Recently, I came to the same conclusion that my colleague, Lyle Fass, came to about wine-centric forum Web sites. There’s a major level of futility connected to the many discussions that take place over and over on those sites.
As a result, I find myself gravitating more and more toward commenting on blogs, which, it turns out, isn’t always smooth sailing either.
A little while ago, one of the columns that I write for a newspaper’s magazine managed to migrate to the newspaper’s Web site—this happens not with all the columns, but with a few columns that the editors seem to think worthy of Internet exposure.
The column was about pairing dessert wine with dessert. I didn’t know that it was online until one of those Google Alerts came to me to tell me whenever my name is mentioned in an online post. The alert sent me to a blog by Kathleen Lisson, who talks about wine and food pairings. In her blog entry Ms. Lisson referenced my column and so I clicked on the link to see where it appeared online.
I won’t go into the extent of the column; you can read it by clicking the link below. But I was struck by the one comment to the column that appeared right under it.
People with nothing constructive to say often post anonymously or with a fictitious screen name. In this case, the reason for hiding one’s identity likely has to do with the nature of the name calling, not to mention the general vacuous nature of the overall post.
The writer starts by calling my column moronic and then proceeds to point out myriad misunderstandings, lack of knowledge, and general lack of civility not displayed by me but by the writer’s rebuttal.
Just in case this person follows this blog: they are called dessert wines because they often ARE the dessert and because you don’t consume them until the end of the main meal—get it?
At first, my heart raced when I read the inane comment. It’s that instinctual fight or flight reaction that so often takes over our sense of reason. I made ready to post a heated response, but then I stopped to do what matters—to think.
Over my lifetime and especially ever since I started to teach wine classes, I’ve learned that one’s efforts at educating have the best effects on those who seek to learn. You can’t teach those who already know everything. Ego makes no room for rationality. Of course, this particular writer’s dripping sarcasm makes a feeble attempt at covering up a lack of knowledge, but isn’t that what making noise is all about?
In my view, one of the hallmarks of intelligence is a sense of irony and humor; in a reference to something I wrote about Port, the writer could not have been any clearer about his or her lack of either. Therefore, I chose not to engage the recalcitrant know-it-all but instead to vent here, where I use my real name and invite the comments of real people unafraid to tell me who they are.
I do wish that those interested in spewing venom would turn to talk radio where it belongs.
You can make your evaluation of both my column and that person’s response. If you want to comment here on the matter, tell me who you are and I’ll engage in the conversation—the same goes to my secret admirer, should he or she be reading this blog.
Copyright Thomas Pellechia
January 2009. All rights reserved.