Sunday, February 11, 2007

Amuse-Biatch Emerges from Its Homophobic, Agoraphobic, Misanthropic, Camera-Shy, Envy-Ridden Dark Basement to Admit It Has a Problem

This fine Sunday morning, we sat in the bright sunlight streaming in through the French windows here at Withering Depths, lost in what poet Wallace Stevens termed "complacencies of the peignoir," and looked up as our houseboy Agador, clad only in his habitual marabou thong (well, after the split from Helen Hunt, Hank Azaria had to find work, and we were only too willing to oblige), brought us our glass of soursop-and-blood-orange juice and our stack of morning papers.

Imagine our delight when, flipping through the pages of that fine Long Island institution, Newsday, we came across an
editorial written by Mrs. Rita Hall, mother of Top Chef victor Ilan Hall. Mrs. Hall, who happens to work at Newsday, wrote a trenchant analysis of reality television, and described her own reactions to watching Top Chef:

What I didn't expect was how much I believed what I saw and how much friends who have known Ilan since he was little reassessed their opinion of him, good and bad, based on the edited version of reality that they saw weekly on the small screen. And how just as involved - though utterly presumptuous and cruel - the viewers in the blogosphere can be.

"Utterly presumptuous and cruel?" we queried of the cryptically-monikered Miss XaXa, as she looked at us through her sunglasses and cocked her Herm├Ęs-scarf-swathed head at us.

"That sounds about right," said Miss XaXa, interacting with us. "How very well-put."

We sat back, pleased with our human interaction, and resumed reading.

And what of the anonymous souls who spent so much time discussing and disparaging a person they would never meet and who would have no effect on their lives? Cryptically named writers jumped to wild unsubstantiated conclusions and, despite having slavishly watched each episode, made charges and claims that belied what they had seen:

Ilan doesn't deserve to win. (He won more elimination rounds than anyone and was in the group judged the worst only once, far fewer than anyone.) He's gay. (This homophobic invective didn't bother Ilan except that he has a girlfriend and he said so.) What was with the head scarf? (He covered his head for continuity; he changed his hair at the end of filming and they needed to insert interviews into previous episodes when his do was different.) Why the sunglasses in bed? (To avoid the morning onslaught of the bright lights and cameras that was their wake-up call.) Ilan is the bad guy. (In an ongoing conflict with fellow contestant Marcel, bloggers largely sided against Ilan, even though, over 13 weeks, almost every chef had a dispute with Marcel.)Why were they so interested? So certain of their impressions?

I can only imagine that cabin-feverish loners sitting in dark basements envy and loathe reality-TV stars. Reality TV provides a chance for previously anonymous Everymen to become well known. The blogosphere allows people who previously had to interact with other people to bloviate anonymously. How frightening the cameras would be for them. And how they must hate people who live with live cameras so easily.

First of all, Mrs. Hall, it's not a basement. It's a tastefully appointed subterranean lair. Or at least that's what the realtor told us.

And speaking of euphemism, "he changed his hair at the end of filming"?!? But we understand, Mrs. Hall. You're a mother, and we know that if we'd had a mother, it also would have been difficult for her to write, "He shaved his head after instigating and videotaping an assault on Marcel that included an abortive attempt to shave Marcel's head."

But the homophobia? We're afraid we must plead guilty to that. When we, of all people, speculate that someone is gay, it most definitely is "homophobic invective." As soon as we file this post, we will be checking ourselves into the same gayhab that Isaiah Washington so recently and so successfully attended. In fact, while we're there, we're also considering the three-week counseling program that turned pastor Ted Haggard "completely heterosexual." It's the least we can do.

Still, the most valuable lesson to be extracted from Mrs. Hall's editorial is this: Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be reality-show winners.


Anonymous said...

Oh my lord. Is this for real? I can see where Ilan gets his personality. Talk about apron strings! Explains a lot. He's been a f-up his whole life and now here comes mama once again to try to bail him out.

He should just leave the country already.

Anonymous said...

how embarassing for ilan. guess nobody's mom wants to admit her son would've dropped the boulder on piggy.

hughman said...

imagine your mother emerging from her Newsweek cave (CUTTING EDGE!) to basically complain about "kids and their new-fangled rock and roll". it's like having Andy Rooney for a mom.

antiquated notions about internet users being homebound nerds? uh huh. sudden realizations that reality shows are drama driven constructs? ok. surprise that viewers would bite the hook and conjecture about everything they can't see? no kiddin'?!?!

coming soon - Simon Cowell is mean!!!

kbryna said...

how is making the utterly reasonably assumption that Ilan is gay "homophobic invective?"

I was *shocked* when whatever episode came along and he mentioned a girlfriend. really. and i LOVED Ilan until he started being a jerk.

isn't it more homophobic to assume everyone is straight? isn't it homophobic to use words like "invective" when reasonable people suggest your son might be queer? isn't this response homophobic - "NO, i tell you NO! My darling boy is NOT GAY! NOOOOOOOO! NO NO NO!"

i would never let my mother write about me in any newspaper, magazine or journal. ever. under any circumstances, possibly including my untimely death.

and jeez, it's not like Mrs Hall is an unbiased observer......

kbryna said...

oh, ps. there are millions of assholes in this world with friends and mothers who like them. It seems Ilan is no different.

