Parker the Wine Dictator? I Think Not
Boy, THIS is what makes it so easy to blog on a daily basis.
Hugh Johnson, one of the greatest wine writers to ever walk this planet, has stumbled into a quagmire by proposing that "Imperial hegemony lives in Washington and the dictator of taste in Baltimore…Taste in the past was largely a matter of harmless fashion. In American hands it feels more like a moral crusade."
Johnson, the author of the groundbreaking "Vintage: A History of Wine" and "World Atlas of Wine, perhaps one of the best wine books ever written, makes this comment in an interview with Decanter Magazine and apparently in a forthcoming book, "Wine: A Life Uncorked".
Among the other tidbits Johnson drops are these:
Parker feels he has the right to tick off people who don’t do “Better”, whereas I don’t feel any such right.’
Johnson makes the fatal mistake of confusing the role of critic with the role of cheerleader, or commentator at best. And make no mistake, this is not just offhanded comments by Johnson. This is criticism of a critic based on what they like. In other words, its the most common of criticisms you see aimed at that long-established and well-honored writing genre.
You also get the impression that Johnson is motivated by an impatience with American foreign policy. This part doesn’t bother me as much, since I like the using various lenses to examine a subject. But more than anything, this diatribe by Johnson bothers me because I have such huge respect for the man and his work and I think this kind of invective is below him.