The horror show.

It was midafternoon before I finally noticed no one was commenting on the post I made this morning. Checked the dashboard. Oops. Never posted it.

Apologies. This project is coming to a boil, and it’s flyspecking time. Also, when I got home Wednesday I made the mistake of watching the GOP debate, at least as much as I had the patience for. I was torn between breaking out in hives and weeping for my country. I certainly didn’t hang on until the end, so I missed the vaccine discussion. This writer hits the predictable notes of outrage, but I think Brian Dickerson makes a subtler point:

If Carson had addressed Tapper’s question squarely – if he had stood up for science, for his own, hard-won expertise and for the integrity of his profession – what Trump said next would have been pathetic.

But Carson did none of those things, because his objective was not to debunk a dangerous medical myth, but to avoid offending those who traffic in it.

Trump, who could scarcely believe his good fortune, spotted the escape route Carson had left him and bolted for it.

He was not opposed to vaccines, he explained to Tapper – “I love vaccines!” – but rather to the frequency and dosages with which they are dispensed.

“You take this little beautiful baby, and you pump — I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me Just the other day, two years old, two and a half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic,” Trump continued.

“I only say it’s not — I’m in favor of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount. But just in — in little sections. I think — and I think you’re going to have — I think you’re going to see a big impact on autism.

Instead of renouncing his spurious claim about the causal link between childhood vaccinations and autism, Trump managed to repackage it as a spurious claim about the causal link between the frequency and strength of childhood vaccinations an autism.

Through this ridiculous process — remember, the election is more than a year away — I’ve tried to maintain an attitude that allows me to stay sane. It changes from day to day, from amusement to sneery contempt to bleak semi-depression, but I didn’t get angry until I read about this. Two highly educated doctors refusing to endorse a cornerstone of modern medicine for fear of irritating a slice of the electorate who is, frankly, too dumb to vote. I can’t stand it.

I’ve said before, I’m no fan of Hillary. But she is Winston Churchill combined with Abraham Lincoln compared to this crew. Neil Steinberg has said that if Donald Trump is elected president, it will only be what we deserve. I’ll say.

So. Question for the Indiana side of the room: What do we all think of the job Mitch Daniels is doing at Purdue? I ask because I had to write a story recently about college affordability, and many people think he’s doing a lot of good there. I know there was a dustup over Howard Zinn early, and I know he’s agreed to lay this stuff aside for now. Is there something I’m missing?

When the project drops next week, we can all discuss the topic uppermost in mind: Alcohol. Until then, some smart reading on the subject, an interview with Susan Brownmiller. She makes some excellent points; do you agree?

Good god, it’s the weekend. I thought you’d never arrive, weekend! Let me give you a great big kiss and fall into your arms.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events |

71 responses to “The horror show.”

  1. Brandon said on September 18, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Have a nice weekend, and warmly greet any poodles you may encounter.

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  2. Dexter said on September 18, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Trump’s take on autism reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s stance on abortion. After signing California’s bill to legalize abortion, he quickly realized he had sided with the less popular side, so he became a pro-life crusader. That bastard was always a snake in the grass. He’d bring in thousands of Cal. National Guards to crack protesters’ heads, call in the highway patrol and every cop he had any authority over and send them into the fray as well, then make jokes about how he’d really like to poison the kids with botulism. Trump does similar stupid shit, says stupid things, but he doesn’t seem to give a fuck. All the comedians are aching for a Trump rule; just think of the material. I would bet the political cartoonist are praying for a Trump landslide as well.
    Can Trump win? Hey, this country rallied behind Nixon in 1972 to destroy George McGovern. Reagan, beloved saint of revisionist historians, was a simple pin-head who actually believed a shield built in “outer space” was the best defense from aggressive Russia (USSR). You should have read the essays from scientists in “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists”, which sounds daunting, but was really an easy-to-understand magazine for all folks who maybe didn’t know clinical science but could grasp which way the winds blew. I always thought Reagan was a damn moron. My year in California, 1970, was right in the middle of Reagan’s terms there. He was always perceived as a protector of rich white conservatives and the rest of us were his sworn enemies. Trump’s different, eh? He is the biggest buffoon since Reagan, that’s for sure. We don’t deserve a Trump presidency, but if you believe the popular vote really has any pull, you probably believe Trump will win. Oldsters will remember one George Wallace from the 1972 campaign. As far as shit-stirring, Trump now holds that spoon.

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  3. alex said on September 18, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Trump will have to work extra hard to outdo himself. I just read that he indulged a supporter at a rally who asked what Trump was going to do to get rid of all the Muslims in this country. Trump says he’s working on it.

