The Particular Flavor of Contempt
June 13, 2012 1:05 PM   Subscribe

How We Talk About A Bacon Sundae (from Mefi's Own Linda_Holmes)
posted by box (78 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
So it turns out that food snobs are not in touch with the eating habits of the common man. Who knew?
posted by doctor_negative at 1:19 PM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Couldn't agree more. My only problem with the piece is that now I want a goddamned bloody Mary with bacon in it, and I'm stuck here at work. (NotSafeForPeopleWithoutMeansToMakeBaconBloodyMary!)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:20 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was just great.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:22 PM on June 13, 2012


Perfectly said.
posted by saladin at 1:23 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


By "Couldn't agree more," I meant the article.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:24 PM on June 13, 2012


Isn't the real crime here that it's just a sundae with bacon bits on top, when the idea of a "bacon sundae" conjures images of actual bacon-infused ice cream, or a banana split with bacon replacing the fruit, or a slice in the whipped cream, or something. This is just lazy.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:25 PM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I didn't even know this was a thing. I hope they advertise it with U2 in the background singing "Sunday, Bacon Sunday! Sundaaayyy, Bacon Sundaaayyy! 2, 3, 4..."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:33 PM on June 13, 2012 [14 favorites]


Nobody who is eating at Burger King is trying to be on trend, unless they are somehow eating there ironically, in which case they deserve to be disappointed.

That sentence brought to mind this bit from The Onion.
posted by mhum at 1:38 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well said and I don't give a "firey flapdoodle" what anyone else thinks!
posted by Isadorady at 1:40 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want to say that at work we have Bacon Day a couple times a year. You may now be jealous (or heck, host your own).
posted by plinth at 1:48 PM on June 13, 2012


I have been thinking and talking over my feelings on the whole (years old, at this point) bacon trend in food. This piece really brought it all full circle for me.

Great!
posted by broadway bill at 1:49 PM on June 13, 2012


Look: I have absolutely no interest in the Burger King bacon sundae.

Methinks the lady protests too much.

She wrote a whole article (on NPR!) about how another article was pointless, unnecessary, and unfair.

Talk about fucking trivial. And then it gets posted here. These sorts of things make me depressed.

Isn't the real crime here that it's just a sundae with bacon bits on top, when the idea of a "bacon sundae" conjures images of actual bacon-infused ice cream, or a banana split with bacon replacing the fruit, or a slice in the whipped cream, or something. This is just lazy.

Wouldn't the author of the article say, "Shut up, you fucking foodie."

I'm sorta conflicted because I'm a utilitarian vegetarian and foodies kinda piss me off. But this article is shite. It's like it's trying to be all contrarian backlash against the backlash against ninja pirate bacon.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:50 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks, y'all. You're very kind. (So far.) (I should leave forever right now.)
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:50 PM on June 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Low carbers know that the problem isn't the bacon, it's the ice cream.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:52 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


No offense intended, Linda. Just calling 'em like I see 'em. FWIW, I do generally enjoy your writing, particularly the TV stuff. This one seemed like deadline filler to me. I've been there many times myself. ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:54 PM on June 13, 2012


Thematically related (to this and the recent taco discussion that got into Tex-Mex): The Judgmental Austin Food And Drinks Map.
posted by immlass at 1:55 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't even like bacon. I just believe in going whole-hog (pun intended) on novelty cooking.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:01 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


SPOKE TOO SOON! (Kidding.)

Yes, the food issue is fucking trivial. I would submit that the slightly broader cultural issue is not trivial at all.

