Thursday, April 19, 2012

Parkergate: The Results of the Investigation Are In. We Won!



The Wine Advocate hired the firm of Spin, Misdirect, Obfuscate, Kneejerk and Evade (SMOKE) to investigate whether the conduct of Dr. Jay Miller had compromised the standards of independence expected by The Wine Advocate. We focused on two questions:

1. Did Jay Miller receive anything of value, other than money, prestige and complimentary burro rides, for visiting a winery, tasting a wine for review, or promising inflatable Robert Parker dolls to grateful importers?

2. How could there possibly be confusion between Jay Miller’s tastings conducted for The Wine Advocate and “private” seminars the jackass didn’t tell Mr. Parker about for which he was handsomely paid though he spoke in gibberish the whole time and mostly complained he didn’t get enough respect from those other jackholes that review wines from The Wine Advocate who call him Mr. Toad.

To answer those crucial questions in the manner expected, SMOKE reviewed documents, emails, invoices, cigarette butts, doctored expense reports, junk mail from erectile dysfunction cures, blog posts, financial statements, and old reruns of “The Cisco Kid.” All while still searching for Nicole Brown Simpson’s real murderer (who we now suspect is the blogger Jim Budd, but that’s ultimately only speculation). The investigation concluded that Jay Miller is simply stupid. This is not the fault of The Wine Advocate. It’s simple genetics. You can’t hold someone responsible for genetics. He’s a naïve idiot, and that’s what everyone whose ever met  him would tell you. We wish we’d never heard of him. In the light of all the evidence, SMOKE also has some recommendations for The Wine Advocate to avoid any future appearances of impropriety.

Jay Miller’s Assignment in Spain

After working with Pancho Campo, M.W. (“Crook”) and The Wine Academy of Spain (“Pendejos”) at a Wine Future event, Robert Parker asked Crook if he would be willing to help Toady with logistics and translations during his Spanish wine assignments. The only phrase Jay Miller understood in Spanish was, “Yo quiero Taco Bell!” Crook agreed to help, at no charge, though he seemed to have a severe twitch in his right eye. From that point on, Crook assisted Toady with the logistics of his trips, helping with itineraries, providing translators, and reminding him that 90 in American converts to 96 in Euros.

During the course of five trips to Spain, Crook provided three services to Jay Miller. First, he booked approximately 85% of Toady’s appointments for only a small service fee taken directly from the pockets of the member wineries of Pendejos. Our investigation concluded, shockingly, that no one at The Wine Advocate was aware of how deeply Crook was involved in the scheduling of Toady’s winery visits. They thought he was using Yelp. Second, he arranged for Jay Miller to speak incoherently to members of various regional Spanish wine associations in exchange for a speaking engagement fee of $8000 to $10,000. Had Dr. Miller not been associated with The Wine Advocate, his expertise in Spanish wines would have merited a fee of bus tokens and week-old tortillas. Oddly, he did request the week-old tortillas. In part, because of the language barrier and the tendency of the Spanish winemakers to laugh uncontrollably at Miller’s Spanish wine knowledge, Crook handled the contracts and negotiations. Again, there is no evidence that anyone associated with The Wine Advocate had any idea how stupid Jay Miller is. It is not incomprehensible to believe that a man with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology could be handily fooled by an M.W. An M.W. is exquisitely trained at fooling people. We get it, what’s wrong with you? The guy’s a dunce who doesn’t understand people, and Crook is a known con man. How is that The Wine Advocate’s fault? Third, Crook, as a practicing M.W. assisted Jay Miller in adjusting his scores, which was damned nice of him when you think about it.

No Evidence of Impropriety

Impropriety? No. Stupidity? Si.

The investigation spoke to many D.O.’s, private trade groups and winery associations and every one of them signed napkins to the effect that they were never under the impression that helping fund a lucrative speaking engagement for Dr. Jay Miller might possibly lead to a winery visit or favorable mention in The Wine Advocate. “What are we, Mexico?”

Furthermore, there was no evidence that Toady received any direct payments for visits to any wineries or organized regional tastings. Crook always took his cut first.

Jay Miller’s Resignation

Toady had planned all along to resign from The Wine Advocate. Hey, the guy’s stupid, but even he knows to quit while you’re ahead.

