This week’s Food Authenticity Policing involves…Kamala Harris being a neoliberal shill by, er, using the condiment placed on every table in a soul food restaurant. This one is instructive in the sense that it’s completely nonsensical even on its own feeble terms:
No one who claims to be angry because Clinton "pretended" to like hot sauce can explain why it is pandering for a *black* woman to consume hot sauce.
— Feminazgûl (@jkyles10) February 17, 2019
And indeed if you get out of the boat you’ll see Twitter threads in which there’s a consensus that Harris using hot sauce is inauthentic, but as many different theories about why it’s inauthentic as there are drooling thigh-rubbers pretending to care about it.
But of course what this is really about is that among a both a certain segment of mainstream pundits and and some Extremely Online people who think they’re doing Gramsci when they’re doing Mouthpiece Theater is an Established True Fact that Hillary Clinton inauthentically pretended to like hot sauce to pander to Beyonce fans, an event that was almost as decisive in explaining her loss as her Twitter dad jokes. So it seems worth pointing out that this story is 100% pure bullshit:
So there are a couple of possibilities. One is that Hillary Clinton really does like hot sauce and carries it around with her so she can season her food. The other is that she’s been building an elaborate long con over hot sauce – because she’s been talking about it at least since 2008. A New York Times piece got at Clinton’s love of hot peppers, based on a “60 Minutes” interview:
“I eat a lot of hot peppers,” she told CBS News anchor Katie Couric, who had asked her how she maintains her stamina on the campaign trail. “I for some reason started doing that in 1992, and I swear by it. I think it keeps my metabolism revved up and keeps me healthy.”
Apparently she kept 100 bottles of hot sauce when she was in the White House. In 2012, she told Conde Nast Traveler about bringing red pepper and Tabasco on her trips as Secretary of State. And late last year, she and her staff talked about peppers and farm stands.
To Clinton doubters, perhaps this is all just something she’s been planning since Bill’s election. Could it be that Hillary has built an elaborate myth around herself as someone who is not as bland as she seems but is actually edgy, gutsy, and working so hard she needs to eat food that a lot of white Middle Americans consider too spicy so she can keep moving at high speed?
Pretty impressive that she would anticipate no later than 1992 that a 2016 hit single by a prominent African-American artist would mention carrying hot sauce in her purse, so she could falsely pretend to like it 24 years later! And, really, who better to voice the True Authenticity of the African-American community than Donald J. Trump.
I’m beginning to think that theater critic punditry is just a bunch of vacuous tautologies that don’t actually tell us anything worth knowing about anyone except the pundits themselves.