And you're TOTALLY free to call as you see, dude; it's my decision to show up, so please do not pull punches, seriously. If I feel like that's happening, I won't feel like I can poke my head out, which I really like doing, because discussions here are always high-end. But I promise -- this was not deadline filler. In fact, I put off finishing my Dallas review to write it! (I know. I KNOW.) Anyway, maybe this makes it even worse, but I actually genuinely care about this; not the food thing, but the "my two friends and I think this is no longer cool at all; ergo, it's very insulting that they're doing it now and thinking we won't notice how not cool it is" thing makes my eyelids twitch. It's true that I took it out on this one piece, but it is not just this piece. This is actually a cultural diversity issue to me, believe it or not, albeit one that doesn't arise from the most commonly discussed differences.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 2:02 PM on June 13, 2012 [23 favorites]


now I want a goddamned bloody Mary with bacon in it

I just had a really good one at One Stop Beer Shop last weekend; it's made with bacon-infused vodka, a good amount of spice, and it's umami as hell. It's a little strong on the salt, but they serve it with a beer chaser to balance out the saltiness. The most memorable Bloody Mary I've had in a while. After each sip, I kinda puckered my mouth and went "mm!", surprised by the almost-assaultive levels of savoriness.

posted by Greg Nog at 2:03 PM on June 13, 2012


I am mostly outraged that Linda Holmes was a) in Austin and b) eating at, most likely, Frank, and I was not aware of this nor did I get a chance to fangirl at her.

Talk about fucking trivial. And then it gets posted here.

And then you felt the need to actively comment about how dumb the article about how dumb the other article was, and we're all in danger of disappearing into a black hole.

I think there's definitely something to be said about the way in-group snobbiness doesn't translate at all sometimes to a broader audience, and this is a good example of that. Also now I kind of want a bacon sundae. And it occurs to me I literally have no idea where any Burger Kings are in this city.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:05 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I cannot wait for the internet to have some olfactory plug-in so I could smell the bacon as I read about it.
posted by not_on_display at 2:09 PM on June 13, 2012


But this article is shite. It's like it's trying to be all contrarian backlash against the backlash against ninja pirate bacon.

Some of us do well with axioms and others learn more from parables or fables.

If writers confined themselves to axioms, there would be much less reading to do and a lot of us would be the poorer for it, because some of us never really connect the truth of an axiom with our own lives. We confuse knowing or understanding a thing with doing or being a thing.

And now, mid-comment, here's Linda:

This is actually a cultural diversity issue to me, believe it or not, albeit one that doesn't arise from the most commonly discussed differences.

Well I believe it.

I don't find a lot of straight-up educational value in reading about bacon sundaes and the foodies who hate them, because I have usually regretted any time spent reading things foodies say, and do not enjoy reminders of my regret.

But as a person whose opinions on narrowly focused areas can be as wildly intolerant as the foodies depicted in this piece, I do benefit from (if not enjoy) reminders of just how horrible I can be about people who are not as narrowly focused.

Once upon a time, a dear friend dumped a whole chicken out of a can. It landed in the pan with a plop, encased in gelatinous fat, all quivery and glistening. It didn't look appetizing, exactly, but it didn't horrify me as much as I think a foodie might be horrified. Had a foodie been present to witness the decanting of the chicken, that foodie may have had some horrible things to say and I would have taken up for my friend's right to eat a goddamned canned chicken.

Once upon a time, a dear friend of mine had me over and I walked past his bookshelf and noticed that it was almost entirely filled with Star Trek novelizations. Dozens and dozens of them. Though I liked Star Trek on friendly, nostalgic grounds, I had read a few novelizations and mostly considered them a good thing to read when drunk and waiting to pass out. My reaction to the books and ensuing comments weren't charitable, and I regret it to this day, 22 years later. But I still forget myself about narrow interests of mine now and then, even though I rationally understand that my snobbery is a narrow, mean thing. I do not mind reminders, and they even perform better as reminders when I'm reading about them in the context of foodies and the shit they say.
posted by mph at 2:20 PM on June 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was a snob before it was cool.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:23 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


but the "my two friends and I think this is no longer cool at all; ergo, it's very insulting that they're doing it now and thinking we won't notice how not cool it is" thing makes my eyelids twitch. It's true that I took it out on this one piece, but it is not just this piece. This is actually a cultural diversity issue to me, believe it or not, albeit one that doesn't arise from the most commonly discussed differences.

