When Wine O’Clock Turns Into Whine O’Clock | Ben Thompson
The Independent recently provoked the ire of their usually agreeable Twitter audience when it shared an article that suggested drinking copious amounts of alcohol may not be the best way to get through the coronavirus pandemic.
The article, written by Ian Hamilton a lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, suggested that those self-isolating avoid turning to the bottle to alleviate boredom.
With the words, “Rather than risk compromising our health, this is a great opportunity to extend Dry January to ‘Dry Covid'”, Hamilton seems to have sparked a harsh backlash on Twitter. Some of the responses to the article give an insight into wider issues at play within British society – or perhaps, Western Society as a whole:
‘Allowing people to have a drink is the only thing stopping mass riots at the moment, we need to be subdued & for time to pass quicker. Hangovers mean folk will stay in too.’
Ah yes… nothing says “functioning society” quite like a populace that needs to be subdued with alcohol.
‘While we are at it, let’s also not eat pork, and pray 5 times a day, and all women start wearing burqa.’
Do people realise that Muslims aren’t the only people who tend to pass up a drink? Donald Trump is a lifelong teetotaller, and he’s not likely to be seen at the Hajj anytime soon.
These were just comments that stood out to me whilst scrolling through the Twitter replies. They stood out among a sea of ‘No’, ‘Fuck off’ and ‘Never’ gifs that seemingly borrowed from all corners of film, television and media.
Who said unity is hard to come by in modern Britain, eh?
But on a serious note, why are people acting so defensive? If you can’t go without alcohol for a few weeks, you might need to reassess that.
I’m no teetotaller as I enjoy the occasional cocktail pitcher from Wetherspoons, but I have come to find binge-drinking a odd phenomenon. I genuinely don’t understand the enjoyment one gets from getting so drunk that they can barely control themselves.
We all know people who go on nights out, get too drunk and end up becoming emotional wrecks. Yet, when the tears and hangover have passed them by, they’ll insist they were ‘living their best life’ on Saturday night.
There are plenty of statistics on hand to demonstrate how ‘booze culture’ permeates through our country, but here’s a few –
- There are an estimated 586,780 dependent drinkers in the UK, of whom only 18% are receiving treatment.
- There were 9,214 alcohol related deaths in 2016.
- Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK.
- In 2018/2019, alcohol was a factor in 7.4% of all hospital admissions, which is roughly 1.26 million admissions – at a cost of £3.5 billion to the NHS, the equivalent of £120 per taxpayer.
I’m by no means saying alcohol should be banned. In moderation, alcohol can be enjoyed responsibly. But as long as people continue to have knee-jerk reactions to suggestions that people should ‘take it easy’, we’re going to continue to enable a culture of irresponsibility.
Photo by tzejen on Flickr.