“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, October 2, 2009
The Way We Blog Now
There comes a time when every blogger wonders why the hell he blogs. I wonder every time I sit down to write another HoseMaster of Wine post. Just what's in it for me? Oh, sure, there is the endless adulation and parade of groupies, the book offers, the TV movie proposal and the chance to run for Sarah Palin's vacant seat--I just hope she left it down. But it's thankless work. Folks drop by, spend three minutes, and then move on. It's like being the sex slave for a Bob Jones University fraternity. And the vast majority of visitors don't comment, which is a little hard to get used to. It's a lot like being a traffic wreck--folks just drive by slowly and rubberneck. Keep moving, folks, the only thing dead here are the jokes.So why do I continue blogging? I've done a great deal of soul-searching on the subject and have come up with these answers.
I'm a lonely loser
I know this is hard to imagine given my enormous personal magnetism--hell, I can't walk by a refrigerator without sticking to it. But the truth is writing is a lonely pursuit, and those of us who pursue it as a form of self-expression, instead of, say, embroidering alcohol warning labels in our forearms with a dull razor blade, or trying to knock over empty wine bottles with corks fired from our butts, understand that it's best not to have interpersonal relationships. Readers of blogs understand this--the bloggers who post the most frequently are the loneliest people on the planet. These are sad people who, if they weren't emptying their thoughts onto the electronic page, would be out in public talking to themselves and approaching strangers with their index fingers wiggling through the zippers of their Gap jeans. Come on, look at these losers who post every day, who suffer from OAB (Over Active Blogging) and can't suppress the urge to fulminate. What can their real lives be like? You don't want to know. You are grateful that they are losers, that they have the time to sit and posit ill-conceived opinions for your dissection, that they spend hours carefully talking about things they have no actual, confirmable knowledge of, that their idea of a good time is staring at a cursor like it's suddenly going to turn into a Pong machine. But I can tell you, we are lonely losers. And if it weren't for the Internet we'd be stalking Leslie Sbrocco and The Real Housewives of Yountville.
Wine is endlessly fascinating
I spend hours and hours of any given day thinking about wine, about the wine business, about all there is to know about wine. And I figure everyone is interested in what I think about wine. My thoughts, after all, are damned profound and worth reading, like every wine blogger's. I write to inspire people, I write to make them think, I write because the world would be a much emptier place without me. I feel it is my duty to share my thoughts about wine. OK, have you ever thought of this? Just how many wines are produced in the world in a single vintage? Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions. Many of them never even get scores! Imagine that, thousands and thousands of score-free wines! So do they really exist? Or do they break into existence only when they achieve a score? Like, if you were a baseball player who had only 10 ABs in the Major Leagues and went hitless so that your batting average was .000, are you even considered a player? Do you even exist as a ballplayer? Scary, huh? And I'll bet you never thought about it that way either. See, that's what I mean. I have all these brilliant wine thoughts that need to be shared. Here's another one. Does Game Theory apply to wine? Say you set out to find a rare bottle of wine, maybe a bottle of Sine Qua Non or a single-vineyard Pinot Noir from Siduri, just what chance do you have of finding it? Game Theory suggests that if the wine is also seeking you, your odds are great you'll find it quickly no matter how rare it is. But Game Theory also says that if you seek both the Sine Qua Non and the Siduri you're more likely to find them in alphabetical order and be very sorry. Counterintuitive, I know, but there's math to prove it. So I blog to enlighten. Don't we all?
I have serious emotional problems
I crave attention. What did people do before the Internet, before you could regurgitate your profoundly tedious personal torment all over your unknowing public? Sure, there's always NPR, but the goddam pledge drive always gets in the way. You can call people one at a time and dump your neuroses on them, but, hey, you're a blogger, see above, you don't have any interpersonal relationships that amount to more than you see each other at Starbucks every morning while you do the Ken-Ken in the NY Times and wonder what became of Barbie-Barbie. The Internet is perfect. You can ostensibly blog about wine but every now and then you slip in stuff about how your girlfriend just dumped you for some sort of egg that vibrates (must be one nervous chicken that laid that), or that your beloved pet anaconda choked to death on a vibrating egg your ex left lying around, or how you wish someone would send you free samples of wine to validate your status as a critic. I crave attention and I have delusions of grandeur. I think I have talent and that it would be a crime not to use it. Like all fakes and forgers. I know that I know more about wine than anyone I know, both of them (once again, see above). I believe that with time my influence in the wine world will surpass that of Parker, Shanken, Tanzer and Bipin (my favorite Marcel Marceau character) combined. What's going to stop me but my lack of insight, talent and knowledge? I crave attention, have delusions of grandeur, and I'm trapped inside a woman's body. Next to some fucking egg. I have emotional problems, therefore I blog. I'm searching for my voice, and as it turns out, I'm just God's ventriloquist dummy. God (left, yes He is Senor Wences) and the HoseMaster
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.