In defense of…pizza?

Yes, it has come to this: pizza has to be defended. The New York Times is forcing me to.

In their weekly “Meh List” – things that aren’t bad but aren’t good enough to be called good, they’re just meh – they list pizza. That’s right, PIZZA. What the hell is going on at The New York Times?

The paper got so much feedback about it that they actually had someone write an explanation of their opinion in a blog post today titled “Yes, We Believe That Pizza Is Meh.” So they’ve decided to double down and actually explain, which only doubles their wrongheadedness (if that’s even a word). They might as well write an article titled “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus. And You’re A Horrible Human Being For Liking Him.”

Willie Staley’s explanation includes…

Picture this: You coach a T-ball team that has just finished its last game of the season. You’re a nice coach, so you decide to treat your team of exhausted 5-year-olds to a celebratory meal. But where?…Consider the criteria at work here. What’s a food inoffensive to even the most unsophisticated palates?

Or maybe kids know what they like. Which also happens to be what adults like. Are you saying that T-ball coaches hate kids so much want to bring them to places that serve bad food?

If you’re going to say that pizza is “meh,” then you must also think that burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream are pretty meh too. Those things are everywhere! We’ve had so many bad burgers! You liked ice cream when you were five!

The Meh List is not an outpost for inanity, glibness and trolling.

It isn’t? I don’t even mean that in a bad way. It’s just what The Meh List is, kinda.

I grew up in a midsize city in Northern California called San Francisco.

Oh no. A paragraph that starts like this can’t possibly be good.

Unlike New York, however, San Francisco doesn’t exactly abound with pies with buffalo chicken and ranch dressing or entire chicken Caesar salads just dumped right on top of them.

Hmmm. When I think of New York pizza, I don’t think of those things. In fact, they sound rather California-ish to me.

The categorical error New Yorkers make is mistaking ubiquity for superiority.

Wait a second. You didn’t say “New York pizza” was meh, you said “pizza,” period! (Now, if you want to talk about New York pizza…)

That the Internet’s constant bickering about pizza is so outsize compared to the food’s relative innocuousness made our editorial decision an easy one.

So you were trolling?

You liked pizza when you were 5, because pizza — like anything a 5-year-old likes (baseball cards, shoe-tying, garbage trucks) — is inherently meh.

And people like pizza when they’re adults because…?

Go ahead and eat pizza (it usually tastes good!)

So it’s not meh?!?

It’s sort of like that old joke, which happens to be true: Sex is like pizza. Even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. How can something that can be described that way be “meh?” How can something that is arguably the most important food of the last century be “meh??”

The “we” in the title isn’t the NYT as a whole, it’s just Staley and Samantha Henig. They say their colleagues disagree with them. I say that they are soon going to be driven out of the NYT building by those same colleagues, who will be holding torches in one hand like the villagers in Frankenstein movies, and delicious slices of pepperoni pizza in the other. I bet if they took a poll of everyone who works at the NYT they’d find that the number of pizza lovers outweigh the number of pizza meh-ers (I’m just a word-inventing machine today).

The New York Times could have said anything else – about politics, about race, about crime, about sex – and it still wouldn’t have been as controversial as dumping on pizza. They’ve started a war, and we’re all soldiers.

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