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Bruni and Beyond: NYC Reviewing (2007)


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Ruth Reichl once famously flirted and played kneesies with a man who was not her husband while she was in process of researching a restaurant she was reviewing. More importantly, she included that scenario in her 4 star review.

So, where was the firestorm of response to that? She was flagrantly promoting a heterosexual agenda - perhaps an adulterous one, at that. There is frequent mention of both a husband and a son throughout her columns. So, how did her sexual orientation impact upon her writing about food? In fact, what did any of her many disguises or the behaviour of her various "characters" have to do with the food? (I exempt her famous and wonderful review of the two Le Cirques, as it had everything to do with it).

Bruni's light allusion to his life was inconsequential compared to that of many of his straight counterparts at the Times. Why this keeps coming up again and again and again is beyond me, but the foregrounding of it has far less to do with Bruni than with those who keep needlessly referring to it.

I liked Reichl's reviews. Liked them lots. In fact, I'm going to come out of the closet here, and openly admit that I enjoy reading Bruni, too. So shoot me. (Oh, and please let me know to whom I must submit my resignation from EG, for such a flagrant violation of group concurrence).

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I should add that Leonard's rather strict definition of "Italian" has given Bruni a break. Bruni gave three stars to Cru, which the Times website lists as an Italian restaurant, a characterization I've no doubt Bruni was responsible for. In the review, he described it as "Tilting heavily toward Italy, nodding slightly toward Spain." In his own mind, he regarded Cru as substantially Italian.

I had a meal at Cru within the past week, and it hadn't struck me as such. It struck me more as a Continental restaurant (I don't know if that is a NY Times classification). With the exception of the "Sepia & Rock Shrimp," it seemed like Gallante had one foot in France (particularly the main item on the dish) and the other in Italy - namely, the accompaniments. Black Bass with black olive and ginger, Lavendar-roasted veal with porcini and fava, and Tortollini of sweet corn with ramps, speck and black pepper parmiggiano. The Buttermilk-poached Poularde with spaetzle, chicken livers and smoked bacon sat squarely on the border - in Alsace - between France and Germany. A first course of marinated fluke with green apple, heart of palm and lemon could have been Brazilian.

Basically, based on my recent dinner, and not having seen the NY Times classification for Cru, I would not have described my experience as Italian.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Ruth Reichl once famously flirted and played kneesies with a man who was not her husband while she was in process of researching a restaurant she was reviewing.  More importantly, she included that scenario in her 4 star review.

Thank you. As I recall, there are several passages of (adulterous) flirtation while she's out reviewing restaurants in Garlic and Sapphires which read as if they came from the reviews themselves, but not having read the originals I wasn't sure.
So, where was the firestorm of response to that?
The foodies hadn't discovered the Internet yet.
Or perhaps it only seems that way, because he's failing to get better.

For whatever little it's worth, that's what I think.

I disagree. I think if you go back and compare to his first year or so on the job, Bruni has markedly improved in some areas. Most notably his prose, which was routinely as embarrassing as anything in that Roberto's review, and is responsible more than anything for making him a laughingstock today. If you don't believe me check out brunidigest or the Mouthfuls Bruni thread. And this covers everything from preposterously strained and mixed metaphors, to distracting overuse of alliteration and an unholy predilection for the word "moist", to a tendency toward elaborate hooks that sometimes took up half the review, to an inclination to view his column as more an Eater-style fashion report than a review of food and service. Today there are far fewer gaffes or displays of ignorance, such as when he was mystified to find recessed seating at a Japanese restaurant, or when he researched and explained to his readers what a "plancha" was. (Yes, there was the recent todo about grower Champagne, but at least that's more obscure than a plancha.) His star ratings, which were frequently capricious or inexplicable in the beginning, are now much more settled and accurate; adjusting for the fact that he devotes more weight to subjective factors than under the Grimes/Miller model, lately I find his star ratings pretty spot-on.