Yeah. Though you didn't address it head on, there's also a lot of class snobbery inherent in being a foodie and judging people for not being foodies. Because it's freaking expensive to be a foodie. It's expensive to have the very best ingredients and to have hours and hours to be able to cook food just so you can eat it and blog about it.

So when foodies are mocking people for eating less-cool food than they are - the very same food that they can afford to eat - it feels like nothing more than a new, cool version of mocking poor people for being poor.
posted by corb at 2:26 PM on June 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


The article I read wasn't mocking theoretical Burger King customers for being poor or being wannabe foodies, but was mocking Burger King, the big wealthy corporation, for a sad bit of trend-chasing.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:30 PM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well said and I don't give a "firey flapdoodle" what anyone else thinks!

I find that, if I eat at Burger King too often, I end up suffering from "firey flapdoodle." A little ointment usually helps, but it's kind of a hassle.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:00 PM on June 13, 2012


the decanting of the chicken

I want to see a Robert Burns-esque poem on this.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:00 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also now I kind of want a bacon sundae. And it occurs to me I literally have no idea where any Burger Kings are in this city.

/humblebrag
posted by mrgrimm at 3:06 PM on June 13, 2012


Thematically related (to this and the recent taco discussion that got into Tex-Mex): The Judgmental Austin Food And Drinks Map.

And now I want some fried beets!
posted by mrgrimm at 3:08 PM on June 13, 2012


But Linda, how did you feel about MetaFilter's Own John Scalzi taping bacon to his cat?

And does this no longer apply now that Mr. S's Redshirts meta-SF is more popular than his bacon-cat?
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:09 PM on June 13, 2012


mocking Burger King, the big wealthy corporation, for a sad bit of trend-chasing

I agree, for what it's worth, that the target was meant to be the chain; I think that's fair to point out, and I don't want to suggest that I think this piece is intended in any way to be hostile toward regular people.

But I continue to believe analyzing how "late," "played out," and "over" a trend is when you're talking about a Burger King menu item is ridiculous, because the number of people who read Grub Street and have the first clue when it decided bacon was over is so vanishingly tiny relative to the Burger King customer base that it is and should be statistically insignificant to Burger King. Which is why I literally laughed out loud at the comment, "we were only bemused, and a little surprised that BK would think this would catch on three years after bacon-for-dessert trend pieces started showing up literally everywhere." I don't know. I don't think it's badly intended, but I think it's a very weird view of the world. We've known about bacon with ice cream for three years, Burger King! We are insulted you would try to serve it to us now after we have obviously moved on! It's ... weird.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 3:16 PM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Bacon Monocle Mustache Nyan R2D2.

I'd buy that on a T-shirt to put alongside my Three Keyboard Cat Moon T-shirt.
posted by acb at 3:20 PM on June 13, 2012


Wherein the elite make fun of the other elite for how out of touch they are with the hoi polloi. This shit is why Republicans can still win elections THERE I SAID IT.
posted by nanojath at 3:22 PM on June 13, 2012


The decanting of the chicken

Fair fa' an honest, birdie beak,
Naught such as this o' featherless-freak!
Aboon them a' ye tak your peek,
Play hide or seek:
Weel are ye meal so fairly bleak,
Gray, gelatinous, and reek.

The groaning ere ye ate ye fill,
Your hurles behind a distant hill,
Your sweat wad help to drownd a still
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dewsy swill
Like umber bead.

And wuld ye wished your better dead than feed.


