20051208

"You're soaking in it," and other things best avoided

wine bath spa resort

Some blogs have a statement of purpose. I haven't written an entry like that yet. It's obvious that I only post about wine, but so do umpteen-hundred others. When I read the article published in the New York Times Travel Section this week, I felt more motivated than ever to say "this is the exact opposite of what I want to accomplish". This so-called free feature found in the Spa Guide reads like an ad dreamed up by someone who knows too much about marketing copy and much too little about the joys of wine. I cannot recall a flabbier, anemic story with an NYT byline. It's about the soft sell -- if you tart it up enough, you can sell anything to the most disinterested party. That fridge can be sold to this here Inuit family and these here readers who don't ever think to dine with wine might just be curious about a resort that oozes with so much wine you practically bathe in the stuff! Whoa cool!

It's reminiscent of a beef I had with the Beaujolais nouveau people. I can now say I prefer the stilted -- if somewhat informative -- blog and funky French acid jazz of their over-18 site to the pathetic Times advert for the Kenwood Inn. But I don't think Doktor Weingolb will see either one.

Snobby, aren't I? I'll admit there are audiences for dispassionate, commercial writing about wine. And there are audiences for November Beaujolais parties. (Here's hoping that they are one and the same and all the leftover vin nouveau can be put to use as bathwater.) The point is that there are plenty of people who couldn't care less about wine or what it really has to offer when it's not masquerading as shower gel. That's fine. I'm not going to win over many of those people in this space. Because that's just not the audience I want to cater to. And I am determined that that actually has nothing to do with snobism and everything to do with goal of achieving good writing. I'm not saying I'm a great writer (I can put up some really half-baked prose that visitors will turn up their nose at, and probably already have done). But to me, the best writing on the web is the stuff that targets its readers well. Then when you reach your audience, you've succeeded, no matter how much of a fool you feel like when describing a malbec as "robust, with hints of leather belts that are about ready to snap under the tangible weight and volume". Or however one's moved to express the gustatory experience...

1 comment:

Millie said...

I have to admit, I haven't read too many posts on this blog (probably since I'm not your target audience and therefore wouldn't respond with glee to disdainful posts about what poor taste the masses hold). I've always felt that a sign of genuine good taste is the ability to distinguish good from bad without resorting to researching some culturally superior being's opinion for validation. Not to say that everything is subjective- I think we can agree that a bag of Dempsters wheat is no French baguette. On the other hand, why the disgust for those just looking for something to smack their PB & J on? Can we not celebrate things we think are great without dumping on people who are satisfied with "swill". Respect thy fellow man! (tis the season).

Merry Christmas!!!