I just can’t shake my fascination with the stuff. I think it’s because 20 years ago I would have been on the phone to the ACLU at the suggestion of banning it, not to mention I would have drunk more than my share of the stuff, vomited whatever McDonald’s food I had just eaten and looked for more. I think the fascination is also because thinking about this isn’t really an exercise in aversion therapy, it’s more of a youthful longing. What fun! Sounds crazy, I guess, unless you’re an alcoholic and loved those “killer parties that almost killed me” ( that’s Crag Finns’ description).
Working on another project I pitched the idea of a video blog to the editor where I would camp out at a Bodega near NYU and interview NYU students who bought Four Loko. His response was priceless, “NYU students drink Four Loko? It sounds like a more “uptown beverage” and no, he didn’t mean that Columbia students like it. For those of you who don’t speak northeast liberal, and for those of you who can’t accept that we all have racist aspects of ourselves, what he meant to say was “malt liquor with grape kool-aid? Aint that for black people?”
Act II, in which, the race card comes into the Four Loko debate.
As I have said before, one of the things that bothers me the most about the alcohol and other drug policy in America is that black people pay a much higher price for the same behavior as white people. It seems that there has been some measure of success in banning Four Loko, enough that it got the attention of the FDA and whatever white people public official who jumped on the “demonize the stuff bandwagon” have forced the producers of this stuff to change their formula. I guess we can all sleep better knowing that the youth of America is safe from Four Loko, except that they will brew something else so I’m not sure what really has been accomplished. How is this racist? The vast majority of those people protected from Four Loko are college students at State run Universities, largely middle class and largely white, ok maybe exclusively white. In sheer numbers, relatively few of them and yet, this has been a media project, topic of discussion, enough to foster change, merits of the change debate-able. Where is the public outcry and attention on Old English 800, cheaply sold in ghetto (black) communities? Any studies on the damage done by that shit? How about how many kids have been hospitalized after drinking it? How is it that Old English 800 gets a free pass regarding the damage it does and Four Loko is depicted as semen of Satan in a can? It’s simple. White kids drink Four Loko and go to college and need protection. Black kids drink OE, are likely headed to prison and marginalized. What’s even more annoying is nobody seems to be talking about this; not even Spike Lee or Reverend Al? Are we so accepting of the alcohol policy that we don’t even talk about it?