The world is full of lies, and it’s hard to get through life without taking a few on board. Luckily, we’re here to sort the fact from the fiction, and find the plankton of truth in the ocean of bullshit. This week: Pizza! How is it connected with Jeffrey Epstein? Are delivery boys serving it up with extra sausage? Let’s slice up some facts (HA! Ahh.)
Lie #1: When The Moon Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie, That’s Amore!
A pizza hitting your eye would hurt — most pizza sauces feature a lot of tomato, which is high in citric acid. That would pale, however, to the Moon hitting your eye, which would of course obliterate you and all of life on Earth. The fact that it hit you in the eye, of all places, would be immaterial. Your last thought, as your entire body disintegrated and humanity became consigned to history, wouldn’t be “Oh, fucking hell, my eye!”
So, the Moon is incapable of hitting your eye in a manner truly comparable to a pizza. Also, neither a sore eye or global apocalypse are the same as “amore,” which is the Italian word for love. A more accurate, although sadly pizza-free, version would be: “If the Moon hits your eye, you shall certainly die, as we all will.”
Lie #2: Everyone Likes Pizza!
Queen Elizabeth II, the lady off that Netflix show, doesn’t like pizza. Her former chef, Darren McGrady, recently revealed that in the 15 years he cooked at Buckingham Palace, he never made a pizza for her. He made plenty for princes William and Harry, but Her Majesty simply never fancied one.
Someone close to her who has spent a lot of time thinking about pizza recently, though, is her son Andrew. Prince Andrew, a friend of the late Jeffrey Epstein who freely admits he flew with him on the jet nicknamed “the Lolita Express” and stayed with him on his private island and in multiple houses, denies any sexual contact with trafficked girls or women. He claims that, being used to hanging around in places with lots of catering staff, the large amount of underage girls constantly hanging around everywhere the world’s sneakiest suicider took him never struck him as anything to be concerned about.
There is a picture that Andrew insists couldn’t possibly be real, because he was elsewhere eating a pizza when it was taken. It shows — or purports to show — him in the house of Epstein’s close associate Ghislaine Maxwell, with his arm around the waist of then 17-year-old Virginia Guiffre, who was trafficked as a teenager and forced to perform sex acts on Epstein and his business associates. However, in addition to the pizza thing, Andrew claims it couldn’t possibly be him, because the picture is clearly taken upstairs in Maxwell’s house, and he’s never even been upstairs in Maxwell’s house.
Obviously that raises more questions than it answers — “I know exactly where that is, and the reason I know is that I’ve never been there” is a very unusual approach — but not as many as one of his other statements. Guiffre described dancing with a very sweaty Andrew before the incident took place, and the prince claims that a deeply unusual medical condition precludes that from being the truth. According to his account, while he could sweat perfectly well at the beginning of his life, and is entirely capable of normal human perspiration now, at the time of the alleged incident his body found producing sweat impossible after experiencing “an overdose of adrenalin” during the Falklands War. Plus, he was chowing down on some ‘za.
So it isn’t him in the picture because actually that’s a place he’s never been, actually, and it isn’t him in the story because of a medical condition caused by being a fucking hero, thank you very much, and he was somewhere else eating a pizza, and everyone SHUT UP.
But yeah, the Queen doesn’t like pizza! Mad!
Lie #3: You Know Who Loves Pizza? Ninja Turtles!
Not at the beginning. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started out pretty different from the version we all know: The original 1984 comic book was a one-off Daredevil parody, the central joke being the absurdity of creatures as slow and clumsy as turtles performing ultra-violent acts. All four turtles wore red masks, and there was a lot more, uh, death than in later incarnations. Thanks in part to a clever media strategy that saw them get huge amounts of press coverage, it sold shitloads and kick-started an empire, but contained no mentions of pizza whatsoever.
The flat stuff sneaked in, though, as creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were both eager pizza-scarfers. There were little mentions here and there, and then when the first cartoons were made in 1987, the Turtles’ love of pizza became a fundamental element of their whole shtick, with running gags about disgusting toppings and occasional pizza-heavy storylines like “The Case of the Killer Pizzas.”
