Prof. Jessica Handler takes on The New York Times in Atlanta magazine article

Professor Jessica Handler

Professor Jessica Handler

Award-winning author and Oglethorpe writing and Core professor Jessica Handler took exception to the “condescending tone” of a New York Times article about the Atlanta restaurant scene. She responded in Atlanta magazine with “6 reasons The New York Times story on Atlanta restaurants gave me cultural indigestion”:



6 Reasons the New York Time story on Atlanta restaurants gave me cultural indigestion

Stop mentioning Scarlett O’Hara. Please.

February 24, 2016 | Jessica Handler

NYT on Atlanta
Illustration by Zohar Lazar

Last week, the New York Times indulged in its periodic scrutiny of Atlanta’s restaurant scene, declaring that a “city that often looked over its shoulder for culinary validation and inspiration is coming into its own.” On one hand, you could say it was nice that our hometown got such space and (measured) praise in America’s paper of record. The headline of the piece was “Atlanta Pulls a Chair to the Table for Culinary Greats,” but after reading it, perhaps a more accurate one would have been “Bless Their Hearts.” I didn’t take issue with the writer’s dining choices; Kim Severson is an accomplished food writer, an Atlanta resident, and a former bureau chief for the Gray Lady. What bothered me, frankly, was the condescending tone.

What do I mean? Let me unpack my objections and arrange them neatly on my veranda.

1. It seems that every New York Times writer filing dispatches from Atlanta is duty-bound to mention two things: Traffic and Scarlett O’Hara. In this story, the evidence given for our traffic problem is that the drive to Decatur “can seem too long.” Well, from where? After all, Decatur actually has a MARTA station. But then again, the author never tells us where she’s driving from.

Read the full article.


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