Tag Archives: alcohol

Sunday Scraps 76

1.VOTING: Slate has a time lapsed map marking the last 100 years of presidential elections. Oooh, watch the pretty colors change!

2. SMARTS: Atlantic interview with Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, about his uber famous comic and his new geeky science project, What If?

3. BOOKS: How to pair cocktails with book club books, a guide from Flavorwire. We’re reading Boss in my book club at the moment, which I think requires a Chicago beer that has been purchased in exchange for a couple of votes in a tricky precinct.

4. MAGS: The Daily Beast profiles Vice, a Brooklyn based online and print magazine that uses raunch humor, on-the-ground cheap reporting, and multi-media to try to make millennials care about the world.

5. FOOD: As nutritional labels hit McDonald’s, do consumers care if their lunch is 1,800 calories? Apparently not.

6. WRITING: Words of writerly wisdom from Zadie Smith, whose new book NW I’m very excited to read.

Related Post: Sunday 75: black moms-in-chief, library tattoos, Republican history of America

Related Post: Sunday 74: Emily Dickinson, the end of the Kournikova era, Junot Diaz


Filed under Books, Food, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

Sunday Scraps 39

1. ADOPTION: This New York Times essay by Jennifer Gilmore might just break your heart. She’s trying to adopt, and begins an email chain with a pregnant teen only to watch it all fall apart in a mall diner.

2. SIRI: Big doings at Apple this week. Amanda Marcotte at Slate explains the gendered implications of Siri’s search capabilities, but Gizmodo explains why gender isn’t the issue.

3. LIBRARY: Who is the mystery artist leaving anonymous spectacular paper creations on the desks of European libraries? NPR investigates.

4. XMAS: From WebEcoist, eleven amazing alternative Christmas trees. The spinning fiber optics wins for me.

5. BOOZE: How much booze to consume at your office holiday party? Cut out NYMag’s handy dandy chart and stick to the rules. I suppose you have to know whether your company qualifies as cool or uncool first.

6. REPUBLICAN: This National Post graphic is the best thing I’ve seen yet tracking the rise and fall of the Republican candidates. Who will peak at the right moment?

Related Post: Sunday 38 was pepper-spray memes, 4.74 degrees of separation and Australian marriage equality ads.

Related Post: Sunday 37 was Beyonce titles, Questlove interview, and the Alan Cumming cologne.


Filed under Art, Books, Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People, Uncategorized


Carrie Nation

We’ve been watching Prohibition, the Ken Burns documentary, and it’s pretty amazing. So many fun facts! So many pictures of alcohol being poured into glasses! So far, Carrie Nation has been the break-out star, if one can be a break-out star of a documentary released a hundred years after one’s death.

This woman literally took a hatchet to the saloons of Kansas (while singing and praying, as one does) in her quest to rid the country of the evils of alcohol. Bars started hanging signs that read “All Nations Welcome Except Carrie.”

I first heard of Carrie Nation because her biography was the launchpad for Rachel Maddow’s 2010 commencement speech at Smith College:

I watched the speech again, and I still love pieces of it:

“I would like to offer this hypothesis, on this beautiful graduation day, that personal triumphs are overrated…Be intellectually and morally rigorous in your own decision making, and expect that the important people in your life do the same, if they want to stay important to you. Gunning not just for personal triumph for yourself, but for durable achievement to be proud of for life is the difference between winning things and leadership. It is the difference between nationalism and patriotism. It’s the difference between running for office and devoting yourself to public service.”

What I didn’t remember, however, was that in the arc of Maddow’s story, Carrie Nation is the villain. She’s the cautionary tale about pursuit of personal triumph at the expense of the public good. She’s the example of the dangers of achieving a goal without fully understanding the terrible implications of one’s achievement. In this speech, Carrie Nation is equated with Jack Abramoff, BP, and politicians who pursue bad policies looking for an immediate bump in the polls.

It makes me a little bit sad for Carrie Nation. At the time, was she really in pursuit of personal triumph? Or did she believe that the scourge she was hatcheting was in fact a great evil? Maybe both? In retrospect, the outcome of her battle was what Maddow calls a “stupid era in history,” one in which gasoline was added to rubbing alcohol, but could Nation have known that at the time?

Related Post: Another commencement speech I enjoyed.

Related Post: More fun history geeking out, this time about perfume!

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Filed under Education, Media

“There Are Monsters Here Too, and They Walk Among Us”

Quick poll: Excluding abstinent folks and those in relationships dating back to the mid-90s,  how many among us have never drunkenly hooked up? Anybody? Anybody at all? That’s what I thought. Parents hate it, kids roll their eyes, but it’s the great cross-generational misunderstanding we see rehashed in the news every month.

Which is why I loved this editorial from the Dartmouth Mirror, because it’s something I haven’t read 12 times already this week. Writer Kathleen Mayer astutely points out that the language around sexual assault (concepts like “informed consent,” “date rape,” etc) have been stripped of their meaning by the sexual culture in which we currently tread water.

She writes, “I’m throwing out the term ‘sexual assault’ — not because it isn’t accurate, but because all the nerve endings it used to hit are dead at this point.” First of all, can we just admire that turn of phrase? So freaking great. Second, and perhaps more to the point, Mayer is dead on.

Kiely Williams, singer of drunk-sex-love-song "Spectacular" (lyrics: "What he did to me last night felt so good/I must have been on drugs/I hope he used a rubber/or I'mma be in trouble"

Everyone has drunk sex. Lines that may have been blurry in decades past are damn near invisible through the drunk goggles of one or both partners. When alcohol is involved in an assault allegation, our generation shrugs it off as a “misunderstanding” or worse, blames the victim. The notion that intoxication negates content is, as Mayer puts it “so far beyond our own status quo it’s laughable.”

Mayer’s best moment, the one that gave me chills, is the story about a girl who receives an urgent text from an unknown guy, “He later showed up at her room and explained that he had sex with her while she was unconscious in his fraternity and he just wanted to ‘make sure she was on the pill.’ There are monsters here too, and they walk among us.”

Our lines are fuzzier than they used to be, buried as they often are beneath booze and a culture that celebrates the inebriated encounter, but the lines do exist and it’s worth the effort to remind ourselves where they are.

Related Post: Victim blaming, middle-school style.

Related Post: More college crime: The Football Edition


Filed under Education, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex