Monday, June 8, 2009
HoseMaster of Wine's Beginning Ethics for Bloggers
Remember when wine blogs used to talk about wine? Wow, those were the good ol' days. Now every time I read wine blogs, roughly as often as Mike Tyson teaches elocution, they're about ethics. You know, Ethics, from the Latin for "how much can I get away with and still seem honest." Ethics are a lot like testicles--you either have them or you don't, you can't grow them, and if you do have them talking about them is hairy. Mike Tyson's ethics, right
However, I believe I can contribute significantly to the Blogger Ethics debate. What I'd really like to do is end it, but, hell, then we'd have to go back to talking about actual wine. And, boy, have I had some crappy wine lately that I'd like to talk about. Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc, holy crap, what is that made from? It tastes like 85% Sauvignon Blanc blended with 15% Visine; though I could be wrong and it's actually Visine Musque. But I digress.
Much of the Blogger Ethics debate seems to revolve around accepting freebies from wineries or wine marketers and then reviewing the wines of those wineries. Those freebies can include free wine, free meals, free housing, sexual favors, a free credit report, a wine being named for you (I just blew my proposed Geyser Peak 2009 "Hosemaster Cuvee" Visine Musque bottling), tickets to sporting events, American Tourister luggage, and penile implants. (OK, I accepted the latter, but was unaware it was for my forehead. Stop calling me the Unicorn of Wine. Oh well, at least it's a handy place to rest my sunglasses.) A lot of respected wine writers have published long treatises on their blogs that spell out what they do and don't accept from wineries, though all of those treatises boil down quickly to, "Na-na-nah-na-na, I get free stuff and you don't... But, I swear to God, it's all on the up and up! Hey, NBA officials accept gifts from players, right?" Of course, the caveat is that so long as you cop to the freebies, that honesty therefore translates to how honest you are about the quality of the wines you tasted on that generous winery's behalf. "OK, I accepted a car from LeBron, but that's not why I never call fouls on him. Honest." No one believes that crap.
So here's my contribution to the Blogger Ethics debate (which is much like debating the integrity of Congress and Special Interest lobbyists, or, perhaps more accurately, like debating which "Star Trek" movie is the best--you know it's all imaginary, but it's fun anyway). Simply follow these very simple HoseMaster of Wine Beginning Ethics for Bloggers. Then one day you too will be as admired and as ethical as your humble HoseMaster of Wine.
Accept anything a gullible winery or wine marketer is willing to give you. You've earned it, dammit, you have 15 Unique Hits on your blog every month. And you didn't print up those lame business cards on your computer for nothing. You're somebody!
Transparency is for Supreme Court nominees, steroid users and panties. Of course you take free stuff from wineries. Just keep it to yourself instead of bragging about it all the time. Yeah, yeah, the UPS guy has a hernia from all the wine shipped to your pathetic wine country hovel, Alder, but I sure as hell don't want to hear about it.
It's only wine, I'm not a freakin' doctor! As far as I'm aware, Hippocrates never wrote an oath for wine critics. So I add a few points to my imaginary and meaningless score, it's not like I prescribed the wrong medicine. Who cares?!
Conflict of interest is a contradiction in terms. My only interest is me. Where's the conflict?
By following these simple guidelines your ethical troubles will be resolved and you can go on blogging about wine as if nothing had happened. And, honestly, nothing has.