Jay Rayner, Jonathan Jones And The Guardian’s Odd Attitude To Its Readers
WHERE do news organs stand on being nice to their readers? Observer food critic Jay Rayner, seen extempore eating on BBC cooking show Master Chef, wrote about a filler about slow eating.
Of all the things in this desperately pitiful world that drive me nuts – the letters page of the Daily Mail, small yappy dogs that always smell of stagnant pond, Newbury – the one that really gets on my increasingly substantial tits is this: people who eat slowly. God, but they infuriate me
An 80-year-old PopBitch readers was unimpressed:
On Wednesday, 16 November 2011, Blunter Edge wrote:
Dear Mr Rayner…
There are any number of reasons why people eat slowly: poor digestion; lack of teeth; gum trouble; apart from any number of ghastly malfunctions. Embarrassment at being the last to finish means that you might find yourself eating smaller and smaller helpings aware that lusty lads like your former self are mindlessly congratulating themselves on being sooo vibrant, young and healthy.
Still I suppose as a magazine journo, a food magazine journo, you’ve got to write crap about something. Have you thought of using your talents to write about something worthwhile?
I hope I may have been of help.
Rayner writes back:
From: Jay Rayner
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011
Subject: Re: slow eating
Have you always been this pompous, patronising, joyless and tiresome or did it just come with time? And dont try claiming it’s a function of old age. My mother dealt with about as many calamities as the passing of the years could throw at her and it would never have ocurred to her to throw out such a self-pitying piece of cobblers. She had no time for it and neither do it. For what it’s worth that one column amounts to less than 1% of my yearly output. I write about food poverty, modern agriculture, the food supply system and a lot of fun stuff too. But you wouldn’t know about that because you never read me. And can I suggest we keep it that way. What i write will never make you happy.
Fleet Street Blues is minded of art critic and Guardian columnist Jonathan Jones, who wrote of MI5’s uselessly dehumanised crop of the 7/7 bombers picture:
With hindsight, it is an eerily resonant photograph. The flashes of bright colour from the games machines and signs in the background animate it with uneasily strong light. The blurred soft tone adds to the banal everyday quality. Knowing who they are, an artist could turn it into a history painting along the lines of Gerhard Richter’s great modern paintings based on photographs of the Baader-Meinhof gang…
…In this picture we actually see Khan and Tanweer as human beings, as if in a portrait – that a hypothetical artist basing a painting on it might even see an analogy with the French 19th century painter Gustav Courbet’s portrait of himself meeting a friend on the road, an authoritative study of the moment of meeting and recognition.
But when online readers predictably ripped it to shreds – ‘a little absurd’ said one, ‘a load of bollocks’ said another – Jonathan Jones hit back. At first in relatively measured tones – then, not so much.
Why read a newspaper site if you do not want to think? Indeed why read anything at all?
Go and get the paperback of my book The Lost Battles when it comes out end of March, read it cover to cover, and then write me some letters of fucking apology for your disrespect.
Looks like Rayner’s afters is not a satisfying as his colleagues’s…