The Hegemony of American Coffee and the Fight for Universal Tea
Prof. Dr. phil. Johannes Schomski
Faculty of Tea, Language and Philosophy
Munich Institute of Technology
Meine sehr geehrten Kollegen und Kolleginnen! While I have every appreciation for your concern with the defence of your frequently idiosyncratic but internationally sanctioned, if somewhat irrational, take on punctuation, it is cause for the utmost outrage that one of the otherwise so trustworthy and righteous Editors of one of the formerly most reputable scholarly outlets of our discipline should feel it appropriate to attack in one and the same breath with such a defence the hallmark of civilised society that is the distinctly human appreciation of tea. Not only that, but subsequent to the publication of Issue 4 of Volume CLXXI of Speculative Grammarian (during which time I and my uncle Noam were touring the great North American higher education circus on my latest series of lectures debunking the Cognitive Plausibility Myth1) I had to witness similarly uneducated and undeserved snide remarks along the corridors of many a university building.
Surely the fact that some of you, meine lieben Kollegen und Kolleginnen, should feel it appropriate to make such contentious, denigrating remarks about tea is a mere consequence of the indoctrination, centuries in the making, of the American people, who make up the bulk of Linguistic Higher Education Staffers in the northern hemisphere as well as the Speculative Grammarian Editorial Board. Still I wonder, do you not see that the making of such innocent-sounding snide remarks about the fundamental and universal human appreciation of a good brew in passing is but the outward tip of the proverbial iceberg in the covert consolidation of the hegemony of American Coffee?
It is lamentable to the uttermost degree that we let ourselves be blinded in this atrocious way by the concerted campaign of the established hierarchy whose only aim it is to keep under control the unwitting faceless masses and continually widen their international leverage through artificial dependence on the abominable inherent evil that is coffee. Surely I need not remind fellow linguists of the well-publicised and overwhelming evidence now available from years of psycholinguosomatic studies into the way in which the physiological effects of coffee have repeatedly been shown to lead to higher susceptibility to centre-embedding errors and fatal gardenpathing. Only last year have Beardy & Hypster made international headlines with their meta-analysis of 96 studies investigating the effects of both coffee and tea on recovery rates from gardenpathing-related injuries to the language faculty. They found that in all but one study, and in a sample of over 47 different languages, coffee had a detrimental effect on parsing plasticity. There was no significant effect for tea in any of these studies. Colleagues, take note of this lest we face the imperialist British left waffles on Falklands problem all over again. We can no longer withdraw into our lexical towers and just linguist for the sake of linguistics. We must follow bravely the socio-modern-languager in making connections between what we know about human cognition and relate it to the human society and condition at large.
Those of my generation among you may remember how following the worldwide realisation—which gradually came about during the late 18th to mid-19th century—of the inherent injustice involved in subordinating, directly or indirectly, any nation or people (leading among other things to the abolition of slavery, the abandonment of colonialism, and universal suffrage, as well as that dreadful invention of the American spelling reform; linked to the coffee lobby by a largely suppressed study by Richard de Syrd as early as 1857!2), the United World Council for the Betterment of the Human Race’s historical conference in 1954 attempted to unify the international community in recognising three common areas for ensuring that people the world over have a decent chance to live a life of fundamentally equal opportunity.
As is rarely remembered today, due to the establishment’s consistent undermining of public opinion, and their continued dictation of the tainted propaganda machinery that constitutes the highly centralised oligarchical modern “media”, one of these points was the implementation of a universal right of every person to acquire the knowledge, skills and materials necessary for making a proper nice cup-a-tea.3 The other two resolutions (on the inalienability of a people’s hereditary etymological rights and the prohibition of using Esperanto and other constructed languages in all of their forms for non-peaceful means such as missionary work and diglossic warfare) are so well known and established, even if they have practically been ignored by all but a handful of their signatories, that there is no need for me to further expand on them. What is most notable however is that the only reason the third resolution was stricken from the final catalogue was America’s unwillingness to co-operate in material good, it having been clear from the outset that the other two rules will soon border on linguistic irrelevance, but that abstinence from coffee might well lead to the uprising of linguistic minorities against the American English imperialist grip on modern popular culture. On the 3rd but last day of the conference the American government’s delegate Senator R. Bucks boldly declared before the congregation that if they were to pass Resolution Three, the United States would not only withdraw from and boycott the present conference, but also all other further puppet committees related to upholding the myth of the equality of all human language, which ultimately would equate to thwarting any future effort to assert the superiority of the human race, given that we all know that language is what really sets us apart from our simian cousins.
