Photo: bionicgrrrl, Flickr
There's a certain amount of liberal bourgeois guilt among those of us who are paid to spend our days sampling things like squab-and-foie-gras croustillant and then write about it.
We generally don't discuss it, except perhaps after we've reached the bottom of the second or third scientifically blended cocktail at a place like Death & Co. in Manhattan's East Village and otherwise exhausted ourselves trying to pinpoint exactly what it was that gave that $13 glass of whiskey its particular piquancy. Was it an infusion of Fuji apple? Or the spiced pear?
After all, the downside of decadence is the sneaking suspicion that when the revolution comes (admittedly a remote possibility), we'll be rounded up with others of our ilk -- film critics, art historians -- and shipped off to some gulag in Alaska to break rocks.
The same sort of cynical despair gives us all manner of indy films and just about anything written by Jonathan Franzen. it also gives us the occasional tirade by a food writer, in this case last Friday's blog post by LA Weekly's Amy Scattergood, "Top 10 Foodie Words We Hate: Starting with Foodie."
No doubt the word "foodie" itself has the ability to make the stomach of any self-respecting wordsmith churn, with what Scattergood aptly points out as its cutesy kindergarten connotations. And it's a source of honest frustration to watch what were once evocative words ("artisanal," "delicious," and "bounty") go the way of words like "natural" and "gourmet," which have become so ubiquitous in advertising and elsewhere as to have lost their, well, savor.
The thesaurus, thick as it is, is still finite.
But despite their often pitch-perfect irony and cooler-than-thou insidery tone, what such lexical scoldings often seem to mask is a kind of elitism wrapped, spring-roll style, with existential dread. If words like "smackdown," "iconic" and "mixologist" have become as tired as the format of American Idol, these chidings tacitly suggest, then maybe that's because there's just too many of us out there, sipping our Fuji-apple-infused whiskey (it was Fuji apples!) and trying to figure out how to describe the perfect cassoulet.
Viva la Revolution!