Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hitch on Wine

It is almost six years since 'Hitch' was taken from us, but his wisdom remains:

“Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human.”

Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Friday, March 24, 2017

Deep Thoughts

As the American philosopher, Jack Handey, reminds us, we should always try to put our social obligations ahead of our personal considerations.

 “Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink, I feel shame! Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this wine, they might be out of work, and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, ‘It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.”
Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bordeaux or Burgundy?

“Your Honor,’ an old marquise once asked, from her end of the table to the other, ‘which do you prefer, a wine from Bordeaux or from Burgundy?’

‘Madame,’ the magistrate who was thus questioned answered in a druidic tone, ‘that is a trial in which I so thoroughly enjoy weighing the evidence that I always put off my verdict until the next week.’

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. The Physiology of Taste. 1852