I’m published! That’s right. Yours truly, the Scotch Noob, enjoys page 14 billing in the Fall 2011 issue of The Whisky Advocate (the artist formerly known as Malt Advocate). Ok, so it’s a letter to the editor, and I sound a bit pompous and like I have no sense of humor, but I’m still psyched! There’s my name and the URL of my blog right there in the magazine. Heady stuff.
I figured I’d take this opportunity to expound upon the views that landed me in this month’s issue. Even if you haven’t read Terry Sullivan’s piece “The Blogger Menace” from the Summer 2011 issue, I can summarize it for you pretty quick: he gets a few quick laughs at the expense of us talentless hacks in the blogosphere, who are taking his livelihood and giving it away for free on the Internet. Yes, it was meant to be funny and I apparently can’t take a joke. Here’s my (published! squee!) rebuttal:
Dear John, I’m lapping up the current issue of Malt Advocate – congrats on 20 years! Great stuff as always, and I particularly like some of the new illustrations. Very eye-catching. I just read “The Blogger Menace,” by Terry Sullivan. Ouch. I feel like I should misspell and mispunctuate a few times in this email in order to live down to Mr. Sullivan’s expectations. To him, I’d like to say that I believe that “professionals” and amateurs can coexist in an industry where there is so much to talk about. I’d also like to remind him that we both have similar goals: to use our experience to entertain and enlighten those lovers of brown spirits who are willing to read our opinions. Whether or not he gets paid for those opinions is his problem, I think, not ours. Finally, an analogy: should the small-time craft distiller (or brewer, or winemaker) just give up his or her passion because the stuck-in-the-mud “professional” industrial big dogs wail about infringement on their turf, or is it possible that their coexistence might be good for the industry as a whole? Yours, Nathan Keeney scotchnoob.com
Ok, so I may have been a bit bitter at the time. My points, I think, stand. In any industry, an ‘old guard’ of seasoned professionals is likely to emerge, which feels encroached upon by start-up, amateur, out-of-the-box thinkers that threaten to unseat it. (I don’t count myself among those start-ups, by the way, I just talk about whisky online – I don’t even get advertising revenue.) This pressure on the professionals to stay relevant – to keep up their game – can only be good for the end consumers and the quality of the product (whatever it is). Imagine a world where all of the Scotch distilleries were owned by one company, and no independent distillers stood up to challenge that company’s dominance, instead choosing to sell their handcrafted spirits to the aforementioned giant… for blending purposes. Is that a world you’d want to live in? It certainly didn’t work out too well for the Irish. *duck*
I understand that Terry’s column was meant to be funny. He certainly has a way with words. However as a writer of “unedited digital drivel” myself, I don’t relish being the butt of this particular joke. For more on the subject, see David Driscoll’s – K&L’s Spirits Buyer – take on this specific issue here. Have an opinion? Feel free to weigh in below by submitting a comment.