    As for Mitch Daniels, I haven’t heard about all the good that he’s doing but rather remember a lengthy and highly critical piece I read a while back that discussed how Daniels was proposing to privatize everything in state universities and essentially divert public money into the hands of cronies who obviously are going to deliver less service while taking a big cut for themselves. Which is what he already set in motion with secondary education as governor. His experiment at Purdue is supposed to be a model for the nation and his freezing of tuition is just a shell game.

    As regards Susan Brownmiller, no doubt what she says would rattle a lot of young college activists who tend to see everything in idealistic and absolutist terms, but I don’t see how urging responsibility for oneself is the same thing as holding victims responsible for what has happened to them. Alcohol fuels aggression in some, and passivity in others, and that’s one of the things that inexperienced drinkers don’t seem to have a clue about or want to accept as fact. I’m able to say in hindsight that I’ve made bad choices while under the influence and when bad things happened to me it’s because I put myself in harm’s way.

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  4. Linda said on September 18, 2015 at 7:05 am

    I’m of two minds about Brownmiller and the modern young feminists. As a safety tactic, you should know your limitations and be aware of your surroundings, (and stay sober) but young women are against the mindset in which we set a higher bar for “acceptable victim hood” only for victims of sexual assault in which you are only really a victim when you are acceptably sober and dressed. Do we set these bars for guys who get rolled by hookers when drunk? We may judge, but we also prosecute.

    But she loses me on the clothing thing. Really, does anybody pick their victims by their clothes?

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 18, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Sorry to be trivial, but it’s the kind of thing that we do here:

    Mine was “Jolly Well.” I say.

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  6. Wim said on September 18, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Big fan of the poodle, Brandon? I understand. I have two of them myself.

    People keep saying, with exasperation or even misplaced contempt, that Trump doesn’t ever say how he’s going to actually do any of the marvelous things he promises. This, according to those who see it as a bad thing, is a weakness. I recall that Richard Nixon went around saying he had a secret plan to get us out of the ‘Nam and he won in a freakin’ landslide. This lack of specificity, it seems to me, is probably among Trump’s greatest strengths.

    When it comes to Mitch Daniels, my God, how I miss Doghouse Riley.

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  7. basset said on September 18, 2015 at 8:02 am

    “Courageous” for me. Well, there ya go.

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  8. Andrea said on September 18, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Wim, we are living that same thing here in Illinois right now. We had a billionaire blowhard campaign for Governor promising to “Turnaround” Illinois, while also promising to freeze property taxes and increase funding for education (which is substantially funded by said property taxes) and to deal with our decades-in-the-making pension crisis, all without providing any specifics. He was elected, with substantial votes from union members, and subsequently began to reveal his secret plan, which was to break the unions, Wisconsin-style. However, he seemed to discount the fact that Scott Walker had a Republican legislature, while Illinois has a Democratic one. The result to date: we haven’t had a state budget since July 1, vital services are being unpaid, the human services sector is rapidly shutting down, and thousands of people are suffering. For example, he used the “fiscal crisis” to put in place emergency rules that limit child care support to people making 50% of the Federal poverty line. For a family of three, $664 a month is too much money to qualify. Just a small glimpse of the joys of a Trump presidency, perhaps?

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  9. beb said on September 18, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I kinda liked the comment one blogger made — didn’t watch the debate so no hangover for me.

    It’s hard to see Trump not getting the nomination. There may be 15 Republican candidates but they all believe the same things. They can’t attack Trump for being too extreme because they’re just as extreme. The only difference between them is that Trump has no self-censor between the hate filling his mind and what comes out his mouth. The rest try to be circumspect and speak in dog-whistles. But the base is tired of that. They love them some trash talk.

    I tried to read the Brownmiller interview but the page loaded all mangled in my browser so I gave it up as a bad deal. Since the development of Smartphones the use of good web design has gone down the toilet. I did see something about drinking. Is she one of those people who think women shouldn’t drink because it leads to rape? Does she also criticism women for their dress? Does she want women to wear burqas to prevent inflaming man’s lustful desires? How far away is she from promoting sharia law?

    Just asking…

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  10. Wim said on September 18, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Andrea, my vision of a Trump presidency is too dark to publish. We’d be lucky beyond hope to merely have Illinois’ problems nationally.

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  11. Connie said on September 18, 2015 at 8:44 am

    World of Bizarro: Gamrat Runs for Her Vacant Seat

    Grand Rapids Press releases one word editorial on NO .

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  12. alex said on September 18, 2015 at 8:49 am

    beb, it’s nothing of the sort but that won’t stop some from interpreting it that way. I think she skates onto thin ice as regards how women dress, as Linda mentions, but she’s simply addressing reality.

    And Linda, the higher bar set for victimhood is largely a legal one. A prosecutor has a much harder time putting someone away for rape when it involves two drunks who met in a bar and went home together versus a perpetrator lying in wait for unsuspecting victims.

