The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.
--H. L. Mencken
Just for the fun of it, I empowered Google to search the Internet for these terms:
wine and cheese
The result was 19,300 hits, encompassing museums both public and private, and ones located all over America and the world.
In fact, the tradition of the “wine and cheese” tasting as a fundraising mechanism and charitable benefit almost exactly parallels the centuries-long human preference for rendering grapes and milk into potable and edible finished agricultural commodities, which in turn, provide pleasure.
The “wine and cheese” gathering in this context is such a venerable institution that for some, it serves as a sort of shorthand for pomposity and indulgence. As proof, add “effete” to the “wine and cheese” search term and peruse the results; they might have been lifted directly from a Steve Price campaign speech.
Seeing as incomprehension and disinformation are veritable birthrights of New Albany’s “little people,” it’s safe to assume that for at least some of them, neither an educational evening spent at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, nor the Center’s annual habit of pairing one such evening with a fundraising wine and cheese tasting, is quite enough to quell the pain and anger dwelling within the breasts of those for whom the existence of well-adjusted, rational people is an insufferable daily affront.
The sprawling, chaotic and poorly reasoned screed – “bizarre” might be the best word – that prompts these observations can be found here, as scrawled on the toilet paper that dangles by coat-hanger and bent ten-penny nail within the confines of the Luddite Bar & Grill:
FUNDRAISING FOR WHAT? AND, FOR WHO'S BENEFIT?, written by Yvonne Kersey and published at her A Fiscally Conservative Floyd Cty Democrat blog.
You’ll have to read it on your own, and you should, because I won’t dignify the scattershot lunacy by quoting portions of it here. The intemperate gist seems to be that Yvonne received an anonymous letter from a temperance fanatic, and both the unknown writer and Yvonne herself are appalled that people who can afford $60 for wine and cheese, with all proceeds devoted to the museum’s operation, have not yet been put to death, or disenfranchised, or made to eat Spam on Bunny Bread as punishment for their temerity.
As fictional detective Nero Wolfe was known to observe, “pfui.”
All this incomprehensible commotion about absolutely nothing –nothing – pertains to something that the Carnegie Museum has been doing for at least five years, perhaps ten (understand that cultural years are accounted differently in certain quarters): An annual wine, beer and cheese soiree that in a substantive, enjoyable manner results in a fattening of the museum’s coffers. It is neither a fleecing of insensate ratepayers nor an enticement to drive drunk.
For the public record, and conceding that minor details vary from place to place, permit me to unravel the apparently unfathomable mystery of the wine and cheese fundraising process, which probably originated in ancient Greece, such is its longevity.
First, food and drink are donated to the event by civic minded businesses. Next, civic minded people pay an admission fee to sample them, and then these same civic minded people pay a second time to purchase other donated items at a silent auction. When all is finished, the museum has money to pursue its mission, and people are happy.
What? You were expecting something along the lines of the secret initiation rites of the illuminati? Sorry to disappoint, but the wine and cheese fundraiser is a very simple, time-honored and entirely non-controversial activity, one grasped by diverse populations that include Andean copper miners, Kalahari bushmen and ex-Soviet apparatchiks.
But this is New Albany, isn’t it?
Ultimately, disinformation like Yvonne’s serves more than one purpose. Even if intentionally misleading statements derive from ignorance and belie a comprehensive lack of comprehension, those who are interested in real-world truth must expend their time and effort explaining how reality differs from the shady nether regions of innuendo and conspiratorial rumor-mongering.
Disinformation is intended to pin down and exhaust the capable. It is attempted attrition, and we have no choice except to recite the facts for the approbation of those hereabouts who are capable of discernment.
Yvonne, you should be ashamed at foisting this delusional idiocy on the blogosphere. As in the past, I imagine at some point you’ll admit somewhere far down the page, and in the smallest possible print, that you were mistaken – that it’s just your opinion, right, even if you pass it off as fact? – but, of course, you’ll never bother pulling the flagrant disinformation from the marquee of your blog, where it will enjoy a long life of misleading readers.
Given that this is New Albany, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?