Of the cool & the cold

Oh look, it is the seventeenth anniversary of an event in lower Manhattan, with some associated events which still dominated news cycles, days later. It took North Americans and other worldlings the rest of the year to get over them. While ramifications of those events filled further years, through Afghanistan and Iraq, and lap our footsteps to the present day, the shock value of “9/11” wore off fairly quickly.

I gauged this at a Tuesday drinking table I used to attend. In the first week after the aeroplanes hit, my more Left-progressive friends changed their tune. This was a relief, for their old tune had been playing for a very long time. “Amerika” was suddenly no longer the source of everything evil and ugly on the planet. It was widely acknowledged that anti-Americans could be bad, too. I remember, particularly, a little disquisition from a European member of the circle, a specialist in anti-American sneering and insinuation, who had come to this continent only for the economic opportunities. He said, in the spirit of Susan Sontag (when she mentioned that subscribers to Reader’s Digest were generally better-informed than those in her own cultural-revolutionary vanguard), that he had learnt more about reality in two hours the previous Tuesday than in all his life before. He declared himself an American Patriot and a big fan of George W. Bush, to whom he referred as “our captain.”

But by Canadian Thanksgiving his “scepticism” had resurfaced, and soon after, he was the Leftist version of a “truther” again, though with some slight reservations. By Christmas he had forgotten everything. (Dear fellow: knows a lot about movies.)

I remember him particularly, but the fashion trend — what I would call “the return to idiocy” — could also be perceived through the media in the world at large. It struck me at some point that, from a radical Muslim view, the 9/11 attacks had proved a brilliant stroke in public relations. Islam was now fashionable on the campuses of the West, and through the dictates of the politically correct, Muslims could no longer be criticized. Any word spoken against the religion, or the religionists, could now be given as an example of the most genocidal racial bigotry; and Christians were once again what they had in mind when touching on the subject of “religious extremism.” Those who resisted the prospect of unimpeded immigration from the Middle East were now “neo-Nazis.”

Let me return to the subject of beer. Through correspondence over my Idlepost of Friday it dawned on me that most people do not actually like beer. It’s not something in the taste, but the taste itself that does not appeal to them. That’s why they drink it as cold as possible. An ice box “chills out” the flavour of cheeses, other dairy goods, most any food, all alcoholic or other beverages. Sodas are popular, because people like the sugar, so strong it can be tasted through shards of ice. At room temperature these sodas become undrinkable, because some of the background flavours emerge.

(We could go on with this, from the gastronomic angle; I won’t, except to say that I like certain strong monastic ales the best, and to serve them at anything lower than room temperature would be a crime. I also like runny French cheeses.)

I link this with the response to 9/11 by the “cool” people. One morning they had to drink their violence warm. They much prefer it refrigerated.