I know this because he consented to an interview with the fanzine author R.H. Drexel, run by Hawk Wakawaka on her blog. Like most of Drexel's work, it's intensely personal and interesting.
It's also the only interview that Parker has granted the "media" this year that I'm aware of. Drexel is not a journalist, but still, Parker wouldn't even grant the interview to Wakawaka, whose expressions of gratitude on her blog to people who talk with her sometimes border on obsequious.
In the wine world we have become accustomed to accepting that Parker doesn't want to face questions about why he gives so many more 100 point scores than he used to, even though other critics would give an answer.
Parker, who is arguably a member of the media himself, might protest that he is like a Hollywood celebrity. Their agents frequently dictate terms for how interviews with them can be conducted -- although once the interview starts, journalists often ask the questions they want to anyway.
Parker has taken the kind of heat from the wine media that Hollywood stars do from the tabloids. I understand why he wants to answer only softball questions.
But in the paragraph immediately after detailing his physical ailments, Parker blows yet another broadside at people who don't share his tastes, saying,
"It’s funny that in the beer world, it seems like bigger and richer is what everyone wants, whereas in the wine world you have a group of hipster sommeliers who are basically advocating weird, undrinkable and deeply flawed wines."
Forget about the fact that he's wrong about beer (session beer, anyone?), and let's make the Hollywood star parallel again. The star dictates the time, place and interviewer. He accepts only softball questions. So what happens if the star calls a whole group of professionals wrong? What happens if the star says theater owners rip off their customers by selling moldy popcorn? Would the rest of the media ignore it? Not likely.
Parker says sommeliers who like wines that he doesn't are selling undrinkable, deeply flawed wines to their customers. What if he said chefs are serving inedible, rancid food?
We can't let this statement go unnoticed, unremarked on.
Honestly, I didn't want to be the one to write this post, which is why I waited until today. I wanted somebody else in the blogosphere to do it. I'm from Maryland. Robert Parker was one of my early wine heroes. I respect the great contributions he has made to the world of wine.
But somebody has to say it.
Robert Parker, you are a bully and a coward. You use your position as the world's most influential wine critic to insult other people's taste, and then hide behind a double wall of unquestioning listeners.
If you want to make statements like that, you should be prepared to defend them.