Monday, August 18, 2008

My Fellow Americans, Don't Forget to be Hedonists.

Hey: Collecting and analyzing and arguing about beer really doesn't do any good unless it contributes to your enjoyment of the stuff.

Imagine a Venn diagram where one circle represents people who spend way too much time thinking about beer. Another represents people who spend way too much time on the Internet. Those of us who live in that overlapping area can be a really weird sort. It can get ugly out there in cyberspace.

We can imagine more circles in this diagram. Americans. Brits. Europeans. Those who have beards. Those who collected baseball cards or comics when they were kids. Those who don't have favorite beers because they only rate new ones. Those who have read a couple of books and thus are authorities. Those who never learned how to have civil discussion with other human beings. Those who don't eat with their beer because food affects their palate. Those who are disappointed by an otherwise tasty beer because it doesn't match up with someone's idea of its "style." And so on.

I'm 31 years old. Beer and girls were still icky to me in the 1970s and 1980s, when there was no Internet. America was just waking up to craft beer. Michael Jackson was using journalism to teach the world about foreign beers, and there were not yet experts at every computer. I'm nostalgic for a time I never knew.

I'll tell you what I was doing then: collecting comic books. But I took really shitty care of them. I was more interested in reading them, over and over.

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