Apparently GWU Law’s Jonathan Turley understands international cuisine about as well as he understands the Constitution. The longtime legal analyst — most famous for testifying in favor of impeaching Bill Clinton and against impeaching Donald Trump for complex and nuanced constitutional arguments steeped in his detailed understanding of what might get him media coverage at the time — has tried his hand at amateur restaurant critic!
And guess what? He sucks!
Tossing around ill-informed thoughts on food may not have the calamitous heft as when Richard Epstein play-acting at amateur epidemiology or Adrian Vermeule taking a whirl as ersatz Machiavelli, it is actually really awful when you take a few seconds to think about it.
While it’s fun to think that Jonathan Turley is culinarily cloistered by his own delightfully passive racism, that’s probably a lie. It’s highly unlikely that Turley’s never seen Indian food (and let’s be fair, Tikka Masala is already not real Indian food, but I digress). It’s even more unlikely that an attorney who fancies himself an intellectual would see something that confuses him and choose to publicly display his ignorance rather than invest 10 seconds into doing research.
No, this isn’t about food, this is about the cable news economy and performative white nationalism is the coin of the realm, my friends. Turley’s so thirsty for more screen time as the vaguely liberal-ish person who defends Donald Trump — a job he’s thoroughly lost to Alan Dershowitz, by the way — that he’s offering a song and dance about how he’s uncomfortable with all these ethnic names taking over “our” food in the hope Tucker Carlson will offer him his fix in the form of a superficial 5-minute spot that will be all but forgotten as soon as it airs.
That’s just what you’ve got to do if you want airtime these days. It’s not news, it’s an opiate. Hold the audience’s hand and tell them you’re an ostensibly smart person and you also don’t understand why Indian restaurants can’t call it “Creamy Tomato Chicken” like “normal” people talk. Say this stuff enough, and you might even get a paid deal with Fox!
And worst of all, Turley is probably going to get away with it because everyone piling on his Tweet will be dismissed as “liberal tears” and Turley will be welcomed back. He’s made the play that works for his bottom line and that’s apparently playing to the crowd that gets more lathered up by food names than public health expenditures. He’ll just be over here basking in his fame, 5 basic cable minutes at a time.
This is just a reminder that it’s perfectly fine to hate both the player and the game.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.
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