    My perspective is also shaped by experience. In the past I awakened a few times more than I care to admit in bed with people I wish I’d never met. And I felt violated. But I also realized that I was there of my own free will, insofar as one can have free will when one is deeply inebriated. Lesson learned the hard way.

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  13. Jeff Borden said on September 18, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Anyone who thinks a blowhard asshole billionaire like Donald Trump cannot be president need look only as far as Italy, which elected a blowhard asshole billionaire in Silvio Berlusconi. He was precisely the kind of crass, vulgar, name-dropping, womanizing egotist as Trump and he held office for five years before his scandals finally swept him away.

    Berlusconi, of course, was not leading the world’s largest economy and most powerful country and had no access to the 7,650 nuclear weapons of the USA, but he still created plenty of havoc. Trump would be infinitely worse.

    I agree with Charles P. Pierce, who writes about a “prion disease” eating away at the Republican Party. These folks are not just scary, they are downright dangerous.

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  14. Deborah said on September 18, 2015 at 9:12 am

    The situation in IL with the new billionaire Guv is hitting us in the pocketbook. My husband has been doing a lot of design work for Community colleges and that work has dried up because the Guv cut spending on anything except roads right now. Roads are important to people who commute in the burbs I guess. And Rahm wants to raise property taxes in Chicago substantially to stanch the shortfall in the city.

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  15. nancy said on September 18, 2015 at 9:19 am

    I understand the anti-victim blaming argument, really I do, but I think sneery contempt like this, by Amanda Marcotte, is really uncalled-for here. I think it doesn’t take a master’s degree in philosophy to hold in your head the concepts that a) if you are raped, it’s no one’s fault but the rapist; but b) it’s smart not to put yourself in harm’s way in the first place.

    The project I’m working on involves college drinking, and last year I wrote about sexual assault on campus, and I simply cannot abide anyone who isn’t making the connections. I read “Missoula” on my vacation, Jon Krakauer’s look at campus rape at the U. of Montana. Let me describe one of these assaults for you:

    Young woman and her sassy gay male friend are sitting on a bench outside her dorm. Both are smashed. Girl wants a cigarette but doesn’t have any. SGF says, “I’ll bum one for you” and starts hailing passersby. Two stop — freshman guys. They start to chat, and SGF says of one guy and his drunk friend, “You two should hook up. She needs to get laid.” Everyone agrees, and girl leads guy back to her dorm room. (P.S. The guy is a virgin.) Once they arrive, they find her roommate is there, asleep, with a couple of friends sleeping on the floor. The girl says, “I won’t have sex with you with all these people in the room, but you can stay,” allows him to get into bed with her and promptly passes out. She awakens to him violently penetrating her with his fingers.

    Now. This is clearly assault, and the guy is guilty of same. But can anyone with a lick of sense say that if everyone hadn’t been so fucking drunk, it wouldn’t have happened in the first place? Why is it OK to tell women to be careful in places like parking garages and dark city streets, but not OK to say heavy drinking will impede your judgment, and be aware of this before you overindulge?

    All I can say is, these women must not have daughters.

    P.S. I disagree with Brownmiller on the clothing thing, however.

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  16. BigHank53 said on September 18, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Amanda Marcotte, unsurprisingly, thinks Brownmiller is full of it:

    I don’t agree with all her points, but she lands some solid hits on Brownmiller. Who cares if a woman is “dressed like a hooker”? For that matter, who cares if a woman actually is a hooker? Neither one of those is implied consent, is it?

    And the rock of consent is where Brownmiller, like so many others, manages to run aground. From her piece: It is a little late, after you are both undressed, to say “I don’t want this.” This is the precise logic that states a woman can’t be raped by her husband: that sexual consent, once extended, can never be withdrawn.

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  17. BigHank53 said on September 18, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Whoops! Crossed replies!

    Brownmiller has useful practical advice–there are a lot of stupid situations that are remarkable easy to avoid. But I wouldn’t touch her ethics with a ten foot pole.

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  18. brian stouder said on September 18, 2015 at 9:55 am

    All I can say is, these women must not have daughters.

    Truer words have never been written.

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  19. Judybusy said on September 18, 2015 at 10:08 am

    The only sentence I really liked in the Brownmiller article is that we’re not talking about the men very much. I wish we could figure out a way to raise boys who respect and value women. Of course, a lot of people are doing their best, but ultimately, the oppressor class needs to change, just as white people need to work to dismantle our priviledge. I think Brownmiller goes too far, and leaves the path open to victim-blaming. I am totally on board with Nancy’s take on this.

