Friday, March 25, 2016

Nostalgic for Evil

So, I have to admit there are some things I just don't get. Case in point: I was in the airport early yesterday morning, getting tea from Dilettante to fill my thermos for the trip ahead. While waiting for them to fill my order, I looked at the the various items they had on the counter, including small take-away bags of various brews of coffee. One was the Habsburg blend, another the Romanov blend.

My puzzlement is why anyone would want to name anything after those two royal (imperial) houses. For their part, the Habsburgs were perhaps the most hapless of the various royal houses of Europe in the last few centuries (just ask Emperor Maximillian): not sure why that would conjure up cozy memories for anyone. As for the Romanovs, anyone who's forgotten just how horrible the czars were just needs to look up the word 'pogrom'. If you're going to go that route, why not call it Stalin's Cup of Joe?

--John R.
--in Little Rock, soaking up the ambiance at the last Barnes & Noble/Starbucks for many, many miles.

P.S.: I see from checking online that they also offer a Bohemian blend, which sounds much more benign.


David Bratman said...

Because being royalty, they lived well, and presumably would have drunk premium coffee. Even the Soviets admitted that, though the Romanovs were especially evil from their viewpoint, they did have some marvelous art collections. Stalin was a peasant by origin and his coffee wouldn't have the same panache.

Wurmbrand said...

But, David, what about this kind of thing?

Is there a kind of appeal of royalty here, too?

Maybe this makes the phenomenon all the more puzzling.

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi David

I don't doubt that you've got the right of it. Thinking it over, I realized that had they labelled it 'Vienna Blend' and 'St. Petersburg Blend' I'd have had no problem with it; it's the association with the once-powerful who so horribly abused that power that got to me.


John D. Rateliff said...

Dear Wurmbrand

Thanks for the interesting, if distressing, link. I have to say I found myself in complete disagreement with the author, Mr. Dreher.

(1) I don't doubt that, bad as communism was at its worst, the Nazis were far worse. Nor is this just my opinion, but is shared by figures like Winston Churchill (no commie-lover he) and Franklin Roosevelt.

(2) I don't at all agree with Dreher that Max Edwards, the recently deceased sixteen-year-old thinker whose work he quotes, comes across as cold-blooded or ruthless. Who does come across as cold-blooded is Dreher's own teenaged son, who's harsh and dismissive towards the dead sixteen-year-old.

(3) I think it was reprehensible for Dreher to avoid calling Edwards the equivalent of a Nazi Youth by putting the words in his son's mouth instead. He should have had the courage to slander the dead in his own persona.

--despite which it's an interesting piece; thanks for the link.

--John R.

Wurmbrand said...

Yes, thanks, John. I'm still a bit puzzled by the double standard that Dreher points out, however questionable his rhetoric, under the influence of strong feeling, may have been. The Soviet-themed entertainment places are bizarre, but then one may also remember that fifty years or so ago American television broadcast a popular series set in a Nazi concentration camp...

David Bratman said...

Ithink there's a difference between judging an individual and an entire family. To call your coffee the Romanov blnd is one thing. There were Romanovs and there were Romanovs. One of them even freed the serfs. To call it, say, the Nicholas II blend would be quite another.

Wurmbrand said...

Well said.