Robert Boo-urns
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:24 PM on June 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


And now I'm craving a damn lemon curd and goat cheese breakfast sandwich.
posted by nanojath at 3:24 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man if you want nasty BK bacon in your cheap ass BK soft serve more than you want this I don't wanna hear about it.
posted by nanojath at 3:27 PM on June 13, 2012


Man, way to up the ante from those WCW parodies, IRFH.
posted by box at 3:28 PM on June 13, 2012


/humblebrag

Hah! Wasn't intended that way. I could name quite a few McDonalds, Taco Bells, Popeye's, and even a couple of Chik-fil-as within lunching distance of all of my past offices, but I can't think of a single BK. Just odd, is all.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:32 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


We've known about bacon with ice cream for three years, Burger King! We are insulted you would try to serve it to us now after we have obviously moved on! It's ... weird.

Well, to be fair, bacon ice cream entered news coverage back in 2008, and it's seems pretty clear that this is Burger King's attempt to jump on the overdone bacon meme. Someone mentioned Epic Meal Time--they've been doing bacon shit for years too ...

So yeah, when I first saw the BK Bacon Ice Cream, my first (non foodie) thought was "jeez, a little late to the trend, eh?"

My second thought was: "milk/dairy is already disgusting enough; why make it worse with the blood of a pig, which is like totally the COOLEST ANIMAL IN THE WORLD?"
posted by mrgrimm at 3:40 PM on June 13, 2012


I could name quite a few McDonalds, Taco Bells, Popeye's, and even a couple of Chik-fil-as within lunching distance of all of my past offices, but I can't think of a single BK. Just odd, is all.

I'm pretty down with BK in general, though I can't seem to find the BK Veggie any longer (and I don't think it's vegan anymore either ...)

But this bacon ice cream thing does seem laughable to me.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:46 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


They still make the Whaler, right?
posted by box at 3:50 PM on June 13, 2012


Over a year ago at Denny's I was presented with the bacon and maple sundae. I chose not to purchase it. Since then I've returned to the UK, a land of sensible food where such delights as bacon and ice cream are never mixed. Every now and then I think of that bacon sundae that I never had and think about how glorious it could have been.

I'm fairly sure if I ever get one it'll be a disappointment. It's mostly the regret combined with the unique mood I was in at the time that leaves the lingering disappointment in my life.
posted by leo_r at 3:56 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Recipe for British avant garde classic Bacon and Egg Ice Cream as found on the menu of the Fat Duck since late 90s or early 00s:

http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/heston-blumenthal/bacon-and-egg-ice-cream-recipe
posted by Bwithh at 4:07 PM on June 13, 2012


I enjoyed the bourbon maple bacon ice cream I made that one time. You really gotta fry the bits and candy the shit out of them though, or else it's too porky.

Also, I've said it before, but self-identifying as a 'foodie' is like calling yourself a douchebag.

At first I was like why would you do that, but then I was like I guess thanks for letting me know.

posted by danny the boy at 5:37 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's my question for BK: What the fuck happened to the Yumbo? It was there one day and gone the next without even so much as a by-your-leave.

This whole bacon sundae fooforaw pales in comparison.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:55 PM on June 13, 2012


I wish the post-ironic bacon fetishists hadn't gleefully branded a food source as ZOMG BACON!!1. I work in the veterinary field and have met and treated some damn smart pigs. I know full well that it is of zero consequence to a pig what becomes of his/her remains post-slaughter, but I still find it vaguely unsettling to think of the miserable lives that will now result in a sundae topping and that the question at hand is who we should feel most insulted by. Kudos to BK for phasing out gestational cages from their sources by 2017, but ~80% of the 2012 bacon sundae bits spent their lives in cages that were too small to turn around in. I understand the arguments for mass-producing and eating meat for nutritional purposes, but trendy or not, I don't need an extra dash of suffering in my ice cream thanks.
posted by gloomy mcdoom at 7:00 PM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Low carbers know that the problem isn't the bacon, it's the ice cream.

If ice-cream is wrong, there is no right. It's ice-cream! When bacon was the internet meme of pure awesome, it was just trying to be as loved as ice-cream. Ice-cream is the OG of delicious. Take any random child not yet corrupted by the world, any child will do - offer them a choice between ice-cream and anything else at all, ice-cream wins every time. Bacon cannot stand against ice-cream.

