On Wednesday, columnist Mike Seate of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reminded us that P.T. Barnum’s lessons on human nature and hucksterism haven’t been entirely forgotten.
Writes an annoyed (well, maybe) Seate:
Someone please explain to me where anyone in this day and age finds enough free time to worry about the well being of beer or any other inanimate object.
Actually, the preceding quote is from one of two blog entries that Seate has posted since the publication of his Wednesday column, “Beer snobs forget the true meaning of beer,” which begins:
During the weekend, I stopped by the Sharp Edge bar in East Liberty for a few beers. Nothing spectacular about that, except for one small problem: It's one of those so-called beer emporiums, trendy little places that specialize in styles and brands of beer so obscure, you need a Frommer's travel guide just to pronounce them.
I caught word of this tempest in a growler yesterday, but didn’t have time to find the article in the newspaper on-line archive. Then, earlier today, Todd “Keg Liquors” Antz forwarded the link. It obviously doesn’t require BJCP judging credentials or an understanding of lambic brewing techniques to hazard a guess that Seate would be inundated with angry (and to me, a few embarrassing) responses, some of which he’s published in his subsequent blog entries:
Something To Contemplate Over a Beer
Too Much Free Time On Their Hands Dept.
If you ask me, none of this should be taken very seriously.
Seate’s having far too much fun with this “workingman’s” issue to suggest that his initial grenade toss was anything except a shrewdly calculated gambit to elicit the sort of feedback he’s received to date, although I suppose it’s still possible for there to exist an educated adult genuinely unaware of concepts like marketplace diversification, or to put it more bluntly, different strokes for different folks -- and different prices, accordingly.
Think of it as a Fox-News or Howard Stern sort of ploy, and it makes more sense. Writers want to be read, and need to be read, and one way to be read is to be outrageous. Perhaps Seate was insulted by a waiter’s rolling of the eyes, although I stick with my diagnosis of premeditation.
Against my best judgment, I responded to Seate’s provocations with what I consider to be a measured, reasonable tone – for me.
Is it just me, or has somebody forgotten that beer is supposed to be a workingman's drink, as free from pretensions and airs as a kielbasa smothered in sauerkraut?
Apparently so. And until local bar owners remember this, I'll be doing my drinking at home, on the cheap, from a Styrofoam cup.
Actually, your premise is invalid.
You're mistaken in holding that there is a commandment stating that beer is "supposed to be a workingman's drink," and yet the validity of your argument stems from this one assertion.
Beer "can" be such a thing. It also "cannot," in certain circumstances. It all depends on the beer, and there are many and always have been, even when Americans developed a "workingman's" tradition of its own.
Often what we fail to understand, we misconstrue, and dismiss. I find it regrettable that as a published writer, you resort to this sort of invalid argumentation.
Alas, it is something that we (the reading public) all too frequently encounter.