“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
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Signs You May Be Mentally Ill
I often wonder if there is a more thankless task than wine blogging. But I guess pursuing anything that is basically psychopathic is in the end always a thankless task. And, actually, bloggers get a lot of credit compared to, say, stalkers, yet both share the same sick need. To prove that we really, really love you like no one has loved you before. And to let you know that if we can't have you, no one can. Wine bloggers are stalkers in training. Hell, look at Gary Vaynerchuk and tell me that guy hasn't broken into his ex-girlfriend's house and put First Growth corks in her underwear drawer to warn her from dating a real man (after all, Gary is inflatable). He's probably wearing her stolen panties under his cheap pants too, though I, for one, don't think that's necessarily a sign of mental illness. Sometimes a guy just lost a bet, right, honey?
The addiction to wine is mental illness. People that don't see the appeal of wine know this. But wine geeks, wine lovers, wine bloggers, others suffering from the same delusions, we don't know we're mentally ill. We think everyone feels the way we do, believes what we believe, that there's absolutely nothing wrong with us. But look at the symptoms.
Feelings of Superiority: Do you have the feeling that you're better than most people because you know a lot about wine? Sure you do. And look at the crazy folks who own wineries in Napa Valley. You know, 3000 years from now archaeologists are going to "discover" Napa Valley. They'll dig up wineries like Jarvis and Hall and Palmaz and Castello di Amorosa and think they've discovered another Valley of the Pharaohs. Another place where rich and powerful men built shrines to themselves so that they could be buried with their toys, so that they would be separate from ordinary men and not have to be associated with them. Why else build such lavish palaces to simply ferment grape juice? Surely these wineries are loud cries for help.
Speaking Incoherently: Ever really listen to wine experts expounding about wine? It's basically speaking in tongues but without the clarity or the snakes (unless the marketing people are present). It's like the babble of seriously schizophrenic people, people unable to hear anything but the voices in their own head. "I find the aroma rather primary with some ml, but the mouth is generous, though a bit abbreviated and lacking in the middle, and there's some r.s. and it's hot." Babbling. And even if you understand all of that wine babble, chances are it's inaccurate 80% of the time. But when you have overwhelming feelings of superiority it just doesn't matter. Ask any wine judge.
Belief in Hidden Messages: Crazy people think that there are secret messages for them being broadcast on the TV or hidden in ads on the bus or that their dog is trying to tell them something ("Now you lick your balls, now you lick your balls, now you lick your balls..."). Wine geeks think there are secret messages in numbers. An "89," oh, they (you know, crazy people talk about "they" all the time) say that's a perfectly good wine and worth seeking out, but what they really mean is it's not that good, that they wouldn't serve it to a Big Loser contestant selling OxyContin to Rush Limbaugh much less someone they were trying to impress. And 100 is perfection without question, and the hidden message of 100, meant just for me, is that I don't understand perfection because I not only can't get 100 point wines but if I did I taste them I would probably wonder what makes them perfect, or, worse, believe that whatever they did taste like actually was perfection. Numbers are wine loonies' Belief in Hidden Messages.
Hallucinations: Mentally ill people sometimes see things that don't really exist. They see Jesus or dinosaurs or Michael Buble. Their minds manufacture these objects and, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, the crazy people believe them to actually exist. Wine lovers have many hallucinations. They believe Wine Spectator rates wines blind. They think the BevMo 5 cent sale is an actual deal for them. They believe Wilfred Wong actually exists. They think Temecula is beautiful. They think the guy they met at a local wine tasting that they drunkenly took home is handsome when he's actually a cardboard cutout of one of those shitheads posed like Captain Morgan. Wine people suffer from continual hallucinations.
Put these symptoms together and there is only one sane diagnosis. Wine lovers are fuckin' nuts. Which is why I have nothing to do with them.
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.