Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Caffeinated Speech

The following is a speech done on the importance of coffeehouses (all tongue-in-cheek, of course) for a class assignment. All you see below is the actual written 'script', word-for-word, copypasta -

My fellow classmates, how was your morning? How did you wake up today? Perhaps you woke up with a nice warm cup of coffee. How did you get this coffee? Perhaps you made it yourself, perhaps you went to a Starbucks along your way here, perhaps you don't even drink coffee. For all that matters, there is no wrong time to have a nice, warm, drink in your hand, and there is nothing like going to a coffeehouse at the end of the day.

But coffehouses are more than just places to grab a warm, tasty, overpriced beverage. Coffeehouses, are ideal places to gather, share ideas, and commune well before green sirens took over every street corner. Way back, centuries ago in Istanbul, the first coffeehouse was established to much popularity. People began to gather around as these places of coffee expanded throughout the Ottoman Empire and beyond. In these warm, welcome places, people talked. They talked of the news, of criticism, of anything without regard or fear. A brief moment where one had a freedom of speech in a time of massive control. As expected, countries attempted to ban the coffeeshops with success akin to that of the brief prohibition period of the United States.

In 1600s Europe, coffeeshops became commonplace with 3,000 shops in England and a near-monopoly and Paris. Again, attempts were made to surpress the coffee culture, again to no avail and infact causing the opposite effect – more people flocked to them. Much more so that by the 1800s the coffeeshop had nearly replaced clubs in England as common meeting places, with some being a precursor of sorts to a stock exchange. The coffeehouse had effectively become a hub of information.

Over here in the States, however, this hub of information, until very recently, did not exist in the same way. Coffeehouses were near-nonexistent until the 1950s, when immigrants from Italy brought forth a style of cafes common to their home region – espresso. Even then, this wasn't widespread. The hub of information was more of an entertainment venue common mainly in art districts and college towns like the very one we're in.

Slowly, but surely, the concept changed. Youth started to copy the concept of the coffeehouse, and small organizations communed in these cafes, sharing information once again. However, to much Americans in the 20th century, a coffeehouse was a mere diner where coffee was an afterthought, and the overall intent was a place to dine. Then in the 1970s and more rapidly a couple of decades later, the coffeehouse in the original form was finally made widespread by a Seattle chain started by the aforementioned youth. Starbucks enacted a catalyst – suddenly coffeehouses, independent and otherwise popped up across the nation. And as in the early times, people began using these coffeehouses to gather, meet, and more recently stay connected to one another. The coffeehouse was finally a hub of information in the new world.

So next time you enter a Starbucks, a Peet's, or Mishka's, don't just grab a cup of coffee, take a seat, socialize, hang out, or even go online if you wish. As you do so, take note and think – you are taking part of one of the oldest hubs of free communication, expression, and information, a type of place that has so much history and culture behind it. A place of influence.

No comments:

Post a Comment