Laz said...

I'm stupider for having read Mrs. Hall's comments...

Anonymous said...

memo to mamahall - Just let him come out!

Anonymous said...

Dear lord, when you stoop to the "Get out of the house and experience real life, virgins!" tactic, you know the battle has been lost.

Easy to see where Ilan got his sparkling wit from, though.

-- Anun

matt said...

Now I actually feel sorry for Ilan. His mother is a vile nasty creature. No wonder he turned out like this. That explains a lot. I can see why he 's so repressed. With a mother like that...? Yikes!

Anonymous said...

How emasculating to have your mama come to your defense in this whiney, finger-pointing way.

I'm embarrassed for Ilan. I can seriously imagine Ilan's Mommy coming to the playground and shaking her fist at the boys who beat up her son, leading them to steal his lunch money for that day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laughs Gals. For pete's sake Rita, you work through the media to communicate with humans. And those darn phones, they're so impersonal. We (bloggers) do discuss the show with living, breathing humans, just like you, sometimes even face to face, after we've crawled out of our basements to communicate thru the media. Now I'm starting to feel sorry for Ilan having a mama like you. I wonder if you would've blogged Newsweek (shameful) if he had a better rep. No. This is damage control at it's worse, right up there with Bravo. Like we're going to change our views about your poor baby after being insulted by you. He's a strange young man, no doubt. Lighten up Rita, if it's not real, if it's just a bad edit job (your words). KRIS

Anonymous said...

iA really superb response to her inane rant. Mommy certainly picked some odd items to harp on. Don't think anyone in the Blogosphere was especially critical of the trivial items like the head-scarf or the sunglasses in bed.

You and others focused your fire on more substantial measures of character (or lack thereof).

And, you and I and others in the blogosphere found irrefutable evidence that Mommy's sweet little boy is basically a complete jerk-off in REAL LIFE and has been for some time. What was shown on Bravo was arguably BETTER than the real Ilan.

Bravo's editors had nothing to do with Ilan being fired from 3 jobs nor did they persuade him to file one of the most absurd EEOC "discrimination" complaints in US History.

Bravo didn't cause him to flunk out of the Culinary Institute of America. And Bravo didn't cause the State of New York to revoke his Driver's Licence for 6 months.

All of that and more, Mommy, can't be blamed on Bravo or bloggers.

At 24, Ilan is, essentially, a 7 year-old boy. And, Mommy, you aren't helping him to finally grow up.

Chef Z

Melanie said...

Chef Z,

Where are you getting all that private information about Ilan? I was only aware of his being fired from Craft. All the rest is news to me.

And Charlus, congratulations on another wonderful commentary. Mama Ilan is getting quite an eyeful of responses to her editorial. Have you read the comments that follow her and her son's articles? None of them I've read are flattering in any way.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god! Where'd you get the intel? Do ya know him?

He appears to be one of life's major fuckups!

So unfair Marcel had the decks stacked against him. He seems quite a descent human being.

Anonymous said...

Melanie and Anon,

Never had the pleasure of actually meeting Ilan and bitch-slapping him. But participated in the legal bitch-slapping our HR Director gave him when he sued us for discrimination. (Our HR Director said it was the goofiest suit they'd ever seen in 30 plus years of experience).

On TWO of the THREE items he sued under, he wasn't even ELIGIBLE under the Statutes. I.E. "Age Discrimination" refers to employees OVER 40 and usually only when the OVER 40 employee has worked for said company for quite a while and was replaced by a YOUNGER employee.

The information about his previous firing and the revoking of his New York's driver licence came from the investigation we did to defend against his aburd suit. All of this was before he was fired from Craft.

In New York, EEOC complaints are automatically "Dual-Filed" with a State Agency called "The New York Commission on HUMAN Rights".

The feds (EEOC) basically laughed in his face but the State Authorities (mommy dearest's influence?) actually allowed him to waste his and our time at a hearing. We won and he got nothing but the pleasure of wasting our time.

For myself, I'm not even sure that Ilan qualified as a "HUMAN".

Chef Z

Melanie said...

Thanks for the follow-up answers, Chef Z.

This public humiliation of Ilan (and his mother) could be a positive turning point for him. Perhaps he can break free from his upbringing and start taking responsibility for his actions and make a better future for himself.

Anonymous said...

sorry for the ignorance, but what exactly is "Craft" that Ilan worked for? Is it a restaurant?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 3:13

Tom Colicchio owns a series of restaurants, most of which have the word 'Craft' as part of their name. Here's the website address for these restaurants:

Anonymous said...

SnippyScholar at TWoP's TC forum checked with the Culinary Institute of America's (CIA's) website and verified that Ilan Hall did graduate with an Associate Degree in 2002 and earned a baking and pastry certificate from the CIA in 2003.

Marcel graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in 2004.

Chef Z said that his research found that Ilan had flunked from the CIA. Either that statement is erroneous or perhaps Ilan was taking more classes toward a Bachelor's degree and was not successful.

Here's the page at the CIA website that gives the above information about Ilan's and Marcel's degrees:

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