Jack’s Enablers #1: Tammy Flander Scalfani

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Vital Statistics

Tammy “Ned” Flanders Scalfani original hails from Tennessee hinterlands, and moved to LA in the mid 80s with dreams of making it big in showbiz, where she met divorced domestic abuser and layabout Jack Scalfani. The details of their early relationship are sketchy and contradictory, and what exactly it was that drew Tammy to the newly divorced man who made his own child homeless is anyone’s guess. Although it’s probable that Jack decided to keep these details from Tammy for a long time, it’s equally likely that she just doesn’t care. They were married in the mid 1990s at a typically gaudy and tacky wedding where both of them dressed up in Western themed wedding attire for some reason. It was paid for entirely by Tammy’s family, down to the gaudy yet cheap “Colombian Drug Lord” chic wedding rings Jack and Tammy both proudly sport. Jack’s ring would in fact completely lose its lustre in 2015 and have to be re-dipped.

Needing to support Jack’s unemployment and dreams of stardom, Tammy eventually enrolled in university to get an MBA. Tammy lists her alma mater as the spurious “Irvine College of Business” in what is presumably an attempt to make it look like she went to the prestigious UC Irvine: In reality, she no doubt to the less prestigious Irvine Valley College. However, as “Irvine College of Business” does not appear to be the name of any existing institution it’s possible it is a now-defunct for-profit institution, or even that Tammy lied or even doesn’t remember what her own qualifications are. Considering Jack’s own attitude towards education of any variety being useless, Tammy seems to share that opinion. Since graduating Tammy has steadfastly tread water in middle management, currently at Bear Communications LLC but previously for Ventra Plastics, a subsidiary of Flex-N-Gate (who paid for the Scalfani move to Tennessee for some reason) and Pacific Logistics Corp. IT should be noted that Bear Communications LLC appear to have a terrible and unsafe corporate culture, despite their amateurish attempts to manipulate the feedback via sockpuppet accounts. These jobs are what has financially supported Jack and allowed him to continue his lazy existence, spoiled existence of unemployment and poxy youtube videos.

In 2014 the entire Scalfani Clan jumped ship to Tennessee, as the racist and increasingly conservative and evangel family wrongly felt persecuted by the comparatively liberal, cosmopolitan and progressive ways of California. On the pretext of it being for the sake of their son, the Scalfanis somehow conned Ventra Plastics into paying what was undoubtedly tens of thousands of dollars to move their meagre belongings to Nashville, Tennessee. In gratitude Tammy would spend just over a year there for jumping ship to Bear Communications.

Relationship with Jack

Tammy is Jack’s prime enabler, as for twenty years she has supported Jack’s mediocre dreams of stardom, bad decision making (such as when he was conned into buying ingredients for sauce) as well as his philandering and domestic abuse. Although Jack is pathetically grateful for his easy lot in life, what Tammy gets out of the relationship is anyone’s guess. Grunting, monosyllabic and brittle in her brief on-screen appearances, Tammy constantly seems to resent Jack’s presence and ruining what little spare time she has by constantly shoving a camera in her face. The few times she truly lights up is when she’s interacting with her friends, eating large portions of grease and cheese laden food, and occasionally laughing at Jack’s racist or off colour jokes.

Her attitude towards Jack’s many indiscretions, as noted above, tends to be apathy. Deciding to start a relationship, marry and have children with a man who beats his family and forces his son into homelessness for most people would be a difficult decision, but Tammy has never showed any sign of caring about her husband one way or the other. Tammy, originally from the American heartland as she is, drew Jack into the church and the right wing as a way of helping absolve Jack of how his crimes, and now he practices with a fervour far beyond hers. As a whole their marriage seems based entirely on inertia, the pressures of modern conservative Christianity and a desire to stay together for the sake of their son rather than any real affection on her part.

Tammy’s family are openly contemptuous of Jack, due no doubt not only to knowing his history of domestic abuse and his uselessness as both a husband and father, but also due to ruining their family gathering with his camera and his impetuous selfishness. It’s clear from their few interactions that they have a long-time resentment of Jack and his upbeat attempts to cajole them make them very unamused. And as the mother of his second child Tammy seems closer to Jack Junior than his father, their oedipal touchy-feely relationship a far cry for the open resentment and bickering Junior shares with his father.

