“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
Monday, December 21, 2009
My Christmas Thank Yous
The past year at HoseMaster of Wine has been about The Million Point Scale (which gives me 999,999 more points than Fox News--their only point is ignorance is covered by the First Amendment) and The M.S. Conspiracy (wiggling my once private dick at every passing sommelier wannabe), about Jess "Huckleberry" Jackson and Gary "the Human Stain" Vaynerchuk, about 82 posts and about 82 posts too long. I've taken potshots at just about everyone in the wine and blog business who I think deserves it, and a bunch that didn't. Along the way I may have said six funny things. But, hey, somebody has to be the jackanapes around here.
I rarely step out of the HoseMaster character on this blog, and, believe me, the HoseMaster is a fictional character, just like Tiger Woods, but Christmas is a time for gratitude and reflection. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea why I continue to crank out this garbage week after week. There's no money in it, there's no fame or glory in it, only nine people read it. Wine blogs, I've come to believe, are, for the most part, tools for self-promotion--not the promotion of the enjoyment and culture of wine, but the self-promotion of the clown writing the blog. And I'm not interested in self-promotion. Self-abuse, sure, that's an area I like to keep my hand in, but not self-promotion. So why do I continue to throw blog grenades at all the fools, spend countless hours writing "humorous" posts, waste enormous energy trying to come up with something original to say a couple of times a week? I'm an unemployed idiot, that's why.
I began this blog because I was bored and felt some primitive urge, more peristaltic than anything, to express myself. The attention barking of a lonely poodle. When I began to look at wine blogs I was dumbfounded by what passes for thought, writing and wine tasting skill. I searched and searched for writers and found typists. I went looking for originality and found the same old stuff in April, May and Jejune. I thought it would be fun to have a little fun with the whole thing. And it has been fun, though perhaps not as fun as I'd hoped. Turns out it's a lot of work. This is what so many wine bloggers discover and why, gratefully, so many of them abandon their blogs. Wander through the blog list over at Fermentation and it's like walking through an abandoned shopping mall; you can hear the echo of your cyber-footprint as you walk by empty shell after empty shell, the bankrupt sounds of yet another really stupid idea. Really, when you think about it, who needs another B. Dalton Books or Spencer's Gifts? But wine blog lists are filled with them.
But as we near Christmas and the end of 2009, I wanted to say thank you to a few people specifically, and to everyone in HoseMasterWorld in general.
Thank you, Kathleen. My wife, surely the object of much pity, has steadfastly encouraged me to keep working on HoseMaster of Wine and put up with all of my self-loathing and frustration, the job requirements for writing comedy. It is your laughter and love that have inspired me to work week after week at this foolishness, and I am grateful to be married to you. I never knew Beauty until I stepped inside your heart.
Thank you, My Gorgeous Samantha. Everyone who reads this blog and Samantha Sans Dosage thinks that Samantha and I are old friends. We've never met. We began an online mutual admiration society which blossomed offline into a very meaningful and powerful and wonderful relationship. Samantha is a woman of enormous talent, courage, wisdom, kindness, love and wit. If the only thing I had received because of this stupid blog was my love for Samantha it would have been far more than enough. When this blog goes the way of the polar bears, shot by Sarah Palin, I'll still have my Samantha.
Thank you, Tom Wark.Ask most wine bloggers who gave them the best advice and the ones who don't say "Jack Kevorkian" all say Tom Wark. When I began HoseMaster of Wine last year it was Tom's notice that drove my traffic and gave me some motivation to continue. I think he might be the only blogger who likes when I make fun of him, surely the sign of a quality human being. And all of the advice he gave me about blogging was wise and given unselfishly. Thanks, Tom. You still owe me lunch.
Thank you, Charlie Olken. When you spend a career admiring someone's work and then find that they like yours, it is very satisfying and meaningful. Thanks, Charlie, it was an honor to meet you, and a blast to travel to Livermore and taste wine with you. Your comments on my blog lend me some of your credibility, which I can never repay. Again, as with Samantha, your acquaintance, which came because of this crap, has enriched my life.
Thank you, Anonymous 1. I know who Anonymous 1 is in real life, if you call that real, but you know him as the guy whose comments are funnier than my posts. So, yeah, thanks Anonymous 1.
Thank you, Marcia Macomber. I love your comments, I love your participation, I adore you. I still wish you'd write a chapter of The M.S. Conspiracy though. And meet me for a drink some day.
Thank you, Arthur. You lend an air of dignity to this cesspool and I appreciate it. I see your name in my comment section and I don't know what to expect. Keep makin' me nervous.
So many others who comment now and then. Diane, my Wine Bitch, I adore you. Erin, where are you, have you forsaken me? Don't let your blog go under. K. Mahoney, my newest friend, a woman with but an initial, thank you for being here. D J R-S, my Puerto Rican Fan Club, thanks for your kind words. I do very much appreciate each and every one of you participating in my foolishness and pantagruel.
To all of those who I may have offended in the past six months, thank you for understanding that it's all in good fun. Like all truth.
And to all of you who read HoseMaster and wisely choose to remain faceless, I hope I've given you a few laughs this past year. Thank you for reading and telling your friends. I hope I can bring everyone a few more smiles in 2010.
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.