Monday, November 12, 2007

The Two Faces of John Kass

In Defense of Coffee Snobbery

John Kass is the male Maureen Dowd (or something like that). You love him when he's tearing apart your villain, but when the poison pen turns to your side, ouch. There was good Kass last week, at least from a professional perspective. His column last Friday showed some of the things that can be done with a bit of public record research, the same type of research I do for my clients. Bad Kass showed up yesterday, maligning my friend Monica Eng (who he cannot actually name) and her work in drinking the city's coffee. [Registration required for the CTrib's web site.]

"Spiros, are there nutty, smoky traces of oak or salami in the coffee?"
First of all, this bothered the heck outta me. Kass using a trick from his old political reporting days, the quote without the context. In describing the awful coffee at White Hen, Monica stated there were salami flavors in the coffee. Sure, certain wines have been described as having bacony flavors, but I am pretty darn positive Monica was not talking about some inner porcine quality to the White Hen bean. Rather, it was a point that the coffee was not so fresh and picked up the odors of the store.

Then we get this:
"When I go for coffee, I want a cup of coffee. What I don't need is some kid wearing a sweater and his shirt tails sticking out because it's the style, pointing to a list of coffees, each of which are described sensually, in language that would have caused my mom to wash my mouth out with soap. It's coffee, dang it. Wake up, America."
As someone who's done his own research on the city's coffee (a really hard job), I appreciate the work Monica did. Why not determine where to spend one's coffee dollar. Still, Kass is mocking the idea that people should care about a drinking a nice cup of coffee. Why is that. Substitute beer or whisky, wine (of course) or even BBQ ribs, something Kass is seeking connoisseurship on, for coffee. Why subject ourselves to percolated coffee as Kass subjects. Really, there is a reason why percolators went out of fashion.

Well, I've about run out of things to say on this subject. I need a good cup of coffee.