Hurray, America is Number One Again (Essay)


Today is Wednesday and I don’t work till later so have some free time. I did not feel like cooking and had no errands to run. I did bring my Netbook because I did know some free time will be on hand. Today is not a good nor a bad day. Wednesdays in retail and restaurant business are always mixed. Sometimes they are very good and sometimes very bad. There is hardly any in between. My personal theory has been that customers are confused. Certain things happen toward end of the week and others are pushed toward the beginning of the week but the middle is not fixed. Sometimes, much happens by plan or chance and the opposite at other times. Today is a normal Wednesday for me except chances of rain is 80% but no rain in sight for now.

I see everywhere in social media how exciting it is that America is finally number one when it comes to wine consumption. America is always happy to be number one and many times number one can be something meaningless or bad in short or long term. Wine consumption has significance on many scales. One thing to consider is it has been on the extreme decline in countries where wine is a mainstay of the culture and diet. It is great to see it has come down so much that America (a non-wine drinking country by history and tradition) is finally able to achieve number one! What does number one mean in this case?

It means many things and the public hardly know anything of what it can mean except that it must be good if everybody else is doing it and if a lot of it is good. That is typical provincial American thinking that is most commonplace in this country and is widely recognized as one’s right to an opinion. Unfortunately, most Americans do not know that on a bona fide scale of measurement, how few of them would even qualify as “people!” but that is all well as long as one lives in the United States and gets so much support by the media and the popular culture on being right and doing right by being what one is. What is an opinion of who is qualified to have one (so it matters and is LEGITIMATE) may fall within the realm of the field of philosophy but would probably better be explored when studying rhetoric. It is no surprise that the most important topic of “rhetoric” as an academic subject of study (one which was and is the domain of the best of human persons) is only available at TWO American universities. Berkeley and I forgot what on the East Coast still offer Doctors of Philosophy in Rhetoric (whatever that is to an American!) The idea of an opinion is besides this piece but worth mentioning that hardly anyone who lives and walks and talks on the surface of the Earth within the boundaries of this country is able to have a “qualified” opinion on many subjects if any. And that is what America is built on. The make belief that one knows and knows best and should take action based on makes this country what is. In wiser domains, one would seek an “authority” for a “qualified opinion” so one would not take action based on wrong understanding if any. In America, everyone is exempt from such standards and is entitled to making up whatever garbage one wishes and presenting such as an “opinion.”

That is another story but today in a non-wine drinking country, a great accomplishment has been made. The main contenders in the drinking game of how many empty bottles have been abandoning the bottle for alternatives across the generations and it has reached a point that somebody else can reach the heights of this field by counting more empty bottles. Whatever that means? What does it mean? Why does it matter? Those are questions you can ask and seek answers if this is your field.

I remember a few years back, a local magazine had criticized (on behalf of local California wineries) the sommelier at a famous local restaurant for refusing to carry California wines mostly on the grounds that alcohol was too high for dining. I had to send a note of support that day and I could not not agree more. The topic has been exhausted and needless to discuss but the issue remains the alcohol is too high in some local wines. That is a chronic problem which becomes significant on a day such as today. America is now world champion in the highest number of empty bottles and definitely determined to remain there. That means more empty bottles of wine are needed and the public now have a popular culture mandate since America has finally “arrived” that Americans should not be left out. They have to do their share of their drinking wine so they are in. Otherwise, they will be missing out and everyone knows that. This mindset may have been established in high school through peer pressure and advertising but is 100% alive today. Will this have a serious impact on any scale besides emptying warehouses of wine cases? Yes. As any opportunity always is misused and abused, this one will be also. The smarter minds in the business have already figured out how to exploit such an opportunity. Americans have no tradition of drinking wine and need to find one fast. Where does that come from? It comes from America and thus is American. Who makes such traditions? That depends.

But when it comes to drugs (alcohol being one), it is a job for a celebrity to push it. One day when Americans have grown up and become “people” they may be able to agree it is a “qualified opinion” of “experts” that a celebrities primary job is basically to sell the highest profiting commodity to the most vulnerable segments of society (it is also known as selling drugs to children as an example and which music and media star does not do one’s share? Only the backward country music people. Everyone else knows how to live and what is the good life and help the public follow.) America’s wine drinking tradition and how-to will most likely appear (by help of giant distributors and multi-national alcohol companies) through hip celebrities who will teach Americans how to drink, what to drink and so on. Stories of cool people and their cool drinking happenings will be abundant soon and what of it? Lots of empty bottles will be the measure of good life as it is with beer bottles and was chronic smoking at one time for another generation. There is no possibility that this golden opportunity will be missed and America will not become a wine drinking country for good. Americans will learn how to drink from all the wrong people and those “high alcohol” wines that scared many in the business will be the “norm” in no time resulting in populations of good Americans who are dependent on alcohol by drinking the wrong wine the wrong way. There is a big warning sign there for anyone who is in the business for the long run and cares for the health of the non-existent “food and beverage” industry (at least locally in Northern California). Alcohol abuse will turn the country against wine in no time and wine will be the enemy in no time. All the efforts made in education and promotion of qualify wine from various regions of the world will be lost once the society finds new numbers supporting the damage being number one is doing. That will arrive in no time and soon a sommelier will be no different than a drug pusher by offering and promoting wine to the general public. It won’t be long that people scoff at the long and hard training and education to become a professional who pushes wine bottles onto people! By then, everyone will know what “wine” is and what it DOES. Their worthless opinions will answer all questions once again. The field (for the lack of a legitimate industry) of food and wine may face a very serious challenge in only a few years if popular culture is allowed to determine too many things relevant including what is “proper wine consumption” for an American. I know I won’t raise a finger to help since too few care except for those outside of the field who oppose and are waiting to kick the ass of the people in this business being good or bad people. It is up to the top people in the industry to “think” a little and possibly offer “qualified opinions” on what they think proper wine drinking for Americans should be. I think strict rule of two glasses daily (across population and not for industry people) by themselves or drinking wine only with food in more quantities will be a starting rule of thumb. It takes a lot more to save the American public from their “opinions” which they have a right to and the evil of the business world who have had plans for decades how to exploit such an opportunity when and if it arrives. It has. America is number one again and is only good for THEM as usual.

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of Wine by Cush Magazine blog and published early in World of Cush also.

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