Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Was anyone else appalled?

I opened up the Seattle P.I. this morning and was browsing through the chilling tales of flood rescue, landslides, IEDs, and the like, when I turned the page and WHAMMO! a full two-page spread advert from DeWars whiskey celebrating the day Prohibition was repealed, with red, white, and blue coloring, huge headlines, pictures from the 20's of revelers holding a flappergirl aloft with a bottle in her hand, suggesting rituals appropriate for celebrating Repeal Day, the end of Prohibition, Dec. 5, 1933.

Now I'm not a complete prude about alcohol and I think Prohibition was a foolish mistake, but this ad repels me and I have to wonder about the mentality that thinks "We're All Winners" because the law was repealed. Hmmm. Freedom is definitely better than non-freedom, but I have to wonder how that slogan plays with people for whom alcohol is a death sentence. They know, if they've been sober for awhile, that they had the freedom to be drunks, dead drunks, in fact, and that was actually not so freeing. They were trapped, not freed, by whiskey.

I know I sound like Carrie Nation here and I'm sorry about that. It's probably the leftover influence of my glory days after winning the poster contest for the WCTU back in the Athena years. The only thing I could draw worth a darn was the head of a horse, so my poster had a gigantic horsehead on it (before the Godfather made it yucky) with the words, "use a little horse sense, horses don't drink alcohol". It went over big in Athena, at least with the WCTU (Women's Christian Temperance Union) mamas, of whom my mama was one.

I have a love-hate relationship with alcohol. It's fun to have a margarita or gin and tonic or other drink with friends, refreshing to have a beer or glass of wine with dinner. One drink does me; I have a very soft head. I am a cheap date in that regard. But having seen first-hand the ravages of too much alcohol on relationships, children, ethics, and health, I am inclined to advocate strict moderation, not over-the-top drinking behavior, which is what this ad implies is the way to go.

Just don't call me Carrie.


Mile High Pixie said...

Interesting. I was amused when I saw a similar ad. However, if pressed further on the issue, I'm inclined to agree with you , Rev. Kit. I'm a one-drink-and-then-I'm-acting-like-a-fool, and as a college student I never could understand what was so great about getting totally lit. I mean, jokes are funnier, cars are easier to drive, things in general are better when you're sober or mostly sober. Just silly. Even worse is the time you lose the next morning to dehydration and the ooky feeling that lasts all day. Kinda celebrates the wrong thing, huh?

Shelby Meyerhoff said...

First, I love your story about the WCTU poster contest!

Second, this reminds me a little of the 2006 elections in Massachusetts, where one of the ballot questions was whether the sale of alcohol in grocery and convenience stores should be widely allowed.

It was defeated, which shows that people's attitudes about alcohol are more tempered (!) than one might think. My feeling was that recovering alcoholics ought to be able to go the grocery store or convenience store without seeing alcohol and alcohol advertisements.

Christina Martin said...

Well said.

You know, being pregnant makes me see one more element of the issue more clearly just because it's at the forefront of my mind. I was never a big drinker, but I haven't had any alcoholic drink since learning I was expecting.

Then I visit pregnancy forums and read people talking about their drinking habits, and it just makes me sick to think that even today, when we know so much about the harm done by prenatal alcohol, people think that drinking, partying, and excess are so much a way of life that it is more important than the known effects on baby.

I've even read some midwives recommending a stiff drink to their clients. It just floors me.

It's understandable that there was a time when people did not know the medical affects of alcohol during pregnancy; but now it's a choice being exercised with full knowledge.

Happy New Year! Mr. Martinelli, bring on your best! (Ok, it helps that Martinelli's sparkling cider is from my hometown.)