June 7, 2010

"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing."

Christopher Hitchens explains his drinking habit in detail that would not be possible if he were "what the English so bluntly call a 'piss-artist.'"
The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime....
He offers some rules for drinking:
Don't drink on an empty stomach: the main point of the refreshment is the enhancement of food. Don't drink if you have the blues: it's a junk cure. Drink when you are in a good mood. Cheap booze is a false economy. It's not true that you shouldn't drink alone: these can be the happiest glasses you ever drain. Hangovers are another bad sign, and you should not expect to be believed if you take refuge in saying you can't properly remember last night.... Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop. It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man: I don't know quite why this is true but it just is. Don't ever be responsible for it.
Speaking ill of women is another one of Hitchens's habits, but it might be true for some reason that it's worse for women to get drunk. I'm just thinking about sex in that regard. Women, drunk, could be raped. Drunk men lose their ability to perform. So I've heard, at least. But I don't mean to be dreary. Be cheerful, and you will fall within Hitch's drink when you are in a good mood rule.

66 comments:

GMay said...

You're in a good mood? Here, have this depressant!

q12345q6789 said...

He offers some rules for drinking:
(Ooo-Ooo, Me Too)
1. Don't drink on an empty stomach
(Drink on a stomach full of booze)
2. Drink when you are in a good mood.(But remember the important thing is - to drink. So, One outta two ain't bad...) 3. Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop. (But more importantly; Never-never-ever admit how fun drinking and driving on a buzz is; people will know its true and hate you for saying it out loud. Also you will get caught eventually and it really, really sucks). 4. It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man (this sounded good at the time).

Palladian said...

I absolutely agree with all of his points, though I think the buzz is better if you have your first drink on an empty stomach, then eat, then have more.

And he's completely correct about the cheap booze thing. Get the best you can get with the money you have.

Palladian said...

"4. It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man"

Women are hard enough to tolerate when they're operating with all faculties intact.

edutcher said...

"It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man: I don't know quite why this is true but it just is."

Ask any cop, moron. Most cops would rather take on a SEAL platoon with a snootful single-handed than one loaded broad.

This guy really is impressed with himself, isn't he?

Sheepman said...

Let me eat when I am hungry,
Let me drink when I am dry,
A dollar when I am hard up,
Religion when I die,
The whole world's a bottle,
And life's but a dram,
When the bottle gets empty,
It sure ain't worth a damn.

FloridaSteve said...

You have seriously strange tag row on this post.

"drinking, Hitchens, Iran, rape, sex"

I get the logic but wow is that weird! :)

q12345q6789 said...

Sheepman! A beer on Me for some Moonshiner! (My favorite rendition is by Uncle Tupelo. ("Whiskey bottle over Jesus...Not forever, But just for now. Not forever, but just for now.") A great band for moribund yet hopeful drinking.

k*thy said...

Whatever, Hitchens.

q12345q6789 said...

@FloridaSteve: Heh. If I were a creative writing teacher; these tag assemblages of Althouse's would make good take-off assignments. "Ok, class: 'drinking, Hitchens, Iran, rape, sex'; you have 45 minutes. Wow me." (Then came my show-trials for the P.T.A. But, that's a whole-other short story)

traditionalguy said...

Bottle-up and go says the Hitch. He seems backwards in saying to drink when you are happy. Why change how you feel when you feel good? But champagne is always apropriate.

rcocean said...

"It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man" - is true. First, most drunken women look unattractive. Secondly, many drunken woman are loud, shrewish, agressive, and disagreeable.

And I'd also add; limt your drinking to good scotch, good company, good food, and bad women.

q12345q6789 said...

Currently listening to: 'Passenger Side' by Wilco: "Roll another number for the road / You're the only sober person I know / Won't you let me make you a deal / Just get behind the wheel / passenger side / I don't like ridin' on the passenger side / "

EDH said...

"Down the hatch. A quite curious phrase!"

Never mind the "long-ago flings with two men who became part of Margaret Thatcher’s administration..."

Is Hitch drinking Rum and Tab on Cape Cod in 1985?

Now that is gay.

Meade said...

"Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop."

Or a toke. Or a hit. Of anything. Period. No excuse. None.

Or say hello to jail.

jjm said...

"Drunk men lose their ability to perform. So I've heard, at least."
Well Althouse now that you have Meade around you can experiment and report back!
It will probably depend on what the meaning of "perform" is.
Getting off, no problem.
An entertaining considerate partner? Probably not.
jjm

Meade said...

