Something Brilliant, Something Artisanal

JdIt's been said by some that a large majority of my articles here over the past 8 years have been derogatory or critical in nature. Maybe they have. But the fact is, I get my greatest pleasure when I can point readers to something brilliant, unique or important.

Today we have something brilliant: ARTISANAL, RELUCTANT BRANDING PIONEER, DIES AT 474

Jen Doll penned this piece of culinary/semantic commentary/satire for Atlantic Wire, the on-line presence of the great "The Atlantic" magazine. If you have an interest in things culinary, in really fine writing and in the semantic arm of the branding arts, then take the time to read and savor this article.

This kind of writing is hard beause it's so easy to fail at it. Doll succeeds.

The point of Doll's article is that the term "artisanal" is so overused now as to be meaningless. It would be easy to make that point in a straightforward essay. And Lord knows that the term has been beaten like a horse in the world of wine. But what Doll does is enchanting. She chronicles the impact, the rise, the fall, the orgy of successes, the friends, the family and the faults of "Artisanal" in the form of an obituary for the word/fellow.

"He [Artisanal] is survived by his wife, Organic, and their two small boys, Natural and Green, as well as his cousin Hipster, though the two had fallen out in the '70s and were no longer on speaking terms.

Doll is inspired by a variety of recent commentaries on the uselessness of culinary terms, "artisanal" included, on the degradation of the meaning of the word and by a few moments in which the shark has been jumped where the use of the word is concerned. The piece is a melange of satire, humor, biting commentary and head-shaking disgust with the world of branding.

This is the kind of exciting and ambitious writing that you don't see much in the wine and food media world, probably because it's hard. Yet Doll's "Death of Artisanal" reads like it just flowed out of her, a sure sign she worked very hard at it.

Doll herself is a veteran writer and editor who has had stints at a variety of publications. Prior to joining Atlantic Wire she was At Village Voice. She's clearly a very good writer, which means she's a very good thinker and someone to try to follow if you do seek out compelling, artful, carefully crafted, entertaining and artisanal writing.



2 Responses

  1. Tom Riley - May 31, 2012

    Spoken like a true artisan! Looking forward to reading the Atlantic piece. Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. Nick - May 31, 2012

    Great fun article with a sharp point. Thanks for the find Tom. For me, I thought Artisinal was dead when the Dunkin’ bagels were so-called.

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