Wednesday, 12 October 2016

'Good for You'

I've been reading this IFL Science! article that shows there are health benefits to drinking hoppy ales. In case you didn't know [and why would you, unless you've been reading All Hail the Ale?], hoppy ales tend to be my favourites. The hoppier the better. Stupidly hopped beers, ones that put people off with their lack of balance and uber-bitterness, are my bag, baby.

You'd possibly expect me, therefore, to be jumping for joy, and maybe even giving up on Sober For October, just so I can help reduce liver fat by slurping away at a cask of 'Hoptimum'. But no. I realise that 'one benefit' doesn't equal 'completely beneficial'. It might just be me reading this into headlines [i.e. inference, rather than implication], but I'm sick of all these twee and buzzy titles and comments on the internet, not least when it concerns something that has to be treated with respect, which is the kind of thing this article summons.

The IFL page that I follow on Facebook was by no means guilty of the worst of this flippancy with regards to the comment they put when they shared the article, which was something like, "I know what I'm having tonight..." If I was to come down hard on this, it would just confirm that I'm nothing but a humourless curmudgeon. My problem is more with the 'culture' [if that's an apt term] of saying deflectory [deflectory because they avoid talking seriously or meaningfully about a topic] things like this. A few of my friends sharing the above piece made the same reference I made before, about drinking irresponsible amounts of it to 'load up' on the one positive that the article describes, knowingly [at least, I hope they know] leaving out the negatives. I know they're not being serious, but repeating these ideas of dangerous excess is just odd. Why do so many people [in my experience] feel the need to say these things?

I was speaking to someone today who'd bought a bottle of wine and had also been given a glass as a promotional freebie. As she was leaving, she said something about 'going off to drink this on the street'. As a 'joke', I believe. Drinking alone is one of the red flags for alcoholism, and I'm sure cracking open a bottle of booze as soon as you leave a shop, then consuming it all on the cold concrete outside is probably an indicator too. Again, I know she wasn't being serious, but why is this attitude so pervasive? As I work in an off-licence I get these comments multiple times a day. It strikes me as an out-of-date joke that a no-longer relevant comedian might make, one that's ingrained in our recent-past popular culture to the point where it becomes an automatic reply to a prompt. An example [from the 80s film Airplane] would be if you tell someone "Surely that can't be right," and they say "Don't call be Shirley!" That example is harmless, but the ones I'm talking about surrounding booze aren't, really. They're sort of like using the word 'bossy' to predominantly describe girls. If you can't see that the issue is pervasive and rooted in our language behaviours, be it sexism or attitudes to alcohol and its abuse, then you might be using language in a way that reinforces and normalises dangerous habits, especially when impressionable minds are within earshot.

And before you accuse me of being a terrible duffer, attacking comedy for the aims of destroying all joy in the world, just ask yourself if you even find these references funny? If you are ill, but decide to drag yourself into work anyway, would/do you find it flattering that a string of strangers ask you "Was it a good night last night?" as if you must be 'on it' every night, and that's the only possible reason for you feeling under the weather.

Again, I can't comment on the culture in other countries, but I think this country is still odd and backward in some of its ways. Sure, there are moves to become more enlightened but there's an institutionalised stain on people's thinking. And, you know, that's very human of course. These things have built up over a lot of time and they are hard to phase out. I understand that, and also that expecting to completely eradicate anything is surely a path to suffering, but this is at least my stand and my attempt to try and influence thought for the better.

We all know exaggeration is a lazy way to get a point across, and I'm sure as readers of this estimable blog you all have the intelligence to be impervious to such cheap tricks, but this blog has been scientifically proven to make your life awesome, so you should read a thousand posts. Go on. It'll be good for you.

If every word in this post was worth a penny, it'd be worth £8.09 [£8.12, including title]. Speaking of pennies, if you have any spare that you'd like to give to charity, you can do by clicking on this link:

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Just keep it clean (ish)!