    I had not heard a thing on the situation in Illinois. Thanks for sharing that. We went through the same thing a few years ago, with a Republican legislature holding our Democratic governor hostage, resulting in a state shutdown. It totally backfired, and we all know how well in some respects our state is doing. Not for all, however. The Star Tribune had a front page story yesterday how Minnesota’s African Americans’ average income is now below Mississippi’s. What. The. Hell.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on September 18, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Well, it appears the state of Michigan is home to at least one ego that might challenge Donald J. Trump. I see from one of my news feeds that the married Cindy Gamrat, who was making the two-backed beast with another tea party christian who was married, has filed to run in the special election to fill her seat after she was expelled by the legislature. This follows great amounts of prayer and her belief that god still has plans for her in the legislature.

    Wow. Just wow.

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  21. Heather said on September 18, 2015 at 10:18 am

    My opinions about assault and consent pretty much line up with the cartoon here:

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  22. Suzanne said on September 18, 2015 at 10:37 am

    There was this recently about Purdue in the Indy Star.–state-students/31007167/

    I think PU is doing what IU does(and surely many other state schools) by actively recruiting out of state students who pay lots of tuition and limiting the number of in-state students who are subsidized by state tax revenues. I know IU does this as I was reading the NY Times and couple of years ago and there was a full page ad for Indiana U! Don’t you want to attend one of the premiere universities in the midwest? Drive through downtown Bloomington and you’ll see all the upscale, high priced apartment buildings that have multiplied in the last 10 years because $800 or $900 a month is a bargain by east coast standards.

    I watched much of the GOP debate. If you could take the occasional sensible thing each one said once or twice and mash that into one candidate, you might have someone I could vote for. As it was, mostly all I heard was same old cut taxes, suck up to business, get rid of minorities, and watch out for uppity women. Raphael Cruz, I thought, was spectacularly unimpressive. He clearly thought this was a college level speech meet.

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  23. Connie said on September 18, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Some years ago the legislature made U of Mich limit the number of out of state students accepted for the freshman class. To perhaps 25%?

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  24. brian stouder said on September 18, 2015 at 10:44 am

    This headline news story jolted me a little.

    It wouldn’t have caused me to look twice, if I hadn’t read the troubling article that the Proprietress posted the other day, about the people Dylann Roof lived with, before he committed his atrocities.

    This bit captures much, which I’d have been quick to dismiss, otherwise –

    Meek told CNN shortly after the shooting that he had been friends with Roof in middle school. They’d lost touch a few years ago but reconnected in recent months, Meek said, adding that there were things about Roof’s recent behavior that scared him. Roof said he wanted to have “a race war,” according to Meek, and once asked his friend to videotape him burning an American flag. “I’m sorry this all happened to everybody,” Meek said in June. “And it could have been prevented if people would have taken him serious. But Dylann wasn’t a serious person, and no one took him serious.”

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  25. Bitter Scribe said on September 18, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Wim @6: Nixon did not “win in a freakin’ landslide” in 1968. He barely edged out Hubert Humphrey, who 1) had won absolutely no primaries but was chosen by party bosses after Robert Kennedy was assassinated, 2) flip-flopped outrageously on Vietnam because he was terrified of offending the lame-duck LBJ (who was a lame duck precisely because of Vietnam), and 3) was crippled by all the rioting, protesting and assorted clamor occasioned by (1) and (2).

    Even against a spineless bumbler like that, Nixon just managed to eke out a victory. It was a victory for craven opportunism, but give the American people enough credit: They made it a narrow one.

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  26. ROGirl said on September 18, 2015 at 10:48 am

    For some reason I’ve been thinking about this moment from history with respect to Donald Trump.

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  27. Judybusy said on September 18, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Oh, and what Brownmiller had to say about women in abusive partnerships showed a profound lack of understanding the dynamics involved. Women typically learn to put others’ need first, to obey, be passive, etc. Throw in childhood abuse histories, mental health and chemical dependency issues, and women’s lower economic status and it’s no surprise some really feel trapped. Abusers are also experts at tearing down victims’ self-esteem and often work actively to isolate victims from any support from friends and families. There remains significant denial about this issue. We recently had a case where an abuser killed his wife and kids, then shot himself. Domenstic violence was never used as the frame as reference: just an unfortunate incident.

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  28. Kirk said on September 18, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Bitter Scribe@25: The way things were going, Hump would have won had the election been held two weeks later.

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  29. Heather said on September 18, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Exactly Judybusy. You can’t take the way women are “trained” to be out of the cultural vacuum. When I was in college, my mother had died only a few years before and I treated my low self-esteem, general feelings of loss and confusion, and major anxiety with partying. I think it’s easy to look back and say “why would you put yourself in that situation,” especially if you never suffered from serious confidence issues. Today at 45 I can say it’s easy to make the smart decision. At 21, not so much.

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  30. alex said on September 18, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Judybusy, I don’t think Brownmiller lacks understanding of the dynamics involved in abusive relationships. I think she is expressing a certain frustration that I have experienced myself in dealing with friends who are trapped in the cycle and never do anything to help themselves.

