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"Blinded" by binge drinking

This contribution has been submitted to Webdiary by a student in the Online Journalism unit for the Masters in Media Practice and Masters in Publishing courses at The University of Sydney as part of the unit's assessment. The topics covered in the pieces awaiting publication are interesting – and diverse. We hope that Webdiarists will enjoy reading them, as well as giving these aspiring journalists plenty of constructive commentary.

“Blinded” by binge drinking: Why Australian youths need to take more responsibility for their drinking habits
by Olivia Proud

Smashed. Plastered. Blind. Hammered. Legless. It almost sounds like a car accident. Pissed. Blotto. Shit-faced. No, we are not in the public toilets. It’s just the response we hear so often when we ask how a mate was last Saturday night. Only for a country that seems to take such pleasure in getting drunk, we sure don’t make it sound like too much fun.

So maybe it’s fitting then, that the government is finally taking measures and will spend $53.5 million in the 2008-2009 Federal Budget to help combat binge drinking and its related harms. As a Generation Y member I feel fit to comment on such a matter. Yes, I admit it. In the earlier days I have binged on alcohol, repented, binged again (and so forth) until I reached an epiphany. Drinking does not equal enjoyment.

The Australian Department of Health and Aging National Alcohol Strategy 2006-2009 reports that each year around 3,100 people die as a result of excessive alcohol consumption and around 72,000 people are hospitalised. Not only is binge-drinking costing lives but it is also costing money. Australians are paying $7.6 billion annually for alcohol-related social problems. And that’s not fun for taxpayers either.

In contrast to many frenzied reports in the media, this binge-drinking phenomenon is not a new one. I spoke to Gino Vumbaca, the Executive Director of the Australian National Council on Drugs who explained that binge drinking or drinking to excess has affected Australian society for a number of years. “The difference now is that young people have more of a disposable income than in the past.... It’s also about adult responsibility. In previous generations we’ve settled down, married, have had kids and all that in our 20s... Now late teens and 20s are more about exploring and pushing limits and partying.”

It could also have to do with the fact that we are the generation that has been handed everything on a silver platter. 25 year old Melbourne student Demitrios Sirilas agrees. “We live in a society were everything is delivered quick and effortlessly so therefore it can easily be replaced or forgotten. Perhaps the same attitude is what we take with our actions like...I was pissed last week but who cares ‘cause no one will remember or care ‘cause I’ll be smashed again this week.”

But what happens when getting “smashed” goes wrong? This week The Sydney Morning Herald is covering the sad story of 18-year-old Jessica Loiterton that was raped by a taxi driver while he was driving her home after she had had so much to drink that she passed out. Of course it is not a choice to get raped, but it is a choice to get drunk. Sadly, many young Australians get so “blind”, that they are blind also to the fact they can find themselves in dangerous and life-threatening situations.

There needs to be a cultural shift in how we as Australians think about alcohol. If only we could think like the Italians, who don’t even have a word for ‘hangover’ in their vernacular. But like Vumbuca says, “you can’t import cultural traits. I think what it’s about is exposing the type of culture we have and making people a lot more aware of the culture of intoxication being too closely linked to enjoyment.”

This is what Australians need to start realising. But it can’t just be left up to the government to enlighten us that throwing up on your best friend’s shoe in front of a night club after one too many vodka-red bulls is not the most attractive end to a night. We as individuals need to start taking more responsibility for our short-term actions and come to terms with the fact that there are serious consequences.


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Bit late now...

"...a gentleman is someone who takes his weight on his elbows"

O now you tell me.

We have all been stupid

Kath, even if I had been inebriated it would have been no different. In fact after two drinks I have no interest in sex whatsoever; alcohol does that to me, always has - it's the drug of communication not copulation. Though I must admit I am prone to being generous with hugs if required.

Yes, one could say that lassie was stupid. But if she didn't pass out would she still have been stupid or just another fun loving young girl out to have a good time with some respectable school lads from respectable families? I wonder who was buying her drinks and if she know how much she was given?

It is a sad reality that the mongrel few stuff it up for the rest of us. And it's a sad reality that victims are quite often made feel responsible or partly responsible for their demise.

Kath, one day soon you will see your daughter drive off with a fresh faced school graduate or tradesman or whatever, to a function or such to have a fun time. Let's hope if, for whatever reason, she passes out, her escort is not as stupid as the rugger buggers.

What is a lady?

Kath, once upon a time diminished responsibility was the last refuge of (as Malcolm would say) the kiddy. If one can't hold their liquor then one should reconsider such a pastime.

What is a lady and who is to be the judge?

