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NYTimes: Care for an Absinthe? Ptooey!

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I’m not sure how to feel about this article. :closedeyes: Parts made me shocked and parts made me want to shake my fist. Either way, Apotheke is back in reference…

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Thank goodness, now that it has lost its "exclusivity factor" perhaps it will mean those of us in the unwashed masses will have access to quality absinthe at a reasonable price!

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Talk about missing the point. This is the second or third article I've seen where the lazy and completely uninformed journalist blames absinthe for not living up to the hype of idiot marketers.

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I can't be sure of this, I'll be damned if I can't find the reference now, but that same reporter did a story on absinthe about a year ago, which was just as er, um, schlocky.

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I'm a little unclear what your gripe with this article is, Hiram. Aside from the abrupt ending and a brief, but not particularly hyped mention of flames and thujone (which the reporter informs the reader does not cause hallucinations), all the article really says is that absinthe is enjoying a surge of popularity because of its image as a mysterious, subversive drink and that this image is unearned. Both of these things, as near as I can tell, are true. While absinthe's history is interesting, its image as a mysterious, subversive drink is largely (as both you and this article point out) the product of PR people. As absinthe has recently become legal, that image is bound to disperse. Which is a good thing. It's more or less what I take to be your mission here: demythologize the drink and teach people to approach it for its taste.

 

As for blaming the absinthe itself, I don't see where the reporter does that. He mentions that the licorice (anise) taste isn't popular with Americans and that Tourment Verte isn't particularly tasty, but neither of these things should come as surprises and neither actually blame absinthe for its rep. Mostly I just see the reporter saying that absinthe is a current fad and that, as they are wont to do, this fad will eventually fade.

 

Edit: I also want to point out that the reporter showed a real admiration for the two men at the end of the bar for being genuine absinthe enthusiasts, which, to me, supports my belief that he is commenting on the nature of fads, rather than on the inability of absinthe to live up to its hype.

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Interesting interpretation Martin. Of course the dispelling of myths is still important.

 

But to me it seemed to be absolutely intentionally calling absinthe a fad, and taking idiotic glee in proclaiming the 'fad' was over. Endless direct comparisons to lame fads of the past (while being dumb enough to state that tattoos on women are/'were' a fad) and disparaging remarks about the flavor (this implies that people drink it onacuz it's 'cool'). Rimbaud himself claims he was badly misquoted. If the author's intention was different, then I feel that they suck at getting their point across.

 

Or pass by the point without a clue, they did indeed.

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Well, not to labor my argument any more than I already have, but people do drink absinthe because it's cool. Or because they think it's cool or sophisticated or subversive. Not people here, of course, but people. To say that the legalization of absinthe has brought about an era of lame news articles on its mysterious history, silly absinthe mixers (to call them cocktails seems kind of blasphemous to me), and PR firms looking to cash in on its mysterious image is out and out true. This board is full of evidence to that fact. But by saying that, I'm not denigrating absinthe, I'm observing a phenomenon surrounding the drink. Which I think is what's happening here.

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OMG, they said the same thing about my pet rock.

 

Martin, it's hard to think the writer had a fondness for absinthe from the get go:

Care for an Absinthe? Ptooey!

That's enough to raise the defensive hackles of any absinthe lover. Granted, it wasn't nearly as condemning as I feared.

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I don't think they write their own headlines at the Times, T73, but I'll grant you, it wasn't exactly a glowing review of absinthe. I mean, the guy certainly wasn't fond of the taste. I guess the question that led me to write my initial comments was what in the article made Hiram think the author was blaming the absinthe for the fad and not, say, the PR firms or the many people out there who continue to buy it or the newspaper editors who keep commissioning inane articles in which the author recites the thujone mantra and then comments on how they didn't see any fairies.

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This is the second or third article I've seen where the lazy and completely uninformed journalist blames absinthe for not living up to the hype of idiot marketers.

 

Don't you think "second or third" is a bit generous to the media? ;) I'm compiling columns that showcase exactly this type of shoddy journalism for a future article, and this is at least number 20!

 

And really,...comparing absinthe to Interpol in an "if absinthe were a band" interpretation? Please!

 

EDIT: I sent the little bugger an e-mail, as I often do when an article is THIS bad. I included a link to this thread, so if he wants to defend himself, he's more than welcome to state his case for why he is such a twat...

Edited by Absinthe Ben

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the author recites the thujone mantra and then comments on how they didn't see any fairies.

Then, the writers should stay out of absinthe bars and spend more time in the theatre.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

*That was shameful and I sincerely apologize. I swear, I'll never direct Peter Pan.

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Pffft. 30+ years of theatre and I've only attempted one musical. It's only when I turn into the Production Manager Theatre Whore I encourage that tripe.

 

There really are good playwrights out there, you know.

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I think the article was rubbish for the first 2/3, then it took a turn for the better, 'bout when he started to focus on the actual absintheurs (with the sentence "At the other end of the bar"). And of course, they had to include a photo of the fire "ritual". Draw the attention in with fire, then hit 'em over the head with ridicule.

 

It's a classic example of the Times burying the lede.

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Paul, you're fast! I had just finished my Sunday Times and was gonna post this for the community only to find it already had generated 20+ comments. Definitely a biased article written by someone who sat down at the typewriter with a granite block on his shoulder. What was his problem? Surpirsed that Absinthe tasted like licorice...that's liking being suprised that Kahlua tastes like coffee.

 

But instead of trashing him in our little world, anyone have any ideas on how best to educate him on another point of view? Paul, from a newspaperman's point of view...how can we reach out to him to do a follow up?

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I think Martin is right in that a lot of people express an interest in absinthe because its cool, or mysterious, or was once banned (often they don't know why), or many other reasons. Almost never do they come to the beverage because they heard that it tastes great.

 

I hope there remains enough interest in absinthe for it to be worthwhile to bring new artisanal absinthes to the market while not so much interest that absinthe becomes the next vodka fad, and the shelves are filled with Absolut Absinth and it's ilk (i.e., NS with wormwood and other flavors added, stir, bottle, and serve).

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I hope there remains enough interest in absinthe for it to be worthwhile to bring new artisanal absinthes to the market while not so much interest that absinthe becomes the next vodka fad, and the shelves are filled with Absolut Absinth and it's ilk...

 

Or worse.

 

ABSINTHE ICE

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