Ninkasi, Goddess of Beer

Ninkasi was the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer.

In college, I ran across Ninkasi and told myself, “Commit that name to memory.” Surely knowing the name of the Sumerian goddess of beer would come in handy at parties.

Years later, I realized I’d forgotten Ninkasi’s name. I went to the library and tried looking her up, but I couldn’t find a reference. When I would run across encyclopedias of mythology, I’d look for her, but it was no good.

Years after I had given up looking for her name, I realized that the Internet had been invented, and search engines along with it. Now I could find out whatever I wanted with a few clicks. I googled, and I landed on an ad for beer. Ninkasi-brand beer.

Knowledge once obscure is now common. The gods and goddesses of yesterday are today’s intellectual property. I feel at once robbed and set free.

November 2004