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GP7Jul04: Demonizing Yesterdays; In Praise of Corks
Upended. On July 3, 17-year old, blonde and smashing Masha Sharapova trounced Serena Williams to take the women’s title at Wimbledon. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the Williams sisters ruled all of tennis? No more. All of a sudden, women’s tennis is in the limelight, the men are in the shadows, and we have a new, radiant princess.
For the Fourth of July, old world Greece, soon to be home of the Olympics, showed that it could recall its own victorious ancestry, surprising all of Europe by edging out Portugal in the Euro 2004 soccer championship. More and more, in all sorts of competitions (not just athletics), the kings and queens of sport have been thrust to the sidelines, and somebody from out of left field is stealing the crown.
Passé. All about us, the mighty have fallen. Careers we thought to be on the rise are no longer Topic A, as new, instant icons take over the stage. In our culture of obsolescence, nothing is allowed to last for long, because the shelves must be cleared to make way for something equally transitory. We have invited Miss Hancock, the pseudonym of our twenty something bloggist from the far reaches of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, way out past Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquidick, to tell us what’s in and what’s out.
Watch out, Tina Brown, you’re becoming old hat, as Miss Hancock shows us the way. Little did we know, for instance, that Burberry (miraculously revived by America’s Rose Marie Bravo, out of Saks Fifth Avenue, and Christopher Bailey, her design chief who is sort of a Tom Ford knockoff) is already over the hill. Nor that Bill Clinton appealed to young America, while unwittingly helping middle-aged Republicans. Nor that Graham Norton, who just did his first show on American cable, was already a made man. Miss Hancock reports:
Burberry: The New Fashion
Faux Pas? June 28, 2004 11:29 a.m.
Bill is Back June 30,
2004 3:18 p.m.
July 1, 2004 8:45 p.m.
Is America ready for
Graham Norton? July 2, 2004 12:40 a.m.
The Screwtops. For a blob of a fellow Mr. Moore, who does not do much for us, is doing pretty well. We suspect he’s sort of a next generation Larry Flynt, and we are busy wondering when he will announce his betrothal to Paris Hilton.
There’s no accounting for taste. We are reminded that a taste for the perverse has also crept into the wine establishment, which also has become incredibly trendy. As you may remember, we have been unwilling to truck with anyone who embraces plastic stoppers for wine or who has gone on to the next fad—screwtops (see our Global Province letter of 9 July 2003, “Unbranding Next? The Rise of the Unlikely” and Global Wit and Worldly Wisdom, item 252). We have consulted with a Scotsman who knows much about distilling practically everything, and he has some doubts about these new schemes.
But the screwtop, screw- loose brigade is coming on strong and you can expect to see a lot more of these unseemly plugs in your vintage. It’s all equivalent to drinking Coke out of cans or plastic containers, when it should only be served in glass bottles. To wit, we just received this note from a Virginia wine critic, explaining to us why our wine would be infinitely more wonderful if we only would submit to this latest assault on the senses:
Corks are the last century’s
technology. I don't think corks should be used for wines anymore, period.
But tell that to Chateau Lafite, or to most Burgundy estates, and they look
at you like you’re crazy. It’s not the 4% or 5% or so of obviously corked
wines that are the problem for me (although that's bad enough), but the
additional 4% or 5% that are less corked. These wines are not obviously
musty, but their aromas are muted, their richness stripped, their finishes
dried out. The poor consumer simply thinks that the wine isn’t as good as he
remembers it to be.
We suspect it’s the job of all the experts to sell us on new, bad, screwy ideas that save the mass producers lots of money. Uncle Frank, a very fine Bordeaux wine merchant, is surely turning over in his grave over this debacle (at least I think he occasionally drank graves). Well, our admonition to one and all is to put a cork in it. And we hope you had a glorious Fourth.
Copyright 2004 GlobalProvince.com