“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 18, 2009
My first HoseMaster of Wine survey results are in. Not that anyone cares. To be honest, I only conducted the survey to see how many people would respond, hoping that there would be an avalanche of responders. There were 30 folks who were kind enough to fill out the survey. Hardly an avalanche. More like the wine blog world unleashing a loud, collective yawn. I had optimistically hoped for 50 responses, and I might have achieved that goal if I'd left the survey up until all of our troops are out of Afghanistan. It's becoming clear that the only thing more solitary than wine blogging is being the member of the Jenna Elfman Fan Club.
And, yet, here I am, Day 7 of my struggle with Wine Blog Addiction, still losing the battle.
Both of you may be interested in the results of the survey. The results aren't too enlightening, but, then, the questions were stupid to begin with. Therefore, the results have the same amount of validity as the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, the Nielsen ratings, Wine Competition results, voting for the NBA Most Valuable Player, and penis enhancement.
The first question asked why folks bother to read this crap. The #1 answer (why do I feel like Richard Dawson all of a sudden--oh, I know, I'm also spectacularly untalented) was, "I like a cheap laugh at others expense." Fourteen folks chose that, nearly half. Well, there is plenty of cheap involved with reading a blog, but laughs? I thought I was the only person who thought I was funny. But it's nice to know others enjoy cheap putdowns and egregious insults.
Question #2 wanted to know what people wanted to see more of on HoseMaster of Wine. Thirteen responders said "Insulting other wine bloggers." I'm sensing a trend here. But it just edged out the nine people who said, "Free Internet Porn." I'm working on both. And I may even start insulting free Internet porn. At any rate, I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, to hear that people enjoy the degradation of wine bloggers. We do this to be admired, to be praised, to get free samples, to impress ourselves with our own erudition, and you folks want us to be insulted. You're right.
The third question asked you to rate how funny my stupid blog is. A whopping fifteen of you responded, "I often spontaneously urinate when reading it." Seven said they laugh, but at me, not with me. I'd like the fifteen to aim at the seven.
The fourth question asked folks what other blogs they read beside this micturating mess. Folks could choose more than one. Tom Wark's Fermentation squeaked by Steve Heimoff, 16-15. And speaking of micturating, The Pour was third with 13 readers, and paid $2.60, followed by Dr. Vino (Christ!) with 11. My Gorgeous Samantha was fifth, which seems appropriate, I'd share a fifth with her any time, with nine votes. Vinography just edged out "Any Jerk with a Keyboard," though that was a test because they're the same! Tied with Vinography was Wine Sooth and 1WineDude. What does it say about the wine blog reading community that they love Fermentation and Heimoff? Sleeping pills don't work? No, I suspect it is basically about frequency. Quantity. They change content more often than my readers change their Depends.
The fifth question confirmed that "The M.S. Conspiracy," as stupid a piece of writing as exists, is by far the most popular regular feature of HoseMaster. This is scary. Well, it basically confirms that folks are here for the jokes and not the opinions or satire. That's OK, I actually like writing "The M.S. Conspiracy," and have no idea where it's going. I can't wait to find out myself. What is the conspiracy? Who is the midget and why is he following everyone? When will the first sex scene rear its ugly head? Why do I bother to write anything else? Why does Samantha put up with me? So many questions, so little relevance. I need to answer the burning questions of the day in the wine world more often. Burning questions like Wark and Heimoff answer every day. Burning questions like why it burns when I micturate while reading HoseMaster of Wine.
Most of my readers, question six revealed, are between 36 and 50 years old, with a number "older than fuck." Only three readers were younger than 35. So now I don't feel so bad about obscure Richard Dawson references.
Question #7 asked which people in the wine business folks would most like to meet. I scored a win in that category with a whopping eight! Eight people want to meet me out of the thirty that answered. I suspect those eight have already met me and are just fooling around. I edged out Charlie Olken, who finished second with five votes. My feeling is my eight people want to meet me in order to do me harm, while Charlie's five just want to see if he's a real person or inflatable. We both barely beat out Shane Victorino and Rita Moreno. Not one person wanted to meet Robert Parker, which makes sense, since, as I keep saying, he's dead.
The results of the eighth question surprised me. I wondered if people had purchased wine because of a wine blog recommendation. I expected that the results would show that no one buys wine because of a wine blogger, but, surprisingly, seven people checked, "Yes, like an asshole." Yikes. One can only hope it wasn't my recommendations.
Twenty-four people, out of thirty, answered question nine, which asked why the responders didn't post comments on HoseMaster of Wine. My assumption is the other six are the usual suspects here, Samantha, Puff Daddy, Arthur, Anonymous 1... Most of the 24 said, "What is there to say?" As any blogger will tell you, the real reward of blogging comes in the form of Comments, the give and take of voices you like, voices you don't, strangers, friends, newcomers. The sound of my own voice wears me out. Yeah, I know, join the club.
The final question asked people to tell me their honest opinion of HoseMaster of Wine. This, of course, was the most fun for me. One person said "I am in love with you." Gosh, (blush), thanks Mr. Balzer. Several folks said they missed the nudie cuties. Yeah, me too. I had a lot of quick answers like "funny shit," and "smart(ass)," and "love it." Here's one I'm not sure I totally understand:
"My 5th grade middle school principal told me that if more than 7 people agree with you, you're probably wrong. If you get too many positive responses, I'll have to move on to Dr Vino's snarky insights with "wine talk that goes down easy." Its hard to believe there is another blog out there that mixes edgy immorality and wine ala the HoseMaster himself! Sorry dude, looks like this kind of blog is a dime a dozen."
Of course, no one would have bothered to take the survey if they didn't like HoseMaster of Wine in the first place, so positive reviews were kind of expected. But I think my favorite line was, "I think it's funny but sometimes you go overboard."
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.