Readers of this blog can rightly assume that I'm no fan of the Suckling Tapes. I've heard others pose the theory that watching the high-gloss productions have the compelling magnetism of a train wreck. Yet, I've not been able to make it through the end of any.
In one disturbing episode he, Jay McInerny and David Sokolin tasted and scored a mashup of 1982 Bordeaux. None of these men gave context. There were no stories behind the chateau or the vintage, all they proffered were boring, (very) tasting notes and numbers.
Directed towards Suckling's target customer? Of course.
Directed to the collector who cares soley for status and not taste? It would appear.
God knows, there are enough of those types around, who view their 1982 Latour as their new Breitling, or their new piece of arm-candy. Yes, good luck to him.
While I turned the tapes off, I found myself thinking about how years back when I sat in the Angelika watching The Cook the Thief His Wife And Her Lover, I had to leave.
Not during this scene, but during the end of this:
Tell me, is this the scene where Michael is being force fed pages of his books? ( or that's what I thought. At the time, I was so troubled, I ran away from the wet sounds of Michael's strangulation, forced to eat the words from the volumes he so loved. My fantasy may have been worse than Greenaway's reality.) But I do know, that in this scene, Helen Mirren's character said, "What good are these books? You can't eat them."
Here was disrespect for man, words and literature. Here was a scene sobereft of humanity, much in the same way those Tapes respected neither word nor story. Where the Greenaway film was complex and layered, the Tapes had an obscene reductionism. The number was the parameter, not the taste. I felt I was being smothered by points.
I have no trouble with someone marketing themselves or making money, I do question Suckling's judgment for using social media. The crowd just doesn't seem to be his audience. He was slammed immediately for shamelessness, ego. He was cited for being as out of step with current wine trends and assuming a 'natural wine' was no longer for Birkenstock wearing hippies. People in 17th century France were guillotined for similar points of view. Social Media can also be brutal with its rapid lifecycle from Hero to Haman.
While Suckling innocently sauntered into a world he didn't belong, none are immune to the lifecycle and pettiness of Blogging and Tweeting where wings of both angels and dragonflies can be ripped off from the the scapulae. Applause is as common as jeers. Sometimes the bullies swarm; mean boys and girls drive their peers to thoughts of suicide. It's easy to see how the young and the weak, or merely the weak, can be provoked to self-destruct. I am not immune.
A good and famous friend once counseled me that I should never read what is written about me. He was right and I imagine Mr. Suckling will not read the Heimoff Blog. But what happens when the hate gets posted on Twitter or even in your mail box?
Over the past few days I have had pieces of hate arrive through email, through Twitter and to my face. I did not have the option of not reading. But it sure made me think hard about human nature and how modern technology is helping to feed the baser emotions.
How people see themselves as opposed to the reality is the stuff of both depression and therapy. I have no idea how Suckling views himself, perhaps a rock star, perhaps a wine 'expert.' While people view me as some sort of natural wine something (fill in the blank: diva, princess, high priestess) those are media's terms for me, not mine.
Creating a sentence and not an image or even a wine message is what gets me up in the morning. Unfortunately, no therapist to date has been able to wean my ego away from its obsession of syntax; not color, structure and aroma. True, wine is the majority subject and it fascinates me and I do love writing about it as cultural, philosophical and political metaphor, and the ones that I love, sure do taste good to me. So I fold these two obsessions into this complex tango.
I use is my tools and platforms to support my stories and the little guy, the under dog, the person and the wines and stories that I think need to be told. Vin nature is one of them, I am not a one trick pony and my stories don't come with a number.
This weekend, Leonard Bernstein's picture arrived in the New York Times.
I tore it out and pegged it with a slender needle to my book shelves, above my computer. Lenny is speaking to me.
Look at his focus. The coaxing look in his eye, the tension across the shoulder, the grip on his baton, the curl in his pinkie; every bit of his energy is going into the orchestra to squeeze out the sound he wants. Everything. There is no room for hatred, there is no room for anything but the music, there's no room for the audience. He is there with his art and with the art. That is it. That is beauty. That is brilliance. In that moment there is no room for pettiness. There is wisdom in this image. I will try to listen.