Friday, 31 July 2009

The Beer Summit Was Apparently A Success Perhaps Because No Arrogant Bastard Ale Was Served To Any Of Its Participants

YouTube video about The Beer Summit courtesy of Associated Press

By all accounts the meeting between Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge MA police officer Sgt. James Crowley with U.S. President Barack Obama serving as "bartender" and Vice President Joe Biden present as "bouncer" (just kidding) ;-) was successful and productive. If Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley can sit down together and work towards reconciliation in a civil and mutually respectful manner all I can say is more power to them. If this "Beer Summit" can serve as a "springboard" toward a national dialogue on race relations in the U.S.A. that would be great too. If Sgt. James Crowley can comfortably work together with Henry Louis Gates Jr. in the production of the documentary film that he wants to do on racial profiling, as I have previously suggested, without being co-opted that would be a good thing too. If these two men genuinely want to reconcile and constructively and productively work together to improve race relations in the U.S.A. then I think that the American public should allow them to do just that.

According to the National Post/Reuters report President Barack Obama said that he hoped that the "Beer Summit" would give the people involved in the dispute a chance to listen to each other, instead of "ginning up anger and hyperbole," and reflect upon the fact that they all had different points of view. Sounds fair enough to me but I think that it needs to be pointed out once again, hopefully for a final time. . . that the person most responsible for "ginning up anger and hyperbole" in this matter is Henry Louis Gates Jr., not Sgt. James Crowley and not President Barack Obama even if he did gin up *some* anger with his poorly calibrated words. One only needs to read Henry Louis Gates' self-serving "interview" in The Root entitled 'Skip Gates Speaks' to see plenty of ginning up of anger and over-the-top hyperbole that I have already pointed out in previous blog posts here.

So what did each participant in the "Beer Summit" imbibe you ask?

Well it seems that Stone Brewing Co. of Escondido, California never shipped up that complimentary case of their Arrogant Bastard Ale that I waggishly suggested that they might want to provide on the White House as it were.

National Post/Reuters reports - Bud Light for Obama, Blue Moon for Crowley and Red Stripe for Gates. Vice President Joe Biden was also at the table.

Daily Enquirer reports - The four men ate peanuts as they chatted over their favorite beers. Obama drank a Bud Light, Crowley a Blue Moon, Gates a Sam Adams Light, and Biden a non-alcoholic Buckler.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has an article titled 'Beer Summit: Prosit' which discusses the choice of beers and concludes with this parting shot - The tripartite summit and the "brewhaha" preceding it reminded us of the time a rabbi, a priest, and a minister walked into a saloon, prompting the bartender to ask, "What is this, a joke?"

The Baltimore Sun has an article titled 'Rating the brews served at the beer summit' which apparently rates all of the beers served as second rate swill. I would have to concur. . .

Here is the comment I submitted to the article -

I would go with the Blue Moon too, and might even have two or three if it was a half-decent wheat beer which I have some reason to doubt.

Prompted by a waggish commenter elsewhere I had emailed the Stone Brewing Co. suggesting that it might want to ship a complimentary case of its Arrogant Bastard Ale to be served on the White House as it were. :-)

The Washington Post has an interesting article titled 'The Racial Politics of Beer' by one by Maureen Ogle which was apparently written two days in the future since it is dated Sunday, August 2, 2009. . .

Maureen Ogle's first paragraph says -

It was never going to be just a round of beers -- not when it was being served at the White House to a black (and part Irish) Harvard professor, a white police officer (also boasting Irish roots) and the mixed-race president of the United States.

I can't help but wonder if Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s Irish roots are of the Protestant Orangemen variety which might explain a lot about what happened between the two men, seeing that Sgt. James Crowley's Irish background seems to be on the Catholic side of *that* divide. . . Oh dear am I engaging in racial profiling? ;-)

Well it *is* Marching Season you know. . .

I like this bit too -

Of course, nothing says "humanity" better than fermented grain. For 10,000 years, from Mesopotamia to medieval Europe, from Asia to Africa, human beings have prayed, haggled, and waged war and peace while sipping the stuff. In Europe circa 3,000 B.C., beer-drinking played such a vital role in political and religious rituals that chieftains and warriors outfitted themselves with ornate cups and ewers, objects of precious stone and metal so symbolically powerful that they were buried with their owners.

It's well worth a full read.

Here is U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement following the "Beer Summit" courtesy of the Los Angeles Times:

"I am thankful to Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley for joining me at the White House this evening for a friendly, thoughtful conversation. Even before we sat down for the beer, I learned that the two gentlemen spent some time together listening to one another, which is a testament to them. I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode."

"It's an attempt to have some personal interaction when an issue has become so hyped and so symbolic that you loose sight of just the fact that these are people involved, including myself, all of whom are imperfect," Mr. Obama said.

Nuff' said?

Well not quite. It does occur to me that Sgt. James Crowley might have been trying to send a subtle message by choosing the Blue Moon. I expect that he hopes that the kind of incident that led to the Beer Summit only occurs once in a blue moon. . .

No comments:

Post a Comment

Slice It Or Dice it. . .