Gonzo Oobah
October 9, 2017 5:29 PM   Subscribe

How far can you take the notion of an all you can eat buffet? And other questions you never knew you had. Oobah Butler will go to great lengths for the sake of journalism. Real gonzo stuff here. Inserting himself into his stories gives him one of the freshest perspectives on the web.

I Took TripAdvisor's Harshest Reviewers Out and Reviewed Them
What motivates them? Why do we not see newspaper front pages about their kind just absolutely losing it at H&M staff, or any other service-industry workers for that matter? Is it exclusively tepid lasagna and the like that grinds their gears?

All questions I never thought I'd be able to answer, until I came up with an idea: find the harshest, most unreasonable characters on TripAdvisor, invite them out to dinner, and review them as humans.
I Tried 'Ten Life Hacks That Will Change Your Life' to See if They Actually Did
I've always hated life-hack listicles. And by that, I mean I once read one in 2012, and I didn't like it. But once you've read one, you've read them all: the same ancient photos of some phone chargers slotted into a paperclip, rehashed when it's been a low-yielding week on the content farm.
Why Sheds Are Actually the Perfect Homes
I'd been told the rent for my studio apartment was going to be hiked up, and I was already living on bread and beans, so staying there wasn't really an option. I eventually found a place listed online as a "chalet," which sounded extremely luxurious, so I arranged a viewing for the next day. Greeted by a friendly guy in Gore-Tex boots, I was led up a long garden path to a dark structure: not a chalet, a cabin, or a lodge but a straight-up shed. Doors you could open with a strong cough, perspex windows, sockets hanging off the wall: It was love at first sight.
I Hired a Hugh Grant Impersonator to Help Me Sneak into a Private Club
OK, so getting into a private members' club is basically just finding a way to get past the doormen, right? Which really can't be that hard. I've seen Daniel Craig pout his way into enough places in the last few Bond films to know that. So my first ruse is a simple one: Pretend to be a flower deliveryman.
I Tried to Complete That Viral Urban Outfitters Bucket List in a Day
A boob hickey, 17 nights crossfading, and two blowjobs! This dossier is it: Every possible thing you could want from your teenage years, packed into one summer.

So, of course, attempting the list myself feels like the right thing to do; it's the only conceivable way to banish all those nagging regrets that keep me up at night. But I don't have a whole summer. In fact, I can only afford a day. Ten hours to live the life I should have all those years ago.
I Became a Fidget Spinner to Try to Understand Fidget Spinning
Fidget spinners are like yo-yos and Beyblades before them, a simple little toy or gadget that, for reasons unknown, have become intensely fascinating to five- to ten-year-olds. The small toy— initially marketed as a stress-reliever and an aid for those with ADHD or anxiety—has been co-opted by small children with pocket money to blow.
I Spent an Entire Day Only Saying 'Omelette Du Fromage'
Say the words "omelette du fromage" to anyone aged 21 to 30 and it will spark something in their mind. Maybe it sparked something in yours just now? And yes, you might not know why, but luckily I have the answer: 20 years ago an episode of the cartoon Dexter's Laboratory was broadcast that would go on to define a generation – an episode centred around the phrase "omelette du fromage".
I Played 'Pokémon Go' Without a Phone
I couldn't wait any longer. I didn't care about anything else any more. I just wanted to feel the sensation of chasing a Vulpix through a meadow; of feeding a Rattata candy and watching it evolve; to trade japes with other aspiring Pokémon masters. I want to be in a Huffington Post story about getting mugged outside a Pokégym in Dalston. I need to get Pokémon Go.
I Got High at Jimi Hendrix's House to See if His Spirit Would Possess Me
I used to have long hair and wear bad jeans, so people always thought I'd be into Hendrix. But I never was. So I went to his house to see if I could find the magic.
posted by holmesian (29 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
I feel ill.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 5:46 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Douchebag journalism is a thing now? oh it's VICE... nevermind.
posted by forgettable at 5:47 PM on October 9 [7 favorites]


The fidget spinner one is kind of a delight overall
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:53 PM on October 9


OK, this is generally not my style, but you must see the one about TripAdvisor, particularly the excerpted review screenshot.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:09 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


also the Hugh Grant impersonator one is very good
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:10 PM on October 9


Omelette du Fromage!
posted by briank at 6:10 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


4 years in Pittsburgh and I never went to Kennywood. Still makes me sad.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:34 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I'm way over 30, but my kids (now 22 and 28) were Dexter's Laboratory watchers. Omelette du Fromage certainly sparked something for me.
posted by lhauser at 6:35 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Gross. The prick is a fucking thief. I have zero interest in reading another word written by this obnoxious asshole.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:46 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


I read the Pittsburgh one a few weeks ago and he didn't even bother to spend five minutes on Google to find Stage AE or Randyland. I guess that being an idiot is part of his schtick but the act wears thin pretty quickly.

P.S. You can Street View right into Randyland. A fact that I didn't realize until just now and that at least makes me very happy.
posted by octothorpe at 6:50 PM on October 9


Rob from Cockeyed.com also became a fidget spinner, if anyone needs to write a compare/contrast paper or something.
posted by themanwho at 6:55 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Say the words "omelette du fromage" to anyone aged 21 to 30 and it will spark something in their mind.
Say it to someone about 25 years older, and it sparks something totally different.

