Chatological Humor (August 14)

Aug 14, 2018

Today's poll.

You asked for it and you got it. Gene will now be holding weekly mini-chats, where he takes your questions about what's happening in the country -- and anything else you want to discuss.

Good afternoon.   This poll, which is a one-question ethics quiz, is the entire introduction, because it is so important. 
As you are likely aware, when you buy chicken wings, you usually get a mixture of two different parts of the wing, distributed mathematicallly evenly, since each chicken has two wings, each divided into two-
wing parts, giving exactly 2-2 per chicken. 
Part 1 of the wing, which I call "the flat" is distinctive because it is flat. 
Part 2 of the wing, which call "the drumstick," is distinctive because it resembles a small drumstick 
We are on the same page, right?  Good. 
Okay, my preference is for the flat.  I assume yours is, too, because I respect you as a food  sophisticate.  But we need not get into that now.  I would love to hear from persons who prefer the odious drumstick. I woould love to cross-examine their explanations.  I should interject: I know a man in retail poultry trade, and he assures me that most people prefer the flat, and will ask for it if given the opportunity.  Few people are given the opportunity, for obvious retail reasons. This guy wont sell off his flats first.  I know.  I have tried. 
Anyway, I often choose chicken wings when I eat at Whole Foods, which (at least the one near me) has a really good eat-in menu.  The chicken wings, like all the eat-in food, is presented in a large bin of its own.  The bin, when full, probably has 80 flats and 80 drumsticks. Here is my method of wing selection: I choose fifteen flats.  End of story.  Sometimes, 20, if I am hungry.   
Todaus's question is am i being a rude, unethical pig by eating this way? 
Note: "rude, unethical pig" was a googlenope  and still is,
 until this chat is archived.  
Take the poll.  We start at noon sharp. 

Why "odious" - the drumstick has the bulk of the meat on a wing? If a savory sauce has been applied, it is here that the pleasure of it is best encountered.

The problem with the drumstick, in my opinion, is that it is 20 percent gristle.   It reminds you that you are eating a formerly live thing.  I need my denial. 

It is actually your chats that had me stop eating bird meat. I think about how many lives are taken in one thing of chicken wings. Or how many pretty rotten lives chickens lived. But I'm hypocritical. I still eat some cow meat. I just can't give up meat altogether. But at least it is fewer miserable lives lived and lost.

If it became necessary for me to stop eating one type of meat, beef would be my choice. Duck would be my last choice. 

I had to laugh. Were you just trolling the poor speller by using a word he probably doesn't know?

 I wrote pealed eggs.?

What makes me sad is all the meat that is wasted. I would choose what ever has the most left, of the chicken wings. It's okay to me to eat meat. But so very wasteful to throw meat away.

I don't think anything's getting thrown away.  

A recent article about Spiro Agnew prompts me to ask a question I've long wondered about: did David Broder ever reveal his source for the revelations that led to Nolo Contender? Many believe it was John Connolly.

Unsure.  Anyone? 

Agnew was a spectacular crook.  He took envelopes 

of money!  Put them in his pocket!


It's fine. Drumsticks are more popular so you're balancing out the people that only pick those. I used to waitress on wing nights at my local tavern and we had people come in all the time with a preference for one kind of wing or another. Eventually they all got eaten.


Are you actually contending that the d'sticks are equally popular?

...just more drumsticks for me! They have way more meat per item and are way easier to eat - you don't have to chew around that second bone thing. I had to google it and apparently, it's the chicken's radius. Which then led me to check and "chew around that second bone thing" was also a googlenope until you post this, which I hope you do!

Done!  You have no palate.  

What Paul Kane says about Congress or even Springsteen I take quite seriously, but his tweet here has me thinking the poor fella has got the wrong end if it: Infamous NSFW Trump quote included

Yeah, that is all wrong.   I do see the impulse.  When you portmanteau two words and it creates a TH, that is awkward.  Same thing with the joke bout the kid named Shih-theed.

I can see by the poll results that continues to be more All for One and None for All. We no longer hanger together, we chose to fall apart. Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you has become first come, first serve, and to hell with the rest of humanity.

I generally agree with you about the New Trump Mentality, but I don't see it here. The restaurant knows about the popularity of the two parts, and puts them both out there for you to choose. 

Shonda for the goyim, or just a regular old odious scumbag like most of the other members of the Trump Administration?

Oh, he's a shanda. 

