Sunday, July 27, 2008
I found this storefront today in Little Tokyo. Back when I was living in Big Tokyo, I used to buy doner kebab all the time from these Middle Eastern dudes selling them from makeshift stands throughout town. They slice the meat from a rotating spit and stuff it in a pita with lettuce and onions. It was a very cost-efficient meal, especially for the starving student that I was. So this was today's cool discovery.
But what struck me more than the new storefront was the fact that they adorned it with this oddity:
No disrespect to Conchita 666, Elizabeth P and the other random dude they quoted, but how can a place toot its own horn with praises by people with as much credibility as Joe Schmo? Granted, if I found my name on that banner in place of a big-name critic I'd be glowing right now. But I'd still expect a heavy load of flogging to come my way. After all, who am I but a person who knows how to upload photos and text on the internet?
The fine line between us (bloggers, Yelpers, etc) and them (the salaried critic) is that the latter is bound by journalism code of ethic. For example, if you're invited to a restaurant offering free food and drinks, you do not return to your writing tablet with rave reviews. Of course you had a splendid time. That was the point. The entire event was a bribe; a temporary bias in favor of the restaurant. If you must do a write-up, at least disclose the nature of the event. In other words, state that it was a big freebie extravaganza.
As for us, we have no prescribed code of ethic. To each his own.
Mind you, food bloggers have risen to rock star status these past couple years and it's neat being part of it. Just last week at 8 oz. Burger, I noticed the manager was unusually attentive to Mikey and me. My fat Canon was sitting on the table and the manager offered to take a picture. I mumbled under my breathe, almost apologetically, that I was a blogger, and he responded with a smile that said, "No shit, Sherlock." (Mental note: Be more discreet.) He then offered us not one, but TWO saucers of homemade ketchup. (Score~!)
As responsible food blogging citizens (Yelpers included), I think it's important to be aware of these biases before we generously unload our self-righteous opinions, whether good or bad, onto the universe. But until that awareness comes; until a bloggers' code of ethic emerges, I don't think most of us are worthy of our words being placed on a nice, silky banner. Frankly, it's a little embarrassing.
That said, I look forward to eating doner kebab. Incognito.