Think you're an alcoholic?
December 12, 2013 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Think you're an alcoholic? Not by the standards of great artists and writers! "As for Balzac, he was definitely a coffee kind of guy – he sank 60 cups a day. Samuel Beckett slurped red wine every night til 5am. Pablo Picasso liked opium (he claimed opium has the “least stupid smell in the world”). Across Paris, Jean Paul Sartre guzzled four pints of Burgundy for lunch, liked his barbiturates, and was addicted to Corydrane, a mix of aspirin and amphetamine. The recommended dose of this now-prohibited tablet was 1 a day, Sartre took 20."
posted by Chocolate Pickle (72 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Patricia Highsmith lived to write (as she said, “I have ideas like rats have orgasms”)

Simile or non sequitur you be the judge
posted by ook at 8:31 PM on December 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


Are we still doing this? I mean, it's an amusing read at first glance. But once you start thinking about it, it's just so sad. So much self-medication, so much art lost to the world.
posted by Shoggoth at 8:34 PM on December 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


60 cups a day is inching into the lethal range, I think.
posted by grobstein at 8:37 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the Picasso quote was actually said by Jean Cocteau?
posted by ovvl at 8:38 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


So much self-medication, so much art lost to the world.

Does that follow, necessarily? One could just as easily lament the lost art never produced by the guy who stayed sober and went into accounting instead of giving rats orgasms or whatever
posted by ook at 8:44 PM on December 12, 2013 [59 favorites]


grobstein: A toxic dose of caffeine is a ton. Like more than 10 grams. I suppose if your coffee is quite strong then you could reach that with 60 cups, but by the 60th cup you've already metabolized the first cup pretty completely. Also if you are a regular caffeine user, you probably will have a higher tolerance and lower toxicity.
posted by aubilenon at 8:45 PM on December 12, 2013


There's probably a long list of sober writers too right?

Poets die substantially younger though.
posted by saber_taylor at 8:47 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Half a gallon of burgundy for lunch? Motherfucker must have slept hard between 2 and 11.

Seriously, these numbers are made up and fake.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:49 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Amphetamines are awesome for writing.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:52 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you think these numbers are made up I suspect you've never had to live with a full-on alcoholic.
posted by sweet mister at 8:56 PM on December 12, 2013 [18 favorites]


So much self-medication, so much art lost to the world.

If it didn't help you out with something in the short term we wouldn't call it medication.

And yeah, I'm gonna bet that amphetamines particularly did not have a net negative impact on the amount of art these people produced in their lifetime.
posted by atoxyl at 8:57 PM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


60 cups a day is inching into the lethal range, I think.
Coffee is a great power in my life; I have observed its effects on an epic scale. Coffee roasts your insides. Many people claim coffee inspires them, but, as everybody knows, coffee only makes boring people even more boring.

Coffee affects the diaphragm and the plexus of the stomach, from which it reaches the brain by barely perceptible radiations that escape complete analysis; that aside, we may surmise that our primary nervous flux conducts an electricity emitted by coffee when we drink it. Coffee's power changes over time. [Italian composer Gioacchino] Rossini has personally experienced some of these effects as, of course, have I. "Coffee," Rossini told me, "is an affair of fifteen or twenty days; just the right amount of time, fortunately, to write an opera." This is true. But the length of time during which one can enjoy the benefits of coffee can be extended.

For a while - for a week or two at most - you can obtain the right amount of stimulation with one, then two cups of coffee brewed from beans that have been crushed with gradually increasing force and infused with hot water. For another week, by decreasing the amount of water used, by pulverizing the coffee even more finely, and by infusing the grounds with cold water, you can continue to obtain the same cerebral power.

When you have produced the finest grind with the least water possible, you double the dose by drinking two cups at a time; particularly vigorous constitutions can tolerate three cups. In this manner one can continue working for several more days.

Finally, I have discovered a horrible, rather brutal method that I recommend only to men of excessive vigor, men with thick black hair and skin covered with liver spots, men with big square hands and legs shaped like bowling pins. It is a question of using finely pulverized, dense coffee, cold and anhydrous, consumed on an empty stomach. This coffee falls into your stomach, a sack whose velvety interior is lined with tapestries of suckers and papillae. The coffee finds nothing else in the sack, and so it attacks these delicate and voluptuous linings; it acts like a food and demands digestive juices; it wrings and twists the stomach for these juices, appealing as a pythoness appeals to her god; it brutalizes these beautiful stomach linings as a wagon master abuses ponies; the plexus becomes inflamed; sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination's orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink - for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder.

