It's starting to look like the case of the guy with the girlfriends with an ugly tattoo. She may be nice, a kind and pretty, be a real stand by her man sort of gal and all that stuff. But that sure is an ugly tattoo. Mr. B's contribution was particularly fun: "...Jay Brooks and I went on a tear of tasting during which every single cask-conditioned brew we tasted for about ten or more in a row was badly affected by diacetyl..." Given all the heat and pomposity from the defenders of the group, he points out an interesting question - does CAMRA actually achieve it goals? I have always wondered why if cask is so wonderful and CAMRA so effective at four decades, why the beloved cask beer actually (I understand) attracts a lower price than the competition?
But the weirdest thing for me is what I pointed out at Pete's. Isn't the underlying problem the bureaucratization of ideas around what is ultimately just the consumer choice based on personal taste? Reading about falling in line with a system of committees of committees or being castigated for being part of a problem is all a bit Orwellian. Add to that the cloud of personal interest from position and even employment, it is really difficult to follow what is actually being discussed. Consider this representative response to the CAMRA chair's rant-ette on bloggers:
...the amount of time Colin spent on bloggers was pretty insignificant compared to the time spend discussing other things at the AGM. And yes, I do think it was a case of being fed up of the constant sniping by some bloggers about Keg beer. They have the remedy in their own hands, they can join CAMMRA and change policy, it was done for Cider & Perry so as peter sais ‘put up or shut up. Finally BSF, I’ve long been associated with it and have previously been the manager...
This neatly sums up the arguments heard from CAMRA supporters. First, the glorious leader was kind in acknowledging the voices of bloggers outside the organization's grip. Second, if anyone is unhappy with the organization, they can join and have their ideas drowned out in the mass of membership through the multi-leveled committee structure governed by the entrenched. Third, the well entrenched know what is good for you, have put a lot of hours in and therefore do not deserve to have their actions or opinions observed upon let alone questioned.
It is a very weird discussion which appears so far to be more about what is not really being stated than what is. Martyn's post alone is approaching 100 comments. It appears that a lot of repressed unhappiness is being released for some reason that I honestly cannot fathom. Help me out if you can. I may be enjoying this but I would like to understand as well. Sure, it is cultural and for all I know political. It definitely makes me grateful not to have to live under this system. But it also makes me agree with Dredge's point - why not reflect and take on some points being offered rather than barring the doors and heating up the pots of oil on the castle's ramparts?