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Meatwaggon

Absinthe vs. Czechsinth Battle Royale

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I just randomly found this via Google today, looks like a very recent conversation. I don't know if this Oxygenee guy posts here, but he was tearing into some czechsinth folks with very robust rational arguments. What I found illuminating was the fact that the czechsinth people weren't for the most part disagreeing with him so much as trying to subtly introduce even a miniscule amount of doubt into the history of absinthe, wherein they can find a historical niche for their products to nestle in and claim authenticity. The more I read about this stuff the more I find the historicity of czechsinth to be dubious, and I came into this whole thing with a completely neutral mindset as I didn't even know there was a difference until I started reading more about it. Now to consume the last of my Blanchette as I prepare for grand rounds tomorrow.....

 

http://www.absinthedrinkers.org/?q=node/72

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"This Oxygenee guy" is probably the foremost authority on the history of Absinthe, and absinthiana on the planet today, and the actual "history" of Czechsinth goes all the way back to Radomil Hill's initial marketing of Hill's Absinth in 1993...try checking into Oxygenee's Vitual Absinthe Museum to see a few of Oxy's "toys" for sale, or just pure visual delight.

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Citing "subtle forms of ethnocentrism" as the reason that people don't like their swill strikes me as a desperation tactic. The fact is, you cannot sell a drink that tastes like it came out of a car radiator forever...especially when there are real absinthes to be had.

 

Among many misleading comments, the blog author's suggestion that Hiram's long-standing efforts to disseminate truth about absinthe in fact arise from financial motives is particularly egregious. Long-time readers of these boards know better, of course.

 

And this:

 

You're here to enjoy life--not sip desperately on a drink that took ten or more minutes to prepare...

 

That's just sophomoric.

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What if one of the many ways you enjoy life is by sipping on a drink that took 10 minutes to prepare?

 

Their version would be something like: "You're here to enjoy life by doing flaming shots of colored vodka and throwing up while trying to convince yourself that you're hallucinating."

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What if one of the many ways you enjoy life is by sipping on a drink that took 10 minutes to prepare?

EXACTLY.

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Totally concur, Metodd. But I think as long as there is an uneducated portion of people who will do whatever is hip and now, there will be customers for drinks like czechsinth. There is always someone who will drink something.

 

In fact not a day ago I was reading a magazine before bed (it was a fish and game magazine) and I nearly fell out of bed when I saw an add for KoS Gold next to an add for shotguns. Advertising in a magazine with a washed-out picture of some heavy-looking tank, with a tag line that said “Get Tanked- King of Spirits Gold Absinth”. WTF? I spat a slurry of profanities. :angry:

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I love Metal Hammer magazine but I have to just ignore the KOS ads. They're metal people, not drink people. And as much as I love metal people, they tend to be drink idiots even worse than rap people are.

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the blog author's suggestion that Hiram's long-standing efforts to disseminate truth about absinthe in fact arise from financial motives is particularly egregious.

Not to mention laughably absurd. The amount of financial gain I've made off of WS in the last four years combined is in the triple digits. It's only been with the recent advent of subscriptions that I didn't have to dig into my own pockets just to pay the hosting fees. The CafePress shop generally about breaks even.

 

In the interest of radical transparency, I was going to detail my financial situation, but dignity forbids it. Suffice it to say: I'm 50. I have a day job doing manual labor, and probably will until Marteau starts to materialize some actual revenue. We don't own (never have), we rent, and have just taken on a house mate (two women in the house, go me). We do not own a car, we bus it—and it ain't because we're concerned for the environment. Anyone here who knows me personally knows I'm not getting rich off of WS or absinthe, or even getting my bills paid. I've done this as a labor of love all this time and have turned down offers to capitalize on it—at times when we could have really used the money.

 

I decided to enter the commercial absinthe arena for three primary reasons: to finally make an honest livelihood doing something I love and I'm good at, to set an example (someone has to do it right. ;) ) and of course, because I'd be a frickin' idiot not to.

 

I'll be damned if I'm going to take criticism from a bunch of crooks who sell artificially colored and flavored vodka by the cargo container full at an insane level of profit.

