on his COMPANY'S WEBSITE?!?! I could forgive him if he was blogging independent of his business, but this? Fuck, I could forgive his weird sociopolitical opinions if he bothered to proofread. These rants don't just suffer from the usual collection of a few typos and dropped articles. It's written by someone who has a very limited grasp of how the English language, or at the very least a computer keypad, works. This is your public fucking business persona, man! I'm just a foulmouthed over-opinionated little douche bag and that's what my business (this blog) is! But you're a successful restaurateur with an image to uphold to your business, your investors, and (hopefully) yourself!

Honestly, I wouldn't've even brought this whole thing up, but your "Charlie's Rants" just make you sound like a seriously self-important, self-absorbed, and utterly clueless dick. And not in a whimsically ironic way.

Like me.=^)

No comments: