Two of my friends were tweeting a couple of days ago about a Slate.com article that was pretty smugly pseudo intellectual. Similar to the emperor who had no clothes, this article purported to bring some heavy truth, but everyone who read it could plainly see that this writer was actually a moron. One of my friends tweeted: “this is why Slate has the intellectual heft of Us Weekly.”
I don’t really feel like that’s being very fair to Us Weekly. People actually pay for Us Weekly. Articles, like the one referenced below, posit ridiculous theses just to goose page views. It’s a winning combination of idiotic subject matter written with a self-righteous pompousness that only exists to get yuppies like us to sputter and stutter retweeted protestations and sending click-throughs into the stratosphere. Well I took the bait. I couldn’t be the better person. I am never the better person.
This is an old blog post from a long ago blog that I’m recycling (upcycling?) into this blog. Writing new content is hard. Don’t judge, or do.
Find the original article at http://www.slate.com/id/2296054/
J’Accuse, Mr. Heller!?!I am no doubt one of the world’s foremost lovers of pie. I am writing because I have been asked by the other lovers to stand as a bulwark of truth to shield our delicious pies against your malicious lies. Not since McCarthyism or the Salem Witch Trials, have innocents been accused of so much. I offer up a screenshot of my facebook page as proof that you’re article has whetted the appetites for revolution in stomachs across America (or at least among twenty-something yuppies in the DC-metro region).
To prove myself one who has lived his life in devotion of pie, I offer up this one anecdote in what I can assure you is an incredibly long resume: As a child, I always asked for apple pie in lieu of birthday cake, which I continued through my college graduation. My cousin, who threw me a graduation party, protested the pie on the grounds that you can’t frost it. Like two Cold War superpowers we fought via proxies (by complaining to my aunt and mother about what a pig-head the other was). Alas, mutually assured destruction was inevitable. She bought a disgusting Costco sheet cake, smeared thickly with white frosting. The orange and blue letters may have spelled “C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S!,” but they screamed “Fuck you and everything you hold dear.” Ever since that day I have been secretly funding Chechnyan rebels to put flaming bags of dog poop on her door step.
A family ripped asunder. Frowny-face emoticon.
“Was it worth it,?” they ask me. “Of course,” I reply.
Why? Because from a very young age, I rejected cake’s monopoly as the official dessert of celebration. No, you can’t put frosting or candles on a pie, but who needs that? Pie stands, time immemorial, naked — clothed only in its deliciousness; such decoration would only distract and detract.
Which brings me to my first point: Pie’s plainness and medieval roots are not, as you suggest antiquated and out-of-date, but proof of the strength of its longevity. Other than war in the holy land, what else has been able to stand the test of time so unchanged? Consider other medieval innovations — the catapult, chain mail, or chivalric love. Modern inventions eventually replaced them all (the Glock, mock turtle neck, and sexting, respectively).
What you see as anachronistic, I see as timeless.
Pie isn’t just delicious, it also has power. Consider the classic Tom and Jerry cartoons– one motif repeated over and over again by its animators featured a freshly-baked pie cooling ed on a window sill. As the fingers of aroma take hold of Tom he becomes completely mesmerized and begins to levitate toward the pie, carried through the air by nothing but mouth-watering anticipation. Because of pie, Tom was able to defy the physical laws of the universe. That is its power, and it’s worth the risk of running afoul of a sadistic mouse who will take advantage of your pie-induced hypnosis to flay you with a pair of pinking shears.
But to your other point regarding pie’s relative monotony — It isn’t just flaky crusts and fruit filling. In what can only be considered pie-racism, you lump the entire pantheon into one unappealingly-described stereotype. So you don’t like cooked fruit in a pie shell, fine. I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no matter how misinformed it is (see: Sarah Palin, Paul Revere’s Ride). There are so many other wonderful varieties — Boston Cream pies, custard pies, moon pies, or even pizza pies. There are more kinds crusts alone than colors in the rainbow: graham cracker, oreo, crumb-topped, latticed, and your much-maligned flakey dough-shell.
You’re right when you say that pie occupies a special place in our culture, unlike that of any other dessert. But that’s because pie can be and do almost anything.
What did Poison sing about? Cherry Pie. What does a fool eat? Humble Pie. What happened to vaudevillians who gave terrible performances? A pie in the face. What is worth driving your Chevy to the levy for, even if the levy is dry? American pie.
Yes, it seems pie can be all things to all people, except you Mr. Heller. To you it is nothing, and for that I feel nothing but pity. Putting on my Freudian cap for a moment, I can only conclude that your flailing and desperate attempt to disparage my favorite dessert is a mask for something more sinister. Were you molested by pie as a child? Are you now hell-bent on perpetuating the circle of violence — a la Law and Order: SVU? At the risk of sounding insensitive to people who have suffered from real trauma, I can only advise you to lie back and relax, you might find that you actually enjoy it.
My advice to Mr. Heller: This summer, the next time you find yourself at a picnic table and your host slides you a slice across that red-checker table cloth you can just slide it down to me. I’ll eat it. You can have an extra scoop of potato salad, or whatever other nonsense you think constitutes dessert. You know why? Because, as you pointed out, “It’s Pie!”
To Pie: Keep on being your awesome self. Don’t let anyone tear you down, but do let everyone slice you up and eat your face off.