There is good news and bad news from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. The good news is that Meredith Ford Goldman has listed two blogs in an article in the newspaper, Blissful Glutton and Foodie Buddha, and said nice things about them. That’s good. I don’t know though, if her comment about the “‘I’m ok-you’re-ok’ tone of the blogosphere” really goes down well with me. To be plain, it seems as if she’s judging bloggers by how much like professional reviewers they are.

I’m not a professional food critic. I would recoil if someone called me a foodie. If you called me a suburban middle class male, I might accede to that. I am a “professional” who works a 50 to 60 hour week and whose blog is a form of entertainment. I don’t want to start fights by pointing out people selling bad food. I want to tell people where to go to get good food. Not speaking about places that don’t “cut it” is deliberate. It allows this site to be entertainment for me, and less of a moral conundrum. My attitude is: if a restaurant can’t even produce a plate of good food, why should I waste my breath mentioning them in the first place?

The difference is that professional critics are hired by newspapers, which have this thing about journalism and journalists. They love their Woodward and Bernstein mystique, and therefore judge their food reviewers by the same criteria. And there is good reason for that: if a restaurant were actually poisoning customers, that would be news. That should be reported. Therefore, because it’s their job, a professional food critic has responsibilities that simply do not fall on the amateur.

And the difference isn’t a product of lack of education. I suspect that as a rule, the food bloggers in Atlanta have more advanced degrees per person than the average population, or even the population of professional food critics. It takes some effort and planning to have a full time job and write an active blog. And I wonder, just wonder, if the professional press has any understanding of the cost and effort required.

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