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Love's Labors Lost

Josh Ozersky, writer, blogger, and author of The Hamburger, mourns the Wall Street Journal's loss of long-time restaurant critic Raymond Sokolov, puts it into perspective. "The average foodie probably didn't look up from his plate. Some middle-aged guy isn't writing reviews for a newspaper whom few even knew had a restaurant critic. So what?" The so what is the loss of institutional memory, of accountability, of a sense that the person whose words you were reading not only knew something about food but really cared about what would be written. (As opposed to bloggers just running their fingers off to watch themselves type, truthiness.) "When you like a critic, you trust his judgment not because he has a doctorate in food letters, although such things do apparently exist. He's proved himself over a long period. You know what he likes or dislikes. You get him. Maybe you don't always agree; but when you're looking at getting a babysitter and maybe dropping three bills on dinner, you need to minimize risk." Yet another link between restaurants and history, between personal experience and cultural insight, broken. [Time]

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