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I had glanced over that part but paid him no attention. Although Sir, I sadly do not know you personally, I do however sympathize with you cause- and I laud all that you have done and achieved.

 

I wish someday myself to be able to follow through on all my personal desires and convictions much like WS has done for you, and all of us. The envious will say whatever comes to mind- I say let the buggers eat cake! I stand by your side and pledge my allegiance.

 

(edited because I couldn't get the quote quite right)

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Meatwaggon, you seem to have an excellent grasp when it comes to the details and minutiae of a subject. But then you seem to rush right past the bigger picture. Take your time and read widely. Follow the individual strands to see where they go, not just to test whether their integrity is good at the point of examination. Consider the whole patient, not just their maladies in isolation.

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I have been widely reading entire absinthe threads for the last several days, especially after the other thread with Ted Breaux and the other guy, so the bigger picture is starting to come sharply into focus for me. Fee Verte, random absinthe blogs (mostly czechsinth blogs), which is the reason I came upon this thread today. I'm still relatively new to absinthe, but it certainly can't be said that I'm not doing my due diligence here.

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Meatwaggon, you seem to have an excellent grasp when it comes to the details and minutiae of a subject. But then you seem to rush right past the bigger picture. Take your time and read widely. Follow the individual strands to see where they go, not just to test whether their integrity is good at the point of examination. Consider the whole patient, not just their maladies in isolation.

"In fact, the Riddles all appeared to be in perfect health - apart from the fact that they were all dead."

 

(edit add) In the end, can you rationally justify drinking absinthe?

 

-- T

Edited by TDB

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I'm sorry, I'm not quite understanding the jist of your post, TDB.

 

It started as a humorous, throw-away reply to Pan Buh.

 

To answer you, I began dissecting my post to try to explain it, but that just wasn't going to lead anywhere good. So if I've caused any offense, I'll apologize now.

 

A friend who is a painter called me today. One thing he told me that I found interesting was that when taking photos of his paintings, he reached a point where too much resolution, too much detail was counter productive. It would cause people to see the brush strokes, not his painting.

 

I lurked on the WS forums for a while before I registered. Once I decided that integrity - compounded with sarcasm - was part of the culture here, it made my life much easier. I've got enough going on that I just want to be able to enjoy absinthe, and perhaps daydream a bit. (Though I have to admit that following random threads can be useful - today I learned *why* I shouldn't keep absinthe in the fridge.)

 

So if you get off on doing due diligence, like I get off on day dreaming, why should I tease you?

 

-- T

 

(edit - it's late, too tired to proof read correctly the first time, and now I'm rambling - time for bed)

Edited by TDB

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That's what training in philosophy does for you. It's good to pull back every once in a while and summarize the overall direction of the discussion in your head, but the devil is truly in the details and what sounds good as a generalization may totally fall apart under close scrutiny. It's the little details that add up and build a case for your generalization, not the other way around. It may work differently in art, of course, but then again rigorous debate and painting aren't very similar.

 

My initial problem was that I did not have all the details, which is what I've spent the last while soaking up from the internet. Like I said, it's the details that give you the big picture, not the other way around. Same thing in medicine. If some sick guy comes into the hospital, you're not going to settle for some gestalty 'spot diagnosis' like you're some kind of mega-MD with superpowers. You pummel him with questions, withdraw copious amounts of blood for tests, and bombard him with x-rays. Those are the details that allow you to form the larger picture of why he's laying in front of you in a fetal position clutching his gut.....

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Curses, Tim. Choosing not to speak the name of what is most troubling can only serve to feed its power. Ah, well, call it a Riddle, then. Your response(s) hit the mark with a great deal of integrity, I'd wager. Hardly a humorous throw-away.

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That's what training in philosophy does for you. It's good to pull back every once in a while and summarize the overall direction of the discussion in your head, but the devil is truly in the details and what sounds good as a generalization may totally fall apart under close scrutiny.

 

I suspect that, as you subject the details of the arguments advanced by the Czecha (ha ha), you'll notice the same patterns that others have. First, three logical fallacies are predominant in their writings, being the argument ad hominem, poisoning the well, and the hasty generalization. The blog essay to which you linked is an excellent case study, particularly with regard to the first two.

