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Deconstructing a “Doctor”

The other day Dr. Keith Ablow wrote a short piece for Fox News’ website describing what is apparently one of America’s greatest problems: binge drinking. The good doctor claims that the binge drinking of 18-24 year olds (i.e. you fine ladies and gentlemen) is essentially ruining our country. The article was, to say the least, a giant preposterous piece of crap. I felt the need to deconstruct it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, we’re becoming a nation of drunks. Booze hounds on benders.

FUCKING RAGE! U-S-A! U-S-A! JUST TRY AND DRINK LIKE US! THAT’S RIGHT YOU CAN’T! SO SUCK OUR DICKS, SRI LANKA! Actually, shit, I don’t think I was supposed to take that as a compliment.

New data reveals that one in every six Americans downs eight mixed drinks within a few hours, four times a month. Twenty-eight percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 binge-drink five times a month, putting away seven drinks in one sitting. And 13 percent of those between the ages of 45 and 65 binge drink five times a month, too.

MY GOD! Those numbers are staggering…ly low to me. The other thing that stands out about those numbers, something that I assume was accidentally and not conveniently overlooked, is that the people who essentially AREN’T binge drinking, the 25 to 44 year olds, make up the significant portion of the population contributing positively the country. Also interesting to note is that while 13 percent of people aged 45 to 65 (the people who basically run the country) ARE binge drinking, 87 percent are not. I think I’m okay with those numbers as I assume most CEOs, politicians, etc. are firmly within that 87 percent. But, whatever. Fuck it. Let’s freak out instead.

News of the magnitude of this intoxication—resulting in frequently and dramatically altered states of consciousness for tens of millions of Americans—is no different than if we were to learn that a quarter of our young people were snorting half-a-gram of cocaine more than once-a-week or injecting heroin on that schedule. The psychological/cognitive effects of seven or eight drinks are no less intense, and, possibly, even more dramatic.

Hold on, I think I just misread that last paragraph. Let me go back real quick and reread…and yeah, no, I did not misread it at all. This DOCTOR just likened drinking seven mixed drinks to doing heroin. Is he always this dramatic? I’d hate to get a diagnosis from this guy.

Dr. Ablow: It seems that your cough is nothing more than a mild case of bronchitis, which is essentially just stage four throat cancer.

Patient: WHAT!?!?!?

Dr. Ablow: Nothing to worry about, I’ll prescribe you some antibiotics and your neck AIDS should clear right up.

Wait never mind, I just read his Wikipedia page. He doesn’t give diagnoses like that. He’s a psychiatrist, so I should probably start putting doctor in quotes.

Think about that…

About how drinking seven mixed drinks is the same as chasing the fucking dragon? I can’t. It makes me confused and annoyed, which, as we all know, is a sure sign of autism.

A significant portion of our population wants to not be present for significant portions of every single week.

Yeah but to be fair if I weren’t blackout drunk at 3:00am I’d be asleep, so it’s not like I’d be present for anything anyway.

This is what is happening. It is critical we determine why it is happening.

My theory is that Americans are on a flight from reality.

That’s a good theory. It’s true, actually. The only problem is that your theory isn’t a theory at all, it’s a fact. That’s because ANY time someone drinks they are on a “flight from reality” to one degree or another. Drinking IS escapist, because it alters your mood or relieves your stress. Even sitting around and drinking one well deserved glass of bourbon (or as it’s known on the streets, Kentucky Smack) after a long day of being a terrible doctor qualifies as escapist.

Herein lies the problem with this article’s entire premise: it takes one of the basic core facts about drinking alcohol and tries to present it as a creative new theory. I’ll say it again, drinking is an escapist act, on ANY level. People have ALWAYS been drinking to escape. You think that a hundred years ago factory workers weren’t hitting the bottle to forget that they had tuberculosis and were living in a one room apartment with nine children and a wife whose vagina was eight feet wide and covered in two decades worth of pubic shrubbery? Those same people went on to win two world wars by the way. This is nothing new. But, let’s read on. Maybe the “doctor” has a compelling case for why people are trying to escape from reality.

Faced with painful facts—including the precarious state of the economy,

Ah yes, the economy. Fair enough. For many people these times are tough and a tall, stiff drink is just about the only thing that gives them any relief from that harsh reality. Granted, those people generally aren’t in the 18-24 range, specifically the college students who could give a rat’s ass about the economy seeing as it’s not their problem…yet. But yes, I’m sure you’re right, that college sophomore is totally bonging a beer because unemployment didn’t drop this month. I know that I personally do a shot of Wild Turkey for every thousand jobs that are outsourced. My liver hurts.

the gathering storm represented by militant Muslims, in general, and Iran, in particular,

…come again?

the crumbling state of marriage in this country,

…uh…

the fact that our borders are being overrun,

…maybe this is an Arizona State thing…

and the fact that our health care insurance system is in shambles (to name just a smattering of the troubles we desperately need to address)—

What the hell does this guy think is going on in America’s bars? I feel like this is his vision of a Friday night out:

Bartender: What’ll ya have?

Guy 1: I need alcohol, and fast. Seven mixed drinks please.

Bartender: Somethin’ wrong?

Guy 1: You’re damn right something’s wrong. I can’t find a job and I was gonna get married but then a queer did, so now what the hell’s the point!

