The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer President Tom Schlafly
I take great pride in this column’s commitment to taking on issues of global significance. In that spirit I think it’s appropriate to say something about the nation’s colossal trade deficit. As an American-owned brewery—over 90% of the beer consumed in the United States is brewed in foreign-owned breweries—Schlafly tries to do its part in reducing this deficit. There is, however, someone who recently did a lot more to reduce the trade deficit than we ever have: Al Gore. Yes, that Al Gore. Although he did not in fact invent the internet, the former vice president did manage to bring hundreds of millions of petrodollars from the Middle East back into the United States. Approximately $100 million went to him personally, which he is presumably keeping in American banks or investing in domestic businesses.
Al and his partners accomplished this act of patriotism by selling Current TV to Al Jazeera, which is controlled by the emir of Qatar. In doing so they diverted approximately $500 million away from the causes on which the emir would otherwise have spent them—he recently donated $400 million to the terrorist group Hamas—to their own projects, which are undoubtedly much worthier. Al, for example, could easily spend some of his money on Schlafly Beer, which is available in both Nashville and Washington, DC, two cities where he has been known to hang out in the past.
One place where Schlafly Beer is not available and will probably never be available is Qatar. Under laws promulgated by the emir, it’s illegal to import alcohol into the country. It’s also illegal to consume alcohol in public. Violators of this law can be deported, fined or imprisoned. Muslims who consume alcohol are subject to corporal punishment. In other words, whatever else Qatar has going for itself, it’s probably not a good place to celebrate Mardi Gras. Not only does Mardi Gras involve the consumption of forbidden beverages, it also has its roots in a non-Islamic religion that is not favored by the emir.
St. Louis, on the other hand, is a superb place to celebrate Mardi Gras, especially this year, when Fat Tuesday falls two days before Valentine’s Day, which is also the 249th anniversary of the founding of the city. In support of this claim, I would refer alert readers (ARs) to the January, 2013 issue of St. Louis Magazine, specifically to an article titled “Louis, Louis, Loo-ey” by Jeannette Cooperman. From Ms. Cooperman’s account it’s obvious that the French Catholics who founded St. Louis believed in having a good time. This was not a place where having a drink would get one flogged or bring down the wrath of imams in other ways.
[T]here was a distinct Frenchness about us, in that first colonial century—and a great deal more partying. Fiddles came out, feet stomped, homespun and dimity skirts swirled in the dance. Everybody was Catholic, in a way both devout and relaxed: They might or might not go to Mass, but the church’s calendar ordered the seasons, and its feasts made merriment obligatory.
Wedding festivities lasted three days. Common amusements were horse-racing, billiards, and the taking of bets on both…
French Catholicism especially irritated the Protestants. [Professor J. Frederick] Fausz quotes Thomas Jefferson calling Catholicism, “the lowest grade of ignorance”……The Anglos found it maddening to see the French go to Mass on a Sunday morning, share a cup of rum with the priest afterward and play cards all afternoon. “The take on the French was that they drink too much, they play too much, they have sex with savages, and even the best of them are Roman Catholic,” Fausz says.
The joie de vivre that prevailed in St. Louis two and a half centuries ago can still be found today. We are indebted to our French founders for giving us the church calendar that includes Mardi Gras and all its obligatory merriment. And I’m indebted to St. Louis Magazine for reminding me of the revelrous aspects of our French heritage that Anglo observers found so shocking. St. Louis Magazine is a fine publication. Let’s hope the emir of Qatar doesn’t try to buy it and transform it into an arm of Al Jazeera.