Thursday, September 22, 2016

Oh Lord, is hating Guy Fieri passé?

Scott Timberg's Salon piece is "The Fieri-ssance is here: Sorry, Anthony Bourdain — it's no longer cool to hate on Guy Fieri".

Please, say it ain't so.

Timberg cites a few recent unironic, laudatory pieces about the frosted dude, and takes a whack at explaining the putative new trend:

So what’s going on here? Critical opinion follows a pretty predictable path. There’s only so much abuse even an obnoxious celebrity can take before someone jumps to his or her defense. In some cases, it’s a manifestation of the American urge against snobbery and in favor of underdogs. In other situations (such as when people defend The Eagles), it’s purely opportunistic. When it comes to Fieri, he is also benefiting from the long-practiced tendency of men’s magazines to champion reviled figures for being tougher, cruder, ruder and more ruggedly individual than all those prissy doubters around them.
Okay, first, let's call Timberg's piece what it is: clickbait. I fell for it. Yet I don't feel completely duped: the piece isn't as fluffy as most clickbait I've seen.

That said, Timberg's wrong on a few counts. First, a few non-hating pieces do not a trend make. Second, in no way can Fieri be considered an "underdog": Food Network is so dominated by his shows that it plausibly could be rebranded the Fieri Network. Third, of the adjectives that come to mind if I'm forced to think of him, "tough", "rude" and "rugged" (or even "ruggedly individual") are nowhere to be found. "Dumb as a post" springs effortlessly to mind, though. Worse, people emulate his party-hearty posing. Every moment he's on TV saps our collective intelligence.

Do you love Fieri? Congratulations, you have an entire cable channel catering to you. I'm still going to loathe the sight and sound of him.

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