[from Harper's magazine: "Balzac died in 1850 at the age of 51; according to his physician. The cause of death was 'an old heart complaint' aggravated by 'the use or rather the abuse of coffee, to which he had recourse in order to counteract man's natural propensity to sleep." Balzac wrote 85 novels in 20 years.]
posted by zamboni at 9:02 PM on December 12, 2013 [25 favorites]


Strong drink, what could possibly go wrong?

Patricia Highsmith .... would smuggle the live snails out of England by hiding them under her breasts.
posted by sammyo at 9:05 PM on December 12, 2013


I kept snails as a kid and they are excellent pets. British garden snails are very unlike the ones you find in North America -- huge and friendly. They thrive in a terrarium and the hermaphrodite mating is quite something to witness.
posted by sweet mister at 9:09 PM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


British garden snails are very unlike the ones you find in North America -- huge and friendly. They thrive in a terrarium and the hermaphrodite mating is quite something to witness.

"...and what was the first thing that made you say 'wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?'"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:17 PM on December 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure where I read this, but I believe the standard 750 ml wine bottle was first standardised in France, as the amount that a standard French man would have with lunch. Perhaps wine was weaker in those days than the 14% monsters we see so often now, but I personally can take a bottle at a meal without too much damage and I have no doubt that if I were a daily drinker, I could build up to a half g in no time.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:23 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


No I don't think I'm an alcoholic. I'm a drunk - alcoholics admit it.

More seriously have a gallon is what almost a bottle of wine or there abouts? It doesn't seem like too much to have over lunch if you drink often
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:29 PM on December 12, 2013


I have known more than one person, self-described alcoholics, who would drink at least a handle (1.75 liters) of 80-proof or above spirits daily. It was killing them, of course, and only quitting saved their lives; but they definitely were doing it. (For comparison, a handle of 80-proof liquor is about three times the alcohol in a half gallon of red wine.)
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 9:32 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


If people ask you about your alcoholism so frequently that you develop an elaborate standard answer, you're probably an alcoholic.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:33 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


google search on (pendell writers alcohol) isn't pulling the citation I recall.

If you are a known writer the chances are very high you abuse alcohol, according to Dale Pendell who is an authority on drugs. OK I looked it up on my hard copy.

"for a writer alcoholism is an occupational hazard" p. 78 Pharmako Poeia.

He has a long list of examples.
posted by bukvich at 9:37 PM on December 12, 2013


There are reports of people walking out of the ER, under their own power, after showing plasma levels of cocaine that were ten times higher than the commonly accepted lethal dose.

There are also reports of people dying from cocaine use after ingesting doses lower than the threshold for conscious effects.

Which is to say that people vary quite a bit in terms of their ability to handle a given drug, and one of the major factors is tolerance. Heroin addicts can handle doses that would easily kill an opiate-naive person, or even a lesser addict.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:38 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pogo - a gallon is six bottles of wine. Which is good going.
posted by Devonian at 9:44 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I F***ING KNEW IT

i have tried reading Being and Nothingness both on drugs and off. drugs iS THE ONLY EXPLANATION

i think maybe i just wasn't using the right ones WHATEVR
posted by ninjew at 9:47 PM on December 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


So half a gallon is three bottles. I'm done after one, unless it's a real bender in which case I might get halfway through another, but I have friends who would keep going at that point.
posted by sweet mister at 9:48 PM on December 12, 2013


Half a gallon is more like 2.5 bottles than 3 (1 wine bottle = 750 ml = 25.4 oz; 1 gallon = 128 oz). But let us not quibble; more than a bottle and a half is a lot of wine.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 9:55 PM on December 12, 2013


I believe the standard 750 ml wine bottle was first standardised in France, as the amount that a standard French man would have with lunch.

