Sally points me to this NYTimes article, Trying to Clear Absinthe’s Reputation, by Harold McGee.
Basic points: High alcohol is the killer, not wormwood. But wormwood is psycho-active — so is sage with the same chemical. Czech absinthe generally sucks. If it’s not green, it’s not the real thing. If it doesn’t cloud well, it’s not the real thing. Champagne has its own secrets; unclean glasses work best for bubbles.
Framed by a Hemmingway story. Male journalists all want to be like Papa. Why?
An alert NYTimes forum member sends us to a Terra online video feature, Forbidden Fruit: The Absinthe Drinker, (about 7 1/2 minutes) in which retired neurosurgeon David Cook (who is wearing Merrell Mocs) talks about absinthe and the myths and bad science associated with it.