Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, Wine

speechDecanter Magazine and Jim’s Loire Blog, among others, has reported on the recommendation of a powerful group French of health advocates that the “Loi Evin” be liberally applied to wine information on the Internet. To translate, this group is suggesting that wine blogs, social media postings and other online outlets be banned from promoting, advertising or otherwise celebrating wine. Why? Because the French must protect their children from the disastrous impact of being exposed to the idea that Domaine de la Romanee Conti tastes yummy.

In other news, the French rest comfortably knowing their Maginot Line will protect them from a military invasion by the Germans.

Have experienced French culture through my former marriage to a French woman, by visiting France on numerous occasions and by having watched how the French have responded legally and voluntarily to other absurd restrictions placed upon them by those who know better, I will not be surprised when this proposed restriction on speech and press and wine is adopted and put into effect. C’est La Vie (en France)!!

However, this absurdly stupid proposal made me think and imagine what I would do if such a law restricting the reporting on wine in blogs were  passed in America. Would I say engage in classic civil disobedience, ignore the law, write about how yummy wine is and take the consequences (likely a fine)? Would I close down Fermentation in respect for the law? Would I try to be clever and skirt the law in order to keep publishing?

One of the keys to a happy life, I’ve learned, is to pick your battles carefully, whether we are talking about our personal lives or politics or careers. You simply can’t fight every occurrence of what strikes you as an affront. It leads to too much disappointment and resentment by others that becomes a threat to your well-being.

But it leaves the questions, by what criteria do we determine what one chooses to battle against. Most often it’s a matter of understanding the core principles one holds and uses to guide their lives and the need to defend against actions that threaten ones livelihood.

So to answer the question as to what I would do, I honestly can say I don’t know. I might just close down this blog and issue a sincere “Fuck You” to those who succeeded in their effort to restrict my most basic freedoms. But I really don’t know. It’s one of those things that is difficult to address until you are staring it in the face.

Today, the French are staring in the face. I wish them good luck in mustering an appropriate understanding of their core principles…whatever those might be these days.

6 Responses

  1. Kurt Burris - June 14, 2013

    Wow. I thought we (as in the residents and citizens of our fair nation) had a monopoly on neoprohibitionist twits. I stand corected.

  2. Donn Rutkoff - June 14, 2013

    As I often try to say to people who boycott French wine because of the French govt. posture in various world affairs, “Don’t take it out on wine. The French wine growers oppose their own govt. almost as much as you do.”

  3. Dwight Furrow - June 14, 2013

    For a country so concerned to preserve its cultural heritage, this is a sign that they have completely lost their way. It is sad; there is so much to love and admire about French culture. If it passes, I suspect they will do what Americans did during prohibition–find informal, surreptitious, subterranean ways of flouting the law until the authorities give up.

  4. Tom - June 18, 2013

    My French producers tell me they are already walking a tightrope when it comes to promotion. They can’t appear to be promoting the consumption of alcohol — for example, a slogan like “Drink More Wine” would be illegal. What they’re faced with is trying to promote their wines as opposed to whatever else you might otherwise be (responsibly) drinking.

  5. Tom WArk - June 18, 2013

    I can’t imagine the issues the French are having given the restrictions they face on the simplest of Business Speech.

    And by the way, Thank you! regarding AWCC

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