Curiouser and Curiouser...

My Adventures in blogging, digital and Public History

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why Historians Drink Beer

I was at a party with a number of history grad students and one young innocent commented to a rather jaded 5th year PhD student that historians like to drink beer. I wonder why that is, he questioned. The answer, given swiftly and in a matter-of-fact tone which can only come from a 5th year PhD student was simply, “because otherwise we would have to read.”

He was right of course. Reading and reading and reading. I need new glasses and I’m only 2 months in.

I started thinking about why historians, and history Grad students in particular, drink beer and this is what I came up with:

• In a word, Foucault!
• It gives you something to blog about. You may have an epiphany or pick up a unique insight or two from a colleague.
• They don’t really make martinis at the Grad Club. (actually, they don’t make martinis because they don’t have olives!) Stick with the beer.
• Dotplot Visualisation Technique - ????
• Lorcan Dempsey - again I say - ????
• It’s social. When we crawl, mole-like, from our windowless hovels at the end of the day, it’s nice to share a pint with someone who understands.
• It’s the less expensive option. Who can afford single-malt on a student budget?
• Research! You never know when you will get an Archives assignment that requires you to research the brewing industry and the evolution of beer and ale.
• Artificial Intelligence - It freaks Bryan out!
• Digitization of historical sources. What ever happened to good ol’ dusty, allergy-causing, hold- em’- in- your- hand books?
• Books and articles - Why can’t people get with it and digitize sources so that we can access them online?

So maybe we drink a little beer. Truth be told, however, it’s the collegial aspect of getting together and chatting over a pint that is the real draw. When you’ve spent hours by yourself , reading article after paper after monograph, it’s nice to blow off some steam with like-minded individuals. Procrastination? Maybe. But it’s no different than say, blogging about strangely random topics when you should be reading!


Blogger nomadez said...

hey, you must think also about womans, the nice place where you drink the beer, your friends, and the moment of talk about something diferent! (lol)

7:11 PM  

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