“For something to be funny, the audience has to be in a position to sense the truth of it. It has to be primed. Satire can crystallize what’s already in the air, but it can’t really put it there.”--Garry Trudeau
Friday, June 12, 2009
My Supreme Resume
The US Supreme Court, Chief Justice Judge Judy at center in front of Clarence Thomas
I'm a little peeved at President Obama. I sent him my impressive judicial resume and my name wasn't even mentioned as a nominee for Supreme Court justice. How is this possible? Granted, I'm not a Latina, but I do prefer Linda Ronstadt in her chubby phase. Granted, I don't have a law degree. But I could get one. It can't be that hard. And, hell, Robert Parker is a lawyer who has a lifetime position as Most Powerful Wine Critic, why not a Wine Guy for Supreme Court Justice? It makes as much sense. And I'm a judge. At Sonoma Harvest Fair, at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. You think it's hard to get along with Scalia, try judging with Dan Berger for a couple of days. I know why Clarence Thomas doesn't speak, I've been there. Not to receive even so much as an acknowledgment of my credentials to serve on the Supreme Court is quite a blow. So I'm bringing my case to the public, my devoted HoseMaster of Wine public. You be the judge.
Here are a few of the landmark cases that I have helped adjudicate in my distinguished career, and the highlights of my opinions in those cases. I'm sure many will seem familiar.
Cork v. Stelvin
With my panel locked in a four-four tie, I was asked to decide which closure should be favored by wine experts. This was a particularly touchy case, with more than a few echoes of Roe v. Wade. Should I come down on the side of pro-choice? Or should I land squarely in the pro-life camp and select corks? I knew that no matter what my decision I was in for a world of criticism and threats to my well-being. On the one hand, there is no denying that cork taint has ruined many a fine and expensive bottle of wine. On the other hand, cork is a renewable resource whereas Stelvins contribute to global warming, carpal tunnel syndrome and radical Islamist causes. I came down on the side of corks and wrote this memorable, if I do say so myself, opinion:
"The two sides in this case need to sit down and approach their differences calmly and creatively. Can't we agree that it might be better to simply prevent the necessity for the choice in the first place? Perhaps with more education and candor, and the widespread use of condoms on corks, we as a country can move forward to a place where the sanctity of the wine is foremost."
Interstate Shipping of Wine v. Three Tier System
You would think this landmark decision alone would have automatically qualified me for the Supreme Court, sort of like death guarantees an Oscar. Once again my vote was critical in a case. Would I come down on the side of the status quo and retain the wonderful Three Tier System envisioned by our country's forefathers when they wrote the Twenty-first Amendment so they could get stinko at Ben Franklin's 175th birthday party? Or would I vote in favor of allowing wineries to ship wine wherever the hell they want, including to underage alcoholics with a computer, Dad's credit card, and a link to Burghound so they know what to order? As if those cretins could even use a corkscrew. Here's what I wrote, file this one under Integrity:
"I live in California and don't really care if the suckers in Pennsylvania can't buy wines over the Internet. Philadelphia is the birthplace of freedom--NOT. I'm not shedding any tears for them, much less three tiers. Genius and innovation are what define the American success story--just look at Ron Popeil. Figure out a way to get the wines that skirts the damned laws and stop whining. Either that or move. It's your call. Meanwhile, I'll be enjoying that new remodel of my house paid for by the WSWA."
Parker v. Bloggers
When Robert Parker decided to sue every last blogger who had questioned his ethics, integrity, 100 point scoring system, and bladder control, I was called upon to render a decision. It was eBob v eBlobs, and the decision was a sticky one, not just because of the incontinence. Who was right? Parker, when he says that bloggers are misinformed, untalented, malicious, unethical and smell bad? Or the bloggers, who insist that they are right in calling Parker out for hiring a bunch of stringers with the ethics of a pit bull/Bernie Madoff mix and the integrity of maitre d' who moonlights as a papparazzo. This was easy.
"Not all bloggers smell bad, though most smell poorly."
