Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Drunk Kitchen and Internet Celebrity

Full disclosure: I had no idea what or who My Drunk Kitchen was before I picked up the book, but I noticed it on the Goodreads ballot for the best cookbook of the year.  I figured that with a title like My Drunk Kitchen, it wouldn't be an actual cookbook, but something more along the lines of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris.

I don't know if I'm not quite hipster enough, or not quite drunk enough, but I just didn't get this book.


I am always amazed at peoples' ability to keep up with what is in and what is out--particularly online.  I use YouTube mainly for makeup tutorials, and sometimes I'll watch a few music videos, but I don't understand the appeal of vlogging.  There's nothing wrong with it; I just don't feel compelled to watch people tell stories about their lives or talk about how difficult it is to apply self-tanner or something.  I mean, I didn't even know John Green did Vlogbrothers with Hank Green until someone mentioned it at PLA this year.  I'd been reading his books, but the online persona didn't even register.  Green (the John, not the Hank) wrote the intro to My Drunk Kitchen.

This is a mild interruption in this review to point out that I am not a giant John Green fangirl.  I don't send him poetry (this is a long story which I might address in a different post!) or messages or even comment on his tweets.  I just like the books he writes.  However, I've noticed a trend among some bloggers and bookish people to swing the opposite direction and Hate John Green for Everything.  I believe this is because he is a cisgendered white male who is successful in his field.  It's not someone's fault to be born the way they are, nor is it someone's fault to write a really good book about teens with cancer.  Even if you hated The Fault in Our Stars, you have to admit that it really galvanized teens into reading realistic young adult fiction.  That's a huge positive in my book.  But I also don't make my book choices based on what John Green endorses or doesn't endorse.  Okay?  Okay.

So, back to My Drunk Kitchen.  In 2011, Hannah Hart filmed herself cooking while drunk and uploaded it to YouTube.  Because humans are weird, this suddenly became A Thing,

In the interest of research, and being unbiased and mildly informed and such, I went and I watched that episode on YouTube.  I didn't find it funny.  Maybe it gets better as you go?

Anyway, I guess Hannah is really funny on YouTube (?) and makes lots of puns (also missed that--how does one make an excellent pun while drunk?) and she does make some good points about Life In General.

Sometimes I feel like publishers go all Oprah on YouTubers: "You get a book deal and you get a book deal and you get a book deal!"  Just because someone makes videos that other someones want to watch does not inherently mean that they are good writers or that it is necessary to redo their YouTube channel in print format.

As far as I can gather, My Drunk Kitchen isn't really about cooking.  It's about dealing with stuff in your life and being drunk and also maybe eating a lot of weird "food" because of being drunk and/or dealing with stuff in your life.  That's cool.  That's also pretty much what the book is about.  It should definitely be shelved in either self-help or comedy because it's not really a cookbook.  Nor should it have been nominated for the "cookbook" award on Goodreads.

Oh, my gosh.  I figured it out.  I figured out why this book made me simultaneously bored and irritated.  The publishers/YouTube community/rabid Hart fans are trying to make her The Voice of a Generation, kind of like Lena Dunham (whom I also do not find funny, just because I don't).

This is the part where everyone goes, "GASP!  YOU HAVE NO TASTE! YOU HAVE NO SOUL! YOU NEANDERTHAL, YOU!" and I go, "Whatever," because I have so much better stuff to do with my time.  I am tired of the cult of the YouTube celebrity and I am tired of people being called "celebrities" because people want to watch them give out life lessons or something.  I don't get it and I don't care that you might not like that I don't get it.

I am going to crankily stomp off now and read another book.

No comments:

Post a Comment