Words And Meanings: A Blog Commenter's Responsibilities

Categories: (Un)sound Bites
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Every Monday in this space I pick something to rant about. Today, however, I'm at a loss.

I did want to thank Leslie Brenner for bringing up the growing "we don't take reservations" trend, which I find annoying...although I understand the value to a restaurant's bottom line. I thought, too, about asking Jerry Jones (indirectly) why his people forgot to attach cup holders to the seats at Cowboys Stadium.

Without cup holders, there's nothing to do with the empties but chuck 'em at Andriy Shevchenko. Of course, I may have been seated in the lone convenience-free section of the facility. And it is a great place to watch football (meaning soccer).

This morning I sorta embarked on a mini-rant regarding misuse of the term "review."

This was in response to a blog post comment by The Big Guy, who rather innocently slipped the word into his thoughts about Lisa Petty's First Look piece. To me, a review requires several visits, concentration and a willingness to suspend your personal likes and dislikes. It's a formal process in which the critic assesses how well a restaurant hit its goals, keeping in mind such things as traditional technique, the always ongoing "fusion" of ideas, ingredients, balancing of flavors...blah, blah, blah.

But the current trend, fostered by sites like Yelp (not meaning to pick on them, the site just comes to mind), is to consider "I just ate here and I liked it" commentary as reviews. Even some of our own people think this way.

Probably nitpicking on my part. Still, I'd never comment on a movie and call it a review. Sure, I have opinions...

Which brings me to another aspect of blog commenting. Under the piece about Partida tequila last week, someone using the pen name "Partida Sucks" declared "this tequila is shit"--hardly a clever comment and obviously a difficult opinion to support, given the generally rave reviews of the product. Now, I understand it probably loses something if downed quickly with a lick of salt and bite of lime. But PS gave no indication of being a disappointed frat boy--no indication of anything, really.

Partida is a very good tequila. Probably not to everyone's taste, as it lacks smokiness, but definitely not "shit." Maybe the owner poisoned young PS's budgie, who knows. Or maybe PS has a vested interest in another brand.

Anonymity and blogging has been debated before in various forms, so that's not my purpose. One of the things I appreciate about our regular commenters is their willingness to spell out what they're thinking, why they like/don't, agree/disagree with a story. The validity of any comment posted by a screen name depends upon the person's reasoning. To label something "shit" is meaningless. To say "it's shit because..." adds to the discussion.

If the person indeed hiding a vested interest, however...well, there's no way to stop that ruse.

Guess that's why I appreciate Bread Winners and Jay Jerrier, both of whom have the balls to identify themselves in comments posted on various web sites.

Found something to rant about, after all.

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