Friday, April 18th, 2014
Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / Podcast

Blog

Deja Vu

January 20, 2010

Tanked Up Beyond All Reason

Tags:
,
,
,
,
,

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

2010: The United Kingdom is banning some barroom practices that the Home Office says encourage binge drinking, Reuters reports. The Home Secretary Alan Johnson claims that drunken disorder and damage costs the government up to 13 billion pounds a year.

The…measures ban irresponsible drinking promotions such as "all you can drink for 10 pounds," "speed drinking competitions" and the dentist's chair, made famous by the celebrations of footballer Paul Gascoigne at Euro '96, where drinks are poured directly into the mouth by others. Those practices and ensuring free tap water is made available to revellers are to be introduced in April.

c. 1600 /1905: Twenty-first century England is not the first country to confront the specter of drunken buffoonery running afoul of what's good and right and decent. Seventeenth-century Holland was a hotbed of such bad behavior, a fact gleefully recorded by the peasant-obsessed painters of the day. In 1967, one doctor described one peculiarly Dutch pastime.

Drinking games were very popular. Some of these games required special glasses. The Dutch would have failed their mission in this world if they had not invented a game with a glass and a windmill. The player sets the sails in motion by blowing into a tube, and tries to finish the glass before the sails stop turning. Connected to the sails is a pointer moving over a dial numbered from 1 to 12. The penalty for failing to empty the glass in time is to drink the glass as many times as the pointer indicates. The game was played with Rhine wine. Ladies could get off with only a number of mouthfuls.

And in later years, Americans had their fair share of public drunkenness as well. A 1905 Washington Post article chronicled the good times that could be had in New Orleans ("there are thousands of men in excellent standing who drink practically all the time they are awake"), Chicago ("a beer town mostly"), St Louis ("they drink beer before breakfast"), Detroit ("the leading brandy town"), and Philadelphia ("crafty drinkers"). But San Franciscans occupied a warm place in the heart of the alcohol salesman with whom the man spoke, despite their thirst for absinthe.

No hour of the day is too good for the San Francisco man to take a horn if he wants it, and he doesn't abide by any drinking rules or canons. The San Francisco drinkers do a good deal more mixing than is good for them, and this is no doubt the reason why it is so common a thing to see well groomed men tanked up beyond all reason on the streets of San Francisco.
Bookmark and Share
Love this? Subscribe to Lapham's Quarterly today.

Post a Comment

Note: Several minutes will pass while the system is processing and posting your comment. Do not resubmit during this time or your comment will post multiple times.

RSS
RSS
Recent Posts
  1. Hair Apparent — 03/31/2014: Western media speculates on North Korean grooming standards; in 1698, Peter the Great taxes beards.
  2. Golden Menageries — 02/24/2014: In Ukraine, an ousted leader’s menagerie is exposed; in 1794, France wonders about the place of caged animals in the new republic.
  3. Right of Return — 02/12/2014: A new law encourages the return of Sephardic Jews to Spain; in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella issue an edict with long-lasting consequences.
Deja Vu Archive
  1. April 2014
  2. March 2014
  3. February 2014
Blogroll
The brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over we realize this: that the human has been roughly handled, but that it has advanced.
Victor Hugo, 1862
Events & News
January 27 / Purchase tickets for "Death & Comedy" a celebration of readings from our two most recent issues at Joe's Pub. More
Apropos

Vague Premonitions

The Great Beyond

Subscribe
Current Issue Revolutions Spring 2014
Blogs
Audio & Video
LQ Podcast:
Orlando Figes
The Russian historian describes the Revolution’s retreat in the 1920s from its high communist ideals under the New Economic Policy.
Eponym
Lewis H. Lapham is Editor of Lapham's Quarterly. He also serves as editor emeritus and national correspondent for Harper's magazine.
Recent Issues