Sunday, December 7, 2008

Avoiding Comas Through Vomit

They seem to be having a problem with teenage drunkenness over there in Germany. Oh, wait. They're having an 'epidemic' of teenage drunkenness over there in Germany. When you're talking epidemic, you've definitely left the realm of 'the problem'. You're into a whole new territory when you have an epidemic on your hands (and a drunken one at that). Far be it from the Germans to ever sit around and let something get so far out of control that there's no stopping it. (Well, with the exception of that World War II thing and that dictator guy who got a little overzealous on occasion. Aside from that incident, the Germans are on top things.) So, according to my favorite source for all of my German news in English, The Local, "A new campaign to combat an epidemic of teenage drunkenness in Germany will distribute 1.5 million beer coasters with pictures of teens passed out in puddles of vomit." I see. Wait. What?

The rationale behind this idea, it would seem is that "The graphic images on beer coasters are supposed to remind teenagers of the consequences of over-imbibing." Funny. When I see pictures of people passed out in puddles of vomit, it reminds me of how much I dislike vomit. Mine, yours, anyone's really. Not a fan. I doubt it would encourage me to under-imbibe (nothing else has).

The campaign is apparently using what they consider to be "... the English-language slogan "Don't drink too much - Stay Gold". Is that an "English-language slogan" because it's in English? or is that an "English-language slogan" because they think that we say that? ("We" being those of us who speak English, I guess.) If it's the latter, um, we don't. Speaking strictly for myself (and everyone I've ever met in my life) I have never once uttered the "English-language slogan" "Don't drink too much - Stay Gold." Never. (Stay gold. Isn't that from the SE Hinton book "The Outsiders"? "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold." I think it is. I think that the one guy said it right before he died. And it was to remind Ponyboy to stay the way that he was; an innocent youth. Nice choice, German campaign organizer guys. Nice choice. This may not end well.)

I wanted to know how big of a problem/epidemic we were talking about here and fortunately, a one Jörg Schönbohm, who is the Interior Minister of Brandenburg (and seems to have knowledge about this situation), has said that “The boozing goes on until they hit a coma." In which case, I'd have to agree that "a coma" is problematic. Now, I've never "hit a coma" from drinking (I've hit the floor a couple of times, but never a coma), but if you're a teenager who is drinking a lot, it would probably be easier for you to "hit a coma" than it would for me. And that's a shame because those teenage years should really be coma-free for the most part.

Part of the problem with all of the teenage drinking is something called a flat-rate party. (By the way, those lucky Germans get to drink beer and wine when they are 16 and the hard stuff when they are 18. Man, I could have used some laws like that in high school, I'll tell you what.) A flat-rate party is when you pay a set price and can you can drink yourself silly until you "hit a coma" if you'd like. It's like an all-you-can-drink buffet. Apparently, "In 2007, 26 percent of German children consumed more than five drinks in a row, the definition of binge drinking, up from 20 percent the year before. More than 20,000 German youth were hospitalized for binge drinking in 2007." 20,000?? Good Lord, people. Slow down. You don't want to get so drunk that you don't end up having ill-advised drunken sex later on in the evening!

And the solution to all of this drunken mayhem in Germany (in English) is coasters with disgusting images of those who have "over-imbibed" (and, from the looks of things, definitely won't be doing any drunken fornicating). "One coaster has a picture of a teenage boy, dancing at a party and showing off his washboard abs. The flip side of the coaster shows the same teenager, passed out after wetting his pants." Behold!

"Another coaster shows a drunken football fan sitting in a pool of his own vomit." Lovely. I mean, behold!
Oh, that is off-putting. These are quite a bit different from the US Ad Council's awareness campaign about underage drinking. It's subtle, but I think you'll get it.

Yeah, that is definitely different than this:

Now, I'm not saying that nothing should be done about this problem. But come you really expect a bunch of teenagers to use coasters for cryin' out loud?

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Anonymous said...

Technical: I do not believe the first coaster depicts a "teenage boy dancing in his underwear at a party" (are we looking at the same picture??). I see the body/ torso/ trunk of a darker-skinned underwear model/ hunk who is probably in his mid 20s if he's a day, maybe even his mid 30s, apparently posing at a professional photo shoot. What makes you think he's got anything in common with the guy on the other side of the coaster? You've been drinking again, haven't you...

Mare said...

That's a good point. This is why I always use quotes and italics in an attempt to indicate that I am quoting my cited source of the info. (I also use them so that I can blame someone else when things go horribly awry.) That was the text that went with that photo in the article over there at The Local. Maybe in Germany, their version of 'dancing' is different than the US version of 'dancing'. You know, like that stupid metric system. Who understands THAT?!

And as far as if I've been drinking again? AGAIN? I never stopped. =)