Friday, April 10, 2009

Onion's Binge Drinking Proposal

April 10, 2009, 10:00 a.m.

Creative Approaches to Alcohol Abuse
(brought to you by* -- and "The Onion")

[And see the related, Nicholas Johnson, "Drunken Fights and Digital Photos," April 13, 2009.]

Last Tuesday I wrote about some of the campus problems related to alcohol abuse. Nicholas Johnson, "How About Them Hawks -- Again," April 7, 2009.

Now this morning I've come upon a different take on the subject. The respected "Onion News Network" (ONN) offers a new approach to binge drinking by college students, what you might call "thinking outside the box" by thinking "inside the bottle."

ONN brought together a distinguished panel of experts who conclude we've been focusing on the wrong end of the problem. Instead of discouraging college students' binge drinking we should be encouraging binge drinking by high school students -- so as to better prepare them for the rigorous demands of college drinking.

The ONN's approach does have the political advantage of removing the often decisive influence of bar owners' knee-jerk opposition to the more conventional tactics -- proposals that necessarily would result in reductions in bar owners' sales and profits.

Hopefully, by introducing high school students to the consequences of binge drinking the proposal might also have the beneficial side effect of discouraging them from continuing on into their own college years what has developed as the the seemingly compulsory college students 2:00 a.m. fist fights outside of Iowa City's bars, with the unsightly bloodied bodies left on the sidewalks.

(See, e.g., "Assault reported at 3rd Base Bar," Iowa City Press-Citizen, April 10, 2009 -- and comment from "JENN4IOWAHAWKS": "What's going on lately? This is like the 4th fight in downtown Iowa City in a week that has made the news and people were hospitalized." 4/10/2009 8:50:00 AM. For a report of what it looks like after the bodies have been removed, see Christine Allen, "Enter Walkway at Your Own Risk," Iowa City Press-Citizen, April 10, 2009, p. A11 ("the Dubuque Walkway between the Sheraton and Martini's . . . [contains a] disgusting mix of vomit, urine, graffiti, cigarette butts, blood and other unknown stains splashed the walk and walls from one end to the other." -- and the comment from "ben_drinken,"The City Council was warned about this, not only that it would be a repository for disgusting biohazards, but that it would be a risky place to be at night. They went ahead with it anyway. There's already been one serious assault in there, there will be more. Anyone who's hurt in that craphole tunnel should sue the hell out of them." 4/10/2009 8:14:56 AM. And, as supporting evidence for these assertions, "Man Kicked in Face During Ped Mall Fight," Iowa City Press-Citizen, April 3, 2009 ("At 2:19 a.m., police say a fight involving 10 to 15 people occurred in the walkway between Martini’s Bar and the Sheraton Hotel. When officers arrived on the scene, they found an unconscious man lying on the ground."))

Here is The Onion panel's discussion:

In The Know: Teenagers and Alcohol

Like much humor, the only reason it's funny -- if you find it to be such -- is that it hits so close to the truth of "responsible" adults' turning their backs on any meaningful response to the risks to young persons' health and safety that result from alcohol abuse.

* Why do I put this blog ID at the top of the entry, when you know full well what blog you're reading? Because there are a number of Internet sites that, for whatever reason, simply take the blog entries of others and reproduce them as their own without crediting the source. I don't mind the flattering attention, but would appreciate acknowledgment as the source -- even if I have to embed it myself. -- Nicholas Johnson

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