Wednesday, 1 July 2009

[Incited to reviews]

Most of you would have read this post by now. A rant that quite obviously stole the show from what was supposedly a restaurant review. To some readers, glee with thoughts of ‘serve you right’ come to mind, and to others (food bloggers mainly), guilt and oops. Although I’m no fan of the Londoneater blog I felt strongly that the views directed at the author were tantamount to a personal dig. Diplomacy exists for the simple reason that we respect each other’s reputation, whether godlike or indifferent; indirect referrals are always more appropriate and no it has nothing to do with rules and etiquette, but plain and mature common sense. Readers can always decide for themselves if blogs end up as bogs, take mine for example, no matter how unintelligible and grammatically erroneous it maybe, I chose to write that way and it’s primarily for my own pleasure; to have a contemporary patronising my blog live is simply derogatory. Food bloggers, internal politics within our realm are always worth writing about but direct name-dropping that incites divisions and discord should be avoided altogether. I rest my case.

NB the above image is shopped.


meemalee said...

I still love you, warts and all!

Do you think it'd be ok for me to take a freebie and then claim amnesia so I can't do a review?

Not that anyone's offering me freebies anyway :(

Ben said...

I guess like most things that start off as a hobby that then gain a following, it was inevitable that restaurant blogging would be seen as a easy way to gain publicity.

Obviously the dead tree press went through this conundrum of accepting free meals a long time ago, and realised the conflict of interest was/is too great.

If people want to accept free meals and write about them, fine - I'm personally not interested in those posts. I want to know what the dining experience is like for an average Joe, to help inform my own decisions. As the article you link to mentioned, there's more pressure and an implicit expectation on the part of the owner and diner, even if the diner doesn't completely hold back their criticism (which I'd probably assume is a token gesture towards impartiality).

bellaphon said...

Meemeemeeeee- First I must thank you for the award, I'm sincerely touched. I was going to perform a tearful Winslet acceptance speech, but half boys and half biscuits like me don't weep. I shall now list you twice in my invisible blogroll.

As for the Cromwell quote, he also said “I was by birth a gentleman, living neither in any considerable height, nor yet in obscurity.”- That’s me, at least for the time being.

Ben- Excellent comment and thanks as ever. I'm active on the political forums and blogs; you don't want to go there, it's worse. Do let all of us know when you start blogging, you sound convincingly less homogeneous than what's currently on offer.

meemalee said...

There once was a young man named Paul;
Who went to a fancy dress ball;
He thought he would risk it,
And go as a biscuit -
A dog ate him up in the hall ...

Never knew "warts and all" was Cromwell - cool.

Yay - invisible blogroll!

Kavey said...

It is a shame that discussions about the challenges of working out one's personal rules and boundaries as a food blogger, and seeing how they mesh with those of other food bloggers has become an excercise in pointing the finger at individual bloggers.

Each of us will no doubt have different boundaries on what we feel is acceptable or not in terms of freebies. And we're free to choose which blogs to follow based on our own opinions.

But there should not be an expectation that all food bloggers must come to a consensus and sign up for it.

In the main part, these are hobbies we're talking about here, not careers!

I'm saddened that a general discussion has lead to a bit of a gang mentality.


meemalee said...

Hey Kavey - that reminds of that weird Food Blogger Code of Ethics thing that went around.

That was the same - and the implication was that if you didn't sign up to it you were Devil spawn or something ...

bellaphon said...

meemalee- I'm crumbled by that limerick.

Kavey, meemalee et al- I'm not at all bothered about the issues concerning freebies or the communal bloggers' meet-ups that result in tedious posts; I'm just against blatant name checking that causes undue distress. Quite simply that sucks. As for codes of ethics and signing up for a consensus; that would invariably mean that all blogs would end up collectively sterile. Sorry, I’m not convinced. I’m happy enough to be independent and as long as I don’t take the jam out of the doughnut belonging to another food blogger, I consider that particular responsibility assured.

Ben said...

bellaphon - thanks for the compliment. I've also contributed on political blogs and to be honest they invariably end up just as a pissing contest between people trying to outdo each other. When it's possible to invoke Godwin's law on a food blog I'll know it's time to move on!

I'm not organised enough to blog about food. I'd like to do one with travel, street food etc (scorpions are as bad as they look) but it'd probably have to involve a mammoth trip!

bellaphon said...

Ben- Apparently if one spends a month in Tibet, a Big Mac will be the most delicious salvation ever and that also includes the skewered scorpions found in North Thailand.