Guy 2: I hear that brother! Pour me seven mixed drinks too while you’re at it.

Bartender: You havin’ trouble finding work too?

Guy 2: No, but the Goddamn Iranians are enriching uranium! Them and their sandy scientists are buildin’ bomb and when it goes off I sure as shit ain’t gonna be sober.

Guy 3: AND THE MEXICANS!

Guy 1: DAMN RIGHT! SEVEN MIXED DRINKS ALL AROUND!

Guy 3: I’m just gonna go do heroin in the bathroom actually, same difference.

we as a nation are drinking, drugging, gambling, smoking, Facebooking, YouTubing, Marijuaning, Kardashianing, Adderalling, Bono-ing (as in thinking of Chaz’s sad flight from reality as good), Prozacking, Twittering, and Sexting ourselves into oblivion.

Ugh. That was hard to read. The only purpose of writing everything he just listed is to get other equally out of touch paranoids to nod their heads in agreement and think “these damn kids today are ruining ‘Merica.” This list is so curmudgeon-ey that it might as well read: “we as a nation are drinking, drugging, Time Machine-ing, hand-jobbing, Skrillex-ing, abortioning, wiener-tucking, Sixteen and Pregnant-ing, devil worshiping, rock and rolling, sodomizing, hybrid car-ing, and asshole bleaching ourselves into oblivion.”

The only reason to even mention Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube is to further reinforce the frightened confusion that the AARP members reading this have with today’s youth. I have no doubt that those people are reeling in horror at every word this man has typed. Also, given his apparent aversion to technology I assume the “doctor” originally typed this on a typewriter, because computers were invented by the devil to help drug addicts masturbate. By the way, Fox News promoted this article via social media to reach all those Twittering alcoholics you clueless douche.

The fact that we are doing this as a culture is the single most ominous psychological trend we have ever faced. I am not exaggerating.

No, you are. But I believe that you don’t think you’re exaggerating. After all you did compare drinking seven mixed drinks to shooting up heroin and claim that today’s crazy youths binge drink because Iran might one day bomb something. I’m getting the feeling this guy heard about a fraternity throwing an “End of the World” party and WILDLY misinterpreted it.

Unchecked, it will literally create an absentee nation, unable to summon real vision to confront real threats, unable to summon real courage to defeat real enemies,

So you’re telling me this country won’t be able to win a war because I hit up happy hour on Friday? Have you ever gone out drinking with guys in the military before? HOLY FUCK do they put back drinks. “Drink like a sailor” isn’t exactly a new phrase. I think any Parisian hooker circa 1944 can tell you that getting shitfaced does not restrain American military might.

unable to buckle down and take the tough measures necessary to restore real economic stability, unable to tell our friends that we will defend them—if necessary, to the death.

What.the.fuck. are you talking about? Who am I defending to the death? And from whom? What AT ALL does dying for a foreign ally have to do with Sunday Funday?

Because drunks have no capacity to tolerate suffering or to see the future clearly

GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon general, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems. (3) Consumption of alcohol has been shown to inhibit empathy and psychic powers.

or to summon extraordinary creativity from deep inside themselves

I don’t really have time to look up all the brilliant alcoholics throughout history but Walt Whitman’s ghost just told me to tell you that you’re a fucking moron.

or to stand up and double down with courage that resonates as so completely real, so entirely sober, that our adversaries buckle at the knees.

Future Iranian Soldier: Dear Allah! Look how sober those American troops are! Not at all drunk like we thought they would be! We cannot win this fight. Let our knees buckle in submission to them. Also their stealth bombers are pretty scary too.

See, when you drug yourself five or ten percent of your life, that experience (or rather non-experience) can contaminate the rest of your life, too. Because suppressing your truth—including your anxiety and your resolve—for one day in 7 days is enough to tip the balance of your thinking away from introspection, away from insight and away from real involvement with others and the world around you.

Judging from this article the only time the “doctor” is in touch with the world around him is when he’s chasing neighborhood children off his lawn and confiscating lost baseballs.

More laws could never solve this problem, by the way.

Are you sure? Drug laws seem to have pretty effectively put a clamp on marijuana use.

A new Prohibition wouldn’t stem the tide of the clear desire of a significant percentage of Americans to anesthetize themselves a significant portion of their lives. The only antidote is the decisiveness of individuals to live their lives, to be present and to count—for real.

You’re right, a new Prohibition wouldn’t stem the tide. It WOULD further destroy the economy and cost millions of jobs, causing people to want to drink more, at least according to you. Ironic, isn’t it?

It’s time America detoxed. Our future is uncertain, yet our prospects as great as the day God first blessed America. That may want plenty of people to go on a bender. I pray it makes more people want to sober up.

So, in summation: Americans, specifically 18-24 year olds, drink entirely too much, which is bad, because it’s the same thing as doing heroin. They drink too much because the economy sucks, terrorists exist, and so do Mexicans. This drinking is a surefire way to ruin the country, specifically by rendering our military useless and our collective and individual ingenuity void. Never mind that the statistics he himself cited essentially show that college students grow out of their binge drinking habits and generally become productive members of society.

Considering the “doctor” is also a somewhat accomplished mystery writer I’m just going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume this was fiction. Because no “doctor” can be THIS idiotic, right?

h/t to Chris H

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