Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beer at the YMCA.

There are times when it amazes even me that we’ve been able to accomplish what we have in a community that places a shockingly low value on the notion of education, achievement and personal growth. In these parts, conservatism is not a doctrine founded on ideas and principles. Rather, it is an anguished primal scream in the general direction of anyone and anything that the adherent can’t or won’t comprehend.

Yes, New Albany has civic issues just like any other municipality, and yet a crazily disproportionate amount of the problems here stem from self-inflicted wounds. It took at least three years longer than it should have to accept a $20 million grant from the neighboring Horseshoe (formerly Caesar’s) casino foundation, match it with less than $150,000 a year from economic development funds, build a gleaming new YMCA facility atop a cleansed downtown brown field, and watch it attract precisely the sort of demographic that will help revitalize the historic core of the city.

Over the entrenched opposition of a minority of self-immolating dunderheads, we somehow pulled it off, albeit belatedly, and the Y opened two weeks ago to universal acclaim and packed crowds. As part of a reception for donors, movers and shakers, including the blatantly hypocritical appearance of two ex-councilmen who were prominent leaders of the campaign against it, the organizing committee asked me to bring NABC beers and pour them. I was happy to oblige.

Predictably, this innocuous scenario prompted a local pseudonymous blogger of decidedly troglodyte disposition to question the scandalous activity of drinking a beer within the building she venomously opposed: YMCA.

I answered them ay my other Internet portal: Freedom to Screech's attack on the YMCA: A sewer runs through her.

What’s sad about all this is the persistent implication that beer isn’t compatible with health, well-being and/or Christianity.

As for the former, numerous studies attest to the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.

As for the latter, the institution of the YMCA seems to have soft-pedaled the traditional religious connotations in favor of making its tent bigger, and that’s something the acrimonious American body politic could learn from. As an example, Trappist ales are as Christian as it gets, but it still seems to baffle some of my neighbors that there could be a connection between a monk and a brew kettle.

Presumably they’re the same ones who maintain a insupportable belief in the supposedly non-alcoholic wine of the Bible. Then again, the interpretation of nature (grapes) and natural processes (fermentation) can be selective on the part of the true believer.

In my world, it’s elegantly simple. You exercise, cleanse the body and mind, and then the beer and food tastes far better. That’s religion enough for me.

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