Monday, May 24, 2010

Rant: Be Original, Not a Parrot

I am getting very tired of seeing the same old arguments posted again and again on wine blogs. Bashing the print wine media, bashing the 100 point scoring system, bashing those who don't understand millenials, and more. These discussions have been repeated ad nauseum on many different wine blogs, and sometimes on the same blog over and over. What a waste of time.

It is extremely rare to see anything original in these discussions. It is mostly just a rehash of the same points and opinions, many times with ad hominem arguments. Positions get polarized and each side in the argument often gets defensive. The rhetoric may ramp up, with accusations flying around. Nothing ever gets resolved.

Why is this done? One reason may be writer's block. It is certainly easy to write one of these posts, as all of the arguments have already been made in the past. So you just cobble together your post from the past, cutting and pasting what you need. A lazy man's way of handling writer's block.

Another reason may be to attract traffic to your blog. Even if your post contains nothing new, you still are almost guaranteed to get a number of bloggers adding their comments, generally supporting your position. And if someone dares refute your points, everyone will gang up on that detractor, further uppping your traffic. Forget any reasoned discussion, just insult the detractor and force him out.

It should also be mentioned that the print wine media is most often depicted as the villain. Even when other bloggers engage in similar behavior as the print wine media, such as using the 100 point rating system, they are not criticized for such. It is as if the unoriginal bloggers don't want to alienate their fellow bloggers, yet that then becomes a double standard.

Where is the originality? Is that not what wine blogs should do, provide original content, some of which you cannot find elsewhere? It is certainly more difficult to write original content, but it is much more satisfying. I certainly struggle to be original, and am sure I have failed on more than one occasion. But I strive for it, making originality my ultimate goal.

It especially bothers me when I see top-notch bloggers, those with excellent writing skills, who still seem to resort to the same old topics. They are the ones who should be leading the way through originality. There is no need for them to rehash the same old silly arguments. Unless you really have something original to say about these arguments, which will be rare, it is better to remain silent and speak on another topic.

Don't be a parrot and repeat the same old arguments. Stand on your own and embrace originality. Make the extra effort and craft something of your own, something unique and interesting.


Claudia said...

Nice post. My only engagement with print wine media had to do with a serious journalistic flaw I thought one of the publications committed. I like wine and I like to write about what I like. I am now working part-time for a local winery and have disclosed that too in my blog. There's so much to write about besides some of the very tired topics you've noted in your post.

JacquelineC said...

I attribute much of it to laziness. Sorry but there you have it. It's much harder to research an original topic, find examples which support your premise, craft an interesting story around it. I think this is why we have the dreaded "Cheese Sandwich" blogs. "just had a cheese sandwich for lunch." It's easy to write and post thanks to the wonders of blog templates and the immediacy of FB, Twitter. But how about telling us why that particular cheese sandwich was unique?

What about your experience buying that cheese, learning about the cheesemaker, maybe learning the specifics of its affinage? Those would be the things that would make a post about a cheese sandwich lunch, interesting and unique. But those take time, attention to the craft of writing, and some intellectual curiosity and the discipline of research and writing.

So, there's my mini-rant of an answer. I would rather read someone who posts once a week about a particular wine, or meal or pairing that piques my interest, teaches me something new, or presents a new perspective than someone who posts every day about every mundane thing they make and eat.

@nectarwine said...

I score this post a 99. ;)

Richard, I agree but there are times when I read something that makes me want to offer a rebutle from a different perspective (i.e. the 100 point score bashing).