Fall is here! This is my second fall of Violet on Orange. So let me level with you: I am a grump.
Sure, in that other entry I mentioned I’m a Pollyanna. And I am! I’m chipper, cheery and obnoxiously romantic. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m also stringent, no-nonsense and caviling. (Did we take a turn for the vocab lesson?)
I’m captious! (Also pedantic, and leaning into the vocab lesson.)
Have you ever looked really closely at the Muppets balcony? I am the little-known third partner of Statler & Waldorf.
In college I wrote theater reviews for my school newspaper. I’m sorry to say I made a few enemies. Most of my fellow drama reviewers were either involved in the theater world or had close friends there. As such, they were … nice. I’m not saying these writers’ relationships rendered them completely unable to write objective reviews, but if you’re a well-adjusted person, you can’t help do things like hedge bets or damn with faint praise where a conflict of interest is involved. This is good! It makes you not a psychopath or the star contributor to the Mean Girls’ burn book.
But … I didn’t have theater friends. I don’t gravitate toward that crowd. I was too busy hanging with the music snobs and word nerds! Unconcerned with offending people, I wrote brutally honest reviews. It was also a bit Chinese of me. That’s how I was brought up — my parents often said harsh and crazy things, sometimes out of frustration, but sometimes just randomly. (My dad is famous for deadpanning once during a family road trip that whomever had inadvertently stepped on our snack bag and smashed the potato chips “needs to be shot.”)
Naturally, this kind of unvarnished honesty goes down like a bowl of ipecac when you’re at a school that produced Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong’o and … other people who think they are Streep and Nyong’o.
Like the freshly tonsured Murray in Clueless — I was just keeping it real!
One time my editor Steve read a review of mine and stated: “Your disdain for this production is just wafting off the page.” (It was a short by a wannabe Ionesco in which the entirety of the action was a single actor masturbating into a half-full bag of Cooler Ranch Doritos.) Another time my fellow reporter David said: “I feel like you’d go to your kid’s 2nd grade play and say: ‘Well, that was crap.'” (Hopefully not … but how else do I improve her chances of becoming the next Sondheim?)
There is a point to all this trip down Critical Chrissy memory lane. It is to say: I’m shocked at the extent of pumpkin backlash.
Everywhere I look, I see people flaunting their distrust of that durable spice combo, pumpkin spice (ginger cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice). John Oliver did it recently, and his rant left me cold. (I don’t love Jon Stewart and many of his phalanx. I find them too irate and often just negative for negativity’s sake in their frequent rants. See, here comes Pollyanna and Critical Chrissy, all wrapped up in one!)
Or, people direct their ire at the pumpkin itself, which is ridiculous. Sure, there are lots of plants that look like other cool things, but pumpkins are just cute! They’re so helplessly turgid and bright. They carry memories as scent, meal and decor. And they’re way too easy of a target.
Here at Chez Violet on Orange, we love pumpkin! This year, Trader Joe’s has released a downright comical quantity of pumpkin-flavored, pumpkin-scented and pumpkin spiced goods. As a result, Deepak and I are straying wildly from our routine diet of rabbit food. That’s what I love about pumpkin products season. The orange makes me happy. Because if you choose to gnash your teeth and rend your garments over one of the most durable and consistently crowd-pleasing emblems of autumn, then yikes. Carve a gourd and chill out!