    I have one friend right now who has been divorced for years, yet her abusive ex behaves like a stalker and keeps her intimidated and she feels obligated to put out to him in the belief that it “buys him off” and keeps him from treating her worse than he already does. Now if that isn’t rape, I don’t know what is. And she’s in psychotherapy, for what little good it’s doing. At this point I don’t have a lot to offer her in terms of advice or comfort and find myself needing to keep my distance in order to maintain my own sanity.

    I’ve gone to court for her before to testify against this creep and put my own well-being in jeopardy by doing so and she still doesn’t know how to set boundaries with him.

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  31. nancy said on September 18, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Exactly. You can take all these factors into consideration and still believe that a lot of what the survivor camp is pushing infantilizes women. The Title IX campus procedures are a SCOTUS decision waiting to happen.

    As for telling men not to rape, ABSOLUTELY YES. But as one of my colleagues said, while we wait for that iceberg to melt, some practical advice on how to avoid assault in the first place can’t hurt.

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  32. Sherri said on September 18, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I don’t really feel like fighting over what Brownmiller or anyone else has to say about this issue. Women (of any age) risk all sorts of problems if they drink themselves into oblivion; among those risks are rape. That doesn’t mean they “deserve” to be raped, or that their rapist should be exonerated, but that when you’re drunk, you put yourself in risky situations. That’s true whether you’re a man or a woman, though the type of risky situation tends to vary.

    Men should learn that, in the words of Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story, “there are rules about that sort of thing.” Yes, it’s tricky. Too bad. Being an adult means coping with ambiguity.

    Maybe it’s all related to the rise of helicopter parenting. We get a bunch of kids who’ve never been allowed to take responsibility for their own lives now on their own without tools, so they get blotto to avoid responsibility for their actions.

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  33. Sherri said on September 18, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Let’s not forget Wallace taking 13% of the popular vote and a swath of the Deep South in ’68.

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  34. brian stouder said on September 18, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    and she still doesn’t know how to set boundaries with him.

    precisely. The person doesn’t know how, nor (I bet) does she believe she is capable of doing so.

    Aside from that, but still speaking of creeps – Pam and I saw the Donald’s latest ideological feather-dance last night, live. He was doing a “town-hall” Q&A, and the questioner (who we don’t get to see, but who we heard loud and clear) stated as accepted fact that the president is not an American, nor even a Christian (he’s a Muslim, of course); and when are we going to do something about the secret training camps where Muslims are training for domestic jihad?

    The Donald never bothered to disagree with any of that, and after agreeably moving on (“We’ll look at all of that” etc) – another questioner was one of those western kooks who thinks the Bureau of Land Management are gun-toting storm troopers, etc.

    The audience visible behind the Donald was visibly cringing, as the candidate accepted without exception the premises of the kooks -which I found a little re-assuring.

    It was a tableaux that captured the whole Trump-bubble. Lots of folks who maybe don’t usually pay lots of attention to politics are swept into a crowded hall for Trump, and then see the crazy-train that he is engineering….even as the candidate himself apparently doesn’t.

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  35. Suzanne said on September 18, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Sherri (@32) I think you might be right. At the risk of sounding like a old fart, when I was in college in the ’70s, people drank (& imbibed in other illegal substances) but I don’t think most got drunk just to get drunk. It was a byproduct of whatever partying & socializing & stress reduction was happening. Now, from what my kids tell me, the whole point is just to get trashed with the byproduct being maybe having fun with friends, meeting new people, etc.

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  36. ROGirl said on September 18, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Socially acceptable binge drinking didn’t exist back in the dark ages when I was in college. Not that there weren’t excesses of alcohol consumption, but it wasn’t the raison d’etre behind “partying.” I just don’t understand why anyone would willing want to get so blotto that they would black out and not know what they are doing. That used to be a marker for an alcoholic, not just another Saturday night on campus.

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  37. nancy said on September 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    We’re going to have a lot to talk about on Tuesday, then.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Are you going to talk about the drinking age being moved to 21 having an unintended consequence, perchance? I hope so . . . or if I’ve been wrong about that for years, I’d love to be corrected concretely.

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  39. susan said on September 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Suzanne & ROGirl – Back in the dark ages of my college experience getting blotto was the point of drinking. I mostly avoided those types of functions and soirees because, frankly, they scared me. But I did attend a few “mixers” where we girls were bused in to some party to meet guys. One I went to (the last one I went to) the guys lined up in a double row as we’d get off the bus and walk down the middle of the rows like cattle going to slaughter. They’d cat-call and whistle and make rude remarks. Mostly they were already drunk. The goal for them was to pick out a mark, take the “girl” into the dance where there was a live band playing, offer up endless beer or booze, and take it from there (to some boudoir). Ick. I went to two frat parties just to see what that was about (one in grad school at U of Mich). At both, the seemingly innocent punch was heavily spiked with something. Drunk and dazed couples would disappear to the upstairs. I don’t remember any social drinking. It didn’t exist. People drank to get drunk, not to savor the bouquet.

