THE VOTES ARE IN!

The Best of the Chippewa Valley 2009, An Introdction

V1 Staff, illustrated by Erik Christenson

    Of the 6.5 billion people in the world, how many would you say have flawless taste?

If you answer truthfully, your number should be close to one, maybe two people, give or take a thousand. In their heart of hearts, most individuals believe they have 100 percent bulletproof can’t fail taste in everything from food to fashion to music – and the only other people on the planet that possess the same gift are those that consistently agree with them.

You agree, right? When someone asks you about a restaurant or movie, you say, “It’s a-ma-zing. You must go check it out,” or “God awful. If you like this crap, you’re an idiot and you should be face-pushed.” We state these things as Fact, even though we know full well not everyone on Earth could possibly agree. But we think they should, and we pity them – poor creatures – for not yet acquiring the magnificent sense of taste we ourselves have acquired.

This plays out rather viciously – and humorously – every time we unveil the Best of the Chippewa Valley poll. As their favorite place for Mexican food slips in the standings, people ferociously debate the merits of said category, clawing and scratching to prove that their choice is obviously superior and everyone else’s opinions are an absolute joke.

This leads to some rather emotional/personal attacks in the online comments.

“Seriously??? How did ____ rank higher than _____? Did anyone actually SEE that train wreck? Hands down, _____ blow away that sad excuse for a ______. Just to clarify, not all ____ suck, just most of them.”

(This was an actual comment, the subject of which is not important. Many of the comments sound exactly like this. Feel free to play Mad Libs with it.)

Now we’re not attempting to go near sentiments like “Why can’t we all just get along?” Far from it. These comment strands are hilarious to experience and see play out. As are all the mundane arguments, whether a drunken conversation about who would win in a fight, the Incredible Hulk or Dracula, or an internet feud about the best masseuse in Eau Claire. Comedy gold. All of it.

The beauty of our annual Best Of poll is that, when you view the list of winners and your choices are at the top of the heap, you can rub that fact into the faces any nay-sayers within face-rubbing distance – like grapefruit to a wound. It proves that you are right, and they are wrong. The masses have spoken, and they side with you.

But you need to prepare yourself, because this nanna-nanna-boo-boo-type rubbing in might find you as a target. For every poll-supported opinion you might have about local bartenders or places to buy woman’s clothing, you’re going to have an opinion that … lost.

And the ensuing arguments can take serious tangents as someone argues that their taste is “ahead of their time,” or that “Europeans would side with them, and Americans are cultureless swine.” You know, serious tangents like that. But lighten up. Because even if your favorite stuff isn’t the majority choice, maybe all your neighbors are onto something. Maybe it’s time you tried out their favorite burger joint, their favorite band, or their favorite golf course.

You might learn something from the tastes of the people around you. And if not, well, you can always push them in the face.