You don’t have to tell me the Food Babe is an idiot. I’m completely on board. You had me at Pumpkin Spice Latte contains no actual pumpkin. Her shtick is a mess of misunderstandings of science at best and outright lies at worst. Basically, she’s full of shit.
And, of course, as described in a recent NY Times piece entitled Taking on The Food Industry, One Blog Post at a Time, she bans people at the drop of a yoga mat. She bans all of her critics, even the polite ones. That behavior is cowardly, of course, but I confess I’m a little tired of the pearl clutching. It’s not like her readers don’t have access to the rest of the damn internet. She might control her social media universe, but she doesn’t control the actual universe.
There are plenty of people who are unabashedly TeamFuckYouVaniHari. They call her out, they mock her and they’ve found themselves banned from the FoodBabelandia. Team Snarky Science has it covered. That roster is full.
Or is it?
The NYT piece was quite measured in its critique, so I was surprised to read its author tweet “it’s food babe way or the highway” and retweet “to prove that @courtneybrubin is filled with unnatural ingredients, a blogger will now eat a yoga mat.” Slam. #Winning. High fives all around.
Now, I’m not saying she went full Amber Rose on a Kardashian or anything, but was that necessary?
Snark has its place but you may have noticed that that place is kind of everywhere. There is now a glorious never-ending supply of skeptical snark available round the clock. We need at least a few people who are willing to rise above the fray. We need that measured criticism and we especially need it in widely read national media outlets like the New York Times. We don’t need anymore snark. Once you dip your toe into the pool of snark, readers suspect your motives. Even if you’re right.