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On Critics

If there’s a better explanation of the symbiotic relationship between artist and critic than the one provided by Ratatouille, I don’t know about it.  The critic may not create, but their job is essential: they help us separate excellence from the mundane.  I will gladly spend the big money it takes to eat at a fine restaurant, but I do so with much less reservation when a critic has been there, experienced it, and declared it on par with the best.

In that role, in helping me to make better decisions by providing information I wouldn’t otherwise have, critics are indispensable.

Which is what makes Gael Greene such a frustrating case.  Earlier this week, she tweeted:

Jane Brody weighs in on soda tax.http://nyti.ms/9jwCB0 I’m withyou Jane. Let’s tax those sugary soft drinks & save people from themselves.#fb

“Save people from themselves.” At first, I thought I’d be writing this post about hypocrisy.  After all, New York City is considering an epically stupid salt ban.  Surely, I thought, if I go back far enough in her tweets, she’ll be railing against this nonsense…salt is essential for food to taste good and keep us alive (the essay on salt in here says things better than I ever could).  I was wrong.  An example:

Don’t we all know what foie gras is? a diseased liver, total fat, occasionally delicious. We can make the choice. Not w/salt#fb

And another:

NYC campaigns against excess salt. Very Don Quixote but, I’m all for it. It wouldn’t hurt to rachet down our taste for salt.

And a trend emerges: we can’t make the good decisions Gael wants us to make, so she’s trying to make them for us.

A critic is someone who ventures out and tells what they think tastes good..someone who provides adults with the information they need to make an informed decision.  Someone who tells us what we should eat, what will keep us healthy, and how to save us from ourselves?  My mom handled that when I was a kid.

The real kicker in all of this? None of Gael Greene’s nannying is actually affecting any change. Turns out people continue to eat and drink what makes them happy and what tastes good.  Shocking.

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  1. April 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm

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