I was just adding this footnote to my harrowing tale of the difference between rape and “rape” when I realized something….
*I think there needs to be a new legal designation that divides violent rapes from drunken grey-area cases. Sure, there are assholes who manipulate drunk women (and men). Maybe there should be some punishment for that, although it certainly puts a damper on what used to be the fun of drunken youthful romping. But should they be given the same legal stigma as someone who chooses you at random, breaks into your home and threatens your life?
The drunken, youthful romping that characterized my youth doesn’t exist anymore — I guess in part because political ideologues have decided to blanket-demonize men (I don’t wanna know what motivates this psychologically), and call everything rape that they can possibly get some regret-filled, hungover girl to call into question while she’s still in the weepy segment of moving toward either sobering up or grabbing the hair of the dog that bit her (that’s what we used to call “drinking to get over a hangover”).
But the question is: Why does this work so well on kids these days?
Well, maybe it’s because they’re too ashamed to admit they were drunk. Poor bastards.
Ironically, we’re meant to be open to everyone now… so where did all this fucking prudery come from? It’s in politics, it’s in sex, it’s in alcohol… and from the looks of all the massive people waddling around nowadays, many of them are sublimating all the shame and lust into food. Is that really better than drunken fumbling with a dude and another girl in the bar bathroom? (Not that I’ve ever done that. No, please, don’t shame me! Ha ha, just kidding, I’m immune to your shit.)
There’s always been a bit of a stigma around alcoholism, but at least in Wisconsin where I grew up, getting drunk and doing something stupid wasn’t something everybody made you die of shame for. They laughed at you, maybe, but they also laughed with you, and it made for camaraderie to all have stupid stories to hold against each other. My friend Brendan was legendary for losing his pants after drinking gin and wandering home in his underwear. When the police returned his wallet and garments, we all cheered. I had drunken sex I wasn’t particularly thrilled about once or twice, but since nobody shamed me about being drunk or having sex, I didn’t feel a need to blame it on somebody else.
The only people who shamed us were old people. So watching young people shame people for sex, drugs, and rock and roll is like watching little kids try to swear. Except these people are old enough to call the cops on each other.
After a lifetime of freedom, try living in this decade. Matt Forney is the obvious example; while being constantly drunk himself, he’s tried to discredit me by claiming I’m an alcoholic. Which may be true, and I don’t want to find out, so that’s why I don’t drink anymore. (To my surprise, I like it! Although most of my relatives back home think that not drinking at all is kind of insane behavior.) But the shame he tries to attach to over-imbibing (but only when other people do it) is interesting and symptomatic. He wanted to be a writer, but ignores the fact that previous generations of writers were notorious drunks, and everyone thought it was funny (till they blew their heads off). OK, there are drawbacks, but Hemingway needed to self-medicate. Would it have been better were he crippled by guilt and thereby unable to be honest with himself?
People like me — who grew up in a culture that tolerates a little humanity, a little stupidity — quit drinking when it becomes a problem for our lives and our health. People like Matt can’t quit drinking because they’re so desperately ashamed, they can’t look in the mirror and say “I have a problem.” Their other option is to be self-righteous boring little bastards who never try intoxication at all.
Stand-up comic Doug Stanhope nailed it years ago: the kids today are the first generation to annoy their elders by being LAME instead of wild. Traditionally, American old people complain about how loud and drug-addled the kids are. But now we (We? Christ, I’m not even properly old, but now the world is divided into “Boomers” and “people whose brains haven’t completely developed yet”) complain about how boring and uptight the little bastards are.
I honestly think a lot of false rape accusations come out of this crippling shame. “I wasn’t too drunk to make good decisions! He raped me!” Accusing someone of a felony out of shame is a fucking crazy thing to do, from my perspective (the perspective of someone who’s been rape-raped as well as having icky drunken sex I regretted). Maybe the shame was always there, and feminism gave it a channel to go roaring into.
But my advice to young people is: Look, don’t get into the habit of drinking every day. If you find it’s not possible for you to not drink every day, just stop; it will go bad places for you, very bad places. That’s how your biology is wired; if you are aware of it and act smart it won’t kill you.
For people who don’t have the “get-physically-addicted-to-alcohol-really-fast gene,” the world is your fucking oyster, so enjoy. Drink if you’re going to drink, carefully but without regret. And if one of your peers does something stupid when they’re drunk, don’t shame them, don’t call them a Nazi because they tried to grab a girl’s tits, don’t tell them they’re contributing to the decadence of society because they drunkenly made out with some dude; in this climate, that’s going to lead to her eventually freaking out in denial and tossing some poor fucker in the clink.
In short, when other kids get drunk, don’t call them anything but a regular, stupid human beings doing stupid human being things. It would probably be better if none of us touched alcohol, but the gods are cruel, and they made the world hard and sucky, and then they made these substances that make us feel absolute relief for an hour and absolute hell the next day… and also they may lead to questionable sex. A lot of people are going to take that deal just to feel good for an hour. It’s going to happen. Don’t turn it into a man spending years in prison for a “felony” that, 20 years ago, we would have called a drunken escapade.
(And as always, tolerate my e-begging… speaking of stigma, why is it “e-begging” when writers ask to be paid for their work?):