That Messy Messy Democracy That Is Beer Writing

Stan H. and E.S. Delia have both written posts in the last few hours that go to the very heart of beer blogging. Stan’s post “The end of beer writing as we know it?” and Mr. Delia’s “On Beer Writing” both explore the relationship between blogging – an amateur form of expression – with profession beer expressions like movies or beer magazines. Dalia writes:

The bigger issue is the nature of beer writing. Carroll quotes filmmaker Anat Baron’s take on beer writers versus beer bloggers, implying that the writers’ assessments were more astute or level-headed than that of the beer bloggers. I don’t get paid for this, so perhaps my opinions are less valid.

Nothing is so embarrassing as when condescension meets foolishness. It reminds of the old joke “what do you call a doctor who got ‘D’ in first year anatomy?” The answer is, of course, “doctor.” Like Dr. Johnson said of nationalism, this sort of idea about professionalism can also be the last refuge of a scoundrel. For further study on this idea, I suggest you seek out the works of Ivan Illich. You may not agree with the idea that professionalism in itself carries downsides but the perspective is nonetheless worthwhile.

Fortunately, both Mr. H and Mr. D reject such poppycock. Both suggest the far better idea that beer blogging is not in any way illegitimate and in fact can uniquely advance the discourse on beer culture in ways that profession beer sometimes can’t. Delia reminds us of the need to look to and weigh content. Hieronymus looks with hope to innovation and new beginnings. Sure, there is a lot of crap in blogging as well as failed technicalities like poor grammar. But there is also a lot of crap in magazine writing and in documentary film making as well as failures such as the business botch of misplaced trust in an illusory homogeneous craft beer community which will buy your tickets or purchase your subscriptions like unthinking autobots. What has been going on for years – and what some still don’t get – is that all this writing is a collection of disorganized personal explorations which, like this post exemplifies, feed each other and weave another part of a large tapestry with ideas. It is a better more complex and richer way.

Thirty-three years ago, Bill Gates complained about the very same thing in relation to software “hobbyists” but he as wrong, too, as history has proven.

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