Eleanor Roosevelt claimed that ‘Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people’. This is a pretty shallow thing to say. Seems to be having possession of a great mind is what she’s enamoured with, ahead of whatever use it might be put to.

It also expresses contempt for the small minds. You’d have to be widely acknowledged as being a Great Mind yourself to be permitted to call people dicks like that. That it was ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ who came out with this used to baffle me. Some First Lady? Was it before or after tea and cakes that she made this pronouncement?

In any case, the quote and the general sentiment have always gotten under my skin. And my parent’s skins even more so. It’s why they have an unused ‘good’ front room with little bronze statuettes of cherubs, tasseled lampshades and sofa set and a very huge, ornate, gilt-framed mirror above the fireplace right out of Louis XIV’s Court. Just within a normal, green-carpeted, suburban house.

I covered ideas two posts ago, talking about feminism. Then I did Brad Pitt- people. So now I’d like to complete the set. It’s actually a thing I want to talk about, not an event. Why does she not include things? I’ll just assume things come under events for her. The thing is Buckfast. Buckfast is a drink associated with urchins of all kinds, be they students, working class folk of the track-suited variety, punks and other reckless sorts, right up to homeless people. And also people who like to buy into all that, for a few hours anyway. It’s a ‘fortified wine’ with a caffeine content higher than Red Bull and tastes like delicious sugary medicine. It’s so thick it leaves smears on the glass and it’s exactly the colour of blood.

What’s odd about it is that it is manufactured exclusively by the Roman Catholic Benedictine monks of Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England. This is stamped right on the label. When I was younger I just assumed I was missing something. Surely the Roman Catholic monks aren’t REALLY churning out this rocket fuel? There’d be some story to explain it. But it turns out there’s not. And they are. It’s just one of those brazen things. Hiding in plain sight.


3 thoughts on “Buckfast

  1. Buckfast I’ve never heard of – but monks make Benedictine and that’s pretty strong. Makes up for the monkish life, I guess, getting sozzled at vespers. Vampiric people should drink Buckfast,, clearly. As for great minds, I guess ER got fed up with dumb people. Which tends to lead to pronouncements like that, and does argue a certain intellectual arrrogance.

    • Cheers Rose! I like the Benedictine bottle. I might buy some. Buckfast is the awesome surprising dark colour of blood in a test tube when you have it taken. Slightly embarrassing half conscious attempt to be mysterious about it there. Nah I’ve since discovered ER’s not all bad- Declaration of Human Rights and stuff. Looking forward to your book. Can’t find any fiction I enjoy reading at the minute, it’s driving me nuts. (Turned to non-fiction, scared of becoming a person who only reads history and biography- horrible)

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