Thursday, 14 November 2013

Messages in bottles...

Now, we all know about ‘experts’; gawd knows I bang on about them enough. You know, the feted economists who never predicted the big crashes; the historians who forget that it’s supposed to be an accurate narrative of events and not a fictional rewrite to match their ideology and of course the climatologists who fidget with their forecasts and spend a disproportionate amount of time telling us that although it FEELS warmer, it is in fact colder… and vice versa… and it’s far too complicated for you little people to understand (wind turbines, goddammit!).

But why should we care what they say at all? Because no matter how earnestly they spew their guff they have absolutely no power to influence anything (except, of course, for the £gazillions that governments shower them with). The subjects they deal with are fluffy, indistinct nebulae whose exact nature simply cannot be clearly defined and can never be held to the frequently changing rules they devise, which means what the experts say would be immaterial, were it not for the crippling costs they impose on us mere plebs.

Then there are the politicians of all colours who we sort of think should have a say in all this, so we ought to vote for them so they can influence things in our favour… but then another election comes and goes and we confirm what we really knew all along – meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Because they too are dealing with an enormous system consisting of so many interconnected variables with such unseen and delicate balancing links that it is almost inconceivable that any changes can be made anywhere without somebody losing out.

In order to look busy they tinker ineffectually at the margins and concentrate on pissing off either the people who can choose to pay up or leave, or those who have so little influence or attract so little sympathy their reactions can be ignored altogether. The evidence of the efficacy of experts in explaining big, complicated subjects should tell us that big, complicated government is way too tricky to be left in the hands of people who themselves are in the thrall of experts. All we can do is watch from the sidelines and shrug.

But woe betide the ‘expert’ who pronounces on stuff that’s closer to our hearts and experiences. Get down to the nitty gritty of life and the intuitively graspable bits of our daily grind and we are the experts. And we get pissed off when some twat in a stovepipe hat tries to tell us what we should think and do.

On immigration, welfare, fecklessness, law and order and many more subjects if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and walks like a duck – it is, no matter what you say, hat-man, a fucking duck. Which brings me to the arrogance of a class of experts who purport to tell me what I like, or should like; the wine expert. In an article in the Daily Mail they tell us that our preference for cheaper brands is simply wrong. Here, have a couple of quotes:

the amateur’s perception of a good wine is based on the notion of ‘smoothness…” whereas, experts  “...look for complex flavours, the balance between them and how long flavours linger.”

But don’t worry, with a bit of training you can be educated and “as [your] understanding and sense of taste grow [you will] tend to gravitate to pricier wines that display more complexity

So, let me get this straight. As an amateur you can enjoy a drink for a moderate price and go to bed happy and still in pocket, but do as the experts say and you too can become a gullible wine snob, paying through the nose for some meretricious plonk that nobody else enjoyed and look down your nose at your former friends' unsophisticated ignorance. Do me a flavour!

A government advisor... advises

And of course, all of this ignores the REAL reason most wine drinkers drink the bloody stuff. There may be wisdom in that there bottle and possibly a little touch of veritas, but most of all there’s a wee bit of oblivion to get you to the end of the day… those so-called experts are alcoholics just like the rest of us, dressing up their denial by forking out fortunes to feed their habit and give it the air of respectability. Well, bollocks to that, give me the Vino Collapso every time.

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