ToBS R1: the Georgia Review vs dinner at Chili’s
[Matchup #30 in Tournament of Bookshit]
I’ve never read the Georgia Review. I have eaten dinner at Chili’s probably 50 times throughout my life. My favorite dish to get at Chili’s, the dish that has remained my favorite transitioning through all of the various eating habits I’ve had (being no-restriction to vegetarian to pesceterian to vegan), is the fajitas. The fajitas at Chili’s are exciting because they are a spectacle. Looking at the website for the Georgia Review, I see a complete lack of spectacle. Chili’s was my favorite restaurant growing up because it took me a while to develop any sort of palate for foods that are not ultimately mediocre. While it would seem that both the Georgia Review and Chili’s are ostensibly mediocre, Chili’s maintains a specific midwestern magic. Chili’s is, I guess, supposed to be “Tex-Mex” food, though that term really has no meaning whatsoever. My dad always gets Country-Fried Steak when we eat at Chili’s. I have fond memories of eating at Chili’s, mostly because I like Chili’s fajitas. If you are vegan you can get your fajitas with mushrooms and peppers instead of meat. And when you tell your kind, tan & undoubtedly blonde server that you don’t want cheese or sour cream with your fajitas, the sunny server will offer to give you guacamole and beans and everything is terrific. I have no fond memories of The Georgia Review. As much as I have a penchant to date southern boys, I don’t think I’ve ever dated someone from Georgia. Alabama, Tennesee, and Kentucky, yes, but not Georgia. I have been to Georgia before, it seems like an OK place. I’ve heard that Atlanta is pretty alright, I think Blake lives there. Unfortunately, none of the good things I’ve heard about Georgia seem to shine-through browsing The Georgia Review website. I don’t think I care about this “lit journal.” I generally don’t care for journals that follow the structural titling of “The [Location or School] Review.” Seems really lazy. I mean, okay, really it’s just boring. I think it transcends laziness in an attempt at utilitarianism. Do you know what I like about Chili’s fajitas? They are a snacktivity. My old roommate invented that term, or at least brought it to my attention. It’s a term that she used to described food that was fun to eat in the sense that it often took some construction. An active sense of eating. I enjoy when I am at Chili’s and the waitress brings out my fajitas and the peppers & onions (or steak or chicken if you’re so inclined) are still searing on the hot black plate, the wait-person will also inform you that the pan is hot and that you shouldn’t touch it. My mother used to have me melt cheese for her on the skillet while it was warm. You are provided with several warm flour tortillas which you then get to construct into fajitas, and this freedom to build your own meal allows the perfect opportunities for managing the proportions of the contents of your fajita. The last time I had fajita’s was actually one of the last times I saw my parents, but this was like 8 months ago. I wore long sleeves even though it was like 80 degrees out because I was nervous about having to deal with discussing my tattoos with my parents. Turns out it completely doesn’t matter, oh well. When I think of Chili’s I think of my family and when I think of The Georgia Review I think about how much I fucking hate certain parts of “writing culture.” When I think of Chili’s I think about fajitas and their shitty almost booze-less sangria, which I continue to order every time I’m there because I just want it to taste better than it does. When I think of the Georgia Review I think about the literary publications I see at bookstores that I have never even picked up to flip through. Ultimately neither Chili’s nor The Georgia Review will amount to much to future generations, both are simply by-products of our time, our cultural zeitgeist. I would like to eat Chili’s fajitas soon but I don’t think that there is a Chili’s in San Francisco. There’s not, I just checked, the closest one is in San Bruno, and because i’ve only lived in California for all of four months I have no idea where that is. By “where that is” I don’t necessarily mean in terms of cardinal directions, but rather I mean like “where that is” within the idea of how California operates. Different parts of California mean different things. I think maybe it’s weird that there are Chili’s in California at all, considering the fact that I insisted on ascribing it a specific “midwesternity” above. This is how culture develops.
Anyway I’m supposed to pick a winner and despite the fact I don’t believe in strict binaries and this is constructed within the framework of one, the winner is Chili’s because I know nothing about The Georgia Review and I don’t know completely don’t care I guess. Also I’m hungry.
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WINNER: dinner at Chili’s