Same old song
There is more talk about raising the drinking age. I think there is more talk about raising the drinking age because the latest TVONE news promo has Si and that other chick rapping with young people about their drinking age outside on the street. Si was kickin’ it one time in his hoody jacket and the chick looked genuinely cold for the first time in a long time. That promo appeared a day after a TVNZ major report on increasing the drinking age. Now maybe I’m cynical, but whenever the News media trumpet ‘serious debate about a minority within society’ I end up watching Flat Earth arguments go unchallenged for the sake of ‘objectivity’. Say after me O-B-J-E-C-T-I-V-I-T-Y. See how reasonable it sounds when you say it real slow? BUT suddenly, here is TVNZ running a report as if it has just been handed down from Moses (who then informed a mate of his at Telecom) and then we get the prepackaged ‘Street Jive’ – I just wondered if anyone else noticed how planned that ‘News’ was.
But I don’t want to talk about that.
I want to talk about raising the drinking age. Forgive me, but how can we jump up and down at under age drinking when the kids are simply copying the example most adult NZers set. We are a nation of pissheads! Sure scratch the surface of any free trade coffee drinking, public transport humping, Wellington City Council worker, and you find a raving alcoholic. Sure it’s dressed up for the Middle Class as ‘wine-clubs’, but its endemic in our culture. It’s like we are forever suffering from some colonial hangover we can’t shake with all those awful “Christ did I really do that’ flashback moments.
We are depressed, and we drink far too much – think of any drunk you know. They all have one thing in common, some ‘emotional’ problems. Isn’t it true for a country? The adverts say, “It’s not what you drink, it’s how we drink”. I don’t think it’s what or how, I think it’s about ‘why’ we drink.
Modern capitalism needs as many nuclear families as possible so that consumption is maximized (hence the vested interest to devalue less profitable communal values). Individualism has become so fetishisd that we have less and less contact with one another. Loneliness and a lack of social contact in this country is a deep hurt, add to it daily mass media pollution that attempts to sell your insecurities to you by making you more insecure of them, is it any wonder we get boozed up to the point of black out?
I’m sure a lot of it has to do with our wind stunted staunch uber alles blokedomness. From observation at too many social events I’d care to mention, most men have a difficult enough time talking to one another let alone try striking up a conversation with a member of the opposite sex. Booze is the social lubricant of choice for a nation who can’t talk with themselves let alone one another.
At this point you might be expecting me to roll out the Temperance Union band and start railing against booze. I won’t, personally drink ain’t my thing, but it can be of hell of a lot fun and sometimes booze just hits the spot. But the mindset we’re going into this doesn’t suggest we are having a great night out. Booze is a restricted product but in our drive to be able to buy the stuff in every supermarket and corner dairy we have made it more accessible than ever before. This makes no sense, we need to remind ourselves that it is restricted and as such need to roll that liberalization back. Then we need to police those restricted places more often, community groups regularly test liquor outlets to see if they sell to underage booze buyers, and in some parts of Auckland, 50% do!
It seems ridiculous that we would only focus on the drinking habits of 18 or 19 year olds when so much of the exact same behavior is exhibited (and some could argue, copied) throughout the population. But we will push to raise the age because that sweeps the issue under the carpet and doesn’t end up costing the industry any money by reducing the amount of outlets.
There is no depression in NZ.