Since I first started getting unsolicited e-mails from Drinking Liberally (and I get quite a few of them) I’ve felt something about it was rubbing me the wrong way but I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was. At first I thought perhaps it’s that I don’t drink, so being constantly hounded about drinking was a bit annoying, but that wasn’t quite it. Then I thought perhaps it was the generic hype dripping from each e-mail like “Join the kickoff that will be one for the history books” but that wasn’t it either. I got an e-mail yesterday from them announcing some thing or another and it finally hit me. It’s the dangling carrot.
Being a non-drinker it’s always amused me how alcohol is used as a ploy to get people to listen to / put up with things they wouldn’t under other circumstance. A new band playing a show in a bar offering a drink special is the perfect example, it’s stopping just short of saying “We know there’s no way you’d come see us play on our own but if you come out to this gig and we suck you can at least get drunk on the cheap.” We used to joke in college that the best name for a new band would be “Free Beer” because the entire town would show up to see them play, at least onece. There were even clubs in town that would require touring bands to buy a keg so the bar could give away drinks and lure people in. Something about that never appealed to me. In fact it kind of made me sick.
I think this Drinking Liberally thing, whose tag line is “Promoting democracy one pint at a time”, is playing the same game. I’ve got no problem with people getting together and drinking, from what I’ve heard people seem to enjoy it. I’ve got no problem with people getting together to talk politics, in fact if it makes tomorrow better than today I’m all for it. But it’s the combo of the two that doesn’t work for me. Every time I get one of these e-mails or see a post about it I can’t help but think they are saying “We know you people couldn’t be bothered to talk about this stuff on your own so we’re going to lure you into it with the promise of sweet, sweet inebriation.” And what’s worse is that drinking dulls your mind – that’s not a slam on people who drink, it’s a fact, you know, one of the reasons it’s illegal to drive after drinking – so the idea of needing a dull mind to talk about democracy or liberal politics or progressive ideas or or anything along those ideas is kind of insulting to be honest. If I’m going to have a conversation about what is wrong with the way things are being run and how to make them better I want to be on point so I don’t sound like an idiot. I want to be able to express my ideas clearly and coherently so that a useful and productive discussion can be had. Something about the “Hey folks! Let’s get drunk!” just doesn’t seem to mesh with that.
Anyway, I’m well aware that I’m in the vast minority here so don’t bother telling me about it. If this does seem like your idea of a good time you’ll probably want to RSVP to [email protected] and then swing by Cinespace at 6356 Hollywood Boulevard (b/w Ivar & Cahuenga) on Thursday, September 15th, 2005 between 7:30-10pm and check it out. Apparently they will be serving free “Libertinis” between 8 and 9 PM. How quaint.