Now would that have been a standard lunch or like just a sandwich
posted by ook at 9:57 PM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Let us not forget that Air France pilots used to have wine with their meals in-flight. Probably not by the gallon, mind.
posted by Devonian at 10:00 PM on December 12, 2013


drugs iS THE ONLY EXPLANATION

I have it from a highly credible source that Sartre started to suffer from dementia at some point, possibly during the writing of Being and Nothingness.
posted by shivohum at 10:04 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Got Hunter Thompson in there, but no Dylan Thomas? Like talking about boxing without mentioning Joe Louis.

I think of Chandler's go-to-hell drinking style and I wonder which creates which, does the inability to stand banality come first and drinking is there to assuage it or does the drinking make normal life intolerable.
Capote said he drank because it was the only time he can stand it. Hemmingway too, severe depression.

But hell, plenty of people hit the sauce without winning a nobel prize. Whitman didn't drink too much. Steinbeck (smoked like a chimney though, like Vonnegut). Mark Twain, depressed, but middlin' drinker at best. David Foster Wallace...

...Y'know most of the best writers seem to not only put it away, but seem pretty depressed most of the time too.

The only ones I can think of offhand who are anywhere near sane, that is to say fairly colorless beyond their work, and *also* unmedicated (generally) are Bellow and DeLillo (McCarthy?)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:13 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've had an on topic discussion with others:

We're not alcoholics, we're artists!
posted by wcfields at 10:21 PM on December 12, 2013


Yeah... a piss artist.
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:22 PM on December 12, 2013


In 18th century London the average per capita gin consumption was like a pint a day.

With "practice" people can consume/require quite a large amount of intoxicants.
posted by aubilenon at 10:38 PM on December 12, 2013


It's not just the writers and other creatives that were sloshed all day, every day: everybody was on the sauce until quite recently, as any journalist reminiscing about the three martini lunches of the eighties can confirm.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:48 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


nih.gov: "How many drinks did drinkers usually consume on a drinking day?"

For "3 or more drinks": women: 22%, men: 42%.

"How frequently did American adults (ages 18 and over) drink in the past year?"

Once a month or less: women: 69%, men: 49%.
posted by saber_taylor at 10:57 PM on December 12, 2013


This is why I bring liquor to the library.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:12 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can build a high tolerance to all sorts of things. Case in point:

One cold December night back in the late 80's, a friend and I were waiting overnight for priority passes for the Grateful Dead's annual New Year's Eve bacchanal at the Oakland Coliseum -- you lined up overnight so you could get the passes in the morning and not have to wait in line all NYE day. It was going to be a long night, hunkered down in line -- some partying and pre-NYE craziness, but mostly just a long, cold wait. A few hours into this, a guy next to us quietly says to his buddy, "Yeah, enough of this, let's go," surreptitiously takes out a sheet of acid and counts off 30 tabs (three rows of 10). He tears off four of these and hands them to his friend, then, swear to God, eats the remaining 26 himself! Then he and his buddy picked up their stuff and wandered off into the cold Oakland night.

We were agog. Even if these were weak sauce/disco hits...that's a staggeringly large amount of acid. I'm just glad he wasn't around us two hours later when the clowns came and ate his face.
posted by mosk at 11:24 PM on December 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Let us not forget that Air France pilots used to have wine with their meals in-flight. Probably not by the gallon, mind.

A couple years ago, legislation was proposed that would have outlawed alcoholic beverages at lunchtime for public servants in France. Firefighters and gendarmes turned out in force at nationwide protests against it. The government relented with a compromise: all alcohol except wine, with a recommendation that they drink no more than two glasses. It's good to keep in mind that the traditional, still-common French lunch (offices included) lasts for 2 hours. If there's no special occasion, it's often reduced to a single hour, but no one sees taking two-hour lunches as extravagant.

Around Christmas, this is often informally extended to 3-4 hours. For instance, a week ago we had half a bottle of champagne each at lunch, while eating hams and cheeses. Standard bottle size is still 750ml here. At a company Christmas dinner, a colleague and I complained in good humor about getting a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, asking "could we please get some wine instead". The restaurant owner also had a sense of humor, and brought us five different bottles, telling us if we didn't finish every single one of them before the end of the evening, we would be charged for them. This being France, our director had a hearty laugh and told us to get with the drinking. (We passed around the bottles. In a group of 40, only about a dozen people wanted to drink wine. So it's not even really a thing that can be generalized, just that, yes, the culture does see it as acceptable, so long as you don't get obviously drunk. Tipsy is okay, but public drunkenness is a big no-no. Not that no one does it, but those who do get raised eyebrows and tut-tuts.)