I must have listened to this album about a zillion times as a kid, even though I didn't get half the jokes until many years later ...
posted by chbrooks at 8:47 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


It troubles me that the author does not see a difference between staying at a buffet all day to maximize value (totally ok, if a bit sad) and smuggling out 26 pieces of pizza against the rules (theft).
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:19 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


As I ate a cheese soufflé more expensive than my shoes, Simon passed judgment: He didn't like how the wine is kept in the lobby by the toilet on a cart, how the waiter dropped bread on the floor. And he was right! It was like he'd given me the blue pill; these things now mattered to me too.

He's a turd.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:59 PM on October 9


You left out his most important(?) piece of investigative journalism(?), which is when he went on the terrible programme Eggheads "just to fuck with them".

If you're looking for an actually good Vice writer with an actually interesting perspective, Clive Martin's your guy - his Big Night Out series is great and he almost made me understand why otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people are into football.
posted by cilantro at 11:14 PM on October 9


Wake me when he spends all damn day in a Sizzler.
posted by cerulgalactus at 2:17 AM on October 10


Total side note, but are Vice just Amercianising this with the least possible effort? In the restaurant complainer piece he's in Wetherspoons, but listing prices in dollars without making an reference to what's going on.

Generally did not hate the above article, are the rest far more obnoxious?

almost made me understand why otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people are into football.
this is still such an insightful and interesting take, but you forgot to write it "sportsball"
posted by ominous_paws at 3:39 AM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Also somewhat disappointed that only the first two of the three Yelp reviewers turned out to be london city boys, and not all three.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:44 AM on October 10


This feels like early-social-web stuff. I guess everything old is new again.
posted by Miko at 4:40 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


So this guy is seriously going to go home and eat old bread out of his briefcase? I guess ... he wins?
posted by xammerboy at 5:24 AM on October 10 [2 favorites]


How far can you take the notion of an all you can eat buffet?

In my experience, this is basically what a college meal plan is for.
posted by thivaia at 6:19 AM on October 10 [3 favorites]


Who TF/what kind of person asks his brother if he can give him a blow job?

He stole pizza, not cool.

He thinks a lot of himself, which is not bad in itself, but him?

I hope to heaven he doesn't play for my team. ick
posted by james33 at 7:28 AM on October 10


In my experience, this is basically what a college meal plan is for.

Every college cafeteria I've been to has registers, the students have point cards (OneCard seems to have a soft monopoly), and everything is either priced by dish or sold by weight.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:31 AM on October 10


Every college cafeteria I've been to has registers, the students have point cards (OneCard seems to have a soft monopoly), and everything is either priced by dish or sold by weight.

That is strange to me. Neither of my colleges did this for the dining halls. You punched in for each meal, each meal used a certain number of points that counted toward your year's max meals, but you could eat as much as you wanted and stay as long as you wanted. You weren't officially supposed to take things out, but people certainly did, varying from pieces of fruit to one dorm-mate who managed to smuggle out a 5-gallon carton of ice cream in a gym bag.

Snack bars in student union type buildings did use the weigh-in or points -card systems, but just because those were structured as more retail. Dining halls didn't do that. Maybe things have changed - I went to college some time ago.
posted by Miko at 7:43 AM on October 10 [2 favorites]


I seem to recall hearing the system had changed recently at one of the schools I was at. That would've been late '98. The food was kept cheap, and certain foods were 'take all you want' and still priced as a dish.

I don't know if it was meant as a response to unhealthy college student eating habits (the freshman 15) and student complaints (this was around the same time students started organizing to get better quality food rather than huge amounts of institutional crap, the whole Sodexho-Mariott prison connection was talked up), a profit grab, or the latter masquerading as the former.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:15 AM on October 10


Yeah, I'm old-ish, so it's entirely possible this has changed. My college dining hall at a private women's college in the mid-90s was so barely supervised that you could basically eat there with no one even checking your ID if you just appeared reasonably female. We filled tupperware and backpacks. This was still true (though less laissez-faire) when I transferred to a state university. Not only was dining hall bread, fruit and dry cereal smuggling a real thing, but we abused campus events as well. I remember watching a couple of MFA poets making heartfelt arguments about who deserved to take home the cheese tray after a Department reading thinking, "I have found my people!"
posted by thivaia at 9:23 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


It troubles me that the author does not see a difference between staying at a buffet all day to maximize value (totally ok, if a bit sad) and smuggling out 26 pieces of pizza against the rules (theft).

When all-you-can-eat pizza was still a value proposition for me, smuggling out a slice or two on one's person or under one's hat was considered an act of daring. Foul play if you were caught, but all part of the game within the game, where the pizza place would skimp on the toppings and sauce to the point where a pizza was more crust than pizza, or only infrequently give you water by the glass instead of by the pitcher.

To me, the 26 slice heist is more audacious than criminal.
posted by cardboard at 12:56 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


I laughed. These are dumb, and that's fine with me, I like it. The fidget spinner one was pretty great. I don't care if he's really doing some of these things or just having a friend take good pictures, it's silly. I want to believe he actually made it out with a whole briefcase of pizza, though.
posted by Secretariat at 2:20 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]


I'm not a fan, but his Paris Fashion Week experience from today is gold and worth an FPP on its own.
posted by inire at 9:22 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]


« Older “Its charming inoffensiveness is at the root of...   |   “Where are you from?” Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments