I thought that I would take a few minutes to comment on your recent blog entry “New York’s Barbecue Illuminati — Revealed!” Before I get into the crux of the matter I would like to make two things clear.
1) In my capacity as the writer of a small newsletter for a Long Island restaurant, I have corresponded briefly with Mr. Fernandez. Our communications have always been cordial and I bear him no ill will.
2) I am a member of the BBQ Brethren, the secret cabal you term the ‘Illuminati.’
In total, the comments in your blog combined with those in Mr. Fernandez’s are an odd mix of minimalization (by you of the Brethren) and aggrandizement (of Mr. Fernandez as a person of great interest to the group). While making for fun and easy rhetoric, attempting to define the BBQ Brethren as being limited to Long Island, secretive, acrimonious and vindictive is completely inaccurate. As is your depiction of the group as being comprised of competition BBQ enthusiasts.
In truth, the members of the BBQ Brethren forums are mostly backyard enthusiasts. Their membership includes active posters from California, New England, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas to name a few areas outside the Long Island locale that you claim we are limited to. As for being secretive, there are two areas of the forums that I am aware of that are not open to the majority of members. The first is a series of threads for those that are volunteering at the BBQ contest being held in conjunction with the Sayville Fall Festival (a benefit for Breast Cancer Help, Inc, btw) and the second is an area for forum moderators (which is standard for every forum that I am aware of).
The most egregious of the claims made in both blogs is that members of the BBQ Brethren are acrimonious and vindictive. As someone who frequents the forums daily, I can guarantee you that no one is mentioning Mr. Fernandez. He is not the subject of debate, interest or concern. I realize that some people find validation in how many people (in this case an entire group!) they feel are ‘out to get them’, but to put forth that he is a person of interest is just false.
There may be people who are members of the BBQ Brethren that he doesn’t get along with or who don’t get along with him, but to give it any more weight than that is ridiculous. It is curious that Mr. Fernandez doesn’t come out and say what problems have been instigated by these people who seem to be after him. Allusions and implications are easy when they don’t have to backed up by facts.
Any misconceptions could have been avoided if you had merely done some research that extended past reading Mr. Fernandez’s blog. Basic journalistic integrity should have prompted someone involved to ask for the viewpoint of the ‘other side’, in this case members of the BBQ Brethren.
Before I finish, I would also ask that you not refer to the Brethren as the Illuminati. Phil, the founder of the Brethren, is not Adam Weishaupt. We are not a prop in a Dan Brown novel. As I’m sure you are aware, the Illuminati were a failed group of conspiracists in the 1700s who influenced both our and the French revolutions. They are long gone. We are, however, members of the Bilderbergers and through our delicious BBQ catering of their luncheons have taken over the Council on Foreign Relations.
I look forward to any thoughts you may have on the matter.