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  40. beb said on September 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Nanncy, you’re sure getting a lot of feedback on your future(?) article. I suspect it will be all the better for seeing how people will react before sending in that final draft.

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  41. Deborah said on September 18, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there is a lot more alcohol consumption going on everywhere now-a-days. I don’t remember endless long rows of booze in grocery stores, that you see now. Or whole gigantic big box stores brimming with bottles and cans of the stuff (like Benny’s in Chicago). When I was growing up my dad might have a beer once a week (when he watched the Friday night fights with a neighbor, and he really liked it. It just wasn’t something that people did like they do now. Granted I was raised in a religious household, but believe me Missouri Synod Lutherans like their beer, they just didn’t guzzle it when I was a kid. Was it just because liquor laws were stricter then? Where you could sell it etc? And the college kids today are drinking the hard stuff, not just beer, much more than when I was in college.

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  42. Bruce Fields said on September 18, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I’d be *really* curious to see any objective evidence about binge drinking trends among college students.

    The increase may well be there, I’m just a little suspicious of biases in our anecdotal evidence. (E.g. maybe there’s a tendency to form our ideas about what used to be normal based on our direct experience vs. forming our ideas about what happens now from news and other second-hand reports which seem likely to amplify more extreme cases.)

    Hm, “binge drinking epidemiology” gets promising results, but I haven’t run across anything with a clear answer yet.

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  43. nancy said on September 18, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I think the explosion of choice on store shelves is just a function of brand extension, the same market forces that give you Coke, Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, Diet Cherry Coke, Caffeine-Free Coke, etc. The more brands you have, the more shelf space you can claim. Have you seen the vodka aisle lately? Did you ever imagine you’d live in a world with marshmallow-flavored vodka? Well, you do! THANKS, CAPITALISM!!!

    Bruce, there are a lot of data out there on student consumption patterns, but most of it has only been gathered fairly recently, at least in the grand-sweep-of-time sense. Also, there are definitions to consider; some schools reject the term “binge” drinking because it’s set at something like five drinks in a sitting. I don’t often have five at a time, but for college kids, that’s just the warmup. “Dangerous” drinking is the emerging term of art, and it’s tied to questions like, “While drinking, have you ever engaged in these behaviors,” followed by a checklist: Blacked out, had unprotected sex, etc.

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  44. Scout said on September 18, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Further, back when most of us went to school, our alcohol (and other) exploits weren’t immediately plastered all over the internet in real time. Thank Cthulhu.

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  45. Brandon said on September 18, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Big fan of the poodle, Brandon? I understand. I have two of them myself.–Wim

    Yes. My grandmother had at least a couple of them over the years. I remember her white standard poodle, Alana, when I visited.

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  46. brian stouder said on September 18, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Well, Scout, thanks to you (and Uncle Google) I now have some idea what Cthulhu is!

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  47. Deborah said on September 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    You’re probably right about the brand thing, Nancy. I did two design projects for beverage companies, a bourbon museum in Kentucky for Brown Forman, the brand was Woodford Reserve and I was astounded to learn all of the brands that they own, Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey etc etc etc, wines and spirits of all kinds. I also did an environmental branding* project for Bacardi’s headquarters in Miami. They also own a bunch of brands including Grey Goose and a whole lot more.

    * environmental branding is a stupid term for when you go into a company’s facilities and help them tell stories in their space, so that their employees and guests can learn about who they are (or better, how they want you to believe they are), how they started etc. A sort of commercial/corporate exhibit design, if you will. Companies actually spend a lot of money on this. I wish there was a better name for it.

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  48. Deborah said on September 18, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Sorry guys, avert your eyes. This link is for peri and post menopausal women. Quite well written in my opinion

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  49. Wim said on September 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks for the corrective, Bitter Scribe. Obviously I was thinking of 1972, not 1968. It doesn’t change the point that Nixon won claiming to have a plan he wouldn’t talk about.

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  50. devtob said on September 18, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Let’s not forget that Nixon torpedoed the Paris Peace Talks right before the election, using old Who Lost China? hand Anna Chennault to convince the South Vietnamese to refuse to negotiate.

    Nixon knew it would be close, even with Wallace’s help, and was doing everything he could to win.

    Including secretly offering a quid-pro-quo to a foreign client state to prolong an unpopular war.

    He won, and got away with it, thanks to corporate media indifference.

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  51. Bruce Fields said on September 18, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    “Bruce, there are a lot of data out there on student consumption patterns, but most of it has only been gathered fairly recently, at least in the grand-sweep-of-time sense.”

    Makes sense, thanks!