Meade never gets drunk.

And Althouse... never "reports back."

q12345q6789 said...

Ok. Imma let you finish Meade - but Imma start a flame post first... See; Nobody ever really "gets" D.U.I. until it happens. It's diffuse and sorta-abstracted by claims like "go to jail period." Which I understand are meant to scare people "strait", but maybe (maybe I said) have a kinda opposite effect. Like the whole "This is your brain on drugs" ads. It just washes over you. Yeah, you go to jail for a few hours and I will assume most of the commentariat here could pay their bail-out; So that's just the tippy-top of this iceberg. I think most first offense jail-time is waived anyway (i.e. 48 hour suspended sentence, etc.) The REAL B.S. our blog brethren will face comes not just from the "Scary jail" but so much more... I don't have the magic words that would summarize the situation into a blog post...but I will say; If society were serious about Zero-Tolerance Drinking and Driving there would be a Cop with a Breath-a-lyzer outside of every bar and then there would be no more bars...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Great rules and I agree with all of them.

Don't drink on an empty stomach. This is why cocktail hors'douvres were invented.

Don't drink when you are down and depressed. It isn't the cure.

Drinking alone is not a bad thing as long as you aren't falling into a bottle and recreating the lost weekend. One of my greatest comforts, especially in the winter, is to sit down with a good book, some good scotch and a nice fire in the fire place. It is usually an added bonus that my husband is also sitting with his own book and scotch by the fire. However, I have been know to enjoy all by myself.

And don't drink cheap booze. Nuff said.
Don't drive a car.....unless you live in the boone tullys like I do and the nearest cop is at least an hour or two away. Nothing more fun that to go driving through the woods on the (soon to be closed, they think ha ha) dirt roads for a leisurely afternoon trip... with some libations...and of course snacks. Worst that can happen is you maim a manzanita bush.

Women shouldn't get publicly drunk, tipsy yes, but not drunk. It just isn't good. You look like a slut, act like a slut....and guess what! you get treated like a slut. Save that action for your husband or boyfriend. He'll love it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Women are hard enough to tolerate when they're operating with all faculties intact.

Hey!!!

q12345q6789 said...

My point is: "Jail" will be the least of your worries if you get a D.U.I. (First Offense) It's not just the money, either. Lot's of Money. And Lawyers (Fun!) It's the shame. The personal shame. You start to feel lucky for just not killing anyone on your journey. It's a mind-fuck-experience that will either wake you up or not. But, humans are funny things. We forget and remember on our own terms and those terms have longer lifespans than D.U.I.'s

chuck b. said...

I love to add some whiskey to my morning coffee on the weekend if I know I don't have anything to do besides work in the garden, especially in the fall or winter.

I don't find that alcohol enhances food much. It may enhance the experience of eating the food, but nothing about the food itself. However, I have noticed that certain foods can enhance certain wines.

Doug Wright said...

When drinking to excess, have an Alka-Selzer in the evening and everything will be cool in the morning.

Cheers.

bagoh20 said...

I think Hitch is right on all those counts.

It is quite true about women being drunk. They immediately are less attractive in a nonphysical way and it's quite pronounced. Not just buzzed, but drunk. The hottest woman will have men sneaking away if she is sloshed.

q12345q6789 said...

@ bagoh20: Two Words: "Absolutely Fabulous"

WV: Tense: yup.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Jail" will be the least of your worries if you get a D.U.I.

When I lived in a city (San Francisco). I would never drink and drive. But because we are in the middle of absolutely nowhere on a dirt road miles and miles and miles from asphalt.... and we don't get drunk, I have no fears of hurting anyone, hurting ourselves or even getting arrested.

However, to be arrested for DUI in my business would be a killer. So. We don't do it and we don't get to go out often to dine unless we are someplace were we can take a cab or the restaurant is in the lodging establishment. Many fine restaurants and resorts have gone out of business just for this very reason. People won't park, eat and drink for fear of getting busted.

William said...

Hitchens does the best imitation of a witty, dissolute drunk since William Powell in the Thin Man. I like Hitchens very much, but my guess is that people who actually get to spend a lot of time in his company have or will have cause to regret his drinking......Drunks have a remarkable capacity for self delusion. Lillian Hellmann apparently thought that her sodden relationship with Dashiell Hammett was like that of Nick & Nora Charles. As if. Drunks are bores.

q12345q6789 said...