Where he has not improved and presumably never will is in his inability to do a proper "close reading" of a dish: to identify with specificity what's going on, what flavors are being used, what works and what doesn't and why, and to knowledgeably situate the dish within a cultural or historic or culinary context; and, not unrelatedly, in his lack of appreciation for what distinguishes haute cuisine from everything else. Of course this instantly disqualifies him from ever becoming a great food critic, but I think the disdain in which he is held is due to his continued prominence in a world in which he has suddenly dozens of competitors in his field. I think that, when you get down to it, Bruni holds his own very well against any particular other restaurant reviewer, or food blogger, or eG/MF/OA/CH poster. Of course, to those of us who pay enough attention to follow it, the cluster of reviewers and bloggers and posters is incalculably more useful and authoritative than Bruni alone.

Edited by Dave H (log)
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Or perhaps it only seems that way, because he's failing to get better.

For whatever little it's worth, that's what I think.

I disagree. I think if you go back and compare to his first year or so on the job, Bruni has markedly improved in some areas. Most notably his prose, which was routinely as embarrassing as anything in that Roberto's review, and is responsible more than anything for making him a laughingstock today. If you don't believe me check out brunidigest or the Mouthfuls Bruni thread. And this covers everything from preposterously strained and mixed metaphors, to distracting overuse of alliteration and an unholy predilection for the word "moist", to a tendency toward elaborate hooks that sometimes took up half the review, to an inclination to view his column as more an Eater-style fashion report than a review of food and service. Today there are far fewer gaffes or displays of ignorance, such as when he was mystified to find recessed seating at a Japanese restaurant, or when he researched and explained to his readers what a "plancha" was. (Yes, there was the recent todo about grower Champagne, but at least that's more obscure than a plancha.)

There's many fair points here. There's been nothing lately to match the awfulness of the Bouley, Wolfgang's, or LCB Brasserie reviews (all fairly early in his tenure).

He still looks for a "hook" to hang the review on, often with poor results. For instance, the Bar Room/EMP double-review was couched as a "changing of the guard" in Danny Meyer's world, with a needless slam against Gramercy Tavern, which was just breaking in a new kitchen team.

His star ratings, which were frequently capricious or inexplicable in the beginning, are now much more settled and accurate; adjusting for the fact that he devotes more weight to subjective factors than under the Grimes/Miller model, lately I find his star ratings pretty spot-on.
I haven't really detected any change in the way he assigns the stars, and I'm not so sure they were ever that settled or accurate.
Where he has not improved and presumably never will is in his inability to do a proper "close reading" of a dish: to identify with specificity what's going on, what flavors are being used, what works and what doesn't and why, and to knowledgeably situate the dish within a cultural or historic or culinary context; and, not unrelatedly, in his lack of appreciation for what distinguishes haute cuisine from everything else.

Beautifully put. But of course, his lack of appreciation for fine dining is precisely what makes his ratings (and the justifications for them) so wildly off.

The only thing I can add, is that I think he's more of a follower than a leader. A great critic identifies important trends overlooked by others, rather than merely confirming them. Obviously he couldn't do this every week. But in general, I think he follows the breadcrumbs the foodies leave behind, and most of his positive reviews just ratify what everyone else already knew. (I know there's at least one person here who thinks that everything worth discovering has already been discovered, but you'll never convince me of that.)

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The only thing I can add, is that I think he's more of a follower than a leader. A great critic identifies important trends overlooked by others, rather than merely confirming them. Obviously he couldn't do this every week. But in general, I think he follows the breadcrumbs the foodies leave behind, and most of his positive reviews just ratify what everyone else already knew. (I know there's at least one person here who thinks that everything worth discovering has already been discovered, but you'll never convince me of that.)

Again...I'd like to know what unknown gems in Manhattan are out there to be discovered. By my count, Bruni as brought attention to two very good (at least I assume Rosanjin is very good), very neglected restaurants in the borough. Thats' two more than anyone else in recent memory.

