Wine Caves, Briefcases, and Other Targets of Populism

Owner Ferruccio Grimaldi walks in the Grimaldi Cave in Barolo, Italy, October 19, 2018. (Stefano Rellandini / Reuters)

You see that dread place up there? It’s a wine cave. Elizabeth Warren and some others made wine caves infamous after a winery-owning couple hosted a meet-and-greet for Pete Buttigieg in one. In a wine cave.

“Oogity-boogity,” as I say in my Impromptus today. I picked up this phrase from Kevin Williamson. “Wine cave” is a new scare-word, or scare-phrase, in the populist lexicon. George C. Wallace would have loved it.

Up there in New York City, the mouthy Alabamian said, they walk around with briefcases, as if they had somethin’ impo’tant in them. You wanna know what’s in those briefcases? Why, nothin’ but a peanut-butter sandwich!

If a briefcase was a juicy target, can you imagine what he would have done with a wine cave?

Another target, once upon a time, was Bill Buckley’s limo. Oh, how that charged them up! WFB wrote brilliantly about it. Wish he were here to write about the wine-cave heebie-jeebies.

In my column, I say that Elizabeth Warren loosed “wine cave” on the country in the “time-dishonored populist style.” That was an homage to Martin Bernheimer, the late, great critic, and a friend of mine. (I wrote about him here.)

He would say things like “time-dishonored custom.” When an opera production was static and boring, he would say, “The inaction takes places in . . .” He would sometimes write, “When all was said and undone . . .”

Here on the Corner, I would like to publish a little mail. In an Impromptus earlier this week, I spoke of the Fab Five — a University of Michigan basketball team — in a discussion of experience (and inexperience).

Before the 1992 NCAA basketball tournament, Bill Walton was on television, doing some handicapping. He picked Michigan to win it all. Someone else — Brent Musburger? — said, “But Bill, they start five freshmen!” Walton answered, “I’ll take talent over experience any day.”

(Michigan made it to the final that year, losing to Duke.)

A reader writes,

I’ll go you one better than Bill Walton: Al McGuire. He was asked whether the Fab Five had any weaknesses. Yes, he said: They were arrogant. As a result, they started playing sloppy when they got a comfortable lead. “So, do you think they can go all the way?” McGuire was asked. “Yes,” he said, “as long as they don’t get a lead.”

Our reader adds, “That was so long ago that I sometimes wonder whether I imagined it. But I doubt it. It’s too good to dream up.”

One more letter. Recently, I noted two brief reviews — very brief. Reviewing Isn’t It Romantic?, Leonard Maltin wrote: “No.” Reviewing I Am a Camera, Walter Kerr wrote, “Me no Leica.”

Okay. A friend of mine recalls the story about Victor Hugo. The great auteur was on vacation when Les Misérables was published. He was very curious to know what the reception was. He wrote his publisher a one-word letter — or rather, a one-character letter: “?” The publisher wrote back, “!”

Recommended Posts

Share this post with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

© Foundation for Truth in Journalism, a not for profit corp estb. 2010 ~ Non Partisan Pursuit of Truth®

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service