WE'VE had our own Missing Blonde story here the past month, an IU student who disappeared of a 4 AM about a month ago. One of the last places Lauren Spierer was seen in public was a Bloomington bar. Lauren Spierer was a year short of being there legally.
This didn't rate much more than a mention on the timeline with the locals--cynics of my height and shoe size occasionally note that commercial enterprises that cater to middle-class pursuits rarely do--until the official search was more-or-less called off, when the Indianapolis Star noted the bar in question was the source of a notable percentage of the underage drinking citations issued by State Excise.
And here's the thing, Murica: that story brought a predictable number of the Star's commenters (caution: don't go there) to insist this amounted to some sort of war on Freedom. Freedom! The freedom to drink if you please, the freedom to sell liquor to people the law says are minors. This is a change, Murica, and not for the better. Listen, you and I know that on occasion my willfulness trumps your ordinances, and did so to a greater extent when I was that age. But I always knew where the line was before I crossed it, and I didn't use any Randbabble to excuse myself. (For that matter, th' fuck did I want to pay to drink in bars? When did being impoverished stop being part of the college experience?) This sort of crap is recent, it's the direct result of facile libertarianism (pardon my redundancy) being manipulated by the Republican party. You may recall, Murica, that we had this conversation a few years back, when every pundit who pockets teevee money fell all over himself excusing the Bush Twins for being nabbed with fake IDs, on the scientific grounds that Everybody Does It, a standard previously applied only to scrupulousness of tax preparation on the part of corporations and persons in the punditological tax bracket. It sure didn't catch on as a general maxim after that. No "Everybody Says Racist Things" or "We've All Texted Photos of our Junk, Haven't We?"
Where did the distinction between Freedom and License go, Murica? The same place honesty and fairness went? Y'know, if you manage to blow out all 235 candles today…
Laws, but not badges,are for brown people.
Well, not really for them, more agin' them.
Perhaps a lot of our morals and rules were an interlinked structure -in people's minds at least? So that easing the cruel custom of ostracizing a pregnant girl, or rape victim, or gay people or people of color, in their minds we've also done away with the rule of carding kids before selling them dangerous substances, or allowing them to drive...
As we break down rules we're supposed to build up new ones: Tolerance instead of shunning, sympathy instead of contempt, acceptance instead of hatred. But some minds cannot see the new rules, or dismiss them as "politically correct" "1984-ish" Groupthink. So, they reason, I must be legally fair with black people= serving underage kids alcohol.
And it makes perfect sense to them
College students not being too poor to pay for bar drinks is a consequence of the postwar middle-class expansion. Too many Americans have become prosperous enough to send their children to college*, as opposed to the children working their way through like we did in the olden days. The young feel entitled rather than exhausted; they have the spare money, time, and energy to pursue leisure.
*Our corporate overlords are doing their best to reverse this.
Having the drinking age at 21, when the legal age for almost everything else is 18, is prudish and stupid. Not for Randian bullshit reasons, but because it's out of step with almost every other country in the world.
So much to respond to: Even in my postwar day (IU-Bloomington 67-76) I was, if not impoverished, on a tight budget. Added some part-time paid work to pay for entertainment, but the drinking age was 21, so I only saw the restaurant part of any bar until my return, at 26, in '75.
Most people I knew were in the same boat, or poorer. We walked all over Bloomington 'cause nobody had a car.
Yeah, it is extremely weird that underage-drinking is being squeezed into the libertarian pack of unthought=through belief. Thanks for telling us.
Sigh. If I'd thought I'd survive to see my country become a loony bin....
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