In My Opinion, Your Opinion Sucks
In My Opinion, Your Opinion Sucks
While not always successful, I try to live by a few key phrases:
- “Will it matter a month from now (or even a year from now)?” ~ Worry
- “The greatest treasure is having someone to share it with” ~ Family
- “All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial” ~ Balance
Lately I’ve been thinking about two other principles as they relate to blogging, twitter and wine. Let me tell you both and then I’ll explain them.
- When given a choice, being nice is always the best option
- Opinions are like assholes, we all have them and most of them stink
As I mentioned in the first sentence, these are words I always, most of the time, try and periodically succeed at living by. Those that know me “IRL” (in real life), are probably saying, “yeah, you remember that one time…” I can be a hot head. Lack of food and stupid people are not a good combination in my world. Other people’s children, disrespect toward my wife and ignorant statements make my blood boil. How is this related to blogging, twitter and wine? Hold tight, you’ll see. The point is, often times we’re presented with situations that tick us off, opinions we don’t agree with and wine that we wouldn’t use as flavoring for the swill fed to our enemies pigs (ahhhh…I see where he’s going with this).
Pulling out a quote from my days as a youth pastor; “A harsh word stirs up dissention, but a gentle response turns away wrath.” Recently a wine writer joined the blogger sphere and caused some excitement with his pompous portrayal of traditional media and his alluding to his vast experience as being superior to the hobby wine bloggers. Were his statements narcissistic, egotistical and uninformed? You bet! Could he have chosen different words to convey his message of credibility? Absolutely! This mini-controversy showed the power of twitter, the reality of carefully crafting your brand and provided three examples of how to respond. Some chose the rude and insulting route. One blogger I read crafted a great post that firmly, yet respectfully, called out the ill-worded bio. Others chose not to comment at all, relying on the very first point in this post, “will it really matter one month from now (or even one year from now). In a world when a single tweet can ruin your reputation, being nice is always the better option.
How does this relate to wine reviews? Reviewing good wine is fun. The hard part is thinking of creative ways to say, “This is the best damn juice since that wedding in Cana,” or “Do whatever you can to get a case of this; mortgage your home, sell your kids, show some cleavage to get your lips on this bottle.” Reviewing bad wine or even average wine that is overpriced presents an option to be nice or to be rude. One approach is to say, “this tastes like yak piss,” or “even looking at this bottle will damage your taste buds, the whole lot should be buried at the bottom of the ocean.” Considering that the bottle you’re holding most likely represents someone’s hard work and dreams, a better approach is to be factual about what you’re experiencing, “the aroma profile on this wine has an off smell of dirty socks and burnt cherries and the mouth feel is thin, tepid and off balanced.” This is actually one reason why I’m a fan of scoring wine, whether it’s a 100 point system, 13 point scale or some sort of A through F approach. Providing the description of what you’re smelling and tasting along with a quantified score leaves no doubt as to your opinion on the wine. A score of 75 points indicates your dislike for the wine without having to be abusive and rude.
This leads me into my final point. These are my opinions. This is how I operate.
Opinions are Like Assholes. Everyone has one and most of them stink.
Blogs. Birthed as a medium for people to provide an ongoing record of their opinions and experiences. The very nature of the web log is a platform on which people can stand and shout out their opinions. Many things in life are based on fact. Two plus two always equals four (except in the world of political economics, but that’s a whole other post). Reviews of books, discussions on politics, dissertations on Star Trek, the quality of American Idol contestants, what LOST is all about, biblical analysis, and even wine is open to many subjective stances. These are called opinions. Chances are you started a wine blog because you had opinions about wine and you wanted to contribute your experiences to other people. How you do it is up to you?
If your blog is a description every night of what you taste, good for you! If you’re attempting to promote a region of the world, go for it. If you are out there and think all bloggers are barking poodles yapping for attention, fine! It’s your opinion. I may not like it. I may think you suck, but that is also my opinion. Why do we get bent out of shape when someone disagrees with us? Will it really matter one month from now (or even one year)? Could we fire back with 720 words of text that would make a hooker blush? Sure, all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. If we disagree, can we put together the point, counter point in a well thought out argument with differing views of the issue in an intelligent and respectful way? Absolutely! When presented with the choice, being nice is always the best option!