While the cartoon was phenomenally successful and spawned its own spin-off comics, the original darker comic series continued. The TMNT universe is incredibly complex, with multiple continuities, different origin stories, a lot of retconning and wildly varying levels of family-friendliness, but even the more grown-up comics featured the occasional Italian flatbread.
One storyline saw the villain Gnatrat (aka, incredibly, The Fannywhacker) set up an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet to lure in the character Supperman (not a typo), only for the Turtles to show up and half-shell hi-jinks to ensue. In a 1991 issue, Leonardo outright stated that he hated pizza and that it made him gag, possibly a deliberate attempt to appear separate from the kids’ cartoon. In other iterations, they’ve had different favorite foods — in the 2003 animated series, for instance, they’ll have pizza occasionally but are more frequently seen eating Chinese food. Ideally not the dessert guilinggao, though — it’s made from turtles, and nobody wants to see Michelangelo eating his dad.
Lie #4: “This Is the Best Pizza Ever! It’s Delicious!”
The best pizza ever made is incredible, but also inedible: it’s Andrew W.K.’s pizza guitar. The mysterious New York-based musician and motivational speaker, best known for his colossal banger “Party Hard,” unveiled the axe back in 2012. It was a labor of love, a joint effort with ESP guitars to create the world’s first guitar designed in the shape of a slice of New York-style Supreme Deluxe. Years in the making and hand-painted by W.K. himself, it’s essentially unimprovable.
“I first remember meeting with ESP in Japan, back in 2003, and I think they thought I was a little crazy,” W.K. told reporters when debuting it. “Well, they were right… I’m crazy like a pizza!”
Lie #5: “I’m, Uh, Here to Deliver A Pizza…” Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow, Etc.
The idea of pizza delivery men going from house to house getting into spontaneous sexy adventures is really ingrained in pop culture. Any middling stand-up who has gained weight has joked about some variation of watching porn for the pizza. However, according to analysis by sociologist Chauntelle Tibbals, pizza delivery is less a staple of pornography than a staple part of society’s idea of pornography — along with, in fact, the bow-chicka-wow-wow of funk music.
Narratively, as a way of getting two strangers together in one interior location, having one of them deliver something to the other is about as quick and convenient as it gets. An exchange needs to take place, both characters want something else from the other — that’s a plot.
The two other jobs most associated with being pounced upon by horny women are milkman and pool boy, and pizza delivery is at least a bit more egalitarian than the others. The idea of seducing the milkman is very much entwined with being a bored housewife at home all day — something that applies to vastly fewer people than it might have a generation or two ago.
Having a pool boy necessitates being rich enough not only to have a pool, but to pay someone else to clean it. If you’re banging the milkman or the pool boy, you aren’t working, but pizza is an evening food. Pizza is widespread and beloved enough that it’s oddly unifying — people of any gender identity, social class or ethnicity might plausibly order a pizza after a long day (and then, of course, have sex with the person who brings it). Pizza delivery also became widespread in the 1980s, the same decade that VHS ownership exploded and changed pornography consumption.
Ironically, the man who had the biggest impact on pizza delivery abhors pornography. Tom Monaghan co-founded what became Domino’s in 1960, taking it to phenomenal global success before retiring from the company in 1998, selling his stock for a billion dollars. Monaghan is a staunch Catholic, opposed to abortion, contraception, pornography and same-sex marriage, and has put hundreds of millions of dollars into organizations that share his values. He is so staunchly anti-abortion that he uses the date he was conceived, rather than born, as his birthday. When building a new town, Florida’s Ave Maria, Monaghan got in trouble with the ACLU after suggesting porn and contraceptives would both be banned from the town’s stores. While he backtracked on some of that, the town’s only OB/GYN refuses to prescribe contraception.
Monaghan met his wife when delivering a pizza. He is 83 now (although he’d say 84), but can probably tell the story to this day, of sparks flying and eyes meeting as that iconic, delicious-smelling flat box changed hands. Ask a poorly-judged question about whether she asked for an extra-large sausage, though, and he won’t be happy.