“Satire dramatizes better than any other use of it, the inherent contradiction of free speech that it functions best when what is being said is at its most outrageous”--Tony Hendra
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Lo Hai Qu Attends the Napa Valley Wine Writers Symposium
I don't know how she came up with the cash, there are things you just never want to know about Lo Hai Qu, but my rather crazy intern attended the Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood a couple of weeks ago. She asked me if she could write about the experience. Like an idiot, I said yes. OK, buckle up, here we go.
So when I decided to go to the Napa Valley Wine Writers Symposium I was kinda thinking that it would be a lot of fun to hang out with a bunch of wine writers. Like we’d get wasted on really good wines every night, wake up naked with somebody new every morning, like, wouldn’t that be the coolest thing if you had Alzheimer’s?, and the rest of the time we’d do fun shit like steal golf carts from room service guys and play Demolition Derby. Yeah, what the fuck was I smokin’? Those people put the “simp” in symposium. I mean, I walk in there all pornstarred looking, you know, like five inch heels, fishnets, and tight skirt that’s so short that whenever that old lech Jay McInerney exhales I can feel the blow on my blowhole, and nobody hardly notices. All these dorks, and, wow, this is one ugly crowd, it’s like they took the castoffs from “Biggest Loser” and asked them to dress like they’re in a trailer park, and they’re the fucking trailers, and all these fools can talk about is Robert Parker. I’m not even sure who that is. He invented some scale, but, shit, I hope it’s one helluva scale cuz lots of these writer types would have no trouble busting some ordinary scale.
I wasn’t very happy after the first get-together with these people. I was down like Motown, all lonely and abandoned, and looking at nothing but stupid writing seminars on stuff I don’t care about like How to Write Tasting Notes, and How to Pitch Stories, and How to Get Over How Sad Your Wine Writer Dreams Are. But, I told myself, Lo, come on bee-atch, make the best of it, don’t worry too much about that shit, just do what you always do. Find a way to annoy these losers. That will be fun.
So like me, these people were supposedly wine writers. I guess if you can pony up the couple of grand to attend this deal, you’re a wine writer, like if you go a couple of nights to bartending school you’re a fucking mixologist. Yeah, I went to Meadowood to Wine Writers school and now I’m Jonné Bonné Bo Bonné Banana Fanna Fo Fonné. But most of them just had lame blogs or wrote for online magazines, cuz, you know, that’s where the future of wine writing is. Like, they think me and my friends are totally givin’ the old wine critics memberships in the Go Fuck Yourself Club and are gonna start reading shit on blogs about what wines to buy. Really? Me and my friends just drink whatever cheap wine that, like, rappers are drinking, or whatever’s in the 50% off shopping cart at the Albertson’s. We go online to read about ourselves, not stupid wine. Or, most of the time, to see if our girlfriends posted their tits on Reddit. I don’t know about those people at the Napa Valley Self-Delusional Fest, but I write about wines, I don’t read what other people write about wine. That’s how it works. You just walk around pretending you read other people’s stuff, like, “Hey, I loved that post where your dog says that terroir is wherever you lift your leg and spray your love juice,” only you didn’t read their blog you just know they’d write something douchey like that. And then they pretend they read your shit. “Oh, you’re Lo Hai Qu! Didn’t you win a Wine Blog Award for your piece on what wines go with stir-fried endangered species?” Ever notice how the smaller the talent, the bigger the need for acknowledgment?
The keynote address—fuck, I was embarrassed, I thought they said Keno address and I kept asking people where to buy the cards—was by that Robert Parker guy. I texted my friend Loqueesha, sent her his picture, and asked her if she knew who Robert Parker was, and she said, no, but she thought he was one of those guys on “Duck Dynasty,” which I guess is some weird fucking show where they take that old TV show “Dynasty” and have ducks act out the parts. People will watch any shit they put on TV for free. Which is like wine blogs, right? Oh, free?, sure, we’ll read that. You want me to pay? Check your mail, I’ll be sending you a Go Fuck Yourself Club membership card along with my check for zero dollars and kiss my ass cents.
The HoseMaster wanted me to take some notes during the speech made by the Duck Dynasty guy, which I did, but, a lot of the time I was dozing off, so I probably got some of it wrong. It seemed like a lot of those wine writers came to hear this Parker guy but they didn’t like him, so it’s like paying to go to a Yanni concert if you have any taste in music. You hate him as soon as your clenched little butthole hits the seat. So that was weird, it was like this weird mix of people who had the Duck man up on a pedestal, worshipped him like he was something they’d never achieve, like an original idea, and a whole bunch of people who thought he was an arrogant old windbag who’d fucked up their whole pathetic little wine business, like he was to blame for all that’s shitty in wine writing, like he’s the fucking A-Rod of wine. So I wrote down some of the stuff he said, but I was kind of wasted from this lunch I had with this wine writer dude who turned out to be softer than a four dollar Moscato, so I might have misheard some of it.
“The climb to the top is what makes it worthwhile. Once you get to the top, there’s nothing there except a shitpile of money.”
“My alleged thin skin is actually quite thick, like my wallet. Chew on that, wannabes.”
“I wish I knew more of you, but, really why bother? I also wish Miley Cyrus would return my calls, so I wish all kinds of shit I don’t mean.”
“The truth is on my side. History is on my side. A tattoo of Michel Rolland is on my side. Your foot is on my side. Get off my goddam side!”
I got kinda depressed for the rest of the simp/osium. Mostly everything was about how to make money at something where’s there’s no money to be made. It was like telling homeless people who ask you for money to “Go get a job.” Yeah, that’s helpful. Homeless people can’t get jobs, and they dress better than most of the wine writers. I went to this thing where I was supposed to “pitch” ideas to some chick named Talia who runs this online magazine called “Punch.” So I Googled this Punch, and surer than FaceBook is for old people, this site is just like actual punch—all sweet and sticky, but pretty much empty and worthless, and totally forgotten two minutes after you finish it. So they named it right. Let me Talia, she didn’t much like the ideas I had. So, like, what’s wrong with interviewing leading sommeliers and asking them if they cry about how worthless their lives are? That’s cutting edge. Talia just kinda stared at me, but I know she was just jealous cuz I was rocking my “Yellow Tail” tube top. And she didn’t like my idea for an article on sleeping your way to the top of the wine writing business either, which is how I was gonna write off this whole conference on my taxes, so there goes that.
You know, for my money, the whole thing was a total waste of time, which I guess is like most wine writing. So that figures. Like all I got was some really good advice from these gurus, like, “Don’t give your content away for free, but good luck selling it.” And “Maybe writer’s block is a blessing in your case.” But I did get to meet a lot of real, authentic, natural wine writers, though I didn’t know any of them. They’re kind of a sallow looking group of people, kind of all yellowish most of ‘em, like their kidneys moved to Pakistan. Everyone said they were some of the most powerful wine writers in the whole country, except that the Duck Dynasty guy was the one they were tired of, and couldn’t stop talking about, when they weren’t talking about their blog stats, so I figured he was the real powerful one. Funny thing, they could all tell you a million things wrong with that Parker guy, see all the harm he’d caused in the world, tell you how the wine world would be better of if he’d never been born. Not one of them had ever looked in a mirror.
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.
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--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
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