Sunday, July 02, 2023

The Luxurious Privilege of Outrage

I was taking a coffee break recently with a friend, catching up, and he remarked about some crappy restaurant service he’d recently gotten. I quipped back at him, “Yeah, you’ve got it real rough. You’re white, you’re financially set and you’re relatively healthy and young enough. Sounds like your 1%er  white privilege is kicking in, cowboy.” He laughed. Of course, our banter can get a bit barbed, but it’s usually not jugular. But it can be to the point. I could have easily made that same remark in the mirror and it would have had an equal degree of accuracy. So, no glass houses here.

But it did ignite something within, and that was about the mantle of indignation so many of us, in all walks and phases of life, seem to have adopted in the last few years. Or put another way - Indignation is the new black. People are donning it like a badge of honor.

I really wanted to get to the core of this raging fire of indignation we seem to be stoking in today’s societal machinations. So many people are pissed off about something. Everyone seems to have a grievance scorecard. Nobody seems willing to just let things go. we’re all so over caffeinated and rage-fueled. And even in the world of wine, which should be a bastion of mellowness, there are outbursts of fury and indignation over the slightest things.

  • What, no Pet Nat on the list? I’m outa here!
  • What’s up with this all-natural wine list? Whatever the hell happened to just a straight wine list, you know like with Cabernet and Chardonnay? Duh!
  • Now the winemaker has to call the wine some fantasy name, forcing us to figure out where it lies within its region, possible denomination, and God knows what grape types? Oh, but the winemaker said it was all about the terroir – that makes it perfectly OK – not!

There are just a few of the grievances I have noticed when perusing wine related sites. It seems folks are having a hell of a time just accepting a cup of wine (stem or no stem?) and lightening up a bit. Are you’ all seeing any of this kind of asperity in your world?

What is it about all the choices we have in regards to selecting and enjoying the different types of wine available, like in no other time of history, that cause folks to get upset about it?

I just wonder if we all have gotten so used to accessing everything so easily that is has caused our emotional muscles to malfunction and go into entropy? I think the current buzz phrase is “compassion fatigue?” So, how does that relate to the world of wine, and especially the focus on this blog, Italian wine?

I’m going to shift lanes here, so bear with me, because I think this might have bearing on a possible solution – and for those who want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, where I am going with this might be a possible pathway.

Two or three times a week, I head out early to my local Italian grocery store. It was a habit I started when Covid was in full swing and I just wanted to get in and out with minimal human contact. Now, with the virus somewhat abated I still go and do my business. But the owner, Mike, has a little produce stand in the store and he rotates the produce, making sure it is fresh and looks good. Because of that, he has some “spoilage” that he heretofore would just dump. I convinced him to let me take the stuff and put it in my compost heap back home.

I have a hard time dealing with waste – maybe it was the nuns who drilled into me the “children are starving in China” mantra that causes me to not want to waste food. Anyway, I’ve been taking all his castoff produce and taking it home.

Along the way, some of the stuff never makes it into the compost bin. Things like San Marzano tomatoes, which Mike said, “tasted terrible” made a great tomato sauce. Or the crate of Texas cantaloupes, all cut up and curated for their juicy and sweet nature, makes for a great, fresh fruit juice. Mixes really well with a Tequila Blanco or a Prosecco for a nice happy hour cocktail around the pool. Up-cycling, I think they call it. Anyway, I’ve gone down a rabbit hole with this up-cycling thing. Our freezer is full. Our fridge is full. We’re eating like royalty, from stuff that was destined for the dump. So, how does this dovetail with the outrage phenom I started out talking about?

Well, what if we took that up-cycling mentality into our outrage tent and tried to soften the hard edges of all our grievances and rage? Might it change things? I’m just spit balling here, thinking maybe we all have it so good and don’t know it, that rather than dump our shit, maybe we could at the very least compost it, not make it so volatile and angry?

Mind you, it is no easy thing to do, physical or emotional up-cycling, especially in the age of compassion fatigue. But the next time I see an Italian wine I don’t quite grok (Google it, newbs), instead of reaching for the old way-back machine, maybe I can see it as an extension of the Italian wine miracle that I was lucky enough to witness and participate in. And, to see that progression in time as an evolution and potentially progression even more than I can imagine. Anyway, that’s kinda where my head is at.

I still want servers to stop asking me “How is everything tasting?” That’s a question best asked to the chef who is preparing it. By the time it gets to me, I’m gonna assume it’ll be delicious. That’s all the privilege I want, which I don’t think is so outrageous, is it?

 And there you have it, a brief crawl inside the mind of yours truly.  


wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

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