I have opinions:
- There is no way that a $200 wine is four times better than a $50 wine, but if you want to pay that kind of money for it, more power to you. I’ll buy four $50 bottles.
- I like point ratings on wine.
- The three tier distribution system is unconstitutional, un-American, and hinders small business.
- Washington makes the best wine in the world.
- Rush is not the greatest rock band ever (sorry, Joe). That title is reserved for The Beatles
- The new health care system is a crime against humanity. Ten years from now we’ll look back on it as being the biggest mistake of government in the last 100 years.
- The Bible is the inspired word of God and I try my best to live up to the words within. My humanity keeps getting in the way.
- Wine, more than any other beverage, is social, living, active and full of passion.
These are my opinions. I have my reasons, many of which I can back up with intelligent discourse. If you disagree with me, I’ll respect that too. We all have our opinions, that’s why we’re here. Being nice in our retorts and cross fire is always the best approach.
Cheers and Drink Happy!
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42 comments on “In My Opinion, Your Opinion Sucks”
In my opinion…this is a great post. Well said, Josh. Cheers!
Kori – thanks! Have a great week!
I agree with some of your points, and disagree with others, but truth be told, you nailed a very important truism for me: being an asshole is reserved for people who lack patience and creativity. For the past few years, I think social media has given people some bizarre sense of self entitlement. The entire theory of “it’s not what you say, but how you say it” has been tossed out the door for “I’m entitled to say whatever I want, and because you have the option to comment immediately, you can disagree with me”. Unfortunately, as you so rightfully pointed out, just because the winemaker/wine critic/retailer can reply to your opinion doesn’t mean that the unnecessary damage hasn’t already been done. If we all took a moment to consider if something needs to be said, and if it does, how we say it in the most professional and thoughtful way, we’d support growth instead of confusion and pain. But that’s just my two cents
In short, thanks for a very important reminder!!
Thanks for commenting Gabriella. I’m glad you don’t agree with everything I said. Life would be very borring if everyone agreed. Cheers!
Well Said Sir! It does seem we could all use a little perspective from time to time. I’ll be sharing this one with others!
I had a discussion on Twitter about the best rock band this morning. The Beatles wins it in a landslide.
Also, the three-tier distribution system is for commies.
Josh, thanks! The Beatles are the best rock band in the world IMO
Great article. I like that ur a Christian and not afraid to say it (I am too).
I see what ur saying about not being obnoxiously opinionated about a wine, but I have some reservations. For one I feel like there are far too many blogs out there whose only purpose is to spread love and goodness about whatever they’re blogging about in the mere hope of getting someone to give them ad $$. So when I see someone who’s genuinely angry about a wine it’s refreshing, and I can’t help but feel like it’s a backlash against the hugfest that is most Internet wine content. Also I think it’s really funny to see someone get emotional about a wine, be it a falling in love scene, or a brutal murder. But I am more likely to get mean about a mass produced or overpriced wine that touts itself as premier, and be kinder to a family run modest bottle. In those cases finding ways to criticize more respectfully are in the bloggers best interest
I’m with you on getting angry or frustrated about overpriced mass produced juice. In fact, you can certainly say so w/o being offensive. I definitely am not advocating watering down our wine reviews for the sake of niceness and add revenue.
I like your last point, “finding ways to criticize more respectfully” – that can be done even when reviewing some bad juice.
Cheers and God bless!
Maybe you won’t think this opinion sucks, but I think you’re awesome!! While I may not agree on absolutely everything you’ve said, I completely respect your opinions and your strength to express them This is a very well-thought out editorial and I love all your colorful metaphors!
I sometimes struggle with what to say when a winery’s wine just sucks without sounding mean, pompous or otherwise. I’m one of those regional promoters, and while I don’t stir up a lot of controversy, some wineries will never be happy with what you say about them. Sometimes a score would be so much easier. Maybe it’s time to give the rating system some thought after all. Keep spoutin that opinion geyser and I’ll keep drinking it up.
Thanks, Tamara – I appreciate it. Walking the fine line of promoting a region and being honest with reviews can be tough. IMO we’ll always do the right thing for the readers by being honest with our experience w/o being rude!
A WA / OR taste off could be fun and challenging, considering we make some different juice. Let’s connect and give it some thought!