I like mixed nuts, but what I really love are cashews. So whenever I'm at a party, I stand near the nut bowl and pick out only the cashews. Am I right, wrong, or just a boor?

At a party?  Probably a boor.  Limited amounts, a friend is paying, etc. 

I'm not easily grossed out, but I once watched agog as an elderly woman at a Whole Foods stood in front of the mixed nuts bin (the same exact bin I had hoped to use), scooped up some nuts, emptied them into her left hand, and filtered the bits she didn't want back into the bin before placing the stuff she did want into her bag. I felt compelled to speak to the manager, who politely told her that this was not acceptable behavior. Soon after, all the nuts were placed into those hands-free dispensing containers where you have place your bag underneath and pull the release to fill it. You're welcome, America.

you are a god.  

Based on your assumption that everyone would inherently prefer the flats, I answered that it was rude, but not unethical. (I do disagree with the assertion that anyone with any palatine sophistication would inherently prefer the flats to the drumstick, but that was your baseline assumption, so let's go with it.) You are being rude in depriving others of their preferred choice. However, unless you believe drumsticks are inedible for anyone, you are not being unethical. And even in that case, you are only depriving others of one type of food, not of all the food in Whole Food, so I don't see any reasonable situation for ethics to play a part in this decision. On the rudeness side, I hope you would agree that a host who only serves drumsticks at a party, saving the good stuff for themselves, would be acting rudely. Perhaps a 3/10 on the rudeness scale, but not the most gracious host. I don't think the fact that you are depriving unknown individuals of their choice instead of the host depriving known guests changes the calculus of rudeness. To assuage any residual feelings of rudeness, I'll disagree with your initial assumption that everyone would choose the flats over the drumsticks. There are plenty of gustatory heathens out there who will only eat the drumsticks, and some of them (or at least their parents) probably shop at Whole Food.

All noted. 

I said it was fine to do that. True sophisticates prefer the drumstick. It is easier to eat and has more meat so go ahead and take the odious flats and leave the "drumsticks" to me!

I confess I am shocked that I am getting pro-drumstick defenders.  I thought more of y'all.

#MST3KReference Chat's not live yet.

"We've got chatting sign!"

Sorry, Gene 2.0 here. My brain short circuited and forgot to hit the literal button. Thanks for your patience y'all!

Gene, I consider myself to have a pretty sophisticated palate. I've lived in France, I'm an excellent scratch cook, and I've worked in the wine industry. You're wrong about the superiority of the chicken wing flat. Having both in equal measure means that you have contrast in your meal, which is crucial. The flat is more succulent, but the drumstick offers texture. Both are good, for different reasons, but both together are better than either individually.

The texture offered by the drumstick is the texture of animal connective tissue. tendons, ligaments, etc.   

If I had to choose, I'd say I prefer the drumstick. I can't say it really matters. It's easier to eat (I like actual drumsticks too). And there's more meat. But there is the perverse joy of finding that extra bit of meat between the two bones of the flat. That said I don't eat wings often. I was stunned at how the prices have risen. They used to be cheap, now they're about the most expensive cut.


I selected rude, but not unethical because the wings are for sale - there is no obligation to buy any particular type, unless it's clearly stated. It's rude because your approach is "well, I am getting what I want, so it doesn't matter if the next guy gets less of what he wants." I'm sad to say that it sounds a lot like the approach many Republicans have - it indicates a lack of empathy. I swear, if you are also one of those people who partially shuck corn before buying it, then put some pieces back in the pile, I will have to stop reading this chat. People who do that are monsters.

I would never partially shuck the corn and I hate people  who do that wait hate is a bad word okay I don't care I hate them. For one thing, it destroys those ears for people who coook corn in the husk, as it should be. 

I am answering this for my wife, who will not sit down and do it herself. She says, "I don't feel you are being unethical or rude at all. I prefer the meatier drumstick; the flat is all skin. So you would be doing exactly what I want if we ate together." I, by the way, agree with you. Flats rule.


Good.  thanks for sharing. 

I have occupied the friend zone (more than once) as the straight female friend of a guy I wish were interested in me, so I don't see the misogyny issue. (With the term itself, not how some guys are apparently using it.) I don't think any of those guys were stringing me along, they just liked me as a friend and nothing more. I had the tension thing going, but I didn't. I've also had many, many more guy friends for whom I felt nothing sexually and vice versa (and I'm sure of that). These have been great friendships. No tension. Those relationships are not in the friend zone at all, we are just friends.

