I wrote a grumpy letter, and you get to read it, too. Because this is the internet, and exhibitionism rules.

April 22, 2013

Craig Mazin
c/0 Scriptnotes Podcast
1255 Internet Way
America, CA 43ZZ2

Re: Pizza

Dear Mr. Mazin,

I’m writing in regards to your generalizing slur against the taste of Chicagoans, Midwesterners and any unfortunates who dare disagree with your opinion.

On a recent episode of the “Scriptnotes” podcast, you stated — as if a fact — that Chicago was the home of “no good pizza.” You called it “disgusting,” and “not pizza at all.” You went on to say how the people from Chicago make you angry because they are “proud of their terrible pizza,” and that you wished they would “just not be proud of it.”

Upon hearing this, my jaw dropped for two reasons: 1.) it seemed you have never eaten at Lou Malnati’s, and 2.) your stance appears to be based entirely on regional, hometown bias. You grew up in New York, so it’s only natural for you to grow up loving the flavor and style of New York style pizza (“New York pizza is pizza”). I don’t begrudge you this preference, but when you go to strange lengths to insult the quality of Chicago-style pizza and imply that those who claim to love it are only pretending because they actually know they are backing an inferior pizza, your comment feels ignorant at the least, and condescending at worst.

We Midwesterners have grown up with an inferiority complex perpetuated by our national media which seems to prefer all things East Coast. Yankees-Red Sox games take precedent over Cubs-Cardinals, New York constantly refers to ITSELF as the greatest city in the country/world/universe, while those poor states between the coasts are mitigated to mere “flyover” status. So maybe you can understand why I might be defensive when it comes to this kind of thing.

I’m certainly not trying to convince you to love something you don’t like, or to turn your back on your roots. What I would try to do is ask that you not wield your opinion like some sort of fact club, bashing things into a mold which suits your tastes, because you are clearly biased. Your argument feels as objective as a person from Greece declaring, “Greek is the greatest language in the world, and anyone from France who says they love their language is lying.”

I realize you’ve stated in the past about how you don’t care about these kinds of comments. I also realize this letter makes me sound like a crazy old man. But I couldn’t stay quiet. I’d like you to realize that your opinion does matter and your words can hurt, especially when they accuse people of lying about their own taste and feelings. Besides, NYC already has Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, the Yankees, the Ramones, Letterman and about a million other things going for it that Chicago and the Midwest doesn’t. Isn’t that enough without crapping on our stuff, too?

As a friendly tip, I offer this: a friend of mine (and former New Yorker) says he’s found the most authentic New York style pizza in Los Angeles to be Tomato Pie, in Silverlake. Supposedly the reason it tastes so authentic is because they import the water from New York, which is both crazy and kind of brilliant.


Phillip Mottaz ~ Listener


EDITED TO ADD: Mr. Mazin read this and here’s his response: “Chicago is a great city. Its pizza is crap. When we’re all dead, ad the God of Pizza judges us, you’ll know.”

So, at least he’s consistent.


One Response to “Defensive”

  1. I love the podcast where Mazin cries for 48 minutes because no one liked his crappy movie. I think his actual defense of it was that people should like it because of how great he thought it was.

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