 

Moreover, as was discussed here recently, the Czech "absinth" supporters, when they can, control the debate in an effort to ensure that the best arguments countering their claims are not heard at all (witness their deleting comments posted to their blogs), which is ironic in view of the blogger's claims about "control" of Wikipedia, for instance.

 

Finally, when pressed, they simply refuse to speak to the issues of the historical record and scientific truth. Instead, they assert the validity of their "counter science," (edit: passing reference to Intelligent Design removed; I do not wish to inadvertantly spark an off-topic debate, and the analogy was imperfect in any case). Suffice it to say, the "counter science" seems aptly named, though by accident rather than design.

 

At the risk of resorting to clichés, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. In the interest of science, I've tasted a Czech "absinth" product. I did not like it, not because it tasted "Czech," but because it tasted terrible.

Edited by Marlow

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In fact not a day ago I was reading a magazine before bed (it was a fish and game magazine) and I nearly fell out of bed when I saw an add for KoS Gold next to an add for shotguns.

 

I have seen those ads in Harper's magazine's back-of-the-book section for a few months now, and it gets funnier each time.

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Marlow,

 

I was relating a story as it happened to me. Hence, highly subjective and fraught with many perilous ad hominems. But I'm still not sure why I'm being accused of being a Czech blog or thrown in with the "rest" as someone who censors comments, directs debates, etc. I'm really not any of that. But thanks for the generalizations. While you may not appreciate my methods, I got a very interesting debate out of the deal and that I'm quite sure would never of happened any other way.

 

Meatwaggon,

 

You pointed out earlier about the subtleties within the arguments that I by and large agree with and it's true. So much comes down to a play on words and often the subtleties define the general feeling. And those are what I want to call into question. It's not so hard to agree with a concept while disagreeing with the definition.

 

So please, ask me any questions. I've apparently been provoking much confusion and I'd like to clear some things up.

Edited by studiofox

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I don't know if this Oxygenee guy posts here

 

:laf:

 

Alright, sorry, to take the maturity level down but this just cracked me up.

 

Back to the discussion.

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(To give people a frame of reference when reading my posts, and perhaps some insight as to how my world view colors what I say, I should mention that I'm into temperament theory and within that I would be categorized as an iNFp or an Idealist.)

 

That's what training in philosophy does for you. It's good to pull back every once in a while and summarize the overall direction of the discussion in your head, but the devil is truly in the details and what sounds good as a generalization may totally fall apart under close scrutiny. It's the little details that add up and build a case for your generalization, not the other way around. It may work differently in art, of course, but then again rigorous debate and painting aren't very similar.

 

Why are you trying to seek out the devil? ;)

 

In my work, the details are genuinely important. I work on software that - among other things - is used at about 80% of the nuclear power plants in the States. Computers are like hostile genies - they do *exactly* what you tell them to do - so here details are vital. However, it leaves me with the perspective to see just how unimportant they are in other areas.

 

And with this Czech-sinth thing, there is just so much that can't be proven, that it's more art than science. We can't prove that the belle epoch French didn't burn their sugar cubes. The fact that all these drunks with flaming high-proof alcohol didn't reduce Paris to ashes is merely circumstantial evidence. Maybe there were just some small fires that only managed to incinerate all the posters and other documentation of people drinking flaming absinthe. We just weren't there - possibly, except for Absomphe - so we just don't know. (On the other hand, in the US justice system, it is possible to convict on circumstantial evidence, so that's good enough for me.)

 

I think that logic and science are nice, but somewhat overrated. (I'd get on to a "science is a religion" rant, but I'm already risking the cornfield as it is.) I'd also made a comment about rationally justifying drinking absinthe. I mean, what rational person in their right mind would drink this stuff? I know of no studies showing it has any health benefits, like red wine. It's expensive, and in the past has taken considerable effort to obtain in the States. If you mention it to people who aren't into absinthe, the two most likely responses are a blank look with the underlying implication that you're weird, or an association with drug addicts. Throw the PR of the nasty-tasting Czech stuff into the mix, and rationally, you'd have to be a fool to drink absinthe.

 

(The man who eats fugu is a fool. The man who does not eat fugu, he, too, is a fool.)

