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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Does everything have to be sooooo over the top?

Some folks in London are "shocked and saddened" that people found their idea to serve "Death Row Dinners" disgusting.

I will tell them precisely where their interesting idea went bad. But first a little background.

Here's a version of the news from Fox about the social media backlash. These blokes, whoever they are, thought it would be a good idea to start a restaurant that catered to the notion of what people would like for their last dinner ever. That is to say, if you knew you when you were going to die and could have anything in the world for your last meal, what would it be?

They called it Death Row Dinners.

Their materials showed an array of somber and not very attractive mug shots,  presumably of people who are terrible criminals and guilty of God knows what, with a placard around their necks featuring the menu of their last meal choice. I don't know - perhaps that was the restaurant's actual menu.

They described the dining experience with words related to being in jail, being arrested, being sentenced to death, and all that.

It was over the top with the whole execution motif.

Here's their apology:

“We're shocked and saddened by the response to Death Row Dinners and are genuinely very sorry for any offence caused. The pop up [a kind of restaurant in the UK] is intended to explore the concept of last meals; anyone who has ever been to a dinner party has probably had this conversation – what would they love their last meal to be. In light of the response to the idea we are considering our next steps and will update everyone with our decision.”

Notice what they're shocked and saddened by. Shocked, they were, that anyone was offended.

Yes, we've all sat around the dinner table discussing our favorite foods, and how we'd like to part from earthly life if food were a part of that event.

But this is where these entrepreneurs went wrong.

They went over the top with the death experience and death row and death and jail and death. Did I mention death? "What you'd like for your last meal" really isn't about the death experience at all - it's about the meal. Those conversations are about favorite foods. By making the dining experience about dying, disgusting criminals, their unspoken disgusting deeds deserving death, their deaths, their last means, and relating all of that to your diners' deaths and making them feel like they're also disgusting criminals - that is, by keeping death and gruesomeness so in-you-face in over-the-top fashion, they destroyed all possible enjoyment of the food.

They propose this as a restaurant.

People go to a restaurant to enjoy life, and food.

Ugh. And they're shocked, shocked I tell you!, that this caused offense.

I'm shocked, shocked!, that they're shocked.

This may seem totally unrelated, but I am officially also not a fan of the new Star Trek movies anymore for a very similar reason. They have their good points, but they are also so over the top, that as a long-time Star Trek fan, they have robbed my enjoyment of the Star Trek universe. There was some element of believability in the original series and the Next Generation. But the new stories - totally unbelievable. The characters are good, the cast is good, the stories have some good points. But things are too big, too flashy, too dramatic, too stylized - it's too over the top. I mean seriously, just how big is Kirk's Enterprise, that he has to run miles to get to the warp core, and what the heck is that thing he has to kick, and why is there soooo much wasted and unnecessary SPACE around it, in a fairly early starship design?

But back to food.... Does everything have to be so sweet that it's sickening? Hot sauces that are so hot they put people in the hospital?

Does everything have to be extreme in order to be good?

We have lost all sense of virtue, which holds a middle course. We do not know what "just right" is anymore because we don't know what "right" is to begin with.

Those entrepreneurs are SHOCKED that people are upset. Really. SHOCKED? Really? Their reaction is over the top too. Extreme.

That anyone could be shocked that people are disgusted by disgusting things associated with what could be their very favorite foods is itself shocking.

By the way, the UK is so disgusted with the very idea of "death row" it doesn't have a death penalty. A fine place to start a restaurant called Death Row Dinners.

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