Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hey, I’m back. And happy Thanksgiving to all.

To all those who follow my blog, you probably have noticed that I haven’t published in a while. I could just take the easy way out and blame work, but to be honest, it’s been about far more than that. I’ve been trying to keep this blog as apolitical as humanly possible, but given the fact that coffeehouses were a major flashpoint for the Age of Enlightenment, that’s not completely realistic. The truth is, for the past two month I’ve been obsessing over the election. Obsessing, and canvassing the streets. Obsessing, and fearing that our democracy would literally sell itself out to corporate interests and theocratic agitators. In truth, it almost did. The depression of not knowing which path this country would take took away the impetus I had to continue writing about coffee and travel, for obvious reasons.

Well, now the dust has settled, and we still have things like civil rights and free elections. What I want to do now is forget about politics entirely and get back to things like science, live music, and, yes, caffeine. The truth, though, is that coffeehouses have always been political entities. Before I mentioned that they were a “flashpoint” for Enlightenment and modernity, and I believe that they still serve that purpose. So many times, I’ve been sitting in a cafe and have overheard political and philosophical conversations. They’re a place where people go to read the paper and talk to their neighbors. Free speech is the stock-and-trade of the coffeehouse environment, regardless of what’s in peoples’ cups. You may have noticed that I never review religious coffeehouses. Religion is for naught without dogma, and freedom of speech and thought do, by their very natures, exist to shatter our reliance on dogmatism. One could therefore say that a true coffeehouse is an environment inimical to dogmatism and hierarchy. They are progressive places, inherently.

Is that the whole truth though? Or do coffeehouses actually transcend any and all politics by being a placeĀ  inimical to ideology? Only the best ones. After all, the time in which the coffeehouse developed was the age of Enlightenment; the birth of philosophical Modernity. And if there are two overarching themes of Modernism, they are the triumph of fact over faith and of the universal over the divisive. Personally, I think that a good coffeehouse approaches the magical, and in doing so, slices through the clutter of ideology as people join together to enjoy company and the beauty of food and life.

But enough of philosophy. It’s time to get back to exploring some of those little bastions of progress and flavor, and I hope you all haven’t forgotten about this little project. My next review will be one of my last local cafes-the Bridge Street Coffeehouse in New Cumberland. After that, the exciting part begins, as new towns will be explored; most of them will be in Pennsylvania, but many will not. Get ready.

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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Uncategorized