And by the way, I think Oregon wines are the best in the world and perhaps we need to organize some sort of Oregon/Washington Taste Off!
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When I first created Seattle Wine Gal, my intent was to review wines. I very quickly realized that I could not do it. 1. TOO many wine bloggers review wine- total snore fest. 2. I feel very uncomfortable giving a bad review (like you said, these wines are someones babies, and the maker went way out of his or her way to send it to me). How I decided to handle this is to tell people who want to give/send wine home with me that I DO NOT REVIEW WINES. I don’t blog post about them, YouTube about them etc. What I tell them is that I tweet about what I am drinking (#WIYG), and am happy to help get the word out about them. I’ve had just as many bottles thrown my way, and I can avoid the tiresome and overdone wine review blog post. Thanks for this post Josh, rock on.
Thanks, Barb! You’re doing a fantastic job at your site and your YouTube channel. Amazingly smart and insightful social media posts, while keeping things fun and entertaining.! Thanks for leaving me some room to do the “snore fest” wine reviews.
What the hell do you have against yak piss? Have you ever even tasted it?
(nicely done, sir)
What?!? I disagree with everything you say here and I will now launch into a diatribe detailing my views and why they’re better than yours.
Just kidding – great post. Good reminders to us all!
Thanks, Mike and Kay Kay!
P.S. Yak piss has it’s own subtle qualities that some may find interesting. LOL
With all the discussion and banter that has been going across the twitterverse and online, this is one of the most honest, balanced and respectful posts on the matter. Passion is contagious so let’s start an epidemic and that’s what wine blogging is to me- a way to share something you’re passinate about, but being respectful of others is always part of that I think. The antiquated approached IMO had a lot to do with egos and that has without a doubt flowed over into blogs-natural. What can you do and he who shouts loudest often loses his voice first;) On your opinions, have to agree with point 1, have to disagree with 4-has to be NZ;) and your final point well that’s the magic of wine so 100% agree. Really enjoy your posts and thank-you!
Thanks, Lisa! We’re all in this because we have opinions. Sometimes we all (myself included) fall into the trap of trying to beat our chest and yell the loudest.
I agree with a lot of what you say here, and I disagree as well. On one point in particular. I don’t score wines and I don’t necessarily like this tendency we have. I feel like a few scorers have homogenized wine, and it’s diversity is what makes it so much fun. Play with oak, when you pick, let alone terroir and you have different wines. Some people, sophisticated people like oak in their wine, and that’s totally fine. I think as a society we’re impatient. We don’t want to read how you describe the wine, we want a quick and dirty number to know if we should buy it. (I’m actually working on a post on why I don’t score wines.)
Where we agree is your point about not saying anything at all. I feel like everyone has a different palate and we can agree on a lot, but we also need to leave room to appreciate those differences.
Also, there’s terrible wine out there. If you get a bad wine or have a bad experience. Give the place the benefit of the doubt or let your FRIENDS know, “Eh, didn’t care for that I wouldn’t recommend it.” FRIENDS don’t count the entire twittersphere. Like you say, don’t use your soapbox to bash people or even piss on someone’s hard work.
Going political for a second, who wants to live in a country where the number 1 cause of personal bankruptcy is a medical condition? Not I sir. We clearly disagree here.
Great post. I enjoy dialogue, and even argument where we differ, as long as we can disagree respectfully. Unfortunately our media models in this country believe in shouting down the other side or using ad hominem arguments as opposed to addressing the issues. You on the other hand have done well making your points here.
Clive, I’m sure we could have some lively discussion. Agreeing to disagree respectfully is a key place that a lot of people don’t end up. What’s wrong with two humans having differing opinions on a subject. We don’t need to fight to the death on everything.
If there is something I’m uneductated on, I’ll TRY to withhold my opinion (unless its just a matter of principle).
The Beatles and Rush put together can’t hold a candle to Led Zeppelin.
But otherwise, I agree with your assho ….. er, opinion!
Led Zeppelin is a great band! Thanks for stopping by, Joe!
Yes you are correct Sir. Being sincere in a review, or any other area of life, when we VOLUNTEER our opinion (or asked for it) can and should be done respectfully. Just be nice!
Bravo on your article. Jesus rocks, and so do you bro!
