1. Here's Camille Paglia singing the praises of alcohol. Specifically, she's arguing for lowering the drinking age from 21, which I completely agree with, and I even agree with most of what she says about alcohol's superiority to marijuana (because of its long tradition and its enrichment of the great pleasures of food and conversation). But Paglia goes pretty far. ("Exhilaration, ecstasy and communal vision are the gifts of Dionysus, god of wine. Alcohol’s enhancement of direct face-to-face dialogue is precisely what is needed by today’s technologically agile generation....") It's not that she says nothing about drunkenness. (In fact, she stresses the big problem with the 21-year drinking age: It pushes young people into destructive house-party drinking.) In fact, I've got to say, I pretty much agree with everything she says — including the worry that marijuana "saps energy and willpower and can produce physiological feminization in men."
2. Here's Mark Shand, brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, dead from a door — dead as a doornail, nailed by a door. He was drinking in the posh bar of the Gramercy Park Hotel, which he had to exit, through a revolving door, to smoke a cigarette — the long history of drinking and smoking having been disrupted by the demand that smokers take their disapproved-of habit outdoors. Having left through the revolving door and smoked, it was time to return to his drink, and he never got back in. Somehow the drinking and smoking and door revolving sent him falling onto the sidewalk, forever separated from that drink, gone for good. Is drinking to blame? The law that separates drinking from smoking? The revolution of the door? One more British death in an American revolution. Whatever happened to American freedom, within which a man with a drink and needing a smoke could stay put in his chair and not have to test his alcohol-laden skills in the dangerous door?