COFFEEHOUSE BULLSHIT?

Well, that is truly a post-modernist expression that some ultra-modernists folks speak out loud – every now and then.

I heard a character in a movie speaking it last night while I was randomly shuffling channels.

Coffeehouse bullshit catches your attention.

Because all that has been in the name of ‘coffee culture’ or ‘coffeehouse culture’ is simply not bullshit.

Coffeehouse culture has its connotations and nuances, and it has its relevance to the cultures in societies it has had its vibrant presence.

Historians say the coffee culture (or the coffeehouse culture) originated in Turkey around 14th Century and spread in many European countries. As UNESCO puts it – ‘where time and space are consumed, only the bill is in the name of coffee’ – the coffeehouse culture has had a great contribution in European political and cultural revolutions – and in European Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Like it happens even today, you pay for the space and time while sitting in a coffeehouse, spending some quality time, or doing the routine networking. You easily end up paying somewhat 10-20 US$ for two mugs of coffee even in many not so uber cool Delhi outlets. Rationally thinking, these price points are astronomically high for the product but you don’t feel so because you know you are paying for the ‘time and space’ there.

Back then, passing through years, and even now, coffeehouse culture has had that same symbolism – obviously with era-specific modifications/adaptations. People may argue that internet is threatening the discourse culture of coffeehouses.

Well, they miss the point here – internet is reshaping the ‘public sphere’. Its most relevant examples are ‘Arab Spring’, ‘The Occupy Movement’ and ‘massification of Guy Fawkes’ masks in popular culture.

Not all the debates, not all the coffeehouses back then were part of the lore. Same holds true even today. Debates will find their coffeehouses (or their ‘public sphere’). Willing folks will find their outlets.

Those who mattered – stood out and spread. Those who will matter – and those who are willing to matter – will initiate or join the conversation.

Internet has made the exchanges faster and freer. Communication can begin anywhere and its threads can be picked up from anywhere.

All this is not some bullshit!

Obviously, it has some crap quotient. But then that is an inevitable part of a commercial activity where people’s time means money.

Today, the coffeehouse culture is a global phenomenon in democratic countries across the globe – and in countries where the ‘public sphere’ has been crushed – and is being crushed.

Yes, expressivity varies – but then, that is the rule of the game.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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