Let's talk meat.
You go to a fine steakhouse and you order a prime cut of beef. A cook sprinkles it with some salt and black pepper, brushes it with olive oil, and slaps it on a furiously hot grill. A few moments later, he flips it over; a few moments after that, he yanks it off the grill, tops it with a pat of butter, and allows it to sit and steep in its own juices for just a couple of minutes. Then it is brought to you and you cut into it and you eat; it is only marginally more cooked than if they'd just given some hapless cow a butter-scented cigarette and then shot the poor thing in the back. And it is delicious. The entire process took about the same amount of time required to prepare a packet of ramen noodles.
You go to a street vendor in an impoverished pre-industrial nation and you order a meat dish. From a lukewarm, fly-swarmed paint bucket, the proprietor scoops a generous portion of an unidentifiable brown substance which straddles the boundary between solid and liquid states, and plops it into a Styrofoam cup. The meat in this dish was stringy, cartilaginous, undifferentiated, and not particularly fresh even before it went into some enormous pot god-knows-how-long ago. It has been cooked, over low heat and with every herb, spice, vegetable, aromatic, and/or automotive air-freshener available, for a very long time, until its proteins denatured to mush and its flavor dissipated to the merest soupçon of coppery meatiness. They serve it with a fistful of five-alarm chili peppers to protect you against indigestion, and they say a Hail Mary before you take your first bite. And hey presto! It tastes pretty good, and you get to pretend you're Andrew Zimmern for a minute or two before you get kidnapped.
By now you've surely picked up on the analogy we're working with, here, so let's not belabor it too much. Not all joke topics or lines of discussion are created equal. Some of them, you just figure out how to arrange them on the plate and they're ready to go out there and lap up the applause and/or thoughtful feedback. Others require a greater investment of care and consideration before they're ready to be ingested. That's not news to anybody.
What's evidently news to some folks, on the other hand, is that when they're shopping for some metaphorical conversation meat, "the chick in that photo is hot/fat/hot below her fat face/fat below her hot face/whatever-the-fuck" is not to be found among the prime cuts of meat, but rather out back, behind the marketplace, sending up a reek that makes the alley cats shriek and bolt for the rooftops.
It's a central tenet of the spooky exotic Comment Ninja philosophy that any subject matter can be wrangled into a good comment if treated with enough care, style, aplomb, and intelligence. And it's only by the solidity of that unwavering belief that we say the following: if you want to cook something up with that dumpster-grade stuff, be our guest—but also be prepared to catch a bow-staff in the ear-hole if your product comes out tasting like you stuck it in the microwave for six seconds, slapped a plastic parsley garnish on the side, and served it up.
Because ultimately, if all you've got to say is that some woman in a photo put a tentpole in your undies, we're going to remind you that nobody gives a fuck.
Lots of really great comments in the interval since we last talked. Here are some of them. Let's have some more below.
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