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No booze, you lose

By James Casey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 16, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

James Casey

America is one of the few countries to have imposed a post-18 drinking age upon its citizens. If you think about it, 21 plus is not really that bad - it isn't like this is Istanbul where, rumor has it, hard-line Taliban leaders will chop off all your appendages if even a dram of alcohol is consumed.

The main problem with the American-alcohol relationship is the social stigma the substance has garnered throughout the years. This stigma has transcended generations and parents generally disapprove of their children drinking, even if said children are 18 and over. In most other countries, drinking is a very social activity. The pub is the equivalent to the coffee shop, where the local residents gather to catch up on news and gossip.

One local authority in England recently proposed moving a doctor's office into the ground floor of a pub, so that people might be more willing to visit their local general practitioner. What does all this tell us? British folk are all alcoholics?

On the contrary, there are more alcoholics per million in America than there are in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland combined. The reason behind this is the relaxed nature in which alcohol is presented in the UK. Here in America, most adolescents come into contact with drinking in a manner that is unseen, and unapproved of, by their parents. These youths will generally proceed to get obliterated, in rebellion against their parents' wishes, and probably end up vomiting all over the neighbors' front garden. Advertising in this country usually uses sexual motives to sell the product, therefore promoting a deadly combination of teenage urges and self-destructive booze binges, commonly occurring every Friday and Saturday night. Here lies the difference across the Atlantic divide.

In Europe, people are rarely criticized for going to the pub every night. This is primarily because most people who go to the pub are less inclined to drink as much, as it is not considered such a taboo. The phrase that is most applicable here is "the forbidden fruit tastes much sweeter."

Many bars in Tucson are fairly tepid during the week, but, come Friday, lines for establishments such as O'Malley's sprawl round the block. Just looking at the state of most patrons at the end of the night is laughable - stumbling, leering and swearing like they had just discovered drinking and its related effects. If people are considered to be "grown-up" at 21, then this surely is a kick in their teeth.

America has to loosen its belt regarding alcohol, and it needs to drop the stigma that it has created for it. America and its inhabitants should start to view drinking as a far more soothing activity that is not only binge related. We of other nations have already learnt to do so; some of you should too.

James Casey is a graphic design major, hailing from Hong Kong via the UK. He enjoys drinking regularly and would like you to join him in doing so. He can be reached at