@ Dust Bunny Queen: Do not think that I am judging your previous comments about rural meanderings with a dose of spirit. My over-arching point is that contemporary USA society (and the human beings that create it) are not suited to the nuances of public imbibing. I won't go "political" here because it's complicated and emotionally charged. But, rest assured, You are not alone. And it is fun and probably completely harmless. And neither of those arguments hold up in court...

traditionalguy said...

Hitch always reminds me of the main character in a Noel coward play called Present laughter. Don't miss it if it comes to town on live stage. It is a marvelous tour de force, like Hitch tries to be.

q12345q6789 said...

If anyone here wants to know my Raison d'ĂȘtre so passionate vis-a-vie D.U.I.: I am currently charge with one. Yup! Play it out, Sam: 1. Pissed-Drunk Ex calls cops on me as I'm standing beside my car deciding who to call to pick me up 2. Cop shows up with DUI on his mind 3. I decline a Breathalyzer (automatic jail buddy!) and get arrested. 4. Now, I'm paying a lawyer to maybe get me out of a Non-Driving DUI. That's contemporary USA Law. Total expenditure thus far = $800 (bail) + $200 (impound) + $2500 (lawyer) = $3500 and I haven't even been to court yet. That's DUI in the USA.

rcocean said...

"Drunks are bores". Agreed, but a lot of "tipsy" or sloshed people can be very funny. I've known many people who "loosen up" after a few drinks and become funny, warm, and expansive.

Guess it depends on how "drunk" the person is and how "boring" they were while sober.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have heard that some guys cannot perform if they have drunk enough, but I would suggest that for most of us, if we are still conscious, we can perform just fine. Ok, maybe not nearly as well, but well enough for our own purposes, and we are far more likely to climax than than the drunk woman we are with. I have been with more than one woman who had no problem climaxing with a glass of wine in her, be totally incapable with several more in her.

Now, maybe drunk women lose some of their attractiveness, but they make up for it by the apparent ease that guys expect in getting them into a compromising situation.

Freeman Hunt said...

Men aren't regrettable while drunk? Please. Men have a tendency to horribly embarrass themselves while drunk by saying outrageous things to women and hitting on them in the most pitiable ways.

The only reason women might be worse is that they are smaller, and, if they're keeping up with the men's drinking, they're more likely to be vomiting.

Really, I just prefer my company to be sober. I think sober people are generally more interesting, more rational, more polite, and better conversationalists all around. Drunk people tend to invade personal spaces, repeat themselves incessantly, think they're being far more clever than they are, get fixated on inconsequential or inappropriate things, misread social cues, act erratically, dominate conversation, be more likely to break things or mess themselves with vomit or urine, the list could go on.

Cheers to sobriety!

Freeman Hunt said...

4. Now, I'm paying a lawyer to maybe get me out of a Non-Driving DUI.

How can you Non-Drive Drive Under the Influence? Is that really a law? If so, a great stereotypical example of politicians' work.

q12345q6789 said...

@Freeman: "Really, I just prefer my company to be sober...the list could go on." Those are my best moves! But seriously, the only reason inebriated "people" might (MIGHT!) be better company is the social lubricant factor of getting out of their own heads long enough to be "comfortable" in the situation... But I fully agree that inebriated folks fall into every category of embarrassing behavior that you have marked to outlay...especially me ...So, you wanna go out onto the porch and talk...

q12345q6789 said...

@Freeman: I dunno, but I was not driving, and was not intending to drive and I am now going to court (after paying all this money and time) to try to prove this... And I still might lose.

EDH said...

1. Pissed-Drunk Ex calls cops on me as I'm standing beside my car deciding who to call to pick me up 2. Cop shows up with DUI on his mind 3. I decline a Breathalyzer (automatic jail buddy!) and get arrested.

Are you saying you came under the influence at your ex's and were arrested before you could get behind the wheel?

Or are you eliding that there might have been sufficient facts for the cop to have reasonable suspicion that you had just driven that car to your ex's (just arrived, hood warm, etc.) under the influence (no intervening time to drink after driving) when she called?

traditionalguy said...

I have never heard of DUI charged for standing outside a car drunk. The statutes do allow arrests in public parking areas not part of roads. But you need to be found asleep drunk in the car for there to be a presumption that you drove it there while drunk. The attorney should win this one unless you are on the video admitting you drove it there drunk.

q12345q6789 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

But you need to be found asleep drunk in the car for there to be a presumption that you drove it there while drunk.

