A penguin and a polar bear are sitting on an iceberg. The penguin yells, "No Soap Radio!" They both jump in the water.

Monday, November 27, 2006

By the way, eat here

GO TRIAD - Fincastles serves the kind of Southern food that a lot of us from the South just don't understand.

Although it's primarily a burger joint, the menu is spiced up with things such as fried pickles and grilled pimento-cheese sandwiches –– foods we often have to defend to our Yankee friends, or simply shrug off as "a Southern thing."

Let's face it: Southern people eat some weird stuff. We'll cook parts of a pig that most sections of the country would only consider during a survival situation. And we will fry anything: corn on the cob, Snickers bars... . I've even seen a fried cheeseburger once.

Those of us used to these sorts of oddities will feel welcome at Fincastles. For a place that opened just last year, it already has the feel of an old-town diner. Over the grill you can see Polaroids of all the cooks like pictures of family you keep around the house. It's an oasis of Southern culture in the middle of busy downtown Greensboro.

Ful column

Some of the places for Cheap Eats are kind of random spots that I find or get tipped off on, go a few times, write a column about it and never really think about it again. Fincastle's is a place I really love. I lived downtown this summer, and I ate at this spot as often as possible.

Hopefully this doesn't make it weird going back. They were complimented, so they can't be pissed. I'm having to become more accustomed to happy restaurant managers coming out from the back and shaking my hand. I should take it as a positive thing, a sign of success or something to that effect, but it's just odd. Unlike some would pose, I'm not an attention whore (ahem, Kathryn). I gain nothing personally from strangers reading me or knowing who I am (or writing constant letters to the editor). In fact, I'm pretty open about not liking people, as in human beings in general.

So far the people coming out to say hello are pretty happy about the column. It's awkward, but friendly, and good to know they liked it. It's not like I expect them to give me a free meal or anything. That would be nice, of course.

A related story: Tim, the manager at Brixx, is a hell of a nice guy.


Blogger Joe Killian said...

Some argue that if you're a writer you can't whine about people recognizing you, coming up to you in public, starting conversations or arguments with you because of something you've written. After all, most writers make their living as, at least in part, public personalities. You ask people to read what you write and hope that it will be important or at least useful to them - so you in some way owe them interaction and can't be surprised or annoyed if people make it more personal than you like or behave as though they know you.

I've always sort of thought that was an ill considered argument.

Writers, like actors or performers, are in a strange position because they can't do their work in private, without it being a public thing. Many, many would if they could. But entering into a profession that makes it necessary to put your face or your name out in front of a lot of people every time you do you job doesn't mean you're comfortable with people then deciding you're fair game either for friendship or enmity without ever having met you.

Actors whose work makes them famous do not deserve paparazzi. Most of them didn't set out to be famous, to be recognized or recognizeable. They set out to do a good job. Notariety was a consequence of their having done their jobs well. So, because they've done their jobs well and are recognized and admired for their abilities (or, in some cases, simply for being good looking) they are cursed never to have any privacy at any time for as long as they are alive or in the business. Doesn't quite seem rational to me.

With writers it's different, of course. Most people have no idea what you look like unless your headshot runs next to a column you write or is on the back of a book's dust jacket. But dealing with even that small amount of notoriety can be maddening to people who don't dig it.

John Russell used to love it when people recognized him and wanted to talk about his work. I've always sort of smiled or put on my serious face and tried to be comfortable with it, but it's never gotten me off.

11/27/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger C. L. Lowrance said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/28/2006 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger C. L. Lowrance said...

When I was doing a political cartoon for The Carolinian, an anonymous angry reader demanded to know why I didn't have a headshot next to my "graphic column." It was ironic for a few reasons, not least of all because I was a character in almost every one. The reader's intention was never clear - the implication was I was a coward for not taking the unprecedented step of running a headshot and standing head above my political comic which prominently featured my name, website, and email address. It wasn't enough that he could criticize me in my blog, or via email, or look me up in the student directory and call me. He wanted to know what I looked like, in case I sat next to him in the caf or ran into him in a alleyway with no witnesses.

People tend to view public personalities that get harassed kind of like prostitutes that get raped. You've opened the door a little, why can't we kick it in? Why can't I call you at 9 a.m. to complain for an hour about one of five stories you wrote this week?

Of course, I've yet to meet a writer that didn't appreciate feedback. Criticism also serves an important function, especially when it's true. Ethical publishing begins with an accurate byline, because if you need to say it, you need to stand beside it. Garnering praise and critical acclaim is also nice.

That being said, It would be nice if everyone remembered the humanity of the guy behind the keyboard or in front of the camera, and refrained from doing things to him they wouldn't want done to themselves.

I kind of wish I did have a headshot in the paper, come to think of it.

EDIT: Because I changed a mistyped "I was a political cartoon for The Carolinian" to an unfortunately-mistyped "I was doing a political cartoonist for The Carolinian."

11/28/2006 12:14:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home