The Benefits Of Booze
November 3, 2003 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Poor, Much-Maligned Alcohol Gets A Good Word: It's quarter to three, there's no one in the place/Except you and me,/So set 'em' up Joe, I got a little story/ I think you should know... And the story is something, if you're a drinker, you probably already know. (I was so surprised by this article I wondered if it was sponsored by the booze industry. But then I mixed myself another drink; read the wonderfully-named, probably Guinness - and poteen-fuelled - Dublin Principles and drank its health anyway!)
posted by MiguelCardoso (16 comments total)

 
Other positive benefits of alcohol include picking fights with strangers, running over people on accident, and illegitimate children. Pssh.

That could just as well have been called Common Misconceptions About The Effects of Alcohol, since almost all the evidence for Alcohol's positive effects was anecdotal, and was often prefaced with a caveat that other studies have shown that the opposite is true.

I like a drink as much as the next guy, but, having seen extreme cases of the negative effects of alcohol, I have a hard time buying the idea that it's really of great benefit to anybody. Indeed, I think it would be terrifically irresponsible to suggest that there was a positive correllation between drinking and happiness, physical health, or intelligence, which is admittedly not what the paper is trying to do, although it's certainly not hard to see someone misreading it as such, to their detriment.

I lump alcohol in with other things that we can't possibly get rid of, but which we'd be better off if we could do without them. Other things include political campaigns, and, you know, war.
posted by Hildago at 6:36 PM on November 3, 2003


I'm betting figure 1 (the "leaf of life") was scrawled on a cocktail napkin a few minutes shy of closing time.
posted by eddydamascene at 6:41 PM on November 3, 2003


miguel, are you drunk again?
posted by quonsar at 6:54 PM on November 3, 2003


Hildago, you're missing the point. Miguel needs something to post about, and, well, a drink is always an inspiration. And he's quoting a great song, so I'll join him.
*takes a wee nip of Lagavulin*
posted by languagehat at 7:08 PM on November 3, 2003


Hey, red wine could help protect you okay, we smokers from some of the deleterious effects of COPD.

So drink up and smoke 'em if you got 'em!!

*sips a nice California Merlot*
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:28 PM on November 3, 2003


...We bring you a brief word from our sponsors:

* Allied Domecq PLC
* Asahi Breweries, LTD.
* Bacardi-Martini
* Brown-Forman Corporation
* Coors Brewing Company
* Diageo PLC
* Foster's Group Limited
* Heineken N.V.
* Molson
* SABMiller PLC

* sips a not-so-fine but still pretty good Pinot Noir *
posted by troutfishing at 7:32 PM on November 3, 2003


"The Leaf of Life" diagram is total bullshit. The horizontal lines should slice right through the widening alcohol area as one's dependence grows. It's not like alcohol edges out everything; it's more like all that stuff is still paid attention to, except while drunk.

Not that I'm at all defensive about this.
posted by interrobang at 7:38 PM on November 3, 2003


(Not that this entirely subjective concept of the "Breadth of Life" isn't bullshit also.)
posted by interrobang at 7:40 PM on November 3, 2003


*Slugs a great IPA*

God dammit I's love you guys!

*scratches crotch*
*passes out in puddle of his own making*
posted by elwoodwiles at 7:58 PM on November 3, 2003


Come on, guys. We keep being told to "drink in moderation" and it's good to be reminded of why the great majority of people do indeed enjoy drinking (even to excess, in some cases) without harming others.

The great danger of drinking is getting drunk. If you enjoy being drunk, you're doomed. Whenever one recognizes the first signs of drunkenness, one should stop, drink some juice or water, wait for that feeling of loss of control to subside. It soon disappears - and you can have another. The trick (from a massive tome called "Principles of Neurology" which I enjoy reading (and nor really understanding) in my spare time, is maintaining the alcohol level you (and, above all, others) feel comfortable with. It's not easy - but it's not that difficult either.

A well-known defense is to be scrupulous and even pernickety about what you drink: to look for and demand certain brands; ensure concotions are well mixed and served; in the right glass with the preferred amount of ice; to be enthusiastically taken by the many, fascinating flavours of alcoholic beverages - just as one does (or should do) with food.

Drinking whatever's got alcohol, in an indifferent glass or straight from the bottle, with the sole purpose of diminishing consciousness or losing those inhibitions which are repressed for a very good purpose: there lies certain doom.

Although Portugal and other Southern European countries have the highest alcohol consumption in the world, you rarely find anyone really drunk - though it's getting more frequent than it was, I must say. The salient factor here is shame: it's socially unacceptable to be drunk. Almost as unacceptable as not drinking at all.

In sum, I thought this article was one of the first I've read which intelligently balanced the pros and cons. Oh and btw, I checked out some other papers on the website and they were, overall, very stringent on alcohol abuse.

Too long comment = time for another Martini! ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:03 PM on November 3, 2003


Looking at the "ICAP" home page, I think troutfishing's comment was pretty on the mark. Even apart from that, this is on the face of it an effort to collect every good thing that can be said about alcohol in one place. As legal nonprescription drugs go, I'm a big fan of booze, but (a) it doesn't really need defenders and (b) I'd rather see defenders coming from a more objective place.
posted by uosuaq at 8:10 PM on November 3, 2003


A well-known defense is to be scrupulous and even pernickety about what you drink: to look for and demand certain brands; ensure concotions are well mixed and served; in the right glass with the preferred amount of ice; to be enthusiastically taken by the many, fascinating flavours of alcoholic beverages - just as one does (or should do) with food.

well, i'm so happy to learn that alchohol (in the form of sophisticated drinks, containers, etc.) is actually good for me. sounds romantic. *pops open another can of bush*
posted by poopy at 8:30 PM on November 3, 2003


Listen up old red
You never listened to a word the doctor said
He told you if you drank another you’d be dead

Old red eyes is back
His shoulders ache all over and his brain is sore
He pours a drink and listens to his body thaw

(apologies to the south)
posted by dorian at 9:33 PM on November 3, 2003


Drinking whatever's got alcohol, in an indifferent glass or straight from the bottle, with the sole purpose of diminishing consciousness or losing those inhibitions which are repressed for a very good purpose: there lies certain doom.

yeah WHATEVER ! pass the NyQuil mang !
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:04 PM on November 3, 2003


that leaf diagram is an abomination. i don't want to believe people "think" that way. even drunk and cracked out of your mind i expect better.
posted by rhyax at 10:52 PM on November 3, 2003


Glad there is a nice scientific "leaf" to define my priorities in life for me. I was getting sick of doing that myself anyways.
posted by jeblis at 3:45 PM on November 4, 2003


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