Maybe, but only if there were no other signs that the car had just been driven nor witnesses or contemporaneous 911 calls to police alerting them that he just arrived, as I suspect was the case here.

q12345q6789 said...

@EDH: No. I had not just arrived anywhere. I was leaving somewhere (planning to leave somewhere after I could get a ride). And the "witness" was, er, um, Sh*tfaced to put it mildly...(P.S. I have no priors for anything other than a few speeding tickets over the last six years)...

q12345q6789 said...

@EDH: But the vehicle was parked in a not "validated" parking spot due to the lack of parking spaces available...

EDH said...

In that case, does the statute under the caselaw actually support the arrest, or was the cop acting out of line?

What state was it, if you don't mind me asking?

Doug Wright said...

@q12345q6789: OBTW, I was on a jury in '83 in Minnesota. A guy charged with being in control of a vehicle under the influence. The guy was sitting in his truck, in the passenger's seat, engine running, keys in the ignition, and he blew well over .10BA; very cold night. This might have been the first of its kind in Hennepin Cty and we found him guilty; he had a bunch DUIs previous.

Don't know your case but it might be something like MN's law.

Good luck and that too will pass; time and money.

themightypuck said...

If I had a nickel I'd find a game
If I won a dollar I'd make it rain
If it rained an ocean I'd drink it dry
and lay me down dissatisfied

q12345q6789 said...

@Doug Wright: Yes, the worst crime (I've ever admitted to) was speeding. I have no arrests, ever. I don't drink and drive as a rule (but I know I have at one point or another, ahem, college)... @EDH: I dunno statutes / case law, etc. I'm not an attorney. The state is MS. The attorney says the case is pretty good but the municipal judge (not a jury trial) can be a dick... Is it strange that the lawyers fee includes an automatic appeal to the county judge? The lawyer says that judge is more "defense oriented"...

Blair said...

I agree with Frank Sinatra, who pitied sober people because when they woke up, that was the best they were going to feel all day...

Largo said...

"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing."

Hmm. I used to get that effect from blasting 1/64 of a gram of hashish. Yes, I titrated my doses very well.

Largo said...

"Or a toke. Or a hit. Of anything. Period. No excuse. None.

Or say hello to jail."

Question for Meade,

I am sympathetic to at least some of where you are coming from, I think. But I wonder whether there are circumstances in which one is a safer driver upon consuming a drug.

Drinking a coffee before heading home at tight, or on a long truck haul, seems not an unreasonable counterexample.

You might wish to rule out certain classes of druges: sedatives and psychelelics, for example. But not all psychedelics (eg) are the same, and not all psychotropic effects involve cognitive skills required for driving.

Methadras said...

Blair said...

I agree with Frank Sinatra, who pitied sober people because when they woke up, that was the best they were going to feel all day...


What a dumb sentiment. That in order to uplift oneself, one must degrade themselves first in order to feel the recuperative effects of some form of sobriety. What a stupid, foolish notion.

paul a'barge said...

Drunk women are not victims of rape. Maybe they make bad choices but most likely they enjoyed every minute of it.

Class factotum said...

"Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop."...
Or say hello to jail.


Amend that to "Once you have had about 14 DUIs and killed someone" for Wisconsin, or at least for Milwaukee.

Ironically, Wisconsin also has an Operating While Intoxicated provision, which means that if you are sitting in your car drunk and turn on the ignition, you are breaking the law.

Note that it is not necessary for an officer to actually see a person driving to being able to stop him or her for OWI or DUI. It is enough that a person has either turned on the ignition or has left the motor running while the vehicle is in the park position. In fact, the statutory definition of operation is "the physical manipulation or activation of any of the controls of a motor vehicle necessary to put it in motion." The fact that a vehicle may be immobile due to engine problems or being stuck on a mound of dirt with the wheels spinning does not preclude an officer from arresting the driver for OWI / DUI.

http://www.1800duilaws.com/wisconsin-dui-attorney/

Beth said...

Why do men want to make rules for women that they don't want to follow themselves? What bunk.

k*thy said...

I agree with Frank Sinatra, who pitied sober people because when they woke up, that was the best they were going to feel all day...

I could not disagree with you two more.

And for Hitchens, funny that, a drunk making rules for drinking.

MadisonMan said...

My only rule for drinking is to drink plenty of water before going to sleep.

I haven't been falling-down drunk in years -- not since college. As I recall, I was a happy drunk, not a morose one. Nothing for depressing than someone who gets sad or angry when they're drunk.