 

Same thing in medicine. If some sick guy comes into the hospital, you're not going to settle for some gestalty 'spot diagnosis' like you're some kind of mega-MD with superpowers. You pummel him with questions, withdraw copious amounts of blood for tests, and bombard him with x-rays. Those are the details that allow you to form the larger picture of why he's laying in front of you in a fetal position clutching his gut.....

 

Do enough of that and you will have destroyed the man, then it all becomes moot.

 

As an example of reaching the point of diminishing returns, I have a dog - an Irish Wolfhound - that is getting old. One Friday evening this Summer, he became unable to lie down. He kept trying, getting down into a "sit" and then standing up again, until finally he was so exhausted he just flopped over. He slept in that one position all night, and unless you've been around animals, it's difficult to realize how unnatural that is.

 

I spent the next day visiting veterinarians. My vet examined him, felt him up and thought that his spleen seemed enlarged, so he referred me to a specialist for an ultrasound. This was an easy thing for me to worry about - I'd lost my previous Wolfhound to lymphoma. So I left him for an ultrasound and a blood panel. When I went back to pick him up, I learned that neither test found anything. (Which was good, because it basically ruled out cancer.)

 

They suggested giving him a chest x-ray as the next step. I was doubtful about that, because it didn't seem to be connected to his problem, which I felt was more centered on the lower back - he's never had a particularly strong rear end. After they assured me they could take the x-ray without sedating him, I went along with it, in case the x-ray gave any more information.

 

Go away to grab some food at a little hole-in-the-wall Indian place. (As an aside, there was a liquor store in the same shopping center, so I went over there and asked about absinthe. The proprietor didn't know anything about it, but there was a couple just behind me, and the man said they drank it, and that I would have look on the internet and order some from Eastern Europe. Enough said, but to the OC members, this place was either in Fountain Valley or HB.)

 

On returning to the vet and waiting a while, I'm told the chest x-ray didn't turn up anything but now they want to do an MRI. "We're not doing this just to milk you." At this point, sanity kicked in and I asked if the test could give any information they could act on. I call him my puppy, but he's two years beyond the average life span for Wolfhounds. Also, being in the Greyhound family, using an anesthetic on him is a risky business, so even if they found a disc problem, surgery isn't an option. They had no answer for me, so we skipped that test.

 

Yeah, that was a just a dog, and for a person you'd go do the MRI, just in case. But is someone's life on the line when it comes to the details of absinthe?

 

That may become my refrain in these debates "It sounds like someone's life is on the line here."

 

-- T

 

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who need closure.

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I was relating a story as it happened to me. Hence, highly subjective and fraught with many perilous ad hominems. But I'm still not sure why I'm being accused of being a Czech blog or thrown in with the "rest" as someone who censors comments, directs debates, etc. I'm really not any of that.

 

I'm afraid I must be blunt: ad hominem attacks and misrepresentations such as those in your essay are profoundly dishonorable, regardless of whatever excuses you might offer for them. As one who resorts to such attacks, you risk being categorized with your ideological allies who have themselves proven dishonorable, even if you only resort to some and not all of their tactics. Whether you have specifically deleted comments to your particular blog is not the key issue here, as I suspect you well know.

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Why are you trying to seek out the devil? ;)

When you are satisfied that there is no devil in the details, then you are more confident of the overall picture.

 

And with this Czech-sinth thing, there is just so much that can't be proven, that it's more art than science.

Then why even try? Since it can't be done, Oxy must be a fool to bring up all the evidence that he does, since it's more art than science and we can't prove everything.....

 

The fact is we can prove some things, and as you said, circumstantial evidence exists for other things. The more details you provide, the stronger case you build. That's exactly what Oxy was doing in that thread. He wasn't even close to being general or artsy about anything. Detail after detail slammed home into the counterargument. On the other hand, nobody said it was an either/or thing that is so easily and cleanly provable. If it was, czechsinthists would have absolutely no wiggle room and place to hide and would be so blatantly discredited even they could not argue.

