Saturday, April 19, 2008

Alcohol and our culture

Whenever I hear a politician or an "outraged" parent group speak to the evils of violent video games, I think of alcohol.  It is amazing this stuff is actually legal.  Consider a day like March 17th, St patricks day, and a place like Boston.  You will see people so completely wasted that they are barely able to walk, or put together a coherent sentence. And this stuff is legal!!  Whenever you have a violent school shooting, or handgun violence, it is on the news because it is so rare (except in the inner city)

  But alcohol is responsible for nearly half of all traffic fatalities and accidents, but it is so commonplace that we become desensitized to it, and the news stops reporting it, like its "breaking news"The proportion of outrage versus actual harm is totally out of wack.  Politicians love to say, "We need to get guns out of the hands of our students"  But alcohol causes exponentially more harm to students then guns do.  Why don't you hear politicians saying, "We need to ban alcohol!"  Why not?  Of course the first thing that pops into my head is money and lobbyist influence.  

Alcohol is both celebrated as one of the joys of life, but it is simultaneous responsible for bringing about an enormous degree of misery in our life.  (death, injury,phycological pain )This is a very weird thing if you think about it.

 95% of the BS that I have to put up with at Dodger Stadium from other fans around me is due to alcohol.  But they sell the stuff for an amazing markup..and the profitability is enormous.  So stadiums are willing to sell it because it is a goldmine pure and simple.  I was at Mammoth last weekend, and I saw two 20 somethings doing a shot at 10:00 in the morning before they went skiing for crying out loud!!  Why would the bar sell serve them so early in the morning?  

You see billions of dollars worth of advertising constantly to push a product that does more harm to society than anything I can think of.  So here is what I would do if I was in charge....1.  cut off the TV advertising like they did with cigarettes in the 1970's  2.  Invent a BAC meter that everyone would wear in a bar that would monitor their content.....have everyone who enters the bar surrender their keys to the bartender....if you are near .08 then you don't get your keys.  3.  Prohibit the public sale until after 3:00 PM every day 4.  Prohibit the sale in all sporting arenas.  5.  Don't sell it in the town of Mammoth Lakes until after the mountain is closed.  

Part of me feels a little silly for writing this post, because I like alcohol as much as the next guy.  I have even had an occasional beer at Dodger Stadium.....but I would be willing to give up a bit of my freedom to use this powerful drug, if by doing so, it will save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.


Ryan Finley said...

Hey, lay off the last legal drug and pass me another bloody mary(ha ha). Thanks for a great time yesterday.

dole2obama said...

Big guy-
You have some very interesting ideas about booze. The problem is not alcohol, but the people who use it as an excuse to get "crazy" and fight etc. We are becoming a nanny state that takes away an individuals right to choose what they want to do to their bodies. Bud, Jack Daniels, Fess Parker etc, are legal because of the taxes they bring in. Besides, did we not try to make alcohol illegal in this country? (see the rise of Joe Kennedy, the Irish mafia, the "syndicate", "murder inc", the Gambino family, the Bonnano family, the Genevese family, the Luchesse family, the Giovanna family, Al Capone, cops on the take, the Westies, the North Pointers, Meyer Lansky, "Lucky" Luchiano, Ben "Bugsy" Siegal, Frank Sinatra Sr, Speakeasies) As old Joe used to say, "you cannot legislate morality." Or as some guy used to say, "for every action their is an equal and opposite reaction." At least prohibition put JFK in office.



Na zdrowie! Stay thirsty my friend.

bob riley said...


Interesting subject and probably one of the most complex issues for us as a society to address. As you point out, it is blatantly obvious that there are overwhelming negatives effects on individuals and society from the consumption of alcohol, yet we promote and encourage it. This despite the overwhelming personal and financial cost. But when our government tried to ban it our country rebelled and the unintended consequences (see Matt's comments)led to the repeal of prohibition. So where does that leave us? I believe the only effective way is to change the mind set of future generations and their attitude toward alcohol. Restricting advertising and sponsorships is a great beginning, but in the end it may all come down to personal responsibility.

Thanks for challenging us with this topic.