Continuing the fabled tradition begun all the way back in 2009, Scratchbomb presents Holiday Horrors and Holiday Triumphs: an advent calendar of some of the more hideous aspects of this most stressful time of year–with a few bits of awesomeness sprinkled in.
There’s lots of things I like about The New York Times, and there’s lots of things I don’t like about it. Most of the latter are perfectly encapsulated by their subscription commercials, which portray reading the Times as some sort of exclusive club that they will deign to let you poor slobs join for the low, low price of whatever.
In particular, their Trend Pieces drive me nuts, because they are so disconnected from life as it is truly lived. Nine times out of 10, these articles are based on something done/noticed/overheard by three friends of the 23-year-old fact checker, then reported on as if it is some fantastic new wave sweeping the city. And in their definition, the city exists between Canal and 96th Street, extends into certain parts of Brooklyn, and that’s it.
Not to mention that these pieces usually feature some of the worst, most clueless humans alive. Like the trust fund fucktard who told the Times you shouldn’t bother to have a party if you’re too poor to hire a bartender. (You get three guesses where this asswipe lives and your first clue is “Williamsburg”.)
The piece I’m going to discuss now is only tangentially related to such nonsense, but it is holiday related and it does involve a Totally Fake Trend perceived as real by roughly 12 people on the Upper East Side. Plus, it took a swipe at something near and dear to my holiday heart: egg nog.
First off, know this: I love egg nog. I loved it as a kid, and I still love it. I know it’s horrible for you and I could not give less of a shit about that. If egg nog was illegal, I’d make it in my bathtub. I will consume anything that even pretends to be egg nog-flavored: ice cream, milk shakes, lattes, laxatives. And I not only enjoy the mass-produced, completely fake, store-bought egg nog, I prefer it.
Do I understand why someone would not like egg nog? Of course. I’m an egg nog enthusiast, not an evangelist. To each his or her own. But I would prefer to not be judged for my noggy proclivities, as was done implicitly and explicitly in the Times last week.
The piece in question appeared in last Thursday’s edition, penned by Frank Bruni, and entitled “The Eggnog Resisters’ League.” Solidarity, comrade! Bruni has stormed the ramparts to combat the imperialistic advances of egg nog, a drink that he and only he has the guts to take on! Why does he hate it so?
It’s a dessert in drink drag, a single-cup, multi-egg sleigh ride to feeling overstuffed and overwhelmed right at the start of a party, when an unimaginative host foists it upon you — “we have eggnog!” — in place of a proper cocktail or respectable glass of wine or something, anything, that won’t spoil your appetite and erase three miles on the treadmill in three insanely rich sips.
It’s a calorie extravaganza, a cholesterol jubilee, ruling out any
possibility of pacing by hogging all the nutritional naughtiness that should rightly be spread across the breadth of a cold December evening.
What kind of parties is Bruni going to where the host “foists” anything on you? Is he telling me that there are people who, if you ask for a martini or a beer, will hold you down and pour egg nog down your throat through funnel? This sounds like those totally BS stories about drug pushers. “First one’s free, kid!” You know what you do when you don’t like the drink someone offers you? You ask for something else. If they’re a good host, they’ll give it to you, judgment free. Crazy, I know!
I also love how Bruni equates serving egg nog with a lack of imagination, as if it is only served because of obligation or panic. Later in the article, he blames egg nog’s waning popularity (an assertion for which the evidence is circumstantial at best) with, among other things, “greater culinary sophistication.” So don’t serve egg nog this year, folks, unless you want your guests to mistake you for some shoeless hillbilly.
But because he wants a beverage that still evokes the holidays, Bruni consults some bartending friends who construct for him drinks that evoke egg nog-ery without being egg nog. Which is fine–by all means, experiment, innovate, and all that. Except even from these bartenders, there is an unspoken implication–and in some cases spoken–that these drinks are spiritually and culturally superior to actual egg nog, the holiday swill of philistine idiots.
To give you an idea of the lengths to which these bartenders go to make egg-not, one of the concoctions involves a pine-flavored liqueur. If everyone involved wasn’t so god damn sophisticated, I’d suspect they were all depraved alcoholics reduced to drinking household cleaners. Even Bruni admits that these egg nog alternatives don’t really capture what he’s looking for. But at least he’s not drinking egg nog, the moronic gruel sloughed down the grunting throats of troglodytes.
Is Bruni allowed to dislike egg nog? Of course he is. Just don’t act like you’re more highly evolved than the rest of us schmucks for a matter of pure taste, or that you’re the member of an oppressed minority. And don’t bend over backwards and ask bartenders to make
drinks based on coconut milk, mulled cider, and Pine-Sol just because you don’t feel like drinking it. Just have a chardonnay and shut the fuck up.