 

We can't prove that the belle epoch French didn't burn their sugar cubes. The fact that all these drunks with flaming high-proof alcohol didn't reduce Paris to ashes is merely circumstantial evidence. Maybe there were just some small fires that only managed to incinerate all the posters and other documentation of people drinking flaming absinthe. We just weren't there - possibly, except for Absomphe - so we just don't know. (On the other hand, in the US justice system, it is possible to convict on circumstantial evidence, so that's good enough for me.)

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, that's true. But as you describe, it sure is kinda suspicious that after all this time nothing has surfaced about burning sugar. And that's certainly a point to bring up in a debate. A detail.

 

I think that logic and science are nice, but somewhat overrated.

Only for some people who worship science as a religion. For those who don't, it doesn't mean they should therefor be happy free flower-wearing hippy people. And if you're debating something rationally, it's kinda hard to overrate logic in such circumstances.

 

I mean, what rational person in their right mind would drink this stuff? I know of no studies showing it has any health benefits, like red wine.

How about the studies which indicate that the ethyl alcohol itself without any accompanying tannins also shows an improvement in mortality? So yes (in moderation) beer, whiskey and Pina Coladas are good for you.

 

It's expensive, and in the past has taken considerable effort to obtain in the States. If you mention it to people who aren't into absinthe, the two most likely responses are a blank look with the underlying implication that you're weird, or an association with drug addicts. Throw the PR of the nasty-tasting Czech stuff into the mix, and rationally, you'd have to be a fool to drink absinthe.

I don't think there's anything irrational about it at all. People enjoy things for different reasons. Think of all the reasons you enjoy absinthe. If you could give NO reasons why you drink absinthe but still manage to down 2 or 3 Jades every night, then yes perhaps I'd think you were screwy.

 

Do enough of that and you will have destroyed the man, then it all becomes moot.

Well okay, maybe next time I'll just use my sixth sense and x-ray vision on people. Fact is, there is no point in ordering every last test in the lab on people, but neither should you be happy happy joy joy about arguments in support of Franco-Swiss style absinthe vs. czechsinth just because it causes headaches for some people or because not everything can be proven about the period or for whatever other reason.

 

Yeah, that was a just a dog, and for a person you'd go do the MRI, just in case. But is someone's life on the line when it comes to the details of absinthe?

Well, doing extensive testing on pets while we still have people in this country who can't afford to get basic health care is a whole nother can of bitter worms for me. On the other hand, you (and now I) have seen people HERE, not just in other blogs talk with such vehemence about the details of absinthe that I'm rather surprised these same people are so verbal about not going into details.

 

That may become my refrain in these debates "It sounds like someone's life is on the line here."

Exactly. Like in that other thread. If it's not worth peoples' time going into details, why even bother arguing with studiofox, and with such bile? We could just reduce debates to "I'm right and you're wrong and that's just the end of it". "Ditto".

 

[edited for bracketing errors]

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What are all of these well-spoken new guys doing here? Didn't anyone tell them this was a drinking forum? ;)

 

Sorry, but I've been getting home from work so late this week I've only had time for one drink a day. I've been alternating between the Kübler, Lucid and Absente to see if that helps train my palate.

 

I'll try to make up for it on Saturday, though. I'm hosting a Yule Feaste and Bardic Circle. Three friends are coming in to do the cooking and all I have to do is raid my cellar. Among other things, I've got a half dozen bottles of mead lying in wait. [i'd talk about mead, but it's probably too rustic for the refined drunks of this forum. ;) ] Trouble is I'll need to be able to play as opposed to lying on the floor and letting the puppies lick me.

 

-- T

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Well, I don't suppose anyone's life is on the line here. The absinthe industry is new and small. I believe that getting the facts and science straight and the truth out there is important to making sure the industry can grow and sustain itself for a long time. There are many extraordinarily skilled absinthe distillers out there who would probably love to make a career out of it. Many of us who enjoy this drink are absolutely obsessed with it; we rejoice when new quality products appear because there are comparatively few now.

 

To those of us who love these drinks it's more than just booze.

 

For the record, I appreciate Meatwaggon's approach.

 

[i'd talk about mead, but it's probably too rustic for the refined drunks of this forum. ;) ]

Shoot, there's more than a couple skilled meadmakers here.

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