A tiresome story about a tiresome culture…

If there is a hell that we allow ourselves to be enchained in, it is the Eternal High School.

Do not show any potentially exploitable personal characteristics, as they will be preyed upon.  I learned this by sharing homemade soft drinks at work.

You can tell through this site that I like to make root beer, and I am a bit passionate about the process.  It is a hobby, like cooking.  I brought in some, and marked it for public consumption; cups and supplies as well.  It is carbonated using yeast, which decarboxylates pyruvate and releases carbon dioxide and ethanal (acetaldehyde, ethylaldehyde), that is reduced to ethyl alcohol.

Yeast leavens bread, and carbonates beverages.  Leavened bread and naturally carbonated beverages contain ethanol.  As a gentleman’s courtesy, I wrote up a little description, and put on the description, “May Contain Some Alcohol.”

I later discovered that some malicious colleague reported me to Corporate for distributing alcoholic beverages during working hours.  That made me sad.

Whom do you work for?

You work for the Cloud, now.  Anyone who has control over your professional evaluation at work is, by essence, your boss.  I had a job where anyone who was displeased could snitch me out to my boss – including the nursing assistants who roomed my patients.  They were surly and lazy; why not?  I could not complain about them, but they could complain about me.

Many American workplaces are nasty little nests of hostility, humiliation, manipulation and contempt.  It is no coincidence that they seem to be peppered with eruptions of primal and lethal rage.  Mass shooters do not strike at the casino, the racetrack, the restaurant.  They strike at places where people are humiliated – jobs, schools, and such.

Performance evaluations are largely made with a large helping of ignorance and gossip.  For someone with skill in a certain field, often the supervisor is ignorant of the details of the actual work that they do.  Relevant evaluation means competent perception; there’s not a lot of that around.

What matters is if you keep your shoes shined, clock in on time, don’t leave your stuff in the break room fridge without cleaning it out.  All of the depressing accounts of the psychopaths’ neighbors mention that “he seemed so normal!” but “normal” is merely that the deranged person was organized.  Their azaleas were trimmed, the lawn furniture not left to rust.  Occasionally bad smells came through the neighborhood – what could that be?

But normality and psychopathology, to the naive, is all about whether Joe clocks in on time, uses the appropriate parking area for his placard color, wears the appropriate clothing during Casual Fridays.

You work for the Cloud, now.  People are coming up with all manner of “inventions” which involve new scenarios on how to snitch on each others actions.  Any action which is unconventional is reported; anything that is not normative, is not normal.  Anything about others’ actions which provokes anxiety or anger, is to be reported.

A Common Path of Failing Societies

Societies that are undergoing decline often reach back into history to investigate the virtues present when a society was thriving.  They invariably detect the presence of nobler and greater values among the citizens, and realize that these values have decayed away.

So far, so good.  But then they attempt to resurrect these values, in a Pseudo-Classical or reactionary, revanchist way.  The values did not create the society, though – it was the prosperous society that expressed itself through these values.  One may pledge one’s self to honesty, dignity and altruism all one wants – but be prepared to undergo an attack from those who are out to get what you have, rather than working for it!

Many who claim to follow Objectivism merely understand Greed, which is not the point.  Greed is easy.  It is tempting to worship at the feet of Narcissus Avidus.  He may bring plenty, but he is not real.

Follow the Cloud.

The next step of the Pseudo-Classical society is to report for correction all those who are not following the Virtuous Path.  In order to do so, they create an all-knowing, all-seeing idol composed of men, who judge whether one or another, the subject of complaint, is guilty or virtuous, based on their own inner impressions of the Virtuous Path.  There are no laws to this idol; rather, whims and self-delusions.  This is the God of the Snitch.

The High School

Welcome to Facebook and its world, to the eternal high school!  One must keep up one’s rep’s and appearances in the unblinking eye.  Trashing each other seems to be ubiquitous online – it is dis-inhibiting to sit before the bright screen.  Streams of maudlin comments rarely pour forth.

I find it pathetic that someone – anyone – could find an ear at Corporate who would listen to the complaint of stocking the workplace with alcohol.  A friend at Corporate let me know to toss out the root beer and hush up the whole thing, as the whispering campaign had made it into the Upper World.

Were it a fellow physician, it would have been pathetic; but to have it be another co-worker drops us all into the equality of the coliseum floor.  Not only am I required to deal with Toxic Tina, we are equals in our ability to engage in petty squabbles.  Perhaps I should key her car.  How sad.

So what is kosher?

I am not by any means moved by the Muslim religion, but I thought immediately of justifying myself in the analytics that they use about whether something is alcoholic – whether it contains ENOUGH alcohol to make it forbidden.  Muslims, I understand, eat leavened bread; that is not scolded by their deity’s laws; nor is vinegar.

Halal, Haram, Tafseer and Mushbooh .

Apparently Muslims hold to such tenets as this:

Indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are from the work of Satan, so avoid it to be successful
Quran 5:90

Seems as the question has been hashed through on processed foods as well…

The latest fatwa by Imam Yusof Al-Qaradhawi issued in 2008 pursuant to queries on energy drinks that contain a small percentage of alcohol, states that it is permissible to consume food that contains alcohol on the condition that firstly it does not intoxicate, and secondly the alcohol content was as a result of natural fermentation.

For the Muslim community, the issue is clear. Alcohol is present in most food and beverage for its specific uses and may be tolerated if it exists below the established parameter. However, the consumption of intoxicating beverages produced by commercial distillation like beer and wine are totally prohibited and there is no room for argument for their prohibition.

What the Muslim consumer has to be wary of is the disturbing trend towards the application of alcohol as food flavoring. Although the food products may not intoxicate or contain alcohol at all, the taste and smell of alcohol is in the food products. Alcoholic flavoring is entering areas it has traditionally stayed away from, such as cereals, sweets, jellies, ice cream, tooth paste and other household products whose main consumers are children.

 Apparently the Muslims see the forbidden nature of alcohol to be instrumental, not substantialQuod inebriare est prohibitum, Latin-speaking Muslims might say, but nobody would understand them.  The presence of alcohol itself does not render something unclean, in the manner that containing amounts of a forbidden meatstuff in food – such as a quantity of animal blood in some soft drink – would render it unfit at any concentration.  (Yuk.)  For some reason, Muslims get all queasy about having pork bits floating in their Diet Coke in any amount. (Urrr….)

Besides, who gives a damn?

At least the Muslims are doing particular things so as not to piss off God, a worthy and self-sustaining process.  All sorts of people do things not to piss off God that other folks consider dopey.  So what.  If some joker whines to the corporate office about the alcohol in home-brewed root beer, they would get no Ayatollah’s sympathy.

But my snitcher is a Doucheus Maximus – those that care not for the accuracy of their scandalous tales, but of their capacity to impugn others.  You can’t get hammered on root beer that contains alcohol that was added to make it bubbly.  So it’s kosher with Muslims (?) to drink.

In a world of sociopathy, the sociopaths get ahead.

There’s the point of this whole beverage diatribe, not on whether some bathrobe-wearing Qatarian can crack a frosty A&W when the temperature hits 120 degrees at home.  It’s a dry heat, anyhow.  It’s on how we – right here in the US of A – choose to live in the chains of the eternal high school.

Welcome thoughts.