In another example of the ‘most journalists are morons’ category of writing, this article in the Australian yesterday caused some amusement among Melbourne food bloggers and twitterers. It conflates all the digital device related behaviour people engage in in restaurants into an incoherent whine about the loss of etiquette in public places. In the middle are food bloggers, of course. We are obviously the centre of the universe.
There’s a big difference between doing something that only impacts on yourself and your immediate company, such as talking on the phone at your table, and doing things that annoy others, like using flash indiscriminately or allowing children to make lots of noise. But don’t let common sense to get in the way of your petty jibes Anthony.
Not all of us use flash indiscriminately. Many of us publish less than ideal photos because we don’t want to disturb others by using flash. But then the article blames us for publishing bad photos. Try turning up the lights a bit! It doesn’t have to be so dark.
Next came the amateur unqualified insult:
More so than phones, it’s the photography of dishes destined for blogs that have become a hot issue among chefs, who not only resent their food being shot without request by amateurs in often poor lighting conditions but also the too-common outcome – when those images end up accompanying ill-informed restaurant reviews.
Who gets to judge who is an informed food critic? Apparently, critics employed by newspapers think they are the guardians of food criticism. They can fuck right off. The usefulness of a critic’s opinions are judged by readers. Good food writing gets read, bad writing doesn’t. End of story.
As for asking permission, how is a restaurant going to cope with multiple requests from tables all going to the head chef via wait staff? That’s never going to work. How irrational and inefficient.
The article then quotes Jodie Bache-McLean, an alleged ‘etiquette expert’, who says:
My thoughts are that if you choose to publish photographs of a chef’s creations it is polite to ask if a photo can be taken. And I believe that there’s some IP [intellectual property rights] when it comes to a dish that has been prepared by a chef.
Does that mean there’s no IP in dishes not prepared by chefs? What, there’s no IP in my signature breakfast dish, the ‘Gallipoli special’ (toasted Turkish bread spread with butter and vegemite)? When you get your chef certificate from TAFE does it comes with special IP rules? No, I didn’t think so.
Bache-McLean, you’re talking complete utter shit. I’ve scoured the Australian Copyright Council’s website and there’s nothing in it about the IP of the arrangement of food on a plate. Funny that. There’s IP in a written recipe, but not in food on a plate. Unless you want to register it as a design, or define it as sculpture.
Apparently, ‘Bloggers aren’t really there for a purpose, as they have a more sinister purpose.’ Ooh I’m so sinister! Big scary food blogger! If food bloggers have a purpose, it is to expose the stupidity of the people mentioned in the article, along with the journalists intent on maintaining the mediocre status quo.