The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly
Monica Lewinsky graduated from Bel Air Prep in 1991, the same year Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law School. This was also the year Harry Potter finished his Muggle Primary School and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. On Christmas Day of that year Harry received his father’s invisibility cloak from Albus Dumbledore. On the same day Harry found the Mirror of Erised, which allowed him to see his parents and extended family. On the following day, December 26, 1991, something even more extraordinary happened. The Schlafly Brewery opened for business, the first new brewery in the City of St. Louis since before Prohibition.
Fleur Pellerin was born on August 29, 1973, when Monica Lewinsky was five weeks old. While Monica was participating in executive privilege in the Clinton White House, Fleur was rising through the ranks of the governmental bureaucracy in France. On August 26, 2014, three days before her 41st birthday, Mme. Pellerin became the French Minister of Culture and Communication. Shortly thereafter the Ministre de la Culture made an embarrassing admission: she hadn’t read a book in years. Sacre bleu. Mon dieu. It’s as if the Commissioner of Major League Baseball never went to ballgames. While French cognoscenti have denounced her failure to read books as “barbaric,” I would simply note that she is obviously not an alert reader (AR) of The Growler or any other intellectual publication.
As far as I know the United States does not have a Minister of Culture. If we did, I would urge him or her to designate the intersection of Watson Road and Lindbergh Boulevard, in Sunset Hills, as the Official Cultural Crossroads of America. By way of clarification I should add that this section of Watson Road was formerly part of Route 66; and this stretch of Lindbergh is still part of Highway 61.
One would be hard pressed to name a more iconic highway in American culture than Route 66, which John Steinbeck called “The Mother Road, the road of flight.” It’s the road on which Americans have been urged to “get [their] kicks” by countless singers from Nat King Cole to Perry Como to Mick Jagger to Chuck Berry to Glenn Frey and innumerable others. It was the inspiration and eponym for a TV series about two young men who traveled across the country in a Corvette. (One of the highlights of my adolescence was watching the filming of an episode in my neighborhood in 1962.)
Almost as iconic is Highway 61, which runs from New Orleans to Minnesota. The portion between St. Louis and St. Paul, MN is known as The Avenue of the Saints. (I would contend that the Avenue of the Saints actually extends all the way to New Orleans, where the Saints famously go marching in.) With or without saints, Highway 61 is legendary as The Blues Highway, especially between Vicksburg and Memphis. Bob Dylan, who grew up not far from its northern terminus, devoted one of his most famous albums to its musical heritage: “Highway 61 Revisited.”
I need to give credit to an AR named Kevin Nash for reminding me that this important cultural site is right here in St. Louis. Kevin is also an aficionado of The Rolling Stones and a notoriously surly bartender at The Schlafly Tap Room. On the latter point, Kevin recently reminded me that his tour de force occurred some time ago when I tried in vain to order a beer from him. Engrossed in a crossword puzzle, Kevin was either pretending not to hear me or actually didn’t. He eventually responded and began pouring my beer, at which point the keg blew and I ended up covered with beer foam. According to Kevin, it was then that I told him in matter of fact manner, “Kevin, it’s getting harder and harder every day to sign your paycheck.” That was several years ago and Kevin’s still around.
It’s not only our employees who have made the past 23 years so rewarding, it’s also the loyal customers, some of whom gather on a fairly regular basis at the south bar of The Tap Room on Friday afternoons. One such Friday regular is an AR named Paul Casey, an alumnus of McBride High School (which was named after my great grandfather), an accomplished carpenter (whose handiwork can be seen at both Bottleworks and The Tap Room), and a voracious reader. Paul is the only person I know who might read as much as Theodore Roosevelt, who famously read a book a day, even while serving as President. I would encourage Fleur Pellerin to join our Friday regulars some time. She might even learn enough to fake it the next time someone asks her about the books she’s reading.