On Wine Bullshit: Some New Software?
on 23/07/13 at 2:58 pmBooze News
The inspiration for the exegesis that follows comes directly from Harry G. Frankfurt, distinguished emeritus professor of philosophy at Princeton University, who recently published an enormously successful essay on the subject of bullshit (Frankfurt, 2005). In the author’s view, “One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves.” (Frankfurt, 2005, p. 1)
In some instances, there is an unhappy marriage between a subject that especially lends itself to bullshit and bullshit artists who are impelled to comment on it. I fear that wine is one of those instances where this unholy union is in effect. Lots of commentators describe wines; either because they want to sell wines (e.g., wine stores) or because they are professional wine writers whose business is to evaluate wines. Of course, neither group can do its job properly without imbibing substantial quantities of wine, which may perhaps explain in part the purple prose that flows from their pens. (Note that “purple” is good in wines but not so good in prose.) We, the wine-drinking public, are happy to read their evaluations, because we are largely ignorant of the quality of wines.