It's not too late, Mr. President. I'm still available. Does it come with a matching 401K?
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
What the Critics Are Saying About HoseMaster of Wine
"If you want a great hoot and howl moment or two...go read the HoseMaster's year-end reflections...that guy is without a doubt the funniest SOB in the blog-world...and thank him for having the brains and balls to target his laser of laughter on anybody...HoseMaster for President...HoseMaster for Blogger of the Year...although he would be the first to say the bar is so damn low for that award, he should win it every year..." --Robert Parker
"...With sometimes crude analogies and occasional droppings of f-bombs, Washam cleverly uses satire to expose the underbelly of the wine business. It's often hilarious stuff as long as you're not the one being lampooned. Washam takes no prisoners in skewering all that is silly, stupid, frustrating and pretentious about wine, and his favorite targets are other bloggers and writers. No one is immune."
--Linda Murphy in "Vineyard and Winery Management"
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity." --JancisRobinson.com
"As serious as the world of wine is, it does allow time for humor. Each Monday and Thursday, Ron Washam customarily posts a commentary on his needling wine blog HoseMaster of Wine. Washam, a former sommelier and comedy writer – he might say they are closely related – is the most opinionated, humorous and ribald observer in the wine world. His body of work is irreverent and remorseless. It’s almost always satire and parody, though he occasionally drifts into straight commentary, sometimes even with tasting notes. This past year, one of his posts was named the best of the year in the Wine Blog Awards. His success has spawned several imitations, which in their awkwardness show just how difficult satire is."
--Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/21/6089630/dunne-on-wine-wine-blogs-and-bloggers.html#storylink=cpy
"Please let this guy write the scripts for Saturday Night Live which has gotten so lame...his newest "wisdom" is worth an Emmy....I wonder if he is the genius behind all those Hitler/Parker,etc. clips? No one else is remotely as funny or as talented.And the wine world sure needs someone to poke fun at all the nonsense and phoney/baloney unsufferable crap out there."
"Washam uses his own blog, HoseMaster of Wine, to skewer the industry in general and wine blogs in particular. If your mouse scoots to your browser's close box while reading a wine blog, Washam may be the blogger for you."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"Ron Washam, former sommelier, is easily the most bitingly funny blogger/wine writer that we have ever come across. He is an equal opportunity crusader who pillories big wineries and amateur bloggers alike, as well as everything and everyone in between...One needs a sense of humor and a tolerance for earthiness to enjoy reading The Hosemaster. We must have both because this guy deserves a wider audience, in our humble opinion." --Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
"In my opinion, and that of many others, his blog is one of the best. And in terms of satirical or parodic wine blogs, it has no peer. Ron’s alert eye catches every pretense and skewers it with laugh out loud mercilessness."
"This site should carry a warning label. It's sort of a Dave Barry/George Carlin approach to wine. The Hosemaster (real name Ron Washam) skewers fellow bloggers and industry savants with glee, while offering hilarious wine guides such as his Honest Guide to Grapes..."
--Paul Gregutt, Seattle Times
"Washam is a skilled wine judge (I have judged with him) who is willing to judge wine double blind, in public. To my knowledge, Parker does not do this and never has. So Ron's credentials are in place, and so is his sense of the absurd."
--Dan Berger, VintageExperiences
"...I consider Ron a very talented writer and I’ve long been an admirer of his scathing wit..."
"And if any free sites think they can conquer the world, there’s always the Hosemaster to take ‘em down a notch."
--Tyler Colman "Dr. Vino"
"Those of you who know Ron either love or hate him, because he throws jabs like a punch drunk boxer, and we’re all in the firing line. He’ll throw them if he hates you, and he’ll throw them if he loves you. He’s a satirist of exceptional quality."
--Jo Diaz "Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz"
"I must say you are an idiot. I've never liked you. I have no idea why people find you funny."
--Reign of Terroir
Robert (Joseph) was/is funny unlike HoseMaster who wasn't/isn't.