Nothing can.

Ice-cream is the very pinnacle.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:07 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe if it was mac n cheese ice cream.
posted by elizardbits at 8:14 PM on June 13, 2012


Someone once said that their generation would be solders so their sons could be engineers so that their sons could be artists.

If someone had then added "so that their sons can be hedonists who devote themselves to food", maybe those solders would have said "Well sod this war business for a lark then, I'm off home then, back to the misses and a cuppa in front of a nice warm fire."
posted by -harlequin- at 8:19 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


*sips bacon mac n cheese ice cream margarita, nods knowingly*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:21 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should point out that Pork Floss is a traditional condiment on everything in Thailand and probably the rest of asia. This includes: pastries, crepes, street pizza, and candy. I should also point out that pork floss is a real thing and it is literally like candy floss, but made from pork fibers.

While we're on it, corn and beans are only dessert items to be eaten in ice cream or coconut milk. Crazy world.
posted by Telf at 8:28 PM on June 13, 2012


I have to say, I love bacon and bacon-accented or bacon-accompanied or bacon-adorned or bacon-embedded or bacon-enveloped foods, but bacon-infused just doesn't work for me. It just tastes like grease.
posted by maryr at 8:38 PM on June 13, 2012


You really need to work on your infusiasm.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:44 PM on June 13, 2012


" Since then I've returned to the UK, a land of sensible food where such delights as bacon and ice cream are never mixed."

But ... But ... Bacon sandwiches slathered in sweet cream butter! I stretched my student stipend to buy one every Wednesday for as long as I was in your fair land!

When I was pregnant I'd make my husband try to make them and fail and berate him and eat it anyway because Bacon.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:51 PM on June 13, 2012


My happiest ice cream discovery was Maple Bacon ice cream at Lola, in Cleveland. It was...perfect.
posted by MissySedai at 8:55 PM on June 13, 2012


"It's not the bacon that's the problem," (Helen) Rosner said over IM. "It's the lazy assumption that putting the word 'bacon' in the name of a product ensures that you'll get mountains of breathless media coverage: OMG! They put bacon on a sundae!!!!!11!!eleven!!! It's dehumanizing."
Helen Rosner, the senior web editor of a food magazine, needs to get a sense of perspective if what enrages her about transnational corporations is their marketing strategies, and what enrages her about the marketing strategies is that a slow development cycle resulted in a short-term menu item that refers to a trend now passe among high-end food professionals.

On the other hand, I love maryr for alphabetizing that list of bacon-prefixed phrases.
posted by gingerest at 8:56 PM on June 13, 2012


"It's the lazy assumption that putting the word 'bacon' in the name of a product ensures that you'll get mountains of breathless media coverage

Lazy perhaps, but also demonstrably correct, including in this case.

And as long as their assumptions are being proven right, I don't think they really care about how little energy it required of them to choose to the correct assumption.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:03 PM on June 13, 2012


Burger King's attempt to jump on the overdone bacon meme.

In what bizarre subculture is the fact that adding bacon to stuff is tasty a fad?

And how much do you have to believe the world revolves around you to think that Burger King, a company that's been adding bacon to their sandwiches and salads since before you were born, got the idea of putting bacon bits on a sundae from your tiny little clique of people who blog about food?
posted by straight at 9:40 PM on June 13, 2012


To be fair, real bits of American streaky bacon cut into 1"x1" or so and fried until crispy could top most anything and work. It's the glue that holds Cobb salads together.

