According to some, those of us who have not properly paid tribute to Japan via Facebook or Twitter or on our own personal blogs are terrible, superficial twits who cannot recognize real tragedy despite 24-hour news cycles, the blogosphere and, you know, our own sense of human empathy.
I am a self-absorbed asshole because I have not ceased and desisted from food blogging, or going out to dinner, or watching a movie. In fact, why am I eating at all when people in Japan are standing in food lines? How dare I go on and on about food and the weather and the hipsters that have invaded my weird city this week when thousands of people have been devastated? I should be sure to reference war- or disaster-torn regions when making crepes and cakes. Because, by golly, people around me are suffering and it cannot go unacknowledged!
I should take the lead of those with a moral compass better than my own. Like one food blogger -- usually one of my favorites, so I'm sad to be picking on her of all people -- who recently posted a ham-and-endive recipe.
"I look at that white plate with two baked endives sitting up there and I see so much more. A hungry, black tide swallowing up everything in its path. An old man walking along a cleared path through utter devastation, weeping. Two parents kneeling in front of the muck-slicked car that held the body of their daughter at the wheel. Nuclear reactors on the precipice."REALLY?! Where on Earth did YOUR endives come from, lady?
Her post angered and annoyed me.
It angered me because she was no doubt paranoid about food blogging and the attacks that have come with it this week. So perhaps it's those who are attacking that angered me, and it's only annoyance I feel towards this blogger.
Annoyance because she gave in. She got all torn up and guilty and gushing-with-apologies, stating that "writing about anything else, about lunch or cupcakes or Paula Deen's artichoke-spinach dip, feels deeply weird."
So then why did you do it?
I read her post, her lovely words -- and they rang hollow. I interpreted them as follows:
"I'd really like to share this ham and endives recipe, but all the other food bloggers are acknowledging the tragedy that hit Japan this week, or they're getting slammed for *not* acknowledging it. So I just want everyone to know how much I care. I'm really tortured by what's happened this week. Enjoy the ham and endives!"
Forced, fake, full of guilt.
So I'm just here to say a big EFF YOU to those people who feel that they can pounce on someone for continuing with their lives in the face of tragedy. Because, guess what, you self-righteous assholes? TRAGEDIES ARE HAPPENING EVERY MINUTE, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Why aren't you this upset every fucking day?
Most of the tragedies taking place EVERY MINUTE, EVERY SINGLE DAY are not acts of God or natural disasters or occurences beyond our control. They're tragedies that don't have to happen. Like famine, malaria, politics, HIV, murder, drug wars. Tragedies we could be doing something about.
It makes me feel a bit smug to think that the couple of folks who got under my skin this week via Twitter probably do less volunteer work in a year than I do in a month. But the fact that I feel the need to acknowledge that pisses me off. I can't even say that "what's happening in Japan is heartbreaking" without feeling like I, too, have to concede to the universe or Twitterverse, admit that I care, that I have actually thought about the tragedy and the death and the destruction even WHILE I AM BAKING A CAKE. Because if I don't say it, then I must not be thinking it. Surely I haven't had a few moments to myself -- private, non-Tweetable moments -- when I have shed a tear or experienced a pang of pain for the man who lost his wife, the hundreds of newly orphaned children, the helpless animals who were swept away in the waters. And if I haven't shared these thoughts in a forum or manner accpetable to others, then they haven't really happened and surely I'm a self-absorbed, superficial twit. But I know I'm not.
Instead, I'm going to be the jerk that says Go Fuck Yourself for making any of us feel badly.
And when you're done, please send a check to the Red Cross.