What’s wonderful about blogging is that it is so self-absorbing. There is nothing more interesting than the self, not even wine, or Plato’s Cave (which is what I call the female sex organs, and explains why I wear a miner’s hat when in bed). I try to write two or three times a week, and in those hours I can say anything I want about wine, express any opinion, and be comfortable knowing that I am always right. It’s very liberating.
I can’t imagine why anyone reads wine blogs. Of course, the truth is, not that many people do. More people read mattress tags. Which, in general, are better written. HoseMaster of Wine, on a good day, gets about 1000 hits. That’s 2000 fewer than Roberto Clemente, and he’s been dead for 40 years. So why the hell do I do it? Why do I put myself out there twice a week trying to make people laugh? There’s nothing in it for me, aside from the undying admiration of my self. Which is why everyone blogs. Why do I find it so compelling to belittle, lampoon, satirize, lambaste, mock, parody and ridicule all the wine biz types that I think deserve it? I get asked this question a lot, mostly by people who dislike my work.
Maybe because wine is like comedy. The minute you try to explain it, it ceases to have any meaning. Also, most of the time it sucks. And both wine and comedy are subjective, as they should be. They’re both art forms. I think I fell in love with wine because it makes me laugh. Wine is joy in its simplest form—liquid. Yet the pursuit of wine, the endless quest to try to explain it, guarantees that its meaning will elude you. In that way, wine is exactly like happiness.
I’ve forgotten more about wine than I’ll ever know again. I find this Wine Alzheimer's of great comfort. (For years I thought “WA” stood for “Wine Alzheimer’s,” and that the numbers that followed it in wine reviews were the age of the people reviewing it. So “WA 96” meant that some old, senile fart really liked that stupid, overpriced Cabernet, which makes sense when you think about it. I thought "WE" stood for "Wine Exaggerated.") I find it satisfying that I’ve forgotten something I used to know, and that’s a long list of wine stuff. But it’s far better to have forgotten some trivial knowledge about wine than to pretend you actually know it.
Or maybe I Hose so many people and things in the wine biz because we are suddenly living in a culture that despises dialogue, and that sort of narcissism offends me. We FaceBook and Tweet and blog, but we rarely hear each other. When a fresh, hot, steaming pile of topic hits the blogosphere, it generates an avalanche of opinion, little of it insightful, almost none of it interesting, and almost all of it written in a desperate attempt to fill space. Which makes it inherently funny. There are so many people who believe their own self-constructed fantasies, the ones they create on their FaceBook page, or the ones they promote on their blogs--which, after all, are self-promotion first, and self-expression second. Many who are not actually believe they’re wine experts. They’ve begun to believe their self-proclaimed interest has suddenly and remarkably turned to valuable insight. It’s wonderfully comic, and I cannot seem to resist it. For the record, I know a lot about wine, but I’m about as much of a wine expert on the scale of things as Kevin Costner is an actor. And I’m a third-rate satirist, but I’m here in the minor leagues, so that’s appropriate.
And then there are the people in power, the influential few whose opinions and scores lead to what almost everyone in the wine business is after—money. Whether they admit it or not, most everyone who takes the time to write seriously about wine wants to be one of those few—Parker or Laube or Hold Me Closer, Tiny Tanzer or Asimov or, God Forbid, McInerney. Those wine Gods live in the rarefied air of Mount Olympus, of Valhalla, or, really, of Brobdingnag. We mortals need to outrage them once in a while, attempt to bring their wrath down upon us, and point out that they suffer from the same hubris, jealousy, greed, dishonesty and gluttony that we are prone to. I’m good at that. Though, as Gods will so often do, they simply ignore me.
It is my assumption that everyone who regularly visits HoseMaster of Wine comes to laugh. I write it to make myself laugh, though I fail at that miserably. I am grateful for all those who drop by. I think one could write poetry alone, or compose music in one’s head, or keep a diary, but writing comedy basically demands an audience, no matter how small. I can delude myself that people are laughing at my posts as well as any wine blogger who deludes himself that people care what he thinks about the latest simulated wine from Diageo. It’s a gift we humans possess. I never run out of ideas, and I never have writer’s block, which, by the way, proves that prayer doesn’t work. And I certainly never run out of opinions. So I just do whatever it is I do.
Yet I do not know why I do whatever it is I do. I often quote from Sabatini’s Scaramouche, a quote I’ve always wanted as my epitaph (if I were going to die), the opening line of that wonderful novel, “He was born with the gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad.”
It is here, in this virtual reality, on this mindless and meaningless blog, that I exercise, celebrate and pass along that gift.
I guess that’s why.
Thank you for indulging my navel-gazing.
Thank you for indulging my navel-gazing.
We now return to our regularly scheduled crap.