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Everybody's a Critic: Readers Respond to Our Food, Movie and Music Critics 

Thursday, Nov 29 2012
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The Fatted Calf

So you thought Gordon Ramsay was the one celebri-chef who didn't sell out? You thought his new spot in the Grove, the Fat Cow, might be worth a try? A little warning: You might want to read Besha Rodell's Nov. 23 review first ("Fat Chance").

Readers, suffice it to say, were on Team Rodell.

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"The guy is a straight-up hack," Sean Harrigan writes. "What a waste of a perfectly good name in food," Malevlnt2 adds.

Robtak suggests, "Maybe Kitchen Nightmares will come in and straighten the place out. Who wouldn't want to see a Gollum/Smeagol-esque exchange between Chef Ramsay and yell-y TV host Ramsay?"

Observes Peabody3000, "He once bitched some poor wannabe chef out on national TV for using truffle oil. He was absolutely as condescending and abusive as possible about it (of course), and yet now truffle oil is his ticket to charging five times the value of his pitiful food!"

On Twitter, @austinlouisray pronounced, "You're doing the good work, Besha. Please don't ever stop." Not a chance in hell, Austin!

Arguing About Superlatives

Not all our critics were feeling the love last week. Writer Jeff Weiss argued that Dr. Dre's The Chronic was, in the words of the headline to his column, "The Greatest Album in Rap History" — and immediately got a host of contrary arguments from readers. Some suggested the album might eke its way into the top five, but not No. 1. Or maybe it's among the top 10 West Coast rap albums — but definitely not the greatest.

Among the other albums nominated by readers: Straight Outta Compton (reader John Liulamaga), Nas' Illmatic or the Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Aaron Mendoza), Ice-T's Power (Curtis DeMartini), Blackstar's Definition (Reza Velayati) and Vanilla Ice's To the Extreme (Nick Capertina, who we can only imagine was joking).

Jipali argues, "The Chronic is what really put rap mainstream. Rap was around way before, and there were big artists like Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys, but they were knocking on the door. The Chronic knocked the door down and saw rap fully mainstreamed. Of course it also led to its demise, so I'm not sure I'd say it's the greatest rap album. 'Most important' would be a better argument."

Thatcatlos responds, "I highly disagree. Kris Kross and Naughty by Nature had all the white kids saying 'dope' and 'fresh.' The only thing The Chronic did was launch gangster rap into mainstream."

BushidoBrown32 is also a skeptic. "Man, you must've been born in the late '90s or somethin'. Run-DMC did a song with Aerosmith, at the time that was huge, and still is huge — and just that one song helped catapult hip-hop to the mainstream. And N.W.A sold millions of albums before Dre even did his solo thing. And who were buying most of those albums? White people. The Chronic was a great album, and it changed the way people approached their production, but you give it waaaaaaay too much credit by saying it's what really put hip-hop on the mainstream."

But some readers admitted that Dre is No. 1 in their hearts. Here's how Reyna Sandoval put it: "I still bump that shit. Heyullyea!" Us too, Reyna. Us too.

Pi Lover

Film critic Nick Schager also took his lumps this week, receiving a good tongue lashing from Ira Cord Rubnitz of Van Nuys.

Rubnitz writes, "Schager's review of Life of Pi says the film 'sinks like a stone.' Well, I recently saw this at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, and the audience was spellbound! Could this be the same film that Nick reviewed? I found the film — as did everyone I talked with — quite enchanting and enlightening! Did Nick miss out on the clues in the film, like the name of the ship or the name of the tiger? Of course not! Instead, Nick dwells on the 'Banana Republic model.'

"Nick, you missed a great film! Your perspective on what should be, with 'sociopolitical dynamics,' entirely misses the wonderful allegory within an allegory, a dream within a dream! That's from Poe, Nick! Do your research next time!"

Casting the First Stone

Clearly, Thanksgiving left you guys in a salty mood; people also had harsh commentary for Daniel Robison, an HIV-positive man who described his journey out of the bathhouse scene and away from crystal meth ("Daniel Robison's Redemption," by Mikaela Conley, Nov. 23). After seven years of celibacy, Robison now counsels men who struggle with their HIV-positive status.

Readers seized on Robison's admission that he routinely had sex without disclosing he had HIV. "I think this is the most selfish article I have ever read — all this about how YOU survived," Candace76 writes. "Did you infect anyone? Do you know how many people you infected?"

HarryMurkin agrees. "Wait. He's wondering how he survived? What a JACKASS going around and infecting others KNOWING he was HIV-positive! He should be prosecuted!"

Sedonasherpa takes issue with the author's assertion that HIV transmission rates are lower in the heterosexual community because "HIV is so much less prevalent there to begin with."

She writes, "Really. Well, let's ignore the reality that while gay men are high on meth and in a sex club, many have the opinion that if their random and anonymous sex partner does not ask about HIV status, they have no burden to reveal the fact they are HIV-positive. How can anyone rationalize that?"

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