Red Or Dead

I learn today, via the ‘Full to the Brum’ website that Cherry Red’s, that fabulously unpretentious cafe in Kings Heath, the one with the really well-cooked halloumi –  is to close.

It’s a great piece which interviews the owner, who explains why she’s moving on, and that the joint is up for sale.

warI just thought I’d take this opportunity to relate an amusing anecdote from Cherry Red’s, back in I think December. I was having my veggie breakfast there, a lone woman at the table next to me, and a couple of people at another table. The couple were talking about the German market, or some German sausage, or other meat product, advertised on the wall and suggested checking it out. The lone woman rose to her feet, and said, in a friendly and helpful way, “I’m German and I can tell you that stuff – it isn’t really very German at all”. The other woman replied, perfectly deadpan and I think quite seriously and without a trace of irony, “Well it’s German enough for us”.

I must say that was the funniest thing I’d heard since at least mid-October, and well worth remembering and passing on.


Opiatic For The People

On becoming an undergraduate, I soon looked up Karl Marx’s well-known, and often quoted remark on religion: the opium of the people.

Nuance and subtlety drift over time. We may assume Marx dismisses religion as a soothing crutch, or more pejoratively as a harmful addiction. But we can assume nothing from one out of context quotation. For Marx and his world in 1844, opium’s connotations would have been so different from ours, it seemed to my new undergraduate brain trite and naive to assume anything at all about Marx’s remark. Besides, Karl’s pipe was tobacco-laden. It’s just a metaphor. I wanted to look at the whole text of the remark, and to understand, without prejudice, the whole argument.

The remark comes from Marx’s Introduction to his Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1844), which begins:

For Germany, the criticism of religion has been essentially completed, and the criticism of religion is the prerequisite of all criticism.

Two bold claims. Let’s see if we can unpack this.

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