So help me, sometimes I feel like I have ventured into the chaotic mental maze of Schizophrenia. For the detail oriented (ergo, what’s the wrapper, the filler and binder, who picked the leaf, what type of music does the roller listen to, etc., etc., etc.) schizophrenia is “a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation or (in general use) a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.” (Google)
Why do I feel this way? A first-hand example happened to me today.
First I wanted to write a detailed description of a cigar for a review like all the magazines do thereby placing cigar lovers in the maniacal state of confusion of what to try next. I do the same on this blog. I receive a cigar and right away the manufacturer wants to see a review. He or she wants to know how the cigar may fare in the marketplace, and of course to soothe and bolster the ego – as anyone would, they want to see how they are doing. Even the late Ed Koch, former mayor (and the best) of New York used to stand in the streets of his city in the early morning hours, shaking hands and asking passersby, “How’m I doin’?” It’s natural.
What isn’t natural is how the review is handled. There are many, many cigar buffs (and that is the correct word) who have an opinion. And now through the magic of social media, everyone is an expert. Oh, yes they are! Some are revered, some are loathed, some are even, gasp! – ignored. That’s why I don’t rely on reviews for the bulk of my posts. I am not an expert, not does my opinion mean any more than – it’s my viewpoint. It’s what I think.
The problem of mental malady comes in when I try too hard to adequately and accurately critique a cigar. But again, my words are my impressions. Oftimes, I find myself holding back from writing, “Damn, this is the worst cigar I’ve even smoked.” Other times, I am enthralled. I’m pulled this way and that. Ergo, the tease of mentioning the above mental affliction.
I give you an example, I smoked a great cigar today by – Faraones. I happened to light up the Tutankhamon belicoso. What do I do? Clip it. Light it. Smoke it. By God. Great cigar. That’s the review. There it is. Who cares what the makeup is, who cares what the country of origin is, who cares who manufacturers it? Well, as Ron Puryear, one of the greatest Amway distributors of all time, once said about why anyone would want to know about him? His reply, after a dramatic pause, “I don’t know.” And the same can go for a cigar. Who gives a s*#t about all that other stuff really?
Yet, I, and many others fall into this vicious maelstrom of trying to explain to you, the reader, what it tastes like, or how it shows etc. Hell, Adam Platt of New York Magazine does it with food, Marvin Shanken does it with wine in Wine Aficionado, and the late Pauline Kael did it with movies, and on and on and on. Television (do they still call it that?) has a plethora of shows about reviews. A good example is Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern ( a master at description, by the way). So the practice is not unusual. People make a living at it. Praise Walter Winchell!
What is new is the excruciating detail that goes into the commentary. JHC how detailed does the reviewer have to go? That’s where the mental distortion comes creeping back in. I quote, “a sense of mental fragmentation,” begins to appear and what could be said in one word, comes out in a tsunami of verbiage that has indeed blended the truth with the fluff.
I can review today’s smoke in one word – great! That’s it. My mind is at rest and I have no reason to create lusty, ornamental, flamboyant blather that no one really cares about – sometimes the manufacturer doesn’t even acknowledge that a review has been published! But, be that as it may, cigar reviews will continue. Mental distortion shall win out. I will plunge into the drink myself. No lifejacket. It’s hard to be simple. It’s not appreciated. Or it’s referred to as glib. So what? Divide your mentality. Split!
“It’s as simple as that. Simple and complicated, as most true things are.” ― David Levithan, Every Day