Text João Barbosa | Translation Bruno Ferreira
Good morning, I’ve never liked to make use of a subject specific writing space to write about the profession – the same way I do not like theorization poems about poetry and the “world” of poets. I do it now, because in this case it is relevant to the reader.
The theme’s reason, which does not directly go into wine and gastronomy, is to alert the reader’s common sense. Not everything we read in books is true, as in newspapers or blogs.
The internet has not and will not kill the paper press, which is now undergoing the Darwin’s Law test: the world is not one of the strongest nor one of the most intelligent, but it is one of those that best adapt to the changes of nature. I see no evil in itself, but the relationship between journalists and bloggers or critics of sites on the Internet is not a peaceful one: anxiety, feelings of betrayal and of loss of “privilege” (loss or dilution of influence). On the other side, anxiety, feelings of lessening, incorrect ways of seeking to conquer what is not theirs, because journalism and blogging are not quite the same thing.
I will not go into scrutinizing the points of view, I’ll just recognize advantages in both and say that they are compatible. The internet has given voice to citizens, who previously could only express themselves via letter to the publication’s director.
The whole universe to explore, the freedom of mankind. But the responsibility does not always keep up, as it always should, with the freedom. Therefore, in the exchange of “kisses” between journalists and bloggers comes the question of honesty, of equidistance, of competence, of swimming in seas of dangerous proximity to private interests.
I am very comfortable with this, for I am both journalist (26 years) and blogger (10 years) and wine writer (one year) – the latter being the son of the previous ones. What makes me write now was a piece in the powerful The Times about the Azores, in particular the airline SATA. I was happy because I found the substrate base of the debate and because it was not food and drink.
All over the world bloggers are often seen with suspicion: who are they? Who do they answer to? Who “oversees” them editorially speaking? Which codes of ethics and deontology do they follow?
It is true that X% does not know the subject of which they write about, loathes studying, knows everything and, even if unintentionally, ranks the goods that are sent for them to comment about… “I speak good of it, because that way I’ll guarantee that they will keep sending me KYXZ asking for my opinion. I have what I like and for free and I still manage to give sentences.”
But it is also true that the same applies to X% of journalists and critics (of ‘conventional’ means). In 26 years of journalism I’ve met critics of gastronomy, cars, cinema … even bullfight. Not all of them knew/know what they were/are writing about. One day I wanted to confirm that a certain man was a bluff and all his knowledge had the consistency of beaten egg whites. I asked him two very basic questions and he did not know how to answer them – such basic questions that even I that little to nothing know about the subject knew, the same way that other people that do not exercise that profession know.
He wasn’t a gastronomy and wine critic. I know bloggers of the various themes that fuel their ego through their blogs.
Where does The Times come in? There are no absolute winners, but The Times is one of the most influential and credible newspapers in the world, the same way that the The New York Times, The Washington Post, Le Monde, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc, are.
In a text about travel, the critic ruled that the SATA (Azorean Service Air Transport) is the worst airline in the world. Not that I mind, because I feel no nationalism in the air transport and I’ve never travelled with this carrier.
In view of this statement, I assume that the critic (journalist) has already flown on all airlines and does it on regular basis in order to support this claim. Wait! Isn’t that the “absolute knowledge”, the peremptory and unequivocal statement, one of the points in which bloggers are more attacked?
In a time before the internet was widespread, a Spanish journalist, of the unsuspected El País (Spain), came to Portugal to make a report around the country. He found that, in the middle of the 90s (XX century), the animal-drawn transport was very common, as it was traveling by horse, donkey or mule.
Spain is right around the corner and millions of Spaniards know Portugal. The ridiculousness with which he wanted to mock the country and the Portuguese fell all over him – I believe he lost his job because of this report to the nineteenth century.
I repeat the second paragraph:
The theme’s reason, which does not directly go into wine and gastronomy, is to alert the reader’s common sense. Not everything we read in books is true, nor in newspapers or blogs.
A given day there was a video on Facebook showing a curious scene, which left many people believing or in doubt. A friend, film editor, summed it genially:
– I also saw ET’s finger light up.
Beware of imitations and certainties. Hold on, don’t leave just yet, I’ll be back soon to write about wine.
Final note: Although not aiming for offerings (fortunately I’ve never needed alms or gifts), I wrote and sentenced about a topic for which I was not prepared: food, restaurants. I realized it and stopped. All the texts were removed. I write when the insistence on the invitation makes it impolite not to accept – and all black on white. It happened/happens within my blog, where I state that all the writing is personal and based on taste. I am amateur critic on my blog and a chronicler out of it. I’m not and do not want to be a professional critic, I want to tell stories.