Alton Brown Saddens Me
For anyone who comes to this site for engineering projects, I swear I'm putting something together at the same time as I write this article. It will be up soon.
I've always loved Good Eats. It was one of my favorite TV shows. Alton Brown always mixed food, history, and science in an entertaining and informative way. Then, he decided to lose weight.
Now, I'm fine with that. But over time, Brown seems to be getting crankier. I've seen his live presentation during the Food Network Wine & Food Festival two or three years ago. Rather than cook anything, he gave a speech on having a healthy diet. It was interesting and worthwhile, but he had lost so much weight that he looked sick. I was concerned. Food Network Humor also noticed this.
Shortly thereafter, though, his ideals started leaking into Good Eats. Episodes started becoming preachy. He even once mocked fans during an interview because of their weight (source).
"I've struggled with weight all my life, and probably always will. But I was on my most recent book tour I was shocked by the number of overweight families," he says. "People would come up to me and say, 'Oh, we love the Food Network.' Well, no [expletive]; did you eat the TV? There's only four of you and you can't ride in an elevator together. I'll probably make fat people angry, but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It's not "... healthy."
This is coming from a man who has featured recipes on his show involving extremely fatty ingredients, following it up by saying, "What? I said it was good. I didn't say is was healthy."
I understand how someone can find obesity disgusting. The stigma against being fat is becoming stronger, some even blaming the obese as a reason for global warming (source). He has alienated fans, but, to justify it, in the name of health. Fine. I'm not going to debate about that.
Brown also called blogging and bloggers "pointless" during an interview. He deleted all the old blog posts when he redesigned the site. His new blog is now called a "notebook." I'll say more on that later.
Despite seeing no use to social networking, Brown recently joined Twitter. As a person who used to not see the point of Twitter, I can say that when I first tried it out, I didn't see what the fuss was about. Then, it became kind of cool. When the novelty wore off, I now see it as a place where people go to either A) kill time, B) share links/jokes, or C) yell, "Look at me!" at all their friends. Given how stalker-level his fans can get, even parodying it in an episode (This Spud's for You Too), Twitter was probably going to give him the Internet equivalent of culture shock.
He used to have mini-contests where he would post a picture of an uncommon ingredient from the set of Iron Chef America. Whoever replied first with the correct identification, he would follow. This meant he was probably going to follow people who mostly live on Twitter: not a good idea for someone who never really "got" Twitter. Either due to these contests or arbitrarily, Brown decided to keep things "tidy" by deleting all of his tweets that are over 12 hours old. He even changed his Twitter bio to say it as if it was a big selling point.
He tweeted a lot, so this probably took some time to upkeep. However, if you want to link to a tweet from a web page, you wouldn't be able to; the tweet didn't exist anymore. But, whatever, that's what screencaps are for, eh? After a while, he'd probably realize that was fruitless and stop anyway.
Well, someone didn't accept this. Someone registered @GoodRetweets, and he/she started retweeting everything Brown wrote.
I love the last one: "as I told @underwanderlust [...]" No one knows what you said; you deleted it.
Because people have retweeted him, Brown has decided that he's done with Twitter, even though that is a major feature of Twitter. That's understandable; it wasn't for him. What irritated me was how pissy he sounded when he announced it.
According to the notebook/blog page:
Click to view larger
A couple of months ago, I decided I'd try Twitter. I figured, what do I have to lose.Things went okay for a while. Sure there were some "stalkers" and there were way too many questions to answer but we managed to use it to put together a fun little flash-signing in NYC and I liked posting pictures of ingredients from Kitchen Stadium.
But it didn't last.
See, the problem was I wanted to be able to delete my "tweets" after they'd been up a suitable length of time, in my estimation…12 hours. A couple of followers griped but no big deal, it was (is) my tweet and I'll run it as I see fit. Then, just this afternoon someone out there, either a follower or Twitter or some alien power decided to repost my tweets…all of them. Something about that really got (gets) my goat and so I have decided to withdraw into the only on-line space it seems I can actually control…here in the Notebook section of altonbrown.com. It's nice actually, plenty of space and I can easily post photos and the like...like this:
So, if you're interested, drop by from time to time. But don't look for me on twitter...I'm just way too in to control.
I feel like this brought Alton Brown from irritable health zealot to cranky "get off my lawn" old man. He decided to join Twitter, hated one of its primary functions, and denounced people who used it for its intended purpose: the spread social networking information. If you don't like it, fine, but don't get angry when people retweet things. I honestly wonder what Brown thought Twitter was and what he thought deleting tweets would accomplish.
Maybe it's just because I've been a long-time Alton Brown fan, but this truly upset me. What happened to the jovial food geek that I would stop at anything to watch? Instead, this angry old man has taken his place and removed him from my heart. He's commented on how many followers he's lost since he's joined Twitter. I'm now unfollowing him and unsubscribing from his RSS feed. Today is a sad day in my life. The "AB" I once knew is no more; only the angry old man remains, and he wants me to get off his lawn. Twitter is a uni-tasker, after all.
FYI: At the time that I finally clicked "publish" for this article (July 20, 2011: 12:31 AM), @altonbrown has deleted all of his tweets.