Relationship with Jack Junior

The prodigal son, Jack Scalfani II is Jack Sr’s re-do/vanity project of a child and the earliest evidence of Jack’s infantile infatuation with putting his own name of everything. Tammy and Jack Junior share a closeness and a lack of open hostility they don’t share with Jack, and if Jack’s past behaviour towards his first wife and first child is anything to go by, the answer for that is obvious. On camera Jack has been mean and threatening towards Tammy and Jack Junior on multiple occasions, which leads Tammy to be protective of Jack Junior. Unfortunately Tammy seems to externalise this threat as coming from the progressive nature of California rather than from within her own family. Oddly the sickly oedipal undertones of Tammy and Jack Junior seem to mirror the bizarre relationship Jack Senior shares with his mother. Although that hardly seems intentional given what we know of Jack’s volatile, broken upbringing it seems that history repeats itself.

Tammy and the Church

Despite bringing Jack into the flock Tammy lacks the zealotry of someone who went looking for redemption late in life. However this has never stopped her from funding the private jets of convicted murderers who run mega churches, or buying into contemporary conservative fever dreams such as the illuminati. Moreso than Jack her churchgoing seems ingrained from childhood, a thing she considers a normal part of her day-to-day life than a call to arms she has to take up and pursue.

Tammy’s life in the future

The big questions of why Tammy has done and continues to stand by Jack will likely never be answered in full; and, considering how she’s continued to support Jack all these years despite his nastiness means she’s unlikely to ever make him face consequences for his actions. If there’s a person to blame for Jack’s mediocre celebrity and constant inflicting of horrific cruelties on the world, aside from Jack himself, its Tammy, who deserves almost as much scorn and blame as her husband for devoting her life to enabling him.

Cooking with Jack #780: “How To Build a 4X4 Raised Garden Bed – FOOD GARDENING”

Originally uploaded: 30 April 2016

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It seems Jack’s erstwhile spouse and son refused to be dragged to the countryside by a dithering manchild this time around. The fewer the merrier, I suppose. Anyway we continue Robert Brewer’s Jack-ification with the this-time-in-all-caps FOOD GARDENING series. Robert Brewer has ingratiated himself less and less to me as the series go on, and whilst it would be uncharitable of me to suggest he’s the kind of horrid American stereotype based off of the little we see of him in the videos it’s becoming harder and harder to let it slide. Since starting his own youtube channel he’s yet to do anything that’s not curate a playlist of the videos on Jack’s channel, no doubt a scheme devised by Jack to deliver Robert a sense agency without cutting into Jack’s precious little monetisation.

Speaking of monetisation this video is a brutal, almost content-free nine minutes. I suppose making your own garden bed would be a nice Sunday afternoon project but brevity and editing never been Jack’s strong suit. Just in case you forgot which nutcase manchild’s channel you’re watching he has to constantly cut back to his grim, haggard mug. I’m frustrated but not surprised that Jack refuses to lift a finger and only likes to make his braying heard mostly from behind the camera.

Again this video speaks to the contemporary mythmaking surrounding farming. Robert Brewer’s personal crusade appears to be the American obsession with lawns, and the apparent of non-utilitarian gardening. He certainly has a point but suggesting subsistence farming is easy or even possible is like many of Jack’s videos fanciful to the point of being harmful. Perhaps not so much as his execrable video on canning that would have killed any number of his viewers had he not deleted it, but dangerous nonetheless.

Cooking with Jack #779: “Kentucky Derby Hot Brown”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 29 April 2016

Comments: Enabled

Although the Kentucky Dar-bee seems to loom less large in American popular consciousness as The Race That Stops A Nation, it’s still a well-known and recognisable annual event. In Jack’s continuing attempt to increase his youtube clout, focusing on annual event dishes is a simple and effective way of waddling after views. And there’s also the issue of Jack attempting to position himself as a Southerner, for whom the Kentucky Derby would hold a special significance. Two whole videos on an event he’s never talked about even once before are the result of this.

