Former New York Times restaurant critic and overall NYT star Frank Bruni was named an Op-Ed columnists last May, just after Frank Rich's departure. We had high hopes! We were promised that Bruni's column would be "a sharp, opinionated look at a big event of the last week, from a different or unexpected angle, or a small event that was really important but everyone seems to have missed, or something entirely different." How's that going?
- July 9: He wrote about the Casey Anthony trial. "Enough has been said about the sordid dynamics of the Anthonys." Well—almost enough. Different? No. Important? No.
- July 14: He wrote about the end of Harry Potter. Jesus fucking Christ. [Insert any quote from column here, scoff.] Different? No. Important? Come on.
- July 17: He wrote about that Arizona politician who pointed a gun at a reporter. "Showing it to Ruelas, she reportedly said, 'Oh, it's so cute.' No, Senator Klein, it's not. It's a potentially deadly weapon. When are you and the rest of the country going to wake up to that?" Killer kicker. Different? No. Important? Eh.
- July 20: He wrote about same-sex marriage. It is good. Different? No. Important? Yes.
- July 24: He wrote about Michele Bachmann. "MICHELE BACHMANN is the gift that never stops giving." Clearly. Different? No. Important? No.
- July 27: He wrote about Barack Obama. Things are not perfect for him. "It has been a challenging few years, and not just politically. Michelle wasn't as prepared for the airlessness and isolation of "the bubble" as some of the first ladies before her. It's one of Washington's worst-kept secrets that she has known happier times." Okay. Different? No. Important? Yes.
- July 31: He wrote about Grover Norquist. Grover Norquist hates taxes. Frank Bruni finds that view a bit extreme. Where I have I heard this before? Oh, right—everywhere. Different? No. Important? No.
- August 4: He wrote about "The Help." It was a book, now it's a movie. (And guess who scored tickets to a screening? Someone with the initials F.B.!) It has women characters, so that's nice. Different? No. Important? No.
- August 7: He wrote about Rick Perry's prayer rally, and how it relates to several other items in the news that in fact are only shakily connected to it, if at all. "Clarity seduces. So does simplicity." You said it, not us, Bruni. Different? No. Important? No.
You're not even as interesting as David Brooks right now, Bruni. You're Frank Rich in his minor league years. You're aspiring to reach the level of Maureen Dowd, at this point. That's scary.
There will always be restaurants that need reviews.