One of the weirdest things in the beery discourse is the assumption of a superior stance tied with an accusation of personal slight when not one was thinking about the rude interceding person. Example this afternoon on Facebook was this one:
Much of what I do at RateBeer, frankly, is try to promote non-douche-y behavior as best I can. The BeerAdvocate folks do so as well, at least in their own way. And we like it when people act decent and have fun with beer.
Everyone loves RateBeer and BeerAdvocate when we bring a ton of support and interest to support small breweries. And, when we do that too well, everyone loves to sloppily throw us under the bus with straw-man arguments and poorly disguised "Hey, look at these people who appreciate beer slightly differently than us!" frameworks that make everyone standing in line there look like a beer douche that we molded in our secret little beer-douche-molding lair.
Executive summary: Blogger, please.
Followed by this one:
(Not directed at you folks. Just how one reads it when they're on the receiving end. Generally I just chuckle and scroll past this stuff.)
Is there anything more embarrassing than playing either the victim or the judge in a situation where your presence is not only not requested or required but when you are not even really involved at the heart of the question? See, the comments are from Ken Weaver of Rate Beer with whom I believe I have only had positive discussions. It was posted in response to Craig's recent post about the over hype in beer geek era. I am writing articles and books with Craig and last Saturday was caught doing this with him. Sorry about that one.
Anyway, this is not about slagging Ken or backing Craig. Or vice versa. It is about one aspect of good beer that I detest. Superior stances. The art of the bland broad brush response laced with a hint of fatigue with chatter from the cheap seats. "I just chuckle..."? Give me a break. And "...throw us under the bus with straw-man arguments..."? Really? The post was not about beer forum, it was about broader beer geek ticking behaviour. You know, while not common, this's a fourth one of these blurty tantrums against beer related discussion that I can think of. In 2007, Tomme Arthur objecting to a discussion on the price of good beer with fairly reasoned observations but something of a tone of victimization. Far odder, Greg Koch bizarre rant in 2009 over I know not what still in a discussion about American Craft Beer Week's neediness. Far odder still, of course, was Roger Protz's 2011 infantile association of myself and Martyn Cornell with Nazi book burning. Ken, to be very clear, is at the gentler Tomme end of the phenomenon. Thanks be to God.
What is the point of me lumping folk together like this? Well, frankly, there is an apparent unseemly comfort in use of the insulting too often from folk who hold themselves out as, what... people in good beer it is assumed we should automatically respect? Leaders in good beer? There is too little fresh air in good beer and good beer discussion for that assumption to ever be made let alone depended on. Yet, and this may be the point, it is difficult to have ones hard fought efforts and well earned results questioned. Craig's use of "douche bag" was somewhat junior high. So, ill aimed reactions like this are to be expected even if they are far more often deleted before "post" is ever clicked. Again, thanks.
But let's be honest. The point really is the good beer world is pretty level. Luck, birth and opportunity have as much to separate brewer from drinker as anything. And, not to step on toes, the beery discourse can't afford a hierarchy given the evidence to date. New ideas and voices are too few to earn a drive-by chuckle. Golden era? We may be working towards it thanks to more people thinking more broadly about good beer. Scoffing at the evolving discourse will do nothing but push it back.