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  52. nancy said on September 19, 2015 at 5:36 am

    The second line in Suzanne Moore’s bio made me giggle: “Suzanne Moore is a writer for the Guardian and the New Statesman. She writes the weekly “Telling Tales” column in the NS.”

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  53. David C. said on September 19, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Both of the copulating conservatives want to get the band back together.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 19, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Of course, Harvard had student drinking problems in 1640, and in the 1840s, Granville OH had a Presbyterian preacher who just about spent all his time inveighing against the evils of drunkenness and depravity from the influence of spiritous liquors right up until the Civil War. Apparently Denison students could put it away even back then…

    I, too, look forward to the coming BridgeMI piece!

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  55. alex said on September 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Deborah, not only did I not avert my eyes, I thoroughly enjoyed a delightful essay that held my interest despite its foreign subject matter. There was a dopy article on Salon or Slate the other day lamenting the rise of the first-person essay in the age of the Internet, but there’s no denying they’re good when they’re good.

    Lot of knee-jerk Susan Brownmiller bashing on Salon and Slate the last few days. While she didn’t do herself any favors by dropping some needlessly incendiary remarks, much of what she said resonated with me. So did an interview of Chrissie Hynde that aired a week or two ago.

    Recently a big brouhaha arose over Chrissie Hynde’s revelation that she was raped by a biker at age 19 and that she didn’t feel blameless in the matter. Then I saw her interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning, where she explained that she knew she was putting herself in potential danger by hanging out with outlaw bikers and knew that she was in danger of being drawn into this culture and would be helpless to get out once she did, so she got out while she could. She has always been seen as a model of toughness and grit and self-determination. And despite the blowback she got, I see her also as a model survivor.

    Perhaps what the survivor movement needs is an “It Gets Better” movement like the one targeted at gay youth. Promoting self-empowerment shouldn’t be seen as victim-blaming by those for whom the wounds are still raw.

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  56. beb said on September 19, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Interesting item on Raw Story. Cop arresting a troubled woman listened to bystandders who said to put away his gun. And then they called out to the woman to relax because they all were recording her.

    We need more instances where people are reasonable.

    The talk about how or whether girls should drink reminds me of those talks blacks have with their children about how to behave towards cops. Maybe it’s life-saving but telling your son or daughter to kowtow to the police is unwholesome. Likewise telling a daughter that they have the right to dress up — but shouldn’t. They have the right to drink but shouldn’t. They have the right to associate with males with a chaperone but shouldn’t seems unwholesome. How is this different from living in Saudi Arabia?

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  57. LAMary said on September 20, 2015 at 12:18 am

    Mallory Major is my code name.

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  58. Suzanne said on September 20, 2015 at 7:38 am

    beb, for me, when I told my daughter not to go to a party and get so stinking drunk that she didn’t know what she was doing, it wasn’t about her right to do it. It’s that once you reach that state of inebriation, you are no longer in control of yourself or your circumstances.
    I look at it as similar advice to her not to dive into a pond that you don’t know the depth of, or not to go hiking in an unfamiliar area with out a trail map or compass or not to hang out in the middle of the night with a bunch of drug dealers. It’s not that you don’t have the right to do so, but it’s courting trouble. Do you have the right to dive into an unknown pond and discover it’s deep enough? Certainly. But you could also discover that it’s too shallow and break your neck, so why take the risk? You might hike in a deep woods and find your way out just fine, or you could get lost, wildlife could attack you, or your remains could be found years later.

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  59. David C. said on September 20, 2015 at 8:47 am

    It’s good parent to child advice, but coming from an internet public scold/click bait seeking writer, it almost always comes across as victim blaming. Every responsible parent tells their daughters to keep their wits about them because there are a lot of assholes out there. A few, but likely not enough parents tell their sons not to be assholes. Still, are there an equal number of articles telling young women to be alert and telling young men don’t be assholes? I don’t think so and that’s the problem. I don’t much blame the writers. They have to make a living and calm rationality doesn’t go viral. Anyway, the articles aren’t written for the kids nowadays, they’re written for us so we can tell ourselves that it wasn’t like that back in the day, even when it was, and therefore we can feel better about ourselves.

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  60. alex said on September 20, 2015 at 9:29 am

    beb, the Saudi Arabia comparison is so far over the top and around the bend that I’m surprised you would bother making it. Saudi women aren’t even given the option of drinking, much less choosing their own clothing, or driving or choosing whether to have sex and with whom. And urging the exercise of caution in the exercise of these freedoms isn’t the same thing as saying “shouldn’t,” a word that probably doesn’t even exist in the Saudi tongue because they’d cut your tongue out of you if you so much as hinted to your children that any of these behaviors was an option.

    If there are American parents who are remiss, they are those who don’t talk to their children about drinking or sex other than leaving it at just “shouldn’t” and letting their kids find out the how and why for themselves the hard way.