The only difficulty vis-a-vis drinking in my life now is that sometimes at night I'd like a nice martini or G&T, and the daughter is out. Will she need a ride home? On the slim possibility that she might, I usually abstain. Oh well. No biggie. Not being able to have a drink -- for whatever reason -- really isn't the end of the world.

Shanna said...

Men aren't regrettable while drunk? Please. Men have a tendency to horribly embarrass themselves while drunk by saying outrageous things to women and hitting on them in the most pitiable ways.

Indeed. Tipsy is fun, drunk is annoying…in general for both sexes.

TMink said...

I continue to pray for his conversion to Christianity.

Trey

John said...

Druggies always have an explanation for their drug use.

Hitchens is no exception.

He is just another druggie trying to explain why it is really all OK.

Pitiful.

John Henry

Peano said...

Hitchens: "It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man: I don't know quite why this is true but it just is."

Althouse: "Speaking ill of women is another one of Hitchens's habits ...."

It isn't clear to me that was speaking ill of women.

Meade said...

Top 10 Ways Your Toddler Is Similar To Christopher Hitchens

Blue@9 said...

Hitch is just following in the old tradition of Brits who overindulge. We love the stories of Churchill and his drink-sodden ways--Hitch is in the same mold.

You can hate him all you want, but there's a 99% chance that he's still a better writer than you.

LoafingOaf said...

And he's completely correct about the cheap booze thing. Get the best you can get with the money you have.

But cheap booze is often better than the hyped up elitist stuff. Like, in Meade's fridge pic, he had that St. Bernardus shit. Everyone acts like that stuff is so great, but I don't enjoy that as much as a 40 of Olde English or Mickey's. But, then, I genuinely like the taste of malt liquor and the buzz it gives me. And I guess I do choose the better tasting 40s over the whole "high gravity" trend. There's some really disgusting 40s out there, but even that can be fun if you and your crew are having a contest on how fast you can down one.

Which isn't to say I don't like fancy beers. I have an Ayinger chilling in the fridge right now. But everything has its place, and sometimes there's nothing more enjoyable than swilling a 40.

Also, some wine makers jack up the price because they know that wine snoots think that the same wine priced at 35 bucks is "better" than when its sold for 25 bucks. Usually these "wine experts" can be exposed in blind taste tests.

And, if you're buying expensive vodka to mix in a cocktail, is it really going to taste better if you use Grey Goose instead of a good cheaper vodka like Svedka? The extra enjoyment just comes from looking at the bottle and knowing it's top shelf. Also, Absolut is definitely not as good as Svedka, but it costs more because it has better advertising and an iconic bottle.

LoafingOaf said...

He is just another druggie trying to explain why it is really all OK.

And why isn't it okay? You think it's immoral or something? The people you should worry about are those whose consumptions of booze or other substances are interfering with their responsibilities in life. I don't know about Hitch's personal, family life, but it sure isn't interfering with his professional life. Quite the opposite. So why isn't it okay?

What's amusing is how the moment Hitchens turned on the Left, the leftists started calling him an alcoholic. His drinking wasn't an issue until he started disagreeing with them.

LoafingOaf said...

He seems backwards in saying to drink when you are happy. Why change how you feel when you feel good?

Alcohol can make you either happier or sadder. If you are trying to drink your miseries away, you'll end up increasing your depression. But if you're drinking when you're in good spirits, it enhances the good times.

LoafingOaf said...

"Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop."

No, it's never think about driving if there's a chance your BAC is over .08%. But not because you can't drive okay if there's a slight chance your BAC is at .08%. But rather because the police state that used to be the Land of the Free can't wait to suck everyone it can into the criminal justice system. You don't wanna go down like that and give our insane justice system and its deranged prosecutors another person's life to mess up.

So know how many drinks exposes you to arrest. Especially when leaving a restaurant or bar, cuz the po-po love to pull cars leaving such places over for the flimsiest of pretexts.

If I've only had one drink, though, there's no reason I shouldn't drive. If people are gonna be that hardcore about it, then they should never drive if they haven't had a full 8 hours of sleep either. And they shouldn't be riding my tail so close. And they shouldn't be speeding past me. Aggressive driving puts lives at risk, not my decision that I can have a beer at a restaurant and get in my car. I haven't caused an accident since I was a 16 year old newbie driver.

Eric said...

Alcohol may make other people less tedious, but it makes the drinker more tedious.