In the nearly 60 years that have followed this eventful period, the international community outside the North American corridor of power has all but fallen asleep in their hope for universal appreciation of tea. Coinciding (but surely not coincidental) with the linguistic spring of Universal Grammar, in 1980 the International Organization for Standardization (commonly ignored along with their maltreatment of the Système International d’Unités by the American ordinariate and even some in the Americano-centric states-loving anglo-establishment taking hold of the Westminster parliament) instituted norm ISO 3103, which covers the mechanisms for transforming any underlying form of tea-leaf into an equating and relaxing decent cup of tea under influence of the universal principles of infusion steered by various parameters of watering and heating. More recently and given especially the way in which the powers behind American Coffee not only passively subject the remaining world to their control, but now openly expand across the world in their crusade to make us all dependent on the lexical horror that is the pumpkin spice latte, the most reputable and influential Royal Society for Chemistry sought to help not only the struggling British public but also the worldwide community at large in their 2003 encyclical “How to make the Perfect Cup of Tea”, building on the previous standard theory by taking into account milk parameters and replacing the transformation framework with one where tea is directly derived from leaves and water along a trajectory starkly reminiscent of the Y-model we know to be underlying that most important part of human cognition too. Compare this to the best theories available for coffee, which require the positing of hundreds if not thousands of little axiomatic particles which then find some sort of seemingly random order and under great pressure and evaluation give rise to different kinds of coffee—couched in these terms it must be obvious to all but the most MTVed of readers that this is but a metaphor for that great evil idea we have come to know as Optimality Theory. In any case, as was to be expected, the corporate puppeteers once again managed to erect a metaphorical firewall preventing this document from finding any circulation beyond the British Isles, the direct circle of influence at the RSC’s disposal. Worse still, it has recently been brought to my attention that their lobbyists have coerced the RSC into removing that encyclical from their website and making large swathes of the English believe that they had never read it—clearly the Welsh, Irish and Scottish have an advantage here in that they could preserve this memory against all odds along with their cultural and linguistic heritage.
Given this situation and the much privileged situation in which we as academics, nay, as linguists, but especially you as the editors of such a fine specimen of the last bastions of academic freedom, meine lieben Kollegen und Kolleginnen, find ourselves, it must be my and your responsibility to examine our conscience as we examine our every word and decisively opt out of the corporeal manipulation of our fellow citizens into the paltry isolation of cofficionadom. May I urge you all to step out of your dictionaries and toy grammars and affirm in the strongest possible way that which you know to be truly and verily an all-equating truth about the human condition, that we are all endowed with a capacity for universal tea, and that the Beverage Faculty allows no place for coffee, optimal or not. Freedom may be dead, but let the tea live on!
1 See also my book of a similar title, The Great Cognitive Plausibility Hoax, to appear with Psammeticus Press later this year.
2 Yes, my American friends, you may not want to see it, for the truth hurts, but Noah Webster was a coffee drinker.
3 It has come to our attention that the Council website appears to be suppressed from the civilian internet access available in most countries, simulating instead a 404 “Page Not Found” error. Although we know that there are other ways to circumvent this block, our legal team has advised that we leave it at suggesting you obtain higher security clearance or move countries. We do of course distance ourselves completely from the author’s suggestion that the United World Council for the Betterment of the Human Race might even exist. —Eds.