Yes, this blog is all about that strange and rare substance called truth. Sometimes, I feel as if truth has become something seriously dangerous to be found in possession of. Political leaders of all persuasions, but particularly those of a “nationalistic” type who regard the nation, religion, party or belief-system that they stand for as beyond criticism, have become very anxious to prevent the general population from getting their hands on this substance. One method of achieving this goal, is to deny us access to as many of the facts as possible; another is to remove as much as possible of the context from the facts that are available, so that they become ciphers. What does the above photograph depict? If I tell you it was taken late at night in a street of the town of Geneva in Upstate New York while I was there recently researching the wines of the Finger Lakes, then it might suddenly make a great deal more sense than it does without that information. As Nietzsche wrote, “the context is the facts,” that is the two are as inseparable as space-time are according to Einstein’s theory of relativity. In fact, I see a very close parallel between these two things.
This is undeniably a “dark” posting, but although I’ve been sick the last couple of days there’s no direct connection between that and the content of these lines. This stuff has been going through my head for a long time. Let’s face it, as long as life goes on there’s no exit from the situation I’ve just described, although during my lifetime there was certainly a period when it was much less dangerous to be found in possession of that strange and rare substance called truth. However, political paranoia and the related desire for a clear front between friend and foe have won out again, as they did during the First Cold War. Regardless of the subject, to be a journalist today in the full sense of that word is to take a position that will be attacked by one or more political establishments. For a long time I naively imagined that the harmless subject of wine would protect me, but as long term readers know I often fail to stay on subject, and even if I did, wine connects with so many other fields (most notably, but not only, land-use, economics, global trade, law and science). And I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t the case, as some other journalists writing about wine do. By, the way, the photo above was taken in the ‘Microclimate’ wine bar in Geneva/NY. Watch this space and watch your back!