Name Calling and Other Useless Endeavors
When people get frustrated, they sometimes get angry. And when we get angry, we occasionally lash out. That’s normal.
But these are not very effective behaviors in changing people’s minds.
There have been some comments recently on the FLB and on Twitter that I really feel compelled to address. One, because I disagree with them. And two, because I think they are harmful to what we are trying to accomplish here.
One example was when Mr. Sunshine wrote, “What is not out there is a public educated and/or sophisticated enough to comlete an intelligent ‘Best of’ survey!” KB also agreed that, “There are quite a few ballot-entering people who wouldn’t know good food (or even be able to define certain words) if their life depended on it.”
Burnt My Fingers displays his contempt for those who filled out the TU survey in this scathing descriptive portrait:
The person who fills out the TU survey is the same guy who gets angry if he doesn’t have enough leftovers for a second meal, and thinks sushi is from Thailand. In fact, the best use of the survey might be knowing where not to go. Right now (5 pm on a Friday) that Cap District bon vivant is getting wasted at TGIF or gorging himself on endless fries at the Red Robin, so as long as I stay away from those place at least I don’t run into him.
I think we can all agree there is a problem here. But there are a few productive ways to fix it.
Personally, I find The Fountain’s pizza to be uninspiring. That’s not to say it’s bad. But I can graciously accept its position as The Best Pizza in the Capital Region. Why? Because it’s doughy and cheesy. In the long Albany winter it provides a deep inner warmth, in a friendly and informal setting, where you can enjoy pitchers of beer with your friends, family and neighbors. It’s an Albany institution. Fine.
People are just voting on a different set of criteria. They may not like a glorious New York style slice, with its double-crisped bottom that was cooked on the oven floor, and its yeasty, pillowy end-crust. They may look at it in its thinness and wonder how that skimpy slice is supposed to sustain them.
You really need three things to be able to suss out the quality differences between pizza that is fun, filling and festive from pizza that is well crafted, from good ingredients, and truly stands out from the pack.
In the context of the above example this means that someone must want to learn more about good pizza. This person then needs to be able to try a variety of pizza. But most importantly, they need to be able to pay attention to the eating, and mull over its component parts.
I went through a similar experience with my in-laws over wine. And after a little guidance they went from drinking simple, sweet, poorly made wines to having specific and definite preferences for certain varietals and wineries.
Mr. Dave does make a good point in that I’m not effectively reaching the audience of people who are ambivalent about their food (much like my in laws were ambivalent to wine).
But here’s the thing, or at least it’s the goal. And I’m going to keep saying it over and over and over and over again.
Despite what Mr. Sunshine said, there is absolutely a large quantity of educated and sophisticated people in the Capital Region. Not only do we have all the doctors in the hospitals, but we have all the lawyers in the government and professors at the colleges and universities. Plus we have the engineers and scientists engaged at GE and in nanotechnology. And this isn’t even considering the graduate students, medical students and law students who call this area home (even if temporarily). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The problem is that these people don’t all vote in the poll. They are busy. And this isn’t their priority either. However, I know you are all tied into these communities, which is why every year I ask that you help spread the word about the FUSSYlittleBALLOT.
Because the idea isn’t to get the life long fans of The Fountain to vote for Pizza King. No. The idea is to propel some place like All Good Bakers into the top spot within its category, and encourage a few people to try something new and wonderful.
With this comes exposure to better food.
Some won’t be impressed. But others will like it. A few will love it. And perhaps for a small handful of people, it will completely change the way they think about food forever.
Now that may be crazy. And it may not be the best use of my time. But calling people names and dismissing their opinions and mocking them because they might not be as worldly? Well, that is truly useless.