Burrito Lit

May 16, 2014 | 1

“What’s the kindest thing you almost did?” You’ll find this sentence by Jonathan Safran Foer on a Chipotle cup next time you eat a burrito there. The fast food restaurant will feature the short stories five authors, including Foer, Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Michael Lewis,  on its cups, and unlike guacamole, they won’t cost extra. Unsurprisingly, Cormac McCarthy didn’t make a cup.

is an associate editor for The Millions and an editor in Atlanta. She tweets at @temalone.

One comment:

  1. Well, this is it, folks. This is the crowning achievement in pretentiousness. Many contemporary practitioners of “literary fiction” have offered their contributions. But Jonny Saffron is King. He is The One True A-Hole. For years I was convinced nothing would top him reducing 9/11 into a cute flip book (for dramatic effect!). How naive I was. Jonny Saffron broke free from the shackles of fiction and ascended to the heights of non-fictive moral superiority with his masturbatory shame-lecture about lunch. This was, and still is, pretentiousness’ magnum opus.

    But this article tops it all. Everything Jonny Saffron says in this article – every sentence, practically every word – is utterly ridiculous. Just start at the beginning. Jonny Saffron “wanted to die from frustration” because he couldn’t multitask while eating? While this is probably his subtle way of announcing that he is so literary and so serious that he spends every second of his day “engaging with texts”, I also feel terribly sorry for the maitre d’ who must keep him entertained when he has a craving for tempeh in a non-“fast casual” setting.

    There is more, so much more. But every now and then, Jonny Saffron will weave a paragraph of such astounding absurdity, such self-congratulatory emptiness, such face-punchable gas-baggery, that he manages to re-calibrate the limits of pretentious possibility:

    “..what interested me is 800,000 Americans of extremely diverse backgrounds having access to good writing. A lot of those people don’t have access to libraries, or bookstores. Something felt very democratic and good about this.”

    Cull this over for a minute. He is saying, with masterful concision, that:

    1. Chipotle’s clientele is extremely diverse
    2. His writing is good
    3. Most people have access to Chipotle but not a library
    4. Most people who can afford 8-dollar burritos can’t afford to buy books
    5. He is doing this for the good of democracy
    6. He is good for doing this

    I am in awe.

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