Saturday, October 11, 2008

I've been thinking about alcohol. I don't drink much of it - occasional cocktail by the pool and possibly a few champagnes at my own birthday party - but nothing on a regular basis. I have mixed feelings about it. I don't like people drinking to excess (my ex-husband was prone to this problem and it's made me anxious around very drunk people), however my current husband is a very happy drunk which makes me anxious when he tells everyone he lays eyes on that he loves them, as in "I love you, mate!". But I do think it has a place in our social lives, a social lubricant, as it is called.

Yesterday on the radio they were talking about the Bathurst car races which are on this weekend. The police commander asked that people restrain themselves to ONE CARTON OF BEER PER PERSON PER DAY (that's 24 cans per 24 hour period). Holy shit. What sort of animals are we talking about here? That is bloody scary to someone like me who is likely to fall over after consuming one full beer, let alone 24. This is the ugly side of drinking which I totally despise. My inner anti-alcohol conservative side wants to scream "ban all alcohol, bad, bad, bad".

On the other hand we've had lots of these ads recently which show a group of dads around a bbq with beers in hand, one dad asks his son to grab him a beer. The kid goes to the fridge to get a beer, as he comes out of the fridge he turns into a man (the man he will become). Then he is cooking the bbq and asks his kid to get him a beer. There are also billboard ads which follow this theme. I guess they're telling us that setting an example of drinking in front of your children will turn your children into drinkers. Hmmm, I actually have a major problem with these ads. I think that setting an example of moderate social drinking is actually good for your children. Our children always see their dad and our friends sharing a few glasses of wine and/or beers when we have a bbq or go to someone's home for a meal. It's generally a normal part of the social event. Big Jay and most of our friends are light to moderate drinkers (except when they go on golfing weekends with the boys to the Gold Coast and it all ends with photographs of bottoms....) so I feel that these adults are showing our children that it is OK to enjoy a reasonable amount of alcohol in a social situation. If children didn't have that example they wouldn't understand what sort of relationship with alcohol is normal and socially acceptable. Of course drinking too much and/or behaving badly during and after drinking is also a very bad example for children but I don't think these ads are representing that.

These ads make me cranky with the nanny state and constant way in which we're monitored and behaviourally controlled. Because mainly it is the middle classes, who are so prone to guilt - especially where children are concerned - who are most likely to take on these messages. The (dare I say) working and non-working classes who IMHO are more likely to have drinking problems (and the behaviour problems which go along with them) are unlikely to take onboard these "subtle" advertising messages. So once again the middle classes carry the social burden - alcohol, eating, climate change, gambling, blah blah blah.

Gee, didn't think that would roll into a rant, but there you go. You can't always see the end from the beginning.


Julia said...

I really want a beer after reading this post.

If you want to see drinking, come here. They pack it away like there's no tomorrow. The girls too. Last week I had to call it a night after a bottle of vodka, and the Irish girl I was with kicked on drinking for another 10 hours.

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