The Erudite Need Not Apply

Those that follow the writings of Jeremy Parzen on his blog Do Bianchi appreciate his erudite posts, which cover a range artistic topics ranging from food, to wine, to music and literature. Parzen is one of the most educated and thoughtful food and wine writers on the Internet and reading his blog always makes you examine your own thoughts on the topic. He makes you think and teaches in the process. I learn something new from each of his posts.

Recently Parzen applied to participate on the Forum. It’s hard to imagine someone who could contribute more about Italian wine, food and culture to a forum. However, Mark Squires, moderator of Mr. Parker’s Forum decided to decline Parzen’s application for membership. Apparently brilliant, well educated people who can write are not what they’re looking for over at the Forum. What strikes me particularly strange about this is that Wine Advocate writers Robert Parker, Antonio Galloni, Neal Martin, Jay Miller and David Schildknecht are all thoughtful, well educated people who would certainly appreciate not only Parzen’s blog, but his contributions to their Forum. Apparently Mr. Squires does not work on the same level as the Wine Advocate’s star reviewers.

The scuttlebutt around the Internet is that Parzen was denied membership to the Forum due to his connections to two bloggers already banned from that Forum: Alice Feiring and Lyle Fass, who are both writers that I enjoy, respect and follow regularly.  Yet Parzen’s posts are without the strident certainty of Alice or the rage against-the-machine character of Lyle and it is hard to understand why he would be banned. I guess guilt by association is good enough for Squires as it is inconceivable that he actually read any of Parzen’s work and still banned him.

I think most wine lovers applaud Mr. Parker’s additions of such knowledgeable writers and reviewers as Galloni, Martin, Miller and Schildknecht to The Wine Advocate. Like Parker himself, you can agree or disagree with these writers, but their consistency of palate makes their ratings a valid reference point. It is unfortunate that the bannings and censorship at the Forum are detracting from the real improvements in The Wine Advocate itself.

Perhaps it’s time to considering upgrading more than the forum software.