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Golf doesn’t matter

“One depressing aspect of the economic crisis is that public outrage has been channeled into symbolic displays of populist outrage against CEOs rather than into intelligent public action to prevent the recurrence of disasters. The response to the Deepwater Horizon spill fits the pattern. The outrage du jour is that BP CEO Tony Hayward has taken a break from overseeing efforts to contain an oil spill to take in a yacht race.

“I fail to understand the controversy. Does anybody assert that Hayward needs to be working seven days a week, every week? I doubt his role is actually so indispensable. So then is the outrage that, in his free time, he is indulging in the sort of activity available only to very wealthy men? I also fail to see how the crisis should force Hayward to pretend not to be rich.

“Nobody really wants to make the case that Hayward can never relax, or that he can’t spend his own money as he sees fit when he does relax. So instead the ‘controversy’ is that it creates an appearance of a controversy. It’s a fully postmodern scandal.”

Jonathan Chait, writing on “Who Cares How Tony Hayward Spends His Free Time?” on June 21 at the New Republic

Golf did matter

“While scanning the web (unsuccessfully) for contemporary news accounts of President Bush hitting the links during the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I stumbled upon a 2005 thread from left-wing fever swamp central: Democratic Underground. The anti-Bush DU posters were desperately seeking news accounts or photos indicating that President Bush may have played a round of golf while the gulf region was in turmoil. They clearly smelled blood, sensing such evidence could be the Lefts silver bullet to “prove” just how uncaring, detached, and probably racist Bushs attitude toward the disaster was.

“Alas, the nutroots were sorely disappointed. All they could muster, despite ‘advanced Google news searches,’ were a few unsubstantiated accounts from other Lefty online sources. ‘I have been looking for this evidence for days,’ griped one poster. Another lamented the golf ‘story’ seemed to have died, even though it was surely ‘based on something.’ The group finally concluded that it didnt really matter whether Bush had actually been golfing. They decided that although he probably had done so (he attended an event at a golf resort, after all!) even more damning were confirmed reports that the president ‘played guitar and ate cake.’”

Guy Benson, writing on “Lefty Blogs in 2005: Hey, Is Bush Playing Golf During Katrina?” on June 20 at the National Review media blog

Cooking matters

“Like most home chefs, I’ve got a kitchen full of cookbooks and a growing trove of Internet resources. I don’t need instruction, I need inspiration. And more than anything, watching ‘Top Chef’ gets me hungry. And when I’m hungry, I want to cook. After the cheftestants struggle through a Quickfire Challenge, I’ll steal off to the kitchen during a commercial break to whip up a curried aioli. Or a Meyer lemon marinade. Or a pancetta omelet. This watch/cook, watch/cook ritual is repeated week after week, all season long … I spend more quality time in the kitchen during ‘Top Chef’ than any other time of the year.

“Sometimes the show’s inspiration is pretty general. During last season’s Restaurant Wars, I filled the fridge with everything from spunky goat cheese crepes to postmodern baked beans enlivened with Guinness and 70 percent Lindt dark chocolate. Other times, it’s quite specific, like the time I channeled Mike Voltaggio’s audacious — but ultimately disastrous — egg concoction. I scratched my head, fondled a fresh free-range egg laid that morning by a spunky, young hen named Clover, and deconstructed it, sunny side up. (Separate the egg, scramble the white curd-free with creme fraiche in the style of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and top the scrambled white with the lightly poached yolk.)”

Allen St. John, writing on “Why “Top Chef” gets me cooking” on June 16 at Salon

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