Friday, March 8, 2013

Am I easily irritated? It seems like every day I read the world's stupidest article. Today's is the New York Times' class-obsessed ode to a cruise on the Queen Mary II.

"Dwight Garner" spends seven days crossing the ocean with his wacky wife Cree. (I'm guessing they left their kids, Navajo and Chocktaw, at home.) As usual for the Times, the piece is all about pretension, sprinkled with liberal doses of sexism. Mr. Garner's lifestyle, it seems, is evidence of the "American male psyche," which he claims is responsible for cruising dudes' frequent visits to the ship's "groaning" buffets. Women? I'm guessing they're just pigs.

It's probably that same psyche that prompts his self-consciously deprecatory remarks about dancing aboard ship.

I was in black tie. She was in an extraordinary little black dress. We’d been flailing about, in the ship’s ballroom, to an adroit orchestra.
Here's a picture of that "flailing about."

Obvious his butch psyche is unaware of the more fitting "prance."

The icy wind heartlessly X-rayed us, but it was impossible to pull away from the railing. The North Atlantic in January is no joke; its heaving beauty is mesmerizing. It’s a volcano of sorts, one that seems to demand an offering. Better a Champagne flute than to leap over the railing yourself.
I'm left rather breathless here, the affronts to the sensitive piling waist-high. Better to toss a glass over the railing than jump? Well, I'm glad somebody has captured those words of wisdom for prosperity. Sure, crystal stemware could harm sea life, but it could also enable dolphins to toast. I think dude wandered off the "chilled to the bone" cliché with that "x-ray" crap, but sadly it just makes us picture tuxedoed seniors on the Promenade Deck checking each other for lumps. And yes, the ocean is like a volcano, because it's hot, it exudes poisonous gases, and it frequently erupts.

No, wait. I'm thinking of my boyfriend Raoul.

[T]here is the Bergmanesque beauty of the ocean, more entrancing to fixate upon than a fire.
Which Bergman is he talking about, Ingmar or Ingrid? I think Ingmar is more like a volcano, though I wouldn't throw a virgin at him.

You do begin to forgive the Queen Mary 2 its dowdy sensibilities. It is, you realize, nothing less than a floating distillation of English inclinations and values, a watertight container of cask-aged nostalgia. It has been built for survival, not speed.
Well, yes -- that's definitely true. I remember when John Jacob Astor crossed, he rarely stood on the prow of the ship yelling, "Faster, you bastards! FASTER!"

Mr. Garner goes on and on about how old the passengers are, like it's a surprise to him young people don't often cross the Atlantic while eating caviar and prancing in tuxedos. "There was an abundance of wheelchairs, walkers and canes, so many that if everyone had tossed theirs overboard at once they would have created an artificial reef," he whines. And then a minute later he says he attended a shipboard screening of "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," which is a bit like me complaining that kids today have no respect for elders, because every one so far has refused to let me give them a massage.

As with most pretentious idiots, food and drink is Mr. Garner's downfall.

There are many bars aboard the QM2; we drank each night before dinner in the Commodore Club, below the ship’s bridge, where a whole wing of the cocktail menu is devoted to gin and tonics.
Got that? Yes, the ship is dowdy and the patrons are old but I say this gin and tonic menu is a truly smashing read.

The wine list was pleasantly esoteric, and packed with inexpensive as well as dear bottles.
You know why the non-pretentious don't use the phrase "dear bottles"? Because it sounds like an alcoholic writing a letter to his wet bar.

I’d spent the previous sixth [sic] months losing 20 pounds on a low-carb thing I was doing. I gained nearly a third of that amount back while on the QM2, to my enraged vexation.
A low-carb "thing"? Yes, that "American male psyche" is now refusing to acknowledge the word "diet." He lost the weight on a low-carb diet he was "doing"? As opposed to a low-carb diet he wasn't doing? As for "enraged vexation," well, I'm too puzzledly irked to dwell on that.

Everything was delicious, except for one small detail:

[W]aiters had that beatnik habit of removing plates before everyone at table was finished.
Yeah, beatniks are famous for that. Beatniks used to be all, "Hey, man, can I borrow your bongos? Kawabanga, surf's up! Here, I'm taking your plate and I DON'T CARE WHO'S FUCKIN' DONE."

Though you were on the edge of your seat, it turns out to be an unforgettable cruise on a world-class cruise line.

A cynic will point out that the QM2, launched in 2004, was actually built in France. This person might also note that the ship’s registry, in 2011, was switched to Bermuda, ending 171 years of British registry for Cunard ships. He or she will disclose that since 1998 Cunard has been a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation, and that the Queen Mary 2’s crew is international.
Then he or she might divulge that the tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. He or she might blab that the groundhog is neither ground nor a hog. Finally, he or she might yell, "Wait! Where are you going? I'm still talking to you!"

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