Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Academy of the Underrated.

Anyone remember Manhattan? Anyone? Anyone?

Let me refresh your memory. (embedding disabled. The HUMANITY.)

Anyway, that whole idea of "people like it, therefore it is crap," or the corollary of that, "it was lovely until people started liking it, then it became crap--" I hate that. Seriously. I am, or try to be, loyal to the things I love and even to the things I like. Or at least, I don't start to trash them because I get a little tired of them: if I liked it once, I feel like I owe the thing the loyalty of acknowledging that I liked it, and of not making fun of myself, or the thing itself, because it's no longer cool.

Whoa, that was a lot of placeholder/abstract nouns. Sorry about that. I believe an example is in order.

Did I once love fancy old school dishes like Fruits de Mer en Casserole (true story--I have this recipe on a card in my recipe notebook--a lovely woman made it for me at a baby shower)? Yes I did. Was that dish full of fat and Gruyere, and shrimp and scallops? And did I believe that serving this dish made me sophisticated? But of course.

Nowadays, this dish is like the culinary equivalent of an old lady wearing a fancy hat to go to the store, and it would be the cool thing to deconstruct it, except you'd have to find a way to transform the cheese into some other dish entirely, because honestly, fish and cheese? Trop sauvage! And you'd no doubt ceviche it all up, except ceviche is also probably passe now.

But honestly, if someone made this dish, en casserole, for me right now, I would eat it gladly, and I would keep the leftovers secret so I could dole it out to myself for days. I know it's not cool, but it was so good.

Parenthetically, I am engaged in what is apparently a lifelong dilemma about what to keep and what to give away, clotheswise, and am seriously regretting having given away (a) my Doc Martens, which now every supermodel wears all the time, and (b) a bunch of other stuff that I can't be bothered to name, mainly a bunch of shirts and shoes and dresses and pretty much everything I ever gave away EVER. Because I should have stayed loyal to all that crap. I think I might need it now, and I am sorry I underrated it and thus gave it away like it wouldn't be important to me one day, like now, when I really really really wish I still had those Dr. Martens.

But Dr. Martens are not the story. The story is: what is no longer cool, and is therefore underrated.  Here is a short list of stuff that may not be cool anymore, but I still love:

1. Quiche
2. You've Got Mail
3. Fritos and pretty much all unreconstructed salty snacks from BigPotatoChipInc.
4. The music I used to listen to when I was a teenager and full of longing for stupid stuff. Like a boyfriend or whatnot.
5. Carbs, complex or no.
6. An iPod that carries around serious gigs of actual songs.
7. Glee
8. curly hair (actually I am too lazy to do anything about this)
9. bread (see #5 above)
10. Titanic. It truly was kind of the king of the world.
11. blogging.

UNCOOL4EVER! (c'est moi, and never underrate it.).


  1. This is a great topic and a great post about it. And I love Manhattan (at least I used to; it's been my favorite Woody Allen forever, but I haven't seen it in about twenty years).

    The Soon-Yi/Muriel Hemingway parallels make me a little squirmy, however.

  2. I applaud and support your celebration of the "coolness of the uncool," my friend. P.S. I am also sad that I gave away my Doc Martens.

  3. Just two days ago I was thinking, where have all the Doc Martens gone? And then I burst into song, which is also not cool, but good for the shoes. And this no cheese with fish. It is such a rule. I'm sure it's good to break it. And Woody Allen. HTMS. You will single-handedly bring this all this back into the cool, via you ever-good blogging.

  4. A ponderful post, HT. HTMS is more cool or less cool than the rest of us? Anyone? More or less?
    I find that I am so out of touch with what is in, so matter/anti-matter-ish in all matters of coolness, that I am often years behind. My son rolled his eyes recently, for example, when I asked, "So, have you heard of these wacky new Bon Iver kids?" And how 'bout those that's-what-she-said jokes? How cool were they . . . once? It is difficult to maintain one's enthusiasm for some former loves, however. I mean, I remember when Middle-Earth was a rarely-visited realm, and visited only by the least cool people at school (Peter Beagle said it better, but whatever). I could write in Hobbit runes, dammit! And only a weird few could read my secret and important missives (e.g. "Mrs. Sanders sure is fat.). Now, you can't swing a dead orc without hitting someone who wears Ent jammies to bed and has memorized whole parcels of the books (e.g. "I sit beside the fire and think/ of all that I've seen/ of meadow flowers and gossamer/ in summers that have been").
    To sum up: Carbs? Hell yes. Meg Ryan, pre collagenated lips? Also yes, please.

  5. I, too, feel I should revisit Manhattan.
    And I should admit: I was a big dis-claimer of things I used to like that got too cool for me, like Rolling Stone magazine and U2, to name a few.
    And, believe me, HTMS, I love the Glee that was Glee, that is, a show about geeks who sing & singing was crucial, nay, vital to their existence, but now, I fear, it has become a not-good soap opera with way too few songs. More singing! Of good songs! That's all a girl wants. Well, that and black boots. Etc.

  6. It is hard to know what to hang on to in the hopes that it will come back in style. Sure wish I'd held on to my acid wash denim guess overalls.



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