I’ve been made aware of an article on a youth news website called The Tab, the title of which is “‘Today’s young women’ can do as they please, Sarah Vine”, which seems to be a response to an article by Sarah Vine on The Daily Mail, everyone’s favorite conservative-leaning newspaper. I’ve chosen to highlight the two articles so that I can illustrate two sides of what seems to be two clashing sets of cultural/social views, both of which I find to be wanting.
First, let’s talk about Sarah Vine’s article. I’m honestly not sure if fear-mongering is the appropriate word. Vine introduces her article by talking about the effect of New Year’s Eve drunkenness on our public health service. To be fair, this is a valid point. We in the UK have a National Health Service, a publicly funded healthcare service established by the government – in other words, propped up by the taxpayer. According to the NHS, misuse of alcohol costs the service £3.5 billion each year. So it is indeed quite costly for our healthcare system. She goes on to say that the images of drunken revelers that plaster her very article paint a picture of a Britain that is in the grip of a binge-drinking culture. At this point I should point out that, according to the Office of National Statistics, binge drinking is actually down, not up. Between 2005 and 2013, the number of binge drinking adults has decreased from 29% to 18%. I don’t know where Vine gets the idea that we live in a binge drinking culture – other than, perhaps, the same place that today’s feminists get the idea that we live in a rape culture. She also seems to lament how, in her opinion, it’s women who seem to get drunk the most. I haven’t found anything to corroborate her point, because none of the statistics I’ve found seem to say anything about the gender of the people getting drunk.
So after some moral porn about women getting drunk, we come to a rather peculiar point:
“And you know the worst of it? When they regain consciousness the next day, long after the street cleaners have washed away the vomit and other unmentionables, long after the St John Ambulance crews have packed up and gone home, long after the last Jagerbombs have been necked and the empties put out for recycling, they won’t be embarrassed or ashamed.
They won’t wince at the mortifying humiliation of it all, the ghastly, dehumanising shambles; they won’t be filled with remorse or self-loathing.
They’ll just congratulate themselves on a great night out, hoot with laughter at the state they got themselves in, maybe even share their snaps on social media, swap hangover horror stories with friends. It makes me want to weep.“
Are you kidding me? You mean you have nothing to say about the inevitable hangovers that these people got on New Year’s Day? If your description of the binge drinking on New Year’s Eve is anything to go by, it ought to be a bitch of a hangover. The dehydration, the headaches, the feeling of irritation and the sensitivity to the light of day must be quite profound in those people in such an event. At the very least, they’ll have that to regret. But what Vine doesn’t appear to understand is that such regret doesn’t last forever. Why should it? I mean sure, people behave disgracefully when they get drunk, even more so when they binge drink, but it’s no reason to constantly weep over having spent the night getting drunk. Also, it’s New Year’s Eve. I kind of expect people to get themselves drunk. I don’t like the idea of people getting drunk, but I can see why people would revel in such a way to mark the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. And, as a student, I can tell you that people sharing drinking and hangover stories is pretty normal, and I’m sure it’s entertaining in some way. The only thing I actually find to be truly degenerate is sharing the snaps on social media.
There’s not much more for me to say about this article because most of it is still moral pornography on her part. There is her claim that the number of alcohol related deaths in women is currently 2,838, up from 1,334. There’s no source to this claim, so I feel inclined to point out that according to the Office of National Statistics, men are more likely to die from alcohol related deaths than women, at a rate of 19.5 deaths per 100,000 males compared to 9.6 deaths per 100,000 females. I don’t understand why she cries about women being uniquely at risk from binge-drinking culture other than what I can only assume is the kind of gynocentric virtue-signalling classically associated with social conservatism.
Now, let’s move on to Mared Parry. And right from the beginning I take umbrage with her perspective. The sub-headline of the article makes the assertion that girls who get themselves blind drunk and behave disgracefully as a result are an inspiration.
What is this bullshit!? Binge drinking isn’t something to be proud of! I’ll grant that getting drunk can be excused once in a while, but it’s not necessarily a positive thing to do. But it seems that Parry is here to tell us that the opposite is the case. She thinks that Vines’ typical “think of the women” virtue-signalling article amounts to telling women that they should be ashamed to be alive, which strikes me as saying that getting wasted is somehow the epitome of life itself. And trust me: she glamorizes binge drinking, to the point that she is capable of unironically declaring pictures of people being drunk to “masterpieces”. And I’m sure they are masterpieces to anyone who is completely devoid of the ability to appreciate actual fine art (and I don’t mean the nonsense I see in the fine art department at my university). She claims to agree with Vine that binge drinking, on the whole, is awful, whilst simultaneously glossing over what literally is binge drinking on the grounds that “it’s just women having a good time”. To me you just don’t go from “binge drinking floozies are an inspiration to women everywhere” to “yes, binge drinking is generally awful” without sounding hypocritical. In fact, she is actually less concerned about Vine drumming up hysteria about binge drinking culture and more concerned with the fact that Vine is a woman writing an article about women getting drunk. I sense the virtue-signalling is just as strong in Parry as it is in Vine. And as for her complaint about young men not being shamed for getting drunk? Who gives a shit other than Suzanne Moore in The Guardian? I can think of a better reason for pictures of women getting piss drunk lathering the papers than “sexist media”. You know what that is? It sells papers, particularly to an audience that might be more conservative as is probably the case in The Daily Mail. It’s more moral pornography than sexism, and I can see it from space. You’d have to be ignorant not to.
I can see how Parry just jumped on the Vine’s “post-feminist society” line by accusing of her of – drum roll, dramatic silence – internalized misogyny. From that accusation alone you can glance that aside from this being vapid apologia for binge drinking, it’s also feminist bullshit. Oh and don’t forget to accuse “sniffling, shaming, middle-aged journalists in general” assuming that the mainstream media is dominated by conservative pearl-clutchers while completely ignoring the pearl-clutchers on the left, who do the same thing only from an opposite perspective. And again, I love how she says “no one should be getting drunk to the point of incontinence”, whilst at the very beginning of the article praising binge-drinking women as inspirations. Is there any consistency at all to this bullshit? While I do ultimately agree that getting drunk is kind of inevitable and isn’t necessarily evil, there’s not much you can say to support the idea that it’s a good thing other than “YOLO” – the mating call of every social media-addled imbecile who sees little more to his/her life than his/her own incontinence and vapidity.
Speaking of inconsistency, Parry claims that she isn’t angered by these articles whilst at the beginning she claims that reading Vine’s article made her red with anger. That seems like cognitive dissonance to me. And if there’s no point to reading articles like that, why are you triggered enough by the article to even write a response? If all you think it does is make you laugh, then, again, why did you say it made you red with anger? This whole article was garbage, through and through.
And the reason I’m saying this, the reason I’m even talking about this, is because I want to talk about how detestable it is to declare binge drinking as anything to be celebrated, while also calling out the other side. One side whips up a regular hysteria about Britain being under the spell of binge drinking culture, which they seem to do every year if you’ve been paying attention, while the other takes the same angle and fucking celebrates it whilst half-assedly pretending not to. In other words, one is emblematic of finger-wagging social conservatism, and the other is brainless YOLO culture.
Sarah Vine, we are not trapped in the grips of the kind of binge drinking that you and your paper seem to think we are to the point that we need to be saved by good old Christian values. So get over your tired virtue-signalling act, you dollar store prohibitionist.
Mared Parry, being drunk may be normal, but binge drinking is not the greatest thing in the world and being drunk is not inspirational. So stop pretending that women who get blind drink are positive role models, you ditzy, hypocritical, overly permissive hack.