Jeff TMMO has asked me to address the big news from last night, although it was really the big news from Monday: Mark Bittman is dropping his Minimalist column from the NYT, but starting an op-ed and magazine gig with the same paper, moving on from recipes to ruminations and analyses of U.S. food policy.
Jeff seems to mourn the loss for the food pages. I’m thrilled for the other sections’ gain.
I guess I should have mentioned it sooner, but as owners of the two Bittman cornerstones — “How to Cook Everything” and “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” — I have paid less attention to his column, save for those “101” blowouts he does from time to time, the 101 salads piece, or the make-ahead Thanksgiving dishes, or whatever. I learned what I needed to learn about cooking from Bittman a while ago, and I think he’s going to be a wonderful voice on the opinion pages.
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and predict that within five years, Bittman will win a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He’s that good, and besides, the ranks of commentators in the dailies has grown so thin, the juries will be desperate to hand one to a fresh new voice. When Kathleen Parker and Leonard Pitts win the Big P, you know it’s time.
And judging from the lively discussions we have in this space about food, food policy, eating and all the rest of it, he’ll have no shortage of thought-provoking material. I can’t wait.
Meanwhile, what about the other news last night? I’m talking about Chris Matthews yelling at some Tea Party d’bag over their shameless use of Michele Bachmann to deliver their propaganda last night. While I congratulate Matthews for being one of the few journalists (on TV, anyway) who actually tells people they’re not answering the question he asked, all his spluttering isn’t going to change anything or anybody, so maybe the answer is to not pay attention to Michele Bachmann. Works for me.
And the Oscars! Nothing really really surprising there, was there? Brian took umbrage over Hailee Steinfeld being nominated for best-supporting when she was clearly in a lead role, but that’s the way Oscar rolls. Promising ingenues who hit one out of the park in their first role are almost always supporters, especially if they’re minors. It’s the Rookie of the Year prize, and all you have to do is think of all the people who have won it who never did work of the same caliber again. There was Haing Ngor (“The Killing Fields”), who wasn’t even an actor; Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”), who still acts, but whose work is strictly at the TV-drama skill level, and, of course, Mo’Nique. I just hope the Oscars aren’t a total walkover for “The King’s Speech” this year. A very fine film, but there were many others, and those big consensus winners don’t age well. When was the last time you saw “Gandhi” on cable and stopped to watch even a minute of it? Or “Out of Africa,” for that matter? (Actually, I will watch “Out of Africa,” but only for Meryl Streep. Robert Redford is laughable.)
A quick pass by the bloggage before our mortgage man stops by. We’re refinancing our house, and I need to limber up for signing my name 400 times.
Via Lawyers, Guns and Money, a site you can waste a minute or an hour on: Better Book Titles.
I’ve been giving Tom & Lorenzo a lotta love of late, but what the hell, they’re on a hot streak, like today’s Dress Libs with Zooey Deschanel.
Someone should do this with “It’s the End of the World as We Know It:” A visual map of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Actually, someone should do a master’s thesis on the pop-culture afterlife of songs like this. Exhibit A, of course: the Rickroll.
Finally, today is my state’s 174th birthday, or so one of my tweeps tells me. Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice. Happy birthday to the pleasant peninsula.
Off to flex my fingers. Good day to all.