I've had a great time writing the Plight of the Whisky Blogger comic strip and an even better time emailing with people about it – primarily other bloggers. One thing that's surprised me however is how many of our online allies thought I was spoofing them! Let me be clear: this comic is about no specific person. I'm not going around the internet, reading blogs, and looking for new material. If there's any inspiration for the Whisky Expert blogger it's the comic book store guy in The Simpsons. Disgruntled collectors and obsessive superfans are going to be the same whether you're talking about whisky, comics, wrestling, music, or movies. It's always the same anger being unleashed towards the system they secretly love with a resentment for their own lack of importance within it. It's a pretty simple observation.
But it's been interesting to see what other whisky fans thought the motivation was. Do I hate bloggers? Why am I acting aggressively towards whisky fans? Those types of questions. The reactions hinged on whether you consider me a blogger who works retail, or a retailer who happens to write a blog. If you don't see me as a blogger then it might seem a little like bullying, but I consider myself a blogger, for sure. That's why I feel right at home mocking my own hobby. I'm the guy who sits in his underwear each morning with his cup of coffee. That's me. The fact that the Whisky Expert is even a blogger at all is because that's the only way the comic strip works: he has to make his views known somehow. The jokes, however, aren't specific to bloggers whatsoever. They're particular to a certain type of personality that all of us recognize, so if you're a blogger and you don't behave that way then there's no need to take offense!
I love whisky blogs. Like I wrote a few days ago, it's because of the work that whisky bloggers do (myself included, thank you) that we're able to enjoy the educated clientele we now cater to. Do you think True Detective could be a show today if it weren't for all the groundwork laid by Twin Peaks, The Sopranos, and The Wire? Hell no! It's way too detail-oriented, slow, long, and drawn-out. "Get to the point!" the TV executives would have screamed. But today's viewer is much more sophisticated and has a higher level of expectation. The same goes for today's whisky fan. We couldn't sell fifteen casks of Miltonduff, Mortlach, Bladnoch and other lesser-known single malts if there weren't people out there writing and blogging about them every single day. It's because of whisky bloggers (both professional and amateur) that we are where we are.
But as every interest grows and evolves into a heightened state of self-awareness, it will attract rigid, detail-oriented personalities who use their knowledge as a self-esteem booster. It's that personality that I'm ribbing in the Plight comic strip. It's not a personality specific to whisky bloggers, whatsoever, or even to whisky as a whole. It's a personality specific to life, and when you're writing a comic strip, life is what you take your inspiration from. The broader the understanding, the funnier it is.