“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, March 6, 2014
The Wine Blogger's Prayer
Lord, we come to you today with humility and reverence, and ask that you hear our pleas, for our hearts are open unto you as quickly as Stelvin allows, yet are as pure as the bark of Quercus suber. You led us to the path of blogger, encouraged us to begin our journey to discover wine, and, as you instructed us, we invited all of mankind to join us on that journey. Lord, it is a lonely journey. My room where I composeth my posts is as quiet as the grave, and my comments section is as barren as the wine list at P.F. Chang’s. I send my prayers twice weekly into your blessed Internet, and the silence with which they are greeted is as empty and soulless as a Wine Spectator editorial. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Shanken, I shall fear no Laube, for thou are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Though I’d prefer it, Lord, if your staff posted a link to me instead.
Lord, we ask that you bless us with the blessings you have bestowed upon our most devout brethren. Saint Thomas of Wark, of the Holy Distribution Trinity System, who hath many followers, which is a supreme miracle. Saint Dude. Nah, nah, nah, nah-nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah, Hey Dude. Lord, you have favored the Dude, have bestowed your greatest blessings upon him, and yet we can see no difference between his talents and ours. Just as he Vimeo, so doth we Vimeo. Just as we Tweet, so doth he twat. Is not our twat his equal? Hath thou so forsaken us that Saint Alder has ascended? Saint Alder of Catatonia, duller and emptier than the Amish FaceBook page? Lord, how you make us suffer. Have we fallen so far from grace that we are lower than Saint Blake the Petulant? Must we beggeth for alms on our blogs as he? Oh, Lord, hear our pleas.
Lord, we ask that you deliver us an audience greater than the number of people allowed in a Denny’s rest room at any one time by thine fire department regulations. We doeth as thou decree. We publish worthless and incoherent wine reviews and ask only for thine angels of UPS to bring us said wines for free, so that we may spread thy gospel, Drink what you like! Hear me, brothers and sisters! Drink what you like! Break free of the bonds of scholarship and hundreds of years of wine traditions! Drink what you like! Though your wine be corporate and more manipulated than a Florida election, drink what you like! Though your wine bears a label that insults your intelligence, calls you bitch or fat bastard, drink what you like! We shall bear witness, Lord, that we drink what we like, and, yea, we like what we drink when thine angels of UPS bring it for free. Please deliver us an admiring audience for our fatuous and simpleminded tasting notes. Let the words ring out! Great Post! Great Post! Great Post! Love, Mom.
Lord, we ask that you monetize our blogs, for we have talent, Lord, talent that comes from you, talent you should reward for you are responsible for our talent. Allow the winemakers of the world to see our talent, to admire that we Drink what we like. Allow the finest wineries in your kingdom to see the power and the glory that is wine blogging. To see that our future is their future, that your children of the Internet will cast out the powerful naysayers of print, the privileged paper tigers of the press. Your children of the iPhone will abandon the 100 Point Scale like the passengers of the Titanic abandoned ship, plunging into the cold, dark, unforgiving sea of stupidity that is their peer group. We are that cold, dark sea, Lord, and we pray that you monetize us, for we deserve it for our hard work and ability to type. Your children of Twitter will forsake the teachings of Saint Eric and Saint Jon, abandon them as they must abandon any prints of darkness. Your children will no longer continue beneath the fold, but dwell on the surface, where true knowledge lies. As the passengers of the Titanic hath discovered, there is only safety in the shallow, Lord, and none are more shallow than we.
Lord, we are the humblest of your servants. Yet we gather together and give each other awards, since you have forsaken us, and given us so little attention. Are you not the least bit embarrassed for us, Lord? We unashamedly praise each other, as baboons groom, the lowest of us attentively offering up our swollen fun parts to those more powerful in the hopes of being lovingly mounted in the parking lot of Meadowood after the Napa Valley Wine Writers Symposium. We yearn, Lord, to be the mounters, not the lowly Canadian mountees. Must we wait, Lord, must we wait so long for our palates to be recognized? Our friends are dazzled by our wine knowledge, why won’t strangers accept our wine thoughts as gospel? We have a CSW, and are in a wine tasting group. What more is there? In your name, we preach your truth. Drink what you like! And yet we feel forsaken, unheard, like Alice Feiring at a UC Davis Winemaking 101 course.
Lord, the simplest of us gather to have Wine Wednesdays and give each other strokes, as Boy Scouts often discover the joys of situational homosexuality. Other simpletons reach out to your least blessed children, Lord, your most intellectually deficient children, your children who seek wisdom from wine blogs, and offer to teach them the basics of wine with splashy graphics and using the simplest words. Forgive them, Lord, they are but the crazy guy in the park lecturing the pigeons, the retired professor lecturing to the empty class room in his mind. They are idiots, they are feebleminded, they presume to teach though they have the qualifications of a one-legged stripper and are just grasping at poles. Yet they are us. Others provide wine pairings for the stupid, who are much in need of wine advice, Lord, and underserved. Pairings for Girl Scout cookies, and breakfast cereal, and edible panties. Oh, Lord, what goes with edible panties better than wine from ancient bush vines? And yet these somms for the simpleminded are us as well.
Lord, hear our pleas. Let us be read and admired, let us be monetized through self-published books and newsletters, let our words be heard, our opinions carry weight, our business cards open doors to the most exclusive tastings. Ask not of us originality of thought, insight or integrity, for we have not the tools. Suffer us fools gladly, Lord, for we are but your fools. We walk our path to discover wine and expect others to walk fearlessly with us through the valley of the shadow of ignorance. We use our gifts to bless others with our wine wisdom and faultless palates, and want only to be recognized as a force for sales, and be taken on junkets where we can get drunk and be unfaithful, like people at real jobs do. We ask this humbly, Lord, though it’s only what we deserve. It was this, or a porn site on Tumblr.
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.