I'm So Over the Marilyn Hagerty Phenomenon, But Welcome to NYC Anyway, Lady

Categories: My Rant, Sietsema

I've got to admit I was charmed when the Marilyn Hagerty story broke, and she was interviewed by our own Camille Dodero. Then Lauren Shockey revealed Hagerty intended to visit our city. The so-called critic from Great Falls, Montana Grand Rapids, Michigan Grand Forks, North Dakota, prominently pastes her picture at the top of every column, makes a single non-anonymous visit to a restaurant, eats only one dish with no beverages, then writes at length about it in the flattest declarative prose imaginable, making the landscape of her native plains state seem mountainous by comparison. That sort of prose is a nice antidote to all the flowery food writing most of us have to digest on a daily basis.

But now, what Joni Mitchell calls "the star-making machinery" kicks into high gear. The 82-year-old newspaper veteran -- who wears so many hats at her native newspaper, she could start a millinery shop -- is befriended by no less than Anthony Bourdain, whose ability to generate publicity is unprecedented, even in the stale-in-three-minutes world of food journalism.

Hagerty is coming to New York City, where she will be squired around town by food-scene celebrities, treated to sumptuous meals at expense-account restaurants, wined and dined by publicists, food writers, and those for whom the two professions have been transformed into one.

She'll eat at Le Bernardin -- and I bet you anything she doesn't pay a cent for it, and doesn't disclose that, either, as she renders critical opinions of the free booty she receives. Really, it will be like satire penned by Mark Twain, who wrote "virtue has never been as respectable as money" in The Innocents Abroad.

So we'll all have a chance to collectively celebrate Hagerty as she turns into one of us, and all the small city-big city jokes are endlessly repeated. We'll glory in her plain opinions and speech, chuckle as she downs her first whelk in public view as part of a $500 meal, and doubtlessly shed a tear as she makes a compulsory visit to Ground Zero. Then, perhaps, the inevitable James Beard Award?

Not to be too cynical, but what she really needs to try is a slice of Dom DeMarco's pizza, a hot dog at Gray's Papaya, a slice of Junior's cheesecake, a pastrami sandwich at Katz's, and wash it all down with a Brooklyn Lager -- but her every move will be orchestrated otherwise. You can bet her handlers have another agenda in mind. Jealous of the free publicity she's extended to the soul-sucking Olive Garden, they're clamorous for their own piece of the pie.

Expect Hagerty's visit to be the biggest food-world publicity stunt of 2012 -- until something better comes along. Indeed, it is we who are the rubes.


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15 comments
Renfield
Renfield

Har Har. Did you get her age wrong as part of the snark?

BooYAh2009
BooYAh2009

Should you find your time best spent (while not offering reviews of Taco Bell) calling out other food critics. I'd suggest picking your team and GET IN TH RING FOR THE Anthony Bourdain vs. Alan Richman FEUD!!!

Otherwise, take your Wordsmith skills and keep 'em in your head. 

LEAVE GRANNY ALONE!!

BooYAh2009
BooYAh2009

*LAUGHING*...Oh get over yourself!. I think Ms. Hagerty scored her best left hook, knock out punch, to your drivel as referring to this rag as "The Village Tattler"..pure bliss, and expected kind of counter attack of your cry boy jealousy it deserves.

Get over your jealous self. Just because Mr. Bourdain, scored her front row seats of the hallowed halls of Le Bernardin, a PERSONALLY Prepared menu by Grand Chef  Eric Ripert, and ring side 4-hour seats with the *WORLD BEST and WORLD FAMOUS* Le Bernardin's Aldo Sohm Sommelier and your cry baby ass will never sit in. Trust me, Mr. Sohm wouldn't offer a you a hand to shake, much less 4-hours of his time.

Let the little 'ol Grandmother have her 15-minutes. You had yours taking your shot---now, go cry yourself to sleep as you'll never "score" reservations with Le Bernardin nor afford yourself the opportunity to disclose a fully comp'd top tier, Le Bernardin, Chef  Eric Ripert,  hosted, meal by *DISCLOSING* in folksy mid-western, granny charm---

"While we came ready to be served and pay the cost, we realized the staff was aware of our mission of testing, tasting and writing. We received special attention, but I think the experience would be as good for all customers."Now, go cry yourself to sleep. Granny scored this one. At least YOU CAN DREAM!

Sandy Kay
Sandy Kay

Why so bitter and cynical?  Put it all in perspective for a minute.  She's 82, reviews restaurants in a city where a new Olive Garden is a big deal, and only went viral because big city people thought it was funny.  (Much like you making fun of her city with your little cross outs of similarly named not-bigtime cities. 

So what if she get a little bit of fame and some meals at restaurants some of us will never get to visit as a result of it? And if you think she should have tried something other than Le Barnardin, maybe you should have volunteered -- but then you'd have been forced to spend time with someone to whom you clearly feel superior.  If you really were "over" her, you wouldn't need to write something like this. 

I don't know Ms. Hagerty and am not from Grand Forks, but you're being kind of douchey about her.

Carley Jensen
Carley Jensen

It kinda stings a bit to read this article, as I am related to Marilyn. I'm sorry you're so incredibly bitter.

BestLife
BestLife

It's too bad you don't know Marilyn.  I'm from Grand Forks and have known Marilyn personally and professionally for 25 years.  She is the most authentic, humble and kind person you could meet.  She won't change by this fame overnight, believe me.  She commented recently that the most touching part of all of this hoopla was reading a letter from her granddaughter to the Grand Forks Herald about her own awesome experiences as a child hanging out with Grandma as she did visited restaurants and did food reviews. If you read Marilyn's column for all these years as I have, you would know this wasn't her best column.  Her best one is "On Christmas Eve, All Roads Lead Home" which is published every year at Christmastime in the Grand Forks Herald.  I challenge you to read it.  It just might soften that hard heart of yours.

Ml
Ml

Don't be a bitch. 

Goon
Goon

Wow, what a hatchet job, is this an attempt at journalism. This kind of crap is the reason many of us don't like New York City. Give it a rest, Marilyn Hagerty is a very nice lady. 

Tryfitness
Tryfitness

Bear in mind, she didn't seek this publicity. Media outlets such as YOURS made this the media event of 2012, so if you're over the whole spectacle, blame yourself.

Pouj321
Pouj321

As my favorite food critic, it is disappointing to read such crabby comment from you.  Does it matter if Hegarty gets a free meal at Le Bernardin? Not to me. Her purity and expertise as a food critic is beside the point. She's an elderly visitor from the mid-west and if she enjoys her visit to NYC, it is good for our tourism industry. She might also get a real sense of what we're about with a visit to the tenement museum and a sample of LES neighborhoods and specialty shops.

Rick Shaw
Rick Shaw

Hahahahahahaa.....Quite good here. I too dont get this ladies hype........But c'mon Sietsema, everyone knows Papaya King is better than Gray's!! (Though we could debate who's drink is better, Gray's is Really good. Dogs, no contest brah!)

Rsietsema
Rsietsema

I wrote in haste! It's actually the very same hot dog, though, and Papaya King delivers it with more panache. Didn't want to have to send her to the UES, tho.

kim
kim

That's how I responded to her visit as well. PLUS, she's got a PR person who will be tweeting every single action. I'm sure she's a nice lady, but I guess realistically, you would try to ream as much benefit from your one minute fame, would you? :)

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