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March 15, 2005

Drunk For A Penny, Dead Drunk For Two Pence And A Straw For Nothing

A study at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in California has come to the shocking conclusion that.....wait for it.....malt liquor is largely a drink of the unemployed and homeless.

Malt liquor, a type of beer that is higher in alcohol than other brews, is largely a drink of the homeless and unemployed, and is likely to be abused, U.S. researchers reported Monday.

I know, I know. Color me shocked. I thought the homeless were imbibing single malts and microbrews, too.

Well, not really. Any casual survey of the alleyways and industrial areas in Chapel Hill and Carrboro--as well as every other town in the U.S. and Canada--would allow one to come to the same conclusions as the fine, almost certainly federally-funded, researchers at CRDU. Perhaps the next research publication will contain the earth-shattering discovery that bums smell, or that college student keg purchases tend more towards the Natural Light price scale rather than that of Lindemann's Framboise Lambic.

Of course poor people drink malt liquor. It's got the most alcoholic punch per penny, and the homeless don't drink to be sociable, if you know what I mean.

But the article isn't really about the homeless. That might cause some people to think that the money used to survey their drinking habits might have been spent in attempts to curb those habits, and that would mean less money for the sociologists who conducted the study.

Have you ever seen an under funded sociologist? It's a sad, sad, sight, watching them shuffle around in an elderly housecoat, muttering to themselves and haranguing the passers-by about the personal troubles of milieu and the public issues of social structure. Believe me, you'd rather have the bums.

The real targets of the article are the producers and distributors of the demon malt liquor, who commit the mortal sin of marketing a product to the audience most likely to express an interest in it.

And malt liquor is heavily marketed to black and Hispanic youth, the team at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in California found.
Rhonda Jones-Webb, an expert in alcohol consumption and behavior at the University of Minnesota who reviewed the study, said she was concerned about the marketing of malt liquor.

The products are largely targeted to black and Hispanic youths and young adults, she said.

"Rap artists have been popular images in malt liquor advertising and 'gangsta' rap performers portray malt liquor as a sign of masculinity," she said.

I hate to inform Ms. Jones-Webb of this, but malt liquor is most definitely a sign of masculinity. Certainly it takes a stronger man than me to drink it. If that man is more likely to be black or Hispanic, well, that's probably because he's also more likely to be poor, and malt liquor is a poor man's drink.

Ignore the homeless, if you like--god knows I do--and ask the perennially poor college students what they happen to be drinking nowadays.

Some preliminary analyses of the data collected for the study showed that a substantial proportion of the students (38%) had consumed malt liquor at least once in the past 12 months. Higher levels of malt liquor use were observed in male, white and Latino students.

The problem here is that there is no problem here, aside from the fact that poor people can only afford to drink god-awful crap. Blaming the companies that make the god-awful crap is just as stupid as blaming McDonalds for fat people--though admittedly, some people don't hold the same view of the genre.

Alcohol Content: 5.7 %
AKA: Grenade, Mighty Mouse, Sickeys.
Rep: The honky forty.
The choice of underage college students and Irish rappers everywhere, Mickey’s light, earthy, pleasantly-sweet flavor is as distinctive and appealing as its emerald-green bottle.

Aesthetics: A label as clean and green as Eire, with a flexing and furious hornet and hand-grenade imagery thrown in, just in case you thought they might be punk-ass beotches. The hornet is shrinking in size as years go on, but still, you can tell he’s been working out. Under the label you’ll find semi-comprehensible pseudo-word definitions such as: cam’-a-flu (n): Feigned illness to get out of work or a date. We think it’s tremendous that Mickey’s, in this highly competitive job market, found room for mental incompetents on its staff.

Trivia: Before it came out as a forty, Mickey’s made its name with a wide-mouth 16oz barrel-shaped bottle with a daring ‘thumb-cutter’ pull top designed to slice the drinker’s digits off.

The other problem is the inevitable need for researchers to come up with ideas that can pry a few bucks out of Uncle Sam's pocket--hence the conflation of the homeless, minorities and alcohol. If you can't squeeze the juice out of Uncle Sugar with a research proposal containing those heavy hitters, you need to go back to driving a cab.

Much of the time the studies that result may even have some value to the wider society.

In the case of this study, the above review from Modern Drunkard probably has more merit.

Postscript: If you like the Hogarth print above, you might also like "Beer Street."

Posted by Bigwig at March 15, 2005 11:27 AM | TrackBack
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Please don't let the sociologists find out about "MadDog" & "WideEye." The cheap wine industry just can't handle the negative attention.

Posted by: Sully at March 15, 2005 02:37 PM
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