So is the bacon going to be just crumbled up stuff that they put in their burgers, or is this an optimized bacon that works well with frozen sugary frozen milk deserts?
posted by porpoise at 9:42 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's an optimized bacon that works well with media coverage.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:46 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also now I kind of want a bacon sundae. And it occurs to me I literally have no idea where any Burger Kings are in this city.

riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggghhhht. ;)
posted by sourwookie at 9:55 PM on June 13, 2012


But you don't have to be a foodie to notice that BACON BACON BACON was a fad and now it's over. It wasn't that obscure. I hate people who talk about food and and turn my back on them whenever they start up, and even I noticed that for a long while there, bacon was the vampire love triangles of food on the internet. Anyway, if you acknowledge that Burger King and not their customers were the target of the original article's scepticism, what's the problem? It's a food trends blog having an opinion about trends in food. I'm personally sceptical of the assumption that it's basically just the impoverished and oppressed masses who eat fast food from time to time and that these la-di-da bloggers couldn't possibly have a right to talk about it. To start with, that shit is expensive.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 2:47 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It blows my mind that Burger King is doing this, and that it might actually be popular. I remember when Vosges came out with their bacon chocolate bar so many people that I talked to about it were majorly grossed out by bacon with something sweet. (On a related note, I remember when my friend and I realized, after trying it, that we could make our own bacon chocolate for much less than $7.50/bar. Amazing!)
posted by aaanastasia at 12:37 PM on June 14, 2012


At least around here, the reality does not match the hype.
posted by Daily Alice at 12:58 PM on June 14, 2012


Also, Linda_Holmes, I want to heartily thank you for not calling your piece "What We Talk About When We Talk About a Bacon Sundae."
posted by Daily Alice at 1:02 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


In what bizarre subculture is the fact that adding bacon to stuff is tasty a fad?

The Internet "subculture".

At least around here, the reality does not match the hype.

Yikes, that looks a LOT different than the picture.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:11 PM on June 14, 2012


I'm baffled at The Atlantic's supposition that it's unacceptable to serve new menu items unless the cool kids think it's okay. Can't we just get new things because they are tasty?

So what if the elite of the food world are tired of bacon. So what if bacon was (is) a fad. IT'S STILL TASTY AND I WANT IT.
posted by ErikaB at 4:56 PM on June 14, 2012


It's a food trends blog having an opinion about trends in food.

It's actually not. It's The Atlantic, which is not a food trends blog at all. That's sort of the point -- it's a general-interest blog that adopts the tone and attitudes of a food trends blog with such force that you thought it was one.

I'm personally sceptical of the assumption that it's basically just the impoverished and oppressed masses who eat fast food from time to time and that these la-di-da bloggers couldn't possibly have a right to talk about it.

Nothing remotely like that was said. Not remotely, and I don't think that either.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:23 AM on June 15, 2012


I'm baffled at The Atlantic's supposition that it's unacceptable to serve new menu items unless the cool kids think it's okay. Can't we just get new things because they are tasty?

I think the better argument (I didn't read the Atlantic article too closely) might be that Burger King does not care one shit whether not the new BK Xtreme Sundae is "tasty." They're lamely trying to cash in on the odd-combinations-with-bacon bandwagon, which is a real thing and has been going on pretty heavy for several years now.

A comparable example might be tweaking the code on your Web site to make it more SEO friendly so that more users can find it, as opposed to adding any real value to the user experience on your site.

There's nothing inherently "wrong" with it, but it's wasting time, resources, attention, etc. on something lame instead of creating something original, unique, and truly "tasty" that will attract users on its merits rather than tricks and gimmicks? (I realize, yes, my expectations for a fast-food chain (and possibly for Web sites) are pretty ridiculous.)

(Forgive me. The whole commercial Web seems like a fraudulent deck of cards to me right now and I'm mad about it. I don't know why, but the bacon sundae makes me sorta mad in the same way. I suppose it's repressed frustration and/or general depression about life and civilization ... /eponysterical)

(I also can't believe I'm defending the Atlantic, one of my least favorite sites and publications. But I am.)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:47 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


But surely there are things which can be both stupidly trendy AND inherently good.

I mean, that's how it got to be a fad in the first place, right? No one was like, "Ew, I put chocolate on bacon and it was disgusting, LET'S ALL DO THIS!"