Good.   Healthy. 

A sociopath need not be a criminal. It's someone who is without empathy---as in, isn't wired for it at all--without a conscience, and has a profound inability to learn from consequences of bad behavior.

Trump has not learnt the consequences of bad behavior. 

That lady in Saturday's Free For All in the Post really carved you a well-deserved new one!

It was great.  She nailed me, that's for sure.   I should have used the column to be helpful and conciliatory and instruct people about the moral and ethical issues involved, NOT try for quote-unquote humor.   i failed at that.  I admit it. 

I'm not sure how to find it online.  If anyone can, please do.  Oh, wait.  Here it is! 

She wanted me to be "reflective and thoughtful!"  Not quote-unquote funny. is the explanation. I like it.



The rising price of wings is due to the pickiness of you "the flat is superior" snobs!

 I am actually thinking my whole construct dies.  There seem to be a proportional number of people who will seek out the odious d'stix.  

I fear he has, and -- sad to say -- thus far it's been that bad behavior gets him further ahead.


When I buy bagels, of which my grocery store offers many varieties, I pick only the ones I like to eat (everything, natch.) I do not feel any ethical responsibility to pick ones I DON'T like (e.g., sesame) in order to leave more of the ones I do. Your chicken wing behavior is exactly analogous.

I agree. 

I answered that it was perfectly fine behavior. Though I definitely prefer drummies, I think it's a pretty even split based on personal observations, so somebody will eat those drummies you left in the bin. I do something similar that actually may be questionable as a "screw thy neighbor" way: in salad bars, they often mix bell peppers, usually with the bin containing a ratio of about 80% green to 20% red/yellow/orange. I do not like green peppers and will often pick out the red/yellow/orange ones, even if it means there are only green ones left for the next guy. Do I feel any guilt? Zero. I blame the salad bar vendors who are too cheap to fill a bin with the good peppers.

Also agreed.  Green peppers are Molly's bete noir. They destroy any pizza they touch. 

Can one be counted as a shanda if the goyim don't know? "Stephen Miller" isn't obviously Jewish. Is there some other giveaway that I'm missing?

Cue: Stephen, not Steven.  

Wings are first and foremost about the skin. No question flats rule owing to the skin/meat ratio. But I love the gristle on the drumsticks. Back when I used to eat wings a lot (back when they were 39 cents a pound) I used to slow roast them so that they got crispy. With the flats you could easily crunch up the bones and eat them whole. Serve with super-hot caribbean hot sauce. Yum.

Chicken is ONLY about the skin. 

I am deeply baffled by your assertion about men and women not being able to be truly "just friends". I'm a gay lady. My friends are almost exclusively women, many of them not straight. I don't have romantic or sexual feelings for any of them, no matter how wonderful I think they are. Sometimes acquaintances or casual friends, but not my closest friends. Do you think lesbians just go around lusting after all their friends? That's ridiculous!

Yeah, I either have to rethink my position on this, or rephrase the issue.  What I said was that I think there is always SOME degree of sexual tension when gay or straight are with someone of  the sex they find attractive.  Several chatters have said I'm wrong. 

Duck is not meat, it is duck.


Flats or drums aside, I am agog that you regularly eat 15-20 wings at a go. I realize that they do not have a tremendous amount of meat on them but that is still double what I've ever done in a sitting. Tip of the hat to you, sir.

 I eat weirdly.  Often, just one thing.  I'll have JUST the flats. 

Choosing your preferred chicken wing has nothing to do with fairness. You are not responsible for ensuring there are sufficient x available. The store is. If the store sees that people consistently choose x over y, it needs to provide x in sufficient supply. If that means finding some other use for the leftover y, that's part of their business. But I'd also point to a statistical issue. People prefer x by what percent? Are you suggesting that you, as a customer, have to ensure that the remaining chicken wings remain in the proportions that reflect that preference? And according to what survey, without or without confidence intervals? I submit that anytime you have to do advanced math when grocery shopping, you're way too involved with a question.

Best answer yet.  

It's not because of flat-heads or drummies either. It's because consumers want more wings than they used to. Poultry farmers could breed birds with bigger breasts when white meat became more popular, but they can't breed birds with three or four wings. In other words, Pogo, the enemy is us.

undersood. And we have met him. 