Strong (and dissenting) opinions make for good conversation, but one can very quickly pick out the great debaters from the flustered bullies as soon as a spirited argument begins. I don’t mind someone saying something negative about a wine, a government, or even a religious belief…just as long as he can provide good (or at least entertaining) backing for that opinion. I try to find the good in everything, look at them for what they are and not for what they aren’t, and understand that- often- agreeing to disagree is what makes the world go ’round.
and we must agree to disagree on the Beatles. Incredible band; top-billing in the pantheon of rock gods, but saying the Beatles are the greatest rock band is like saying a certain wine is the undisputed best out there. I know you’re a good enough wine writer and advocate to agree that wine is too subjective to pick a “best”…isn’t rock n’ roll the same way?
I dunno Josh… it can be fun to be an asshole. What it takes is either (a) not caring at all about repercussions, your reputation, etc (which is pretty lame… why run out on to the field if you won’t play ball?) or (b) carefully calculating who you’re likely to piss off, and whether you can accept that.
Shit-stirring is a time-honored tradition not just on the internet, but in local pubs, at family reunions, and stich-and-bitch sessions the world over. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, and “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing” is boooooring.
Not that I disagree with all you said here, but I just think that there are absolutely times to be the asshole, if you have the stomach for it. Many don’t.
Also, I review wine because I find too few bloggers do it well. Writing a bad review is, like you said, difficult, and therefore all the more rewarding.
Joe (suburban wino) and Steve – I’m so glad you stopped by! I was hoping for some contrary points to the argument. While I can agree with Steve’s claim that being an asshole can be fun, I still hold to my “being nice is always the BEST option.” You can be firm, and differing without being rude and disrespectful. I’d rather error on the side of being borring that relying on stirring up the pot for entertainment purposes.
I know both of you are fantastic bloggers and reviewers and I read almost every one of your posts. I look forward to more discussion on this!
“The Beatles and Rush put together can’t hold a candle to Led Zeppelin.” – Simply not true, and we’l never find out anyway because if the Rock Gods ever let it happen then our heads would instantly explode.
As for the topic of opinions, I’d offer that it’s simple: if you disagree with anything ever posted on 1WineDude.com, then you are wrong.
Joe, who would dare to disagree with you! Cheers!
My wife, for starters!
Time to settle this “best rock band” thing. I think we can all agree that Hanson holds the torch.
Joe (suburban wino) – “unfollow” “unfan” 😉
Be nice. Be professional. Be respectful.
Couldn’t agree more and it’s, frankly, disappointing that you had to take up space on your WINE blog to talk about blogging and to remind people to be nice.
But, in this world of social media “stars”, reality television (where being an a-hole gets you on TV) etc…it is important to remind people that being respectful is always important.
Of course, that’s just about the only thing in this post I agree with…but hey, I am respectful of your opinion. As a good friend of mine always says “It’s your right to be wrong.” 😉
It’s only normal for people’s passions to come out in negative ways that mirror their personality. In an ideal world, we would expect people to follow the basic principles of respect, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Part of the point was that in today’s micro world of Social Media, everything you say and do can be mis-interpreted and can even harm your “brand.” I’ve made a few mistakes along the way things I said were perceived differently that I would have intended. Perception often times holds more weight than reality (right / wrong / indifferent).
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Always good to hear from you, even if you disagree with me 😉
I think sometimes we’re a little hard on one another (I do it all the time, I know). In the end…the cream will rise to the top and non-blogger readership will determine who sticks around and who fades into the background.
Audience and community can be surprisingly good at doing the police work.
Agreed with you there, Lenn!
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Thanks for including this on your site guys! It was one of my favorite posts to write and the comments were awesome
Awesome post Josh and awesome discussion!
I wholeheartedly agree about being nice is the best option. I read tons of wine blogs and publications, all are different… some rate on a point scale, some say good things, some say bad… I personally don’t feel the need to rate wines on a point scale, but rather try to describe a wine to the best of my ability and let the reader decide if its a wine they would want to try. I also don’t write about wines I don’t like (for various reasons). Who am I to say a wine sucks that may be someone elses favorite juice in the world? It’s not my place to shun someone elses opinion and tastes. In those cases I just don’t say anything at all, but instead try to spread the word on wines I do like, and especially those I love!
Great approach, Mary! You are one of the nice people in the twitterverse too! Your passion for wine is contagious. Cheers to you!