It seems revolt and change are teeming in so many places these days. Wine culture – and wine writing, in particular – is no exception.
I left Poland in late December of 1980. Although tension had been mounting and change had been brewing for some time; shortly after our departure, things spiraled down: Economic hardships, empty store shelves, public unrest, protests, water cannons, beatings and arrests.
The regime contained and suppressed it but things were never the same and a few years later there finally came a breakthrough. A similar situation is playing out in Iran. So, it is my ardent hope that the Iranian people achieve their breakthrough – whatever they want that to be.
Before the advent of wine blogging, the major revolutionary in the world of wine writing was a Maryland lawyer. Lately, it has seemed as though all the jackets Robert M. Parker Jr. owns have a big target on the back. Call me a jaded, but it’s hard to see a difference between Parker’s revolt against the wine writing status quo of his day and the attacks which target him today.
Last year, I asked bloggers on which side of the window they stand, suggesting that they might find themselves on the other side of the same window one day (once they’ve replaced the panes they shattered with rocks).
Ah, the sinusoidal course of life and history…
When I returned to Poland in 1994 for medical school (after a few short-term summer visits), I found the ideological descendant of the Solidarity movement at the country’s helm. They (then, the conservative right) bore an uncanny resemblance to Orwellian pigs. I found the omnipresence of the church and the role of the clergy in public life unhealthy. The church had been a supporter of reform and a rallying point for the masses in the ’80s. Now, every occasion seemed to necessitate the presence of a priest who would offer an invocation, a sprinkling of holy water and some moral fiat. But those decrees, of course, were superior to the secular, socialist ones issued by the preceding (deposed) regime…
Back to wine: The journalistic landscape is changing, though the course of this change may be less dramatic than a coup d’état. So, I don’t expect a gripping or entertaining 90 minutes of summer cinema in three acts to come out of this (no matter how campy a performance Rickman delivers).
While the turning point at which change occurs is singular and exciting, change is really about what happens after that point in time.
Many analysts and experts are speculating on just what kind of state those people in the streets of Iran (and those supporting them) want. Just as these commentators prognosticate the political and social landscape or Iran in the near and distant future, so do many writing about wine speculate on the nature of wine writing in the years to come.
Change is real when it is lasting. It seems to be a constant, though, that all revolutions come full circle. The revolutionary becomes the establishment and someone else rises up against them.
It might be valuable to note, also, that the more radical the change, the more likely it is that there will be a 180 degree turn a few decades down the line.
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