So yeah, Sartre drank a couple of bottles at lunch, doesn't surprise me in the least. Back then that would have been even more acceptable. Nowadays, one person drinking a full bottle at a meal would raise eyebrows. Even drinking a glass quickly will do that. (You're supposed to take your time. And women? Never, ever finish a glass if you don't want another. As soon as the last drop is gone, an arm will appear out of nowhere to fill up the glass. Leave enough in the bottom that you can still see the wine's full color. Unless you do want another glass, of course.)
posted by fraula at 12:30 AM on December 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's good to keep in mind that the traditional, still-common French lunch (offices included) lasts for 2 hours. If there's no special occasion, it's often reduced to a single hour, but no one sees taking two-hour lunches as extravagant.

That owns pretty hard, fyi.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:37 AM on December 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's good to keep in mind that the traditional, still-common French lunch (offices included) lasts for 2 hours

Not if you work in a factory... no, it don't.
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:50 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Paul Erdős was famous for doing amphetamines too. I've never done any amphetamines myself because I hate the crash with even coffee. Interesting they're considered good for writing though. Are you actually clear headed on amphetamines or do you simply need to be brilliant enough that it doesn't matter?

We've this notion of "research Cambridge style" in at least group theory, which means getting drunk while talking about mathematics. Ain't my cup of tea, but works for some people.

Also, I've this ongoing discussion with a friend about how many modern cultural features, like say dubstep or psytrance, benefited, not necessarily from their creators using recreational substances, but from their listeners first encountering them while on substances.

There is a common thread here that people don’t actually like creativity so weakening our filters slightly allows faster progress, enjoyment of the strange, etc.

All these apocryphal stories about geniuses consuming more drugs miss that they're using either horribly dangerous drugs like alcohol or illegal substances their particular social group considers acceptable. We might do much better with a concerted effort to find minimal effective doses in particular.

It's really obvious with say psychedelics that dose radically alters the experience, not sure if those would ever aid productivity given the distracting and memory effects though.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:01 AM on December 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Very refreshing to read a piece that celebrates boozing. So much more life-affirming than the dreary, finger-wagging sparts forever fretting about units and exploding livers.

So much self-medication, so much art lost to the world

What pompous presumption.
posted by Decani at 2:16 AM on December 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


James Bond is an 'impotent drunk': Doctors in Derby and Nottingham sat down to read the 14 Bond novels in their spare time. [...]

Excluding the 36 days Bond was in prison, hospital or rehab, the spy downed 1,150 units of alcohol in 88 days. [....]

Patrick Davies, a consultant in paediatric intensive care at Nottingham University Hospitals, told the BBC: "You wouldn't want this person defusing a nuclear bomb.

"He's a very glamorous person, he gets all the girls and that's totally incompatible with the lifestyle of an alcoholic, which he is."

He said Bond would be classified in the "top whack" of problem drinkers and would be at high risk of liver damage, an early death and impotence.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:40 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just another position on a long list of things that absolutely should have killed him and didn't.
posted by hat_eater at 3:18 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cheers!
posted by Decani at 3:30 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: If you're a seasoned drinker, 2.5 bottles of wine at lunch is nothing. You would do the first 1.5 bottles likely as white wine, chilled and cleansing to the palate. Then you would be warmed up, around 45 minutes in, and could sit back slowly on a bottle of red with the food. It will feel great, but your body won't appreciate anything more than 10-20 years of it.
posted by colie at 3:30 AM on December 13, 2013


Just as a benchmark, the British Navy Rum Ration issued daily used to be 1/2 a pint originally issued neat; sailors would "prove" its strength by checking that gunpowder doused with rum would still burn (thus verifying that rum was at least 57% ABV.
posted by adamvasco at 4:07 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


As Mark Maron once said, "For every Keith Richards, you get a million junkies who can kinda play guitar."
posted by GameDesignerBen at 5:44 AM on December 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


I can drink a bottle of wine, with food, over several hours. But I'm definitely not driving afterwards, and falling asleep happens shortly after. There's no way I could start typing a novel with one bottle in me, much less three.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:49 AM on December 13, 2013


Are you actually clear headed on amphetamines or do you simply need to be brilliant enough that it doesn't matter?

