I was hanging out with another food lover recently. He was telling me how he absolutely can't understand why people eat such terrible food. It was my old Chowhound rap: why settle when you can work a little harder, travel a little further, to enjoy utter delight? How can one eat dreck when artisans, holdouts and geniuses are crafting deep deliciousness outside the spotlight and who could direly use our support?
But while I always made that argument as an enticement to those lucky people who have yet to discover how much more delicious their lives can be, he was saying it snobbishly. People who eat at chains aren't just missing out; they're repulsive. An inferior form of human life!
I calmly pointed to my t-shirt. "This," I said, "is a J Crew t-shirt. It's comfortable, it's stylish, it costs more than most t-shirts, and I had to go just a bit out of my way to buy it. I'm well-protected from the elements, and I'm happy with the feel and presentation of it. No one could possibly say I look shabby.
"But there are people who know fashion like we know food. To them, my wearing of this shirt is an unforgivable atrocity. I bought it in a shopping mall, from a chain, for god's sake, opting for easy bland convenience while artisans, holdouts and geniuses who need our support are out there crafting heartfelt and beautiful garments. How can any thinking human being imagine that it's sufficient for clothes to merely protect us from the elements? "Better-than-shabby" is an awfully low bar; fashion should say something, and this shirt says nothing, except that its wearer is a lazy conformist who really couldn't give a damn about quality."
"Only idiots obsess over clothes," he replied, with a scowl.
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