I just received a ‘last call’ e-card from the French saying ‘Wish you were here! —and for what you will pay for the Sud de France Master-Level Webinar Program, you might as well be.’
The deal is this: For a modest huge fee (four hundred bones), The French Wine Society has invited me to purchase an on-line ‘webinar’ which will teach me everything I wanted to know about Languedoc-Roussillon but was afraid to Google Languedoc-Roussillon and learn for free.
The webinar—and by the way, why am I always getting dinged for making up words, but the FWS isn’t?—consists of fourteen live ‘thematic’ lectures on L-R delivered by industry poobahs—a couple of whom I really like.
But this ‘last call’ nonsense is indicative of the fact that this is the third plea for participation that has infiltrated my inbox from these peculiar, persistent people. Evidently, the webinar wizards think I am simply dragging my webbed feet.
But, everybody has to earn a living, right? So, if you have already earned yours and want to shell some of it out to the French Wine Society, be my guest. Upon receipt of payment, you will be able to log into the nine webinars taught by Headmaster of Wine Matthew Stubbs, who will inveigle you with such delightfully-designated disquisitions as Fifty Shades of Grès and Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Languedoc AOCs in which you will first learn how to say Languedoc-Roussillon; then, how to interpret what ‘work address’ means when listed on Master Stubbs’ profile page (‘Gayda’ is not the French pronunciation of gay-dar); then, a bit about alliteration (core curriculum; granite, gneiss, galets; Picpoul de Pinet), and then Matt will walk you through the 2600 years of history and mystery that surrounds France’s oft-misunderstood underbelly, as he, in the process, promises not to stubb his webbed toe.
Once you have thoroughly analyzed and absorbed these astute annotations, you may move on to the five ‘distinguished guest lecturers’ who will proceed to pad your perimeter purview with presentations like Cultural Languedoc-Roussillon and Tradition and Transition (I find alliteration sort of annoying, don’t you?) and trust me, this pentamerous passel of preachers are far from pikers. Two are Masters of Wine and one, Dominique Laporte, was named ‘Best Sommelier in France‘.
Another is Andrew Lloyd Webfoot Andrew Jefford—poet, editor and webinarian.
In fact, it was his presence on the panel that gave me cold webbed feet about even publishing this particular piece.
Because, unlike most influential wine writers, ninety percent of whom are so stunningly dull (you know who you are) that the mere whisper of their names sends me into catatonic stupors requiring hospitalization and intra-nasal applications of tetrahydrocannabinol, Andrew Jefford is on record extolling the virtues of humor and irreverence in wine writing, and himself displays considerable unpretentiousness, humility and self-effacement in his weblog.
See, that’s exactly like me except for the unpretentious, humble and self-effacing part.
Ultimately, it is journalism’s jihadists like Jefford who I need to keep on board my pretty purple Pullman—detrailing the dude who is leading the charge of change in the industry and who understands that dusty, dry, overly-tannic wine writing is an anachronism—does not serve my interests.
Burning That Bridge Would be Catastrophic…
On the other hand, being less than candid when covering crap like the Sud de France Master-Level Webinar Program does not serve the interests of the 8.002% of readers who admit to actually reading what I post.
Stubby, my boy; talk about your rock and hard place…
So, that said, let me sincerely urge those of you who already own the Boardwalks and Park Places, complete with hotels (and whichever of the railroads has Pullman coaches) on the Monopoly board of life to do the following:
Web-register for the webinar before you dot another ‘t’ (http://www.frenchwinesociety.org/index.php) and absorb all the trifling Languedoc-Roussillon trivia you can.
And when your turn comes to interact with Mr. Jefford in the Q and A portion of the lecture? Please put a good word in for those of us skirmishing, scrabbling scribes who are scamming single green houses on sad, carignan-colored State Avenue.
Do that for me, my friends, and I would be extasubet.
No, FWS weboholics, I did not invent that last word: Look it up in your Funk & Websters.