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The Heat Lightning: Shall we get our drank on??

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Shall we get our drank on??

don draper drunk

Random thought with very little research or serious consideration applied: Does the state of our national psyche – unemployed, downtrodden, fatalistic, depressed, drugged, stale, reliant on fucking Justin Bieber for any musical excitement, devoid of rich mainstream art or literature, thoroughly engrossed in watching sub-realities to occupy the time of our own reality, distant, zoned-the-fuck-out, tired, hypersensitive yet largely unfazed – allow ever-increasing representations of alcohol (and therefore alcoholism) in television to soothe whatever existential malaise we’re all feeling? Does the fact that Don Draper is (or was) going into a deep downward spiral of alcoholism to the point of blackout-drunk-and-my-entire-weekend-went-by-in-a-blur-where-there-was-one-woman-just-next-to-me-a-minute-ago-but-now-it’s-some-much-grosser-diner-waitress-type situation allow us to feel much better about how shitty our own existence is?

How did we get to this point in an era that was (seemingly) over any representations of characters drinking or smoking and the Disneyfication of our New World Order didn’t allow for any these vices?

I mention this because I am first, and foremost, totally fucking bored right now but also because I was thinking about Friends. I mean, look how well put together those idiots were. There was no REAL drama about sleeping with each other or letting each other down and no one ever got very drunk (aside from whatever ‘hilarity’ ensued when Monica and Chandler got married or went on that cruise or whatever that fucking episode was) and hit on someone lecherously. There was one episode that showed them years earlier and their neighborhood coffee shop where they all hung out was previously their neighborhood bar. They had graduated into those cool java 90s as they matured!

Jerry Seinfeld had water bottles in his fridge and ate cereal. Maybe Elaine had a weakness for Schnapps, fine. Our TV shows and sitcoms were squeaky clean. We couldn’t even stomach a show like Ab Fab – maybe because it was British and the women were fucking hideous but that drinking was way out of line, man! That’s not cool. Take it easy with the drinking, bro! This wasn’t just during those halcyon days of the 90s – when we were all hegemonic as a nation-state, music was kinda cooler until, you know, Bush (the band) came along and David Foster Wallace was counfounding the narcissistic literary intelligentsia – but extended into the Bushian (the guy who on 9/11 looked like someone whispered to him that his wife was JUST found blowing a horse) Aughts as well. Two and a Half Men has been running for longer than Castro has been in power and – despite its bullshit bad boy, “Odd Couple” front – that shit is as Donald Duck as they come.

Then out of nowhere, just as 2008 came along and real estate prices began to go south, alcohol began to slowly creep back into the mainstream. This was clearly paved by Mad Men and that show’s glamorization of the early 60s’ booze swilling ways. But even our sitcoms are more liquefied. Friends gave way to How I Met Your Mother, which is not based in a coffee shop but in a neighborhood bar. Every single episode revolves around discussions at ‘their’ table within the bar, drinks in hand. They have their own fucking table!!

Now we also have Boardwalk Empire, a show that opens at the commencement of the Prohibition Era and features maybe even more boozing and gash-hounding than Mad Men. Cougartown – a show I have very little understanding of – features former friend Monica now a total wine-o during primetime. That would have never flown in the 90s because the world was a nicer place and our lives were maybe a little happier because there was cheaper and easier to acquire LSD or maybe it was because everyone was employed by a dotcom startup or because our entire economy was doing way better in those days because it was amped up on boom-related steroids or because our athletes were smashing homeruns everywhere because they were on ACTUAL steroids and no one cared about it or maybe, simply, because we felt a little more carefree in our City upon a Hill. But nowadays, everything kinda really does suck – and not just in your typical old man nostalgia way but in very real terms. So we need other people to express our vices – in very hard, degenerative and toxic ways – so that we can live vicariously through them and get up early tomorrow morning to put out another 10,000 virtual resumes with accompanying, slightly-altered cover letters in a world with no apparent upcoming boom on the horizon to prop us up and make us feel good about overall shit again.

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One correction:

their ‘table’ should read ‘their’ table. sorry.

Dat Roro Kid · Oct 1, 02:25 PM · #

All good, bro.

This is the week of THL drinking posts.
More to come.

EAT · Oct 1, 03:24 PM · #

its not just alcohol..AMC and Showtime’s shows alone revolve around characters that are weed dealers, meth addicts, serial killers, a glamorous prostitute, someone with multiple personality disorder etc etc..that would have never flown in the 90s..that stuff now is more ‘compelling and relatable’ than say 5 gorgeous looking friends that get along great and live in a 10 000 000 square ft loft that I don’t know how they can afford considering their jobs..it all seems fairy tale now.. but then we have Gleeee so its all good

— yoyis · Oct 1, 03:36 PM · #

I seem to know this sagely ‘yoyis’.

Dat Roro Kid · Oct 1, 04:32 PM · #

This post explain exactly about how I feel about current times. Everything basically sucks right now. Nothing to look forward to. I miss the 90s so bad it makes me cry.

FinSane · Oct 1, 07:15 PM · #

Wait a minute. Monica and Chandler got married?

Our art often reflects our economic / cultural mood. But it also takes time for the art to catch up to the people. Each generation goes through periods of complacency and upheaval. The polyanna 1950’s gave way to the rage of 1960’s, driven by a need for self expression, the desire to break the machine and the overall disenchantment in our belief that we can all achieve the american dream.
This was reflected in the writing (Hunter Thompson, Ken Keesey, Studs Terkel), music (too much to list), movies (Kubrick, Hitchcock, Peckinpah).

But much of the anger and rage of the 1960’s didnt find an artistic outlet until the 1970’s. The movie studios (Easy Rider and Raging Bulls, great book on this)and TV are often the caboose, not the engine when it comes to articulating the undercurrent, the energy of change in our culture.

The interns, copy writers, gofers of the 90’s are now the Exec producers and directors of the 2000’s. They control the content, and maybe what we see is often metaphor for coming to grips with realization that we are 40 now, not 20. We have mortgages, wives, kids, and we aren’t going to change the world, we have to compromise too much, there is more of our life behind us than in front of us.

And as each generation before us, we find out that the Deal, the promise of the American Dream is not given to us, we are not special. We have to bust our ass and hope its enough.

So fuck it, lets open a beer, sit back and remember the immortal words of H.S.T

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me”

— Greg from Delray Beach · Oct 1, 07:59 PM · #

i dont’ know what depressed me more, reading this post or reading the last comment… neither of which i find to be wholly true.

Greg from Delray Beach, you contradict yourself. You claim their is complacency followed by upheaval (the 50s vs. the 60s) but then say life essentially sucks for all generations because of the realization that nothing changes. There is much bad with/in the world, but it’s apathy like yours (and Dat Roro Kid’s too!!!) that gets our generation labeled as such and the world further in this mess that we can get ourselves out of… if we try.

misael · Oct 3, 06:29 PM · #

This post, and the comments, are pessimistic, but there’s no denying their truth. I know folks keeping bottles in their desks, folks who nip out of the office for drinking lunches, folks who get baked before they can begin another day’s mindless toil.

I’m not going to be a rock star in this lifetime, but a woman I love made me breakfast in bed this morning. We don’t have TV but we have books for years. We shop at thrift stores, never throw anything away, and manage to put healthy, delicious dinners on the table each night and keep a roof over our heads.

Our priorities and perspectives are much more important than our financial situations.

Aaron Curtis · Oct 7, 12:27 PM · #

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