Recommendations

Based on SMOKE’s investigation, it is recommended that The Wine Advocate implement the following measures:

1. Award Higher Scores. In order to replace Dr. Miller in the eyes of the wine community while simultaneously deflecting criticism among Blobbers, The Wine Advocate should award higher point scores. 2009 Bordeaux would be a good place to start. Moron Blobbers will jump on that and forget all about this scandal, well, if it were a scandal, which it isn’t, that’s what we found.

2. Decline to publish Toady’s scores for Spanish wines written after June 30, 2011. Whether he was guilty or not, and we just convinced you he’s innocent and The Wine Advocate always knew he was innocent and, dammit, we were hired because he was innocent and they knew we knew how to make him innocent, his reviews should not be published. The Wine Advocate does not publish reviews from innocent contractors.

3. Continue the Practice of Actively Supervising Contactors' Reviews. Robert Parker occasionally conducts his own tasting of wines reviewed by his contractors, in general, but also, specifically, the highest rated wines. Not because he doesn’t trust them. No, why would he not trust a clinical psychologist to be a wine guru? Hell, Parker sometimes counsels families. Grace Family, Benziger Family, Jackson Family, Manson Family… Parker never once in the past took issue with Jay Miller’s ratings. This may require a separate investigation.

4. Make revisions to The Wine Advocate’s Writer Standards. Because, really, it isn’t made clear that working for the most influential and powerful wine publication in the world demands that you at least give the fucking impression that you’re not for sale. What are we, Mexico?


31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just in time for this incoming heat seeking missile - Suckling-gate

Samantha Dugan said...

Whew! This takes a load off. Now I can go back to trust The Wine Advocate as much as I ever did...

Wine Harlots said...

Awesome.
Law firm or rock band?
Crook, Toady & Pendejos.

Mockingbird said...

"Clinical Psychology" ... that's like "Applied Laboratory Alchemy".


...and I think you let a possessive impersonate a contraction whose rightful place was in that sentence....

Beau said...

5. Continue on with business as usual at The Wine Advocate, because in the end, a vast amount of retailers and wineries will still use these scores to sell wines to a wine-drinking public, scandal or not.

Bill Klapp said...

No way, Hos-e! Finally a summary of this entire sordid business that even members of the Religious Right can understand! You have inspired me to make a belated run for the Presidency, and clean up all of the lies, greed, corruption and self-serving behavior in the greater Washington, D.C. area (and no, I do not refer only to Monkton!), with you as my speechwriter. I envision the 6-way debates (Willard Mitty, Obomba, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Harold Stassen and me) even now: every time one of the others opens his piehole, I will retort, "What are we, Mexico?" And borrowing a rhetorical page from Rush's playbook, I think that I can convince the American public that Robert MOHAMMED Parker, Jr. should be the real target of the War on Terroirism, and that we can end it by dropping a single fruit bombing on his home. (I also think that we can get some mileage out of the Bush administration fear tactics as well. For instance, how about 9/11 was an inside job by Kevin Zraly, who strapped bottles of Turley single-vineyard Zinfandel from hot vintages to the WTC structural beams, and then ignited them with the farts of co-conspirator Parker's bulldogs? But I digress.) Anyway, after we win, you will become the new Karl Rove, continuing the noble line of White House hosemasters that also includes Rahm Emanuel, Don Regan, Alexander Haig, Haldeman and Erlichman (but not Hamilton "Ham Jerdan" Jordan).

And Wine Harlots, you make an excellent point: "Crook, Toady & Pendejos" has a good deal more cachet than the 70s soft-rock group "Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds", and already has at least as many hits! (I believe that The HoseMaster wrote their only hit, "Please Pull Your Love Out On Me, Baby". Or perhaps that was one of Hosey's early girlfriends that wrote it, I forget...)

Jim Budd said...

Probably the 'ultimate' summary!

Bill Klapp said...

Jim, this is a dangerous neighborhood for you. As soon as Hose-anna gets finished with the emerging Suckling payola scandal, he will probably start disemboweling well-intentioned muckrakers and Loire wine enthusiasts like yourself. The man is clearly unstable. No Robert Parker, mind you, but unstable nevertheless...

Anonymous said...

2007 Raul Perez Ultraia de Valtuie. Dr Jay 99....tastes like DRC. Bob in HedoGaz 88

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I guess it's time I chime in here.