Many years ago I walked into the Bourbon & Beefsteak up the Cross. I was with two colleagues and they found a table while I went to the bar to get the drinks. It was early in the evening and the place was almost empty except for a lassie ordering a drink. I reached the bar and stood about two feet from her, and we both turned and looked at each other. She was beautiful, she began to smile, a sad smile then...

I don't know what happened but instantaneously we were in passionate embrace. Twas not I who initiated such interaction but I wasn't complaining. She was lovely.

My colleagues watched in disbelief, or so they told me later.

Now what was I to think, is this the behaviour of a lady, or a slut? My colleagues thought they had just witnessed the quickest pick up of all time. In fact they were pissed, really pissed; or so they admitted later.

I deserted my colleagues and spent the rest of the evening with a beautiful and vulnerable 23 year old girl who desperately needed someone. She was no slut, simply disturbed, but I won't go into detail. That evening we covered a lot of territory, punctuated by moments of passionate reassurance. I suppose she chose me not as a lover but her counsellor - this I quickly understood and played along as her most unprofessional psychologist.

I suppose if I was a kiddie I could have taken advantage of her physically and of course I had my mates, and the barman, as witnesses to her provocative behaviour. After all she had her tongue down my throat in all of two seconds.

But she was no slut, just a beautiful girl, from overseas, who was all alone in the world, she was lost, vulnerable and needed a friend. It was a stupid way of finding one but it does not necessarily follow that she was not a lady. Her behaviour did not warrant the disapproval of others, rather sympathy. Fortunately she chose an albatross and not a fox to share her loneliness with.

I learnt as a teenager (most) girls were not as they appeared and some did reckless things to get attention. Quite often it was not necessarily boys they wanted, but the approval of others.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I think you misunderstand me Justin. I am not insinuating that the young girl in this case was a "slut". Gee, I hate that word.

Is there a male equivalent?  Of course not!

The girl was stupid. The reality is, if a girl puts herself in such a situation ... She's drunk, a whole bunch of guy's are drunk.. what's gonna happen?

Certainly cannot compare the situation to the one you found yourself in. You were (still are) a decent  sensitive bloke, obviously  you were not so inebriated that your judgement was impaired.

Justin: "What is a lady and who is to be the judge?"

A well-mannered and considerate woman with high standards of proper behavior, Justin (as defined by the dictionary).

What is the definition of a gentleman? A well-mannered and considerate man with high standards of proper behavior. (as defined by the dictionary)

"... she got pissed with a bunch of engineering students and passed out on the bed"?

No ladies  or gentlemen present on the night in question. Once the alcohol consumption escalated, any semblence of gentility and reservation flew out the window.

I know it's serious but

"Is there a male equivalent?"  There's an old saying Kathy, "all men are sluts" and Justin, I'm not too sure what a lady is but a gentleman is someone who takes his weight on his elbows.

Better late than never!

So, squashed a few in your time, eh Justin?

Ah, Scott, methinks you gentlemen are a dying breed...

Dying breed

Goodness Kathy, you do get around don't you?

True Gentlemen

We, Kathy Farrelly, just lie back and think of Scotland.  If we die, it is but a petit mort.

The Cross

Well, that was what the Cross always used to be about, Justin Obodie.  We mourn the passing of the Bourbon and its proprietor, the incomparable Bernie.  We're now trying to get the place back to normal.

Don't worry too much about the lack of qualification as a psychologist, comfort is often the best help one can give anyone.  Dr Reynolds and I are doomed to being more clinical, I'm afraid.

Fiona: Speak for yourself, Dr Duncan. 

A glorious sight to behold - blood and guts and justice

"Those of us who weren't rugger buggers thought it was all very poor form, totally ungentlemanly but she was, by repute, no virgin. Nor is that an excuse but, where you place yourself in the way of harm, are you but an innocent?"

Pretty poor form indeed. I reckon there is no excuse for that sort of behaviour.

Me old mate Jack would have taken care of things as he did way back in '75. We where having a quiet chinwag in the pub when a young bloke (around my age) who had too much to drink showed (minor) physical disrespect to his lady friend. She didn't like it; neither did Jack.

Jack immediately let it be known this lad was no gentleman. The lad took offence and shaped up to Jack who appeared nonplussed by the aggression. Jack decided that it would be best if the lad simply apologised to the lassie and be done with it. The lad shaped up with a mouthful of obscenities. This didn't help at all because Jack had a thing about bad language and women being mutually exclusive.

What followed was glorious.

The lad threw a couple of pretty good punches but they connected with air. Jack simply nodded this way and that. His feet barely moved while his eyes stayed fixed on his opponent. The lad got a little frustrated and threw a few more punches; easily avoided by Jack.