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Again...I'd like to know what unknown gems in Manhattan are out there to be discovered.  By my count, Bruni as brought attention to two very good (at least I assume Rosanjin is very good), very neglected restaurants in the borough.  Thats' two more than anyone else in recent memory.

There aren't a whole lot of people who are paid full-time to do nothing but this, and have Bruni's microphone (weekly review, blog, daily podcast). Actually, there's really no one else in a comparable position.

Can it conceivably be your view that, if you were in his position, you'd never find anything that hadn't first been widely publicized by others? Or, if we credit Bruni with 2 restaurants in 3 years—that you'd only find one every 18 months?

My own most recent discovery is Koca Lounge (blog post here). Whether you personally happen to think Koca Lounge is any good is irrelevant. But I didn't find it by following other people's breadcrumb trails. And unlike Bruni, I'm not paid full time to do this.

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Paul Adams reviewed Koca Lounge before you. Its opening was covered by Andrea Strong and the other usual suspects. So, no.

There are several other full-time food critics besides Bruni in NY.

There are at least 40 food bloggers hitting restaurants pretty heavily. Once again, I'd like an example of a hidden gem, open for some period of time (i.e. not an account of its soft opening), in Manhattan, that someone "discovered".

It just doesn't happen. Not anymore. People check the liquor license databases for goodness sakes!

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Paul Adams reviewed Koca Lounge before you.  Its opening was covered by Andrea Strong and the other usual suspects.  So, no.

There are several other full-time food critics besides Bruni in NY.

There are at least 40 food bloggers hitting restaurants pretty heavily.  Once again, I'd like an example of a hidden gem, open for some period of time (i.e. not an account of its soft opening), in Manhattan, that someone "discovered".

It just doesn't happen.  Not anymore.  People check the liquor license databases for goodness sakes!

Either we're talking at cross-purposes, or you're not reading what I write.

Obviously every restaurant open for more than 5 minutes is discovered by somebody — otherwise, it wouldn't be there. So apparently if I name a place that anyone, anywhere, has mentioned, then it's disqualified. By that definition, Nathan, you are absolutely correct. Every restaurant worth talking about has customers, who could be said to have "discovered" it. And at least one of those customers knows how to use the Internet, and posted somewhere about their "discovery."

By your terms, I have to name a place that no. one. has. ever. mentioned. Ever. I agree, that's nearly impossible.

But of course, that was never the point. The point was that someone doing this full-time (and there is no one who is doing it full-time, and has Bruni's microphone) would easily find dozens of worthy places that have been under-publicized. Not "never mentioned by anyone, anywhere, ever." But under-publicized in relation to their merit.

On top of that, the 40+ bloggers you mentioned (and I'm among them) spend a disproportionate share of their time at restaurants open less than 3 years. Expand your horizons to restaurants open longer than that, and the field broadens considerably.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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well sure, but in that case, the Esca review is exactly the sort of thing you're talking about.

Rosanjin stands out because it was virtually unknown (except as a delivery sushi place); the late Petrosino stands out because it was virtually ignored by foodies (I'm apparently the only person on this thread to ever go there). my point is that Bruni "found" those two (Petrosino had already been open for a couple years) and put them on the radar. I'm curious how many restaurants (of any age) of serious merit are off the radar.

If he reviewed La Grenouille next week would that count for your purposes?

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(here's a quick explanation of gender and sexuality related-critiques for those who (thankfully) didn't waste time studying it in grad school):

there are some critics who specifically attempt to adopt gendered or sexuality-determined approaches to specific critical fields...i.e. they write on 15th century literary descriptions of dissections of the feminine anatomy as rape or on implicit homosexuality in the 19th century German bildungsroman.

this can also look at how specific narratives may have been impacted by sexuality or gender even though it wasn't explicit (i.e. looking for correlations between Wilde's orientation and certain passages in The Picture of Dorian Grey).

what you won't find (except among freshman papers) are arguments that someone's gender or who they do or dont' sleep with affects everything they do and write.  that's nonsensical.

in other words, gendered or oriented critical approaches are explicit.  put in the simplest terms possible: Bruni writes as a journalist who happens to be gay.  he doesn't write as a gay journalist.  to analogize, I don't think of myself as a straight male foodie, I think of myself as a foodie.

