Dear RP and JL: report to the dance floor
One of my regular readers (Randy) commented here yesterday:
Having read for a while thoughts from Charlie, Steve, 1winedude and Tom, how do you guys get RP, JL and the other players to actually engage you guys on these blogs? Do they actually think they’re like, untouchable or are they so embarrassed by their official words that they can’t back them up in a free moving (on record) conversation?
What a great question. I replied, “Here’s my take: RP, JL and a few others have nothing to gain and a lot to lose by engaging with us po’ folk. They do tend to think they’re untouchable. It’s sad, but true. I would welcome their participation on this blog, but I’m not holding my breath.”
I think this topic is worth investigating a little bit more. When U.S. Presidents choose to isolate themselves away from a curious press corps (as sitting Presidents often do during re-election campaigns), they conduct what’s called a “Rose Garden strategy.” That’s when they appear only at carefully choreographed functions during which they take no questions but appear in all their glory surrounded by the majesty of their office. Their supporters claim that the President is “above the fray” but really, everybody understands that what’s really happening is the President (whoever he is, of whatever party) is actually afraid to engage in a bare-knuckled mano a mano with a bunch of reporters who are (usually) on top of the facts.
That’s how I see RP and JL. Why won’t they engage with me, or any of the other bloggers such as Alder or Eric? If they did, I can speak for the group of us: We would be respectful and keep the dialog on a high level, as we do anyway. It’s true that Tom Matthews, the top editor at Wine Spectator, frequently comments on blogs, but as far as I can tell, it’s not really to engage so much as to respond to criticism, i.e. damage control. It’s not a conversation when all you’re doing is reciting your magazine’s editorial policies.
Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate have taken a thrashing on the blogosphere in part because of their perceived arrogance. I wonder why they’ve held out for this long from engaging in the back-and-forth. It’s certainly not too late; they would be received here with open arms. As for JL, he seems to be more isolated than ever. One never sees him anywhere in California, whether it be at a bloggers conference, a writers conference, a Premier Napa Valley event, or anywhere up and down the state. As far and widely as I travel, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of Jim in years. I wonder why. It seems so, well, twentieth century to play the “I vant to be alone” game. Bob, Jim, come on down! The weather’s fine. You might even find a little romance out here on the dance floor.
My friend Bo Simons, who runs the wonderful Sonoma County Wine Library, asked if I could publicize their upcoming (Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m.) event, which will honor Arturo Robledo. Mr. Robledo worked his way from laborer to supervisor, to vineyard manager and is now a successful business owner. A bevy of wine industry stars will appear at the event, which is at Paradise Ridge Winery, in Santa Rosa. If you’re interested, you can call Bo at 707-433-3772, ext. 5.