Wine and the F-word

I always wonder what people are actually doing when they refer to "the F-word."

I mean, they all know what it means. Why don't they just say it? It seems to me to reveal a kind of double-standard. When you are watching one of those clips on the news where a guy streaks across the baseball field or a naked group runs across the beach and into the water, and they blot out the naughty bits, I think to myself, "The whole reason for playing this clip is the fact that people are showing the parts we never see, then they blot out those parts, so what's the point?"

We are all so titillated by this, but we don't have the balls to just come out with it. So to speak.

And what does this have to do with wine? Bear with me.

See also: Sam Pillsbury Spills on the Reason He Landed in Arizona, and Launches a Wine Column for Chow Bella

In films, it makes me crazy. I had to stop watching a movie recently because of the opening scene, which was purporting to show a "love scene" (actually an intercourse scene) in which the actors were wearing their underclothes. Honestly. The female threw herself (post-coitally) on the bed, on her back, wearing a bra as massive as the blade of a bulldozer.

I leapt for the off switch. I mean, what's the problem? What are we supposed to be thinking? We can't see her breasts? The population of the world is 7.101 billion. If half that population is female, then there are around 7.101 billion tits in the world. They have a valid function: They produce milk to nourish babies. Wow! Better make sure we don't shock anyone by showing them!

I actually made a film, Zandalee with Nicolas Cage, that had a lot of sex scenes in it. This was 23 years ago. One of my conditions for making this film was that the actors play the sex scenes naked. You can't film anything like this properly if you show underwear, or try to avoid showing it. I mean, it's just impossible.

When we previewed the film, half the audience ran out of the cinema at the first sex scene. They just couldn't handle it.

This is a particularly American thing. And what worries me is that the more we do this, the more Anthony Weiners and mayors of San Diego and child pornographers we are going to see. The latter being the height of disgusting and perverted.

My favorite is the mayor or governor or other prominent homophobic politician caught with his pants down in a public toilet.

Same thing.

What does this have to do with food and wine? Well, in a way, everything. It's about authenticity. You can make a pasta sauce from fresh tomatoes and basil or you can buy it in a can with preservatives and sugar and salt and heat it up on the stove. Now, that's not "immoral," it's just not the real thing. It's a substitute.

You can buy a wine with a cute animal on the label made with juice from anywhere with added sugar and oak chips, or you can seek out and find wine made with healthy grapes from a specific place and made by a person. It's about substitute versus authentic. And you can question why we go out of our way to pretend there's no such thing as sex and nudity, and then race off to our laptops to look at pussies and titties.

Honestly, it's not only pathetic, it's unhealthy.

One of my colleagues, an accomplished winemaker and someone I like and respect, voiced concern that I would use the word fuck at a rural gathering. Now, I understand his concern. And, in spite of my liberal use of the word, I actually do know when not to use it.

But I had to state my position to him on this. "I assume you own guns, right?" I asked him. "Sure," he replied.

I went on to point out that more than 30,000 Americans had died the previous year from gunshot wounds, and as far as I knew, in more than 500 years, the word "fuck" hadn't killed anyone.

Neither, by the way, have breasts, vaginas, or penises.

From Wikipedia:

Fuck is an English language word which refers to the act of sexual intercourse. It is also often used as a profanity, either to denote disdain or as an intensifier. The origin of the word is obscure. It is usually considered to be first attested to around 1475, but it may be considerably older. In modern usage, fuck and its derivatives (such as fucker and fucking) can be used in the position of a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb. There are many common phrases which make use of the word, as well as a number of compounds incorporating it, such as motherfucker and fuckwit.

Sigh. What a great word. Look at the range of it! Fuckwit is one of my favorites.

And non-authentic wine, by the way, has killed hundreds, if not thousands.

(According to Bloomberg, shooting deaths in the U.S. in 2015 will probably rise to almost 33,000, and those related to autos will decline to about 32,000, based on the 10-year average trend. No other country on earth has stats like this. But please don't anyone think I am advocating taking this sacred right away from anyone. I'm not that stupid.)

Sam Pillsbury has made dozens of documentaries, TV series and feature films in New Zealand and Hollywood as writer, director and producer, and now grows grapes and makes 100 percent Arizona wines in Arizona. He lives in Phoenix. You can get more information about his wines and tasting room at

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Sam Pillsbury