I recommend Jeremiah Tower's book "California Dish" for those who do not believe there is a gay sensibility in food writing.

IMOP the book is hilarious and brilliant!

For highly personal writing in restaurant criticism I recommend Gael Green.

For those who do not believe that a personal perspective can impact a piece of reportage the master is Hunter S Thompson.

The Times itself has suffered from their putting factors like politics, race and gender ahead of Journalistic excellence--one can go back to Walter Duranty whose politics "shaped" his reporting to the degree that Josef Stalin was portrayed in the Times as a somewhat benevolent dictator.

The truth is, there is reporting and then there is reporting that is highly personal. The two should be separate and clear to the reader. Bruni clouded the picture with his joke. I tend to agree that his impetus for the joke was probably a belief that he was simply being entertaining. It is not because Bruni is gay it is because he is not a very good critic or writer. that's my opinion of course.

Craig Claiborne was openly gay yet this was never an issue for him or his readers. His criticism was based on his expertise and knowledge and experience with food and cooking and restaurants. I can not imagine him making a gay joke to be entertaining. I miss him in the pages of the Times. JW Apple was not gay his sensibility was based upon the same foundation Claiborne's was. Bruni would be wise to look to these writers/critics for inspiration.

The Times would be wise to hire writers and critics based on their experience and abilities first and foremost.

Edited by JohnL (log)
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Bruni would be wise...

Isn't that considered an oxymoron?

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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well sure, but in that case, the Esca review is exactly the sort of thing you're talking about.
Indeed it is. I mentioned upthread that I consider it one of his best reviews—not only for the quality of the writing, but because it fulfilled an essential need that should be part of the NYT critic's core responsibility.
Rosanjin stands out because it was virtually unknown (except as a delivery sushi place); the late Petrosino stands out because it was virtually ignored by foodies (I'm apparently the only person on this thread to ever go there).  my point is that Bruni "found" those two (Petrosino had already been open for a couple years) and put them on the radar.  I'm curious how many restaurants (of any age) of serious merit are off the radar.
By your definition, both Rosanjin and Petrosino weren't truly "off the radar." People had mentioned them, though not in fair proportion to their merit. But yes, those are the types of places Bruni ought to be finding. And yes, I think there are many more of them.

Now, Bruni's job is multi-dimensional, and I hardly think that such reviews could ever take up the bulk of his time. But in relation to the length of his tenure, I think there have been far too few of them. As it appears to me, he spends far too much of his time following other people's footsteps, ratifying Received Opinion, and when he runs out of ideas, and writing lazy reviews like Max Brenner. This is unprovable, but that's what opinions are for!

If he reviewed La Grenouille next week would that count for your purposes?

In the sense that it's well off the critical radar, yes it would. But my premise is not merely that Bruni should be finding such places, but that he should be using his bully pulpit to

A) identify culinary trends (rather than merely ratifying them after they're widely publicized by others); and

B) directing diners to under-appreciated restaurants whose merit is not matched by recent critical attention

I seriously doubt that Bruni would think La Grenouille fits in either of these categories. Indeed, we can write the review in our sleep. He would criticize its tired rituals, and advise us that no one under 55 is actually interested in that kind of food any more. I would eat my hat if he re-affirmed La Grenouille's existing three-star rating.

We all know that Bruni knows how to announce that established restaurants aren't as good as previous critics said they were. A Bruni review of La Grenouille would almost certainly fall in that category. Now, if Bruni were to discover that—surprise, surprise—La Grenouille is doing some great things no other prominent critic had given them credit for, it would be precisely the kind of thing I'm talking about. Bruni will sooner be elected Pope.

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Bruni will sooner be elected Pope.