It was about 10 seconds into the first round when Jack threw his first punch. A friendly little left jab delivered with brutal intention to the lad's snout. Claret immediately flowed everywhere. It was wonderful.

The lad was a little taken back by this turn of events but it did not dampen his enthusiasm nor did he modify his game plan. As such the lad went on the attack as he did previously and copped the exact same punch to the right side of his mouth. There was so much blood coming from the lad's nose it was hard to see what damage the second punch inflicted. By now the lad was beginning to lose heart and could see he had picked the real McCoy.

Once more unto the breach and all that. The lad had another go (maybe for his honour but most likely because he was stupid) and once again a short left jab to the side of his right eye - more claret. By now the lad was looking very sick indeed.

I reckon the lad threw around 30 punches, all missed - Jack threw three; all hit the target.

I love a good boxing match but hate a mismatch. By now I was feeling a little sorry for the lad and suggested to him it would be wise to apologise to his young lady for his ignorance. The lad obliged and quickly disappeared looking battered bruised and humiliated - just the way it should be for such clowns.

Jack was born in 1899. At the time he was 75 years old. Jack once talked about his days as a pugilist; sometimes you wonder whether people make stuff up - apparently Jack didn't.

The rugger buggers were simply grubs who deserved a bloody good hiding. It probably wouldn't do them any good but it sure feels good seeing mongrels get what they deserve.

To me it don't matter whether a woman has been screwed by one guy or a thousand; they are all ladies, and we should treat them as such.

Your example

Olivia, I don't know if your example of the girl getting raped by the taxi driver is a good one. Your'e right in saying it is a choice to get drunk and maybe if the girl hadn't been so drunk she could have fought this man off. However, surely this example also relates to the way men perceive women in Australia. Men should know that drunk women do not equal things to be manipulated.

Fiona: Welcome to Webdiary, Sandra.

Only just noticed this

While, Sandra Kelly what you say about men is true, recklessness works both ways. When I was at University living at Paul's, David Marr, then a young journalist whose homosexuality had been quietly treated by his fellow students and the Warden, in particular, wrote a scathing attack on College culture in the then National Times (for which Mungo MacCallum and Malcolm Turnbull also wrote).

There were three factions in College in my day: the rugger buggers, the intellectuals and those in the middle. We were all tolerant of one another. There were homosexuals in all three factions.

One night, some girls from Women’s' were drinking with the Rugger Buggers and, after one of them had passed out while pashing someone, one of the Rugger Buggers had intercourse with the girl in quo. It was unprotected sex and, it eventuated, she was not on the pill. While it raises important questions about informed consent, what did she think was going to happen if she got pissed with a bunch of engineering students and passed out on the bed? They genuinely thought she was up for it and that was probably why no charges were laid. She'd been laid and realised afterwards so, to mollify her parents in the event she was pregnant (she wasn't) she cried wolf.

Marr took it up.

Those of us who weren't rugger buggers thought it was all very poor form, totally ungentlemanly but she was, by repute, no virgin. Nor is that an excuse but, where you place yourself in the way of harm, are you but an innocent?

That should get you all going.

A very good point

Malcolm: "Those of us who weren't rugger buggers thought it was all very poor form, totally ungentlemanly but she was, by repute, no virgin. Nor is that an excuse but, where you place yourself in the way of harm, are you but an innocent?"

You raise a very good point  Malcolm.

If you (a female) drink to excess getting blind drunk with a bunch of guys doing likewise, what the hell do you expect?

Justin: "To me it don't matter whether a woman has been screwed by one guy or a thousand; they are all ladies, and we should treat them as such."

It may not matter to you Justin, but surely judgement is impaired if one has been imbibing to excess?

And, if the woman in question is not behaving like a lady, why do you suppose that these guys should be behaving like gentlemen?


They should be behaving like gentlemen because they were, on graduation, going to be entitled to that character.  That's what gave the rest of us the hump - and they were disciplined for it - don't you worry about that.  I was a Sergeant at the time and I was used to disciplining people.  They never did it again.  There is social utility in the back of a shithouse.  No blood ever touched one of my fair fingers nor was I a conspirator: I just explain things.  Sometimes you can just terrify even engineers.

No person deserves what happened to that girl but no institution deserves what Marr did to the place that had nurtured him. 

It's just odd that, 31 years later, I'm still annoyed about it.

 We had a way of coping with that sort of rubbish and we did so reasonably well.  It was not a matter for public comment.

As I think you might acknowledge, Kathy Farrelly, there are times when children have to grow up.  We had a lot of children at University and I was keen to grow them up.

