28 November 2005

Caffeinated Quote for the Day

Via the Small Beer Press email newsletter, I discovered the blog Zygote Games and these excellent paragraphs:
It's possible to make a case that modern civilization as we know it was built by coffee. In the Middle Ages, people drank wine and beer, pretty much exclusively. Much of the history of medieval Europe makes a lot more sense when you realize it was populated largely by drunk teenagers.

Then Europe discovered caffeine. Boom! The Scientific Revolution. The Enlightenment. The Industrial Revolution. Heavily-caffeinated Europeans built global empires to ensure reliable supplies of tea, coffee, sugar, and chocolate. Without coffee, we'd still be fatalistic drunken peasants.

8 comments:

  1. Philip K. Dick made this comment in one of his books. Can't remember which one... might have been "The Transmigration of Timothy Archer".

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  2. That's all Western Civilization needs, more excuses to fetishize coffee...

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  3. Coffee is one of my favorite commodities to fetishize. In fact, from now on when somebody asks, "So, are you addicted to coffee?" I will answer, "No, I'm a coffee fetishist."

    I'll have to go searching for the PKD quote now, as I didn't realize he'd come to the same conclusion. Makes a certain amount of sense...

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  4. Eliani Torres11/28/2005 9:18 PM

    This reminded me of this passage in a book I copyedited a few years ago, Knight Errant, by R. Garcia y Robertson. It's set in the 15th century (with a modern gal time-traveling back there):

    "It dawned her that nobles drank only wine and ale. And maybe hard cider and brandy, if they could get it. No tea, no coffee, and definitely no water. An alcoholic aristocracy—a government that went about permanently hammered—no wonder England was in such bad shape.

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  5. Hear, hear, David Moles.

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  6. There is also Gregory Feeley's novel on this subject: Arabian Wine.

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  7. Coffee was also responsible --and still is-- for exploitation of the poor, in Central America and Africa, so we could also argue that it kept a portion of the third world destitute. Several organizations, such as Coffee Kids (http://coffekids.org), try to remedy this situation by trying to improve the quality of life for these people.

    They also produce wonderful music: http://www.putumayo.com/catalog/item.php?item_number=135

    Nevertheless, I must confess I'm also a coffee fetish.

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  8. well, then, you must all visit La Gringa's Online Cofee Shrine, which is somewhere on the right hand side of my blog. I worship the coffee bean.

    I recommend that you try Peets or - even better - Kaladi Brothers (from Alaska, and iit is all Dana Stabenow's fault that I am hooked on this brand!!!)

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