Sources tell me he's third in line behind Egan and Giuliani.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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(here's a quick explanation of gender and sexuality related-critiques for those who (thankfully) didn't waste time studying it in grad school):

there are some critics who specifically attempt to adopt gendered or sexuality-determined approaches to specific critical fields...i.e. they write on 15th century literary descriptions of dissections of the feminine anatomy as rape or on implicit homosexuality in the 19th century German bildungsroman.

this can also look at how specific narratives may have been impacted by sexuality or gender even though it wasn't explicit (i.e. looking for correlations between Wilde's orientation and certain passages in The Picture of Dorian Grey).

what you won't find (except among freshman papers) are arguments that someone's gender or who they do or dont' sleep with affects everything they do and write.  that's nonsensical.

in other words, gendered or oriented critical approaches are explicit.  put in the simplest terms possible: Bruni writes as a journalist who happens to be gay.  he doesn't write as a gay journalist.  to analogize, I don't think of myself as a straight male foodie, I think of myself as a foodie.

I recommend Jeremiah Tower's book "California Dish" for those who do not believe there is a gay sensibility in food writing.

IMOP the book is hilarious and brilliant!

For highly personal writing in restaurant criticism I recommend Gael Green.

For those who do not believe that a personal perspective can impact a piece of reportage the master is Hunter S Thompson.

The Times itself has suffered from their putting factors like politics, race and gender ahead of Journalistic excellence--one can go back to Walter Duranty whose politics "shaped" his reporting to the degree that Josef Stalin was portrayed in the Times as a somewhat benevolent dictator.

The truth is, there is reporting and then there is reporting that is highly personal. The two should be separate and clear to the reader. Bruni clouded the picture with his joke. I tend to agree that his impetus for the joke was probably a belief that he was simply being entertaining. It is not because Bruni is gay it is because he is not a very good critic or writer. that's my opinion of course.

Craig Claiborne was openly gay yet this was never an issue for him or his readers. His criticism was based on his expertise and knowledge and experience with food and cooking and restaurants. I can not imagine him making a gay joke to be entertaining. I miss him in the pages of the Times. JW Apple was not gay his sensibility was based upon the same foundation Claiborne's was. Bruni would be wise to look to these writers/critics for inspiration.

The Times would be wise to hire writers and critics based on their experience and abilities first and foremost.

none of this has anything to do with what I posted. I was as clear as possible.

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well sure, but in that case, the Esca review is exactly the sort of thing you're talking about.
Indeed it is. I mentioned upthread that I consider it one of his best reviews—not only for the quality of the writing, but because it fulfilled an essential need that should be part of the NYT critic's core responsibility.
Rosanjin stands out because it was virtually unknown (except as a delivery sushi place); the late Petrosino stands out because it was virtually ignored by foodies (I'm apparently the only person on this thread to ever go there).  my point is that Bruni "found" those two (Petrosino had already been open for a couple years) and put them on the radar.  I'm curious how many restaurants (of any age) of serious merit are off the radar.
By your definition, both Rosanjin and Petrosino weren't truly "off the radar." People had mentioned them, though not in fair proportion to their merit. But yes, those are the types of places Bruni ought to be finding. And yes, I think there are many more of them.

Now, Bruni's job is multi-dimensional, and I hardly think that such reviews could ever take up the bulk of his time. But in relation to the length of his tenure, I think there have been far too few of them. As it appears to me, he spends far too much of his time following other people's footsteps, ratifying Received Opinion, and when he runs out of ideas, and writing lazy reviews like Max Brenner. This is unprovable, but that's what opinions are for!

If he reviewed La Grenouille next week would that count for your purposes?

In the sense that it's well off the critical radar, yes it would. But my premise is not merely that Bruni should be finding such places, but that he should be using his bully pulpit to

A) identify culinary trends (rather than merely ratifying them after they're widely publicized by others); and

B) directing diners to under-appreciated restaurants whose merit is not matched by recent critical attention

I seriously doubt that Bruni would think La Grenouille fits in either of these categories. Indeed, we can write the review in our sleep. He would criticize its tired rituals, and advise us that no one under 55 is actually interested in that kind of food any more. I would eat my hat if he re-affirmed La Grenouille's existing three-star rating.

