“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
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Opening Up the Ol' Male Bag
It's time once again to dip into the old mailbag and reprint some of the voluminous and enlightening mail that I receive here at HoseMaster of Wine. The most interesting comments I receive come via my personal email and not as posts in the Comments section. Obviously. Herewith, a few of the recent epistles.
Dear Mr. Washam, Fellow Nobel Laureate,
Congratulations on your Nobel Prize for Wine Blogging. As I was telling Michelle just the other day as I was putting the big Barack to her in the Lincoln library, I never miss an episode of "The M.S. Conspiracy." Never read it, never miss it. But that's not why I'm writing.
Ron, I really think you should bring back the naked girls you used to have on your blog. Now, I'm not the kind of President who thinks naked girls are entertainment, that was President Clinton. I'm still scraping the stuff off underneath the Presidential desk in the Offal Office. Naked women are what made America great, and they should be celebrated. Our forefathers knew about naked women, heck, that's why they're our forefathers. I don't know if you're aware of this, but I can trace my lineage directly back to Thomas Jefferson's slow cousin George. And, in his great words, "Well, we're movin' on up." So those people who have said that it was degrading and exploitative for you to post cheesecake photos on HoseMaster of Wine, well, they're simply wrong. Or they're lying bastards like those assholes at Fox News, where America goes to escape the truth.
I'll see you in Oslo. You may have heard that I won the Nobel Peace Prize. And, hell, I didn't have to kill half the number of people Kissinger did to win it!
Io Triumphe, President Barack Obama
Dear Mr. Washam,
Perhaps you've heard that "Gourmet" magazine has ceased its print publication. We ran out of recipes. Hell, we were reprinting crap we ran in the '70's, surrounding it with staged photos of shallow pinheads pretending to have an actual dinner party and for some reason no one was buying it. It was my idea to run stories about food and culture, about the history of food, about food as a substitute for sex, especially zucchini. I hired some of the best writers in the business, which ain't saying much, granted, but still, they were the best. And for what? Decreased circulation, like a guy with E.D. I wrote endlessly about my life, about how my mother and my family influenced me, ridiculously vapid and maudlin stories of growing up with the love that came out of my mother's kitchen, thinking that would get the suckers to subscribe, but, as it turned out, schmaltz only sells so many magazines. I should have gone with more food porn. I've got shots of Rachel Ray removing kernels from corn cobs with her, oh, never mind. Though it does make a tasty goulash.
Anyhow, now that "Gourmet" has gone the way of dinosaurs, passenger pigeons and Sarah Palin's integrity (did you see where her almost son-in-law is going to pose nude in "Playgirl" showing his Alaskan pipeline to fifteen minutes of fame and fatherhood?), I'm wondering if you have any need for a guest blogger on your esteemed HoseMaster of Wine. Oh, I can write all about growing up with wine and how I learned to feel love at my mother's knee as she opened her third bottle of Green Hungarian in the kitchen while Dad was working late at the office again. Or I can write all about wine and culture with all kinds of insight. Did you know wine was Jesus' first miracle? It was. And then he turned the bottles into fish bottles. Or something like that. I'll do some research. Or I can write one of those Gerald Asher type articles that talk all about the history of wine. Did you know the Vikings, when they discovered Minnesota, called it Vineland? Isn't that interesting? I didn't even know they spoke English. I'm chock full of this stuff, and I'm better than Asher. I didn't demote him at "Gourmet" to writing wine pairing filler for nothing. Sheesh, who needs articulate and educated writing when you can have pretentious and laborious pontificating? I know from your work that you wholeheartedly agree.
I look forward to hearing from you and working with you to make HoseMaster of Wine the next "Gourmet."
Sincerely, Ruth Reichl
Dear Mr. HoseMaster,
I don't for a minute believe that you know the first thing about wine. Or comedy, for that matter. You never even talk about wine on your stupid blog, you just write idiotic pulp fiction parodies and make fun of real wine bloggers. I don't read wine blogs to be entertained, for God's sake, no one does. In fact, as you well know, the only people who read wine blogs are other wine bloggers, pathetic wine wannabes, and social media consultants for wineries. In other words, Losers.
At least serious wine bloggers have a goal. They want to influence people with their taste. They generously stoop to teach the poor unwashed ignoramuses who just like to drink wine that it isn't enough to enjoy wine, it's more important to preach about it. They remind us that all other wine critics are corrupt and misguided, that opinion has a place in the wine world, just not yours. They live to suck up the free samples taking up space in winery warehouses--OK, they used to be for sale, but now they're free samples. They perform a service, they remind us that wine isn't an adult beverage meant to bring enjoyment with a meal, it's an adult beverage meant to bring enjoyment to a meal if they say it brings enjoyment, and not a minute sooner.
And what about you, Mr. HoseMaster? What is it that you do? Aside from amuse yourself, and no one else, with your snide asides and ignorant opinions? Why don't you just drop the facade and admit you don't know anything about wine? You're not fooling anybody. Of course, it probably doesn't matter, who would buy a wine you recommended anyway? Who would be that stupid? OK, the folks who buy Murphy-Goode, fine.
I suggest you find another line of work and abandon your mind-numbingly stupid blog. I hear there are a lot of positions available in wine marketing. You'd be perfect.
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.