I have to say that I both agree and disagree with Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur. Well, seeing as I have a blog, I can’t really support his ideals too terribly much, but I do believe that there is a grain of truth to his observations. Generally I like to get my news from reliable sources, folks who can really afford to do some in depth research and find the story. Thank goodness for BBC and NPR!
Outside of the news though, I am at odds with Mr. Keen. There is little difference between the record store clerk and an online music blogger, other than the fact that the record store clerk works retail. I typically don’t assume simply because someone works in an industry they know all there is to know about the industry. Hmm… I seem to recall a saying, something to the effect of “Fake it till you make it.” Perhaps employment doesn’t go hand in hand with expertise Mr. Keen.
When it comes to recommendations on purchases most of us turn to friends and family. But when it comes to wine, with so many selections out there folks feel that they need an expert to help them navigate the sea of wine. Hence we end up with the cult of the ratings. Now, the consumer trusts the opinion of Robert Parker more than his own tastes. Just because Parker likes it doesn’t mean than you have to like it. The expert has come to rule the world of wine, with consumers trusting the taste preference of these experts more than their own likes and dislikes. That to me is more twisted than reading a wine blog.
Cult of the amateur or cult of ratings – which poses the greater evil? One gets people excited about wine and trying new regions and varietals. One makes people feel menial and unsophisticated if they do not like a recommended wine. Seems like a no brainer to me – bring on the amateur!