Jack certainly isn’t opposed to the kind of vice typified by these sporting events, dragging his family to Las Vegas on a yearly basis to fritter his wife’s hard-earned money away on gambling. Although this is at odds with Jack’s contemporary conservative distaste for vice Jack never was one to be bothered by logic. Indeed his distaste for alcohol seems to be the driving force in deciding on the lesser known Kentucky Derby staples to prevent him from having to drink bourbon. (incidentally if you’ve any interest at all in liquor and the history thereof I highly recommend Southern food historian Robert Moss’ recent twin articles on the subject of the Mint Julep).

Of course the (open) sandwich itself which surprisingly I never had heard of before appears to be a modified Welsh Rarebit, a dish I love. Being such a gut-punch of grease and salt I almost believe the surrounding southern-fried mythology of its creation. Almost but not quite, and certainly not enough to want to seek it out. Hilariously, Jack’s version is plagiarised from a source that plagiarises a number of other sources in a comedic piece almost as sharp and topical as thinking the word “Mornay” is about to start trending as a hashtag. It’s funny watching old Jack videos where he pisses and moans about butter and things, only to watch him clog his tired, diabetic arteries on dish like this. I often wonder what the appeal of Jack’s videos are to the general audience, and I suppose watching a small man slowly but surely kill himself over a number of years is part of it.

Cooking with Jack #31: “Miracle Blades Series 3 – As Seen On TV”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 01 August 2009

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Jack describing his filmed, editing and streamed through the internet programmeas “live on the air” is yet another indicator of how his mind is entirely taken over by television: not knowing how to temper eggs into hot liquid, his contempt for cooking.

I have… opinions about knives, being the enthusiastic amateur cook that I am, but I’ll spare you. Jack doesn’t appear to have opinions or preferences about knives though. What does Jack like in a knife? What are the main tasks he’ll use different knives for? Why do these need to be appraised for doing things knives are supposed to do? Kind reader, this is why his product reviews are so useless and devoid of entertainment value: they’re delivered by a man who doesn’t cook, with no interest in cooking. I mean yeah, a fucking serrated fillet knife so you have to hack and cut, and your meat gets all roughed up, how ingenious!

Also of note is how he refers to the kitchen as belonging to his wife, even though he’s the one supposedly preparing meals for the family, and also sits around the house all day not doing anything. Because nothing is funnier or cheekier than having a woman clean up after you like you’re a goddamn child. And unless I’m mistaken this is the first “Cabana” ad for the sauce that’ll be the mainstay of the show for the foreseeable future. It’s basically a photo of every upper-middle-class barbecue I’ve ever been to, and the bizarre grammar still frustrates me, but mercifully it’s short.

You know, at the absolute least his broad panto is more energetic and indeed, more engaging than the tired shell of a man he is these days. It’s a rather backhanded compliment I suppose, that he’s not even clearing the low bar of dishonest mugging these days, but central to unpacking why Jack endures despite being despicable is attempting to work out his appeal. What semiotic level are we, as an audience, meant to be appreciating this on? What layer of abstraction was it designed to be consumed at, and at what layer does it come across? I’m not sure I’ll ever have any idea.

Cooking with Jack #30: “How to make Rice Pudding”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 26 July 2009

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And thus begins Jack’s long-running, one-sided feud with the Food Network over the suitability of an angry, racist child abuser to have his own TV show.

Even if they did have space on their network for his particular brand of no-energy half assedry, utilising your viewers to pester and spam them is the exact thing that’s going to make them hate you. Or at the very least the low-level, powerless staff who have to sift through this bullshit, at any rate. The video itself is a wonderful demonstration of exactly why Jack offers a major network nothing: a guy speaking in a bored-sounding monotone, offering paltry advice and dull commentary. Guy Fieri is a hack who could easily be replaced by a koosh ball on a stick, but at least I understand why people like him, what his appeal is. What’s Jack’s appeal? His desire to commit genocide? After being flat-out rejected and throwing a tantrum on film, Jack would later claim that his audience is the “98% of people who Food Network doesn’t cater to” which is a comically egotistical claim. At least Food Network’s slick production values, good editing and charismatic hosts can also half-ass a recipe, add too much mayonnaise and butter to it, assure the viewer repeatedly of how easy it is all and still keep it within a reasonable time frame.