Millions of people use prescription amphetamines every day to improve focus and mitigate the symptoms of AD(H)D. A substantial percentage of those users are children. So yes, it's pretty effective.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:00 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach you 'bout the raising of the wrist.

Seriously, though, functional alcoholics do exist. Alcoholism seems to run in my father's side of the family (Nature? Nurture? Who knows.), and my observation leads me to believe that you can't really predict what form it's going to take. I had one relative with two sons. Drunks, all three. The father was a mean, violent drunk. Silent asshole 'til he got the first drink, raging asshole after he got a couple in. Older son was a sad drunk, had trouble coping with anything.

Younger son was a jolly, happy drunk. Kind of a bear sober, but once the alcohol was in him he was everybody's best friend. He had a brilliant career in sales, because he could talk you into buying ice skates for your dead grandmother and feeling great about it. When he was drinking, you just couldn't help wanting to be around him. Made a bunch of money, sent four sons through college and into great careers of their own. Mean Drunk and Sad Drunk are dead; not sure about Jolly Drunk. He lucked out with a tough-as-nails wife who seemed to be able to cut him off when she wanted to, so maybe he's OK. Anyway, I have no trouble believing it can happen if you happen to draw the tight straws. Of course, the nature of the beast doesn't always let you realize if you have.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:08 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


believe me they burned the candle both ends, then employed the candle in unusual sexual ways.
but

but the candle would be gone

are they using the wax as lube
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:11 AM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used to work with a draftsman that claimed to drink 8 pots of coffee a day. At first I thought he was bullshitting me, but then he showed me the restaurant grade Bunn coffee maker with the "DAVE'S COFFEE MAKER - DO NOT TOUCH" sign on it, next to the 12 cup Mr. Coffee for the rest of the office. He said it had been a good investment after the boss started making him replace the consumer grade makers that he kept burning out.

His interests ran mainly towards Dungeons and Dragons, airbrushed wizards and prog rock, for anyone wondering if it made him more artistic.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 6:14 AM on December 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


As a cartoonist, I am faced with the eternal dilemma: should the weed be kept with the other art supplies?

Given that it and the bong live on the computer desk where I get most of my work done, I suspect that the answer is "yes".
posted by egypturnash at 6:48 AM on December 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


'm just glad he wasn't around us two hours later when the clowns came and ate his face.

After the first 4 or 6 or so, it's just quibbling about details.
posted by mikelieman at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


(McCarthy?)

Cormac McCarthy, while long-sober now, did have a drinking problem at one point. He has since called alcohol "the writer's occupational hazard".
posted by Ndwright at 8:21 AM on December 13, 2013


I have it from a highly credible source that Sartre started to suffer from dementia at some point, possibly during the writing of Being and Nothingness.

I'm afraid it can't be that simple, he wasn't even 40 when he wrote that.
posted by Hoopo at 9:34 AM on December 13, 2013


Well, I'm feeling much better about my discretionary indiscretions now.
posted by malocchio at 10:04 AM on December 13, 2013


Our college assigns a faculty mentor to each newly-hired faculty member. The mentor of one of my colleagues wasn't sure how to be a good mentor, so he read a book (as you do.) The book said that the most significant danger to new faculty members was alcoholism.

We learned about this at newfac happy hour, obviously...
posted by BrashTech at 10:44 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Millions of people use prescription amphetamines every day to improve focus and mitigate the symptoms of AD(H)D.

Or just to give them an advantage over their peers. It's absolutely rampant on college campuses.
posted by Justinian at 10:51 AM on December 13, 2013


Are you actually clear headed on amphetamines or do you simply need to be brilliant enough that it doesn't matter?

You are actually clear headed on amphetamines, as long as you aren't using them to avoid having to sleep or eat, and as long as you haven't taken so much you've made yourself anxious. A moderate dose of amphetamines after a full night's sleep and a good breakfast feels great and makes it amazingly easy to get certain kinds of intellectual work done, where focus and persistence are virtues.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:48 PM on December 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's also good for cleaning the grout in your bathroom with a toothbrush.
posted by Justinian at 1:51 PM on December 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


The book said that the most significant danger to new faculty members was alcoholism.

