Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Absinthe “Authority” is Not My King, Pomp!

"Note: Under no circumstances should fire have any part in the absinthe ritual. This is a pointless innovation created in the 1990's and promoted by the purveyors of imitation absinth to make their products seem more interesting and to reinforce the illicit drug image."

        -Notation from 'The Wormwood Society' website



Antisocial (ān'tē-sō'shəl, ān'tī-) adj.

2. Hostile to or disruptive of the established social order; marked by or engaging in behavior that violates accepted mores


I suppose, much to the dismay of my parents, that the fat, antagonizing psychologist who first diagnosed me as antisocial in the tenth grade may've been right. After all, I do have quite a notorious history of being confrontational with authority figures (the police in particular) and of rebelling against a 'socially-accepted' idea, if only for the purpose of playing Devil's advocate… however, behind the litany of vulgar outbursts and standoffish situations, which many in my younger years had simply shed off as some form of juvenile vexation, or adolescent despondency; there has always existed glimmers of truth and rationality (regardless of how deeply they were hidden) within each argument put forth. Even if for many people it was a pragmatism that might as well have been outer-worldly; it was a pragmatism that was still there, albeit muddled in the ambiance of boisterous proclamations and incomprehensible red-faced ramblings. In fact, it wasn't until 'Atlas Shrugged' and Professor Lee Haggerty validated my angry disposition and taught me the futility of a hastened argument and the power of patience, coupled with clear, intelligible talking points in the pursuit to achieve a desired outcome; that I truly understood the difference between perception, opinion and fact. It is because of these two influences in my life (along with my father, of course, whose lack of success with me during my formidable years was solely resultant of proximity and antisocialism) that I can now rage, in a mature manner and with formidable argument, against the agitations that coarse thru my veins like fire fiercely flaring inside a hydrogen-rich steel pipe. Above them all… my abhorrence of pomp and pretention.

"The Wormwood Society." Pretentious pomps! What, pray tell, or who, rather… adorned you "Kings" of the "proper" manner in which to prepare the beloved 'Absinthe Drip'…? Proper…? What the hell is proper, anyway? If by proper, you mean traditional, then you should say, 'traditional'… because what's proper is passé in a world of progression and modernism, flooded with new strands of philosophy and sociological understanding that were not only unknown at the time of the inception of your "proper" Absinthe Drip method, but are as fluid today, each day, as the rain cascading down into the tumultuous waves of a mid-ocean monsoon. The title of the piece on preparing absinthe on the website is, 'The Proper Way to Prepare Absinthe in Society'. Well, lo-and-behold; here you face an opposition who is clinically antisocial; therefore, I have no intention of, nor necessitation for succumbing to your definition of propriety. Just as "Proper English" is as useless to me as a training bra, and political correctness adheres to the theory that I am not a Native American; I say that you're an adversary to freedom and truth. And freedom and truth, my dearest wormwood enthusiasts… is what I live for.

To begin, your cautionary notation is confusing, devoid of argument and overtly contradictory to itself (perhaps a matter of perception). It is stated as truth; however, fails to illicit any fact that would dispel professorial counterarguments. May I criticize on a line-item basis…? I shall whether you permit me to or not, because, well… that is my freedom. Sentence one: "Under no circumstances should fire have any part in the absinthe ritual." Untrue. While fire may not have anything to do with your absinthe ritual, due to the pyromaniacal (why is this not a word) dispositions of my oft antisocial, and long miscreant friends; conjointly with an innate human existence-long fascination with fire and the eye-entrancing effect of a "le feu de bleu royal"; fire does have a part in our absinthe ritual. And why not!? Why shall we cheat ourselves of the bedazzling art upon which we gaze; possessed by the aura of raw energy in a deep royal, consuming ivory shades of purity and delectable sweetness upon shimmering, slotted silver, hanging high above a bay of emerald, chartreuse or feuille mort? That when the sugar caramelizes and drips, so does it fall in a sweetened blue tear and ignite the emerald bay in a momentary flare of luscious luminescence louching deep into the depths of the marvelous libation as the flame dances in silent whisps like a silk scarf lofted in a steady breeze? I rather enjoy the effect, "pointless" as it is… and even advocate that one witness its wonder in the thin-rimmed chamber of a snifter glass. Though, naturally the Purists in the Wormwood Society would be so righteous in their propriety that they'll never experience the sheer visual splendor that this method offers so effortlessly. And to further augment an argument contrasting your "pointless" proclamation, I submit to you that this method, if done properly, does dissolve the sugar, as intended, and creates a crumbling ruin of sugar that quickly dissipates and cascades down into the louching emerald bay with but a few drops of ice cold water. And as you later mention that one "will determine the best absinthe-to-water ratio for your taste;" I say that I am a fan of anise and stiff drinks, and therefore prefer my absinthe strong, with maybe a one-to-one, or two-to-one water dilution.

Secondly, "This is a pointless innovation created in the 1990's and promoted by the purveyors of imitation absinth to make their products seem more interesting and to reinforce the illicit drug image." Had there not been a global ban on absinthe to begin with, then the innovation of "imitation absinth" (you should check your website for spelling congruency) would not have been necessary to begin with. Furthermore, seeing how it was in 1998 that France first repealed the ban, had you considered that perhaps those "purveyors" (as you put it so disgustedly) had helped to create an environment that popularized the drink to a level that there became substantial public support to repeal the ban, so that the drink can now be enjoyed in its intended distillation…? That perhaps the "more interest" created and the popularizing of the drink by such prominently "cool" actors, such as Johnny Depp, may have indeed translated into a new push for repeal? Or had you become so righteous in your Purist ways that you were blind to see a savior in humble clothes? You fail to address this, while all the while deriding those who may've seemingly been responsible for the Absinthe Renaissance (La Fee…?) and in doing so cheapen the long, hard fought road to repeal and those who tried to sustain the industry while it was prohibited. You purist, pretentious pomps, you! And furthermore, I'm confused by this quotation in that you seem to both suggest that the illicit drug image of absinthe is antisocial and deconstructive, while all the while purporting that it was successful in creating a consumer market. Clarity in argument, please… so that your readers are not left twisting in a sea of uncertainty. Were these purveyors evil or good men?

As it were, I do offer you many thanks… I have followed your website and user reviews and used them as a tool for purchasing absinthe, which has led me to some good selections in Obsello, Kubler and King George. The deeper I sink into this luscious libation, the more I understand the culture that has formed around it; after all it is, quite frankly, a delectable treat for the tongue and a cool high for the head. My only fear is that the surrounding culture is less likened to connoisseurs of fine beers, who are indeed still fun-loving beer enthusiasts, and more closely related to that of winos… pretentious pomps. And in a world with so much variety where what matters is freedom and truth; in regards to an industry that is entirely subjected to opinion and marketing, I would say to cast off your pomp, because perception is key, whether its truth or opinion that confronts you.

That being said, if your method is the only, or the "true" "Proper Way to Prepare Absinthe in Society", then I am either improper or not part of society. And seeing how I, despite my diagnosis, am a part of this society (for better or for worse), then I must be improper (in your opinion); which is perfectly acceptable to me, because I'd rather be improper and free than proper and close-minded.

Eitherway… enjoy! 'Tis a fantastic libation… pretentious pomp or not.


"Louche the Emerald Bay! …and allow your tongue to ride the waves of the ambrosial anise libation as it cures your head of pain."