I have to give Bill Klapp a lot of credit, for not only motivating me to write this post, but providing the basic premise, which is that the investigative firm was essentially hired to "uncover" that nothing Jay Miller had done was unethical and that there was no "Actual" (their word) Impropriety. From there, it wrote itself.

I'm not sure I care one way or the other. Parker gets to paint a picture of his former employee as a buffoon, he walks away doing his best Sgt. Schulz impression--"I know nothing...NOTHING..." and we all go back to talking about 2009 Bordeaux. The emperor has no clothes, but his buttboys on eBob just don't care--they like him that way.

As for Suckling, I always say he's taken that maternal verb and made it a gerund.

It's only wine. And this is only comedy, read by a couple dozen people, 98% of whom come here for a cheap laugh and lack the common courtesy to introduce themselves.

A quick thank you to Jim Budd, who really took a lot of crap during this whole affair, which isn't settled yet. The whole deal is dirty, from Campo to Miller to Parker (by coincidence, the double play combination on the 1919 Black Sox), and you had the guts to talk about it. You and others, but you're here, and they're not, so thanks, Jim.

David Vergari said...

I've never met a gerund that I didn't like.

Jim said...

I just come here to pick up new words for Words With Friends. Gerund it is. Thanks Ron.

By the way, sorry we are not sharing the same employer. Bummed it didnt work out.

Thomas said...

Is a verb that is derived from a noun called Gurend?

I'll have to friend somebody on Faceless to find out.

As for the investigation: what are you all talking about? Is this one of those news items you miss when you don't watch TV--and why are wine bores named Jay?

This site makes me think.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

Not all wine bores are named Jay, however, most do have letters after their names. Ph.D., MS, MW, WSET, Jr., HMW...

This site makes you think?! Yeah, that's what I'm after. Silence.

Dean Tudor said...

I as thinking along the lines of a floating gerund, one that you can parse...

Here's a headline in French, from Quebec: Vin Québec

La SAQ dit avoir payé Suckling pour des vidéos pas pour des notations

$24,000 was paid for appearances and reviews, to be used by the government liquor monopoly...

Bill Klapp said...

I always thought that Gerund was Sigmund Freud's less well-known, less-successful brother...

Bill Klapp said...

And Samantha, not so fast...a gentleman by the name of Alan Chan has just posted on the "results of the investigation are in" thread on the Squires board and has conclusively proven that, shall we say, The Great Man's 52" W pants are ON FIRE! He also offed John Lahart, Parker toady extraordinaire and Choral Director for Parker's Amen Chorus, in a drive-by on his way to Bilious Bob. No response from either yet, since Parker is hopping around on one legs with his pantaloons aflame, while Lahart attempts to put them out. (No mean feat, since Lahart lives in the back of Parker's pants, the better to apply his lips respectfully more often, and Parker will not stand still long enough to allow Lahart to go for water, a fire extinguisher or perhaps most of the greater DC-area fire departments!)

Ron Washam, HMW said...

You know, it's funny, but I don't feel any sort of urge to go after Suckling. Something ultimately sad about Canadians paying Suckling for wine reviews and appearances. What next? ABBA concerts?

However, I never really know what I'm going to do next, which is apparent from the posts, I'm certain.

Bill,

One almost has to admire the loyalty of the Buttboys over on eBob. It's a touching reminder of the human need to be seen as special and important to a famous person--a lot like Jim Jones. They've drunk a lot of Kool-Aid over at eBob.

Mockingbird said...

I think what they're drinking over there is this concoction:

3 parts KoolAid
1 part everclear
1 part megapurple

Samantha Dugan said...

Mockingbird,
Aka 99 points

Anonymous said...

I go away for awhile (and I don't even mean a long while) and I feel like I don't know where to start to catch up.

I look at your blogroll, such as it is, and the only one I'm current on is Thomas! (Which, in Internet terms, is practically Old Testament.)

Lately, I've found it impossible to join in on the Parker punching bag. It was fun for a few years, while he was on his descent, but now, as he wallows in his own irrelevance? It is a bit like making fun of the kids on the short bus.

I'm gonna see if the bartender at Trader Vics will make me a Mockingbird. (S)he might have to substitute a Lodi Zin for the Megapurple, but I'm not sure it will make much of a difference...I haven't tasted it yet, but I'm pretty sure I agree it is a 99. Tasting notes to follow.

