Thanks to my spontaneous retort to the L.A. Weekly’s article on whale-meat consumption in Seoul, the word is on the street. Jonathan Gold is indeed my brother. The Pulitzer Prize-winning foodie — who coined the slogan “Tacos Forever!” long before the food truck battles began — has spent most of his adult life chowing down on the marine critters I’ve spent over 20 years trying to protect.
I have gone to dim sum in San Gabriel when he tried to order shark fin soup. I said OMDB! I went to a restaurant with him in Chicago when he was the lead grub guy at Gourmet magazine. There, he nearly ordered wild-caught sturgeon until I complained vociferously. We did see Sammy hit 61 and 62 at Wrigley the next day, so the trip was well worth it.
If that’s not bad enough, my other brother Josh, an ad exec at DDB on Madison Avenue, has spent his life selling products most of us don’t need. (He brought us Mr. Hanky’s cousin: Mr. Fudgems of Domino’s fame). Some products he helps pitch are extremely harmful for the environment. One of his last campaigns was for some universally toxic pesticide, Spectracide, which I believe kills every species of invertebrate known to mankind. OK – Josh did the real cool “Revenge” PSA for Heal the Bay in the mid 1990s with Chiat Day, in which a dolphin and two sea lions trash the local hood. But that does not balance the scales for selling death in a bottle.
All right, I may sound a little bitter. But that doesn’t mean I ever miss a birthday party at Jonathan’s house, and not just because I love my niece and nephew, or the strawberry, whipped cream Phoenix bakery cake. As for Josh, I understand he yearns for Project Mayhem as much as I do, but he’s trapped in Jersey suburbia, 3,000 miles from the 10 surfboards he stores in my garage. Lately, our discussions have centered around Scioscia’s unfortunate reliance on the squeeze play and the Bruins’ near trips to the hoops promised land.
Working in the environmental movement can be tough. Our few wins are always countered with far too many losses. Heal the Bay has made a lot of progress, but there is so much more that needs to be done. The challenges are overwhelming to get elected officials, regulatory agencies and the public to go beyond mere compliance with environmental laws to actual progress towards sustainability and protection of public health and the environment. I’m frustrated by that lack of progress each and every day of my life, but never more than when I read about the latest threatened species that Jonathan has gleefully consumed. Or Josh’s recent ad campaign for the latest gas guzzling SUV or product that brings back Rachel Carson’s ghost.
And one more thing: How come Jonathan’s colleagues on his NPR spots never ask about the environmental impacts of his adventures in dining? Now that’s something I’d like to listen to. (I have already heard about his trek to every eatery on Pico when he was 18 – about 100 times!) No doubt about it. Both bros are at the top of their field. If only Jonathan focused on sustainable seafood for a year, imagine the positive impact he’d have on local restaurants and the dietary choices of the food obsessed. As for Josh, I know better. The ad agency that starts taking on only environmental clients doesn’t last longer than a week — although I do give Josh major props for his Moveon.org talking moose head spot that emphasized Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience and her penchant to shoot anything that moves.