We all know that Bruni knows how to announce that established restaurants aren't as good as previous critics said they were. A Bruni review of La Grenouille would almost certainly fall in that category. Now, if Bruni were to discover that—surprise, surprise—La Grenouille is doing some great things no other prominent critic had given them credit for, it would be precisely the kind of thing I'm talking about. Bruni will sooner be elected Pope.

I think we're actually on the same wavelength then. pity it took this long to determine.

my only quibble is that Rosanjin and Petrosino were off the radar in a different way than Esca was.

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(here's a quick explanation of gender and sexuality related-critiques for those who (thankfully) didn't waste time studying it in grad school):

there are some critics who specifically attempt to adopt gendered or sexuality-determined approaches to specific critical fields...i.e. they write on 15th century literary descriptions of dissections of the feminine anatomy as rape or on implicit homosexuality in the 19th century German bildungsroman.

this can also look at how specific narratives may have been impacted by sexuality or gender even though it wasn't explicit (i.e. looking for correlations between Wilde's orientation and certain passages in The Picture of Dorian Grey).

what you won't find (except among freshman papers) are arguments that someone's gender or who they do or dont' sleep with affects everything they do and write.  that's nonsensical.

in other words, gendered or oriented critical approaches are explicit.  put in the simplest terms possible: Bruni writes as a journalist who happens to be gay.  he doesn't write as a gay journalist.  to analogize, I don't think of myself as a straight male foodie, I think of myself as a foodie.

I recommend Jeremiah Tower's book "California Dish" for those who do not believe there is a gay sensibility in food writing.

IMOP the book is hilarious and brilliant!

For highly personal writing in restaurant criticism I recommend Gael Green.

For those who do not believe that a personal perspective can impact a piece of reportage the master is Hunter S Thompson.

The Times itself has suffered from their putting factors like politics, race and gender ahead of Journalistic excellence--one can go back to Walter Duranty whose politics "shaped" his reporting to the degree that Josef Stalin was portrayed in the Times as a somewhat benevolent dictator.

The truth is, there is reporting and then there is reporting that is highly personal. The two should be separate and clear to the reader. Bruni clouded the picture with his joke. I tend to agree that his impetus for the joke was probably a belief that he was simply being entertaining. It is not because Bruni is gay it is because he is not a very good critic or writer. that's my opinion of course.

Craig Claiborne was openly gay yet this was never an issue for him or his readers. His criticism was based on his expertise and knowledge and experience with food and cooking and restaurants. I can not imagine him making a gay joke to be entertaining. I miss him in the pages of the Times. JW Apple was not gay his sensibility was based upon the same foundation Claiborne's was. Bruni would be wise to look to these writers/critics for inspiration.

The Times would be wise to hire writers and critics based on their experience and abilities first and foremost.

none of this has anything to do with what I posted. I was as clear as possible.

Ok I give up. Your ideas are obviously well entrenched (in your own mind at least) so let's leave it for others to decide.

You make statements and I provide evidence to refute those statements. You ignore my evidence so there really is nothing more to debate here.

Throughout history "academics" have resisted challenges to their conventional wisdom dismissing concepts like the roundness of the earth. :wink:

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Ok I give up. Your ideas are obviously well entrenched (in your own mind at least) so let's leave it for others to decide.

You make statements and I provide evidence  to refute those statements.  You ignore my evidence so there really is nothing more to debate here.

Throughout history "academics" have resisted challenges to their conventional wisdom dismissing concepts like the roundness of the earth. :wink:

actually, it was academics that argued for the roundness of the earth.

the problem here is one of the following, either a. you lack reading comprehension; or b. I'm incapable of expressing my points in a comprehendible manner. because you have no clue what my points were.

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I know what your points are.

As I see it, you are arguing from a point of critical theory. I am arguing my point from the real world.

Let me make it as simple as possible,

A critic may operate from a very personal standpoint imbuing his or her criticism and critical criteria with a very personal views unrelated to his or her knowledge and experience with the subject.

