One of my new favourite bloggers, Craig from Drink Drank posted this highly disturbing exchange on Wednesday night:
Craig Gravina: If you missed our Albany Institute book event… I’ve got some good news for ya’! http://www.drinkdrank1.com/2014/09/gratuitous-self-promotion-didja-miss.html
JM: Lots of self-promotion and not much else…
CG: JM, I don’t think we’ve ever met, but you’ve made a couple of dick comments to me. Have I pissed you off or something? What’s up?
JM: We have met in fact. I am a believer that posts should contribute and not be purely selfish. Perhaps I am wrong and there are people who benefit from this post more that you, but I’m sure you saw what happened when XXX repeatedly spammed with his blog bullshit.
CG: I guess you won’t be wanting me to save you a copy of the book.
As far as my contribution goes, I think my work with the Albany Ale Project—and my book—has contributed significantly to both the the public record and a better understanding of the history of brewing not only in the upper Hudson Valley of New York, but also the country.
Forgive me, but what is your contribution, again?
In regards to page moderation, since this is XXXX page, maybe we should let him decide who contributes and who does not.
JM: I do love this common question…why don’t you write a post/blog/book/epic tale better than me? When I have something to contribute I do. When I don’t, or what I would contribute is of no interest, which is most of the time, I don’t. As your post does nothing to explain any history, I think it falls pretty solidly in the second category. You even know you’re being an asshole because you state it in the post title. Read the group description, this is not a group for self promotion spam*.
CG: This group is also a place where you don’t get to decide what does or does not get posted. Sorry.
JM: You and XXXX really are a special group of people.
CG: Good come back.
JM: That’s not a comeback you fucking retard. Both of you guys are self promotional assholes who haven’t contributed anything tangible to either CRAFT beer (as the group is named) or society at all. Albany Ale is not craft beer, nor is anything else you post about. This is not a group for historical ale or italian eateries** that just happen to, yup, carry hop nosh. The world would be better off if both of you ate a little lead, and not in the same way that got you to where you are today. This is a fucking comeback.
CG: Did you just threaten to kill me over a post on Facebook? Seriously, dude, you need to settle down.
JM: I’m not your mother. Feed yourself.
“The world would be better off if both of you ate a little lead, and not in the same way that got you to where you are today.” Jesus, over a bit of self-promotion? I assume JM does not have a Twitter account or he (or she?) would be out all day shooting people.
Craig goes on to talk about the radicalisation of craft beer, “Craft radicali[s]ation and the idea, by some folks, that craft needs to be protected from some sort of phantom onslaught of mediocrity or from abduction by the unworthy—civil discourse be damned—is wrong, and that ain’t cool.”
I, of course, agree but the root cause of this kind of behaviour is not one inherent to the craft beer movement – and seriously, fuck that phrase – but one of human nature. We see it time and time again, whether the issue be the existence of Palestine or the involvement of women in the video game industry, because for any sufficiently large group of people with a common interest, there will be a small percentage who are crazy.
There are, of course, gradations of craziness. I would hope that someone suggest you eat lead over a bit of self-promotion is the most extreme example you would (un)reasonably expect to have to deal with. The craziness is amplified when there’s an ‘us versus them’ component. Craft beer, particularly brewery marketing, has been building up that idea since it’s inception. Marketers (and the media) love this kind of thing because it’s emotive, which more readily lends itself to clicks or purchases, rather than more rational ideas, like having an objectively better product.
Our in-built instinct for defending the in-group is a product of humanity’s billion years of evolution. When you’re a small band roaming the plains looking for megafauna to make extinct, using violence to defend the group, most of whom are probably genetically linked to you, from an outside threat is the obvious survival strategy.
Except it doesn’t work so well in 2014, on the internet, when discussing beer or video games or Palestine. While our hind brains are not an excuse for poor behaviour, those with less of a penchant for self-reflection and self-control aren’t able to distinguish between the brain’s instinctive response and the conduct expected of a citizen of the twenty-first century. Hence the situation above.
Unfortunately, as more people get into non-mainstream beer, the more people that aren’t able to make that distinction (crazy people) will slip in. It’s a question of statistics. I, for one, will hope that cooler heads will continue to dominate and that the culture we’re building, in this country at least, maintains the convivial, if a bit snobby, atmosphere it currently has.
I’d prefer it if no one had to eat lead.