That sauna advertisement, though… I went to the website and it’s a hilarious bitcoin-based scam, so clearly hiring Jack on the back of 30 videos worth of youtube celebrity did wonders for their business. Maybe that’s what he has in common with Food Network celebrities: his willingness to debase himself, schilling the dubious benefits of a product. I mean, a fucking sauna… what ungodly bourgeois household is this for? Certainly not the majority of the young-skewing youtube demographic, that’s for damn sure.

The pudding… eh, whatever. He’s useless at cooking.

Cooking with Jack #29: “SALAD NIGHT!”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 19 July 2009

Comments: Enabled

Hey, all-caps! I like it! Gives it a sense of urgency. A “let’s get some salad into my fucking family or they’ll die” kind of urgency.

Let’s be serious for a second: Even if it weren’t confirmed by Jack’s second son Jack Jr on a (now-deleted) livestream, it’s painfully obvious Jack only cooks for his show, not for his family. He even ropes his visibly “sick-of-your-shit” mother into this, and takes pleasure in directly doing something she asks him not to! I get that it’s meant to be a “joke”, but this is clearly the reason why his mother sounds so fed up with him. And the rest of his family, for that reason. He’ll do the opposite of what you ask then have a pathetic excuse ready when you rightfully ask him why he did that. To hear him speak you’d know he has a mother complex that would make noted Oedipus Marco Pierre White shake his head, but the way he treats her is just shameful. The poor lady has clearly had a long life of being taken advantage of by her good for nothing brood.

Anyway. What a salad! The first thing we see is that giant tub of butter again. He doesn’t use it, sadly.

At least eating butter by the spoonful is more appetising than raw onions, a tin of baked beans and mayonnaise with a dram of white vinegar. I’m happy to be liberal with the definition of salad, sadly not so liberal as to extend it to “slop”. At least it’s more savoury than tomatoes in water(?). This is the part of the video that really shows just how unfamiliar Jack is in the kitchen: simple concepts like “to taste” and how to translate a recipe you just have a feel for into instructions are beyond him, extending the video to laborious lengths. Jack can’t even stoop to that classic America staple “iceberg covered in ranch”, no, his salad must be devoid of greenery at all costs. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that this is what counts for “salad” in the Scalfani household (and what counts as being the “nicest guy on youtube”) but it still boggles my mind. 

Cooking with Jack #778: “Our Garden After 5 Weeks – FOOD GARDENING”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 23 April 2016

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so proud of something someone else did.

I mean really, all Jack does is ride on the coat tails of others, so it’s not surprising. But he’s really milking Robert Brewer for all that he’s worth, isn’t he. Dear reader, pay attention also to the aching resentment of Tammy in this video. Aside from that face that as typical suburbanites they’ve vastly underestimated the amount of work that goes into keeping chickens, what exactly are Tammy and Junior meant to do here? Stand around outside, it looks like, whilst Jack films his haggard, disgusting face in Extreme Close Up.

I do have a soft spot for gardening, for things that bloom and grow, so I’m tempted to give these videos a pass just because they warm my heart. Sure, I don’t particularly need composting explained to me (Australia!), but actual competency is rare and wondrous where Jack is concerned. Then again, ruthlessly taking advantage of Robert Brewer and bungling the production as bad as Jack does makes what content there is all the more difficult to stomach. I mean, “Our” garden? Really, Jack, what is it that you’ve contributed here? The clear progression of plants that grow is also difficult to follow given his faulty naming conventions. Further distracting is Jack’s presenting a front for the audience and Robert Brewer: He only mentions prayer when he knows other people will look fondly on him for it.

Faced with actual competency in a Cooking With Jack video it’s easy to give it a pass, but even then Jack manages to make his own particular brand of terrible shine through.