If the style seems a little odd its because the article was written for one of my American gigs.
Politicians, medical experts and church leaders here in Britain are panicking about the binge drinking antics of teenagers. All around the country young people are getting rat-arsed and behaving in an offensive and embarrassing way. Ive read things are pretty much the same in the other English speaking nations so we must wonder is something going on, is there some social trend that is driving the under twenties towards alcoholism?
Aside from the general crappiness of everything and the prospect of having to work in a call centre or fast food outlet for fifty years because our leaders exported all the proper jobs to India and China, there is no obvious reason for the lack of manners and self respect we see in young people.
A lot of the blame can be placed on psychology. It is criminally irresponsible to let psychologists loose near impressionable young people. Kids are resilient and can bounce back from most things but ten minutes with a shrink can so traumatise them, their lives are irredeemably damaged. Teenagers of my generation never suffered trauma, in fact we did not even know how to pronounce it. Do you want to know how beneficial psychology can be to young people? Three words, Running With Effing Scissors.
So psychology has done a lot of harm by encouraging the idea that children should be wrapped in cotton wool and protected from reality. Is there anything else?
We need to examine education policies, not so much dumbing down as dumbing up. It used to be that the stupid kids were laughed at and bullied. Other kids would spit at them, pin insulting signs to their backs and make them eat snot sandwiches. And a few years ago that was an incentive. The dumb kids had a choice, either get smart or get hard. Mostly they got hard and beat all the bullies to a pulp.
Modern education policies hold that nobody should be allowed to fail. So the stupid kids get As and the bright kids get marginalised. Nobody likes a smart Alec, this makes the smart and even the in-between kids act stupid just to fit in. Then everybody gets competitive, trying to be the most stupid. How can kids develop self esteem in such an atmosphere.
Thirdly, liberal parents do not help their kids. If your early teens want a sleepover party do not offer to let them have light duty alcohol with your approval. This will not teach them to respect alcohol. What you have to do is come over Tipper Gore (oops, pardon!) on them, give a two hour lecture on the evils of sex and drugs and rock & roll and warn them they will end up like Ozzy Osbourne or Paula Abdul or with a liver the size of Alaska and a brain the size of a pin if they touch a drop of booze, say a bad word in their mind without even moving their lips or look at a picture of Lindsey Lohan getting out of a limo. On second thoughts scrub the pin, we dont want the little darlings thinking sex and booze will make them more intelligent.
Before you go out make sure the drinks cabinet is securely locked. This will test their resolve and their ingenuity and if they have had to work hard for their booze you can be sure they will not treat it lightly.
Kids need boundaries, if there are no boundaries there is nothing to rebel against and they become confused and antisocial. Think about this logic; they have light duty alcohol, spritzers, breezers or alcopops and think threy can handle booze. On the other hand if they raid the drinks cabimet success will go to their heads and they will polish off several bottles of Jack Daniels, Gin, Bacardi and Brandy. And then they will learn to respect alcohol. And your local carpet cleaning contractor will love you.
Teenage boys of my generation did not provoke and fears about binge drinking. An education in the University of Life had taught us to respect both booze and ourselves. You would not have seen us being brought home in a police car, wearing our trousers on our heads and singing the chorus to Spirit in the Sky over and over. We had been brought up to know when we had HAD ENOUGH. Make sure your kids read this; when you have you are lying in the gutter choking on your own vomit you are getting close to your limit, so only have a couple more beers. After that, nothing except a few shots maybe.
I am not being a killjoy, even young men who know when they have HAD ENOUGH can have fun and do crazy things. A friend of mine once tried to eat a young turtle he mistook for a meat pie. He managed to get most of it down before the Chinese takeaway shop owner noticed. Why do they have fishtanks in Chinese Takeaway shops? Its just asking for trouble.
The current crisis is not just about young men of course. Young women on a night out are just as capable of behaving like sluts; getting their boobs out in the street, showing their knickers to the CCTV cameras. And they get worse when they have had a few drinks.
All the projectile vomiting, falling asleep in dumpsters and having sex with inflatable animals is avoidable with a little self discipline of course. Its easy to know when you have HAD ENOUGH, when lying in the gutter choking on your own vomit then you should only have a couple more beers. After that, nothing … except a few shots maybe. If young people can just remember that they will be OK well OKish.
Modern kids are just not learning to be responsible with drink because they are overprotected. They just do not develop the emotional maturity to be able to handle themselves. Here is the message that should be spelled out to all young people: If you can’t stand on your own two feet you should not be drinking.