But then, when we and Miss XaXa checked in (from Gstaad and St. Bart’s, respectively), we found that one of Rachael Ray’s anonymous elves had been by in the night and left us some reindeer droppings in our mailbag.
Committed as we are to answering reader mail, and energized by raclette and conch fritters, respectively, (“Watch the pronunciation,” Miss XaXa admonished, “there is an ‘n’ in ‘conch.’”), we are delighted to turn to the task at hand.
Responding to a post that consisted only of a Rachael Ray wedding photograph and the headline, “Rachael Ray Wedding Album: Is That a Spitcurl Over His Eye?” a Gentle Reader calling herself “Anonymous” wrote us this:
You snide losers.Dear Anonymous, thank you for your charming note. It warmed the stainless-steel cockles of our pea-sized hearts.
You wish you had the energy and success that she has. Didn't you learn in Psych 101 or from Dear Abby, at least, that you're tearing her down so you can forget about your own failure and self-hate?
Your forbearance in not putting an exclamation point after “You snide losers” gave us the chills. It’s so much nastier, and delicious, in that twin-set-and-pearls, secret-drinking, ethnic-surname-concealing, compulsive-ironing-of-linen-at-two-in-the-morning way. Really, it’s always the repressed snarl that thrills us to our hollow core.
Your excellent grammar and impeccable use of commas not only were as catnip to us (a well-placed comma can be the equivalent of a kiss behind the ear), but also suggested that you are an educated woman, and thus, clearly, not Rachael Ray’s target audience.
We understand why she appeals to men. She’s non-threatening and has [...]* bazooms. She appeals to men for the usual reason that women with big mouths appeal to men. And we mean big mouths in the literal, rather than metaphorical, sense. Not wishing to be vulgar, that is all we will say on the subject; consult an anthropologist or Maxim if you need to.
But why you should come to her defense puzzles us.
We know that in some quarters Rachael Ray is held up as some kind of example of American populism, but this is pure poppycock. Since when did populism have to be equated with idiocy?
The woman talks as if every member of the audience were a thalidomide chimpanzee, as if we might not be able to figure out breathing if she didn’t break it down into cheery, manageable steps for us. (“Now, open up those alveoli. Can you feel that Oh-Two entering your lungs? Yum-o! Now get rid of that See-Oh-Two into the garbage bowl of the atmosphere!”)
But, to quote Edwina Margaret Rose Monsoon, “We’re not all blithering idiots. We don’t all need nursemaiding.”
We find it loathsome that she should be used as prima facie evidence of the truth of H.L. Mencken’s statement that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence (or taste, as some versions have it) of the American public. What can it mean about us as a country when a woman with the intellectual heft of plankton is talking down to us? Verily, it offends our patriotic sensibilities. That’s right; you heard us—liking Rachael Ray is un-American. Rachael Ray is hurting America! Get Bill O’Reilly on the case. Surely he would object to television hosts dumbing down discourse and patronizing the American people.
Now for the substance of your note, Gentle Reader. We appreciate your keeping your references (Psych 101, Dear Abby) simple and Yum-o! for us. Given, as we are, to mentioning Anaïs Nin and Søren Kierkegaard in the context of Ms. Ray, your throwing out references to Jungian shadow selves or the letters of Lord Chesterfield might have reduced us to mouth-breathing stupefaction. (That “at least” after “Dear Abby” was an especially piquant flick of the cat-o'-nine-tails; hurt us good, Bad Connecticut Mommy!)
Just one little thing. Darling—and here we hesitate to be logical and what-not—but mightn’t one say that by calling us “snide losers,” and intimating that we are listless and unsuccessful, you are, um, “tearing [us] down so that you can forget about your own failure and self-hate?” And wouldn't that then make you into a “snide loser”? Mind you, we don’t say that; we are listless losers, after all, so what do we know? (Though Miss XaXa disagrees, saying, “We’re failures, but at self-hatred.”)
At any rate, thank you for writing, luv. And if you ever feel like calling us “snide losers” while wearing a leather bustier and Lucite heels, your comma and our period joining together to make sweet, sweet semicolons, well, just drop us another line. We promise you a good time (or, as Miss XaXa defines it, a vodka stinger, a cheese log, and a cheap motel).
* The adjective "large" was removed as per reader observations.