10940 Weyburn Avenue (between Broxton Ave. and Westwood Blvd.)
Westwood Village, CA 90024
After an awesome night in the Emergency Room of the UCLA Medical Center that started before dinner and didn’t end until the wee hours of the morning, I was, quite understandably, hungry. It was late, and though Westwood has quite a few late night places, I wanted pizza, so we went to Enzo’s Pizzeria on Weyburn, open until 3 am. I had a slice of plain cheese pizza because I was afraid of eating anything else that might potentially rustle up yet another stealthy attack by my own body, setting off hista(land)mines that explode into a violent outbreak of hives all over my skin. Bread. Cheese.
I ate a slice of cheese pizza that night. Plain old cheese pizza is kind of boring. Kind of like eating a cheese sandwich.
Kind of boring, like this post. Dear Diary, I ate a slice of cheese pizza...
It’s been over a month since an article titled “In the Belly of the Blog” (Food & Wine, March 2006) sparked a cheese sandwich controversy around the food blogosphere that went down like a white hot panini grill on two slices of ciabatta. Article author Pete Wells is a contributing editor to beautifully glossy flossy food magazine, Food & Wine. His simple piece didn’t say anything earth-shatteringly new about food blogs, and recognized some already highly recognized, well-deserving-of-such-recognition blogs. However, Wells’ sort of implied that everyone else, “hundreds of pointless cheese-sandwich meanderings, were “tiny empires of boredom.” Yikes. The fires that sought to burn Mr. Wells in effigy have died down now, so I certainly realize that addressing it is a little late in the game, but it was done on purpose.
You see, I am what you might call...passive/aggressive. Obviously, I haven’t been clinically diagnosed or anything like that (or have I? Maybe I’m blogging from my tiny padded asylum cell right now!), I just simply know this of myself. I try the best I can to maintain a smiling calm, but the truth is, when I am very reactionary, I take it a little too far. I needed some time to chill out. I think I have sufficiently chilled myself out and can write with some (very small) degree of level-headedness.
When I first came across Wells' article, I didn't think much about what I was reading. In fact, when I first came across the article, I didn’t even read the whole thing carefully. I scanned it, looking for...myself. It is human nature. When your best friend posts photos from the party last weekend and sends you the link, you click over to ofoto, scan the pictures, and what are you looking for first? All the pictures that you are in. Or, you scroll through, but you slow down and double click to enlarge the ones you are in. The point is, people are inherently self-seeking. It’s just the way we are built. Reasonably, I knew I wouldn’t see The Delicious Life mentioned anywhere in Wells’ article since I don’t ever recall a writer from Food and Wine magazine trying to contact me, but our subconscious works in very mysterious, very hopeful, very stupid ways. I didn’t intentionally look for myself, and I’m certainly not saying that every other food blogger who read the article did either. I just know that I did.
Perhaps for but an infinitesimal moment, there was imperceptible disappointment in my heart, but it was overwhelmed by "Oh! There's Deep End Dining! That's Eddie!" I don’t know Eddie. I have never met Eddie, but this is the blogosphere and let’s just say that reading, commenting and emailing is the real-life equivalent of clinking beer steins at a saloon that is halfway between the two of you. High five! High five for the LA crew, Wes-saaaaaaa-ide! I wasn’t really shrieking like a monkey, since I would have sent coffee flying all over my keyboard, but that is was what I was thinking, and if there had been someone other than my two stuffed bears with me, I would have said it all out loud.
Now, the events that unraveled next are very indicative of group social behavior. Sheesh, I never took a sociology class in my life, but work with me here. The article was brought to my attention again in a very neutral, FYI-type blog post, so I re-read Wells’ article. This time, however, I thought more about what Wells was saying. I was the first person to post a comment on that FYI post, and it was negative. I think I said something like...I am slightly offended that he implies that my Delicious Life is a cheese sandwich. Well, we know what happened from there. I'm not saying that my comment initiated the whole spewage that came after that, as I am pretty sure that name-calling, wicked criticism of writing ability, conspiracies to overthrow the Food & Wine regime, and whatnot would have happened anyway. I just wonder what would have happened over there if the first comment had been something slightly more positive.
Well, now that time has passed, I know that many people have changed the way they feel about the article, or had second thoughts about their reactions. The thing is, I still feel negatively toward the article, and while I could continue and say all this stuff about how Wells' writing sucks and he shouldn't have said or done this or that, and that he can kiss my big bloggy ass, I know, in my heart that my "critiques" would be a sham. I am just hiding what I really feel, and am too afraid to admit out loud because it makes me look ridiculous. Am I the first to admit this? I reacted the way I did not because I thought the article was poorly-written or that Wells was completely inaccurate in his claims. I just didn’t want to admit that in fact, I agree with what Wells said, but I was jealous. I was upset/angry/resentful/sad because a credentialed writer like Pete Wells didn't categorize me as one of those blogs that I too believe are examples of those qualities that truly make a good blog: well-written, passionate, and purposeful. It was a hard thing to swallow for someone who is, as I have claimed myself before, an absolute egoiste. That is all. And instead of taking the opportunity to use the very good points he made as way to improve myself, I just sort of let my hurt feelings and pettiness snowball into almost...infuriation.
There. I said it.
I was mad that he didn't pick me.
I said I agree with “some” of the things Wells wrote. There are some things with which I don’t agree at all. However, Pete Wells has every right to say whatever the hell he wants and how ever he wants to do it, as does anyone. God knows I do the same thing on my blog. I badmouth shitt
y service and condescending asshole maitre d's and food that tastes like ass on my own blog. Who is to say that I'm right or wrong? Who is to say he's right or wrong? They are opinions. Whether he did research, or interviews, or spent 2 minutes looking at food blogs or 2 years, it doesn't matter. We were all picking at and picking apart things that don't really matter. Even using the term "cheese sandwich" was being over-analyzed.
All this having been written still doesn't mean I’m not pea-green with envy of the awesome blogs that Wells did mention. But you know, that's just me. :)
And where does that leave me with Enzo’s Pizzeria? Exactly where I was when I started this post. Enzo's is unremarkable - small, red checkered vinyl tablecloth, dark inside, a few tables on the sidewalk for watching drunk college students hobble across the street in a hookah-induced haze to Jerry's Famous Deli. In fact, I don't like Enzo's as much as Frankie and Johnnie's or Mulberry Street Pizzeria because the crust is a little too thick for my taste, but it's open late (until midnight on weekdays, 3 am on the weekend), and at 3 am, post-ER, all I needed was hypo-allergenic cheese pizza.