I'd like to "say a little prayer" for the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. (I'd been secretly hoping she'd be well enough to make a cameo appearance on "Murphy Brown" 2.0 this fall).

Yeah.  She is not doing well .

I am headed to a county fair this week, and your wing debate makes me think of something that has always puzzled me: At the concession stand that sells turkey legs--giant turkey legs on steroids--where do they come from? 80 lb turkeys?

I don't know. 

Not all are bad; ever watch Sherlock (the Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman series)? He describes himself as a "high-functioning sociopath".

And he plays that role!

Men's misunderstanding of this is because they don't understand the 90-10 rule. These numbers are not exact, but I believe the reasoning is sound. Men would have sex with 90 percent of the women they meet, but women would have sex with only 10 percent of the men they meet. Men assume women's desire is like their own, so they assume women are dying of lust for 90 percent of their waking hours just like men. It's also why men take rejection harder. They assume they've been deemed to be in the bottom 10 percent, when they can actually be in the top 11 percent but just didn't make the final cut.

This makes sense. 

"but they can't breed birds with three or four wings". I wouldn't be so sure of that, give them time.

Yes, I agree.  Also, i t occurs to me that the reason the turkey legs are so large is that they have to support that massive, biologically engineered breast. 

The bagel analogy falls apart because the baker can make as many plain bagels as demand requires without making an equal number of the hated sesame. Here for every flat there is a drumstick. Zero sum game... I wouldn’t call snagging all the flats a major faux-pax, but I’d say biasing your choices to 1/3rds-2/3rds would be more palatable, particularly if the selection is getting low.

I expected more people feeling as you.  The compromise posse!

Did you happen to see this? Some random Irish guy wrote a long, well-researched Twitter thread laying out his opinion about Maggie Haberman being an "access journalist," or whatever, and showing how she helped out Trump when she could, while holding Hillary to a different standard. Any thoughts about Ms. Haberman's reporting, Gene? (BTW, the guy went from 200 Twitter followers to 8,000 on the basis of that one thread, evidently.) 

This is interesting. 

I asm going to share a journalistic secret. 

Stories like this are called "beat sweeteners."  If you cover Trump, if that is your "beat," you want access to Trump, meaning you search for positive stories with positive spin, that you also think are true.   This is to load you up for a single time you REALLY need his access on a really big negative story.   That's the ultimate goal.  My memory is that Maggie had more of her fair share of negative stories. 

As for her reporting on Hillary's emals?  We all did.  I think we collectively went nuts on the whole hillary side, including the russia-stolen emails. 

I am an avowed offal fan. For years, I've been able to enjoy delicious, but unpopular cuts/parts at low prices. But recently, some of my favorite eats have become trendy and cost more now. Tongue, which I used to be able to get for under $5 a pound, is nearly $10 a pound. Wings are also another trendy ingredient. At least for now, liver and tripe seem to be unpopular as always.

And liver and tripe are my favorites. 

Tongue is horrible.  My mother used to serve it for lunch all the time.  One day I realised what it was:  OMIGodIT'S TONGUE.

Buddy used to tell a joke about three legged chickens.

Please tell us, if you can. 

Sesame bagels are by far my favorite. It is SHOCKING to me to read that some people don't like them. I cannot get my head around this.

You probably like onion bagels, too.  I know your kind. 

When my son was in high school, he worked at an organic, free range chicken farm in the summer, feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs. He said chickens are mean and stupid and he doesn't mind eating them. The farm had a few pigs, too. He said the pigs were smart and friendly like dogs, and he didn't want to eat pork any more.

Pigs are biologically closer to people than almost any animals.  We can use some of their organs for transplant. 

With the drumstick, you can eat a fair amount of meat and still not get down to the bone, which is where you're reminded that it was previously a yardbird. With the flats, almost every bite of meat is near the bone and presents you with stringy veins/tendons/whatever those purple things are.

I will not respond to this uneducated person. 

You are a boor. Not just for the reasons Gene mentions, but because it means your germy fingers are rooting around the communal bowl and 'double dipping' between your mouth & the bowl much more than they would be if you selected a handful of mixed nuts and ate them.

I have no opinion on this aspect of boorishness. 

Folks, Gene's computer has crashed and can't get it back online. So we'll have to close the chat a bit early today. Gene just called me to tell you all he says sorry, and that he loves you all "very very much."

- Gene 2.0 

In This Chat
Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Gene's latest columns, chats and more.
Recent Chats
  • Next: