Don't Stiggmatize Alcohol

Responding to an editorial on Teenage drinking in America, an observer wrote that he hoped it was printed in jest "because the points it made (ie. putting a tax on beer because teens like to drink it?) cannot be taken seriously.

The article makes no effort to mention the fact that puritanical American society demonizes drinking and therefore makes it feel like something rebellious for teenagers to do. Anyone who has lived abroad, especially in Europe, knows that if Americans took a more balanced approach towards alcohol, as in introducing it to our children as a sociable beverage through a glass of wine with dinner, instead of viewing it as a "drug," we wouldn't have such a ridiculous scillation between the two drinking extremes we find in our culture (that being tea-totalers or wasted, suburbanite teenagers who will probably become tea-totalers later in life). It's a cultural problem. So fix the extremist American culture, don't demonize alcohol.



  • Peter W. Jones. Letter to the editor, International Herald Tribune, 9-24-03.