MisterFreeze

Mockingbird said...

@Samantha Dugan:

CORRECTION

"99+ points* (?...!....!!!)"

Ron Washam, HMW said...

MisterFreeze,

There's no doubt in my mind that punching Parker these days is strictly about schadenfreude. Which is not a gerund, but is German for "The bigger they are, the harder they fall--and nothing's funnier than a pratfall." But he's not irrelevant yet, note the influence of his Jay Miller-esque scores of 2009 Bordeaux. His moon is definitely waning, but, look at the guy, that's a gigantic moon. It'll take a while.

Don't worry, Parker will find a way to go out with a Bang. One day he will be a strange footnote in the history of wine. He'll have left nothing behind but a long string of numbers. But I'll miss the guy. He's wine comedy incarnate.

Bill Klapp said...

Ron, I like the analogy to Jones, but why no suicides? If you were a Parker acolyte, wouldn't YOU want to end it all?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Bill,

Drinking the Kool-Aid WAS the suicide, though most didn't know it. If the guy in charge tells you that you must drink something, it got 100 points or it's death in a glass, you just do it.

And, honestly, I've never met more than a handful of people in the wine biz who were Parker acolytes. Most genuinely like him, but few actually follow him. Not like me--few like me, few follow me.

Mockingbird said...

"few like me, few follow me" -
Isn't that the wine bloggers'
motto?...

I. holme said...

THE EVIDENCE IN THE CAMPOGATE AFFAIR IS AS CONVINCING AS THAT WHICH PROVIDED EVIDENCE OF JIM BUDDS PAEDOPHILLIC ACTIVITIES.
I AM CERTAIN THAT IF WE SUPPLANTED THE NAME JIM BUDD WITH ROBERT PARKER, AND THE SAME ACCUSATIONS WERE LEVELLED AS THEY WERE AGAINST JIM BUDD, ROBERT PARKER WOULD BE LABELLED A PAEDOPHILE IN THE EYES OF ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE SEEN FIT TO MAKE ANTI PARRKER COMMENTS.

YOU JUST SEE WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE. WAKE UP YOU PRETENTIOS BUNCH OF PENDEJOS.....OR WAS IT BURROS?

IF ROBERT PARKER IS GUILTY OF ANYTHING, IT IS NOT RESPONDING TO PAEDO JIMS E MAILS. WHY SHOULD HE?
PAEDO JIM USES THIS LACK OF REPLY TO SIMPLY IMPLY THAT PARKER ET AL MUST BE GUILTY OF SOMETHING.

YES THEY ARE GUILTY OF SOMETHING. THEY ARE GUILTY OF NOT REPLYING TO A MAN WHO HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR WITH MINORS.

BRING ON THE LAWSUITS.

Bill Klapp said...

Is that for real? At ANY level, I mean? Let me give you a basic lesson in logic and rhetoric, friend: if Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy or, yes, Jerry Sandusky had made the allegations against the Wine Advocate, the outcome and the facts would remain the same. If you do not see Parker's report as clear evidence that things should have been managed ethically another way at the WA, without regard to the ethical violations or lack thereof among WA employees, then, sir, I submit that you do not know shit from Shinola about lawyers, language OR logic...

P.S. Be advised that, if there are going to be ad hominem attacks published on these pages, The HoseMaster will do it, thank you very much, not rabid morons with broken "caps lock" keys like yourself. (By the way, my caps lock key is broken also, but I work around it, and suggest that you could do the same.)

Follower Daddy said...

Follow you? I am happy to say that I follow you. I am just careful where I step in order to keep my shoes clean.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Finally. The voice of reason.

I LIKE THE ALL CAPS THING. the anti e.e. cummings. speaking OF WHICH, what the HELL is this guy ranting ABOUT? Lack of ethics in wine rating to pedophilia? NOW THAT'S COMEDY! It's a strange world.

I do, however, always enjoy the angry, righteous commenter.

Bill,

Thanks for responding, but, honestly, did that deserve a response? I'm sure even Parker would cringe at the quality of his defender. Speaks volumes.

Ah, the joys of satire...

Bill Klapp said...

No, Your Hoseship, please excuse me. I cut my posting baby teeth on the Squires board, where somebody will take you head off for posting "Have a nice day!", and nothing goes unanswered!