Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An INFERNO for Food Scholars

When you do a lot of editing, you meet many wonderful people who work hard, write well and turn in assignments on time. They will be enthroned in paradise. Another sort of food scholar is cut from quite a different cloth. Irresponsible, inept, or just plain lazy. For these folks I have devised a simple schematic inferno, at the very least to give me some pleasure imagining their torments in the afterlife.

On the uppermost tier are the Grammarians. They mean well, are are often quite virtous, but never gain redemption because they are focused entirely on correct usage, spelling and ultimately meaningless details. Their punishment is to correct grammatical errors at the supermarket for eternity. Everytime they correct tomato’s, it magically changes back again. Beneath them are the insufferable Pedants. They refuse to have fun because they are always right. As punishment they will try to pronounce French words forever hereafter and every time they will be corrected by an obnoxious waiter. It’s “poo-ey fwoo-say!” The third tier is reserved for those who can’t follow simple directions whose fate is to wander aimlessly on the highway looking for the right exit while their dinner reservation expires. Dullars are next, they have to listen forever to a monotone drone on Food TV explaining recipes for excruciatingly simple dishes. The Lazy occupy the fifth tier, they might mean well but never get around to doing anything completely. They are consigned to remain on the couch while people just in the other room are having cocktails and nibbling enticing appetizers. The Silent, who never answer emails or phone calls are trying to place an order at a specialty grocery store, but no one can hear them. “A pound of truffle paté please!” but they are ignored forever. Layer 7 is for for the Late. Their food arrives hours after they order, and it is cold and moldy. They are forced to eat it anyway. The Flakes in the 8th rung of hell, do put in their order, but it never arrives. They go hungry until the end of time. The final lowest level of hell is reserved for the Plagiarists. They have bits of their own bodies plucked off and eaten by others.

Ah, now I feel better.


Erica Peters said...

"The Plagiarists: They have bits of their own bodies plucked off and eaten by others."

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Seriously, you should write this up as a allegory/novella, a la Pilgrim's Progress, sell it for 99 cents as an ebook.

Warren Bobrow said...

what about the photographers, whose visual cues are ripped off and reblogged without paying a commission?

Cheers to you Ken for a fine article! wb

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks Ken! I loved this, and agree with Erica that you should expand it and write it up as an allegorical tale.

Ken Albala said...

I would write it up, but somehow I'm feeling less bilious, and am getting ready to turn in the next edited book, leaving the few remaining articles behind, I suspect.

Glenn said...

Are you certain you shouldn't have named your new oven Dante instead?

Deana Sidney said...

WHoa. That was a little scary. Don't want to get on your bad side!

I think those types exist in all professions. I have the same problem with critics. SOme are brilliant but most are green and bile filed with envy because they can't do the thing themselves so take it out on the poor filmmakers.

I think I would be a horrible editor because I hate being critical of someone's hard work. When I hear about brilliant editors who can bang a mess into shape and in fact find things the author didn't... well, I want to bow down. Let's hope you get a great one for your next opus.

Unknown said...

Are any at multiple levels, subjected serially to two or three exquisite punishments? I have some students also eligible for a level or two, bien sure!