The reviews by these folks are usually more about them and their personal reactions than they are about the subject of their review.

You can deny this exists all you want.

My point re: Bruni is that is treading on thin ice with thinly veiled allusions to his sexuality (and that of his friends) especially when his credibility as a basic food and restaurant critic is so widely in question.

No one really cares what a person's sexual identity is once their credentials are established in the area of their supposed expertise. No one (I know of at least) cared what Craig Claiborne's or Ruth Reichl's sexual preferences were. They didn't slip them into their reviews to make some sort of joke.

To further make my point. If Bruni had made the same kind of joke in his political reporting then any subsequent reporting he did would be questioned as to whether or not his assessments were colored by the fact that he is gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that--as long as the writer/reporter/critic is clear and upfront.

Otherwise, it is fair to assume that every reporter and every reviewer absent this acknowledgment is operating via basic journalistic principles.

(I studied Journalism).

Bruni's humor, gay and otherwise is too often forced and detracts from clarity and just plain good writing. We can certainly disagree here. (and without quoting texts on the principles of good writing). I also believe that the Times took that humor and amplified it to the point that the entire review was basically treated a a big joke.

"Gay Critic and cronies visit a female strip club! (and have a steak while there)"

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As far as I can tell, Nathan is talking about "queer theory", an academic analytic tool part of critical theory, whereas John is talking about analyzing things from the perspective of a gay male (whatever that might mean).

John is hardly the only person who accuses Bruni of doing this. But I don't know what they're talking about. The only time Bruni raised his sexual orientation was an instance when it would have been stupid to avoid it.

Do you think that if R.W. Apple wrote a review of Robert's he wouldn't have made some reference to what Betsy thought of the whole scene?

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Sneakeater.

You got it!

Really, I am not making an issue out of it (well okay maybe a little).

It was Bruni and the Times that made the issue out of it (a restaurant review) and blew it up. (amplified it).

In the context of the fact that I think Bruni has competency issues and credibility issues with a large chunk of the public, this was just one more thing to toss in the pot!

I am not sure Bruni is reviewing restaurants with a gay sensibility or just a good restaurant critic sensibility. Actually, I tend to believe he is not personalizing his reviews too much. I would accept any perspective and sensibility from Bruni if I could figure out what that sensibility is! (gay or otherwise).

I really believe that this whole gender issue is really not a problem with Bruni it is his lack of authority and his sophomoric humor. I actually like the line he uses in his craftsteak review. But often his attempts at cleverness and wit tend to muddy up his reviews. But maybe entertainment and glibness rather than gravitas is what the Time is looking for these days. Circulation you know!

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You know maybe what I am trying to say is if the Times wants to have it all cover all the bases then maybe they should hire

Jeremiah Tower as their restaurant critic.

The guy is gay writes with a gay sensibility and does it with panache--really good writing skills and his humor is superb--wit, style and just plain funny!

Additionally Mr Tower certainly knows food and restaurants!

I would have no complaints there--and Tower would raise circulation --I guarantee it!

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I need to ask a serious question.

Since I was one of two (I think H. was the other) who didn't know the Times critic was gay, nor did/do I care, how do so many people know what other people's sexual orientation is?

Is there some web site that lists these things? And most importantly, why do people care what other people do in their bedrooms?

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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No one does care Rich. (most people anyway)

It usually only becomes an issue when they bring it up.

Bruni introduced it in a review.

The Times then amplified it on the web site!

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1. New York is a small place. My gay friends know who's gay just like I know who's Jewish.

2. As I said above, I knew about Bruni because years ago, when Bruni was still a political correspondent, New York Magazine put him on a list of "Most Powerful NYC Gays and Lesbians" published in conjunction with Gay Pride Week. As I noted above, I remembered it because, out of everybody listed from the Times (they were listed as a group), Bruni was the only one whose sexual orientation was previously unknown to me, because he was the only one who wasn't essentially a "professional gay".

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