Why do bloggers hate Parker?
The blogosphere has all but pronounced Robert Parker dead as a Rift Valley bone, but The Man Himself just proved he’s still relevent (if there were any doubt about it) by raising $1 million in advance sales for charity scholarships for his big Oct. 22 tasting of Chateauneuf-du-Pape at the Culinary Institute of America, in Napa Valley.
Could anyone else do that, even Gary V.? I don’t think so. Not bad for a fossil. So I guess pronouncements of Parker’s demise have been exaggerated.
So many people want Parker dead and buried, you have to wonder what’s driving the anger, which at times is reminiscent of the birther’s hatred of President Obama. Leading the charge have been Dr. Vino and Slate’s Mike Steinberger, who last week issued his latest fatwa against the Man from Monkton, resurrecting the increasingly tired charges of “ethical lapses” and “missteps” and warning, not only Parker but others of his Baby Boomer ilk, that they’re going to have to tread “a lot more lightly” and even then, they shouldn’t expect to “command quite the deference” they’re used to.
Well, that would include me, I guess, since I’m basically Parker’s age and a certified Boomer wine writer. Not that I think I’m remotely in Parker’s league…
Look, have we Boomer critics really been so terrible? We helped popularize wine with the American people, writing about it and explaining it the best we could, scrambling to make a living in a job that doesn’t pay all that much (unless you’re Parker), trying to figure out how to be honorable, and considering ourselves lucky every step of the way. We had the baton passed to us by our predecessors, whom we gave proper respect to, and now we’re happy to pass it along to the next generation. So what’s the problem? How else, besides an unseemly jealousy, to explain the vituperation, which sometimes gets expressed in an almost violent way against Parker and others?
I’ve always believed in fundamental fairness. When the Wine Spectator was busted in that phony restaurant wine list scam last year, even though the Spectator is Wine Enthusiast’s competitor, I blogged that it could have happened to anyone, so let’s cut Spectator some slack. Of course, that didn’t stop some people from putting Spectator right down there with Hitler. When Dr. Vino revealed some of the practices at eRobert Parker, I said that it wasn’t the worst thing in the world; writers need the largesse of the industry because otherwise we couldn’t afford to travel and taste wine. I asked for a sense of balance.
So once again I have to say, come on you bloggers, get a grip. Chill. Don’t be so pissed all the time: it’s not good for you. Just because Parker is rich and famous and you’re not doesn’t make him the bad guy. He’s had an honorable career, and you’re not going to advance any further or higher in yours than he has by insulting him, so get over it. Look, I’ve chastised the wine industry for years for supporting (wittingly or not) the hegemony of Wine Spectator and Parker, to the exclusion of every other legitimate wine periodical, including Wine Enthusiast. California wineries in particular stand justly accused of such short-sighted snobbery by buying into Parker-Spectatoritis. But I never felt I had to delegitimize the Spectator or Parker themselves. Just because you don’t like the message doesn’t mean you have to kill the messenger.
So everybody, lay off Parker. Call off the witch hunt. Bloggers, do your thing without having to slime anyone or build your career on someone’s corpse. It won’t kill you to be nice.