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  61. beb said on September 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    alex, I was working the slippery slope argument. The reason for the veil or the full burqa is because the sight of a woman is thought to incite a man to lustful thinking. But rather than deal with a man who can’t control his own thoughts Muslins make woman the object of shame. That’s not a whole lot of difference to the slutshaming going on here. But mostly it the pile of contradictions between saying you’re 21 and can do anything you want… but don’t do this, and don’t that and don’t do…

    Suzanne, I’m not saying parents shouldn’t have talks with their children before sending them off to school only that they should be aware of the contradictions involved. A lot of the things you mention in your second paragraph is advice that apply to men as well as woman. That makes it just common sense.

    TruTV runs a series called “World’s Dumbest…” You would think that after a few of their “Dumbest partyers” where really drunk people video themselves doing all kinds of stupid and painful things people would get the idea that drinking to excess is less fun than imagined.

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  62. brian stouder said on September 20, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I think David C. and Alex have hit the nails right on the head.

    I claim no special intelligence, besides random luck and circumstance.

    That said, show me parents with room-temp IQs (or higher), who have sons and daughters, and I’ll show you kids who got the memo

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  63. brian stouder said on September 20, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    An what beb said at 61, indeed.

    Indeed, why would intoxicants (of all sorts, and not just alcohol) be the definitive ingredient in any “party”? Why should an individual feel the need to become mentally and physically impaired, in order to “have fun”?

    If the young folks grow up NOT having seen their mom and/or dad (or the ‘significant others; of mom or dad) getting blotto each weekend (or whatever) and/or treating each other terribly, then (presumably) their idea of ‘normal’ will preclude such actions

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  64. alex said on September 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    David C, I’d go one step further and point out that parents (or clickbait articles) telling boys not to be assholes isn’t as effective as role-modeling not being assholes from the time they’re born. I suspect that the kids with the biggest problems come from homes with the same, and that would be self-centered men and the self-sacrificing women who put up with their shit. The friend whom I talked about earlier with the creepy stalker ex-husband comes from just such a family. Her father was a first-rate asshole with no regard for others whatsoever. Her brothers are all unsympathetic jerks and her only sister committed suicide in order to escape a hellish life with an abusive, controlling husband. When my friend was married to her asshole ex, her whole family told her that her failing marriage was her fault and that she needed to suck it in and put up with the abuse. Talk about moral support.

    The sexual double standard is still alive and well in American society despite the trails blazed by old-school feminists, who urged their generation of women to get past self-pity and learn self-empowerment. Feminism used to be called man-blaming. Look how far we’ve come. Now it’s considered victim-blaming.

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  65. Suzanne said on September 20, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Well, I gave my son pretty much the same speech when he went to college about not getting stupid drunk because it can lead to a bad outcome, but you are right that on the whole, that men seem to be excused for their bad behavior because, well, boys will be boys. It makes me really mad when I read or hear things about men’s lust trigger being visual (lengthen those hemlines, ladies, and shorten that neckline) and have a harder time controlling themselves. Please [eyes rolling]!

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  66. Suzanne said on September 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Also, it’s amazing to me the number of parents I run into who give their kids all the signals that they are fully expecting them to drink their way through college. I’ve been at many a fall get together with a kid home from college for the first time and the adults are joking and teasing about how much beer has been consumed by the kid, how many classes he or she attended drunk, how many hangovers, and things like that. I know many fraternities and sororities now include a bar crawl in the Parents Weekend activities, so the students and parents can all get drunk together!

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  67. Deborah said on September 20, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    “Show your knees if you please, but keep your thighs a surprise”. They actually told us that at my LCMS college during a freshman initiation lecture. We women had curfews but the guys didn’t. My freshman year was the last year they did that. We also weren’t allowed to wear pants to class that year. And of course this was in frigid Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere with wind whipping across the plains with -25 temps. hard to beleive now.

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  68. basset said on September 20, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Another one of those Nashville experiences last night, or actually late yesterday afternoon – a “cd release party” at a guitar store for Banana, one of the original Youngbloods. No door charge, free food and good beer, he played a short set (including, of course, “Get Together”), we bought a cd and went home happy. Link below is from a different show but you get the idea:

    Been guitar shopping too, they had a Martin D18 I liked and we’ll see how that turns out.

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  69. Deborah said on September 20, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    I read this on Twitter somewhere, sorry I can’t attribute it because I can’t find it again:

    “If Fiorina really wants to destroy Planned Parenthood she should become its CEO.”

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  70. nancy said on September 20, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Since we’ve been talking about it here, I’ll announce it here: The drinking stories have been put on hold for a week. So not this Tuesday, but next.

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  71. Deborah said on September 20, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Funny for those who have/like cats

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