It's another day and the dust has settled a bit. Within the context of a good night's sleep and a calmer frame of mind, I wanted to take a moment and provide a little more insight as to the motivations behind my actions on this forum.
From day one in this community, my agenda has been crystal clear: Protect my region's cultural treasure as it traverses the nation/globe while helping people replicate it on their own. Not a single post of almost 5000 has wavered from that goal. At my core, it's who I am. I can't separate out my protective inclinations from my desire to help. If you get me, you get both of my aspects- protector and teacher. There is no Scott 'lite.' I'd like to think that I'm a teacher far more than a protector, and, if you look at my posts, it seems that 99% them are from an educational rather than a critical perspective, but if my culture is being attacked, I'm stepping up.
Earlier, Robyn said that I enjoy being controversial. This couldn't be any further from the truth. I HATE this misanthropic role. HATE it. It's misery being this critical. If I'm going to protect my culture, though, this is the role that I occasionally have to play.
Sometimes, I'm just angry, and that anger makes it onto the page. The commercialism of the expo makes my blood boil and I needed to vent- knowing full well that nothing that I say will ever make the expo less commercial. That kind of venting serves little purpose. When it comes to challenging misinformation, though, I forcefully criticize in an attempt to push buttons, and it is through pushing buttons that my message tends to travel the furthest. There's a two prong nature to controversy. First, as Peter pointed out, criticism sticks with people more than praise. It's a sad aspect of human nature, but the squeaky wheel tends to get the oil. If a famous person is spreading bad info, within the chorus of deafening praise that's constantly being showered upon them, the only way that I'm going to get their attention is if I rock the boat. Secondly, controversy helps the correction stick in the minds of those that might buy into the fallacy. Any beginner reading this thread is going to think twice about using 2.5% salt in a NY formula. Had I put forward the correction in a less critical manner, the cultural misrepresentation would have taken far greater root.
When famous people open their mouths, people listen. Celebrities like Tony wield a vast amount of power. The damage they can do when they're incorrect can be devastating. To this day, thanks to Jeff Varasano, people still believe that Patsy's uses a starter and that sourdough might play a role in NY pizza. When misinformation has the potential to influence thousands of impressionable minds, I have to counter that colossal force with an equally powerful force of my own. And the strongest tool in my toolbox, the only instrument that has any hope in countering these fallacies, is controversy.
Believe it or not, I have serious mancrushes on just about all the famous people that I criticize. Nothing would make me happier than to sit down, have a slice and chat with Tony. He seems like a really great guy (when he's not making veiled threats
). As long as he's preaching inaccuracies, I have to be the villain. But it doesn't make me happy. When I come across someone struggling with some aspect of their pizza and I can say 'try this or try that' and they have success following my suggestion, that's where my joy comes from. Playing a role in PolishPizza's almost overnight transition from beginner to ace was one of the happiest moments of my last 5 years. I LOVE teaching. But alienating people that I, for the most part, look up to- those have been the unhappiest moments of my last 5 years.
On the plus side, for those of you who have issues with controversy, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There's only so many people that have the power to influence thousands. The list of famous people that I have an axe to grind with is dwindling. I've made my peace with Reinhart. I'll still continue to trashtalk American Pie, but as far as calling Peter, himself, names, that's done. I'm not that happy about what might make it into Kenji's book, but, at this point, I can't see what I can do about it. Kenji is fully aware of my issue with the manner in which he defines NY style pizza, he's a brilliant guy and we have mutual friends. I'm hopeful that some aspect of this equation will allow truth to eventually trickle through. Who's left? Varasano? Other than his recent laughable tirade against bromate (which may or may not have been a joke), I'm fine with Jeff.
On the famous people front, other than Tony, there's really no one left to criticize. Now, there's always going to be someone with another 2stone knockoff trying to make a quick buck. When potentially specious claims are made and people's hard earned money is on the line, my protective nature really kicks in, so, if you want this place to be Disneyland, as long as I'm here, that's not going to happen. But, on the celebrity side, things should simmer down.
As far as Tony goes, if he's going to come after me like he did, I'm going to defend myself and respond in a similar fashion. If he wants to converse in a calm civil manner, I'm more than happy to initiate a dialog. As discussed, the expo is a tremendous stick in my craw, but I can criticize the expo independently from Tony. At the end of the day, I don't really care about the clothes Tony is wearing
My commercialism concerns are a drop in the bucket compared to Tony's inaccurate depiction of NY style pizza. If he's willing to discuss my concerns, even if we end up agreeing to disagree, it will go a long way in ameliorating the situation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know that there are one or two members who will despise me no matter what I say, but, I'm hoping that, for a would be detractor that might be on the fence, this insight might help you understand where I'm coming from a bit better.