Matthew Stadler, “writer in residence for the Ripe culinary complex”, gave an interview to the Portland Mercury. Here is a choice snippet, talking about the Back Room Discussions at Ripe:
MERCURY: You leave room for improvisation.
Yeah, and in fact, the sort of key element is a commitment to not know much ahead of time—to actually arrive there interested, and not with a list of expectations.
So you vaguely try to engineer that dynamic.
I haven’t figured out what gland I am in that organism, but I’m a very important gland. I might be the pituitary.
Oh, the pituitary?
I secrete a tiny amount of enzyme that is important to the organic totality.
Maybe you’re adrenaline, then.
Oh, could be. What’s the one that makes you really… chocolaty and excited?
Serotonin. Where does that come from?
I’m sorry, maybe it is just because it is three in the morning, but am I the only one that is on the floor? It’s all so… inane. I actually kinda liked his latest er.. table card so didn’t even post it. Maybe I should.
Read the interview here: Portland Mercury
Not funny. Sad. The Portland Mercury: As if the reviews weren’t bad enough, now we do interviews, too. Instead of cutting through the crap, they helped him pile it on.
Dave J. says
I think their motto should be: “Hey, remember that one time in grad school when you went to that annoying prof’s house and he was talking a bunch of crap about literary theory but you didn’t care because you had gotten stoned in the car on the way over? This is kinda like that!”
“writer in residence for the Ripe culinary complex”
What kind of BS is that? Did the Mercury come with hip waders this week?
Mercury reputation not with-standing, as seen in some comments on this site (and others), it looks like the Ripe folks would better served tightening their game then harping on some vague “Ripe experience”.
I’m detecting a whiff of… over-Ripe-ness.
I have to kind of wonder if they didn’t do so deliberately. The whole piece had a definite tongue-in-cheek feel to it.
Never thought I’d agree with MSG but… it is sort of sad. When I first read the cards, I thought, well, perhaps it’s all a spoof. Or, perhaps he feels in over his head and is afraid to admit it and so, constructs obtuse paragraphs in the hope most readers will not realize he’s not saying much (which is true). Now, he seems like one of those guys with a tatty blazer and a two-day stubble, the kind that hangs out at the bar, eyes and smile watery, hoping that someone will love him.
I think it is Betsy once the pituitary discussion begins, but in a bad way, in the look-at-me-be-so-playful-with-obscurity-way. Of course, I would hope that their interview was much longer and maybe this was just the excerpt that the editor or interviewer decided to publish, in which case it says just as much about that person as it does Stadler. It takes a lot of cleverness to truly pull that off. (Not done here.) And we Americans usually prefer the opposite approach, the satiric or ironic clearing away of obscurity. I watched a documentary on Bob Dylan not long ago where the European press were asking all these theoretical questions that just sounded goofy and lame, questions maybe Baudrillard would have asked, but not any fan of Dylan’s music. And Dylan responded perfectly with sniping, vague comments back that exposed their BS for what it was.
After just now reading Mercury interview, I must amend my former comment:
1: In the quote pulled here, I thought Stadler was referring to the way the food was made at ripe, and that his involvement was somehow glandular to that. My mistake.
2. What Stadler describes in the interview sounds like a vry good dinner party, or a salon. Well, great; I am all for a salon, with an exchange of cultural ideas, or silliness, or arguing, or too much wine, or all of the above. And it would be utterly charming to see this done with some efficacy and vigor; I’d relish it. But it does not come off this way; it comes off as Stadler-centered, which does not seem to me the way to further the cultural conversation. Is it the ripe/stadler show, or merely a forum?
I attend a monthly soiree in LA, it’s been going on for ten years, and the host is anything but intrusive; he trusts his guests, often 30 or more, mostly media-types but with a seat for anyone who’s bright and interesting and interested, to strcuture the evening, to keep the conversations going.
Well, anyway, has anyone been to one of these back rooms? If so, it is literary, political, foodcentric, Gex-Y?
I think we need to start our own salon – I’d love to hang out with some of the people who comment here, for starters….
You know, I have a place we might do that…
Marshall Manning says
Hey, I’ll bring some wine, my wife can help with the cooking, and Food Dude can write the table card poems!
Carolyn Manning says
Carolyn’s running commentary:
“I haven’t figured out what gland I am in that organism”
Oh, I figured that out the first time I read your self-important, pompous tripe
“… but I’m a very important gland.”
You’re a guy, right? All guys think this gland is the most important.
“I might be the pituitary.”
Wrong. Guess again.
“Oh, the pituitary?”
That’s right … bait him ….
“I secrete a tiny amount of enzyme that is important to the organic totality.”
Modesty does not become you … say what you really feel… “I AM THE FREAKIN’ CREATOR OF LIFE!!!!!!”
“Maybe you’re adrenaline, then.”
That’s it … egg ‘im on …
“Oh, could be. What’s the one that makes you really… chocolaty and excited?”
What a maroon!
“Serotonin. Where does that come from?”
Not from where YOU’RE talking about …
Man … if you don’t have the smarts to bring your analogy to its end, don’t start it!
My CAT could write more intelligent prose than this!!
I agree … the interviewer was leading him on.
Self involved nitwit
Gland tour of vacuous mind
is the ass a gland?
I heart haiku.
If the newsletter tirades from Ripe are anything like the poetic experience of eating there, I’ll send my insomniac friends to cure.
Seriously, that’s an easy target… they are trying to “kill the restaurant”, right?
Pork Cop says
Doesn’t the Pituitary Gland influence growth and maturation?
They forgot to include that at the end of the event there will be a mass bloodletting and a stage performance by 7 talking dogs and a dancing walrus.