“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
Thursday, June 6, 2013
What If I Quit Writing This Crap?
What if Jesus had turned water into a nice gin rickey? Ooh, wouldn’t that have been refreshing? Maybe with little umbrellas in them, or, I know, a little red crucifix. That would have been festive. Then maybe every dimwit who starts his Journey to Discover Wine would stop referring to wine as some sort of miracle. It’s not a miracle. A miracle would be Robert Mondavi coming back from the dead. I mean the winery, not the man. A miracle would be a wine faith healer who could touch wine barrels and cure them of Brett, like an Oral Roberts of wine only without his fingers in the bungs. A miracle would be getting on the Marcassin mailing list and understanding the newsletters. Wine’s just fermented grape juice. A gin rickey is a miracle.
What if it turned out terroir was caused by sulfites?
What if sommeliers had to wear bells around their necks so you’d hear them coming? Big ones, like cows wear. And they could never take them off and had to wear them to wine tastings? And what if we issued supercharged cattle prods to restaurant customers so they could use them on the sommeliers as needed? Wouldn’t this enhance the restaurant experience and guarantee more people would want to look at the wine list? Wouldn’t it motivate sommeliers to be less arrogant? A wine list with seventeen German red wines? BZZZZZZZZZTT. Should have thought twice about all that Spätburgunder on the wine list, genius. Sommeliers would achieve new heights of popularity, and, as a bonus, receive the outpatient shock treatment therapy they need free of charge!
What if Stelvins were made like child-proof medicine bottles? Would Tim Fish still have a job?
What if you could go online and buy an MS for a day? Like you can register to legally marry couples for a day? You could print up some cards that say “Ron Washam (or your name might be preferable), MS” and you’d know everything about wine for a day. Like when The Scarecrow gets a diploma in “The Wizard of Oz.” You could buy it before your trip to wine country and walk into every winery and say, “Hello, I’m an MS.” just like the real ones do. You could drop it into conversations. “Does anyone know where the Court of Master Sommeliers is? I think I’m on jury duty.” Or what if you could buy a WSET for a day? Why would you? You remember what happened to the lepers.
What if spitting caused cirrhosis?
What if Robert Parker had decided to use SAT scores instead of the 100 Point Scale? You know, what if he’d thought of us as college material rather than junior high dumbshits? Then nineteen 2009 Bordeaux would have received 2400 points! 800 for aroma and complexity, 800 for overall quality, and 800 just for showing up. Sure, everyone understands the 100 Point Scale, but only brainiacs would understand the SAT scale. Though the highest score for a legendary 1982 Bordeaux back then would only be 1600. This still makes sense when adjusted for score inflation. Only wines with high scores would be allowed in college coeds.
What if Roundup worked removing winemaker tattoos? Would you carry some in your car? Even in Sicily?
What if smell were connected to bodily functions in your brain instead of memory? So every time you smelled Merlot you had to whiz? Would that affect the sales of Merlot? Or would it just come in wider-mouthed bottles? And what if smelling a nice Argentinian Malbec made you belch? Ever eaten in Argentina? I think it actually does. And if smelling Prosecco gave you the hiccups? No problem. The taste will scare them away.
What if a passion for orange wines is the perfect predictor for early onset Alzheimer’s?
What if grapes were the size of cantaloupes? Would you need migrant Samoans to harvest them? Or would you hire illegal aliens? Space aliens.
What if a winery could ship wine legally to any state in the Union? Wouldn’t that be entertaining chaos!? How would consumers know what wines to buy without a bunch of inept, barely wine literate middlemen to decide what wines are available and where? What would state legislators do without electoral money from the liquor industry? Win on merit? What if we treated wine like guns and didn’t worry if children or the mentally ill sign for the delivery? What if wineries weren’t allowed to sell their wines anywhere but the winery, and we didn’t allow exports from Italy, France, Greece and other third world countries? Limit choice the old-fashioned way—build monopolies! What if we passed an Amendment to the Constitution reinstating Prohibition so we could then pass another Amendment to the Constitution ending Prohibition, but then craft alcohol laws on a Federal level rather than each letting each individual State make a jackass of itself?
What if they let anyone write a wine blog? And then gave awards? How stupid would that be?
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.