Friday, July 07, 2006

For those about to rant I salute you

Wherein a good one can also substitute for a cardiovascular workout


Rants are entertaining. The best rants are informative. I could unleash a hellish scrant (screechy rant) about what a piece of shit UPS is, but other than rehashing the typical arguments about their lying, incompetent customer service and their shit delivery, what would be learned other than I hate UPS? Not much.

So, here's a few recent rants from others that I've enjoyed.

Brian Tiemann, in Red Man's Burden, wants to know if anyone cares about history anymore?
Does anyone have any interest in seeing anything good about our own culture's achievements? Are we so determined to heap blame upon ourselves for sins real and imagined that we'd rather commit cultural seppuku than dare to express that humanity as a whole is better off today than we were back when a healthy adult lifespan was forty years and a man would be considered a world traveler if he went more than ten miles from his own village?

Callimachus cares about history as he rips Mark Kurlansky into a thousand little pieces, then soaks them overnight in boiling salt water. Don't let the even, controlled tone fool you. This is a rant. Cal picks up the history book and beats Kurlansky to a bloody pulp and exposes him as a fraud (Kurlansky seems to have learned his history from the movies). It goes on and on and on and never wavers or becomes uninteresting. Kurlansky does have a couple books I was interested in. Note the *was*. Screw that, I want a Cal book on the founding fathers.
The whole piece veers schizophrenically between an attempt to be scathing in denouncing the worthless Founders and an attempt to be scathing in denouncing modern America for not being true to their vision. He wants to hurl rotten tomatoes at that marble statue of Thomas Jefferson and beat you over the head with it at the same time.

Michael Ruhlman, an excellent author and a great chronicler of chefs and the kitchen industry, starts his day with a food rant about people "motivated by self-interest or ignorance":
We need smart voices to get us out of these woods. Where is Steingarten? Jeffrey, you scaly curmudgeon, speak up! We can’t lay it all on Pollan—he did his part. What about someone with real power to sway the American masses. Rachael Ray! How about it? She affects the cutesy Suzie next door but I know for a fact she’s got a pair of brass knuckles in the pocket of those fat pants of hers. Emeril! Millions listen nightly to you! Put down that tube of Crest and teach people about the food we eat! Wake up! It’s not about the ducks and the lobsters. It’s about the corn and the oil. About big business and powerful lobbying in DC. They want your money and that’s all they want. They want your money and you can give it to them or withhold it. Make good choices about what you buy and what you eat and what you feed your kids.

And the great thing about that rant is he calls out the chef/vulgarian, Anthony Bourdain, who responds:

...on the subject of cruelty to mollusks (I'm FOR it!), the Chicago foie ban (see Chicago Tribune--or was it Sun Times in which I am quoted as referring to Chef Milhouse as a "gutless punk"--guess I won't be getting comped at Trotter's any time soon) and other noble yet probably "lost" causes. The fucktards at Whole Food, however, have done us a real service by providing the most ludicrous example of "animal welfare" concerns with their public hand wringing over the fate of shellfish. Comedy Gold. Extraordinary that in a time when we're force feeding PEOPLE at Gitmo--and when hundreds of thousands of PEOPLE are starving to death in the Sudan and elsewhere, that there is no more burning issue on the minds of educated, well-fed, financially comfortable citizens than whether or not a clam feels pain--or whether a duck can handle what any respectable adult film ingenue considers routine.

Feeling a little rundown? Need a pick me up? Read those three rants and you should be good to go.

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