TOM was at Oxford by that stage.  Don't think he ever became a Sergeant.  Don't think the prick ever joined up. 

Hey, Kath: no need to chuck stuff


nouns/verbs....not a big call.....and, a long way from wisdom

Ask your daughter.

A hug beats a chuck every time

Ya can't beat a hug.

Your trump F Kendall!

Malcolm, literally speaking - hehehehe

Frolicking bollocks taken in the more literal sense is something any Scot would appreciate, or not.

Not being a Scot I do not appreciate it at all; it just sounds horrifically flingy, in the highland sense, hehehe.

As grannie once said

Does the world ever change? Reading my grandmother's letters to her daughter in 1915 about the war in which her son was fighting (later to die):

Oh dear, I don't know what the world is coming to. God must be so angry the wickedness of the world. Eating drinking and merry making, never reading their Bibles or teaching their children religion.

As for the Government of the day she had this to say: 

We will eat all the cheese we make for awhile, will save Dad going over to Kempsey, beside the Government has fixed the price of cheese now at 10 pence. Aren't they wretches? I see by the paper too the Government partly objects to women making shirts and singlets for equipping the recruits. saying it might interfere with the labouring classes getting a living,...I'm afraid there'll be no peace for our side until the masses give up their selfishness and become Christians in earnest dropping their drink and sports.

With such sentiments handed down the generations how could a lady dare to touch a drop I might ask? But at least now I know why I never took up sewing shirts or singlets. One would not want to deprive the labouring classes.

Grannie was good at hard labour herself and walked bare foot everywhere, thinking nothing of 14 miles to and back to visit her mother. Maybe that is where I also got my aversion to shoes from, as well as to the grog.

BTW: No Malcolm B Duncan, a certain party is not back on the dreaded drop and will not be until he can walk a straight line for a hundred yards at least.

Ian M (Ed):  Not only am I every day as shober as a judge, but I can walk as shtraight a line as any cop can. I resht my cashe. 

See what you have frolicking started, Ian

It would appear you've done it now. Cursing by proxy sort of. If I happened to be the word "frolicking" I would sue you, even if you are a frolicking bush lawyer.

Frolicking bollocks I say, hehe. Damn there's that mental picture again - go away - GO AWAY.


Justin Obodie, there are students present.  If any of them also happens to be an anatomist, I'd love to know how one frolicks bollocks.


"John really gives a frolick"...verb = "give", "frolick" = noun, object of verb "gives"

"Mary doesn't give a frolick"   similar.

You need:  "John frolics" etc

A wise guy, eh F Kendall!

 Care for some pie my dear?


Frolick a duck

One of my predictions has come true.  We've started to teach the students grammar. Well  done F Kendall.

Next the future perfect pluperfect  and (drum roll) THE GERUND.

Ian M (Ed): Put F Kendall's name up in lights by all means, Malcolm, but shouldn't Kathy Farrelly also get a mention in one of your dipatches?

Frolick an alcoholic

Thankyou, Ian. If I hadn't posted the  frolicking piece in the frolicking first place, there would have been nothing to frolicking correct. (Throws head back and sniffs haughtily!)

Really, Ian

di patches were from North America weren't they?

You back on the piss?

Apologies to any individual to whose individual post I was not individually replying.

Mmmm.  Raspberries in season again I notice. 

A point of information, m'lud

Malcolm, I'm sorry, I thought a man of your learning and erudition would know.

The dipatches are not some obscure Amerindian tribe. The term comes from the sound recording, telecommunications and IT industries.

There are monopatches, dipatches, tripatches... need I go on? Also multipatches. A dipatch by you would have connected the contributions of Kathy Farrelly and F Kendall. Quite simple really.

The verb 'to dispatch' by the way in such context means 'to render a patch non-functional or no longer operational'.

I hope this helps. 

(Aside) I should have been a lawyer.

Dangerous ground Ian MacDougall

While I accept that there is no known keyboard in existence that can actually spell, exercising due judicial solemnity, could the aspiring but not consumated (aside) lawyer kindly explain the difference between "dipatches" and "dispatches"? I think something might turn on the distinction but I am always pleased to have the assistance of counsel.

Now, where was that frolicking copy of Blackstone?

If I may be allowed to instruct Your Honour...

Malcolm: One uses a dipatch to enable the dispatch of a monopatch. My learned colleague opposite will of course be aware that a monopatch, when used with sufficient line voltage, is effective for use in connecting a computerised communicator with himself, in a particular and fundamental way.

If Your Honour takes my meaning.

We don't take instruction; we hear submissions

Reminds me of a very funny Not the 9 O'clock News sketch.

