Steve Cohn, New York City, letter: A meta-review of Marilyn’s reviewAs we experience the naturalness of Marilyn’s approach to critiquing restaurants, we also see the ridiculousness of this generation of loafing Internet cynics who have nothing better to do than poke fun at an America from which they want to distance themselves.
By: Steve Cohn,
NEW YORK — I think the reason Marilyn Hagerty’s review went viral has to do with a kind of schism in American thinking.
The side that has driven the sharing — the Internet generation or the Millennials — find it hilarious to read what they see as older “local yokel” reviewing a bad restaurant glowingly.
Further, they mock small town America, snickering at the burghers and their love of burgers (and pasta primavera, of course).
But there are two other groups that, together, represent a majority.
One group reacts against the Millennials. This second group believes Marilyn wrote a solid review of a restaurant that the group doesn’t especially like but may indeed be the best in the area and deserve recognition.
The third group likes Olive Garden and thinks that the review brought out the restaurant’s special essence. I have a hard time understanding this group, but I have more respect for them than I do for the first group.
I am part of the second group, and I feel some guilt over that. The second group tries to respect small-town values and social context, but it cannot deny that it has big-city tastes. At its worst, the second group fancies itself worldly but caring, fussy about its tastes but open-minded in its social orientation.
I am happy the review came to light, because it gives the second and third groups (again, together a majority) a chance to reflect on the first group (a growing and unfortunate minority) and its attitudes.
So, as we experience the naturalness of Marilyn’s approach to critiquing restaurants, we also see the ridiculousness of this generation of loafing Internet cynics who have nothing better to do than poke fun at an America from which they want to distance themselves — because they are true snobs and add little to no value to society.