Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.

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faults in the clouds of delusion

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fed whiskey to your warriors

The State of Massachussetts has a referendum coming up in a few weeks. Question #1 on the ballot is whether the sale of liquor should be allowed at grocery stores. As a mildly interested observer, I've noticed flyers at a couple of different venues, propounding opposing points of view. Those supporting the motion believe that it will serve to civilize this society a little bit more, as genteel husbands and wives will now be able to stroll into their neighborhood grocery and find the right California Chardonnay to pair with their evening's antibiotic-laden monster rubber chicken hybrid (that's a good word). Or perhaps Merlot with Mad Cow fed with gristle of other Mad Cow. Whatever. Proponents of this viewpoint seem to be aligned with the grocery business. Those opposing the motion, not coincidentally tending to be aligned with the independent liquor store business, suggest that the availability of wine in grocery stores will increase the availability of alcohol to minors, as randy young sixteen year olds will bust into the corner 7-11 to cart away crates of sherry and port (these being the beverages featuring maximum alcohol content, and therefore, "buzz"). The image is an amusing one, coming as I do from a place and time where empty bottles of Benadryl used to be found scattered around sprawling university grounds. "How can anyone monitor the sale of alcohol to minors," ask the guardians of propriety, "when those selling the alcohol to minors are themselves minors?" An interesting point, I concede, but one that limits your perceptions of Bud Lite, a product too widely available everywhere.

I find myself alternating between mild cynicism for the one position and mild disdain for the other. A mixture of emotions that was captured pretty well during an enforced wait second in line at the counter at a local chain pharmacy today, faced up with a multitude of rags featuring the latest exposes on the lives of Hollywood's glitterati (did anyone know that Tara Reid's silicone implant surgery went awry but not to worry, she has her confidence back now?) The headline that really attracted my attention, though, in the middle of all the celeb news, was one that went: "something something blah blah Amish Massacre". I thought of the Amish massacre, and the poor kids who went down. (Interesting story titled: What the Amish are Teaching America here.) But what I really thought was -- at least 26 people died in Baghdad in a single incident yesterday. But there won't be any headlines about that, now, will there?

We never did really think about anything except where we can buy our stupid alcohol, did we? Issue #1 indeed.

Last weekend I spent a night in New Jersey. The TV was on. They were giving a quick roundup of the weather. They showed the satellite map of the US, with all the clouds and everything. Then they focused in on a few specific cities. First, Denver. Then, St. Louis. Then, Miami. All nice and normal so far, you think? The fourth and last city they showed before switching out of the weather report was Baghdad.

Of course, Baghdad isn't the only place in the world that's screwed right now. (Every day there's at least one story I read online that I'm so tempted to feature on this blog, but then we wouldn't be all nice and trivial now, would we?) There's also Afghanistan. Where grown men hide in fields of marijuana. You don't believe me? Read this: Taleban fighters using giant Afghan marijuana forests for cover are proving a tough foe to smoke out, the head of Canada's armed forces has revealed. "A section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action."


End rant, with music that speaks louder than words. Don't miss this.


powered by ODEO

For we raped and killed, we stole your land, we ruled with guns and knives
Fed whiskey to your warriors while we stole away your wives
Said Running Elk, what's done is done, you white men rule this land
So lay the cards face up and play your last broken-hearted hand


- "Land of the Navajo"
Donna the Buffalo with Peter Rowan
May 2, 2001

11 Comments:

Anonymous arun said...

yes, the music does speak louder. sort of speaks the stories of the 49ers. was googling about a month ago on the same and this is what it threw - http://www.1849.org/

Pratap Chatterjee talks more on it - http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/04/07/0332213

it is sad that most fall prey to those escapist news more than the real thing. me too included.

10/15/2006 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whether the sale of liquor should be allowed at grocery stores.

So that's one thing the state of Massachusetts has in common with the state of Tamil Nadu. It used to be allowed, then the previous government stopped it: now you have to go to government-run "wine shops" where you won't find wine but you'll have no trouble finding vile stuff whose only purpose is to knock you out.

One of my more surreal experiences in New York was going to the supermarket, putting a sixpack of Saranac in my trolley, going to the checkout counter, then being asked to wait for 5 minutes: it was 11:55 am and they could only sell it to me after noon. Was that always the rule, I asked. No, sir, they said, it's only on Sundays. Apparently you're supposed to be in church on Sunday mornings; if you are in the supermarket, well, you may buy other things but not alcohol.

10/16/2006 2:34 AM  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

What I really loved about the alcohol-in-convenience-stores campaign is the negative advertising that both sides are spinning. You are either a evil capitalist booze store owner trying to increase your vice like grip on the towns, or you are a hippie bootlegger trying to spread your vile poison to the children. I'm waiting for the swift boat vets to weigh in.

10/16/2006 2:40 AM  
Blogger gaddeswarup said...

Very 'academic' discussion about deaths in Iraq here:
http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2006/10/lancet.html
I will nominate the post for a bulwer-lytton prize.
About liquor; I do not seem to enjoy it that much any more. I find that I cannot do mathes the next day.

10/16/2006 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gs - that's true, you shouldn't drink and derive.

10/16/2006 7:12 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

arun:
thanks for the links. history does repeat itself, doesn't it. tragic.

rahul:
that's amazing. (funny retort to gaddeswarup as well - original?)

mt:
exactly. funny how "swift boat vets" now equals "farce", although it should be anything but.

swarup:
thanks a lot for the link. very interesting.

10/16/2006 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tr - original?

No, I've seen it as a sticker or something. But it's nice to get an opportunity to use it.

Alcohol is mild stuff -- apparently Erdős practically lived on amphetamines. He quit for a month as a bet, then restarted after collecting because he said he couldn't do any mathematics for that month.

10/17/2006 2:58 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

living on reds and vitamin c and cocaine
all a friend can say's ain't it a shame

10/18/2006 12:21 AM  
Blogger km said...

You got some real LOLocaust happening in that post there, my friend :))

10/18/2006 2:46 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

what a word! LOL-o-caustic indeed :-D

10/18/2006 5:05 AM  
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