The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly
Donald Trump was newsworthy long before his memorable claim that Fox News host Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever.” For several years The Donald had been making headlines by demanding to see a copy of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. With all due respect for The Donald, I must say that birth certificates are overrated. Far more important these days is how an individual self-identifies.
Consider the case of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner (BC). When BC was born on October 28, 1949 his/her birth certificate said he/she was a male. This description was based in part on his/her having a “wherever” customarily associated with boys. Twenty-seven years later, BC competed in the men’s decathlon at the Olympic Games in Montreal and won a gold medal. BC still had a “wherever” that required wearing a jockstrap and he would certainly not have been allowed to compete in any of the women’s track and field events. (All female Olympic athletes that year were required to submit to sex tests except for Princess Anne, a member of the British equestrienne team.) The fact that BC would probably not be able to pass such a test today and the fact that he/she still has the same “wherever” with which he/she was born are both irrelevant. BC now self-identifies as a woman. Self-identification “trumps” both anatomy and one’s birth certificate.
It’s important to note that self-identification “trumps” birth certificates in classifications other than sex. According to Rachel Dolezal’s birth certificate, she was born to Caucasian parents in Montana on November 12, 1977. Nevertheless, by the time she became president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane she had “trumped” her birth certificate by self-identifying as African-American. According to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s birth certificate, she was born to Caucasian parents in Oklahoma on June 22, 1949. Somewhere along the way she began to self-identify as partially Cherokee. The fact that the Cherokee Nation did not accept this self-identification did not prevent her employer Harvard Law School from doing so.
Jake and Elwood Blues, who were respectively played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in The Blues Brothers, never actually claimed not to be Caucasian. They did, however, cause quite a controversy by allegedly appropriating an African-American musical genre for their own enrichment. Sadly, John Belushi (Jake) died in 1982, two years after the movie was released, and was never able to experience the delights of Schlafly Beer, which didn’t come on the market until nine years later. Dan Aykroyd (Elwood), on the other hand, is alive and well. I’m not saying that the salubrious qualities of Schlafly are solely responsible for Elwood’s comparative longevity. Nor am I saying they’re irrelevant.
While self-identification may be able to “trump” birth certificates when it comes to gender and race, it cannot do so with respect to age. At least not yet. In order to attend Hop In The City at The Tap Room, it will not be sufficient simply to self-identify as being older than 21, regardless of what your birth certificate might say. You really must have been born on or before September 19th, 1994.
After writing this date, I came to the realization that some attendees at Hop In The City may be too young to remember a time when the event did not exist. Its origins can be traced to September 17, 1998, when TV anchor Julius Hunter reported, “A rabbi, a Catholic priest and an Episcopal priest walked into a bar. That’s not the opening line of a joke. It’s the lead for our next news story.” The story in question was about the dedication of the north bar at the Tap Room, which featured a blessing by clergy from three different denominations and a ribbon-cutting by future mayor Francis Slay. Slay also presented a proclamation for Saint Louis Brewery Day in the City of St. Louis. We had so much fun at the time that we decided to make this an annual celebration in mid to late September every year.
Nine days before Hop In The City there’s another great celebration at The Tap Room that you can attend without being 21. Tickets for Taste of Haiti cost $75, with 100% of the proceeds going to the CRUDEM Foundation, which supports a hospital in northern Haiti. I’m pleased that Schlafly Beer is able to underwrite the entire cost of the evening. We’ll have delicious Haitian food, lively Haitian music and some distinctive auction items, including packages from the Blues and the Cardinals. Tickets can be purchased at www.crudem.org/hotter-than-haiti/.
The day after Taste of Haiti is the start of Art Outside, the three day art fair for local artists that we’ve held at Bottleworks since 2004. The story actually began ten years earlier when we were invited to sell Schlafly Beer at the newly established Saint Louis Art Fair in Clayton. The problem was that Schlafly was too popular for some of the sponsors. After a run of eight successful years, including a peak year in which we sold over 66 kegs, we were abruptly told by the Art Czarina (AC) that we were no longer welcome. We soon learned from the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) that local artists also weren’t particularly welcome. In response to a request from an official at the RAC we decided to start a fair for local artists and local beer.
In the course of numerous conversations with the AC I was never able to get a plausible explanation as to why in fact we were kicked out of the Art Fair. The AC and others assured me that no other sponsor had paid to exclude us. At the same time, a contemporary account in The Riverfront Times reported, “With sponsorship comes benefits, and clearly Anheuser-Busch is paying for prominence.” The same story quoted the AC as saying, “We live and die by our sponsors.” The AC went on to say, “The bottom line is, we will always support the people who support us. Anheuser-Busch has been a very generous sponsor.” She declined to say exactly how generous. The world has changed significantly since our expulsion from the Art Fair. The very generous sponsor that did not (I repeat DID NOT) have anything to do with our being kicked out is now controlled by a Brazilian hedge fund. It’s also spending millions of dollars on television ads in which it self-identifies as American and “proudly domestic.”