If Someone Says I Hate Italians, it Must Be True!
Posted August 1, 2003 11:25pm
More of my Illy Cup Collection.
Sometimes, you can't win...
So the other day I got this email from a woman who said some of the things I've written on this site (specifically in the Love and Hate Coffee thing) had a racist slant. Here's the specific paragraph she saw nothing but vitriol in:
The Italians: Here's a controversial one, and I am generalizing here, but there are many Italian companies and individuals who simply refuse to get with the times and recognize that espresso progression did not halt in 1961. In addition, the arrogance sometimes displayed to the N. American marketplace and needs is staggering. Some companies are worse offenders than others in this aspect. I want to note, based on stuff I wrote elsewhere, that I think Rancilio is one of the better companies in this regard (ie, there are many worse offenders than Rancilio in terms of how they view the N. American marketplace), but even they need to get in tune with the times.
I looked over what I wrote, and could not see anything racist in what I wrote, but I could see how an oversensitive person might very well take offense, So I wrote her back, explaining why my use of the phrase "the Italians" was not racist, but was just a catch all for the extremely small group of manufacturers who a) still don't seem to "get" the N. American market, and b) have been putting out shoddy parts as of late. I was very polite and clear.
It wasn't good enough. She emailed me back and this time called me a racist directly, and had a few other choice words. It was a fairly insulting email (it's always funny to me how those who are so ready to throw labels on others are so quick to insult others while doing it).
Again, I wrote her back very politely, apologized again that she had a problem interpreting my words, and told her I hope the rest of her day is nice.
Turns out that didn't satisfy her, because she called a reporter (or told one) from some Italian language newspaper about me and my "racist" ways.
Now this reporter is calling around to my Italian friends in this business trying to get them to admit that somehow, Mark Prince is a racist bastard. And the questions he's asking are very leading and baited.
And some people (that means you, Ms. Way Too Politically Correct for Your Own Good) need to get a real life. In the meantime, why don't you fetch your reporter buddy (who hasn't contacted me, by the way) against one of my most "Italian" of Italian friends, Dr. Fregnan with Elektra SRL. If you want, I can give your reporter friend his number.
If I was a mean spirited person, I could always publish this oversensitive person's email address, but regardless of her opinion of me, I won't do that. But I do hope both she and the reporter (who as I mentioned above, has not contacted me, but is going to several folks behind my back) are reading this and realise they're on a fools' errand.
Much, Much Better Coffee Things
Now that's off my chest, some pretty cool coffee stuff has been happening as of late.
First up, I'm pretty jazzed to be getting a, of all brands, a Krups product soon. Yes, I said Krups! I'm not a fan of their coffee brewers (they brew too cold), but they have brought a Euro-product to the N. American market that is pretty damned cool - the Moka Brew coffee maker.
This thing's a hybrid machine, part drip brewer, part moka pot, and from everything I've read about it so far, it's a pretty cool device. My buddy HV in Holland has written a review about it, check it out.
I'll soon be getting one to review, courtesy of EspressoPeople, and well, it's the first time in a long time I've been looking forward to checking out a Krups product.
I've also been cupping a lot of coffees as of late with Aaron De Lazzer.
If you recall, I suck at cupping, but I'm trying to improve. Aaron's helping me along. I think my skills are better at Espresso tasting, but cupping is where the gold is. This weekend, he and I are cupping some coffees he's got from Doma Coffee in Coeur de Laine, and a few samples from JJ Bean and Intelligentsia.
Speaking of Intelligentsia, and Caffe Artigiano, I'd like to give a special shout out to Sammy Piccolo from Artigiano. As you might know, Sammy won the first ever Canadian Barista Championship, but as of late, he's been under the weather, and fighting a new battle with the cancer he's had to deal with for a long time. It's not life threatening at this stage, but it's still a tough battle.
I spoke to his wife Andrea today and she told me the news. I hope Sammy doesn't mind me telling you about this, and I hope he doesn't mind this either: if you want to send him your well wishes, you can do so by commenting on this cafetalk - I know he reads this page regularly (I'll refrain from giving his email address out, but for an entirely different reason than the woman mentioned above).
Speaking of cancer battles, another friend of mine, Dana Leighton (you may recognize his name over at the CoffeeGeek Forums just went through surgery for the second time in his life to remove a cancerous growth. I think he's still in Toronto right now, and my best wishes go out to him as well.
Sigh... seems like cancer's all around these days.
In the News
I guess coffee in the news this time around is about me. Just today, I was on CKNW radio here in Vancouver, one of the most listened to radio stations in Canada, talkin' coffee. You can go listen if you like (look for the archives, find Friday, August 1, go to the 1 to 2pm recording, and fast forward about 35 mins in). It was pretty cool. Jennifer Mather was the host, and she took good care of me, cuz I was a nervous wreck. I also took a few pictures while it was happening.
This radio show was the result of me being featured in most of Canada's major daily newspapers a short while ago, including a big ass picture. Unfortunately, I can't provide a link to the story, but if you read my previous rant, you can read the full text.
Maybe folks won't believe this, but while a part of me does swell with pride that I'm being written up in papers and interviewed on radio, a much larger part of me doesn't like it much. I'd much rather be the source behind the scenes, the one that the media can come to, (along with going to other folks) to get the background for a story. "Being the Story" is not something that I can truly say I enjoy much. It might be better if fortune came along with it, but I don't sell anything on CoffeeGeek, and I don't make any real money off the site. I didn't get to mention my business on CKNW earlier today, that is, Web Development and software development, and the two lectures I gave this year about internet retailing have turned up zero clients for my company.
My friend Marshall in LA heard me complain about this, and did offer some solace. "Think about it as something that you can put on your resume, another credential, another thing that elevates you a bit from connoisseur to professional" were the words he used, or something similar. Good advice, and a good way of looking at it.