I know "bacon and odd things" has been a trend for years, and I'm tired of its trendiness, too. But at the same time, I acknowledge that "bacon + chocolate + ice cream," when done well, is delicious.

Saying that Burger King is dumb or wrong to sell bacon sundaes is elitism, pure and simple. It's a textbook example of class-based snobbery, which is why a discussion of something which might initially seem to be "trivial" gets so heated.

In one sense, Burger King's bacon sundae can be seen as an example of how Middle America (dare I say, the 99%) gets the upper class's hand-me-downs. Look at the popularization of pesto, sushi, and espresso, just to name a few.

But there seem to be some people (particularly at The Atlantic) who feel like maybe Middle America is trying to take something that doesn't belong to them. (What next? The Sous Vide Whopper? Oh my darling Bitsy, hold my monocle, I believe I feel faint!)

A typical response to that feeling would be to sniff haughtily and proclaim sour grapes. "Those were last season's pants, anyway; who cares if the maid stole them?"

Another approach would be to say "Hey, this is a pretty tasty combo. Everyone should try it!" And be happy that new tasty food combinations are still being invented every day, and that the best of them percolate out to the mass culture at large, where everyone can enjoy them on an affordable basis.
posted by ErikaB at 10:49 AM on June 15, 2012


But surely there are things which can be both stupidly trendy AND inherently good.

Absolutely. I think any article condemning this stupid dessert should certainly try it and see how objectively good/bad it is.

From the (1) review, it does seem particularly bad.

Saying that Burger King is dumb or wrong to sell bacon sundaes is elitism, pure and simple.

I'm not saying it's dumb or wrong. They've got us talking about it; it's hard to call the move "dumb" from a marketing perspective. And "wrong," well, I'm not gonna go there. I think it's wrong to kill animals for food, so bacon is already "wrong" to me. (And so is ice cream, for that matter.)

But annoying, uncreative, offensive? Yes. It can be all of those things to me and I can say why. That's all. No one is (or I'm not) challenging BK's right to make this stupid dessert nor consumers' right to buy it.

"Those were last season's pants, anyway; who cares if the maid stole them?"

That is a fair argument, but I find it hard to see the huge bacon trend (again, of at least the past five years) as based in the upper classes. Those folks have been noshing on their charcuterie while the plebes enjoy fried fat.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:13 AM on June 15, 2012


Middle America (dare I say, the 99%)

Huh. I think that's the first time I've seen anyone try to make that connection. It seems a bit forced.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:14 AM on June 15, 2012


I apologise, Linda; I really shouldn't have read and responded to you so carelessly. I was definitely conflating your ideas with sort-of related ones that you didn't express. I've re-read your article, though, as well as your comments here, and I suppose I still don't understand how you can find the Atlantic post quite as offensive as all that. All right, snobs dismiss things glibly, but I feel that unless you're willing to make the case that their dismissals contribute to the marginalisation (etc.) of real people and groups - I'm thinking along the lines of the scorn with which some chaperones of the traditional literary canon have regarded the idea of including female and POC writers - then IMO they don't really merit such vigorous repudiation. I mean, you obviously have every right to your reaction. I just don't relate to it.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 2:08 AM on June 16, 2012


Nah, don't apologize.

I'll just say that I agree with you that what makes cultural outlook important is often "marginalisation of real people and groups," but I don't think that only applies when those people and groups are POC writers and women, even though those are the most well-known and most-discussed people and groups that come up in discussions of marginalization.

There is also a tendency to marginalize poor people -- not just very poor people in cities, but pretty-poor people in little towns and suburbs. There's a tendency to marginalize, in a cultural sense and from my U.S.-centered viewpoint, people from Wyoming and Ohio as compared to people from New York and Seattle. Is it the same thing as when it affects POC and women? Of course not, in that nothing is the same as anything else. Do I still care about it? Yes.

