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Deconstructing Hardy Wallace: a parody of wine writing


Hardy, who famously was the winner of Murphy-Goode’s “A Really Goode Job” competition a few years back, is a funny guy. Last week he had a post on his Dirty South Wine blog called “5 Pointers on How to Successfully Write About Wine.

It was a parody but, as always with successful parody, behind the wit and hyperbole lies truth. (By the way, the first person who can explain the difference between parody and satire gets to buy me dinner at a restaurant of my choice, plus a free lifetime subscription to my blog.)

Here are Hardy’s first 4 pointers:

1. Online–Pick a fight
2. In Print–Talk about something new, like the new wave of CA Chardonnay
3. Embrace the downtrodden
4. Beat up on the Chinese

And here’s Hardy’s 5th pointer, in detail:

5. Assign Blame

Blame Suckling-  Because it is fun
Blame Parker- For Suckling.
Blame Spectator- For propag[a]ting this guy.
Blame Heimoff- I’m not sure for what yet, but just blame him for something.
Blame Bloggers- For continually lowering the bar

Deconstruction time!

a. Why is it fun to “blame Suckling”? Because there’s something about him that makes you want to see him slip on a banana peel or maybe get a cream pie in the face. This treacly quality wasn’t apparent until he left the Speculator to freelance, but as soon as he did, Whoa! Worst. Launch. Ever. Poor James made himself an object of ridicule he still hasn’t lived down or owned up to. He parodied himself, and was oblivious to the fact that everybody perceived him as a parody of the pompous wine critic. It’s still hard to say which was worse, his arrogance or his obliviousness. That’s why it’s fun to make fun of him.

b. Why is it fair to blame Parker for Suckling? Here, we have to wade deep into the lagoon of semiotics. Parker created himself–this is why he’s called God. Once God is thrust into human affairs, demigods necessarily follow. God begets gods (and goddesses, too, hence the divine Leslie Sbrocco). Thus, in order to explain the phenomenon of a Suckling, we must revert to the first cause that allows for its existence, namely Parker. Without Parker there would be no Suckling or, more properly, there would not be the meta-phenomenon known as James Suckling.

c. Why is it proper and good to blame Spectator for propagating Suckling? Because it did. Parker created the conditions that made the advent of a Suckling possible, even inevitable, but Spectator seeded and birthed the embryo. Suckling is the demon spawn of Spectator.

d. Now things get interesting. Why is it good to blame Heimoff? Well, from Hardy’s commentary, it’s not clear that it is. Hardy wants to blame Heimoff. He feels the need to kvetch about Heimoff. But here’s the irony: Try as he might, he can’t find any reason to. Why is this? Surely others can, and have. A British blogger wrote that Heimoff makes him lose control. Others on this side of the Pond have been less kind. But Hardy’s mind circumnavigates the entire Universe of things known about Heimoff for some charge to level against him, and returns home empty-handed. Curious. I would suggest that the reason for this is because Heimoff, like Caesar’s wife, actually is blameless. But then, I’m biased.

e. Bloggers do continually lower the bar. They also continually raise it. How is it possible to lower and raise the bar simultaneously? Ask Zeno of Elea. The essence of everything is paradox.

By the way, Hardy had a sixth pointer, even though he said he only had 5 pointers:

6. Break the rules – Shoot Eiswein with Salad, pair Aglianico with a glass of buttermilk

Anyhow, I decided to take Hardy’s advice and write about wine using all 6 of his pointers. Here goes:

I’m really pissed at those Bordeaux wines for being so expensive. Those poofy chateau-ers are too damned rich and now they’re getting richer by selling to a bunch of Chinese yahoos. Bordeaux isn’t as good as our New Wave California Cabernet, anyway. Harlan! Dalla Valle! Araujo! You’ll be hearing about these guys if I have anything to say about it, and I do, since I’m #4 with a bullet on the Hardy-o-meter and rising fast. Course, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the Little People who are out of work and can’t even afford Two Buck Chuck. I do! I feel their pain. [bites lower lip] I just don’t know what to tell them. Personally, I think this damned Recession sucks, so it must be Suckling’s fault. Or Parker’s. Yeah, Parker. He probably started it. Think about it. Can’t you just see him in his evil control room, down there in Monckton, pulling levers and pushing buttons that wreak all kinds of havoc? Then those damned bloggers retweet it and before you know it, everybody’s puters have more worms in ‘em than a road kill-eating dog. It gets me so mad all I wanna do is take my free sample of Lafite and mix it with Coca Cola. I would, except I’m not Chinese. And I sure wouldn’t wanna end up on Suckling’s website and have him say, “I’m James Suckling, and I give Heimoff 53 points.” So instead, I’ll just crunk this here New Wave mixture of white Zin, mayo and chop suey and if Joe Roberts has a problem with that, tough. He and his blobber friends have lowered the bar so low it’s sitting on their feet. Any lower, and it’ll be in the sky over China.

  1. It’s all great, but where’s the part about points being evil?!??? 😉

  2. I think this post would make for a funny vlog if you did it.

  3. I’m with Nick. Time to turn on the cam.

  4. Wish I had a cam.

  5. Turn on the cam? Well, OK, but be sure you are being interviewed by Leslie when you do.

  6. You’ve done it! You’ve cloned the Hosemaster!!

  7. STEVE!, you don’t know the difference between parody and satire? Think of it this way: Wine blogs are parody; Wine Blog Awards are satire.

    And both you and Hardy left out the most important rule of wine writing at least on the Internet–write as often as you can about bloggers in order to get the most attention, blog hits and comments.

    Paul G, overlooked for the satiric Wine Blog Awards in favor of lesser mortals, I’ve not been cloned, though everyone seems to want in my genes. Though I’m several chromosomes short of Cro-Magnon.

  8. wow. I think I shit my pants.

  9. I had a Parody once. It was green and blue and red with some yellow in the edges. I tried to teach it to sing and hop one one leg. I stopped when I slipped and fell. I didn’t know a Parody could laugh so much. I think it had previously been owned by an oriental martial arts master. It would occasionally chirp out…..”you wanna fight? Fight MEEEE!”

  10. John Roberts says:

    The West Coast needs a Gary Vaynerchuk – someone with a West Coast sensibility though, not the temperance of a NYC hit man.

    Parody necessarily imitates what it critiques or ridicules. Satire ridicules, but in ironic ways. Reading/Watching a satire, we aren’t sure at first that it is a satire. Think of Swift’s A Modest Proposal here. Parody is more overt, more explicit. Think an SNL skit featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.

    A Wine Champion

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