If you've been following the New York Times Proof blog, as I have, then you've probably been wondering why, in a series of articles about "alcohol and American life," the ex-drinkers, non-drinkers, and anti-drinkers outweigh the actual drinkers four to one. On a historical level this may be the Times' crafty way of reminding us all that whenever we have a Great Depression, the great Moralocracy declares that the Eleventh Commandment is "Thou shalt not introduce spiritous liquors into thy sinful, stupid, drug-addicted body." On a cultural level, the Times may be reflecting the actual Manhattan percentage of non-, anti- and ex-drinkers versus those who still line up three-deep at Professor Thom's to watch a Celtics game. But on a purely marketing level, the Times is guilty of false advertising when it claims that the contributors will "consider the charms, powers and dangers of drink," and then prints little else besides a lot of finger-wagging about the dangers.
In the past two months, we've seen a sixty-year-old AA member confess that she hasn't seen anyone "visibly drunk at a New York Party" in the last ten years, an ode to buybacks and bar fights, an inspiring "I stopped drinking and it changed my life" testimonial, a none-too-subtle "We drink to find God (but He's really serving coffee at AA meetings)" post, and the token "I drink; I throw up; no problem" post from (who else) the hip chick who's gotten trashed in Edinburgh.
As someone who has never been to Edinburgh (but has had enough Scotch in him to qualify for a green card), I call shenanigans. Having a blog about drinking where nobody actually drinks is like reading a sex column written by chastity converts, a comparison which I actually sent to the Times as a comment on one of the articles. You won't find it anywhere, though; it never got past their moderator. Which just adds insult to injury, as far as I'm concerned. Since obviously I can't challenge any of these
And anybody who wants to join in the fun, first round's on me.