“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, November 11, 2009
My Old Addiction
I have a confession to make. This won't be easy for me. But it's time I do something about my addiction. No, not that one. I'm not giving up my membership in the Panty of the Month Club. Not when I've finally made it to the Bob Hope level! Thongs for the Memories. No, I have a much worse addiction. And, so, inspired by my friend Tom Wark's struggles with smoking at Fermentation, I have decided once and for all to try to come to terms with my horrific and crippling addiction, an addiction that has turned my waking hours into a living Hell, an addiction that has consumed me, ruined my life. And perhaps talking about my sickening addiction will help others out there begin to confront their own demons, help them stop before it's too late, before their lives are as empty and wasted as mine has become. I don't know if I can succeed, if I can put my life back together, return to the happy life I once had before this catastrophic addiction, but I have to try. I just can't take it any more. It's driving me to an early grave.
I'm talking about my addiction to wine blogging.
Wow. It felt good to admit to it, this ugly secret I've been hiding. Like the vast majority of wine bloggers, I work in secret. Very few people know of my desperate plight, so few people witness the horror that is my wine blogging. Sitting at my computer late at night, alone, typing words and sentences that no one will ever read, no one but other wine blogging addicts, those other lost souls who feel the pathetic and relentless urge to spout their mindless opinions about wine as though someone, anyone, will listen or care. And, glory Hallelujah, maybe even Comment! It is a cavalcade of the hopeless.
I know what you other wine bloggers are thinking, what your delusional mind is telling you to believe. That it's just the HoseMaster's problem, it's not mine. He has a problem with wine blogging, that's obvious, hell, the asshole relentlessly rambles on and on with stupid opinions about wine, the 100 point scale, the wine business, Robert Parker (still dead), and Jancis Robinson's pouty breasts, but I'm nothing like him. Wake up, Mutants! Read the following symptoms of wine blogging addiction and see if you fit the descriptions.
Symptoms of Third Stage Wine Blogging Addiction
I've begun to fall back on topics that are hackneyed and utterly devoid of originality in order to post five days a week.
The need, the craving, to wine blog often leads to this kind of behavior. See Steve Heimoff's latest post about Chardonnay. Read it and see if your reaction isn't the only possible reaction, "Duh!" Steve! Get Help! This kind of crap does not bode well for your mental health.
I check my blog's hit counter twenty times a day hoping it will move past eight.
No one is reading your brilliance. No one. There are freaks out there who stumble across your wine blog because they've done a Google Search for "girls who spit," but, other than that, you have no followers. You imagine you do, you fantasize about long responses to the comments you're sure are going to come from admirers of your palate and wine acuity, but they don't exist. I'm talking to you Brix Chicks. No one reads you. You might as well be the ads on buses.
I spend hours every day posting comments on more successful wine blogs trying to capture more hits. You know who you are, you find a way to comment on Fermentation, The Pour, Heimoff, all the top 10 blogs, even though your comments are nearly as stupid and unfathomable as the blog you write, hoping their readers will click on your link out of boredom. You heard me 1WineDude, get help! And you, Dylan, whatever your blog is, man, let it go, stop before it's too late, your name on a comment is the wine blog equivalent of Quaaludes, but with greater laxative effects.
I spend hours and hours writing tasting notes even though I've cribbed most of the descriptors from winery websites because I don't really have any experience with wine, but, hey, I'm entitled to my opinions and wineries should send me free samples.
The laboring over tasting notes is a sure sign of the wine blogging addiction. It is the equivalent of other emotional disorders and bizarre delusions like collecting gigantic balls of twine, or building replicas of venereal disease sufferers out of toothpicks, or liking cats. There are wine bloggers in this category too numerous to mention. Folks trying too hard, locked inside their horrible wine blog addiction, dedicated to their delusions. Which wine is best with what music. Might be interesting if it weren't so pathetic. And then there's the abomination known as Wine Blogging Wednesday--the monthly meeting of Wine Blog Abusers. It's like watching the Napa Valley Wine Train derail--funny, at first, until you think of the waste of life it entails. All of those who participate in Wine Blogging Wednesday need professional help. Say, an English grammar tutor. And the saddest case of all, the addicted Wine Blogger whose every post is an obvious cry for help, the 10 point scalemeister himself, Alder Yarrow of Vinography. A life wasted.
It's too late for Alder. I'm just praying it's not too late for me.
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.