"Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful."--Molly Ivins
Monday, January 14, 2013
My Crypt at Forest Yawn
I just don’t have the time to answer all the questions I get as HoseMaster of Wine™. It seems people are fascinated with how I go about my job. Nearly every day an admiring wine business fan writes to invite me to explore the possibility of using myself as the receptacle for my own DNA. Many others kindly remind me that as long as I have my head in that place, I might as well look around for polyps and save myself the colonoscopy. Others wish that I were already enjoying a lovely afterlife, while others seem to want to sexually satisfy the horse I rode in on. I wish that I had the time to answer each thoughtful note individually, but, as loyal readers know, I’m incredibly busy practicing coprophagy, though on freshly baked bread, and with a nice glass of Lemberger. So, to save time, and perhaps answer everyone else’s questions in advance, I thought I’d respond here to the questions I am most frequently asked. I am constantly surprised at their insight and eloquence.
I read your blog twice a week, and can’t seem to stop. You have so many opinions about wine and the wine business that I don’t see anywhere else. Here’s what I’d like to know, Why don’t you just fuck off and die?
You know, that’s an interesting philosophical question, and one that has been posed to me often, most recently by everyone who makes Prosecco. (I do love Prosecco’s motto—“Prosecco: For when you need a reason to quit drinking.”) There’s really no simple answer to the question. I suppose that I could fuck off and die; after all, it’s a lovely wine business tradition. Look at Jay Miller, Natalie MacLean, James Suckling, and all the former wine bloggers buried at the National Bloggers Cemetery, known colloquially as Forest Yawn. Look at all the sad boys over at the chat room Wineberserkers, who were not asked, but told, to fuck off and die by Robert Parker. Not to mention that fucking off and dying is the basic wine writer’s retirement package--being a valued employee is so rewarding! So it’s an option for me, but then who would fill my role? There is much left to do for the HoseMaster. So much hypocrisy, so much pretentiousness, so much pompous and boorish behavior yet to lampoon. And that’s just me.
How do you think of that shit?
This may be the question I have been asked the most often my entire life. I have no idea. I always wonder how you don’t think of this crap. Much of what I do writes itself, which explains why it reads that way. How hard is it to make fun of wine bloggers? It’s like shooting Tim Fish in a French oak barrel. Alice Feiring is self-parody, stubbornly defending her philosophy in the manner of Rudolf Steiner, who is to science and humility what Stephen Hawking is to tap dancing and playing the bagpipes. McInerney is Satan, tempting the hapless to taste the fruit from his Tree of Imaginary Knowledge and be condemned to wine hell. How hard is he to make fun of? I don’t remember a day in my career in the wine biz that I wasn’t astounded at the foolishness of it all. Not wine itself, which is beautiful and mysterious, like love, the star-filled heavens and Sea Monkeys®, but our ways of speaking about it, of rating it, of finding ways to make wine incomprehensible and complicated when it’s the simplest joy in our lives, aside from doing the Boner Limbo. Simply, I don’t know how to stop thinking of this shit. That fucking off and dying thing is starting to look a lot better.
Who told you you’re funny, douchebag?
So kind of you to imagine people tell me I’m funny. I do fantasize that certain people tell me I’m funny, but they’re only fantasies. Like I imagine one day at a large industry tasting Alderpated Yarrow will walk up to me after tasting 350 wines and say, “Aren’t youuu za-uh, uh, the Holesmattzer, um, Whoresmapper, fuck, I’m drunk, Hooozemaster of Wine? Oh, crap, I wet myself.” That would be a dream come true. Or just once I’d like to get a fan letter from another of my heroes, the hilarious Karen MacNeil. She wrote the Bible! The damned Wine Bible! You know how crazy people think every word in the Holy Bible is the truth? There are cretins that think the same thing about the Wine Bible! I know, I know, who’s written a better spoof than the Wine Bible? She’s the funniest redhead since Lucy, or the guy at the Batman movie. Now if she told me I’m funny, wow, wouldn’t that be an honor! And, really, if I were funny, wouldn’t I be getting paid for this horse manure?
Where’s your “like” button, asshole?
I like people, really I do. I like a lot of people. It’s people I can’t stand. When I was growing up my mother always used to say to me, just like your mother probably said to you, “If you can’t say something nice, just lie like all the other asshole men.” I often write posts about the things I love, but then I delete them because I sound like a weenie. And there are way too many weenies writing wine blogs. Don’t you find yourself reading endless blog posts and at the end of them saying to yourself, “Jesus, that idiot’s a huge weenie.”? Like Tom Wark is going on and on about some insight he had about how much wine and urinal cakes have in common and at the end you say, “Man, what a weenie.” Or Alfonso Cevola writes some nostalgic post about the good old days when he and his Mafioso friends used to kill sommeliers and make their tongues into bowties, and at the end you want to say…OK, not a good example. But, come on, the only bigger collection of weenies than Palate Press is at Oscar Mayer’s house. You read their posts and you want to stick a little toothpick in them and serve them on Super Bowl Sunday. Wait, am I answering the question?
Hello I am a Very Successful Wine Righter with Big Magazine that is Famous and Obeyed. I am in Need of Some Money to Get Back Home from Singapore Where I am Being Held by Pirates in Pantyhose. If you immediately send me 15 Million Dollars You Will Become Next Famous Righter of Wines. Can you send the Money soon?
Check’s in the mail, big boy. Check’s in the mail.
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.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
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.