From the department of “I know I already wished everyone a good weekend but I just couldn’t help posting one more time this week… This really pissed me off!”
Paul Sullivan’s ridiculous “Wealth Matters” column (“Reading Restaurant Wine Lists, for Blockbusters and Values”) for the New York Times this week really pissed me off.
In it he observes and asks: “At the end of the day, though, the sommelier is a salesman. Can he be trusted?”
Let’s disregard the inherent chauvinism of his rhetoric. Yes, it’s true that for many generations, men dominated cellar management in restaurants in the U.S. and Europe. That’s all changed now and many of the country’s leading sommeliers are women.
Would Sullivan have asked such an offensive question if he’d visited enough U.S. restaurants to discover that the patriarchal world that he cherishes, covets, and champions is rapidly disappearing? Probably not.
Beyond Sullivan’s latent misogyny, his misplaced and misinformed attitudes about sommeliers are a reflection of his manifest misanthropy.
It reminds me of my great uncle Ted, who was so convinced that every waiter was trying to rip him off that he often contested bills that were perfectly correct. If he didn’t make a fuss, he believed, he wasn’t getting his money’s worth. He’d get so worked up every time he took me out to dinner when I was in college at U.C.L.A. (he was a successful Beverly Hills commercial realtor), I wondered if he enjoyed going to restaurants at all…