Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Then I saw her face...

A New Year miracle! Just when I had completely stopped caring, what fish should swim into the 'lil NYTM barrel but Heidi fucking Julavits, in answer to the urgent question: What kind of douchebag goes to Kyoto for a year and thinks only about doughnuts?

My American relationship to sugar is always to want more of it; to encounter a sweet that doesn't court abuse in order to be enjoyed destabilizes my entire concept of craving-cruller-gluttony-happiness. I feel these moments of so-called contentment when I have no pointed desires -- not a petit four to follow the chocolates to follow the tarte Tatin, not even a salt-funky cheese course as counterbalance -- to be physically unbearable and thus, by quick extrapolation, existentially crippling. Does this mean that contentment is anathema to my person? That contentment is a punishing mind-bender (to be content is to be less content than when you weren't content)? That this period of postcollege limbo has been encapsulated, in all its dumb, stereotypical hand-wringing, by a bean cake?

Never before has someone struggled so hard to write about so interesting a topic only to produce such tepid narcissism. With, admittedly, the possible exception of certain geriatric American novelists and/or New Yorker contributors. At least they know the difference between a paella and a cataplana. Shit, even Douchebag McGee* knows that.


Blisfully uneventful holiday, thanks. No nose-picking trannies** or jello shots to disturb my repose.

*Sorry, can't remember his name. But he is a (minor) douche.

**That is what "almodovaresque" means, right?


Blogger alizinha said...

Thank God you're back. I was needing someone to ream Julavits on my behalf.

Wed Jan 04, 12:32:00 AM GMT  
Blogger mmw said...

Uh, that sounds... dirty.

I feel compelled to point out that this entry is exactly what is worst about the internet (except weblogs, inc.): a vicious attack on a writer without anything in the way of substantive criticism (save two, admittedly pithy, words).

This is partly by design, carefully calibrated to the target in question, but mostly just because I'm lazy. Sorry.

Wed Jan 04, 06:35:00 PM GMT  
Blogger alizinha said...

Well someone needs to do something dirty to her. I get the feeling it'll be her first time.

Wed Jan 04, 06:55:00 PM GMT  
Blogger mmw said...

Don't fear the reamer.

Wed Jan 04, 07:01:00 PM GMT  
Blogger la depressionada said...

that article reminded me of a conversation with some american students in florence some years ago. all they could talk about was muffins. frankly given the sorry state of italian a.m. pastry, i certainly could understand it. what shocked me was the EXACT same conversation i had with students in paris. unbelievably, on one of my last trips to paris i noticed a muffin shop. i sort of couldn't believe it, but the french can be funny -- i mean they do adore the bwownies americains.

unlike ms julavitz i personally love a country's rendition of foreign food. maybe one day i will write about our experience at paris's very first mexican restaurant. it was fascinating. (think teeny tiny burritos with artisanal cheese.) the chinese food in madrid is so fantastic we couldn't stop eating it for lunch -- washed down by carafe after carafe of sangria. i guess no. 2 and i were early explorers in fusion foods of foreign lands.

Wed Jan 04, 08:47:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Neil, who wouldn't eat the salad because "it was too sweet," is drinking a glass of Kahlua, whole milk and Cool Whip."

.... now THAT is commentary

Wed Jan 04, 08:52:00 PM GMT  
Blogger mmw said...

There used to be a good American restaurant in Madrid, but I think the owners are now making better tapas in Brookline, Mass. The hybridity of multinational "ethnic" food is interesting, but it's also frightening, as anyone who's tried to eat "Italian" in Germany can attest.

Also, I kind of like those greasy Italian cornettos.

PS to anon: Bad News Hughes is the king of the internets.

Wed Jan 04, 09:09:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bad News and I might be related...

(i hope)

Wed Jan 04, 10:30:00 PM GMT  
Blogger sac said...

We had some fantastic Chinese food in Madrid as well. Very citrusy sauces, and yes, I've just invented the word "citrusy." Append your dictionaries accordingly.

And yeah, Bad News Hughes is the best read on the internets.

Thu Jan 05, 12:02:00 AM GMT  
Blogger alizinha said...

I want to marry Mr. Hughes just so I can have his dad and stepmom as my in-laws.

Thu Jan 05, 01:33:00 AM GMT  
Anonymous maccers said...

Can we find out where he lives and crash his christmas next year?

Thu Jan 05, 02:01:00 PM GMT  
Blogger la depressionada said...

you know max i even enjoy -- in a culinarily anthropologic (culipologic?) sense -- the failures. we ate italian food in sfax once that course by course was an the escalating horror culminating in a kind of plaster of paris tiramisu. the room was fabulous however right out of casablanca.

i particularly love things that appear to be an old favorite but taste nothing like it. as ms julavitz discovered, the japanese have a particular penchant for this. i live in a kind of little japan and there is a place near me that is a combo of french patisserie/italian restaurant/asian fast food -- aptly named (and i kid you not) saint honore/italian tomato/curry club. the pastries particularly are exact replicas of the french and are at once too sweet not sweet enough and densely cottony. it's almost comical how good the stuff looks and how bad it tastes.

Thu Jan 05, 02:08:00 PM GMT  

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