So you're saying newfac can't try sauce?
posted by forgetful snow at 3:24 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bukowski was not happy. Sartre was not happy. Hemingway and DFW were not happy. They were, each of them, miserable white men. Even Ayn Rand, strung out on amphetamines, was unhappy. They each made their mark, and left a miserable trail of unhappiness behind them. They are not to be envied.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:38 PM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Smedleyman: "Capote said he drank because it was the only time he can stand it. Hemmingway too, severe depression. [...] Y'know most of the best writers seem to not only put it away, but seem pretty depressed most of the time too."

I think the reason writers tend to sit in their rooms scribbling away, rather than going out and engaging with the world every day, is that they feel compelled to because they feel that there's something wrong or intolerable about the everyday life that is available to them when they go out and engage with the world. That same compulsive avoidance tends to give you a propensity to want to control your consciousness through artificial means.

Yes, as I sit here with my drinking glass full of wine, having just finished a caffeine pill fueled work day, typing this into the ether, I think that sounds about right.
posted by the big lizard at 11:24 PM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the reason writers tend to sit in their rooms scribbling away, rather than going out and engaging with the world every day, is that...

Most writers -- including poets and novelists -- do it because they need the money. I know I do. You might as well armchair psychoanalyse why someone goes and works in a cubicle all day. It's a job. There is obviously a part of me that enjoys it, as there is with many people who have a job they like. But professional writing is an occupation.
posted by sweet mister at 5:46 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


... and the reason so many get blitzed is because they can. Can you imagine how many middle managers would be blotto by 3pm if there was no-one there to stop them?

(Although the stereotype of the drunken artist is, I think, a bit passé. There are still a couple of infants terribles out there but I know a ton of writers and filmmakers and there isn't one of them whose a drunk. When I started in the TV industry int 90s there were certainly some drunks still around and we often drank at lunchtime, and I can see that must have been a very slippery slope)
posted by sweet mister at 5:50 AM on December 14, 2013


Agents on the other hand... hoo boy.
posted by sweet mister at 5:50 AM on December 14, 2013


Meet Carl Hart, the Scientist Debunking America's Myths About Drugs

CG : What do you want readers to take away from High Price?

CH: When we think about drug effects, I want people to understand that they have less to do with pharmacology and more to do with context: the history of the user, the dose of the drug, etc. That's not to negate the role of pharmacology, but I do want people to understand the importance of context in trying to evaluate drug effects. We often talk about a drug as if it alone is causing all of these social harms. I want people to think about it in a more nuanced way.

I also want readers to re-think the way they view certain people who have been vilified by society. If they do that, they'll see that we've been racist in our thinking in this country. We have not really owned up to it. People need to understand the difference between individual racism and institutional racism. Individual racism is not a big deal these days. You'd be hard-pressed to find many people who are outright racist. They don't need to be, because our institutions are. I hope they understand that.

posted by jeffburdges at 9:51 AM on December 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Carl Hart is awesome and is the guy I'm going to point to if another one of those threads comes up where I point out how extremely similar meth is to things like adderall and someone comes along to say how utterly different they are because of the uptake rate or whatever. Because he is on my side which, obviously, means he is a smart man who knows things.
posted by Justinian at 11:58 AM on December 14, 2013


Great minds must be crippled and drunken so as to tolerate the likes of the commoners like me.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 9:39 AM on December 15, 2013


I know zilch about meth vs adderall but Hart's point that effects have more to do with context than pharmacology is just transparently correct. Just consider different people's interactions with alcohol, like described in this article.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:31 PM on December 15, 2013


I have known more than one person, self-described alcoholics, who would drink at least a handle (1.75 liters) of 80-proof or above spirits daily. It was killing them, of course, and only quitting saved their lives; but they definitely were doing it. (For comparison, a handle of 80-proof liquor is about three times the alcohol in a half gallon of red wine.)
posted by JimInLoganSquare


Wait, seriously? That's one of those giant 60 oz bottles, right?
That's staggering.
posted by Theta States at 9:09 AM on December 20, 2013


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