“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, February 24, 2010
My Favorite Hate Mail
My recent rise in readership that came about because of the San Francisco Chronicle article has been rather disconcerting. Mostly because I wasn't aware San Francisco even had a daily newspaper. I get all my news from The Christian Science Monitor. His name is Mary Baker Eddie, and he stands outside monitoring the Christian Science Reading Room in Healdsburg. Want to have some fun? Go into a Christian Science Reading Room with a gaping flesh wound. They'll give you something to read for it, usually a year-old Wine and Spirits Magazine with a fascinating article by Patrick Comiskey on great Northwestern United States Clamato Juice cocktails. (One cocktail was even named for a noted food writer--the James Bearded Clam.) Oh, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, it's been rather a whirlwind few days, lots of Internet chatter about having me be a suicide bomber at the next Wine Bloggers Conference (they'd strap bottles of Korbel Brut to my body rigged to explode whenever Alder Yarrow congratulates himself--so, right off the bat), many more hits than usual on HoseMaster of Wine (the blog, not me), and, thankfully, a lot more hate mail! Here are a few chosen from the ol' mailbag. Suicide blogger bomber
Dear HoseMaster of Stupidity,
We've never met, but we will. I'm the wine buyer for Hell, and I have a few bones to pick with you regarding your recent insulting remarks about my customers and my by-the-glass program. First of all, where does an imbecile like you get off taking shots at Robert Mondavi and the Gallo brothers? They were making California wines cheap and famous, keeping their thumbs on the backs of migrant workers and underpaying small farmers, before you were out of diapers, which, by the way you smell, must have been an hour ago. What does an incontinent blogger wear to bed? Depends. Get it? Like the undergarment, not "it depends." Plays better in Hell.
I was talking to Bob and Ernie and Julio at the bar last night. They were having a drink with Parker and Fred Franzia, who isn't dead, but has a second home here when it gets too hot in Bumfuck, California, where he lives. I was gently pulling their fingernails out and waterboarding them (at the suggestion of Dick Cheney, who had one foot in the door here last night but got called back--what a great guy!) not with water, but with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, which is exactly the same, I guess. Anyhow, they think you should treat them with more respect. I told them that you're a douchebag, in fact, a douchebag for Joan Rivers, and that they'll get their whacks at you when you arrive here, which is undoubtedly sooner than you think. I'm not supposed to say anything, but that liver of yours is about as functional as Charlie Sheen. But maybe it's not too late for you if you back off now and lay off my boys. They don't mind the waterboarding, but they're very sensitive to criticism.
And I do not serve Lodi Zin or Gruner Veltliner by the glass, dimwit. Satan hates that shit. He's happy to see humans drink it while they're alive, but he doesn't want that in his house. I have a very interesting by-the-glass list that consists of about thirty different wines that I've carefully chosen from reviews by the most pathetic wine bloggers working! I tried to select worse wines, but, hell, oops, heck, I'm just not that good at touting crap. But BrixChicks and WineHarlot and WannabeWino take all the work out of it for me! You should see the look on Parker's face when he has to drink a glass of each. You'd think he'd died and gone to Hell, which he has. In fact, now that I think about it, taking their wine recommendations is exactly like waterboarding yourself.
So stop writing about things you don't know anything about, HoseMonster of Wine. Hey, nice article in the Chronicle!
Sincerely, Raj Parr Wine Buyer, Michael Mina Restaurants and Hell
Hey Laughing Boy,
So I travel to Napa Valley, where the children of God own wineries, to attend the Wine Wroters (past tense--pretty clever, right, and why I get the big bucks) Symposium, which they tricked me into attending, by the way, by promising that I wouldn't have to listen to the Ethics Panel discussion, which, as it turned out, was actually about how to avoid having any ethics, which is what wine writers really want to know, and where do I end up at dinner that night? Well, you know where, across from you. I had to turn down invitations from some of the most powerful people in the wine world (aside from me, of course), like 1WineDude--hey, I could have had dinner with 1WineDude, dammit, except it turns out French Laundry doesn't have a children's menu. Which is odd. How do they serve the winery owners' wives? Anyway, I could have spent an evening with Charlie Olken! Yes, the Charlie Olken. Have you read this guy's comments? He's funny like one of those robots on Mystery Science Theater 3000! I could have had dinner with Steve Heimoff. Well, OK, that's never gonna happen. But instead I end up with you and Alfonso. Alfonso told me we were meeting somebody talented and famous. I was sure he meant James Laube. How many people get to actually meet James Laube?! Laube's the J.D. Salinger of wine writing, if J.D. Salinger were boring and incapable of writing an interesting sentence. But instead Alfonso plays a big practical joke on me and you show up! I haven't had such a boring evening since I watched every episode of WineLibraryTV that isn't gibberish. Both of them.
I'm sure our paths will never cross again and Alfonso can kiss his wine career goodbye. The two of you ruined my trip like a visit to the tasting room at Castello di Amorosa (though I loved her on "The Apprentice!") But, hey, nice article in the Chronicle!
Ta-ta Sucker, The World's Most Famous Wine Writer
Dear Mr. Washam,
What have poodles ever done to you that you constantly compare them to wine bloggers? I'm sick of it. You make me sick, and your blog makes me want to hurl up my Ken'L Ration. Poodles are honorable and noble beasts, loyal and honest, faithful and intelligent. Does that sound like a blogger to you, pinhead? Go ahead, name one who could be described like that. Gets a little sticky with that honest and honorable stuff, doesn't it? And poodles are hypoallergenic! Ever been in a room with Tom Wark? Oh my God, the guy sheds like a garter snake. Your stupid quote about wine blogging as "the attention barking of lonely poodles" is gratuitously insulting to poodles, and, beyond that it's incredibly stupid. You're a misanthropic moron. You tear everything down and do nothing to contribute to any conversation about wine. And you make fun of poodles! Every poodle on the planet is superior to you, and most beagles too. Why, the world would be a better place if, in fact, wine bloggers were poodles. Hell, they sniff each others butts enough!
But, hey, nice article in the Chronicle!
PS--I had drinks last night with Mondavi, the Gallos and Fred Franzia. They said to say,"Hi, your table is ready."
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.