I believe that kind of marginalization contributes to cultural fracturing that makes everybody feel like they can't relate to anybody else, and if you're a writer about culture, it makes a lot of people look at the stuff you write and think they don't count, at which point they tune you out. Can that all be laid on this one handful of paragraphs about bacon sundaes? No, of course not. Does that make what I wrote feel a bit like overkill? It probably does. But is this an example of how that attitude -- "My friends and I agree on what's important and what matters, and that's the same thing as what's important and what matters" -- creeps in even when very well-intentioned people who think of themselves as very open-minded have no idea they're doing it? I think it does. I know I am vulnerable to this myself; I am absolutely certain if I searched all my writing, I'd find that I've done it. But I care about it, and I care about trying to address it when I see it.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 4:12 AM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


So it's 6 years ago and it's 6 p.m. I'm having beers with a few friends before our Gothic Literature course which starts at 7. 7 rolls around and we realize we've had way, waaaay too many beers and opt for just skipping class and heading to McDonalds which is across the street from our university. I'm not sure how, but some guy we barely knew (a business major) was drinking with us (three english lit majors), he's the one that makes this story great.

We get to McDonalds and we make our orders: fries, small shake, burger, etc. The business major gets to the front and asks for a McFlurry. He then asks the lady at the counter to add bacon bits to it. She looks confused and then irritated. She can tell that we're just drunk ass hole students and now we're making her life difficult. She finds a manager, talks with the manager. The business major says: "I had another McDonalds do this, I know you guys have bacon bits, just add them to the McFlurry and charge me an extra $2.00 and I'll be happy."

They do it and the rest of us are intrigued by this devilish cocktail. We take a bite and it's absolutely wonderful. The perfect blend of smokey meat/bacon flavouring, with soft serve creamy coolness.

Fastforward to just 10 minutes ago when I see this on my new feed. 0_o.

The world works in mysterious ways.
posted by Fizz at 9:59 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since then I've returned to the UK, a land of sensible food where such delights as bacon and ice cream are never mixed.

that's because the UK has already been there years ago: my mil loves to tell us about how the non-dairy frozen dessert (sold as a cheap alternative to real ice-cream) in the UK years ago was whipped lard with sugar and flavouring.
posted by jb at 2:16 AM on June 18, 2012


I walked past his bookshelf and noticed that it was almost entirely filled with Star Trek novelizations.

They were all novelisations? I didn't know that there were that many, though all of the ST movie novelisations I read we're substantially better than the actual movies (more room for character development). But there were also series of original ST novels, and those could also be better than the show and were great pulp SF.
posted by jb at 2:19 AM on June 18, 2012


Rachel Arons weighed in on this in the New Yorker yesterday: Why Does Fancy Fast Food Make Us Mad?

Anyway, yes, I know about class. I just disagree with the perspective that identifies fast food consumption with poor people to the point of treating attacks on it as equivalent to attacks on actual people who don't have much money or on some aspect of their culture. It's not true to my experience at all - which is that one hell of a lot of perfectly comfortable people eat an astounding amount of junk and fast food* - and, IMO, it only serves to lend a destructive and thoroughly undeserving industry, which is not of lower-income and other marginalised communities but only exploits them as much as it possibly can**, even more protection than it's already managed to buy. Why does fancy fast food make me mad? Well, it doesn't, but if it did, it would be because Burger King can go to hell. It seems true enough to me that the interior American states are somewhat unfairly neglected and disdained, but the Whopper is not the indigenous cuisine of Kansas, and it's not outrageous for Adam Martin to think the people behind it have done gone and done something uncool.


* The recent study described here is based on old data, but what it found is what I've always noticed - at home, abroad, in America, and with Americans abroad.

** It always makes me laugh when the only black people you see in an hour on American television are in the McDonald's commercials.

posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:19 AM on June 19, 2012


« Older Copywriter vs. Art Director...  |  Predator is twenty-five years ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments