Friday, June 29, 2012

Before Dolinsky, there was Graham Elliot vs. Fuckerberg

The news that Graham Elliot booted Steve Dolinsky yesterday got me thinking that this might be a good time to post about the origin of my blog's name.

Well before Dolinsky's tweet got him onto Graham Elliot's shit list, my own unrelated actions on Twitter had made me Enemy#1. After eating at grahamwich, I tweeted some criticism of a lousy pickle I had tried, along with a line that said when it comes to grahamwich "I'm ready to stick a spork in it," referencing the cheap, useless, "whimsical" tools that Elliot's crew gives out as part of the sandwich shop's shtick.

I had no idea how rapid and ridiculous the firestorm would be following my tweet. Within minutes, Elliot had read my tweet, done some research about me, and found out my full name. This is what he tweeted back to me:

"Nice spork reference, fuckerberg."

That seemed in relatively decent humor, and for the moment I was just amused that a famous chef had bothered to respond at all to online criticism from a nobody like me. But what followed took a much meaner and more bizarre turn. A few minutes after the fuckerberg tweet, Elliott sent this to his thousands of followers:

"D-Bag Alert. Keep a lookout for this guy."

The above tweet included a link to a picture of me along with a short profile from a social networking site Elliot had found. I don't make any effort to maintain an anonymous online persona, so this didn't particularly bother me. I was surprised, however, that someone with such fame and success would act so childishly vindictive as a result of an admittedly snarky, but hardly personal post about his sandwich shop.

What followed from there was not really Elliot's doing, but he had started a comical storm of internet rumors about me, with my picture circulating among thousands of people, many of whom posted pretty nasty comments based entirely on false information that was being spread by Ari Bendersky at Eater and Audarshia Townsend at 312DiningDiva. First Townsend circulated my picture on her blog and twitter stream, captioning it with "OMG, Graham Elliott outed the 2-cent tipper". A couple of days earlier, there had been a widely circulated report of a guy who left a 2-cent tip along with a nasty note to his server. In Chicago, reports about the "2 cent tipper" and unconfirmed speculations about his identity had gone viral. Now, for some reason the Dining Diva believed she had gotten the scoop! Bendersky, ever-careful fact checker that he is, picked up Townsend's story and ran an article on Eater, again linking to my picture. Within hours, over a hundred comments were circulating around the internet bashing me and linking to my picture.

Though I had some choice words for Bendersky and Townsend - both of whom I still find to be useless, ass-kissing hacks whose main skills include shilling for chefs in order to gain access and cutting and pasting from press releases - for the most part I was humored by the fame I had gained for a day. Through this blog's name, I continue to try to milk it for all I can get.