Goes something like:

Counsel: the accused is charged with stealing a digital watch.

Judge (Rowan Atkinson in a fruity, laboured old voice):   A dig-i-tal watch? What is a dig-i-tal watch? 


Counsel: The second count is stealing a computer.

Judge:   A com-puter? What is a com-puter?


Counsel: Finally he is charged with stealing a de-luxe inflatable woman.

Judge:   The de-luxe is the one with the eyes that light up and the real hair isn't it?

misogyny and S.U.

I recently received a glossy begging brochure from the 'varsity.  The gender discrimination shocked me, in that the photograph of each  woman was enhanced by the inclusion of an engaging, cute animal.   None of the men, not even Chancellor Gavin Brown,  were given this advantage.

In the interests of gender equality, if no small animal willing to be seen with the men could be found, surely they could have been provided with a soft, furry toy, eg, a teddy bear?

Which generation is to blame?

Olivia, your opinion piece, (apart from talking about binge drinking) is throwing a tantrum and screaming for attention to be considered in the Gen-Y debate. Your entry that is. Not you.

The phenomena that you have highlighted is not the binge drinking itself but the attention that it is getting. The attention that every generation gets when they start to emerge as the reckless 20 something year olds of society. 

Generation X were scrutinised for being cynical of their predecessors - the Baby Boomers (...) and before that the Baby Boomers were scrutinised for being part of a generation all together. Literally, all together being collectively reactive to everything together.

Now it seems Generation Y are being scrutinised for being too drunk to be part of a proper generation. I mean really who are Generation Y? 

Baby Boomers are supposedly born between 1946-1964 with a clear cut off leading into Generation X which is between 1965-1981 and then Generation Y's were born between 1977- 1994 claiming some of the ex-Generation X's. How rebellious!

I guess some generations are ahead of their times. At least the other generations didn't get a washed up, recycled name from the generation before them.

Anyway Olivia, your point on changing attitudes of alcohol abuse is valid but another point that can be made in relation to the topic is that we need to be more aware that whatever generation we come from there is a generation that follows us and not every generation in their 20 something phase of evolution are John McVicars who need rehabilitation.

Alas it is too late to shake the Bad Boy image for Generation Y but we can shake the drink. 

N.B. As long as I can remember I have watered down my juice. These days I don't buy juice. I'd rather spend my money on a martini.

Know thy drugs

"I think they may be safer taking drugs. But then possibly they had done that as well."

Funny you should say that, Michael. I learnt very early in my drinking days that if one smoked a joint prior to drinking then one would drink in moderation, behave in a civilized manner, and still feel good.

Next morning, no hangover and no horrible feeling of what did I get up to last night, who did I offend and why in frolick's name is my memory so fragmented and do I want to remember anything anyway - ? We all know the feeling - with exceptions hey Jenny -but not Potomac Princess?

Anyway, best shut me beak wise I may be accussed of corrupting young minds.

PS. It would be advisable not to drink then smoke a joint. The consequences are usually unfortunate (as many have found out) unless, of course, you are brain dead or a stupid old albatross.

Something to mull over.

Justin: "Next morning, no hangover and no horrible feeling of what did I get up to last night, who did I offend and why in frolick's name is my memory so fragmented and do I want to remember anything anyway?"

So true Justin.

However, I did used to find the serious attack of the munchies a little disconcerting. 

PS:  I just love that word "frolicks"

Conjures such marvellous  imagery.

Onya  Marilyn.

Hey Kathy - frolicking

Hey Kathy, credit where credit is due please. The gales of laughter coming from the study next door as a certain editor does his bit to wash out  a few mouths around here. Mind you I think the spelling is for WD purposes - frolick.

I have to say this for Marilyn, she never seems to object but seems to take it in good spirit, as did the albatross.

See fellows, so easy and just as effective. I wonder how long before frolick appears in its own right in the OED with accreditation to WD - to editor Ian if you don't mind.

Perhaps the students could give it a boost - introduce it into those hallowed halls of learning.

Frolicking in the park

Thanks for setting me straight Jen.

Apologies to Ian.

"See fellows, so easy and just as effective. I wonder how long before frolick appears in its own right in the OED with accreditation to WD - to editor Ian if you don't mind."

Indeed Jenny!

How about this for starters?

Why Frolick is the Best Word in the English Language...
by Who the Frolick Knows

Perhaps one of the most interesting and colorful words in the English language today is the word ""frolick".

It is a magical word which, just by its sound can describe pain, pleasure, love, and hate. In language, "frolick" falls into many grammatical categories.

It can be used as a verb both transitive (John frolicked Mary) and intransitive (Mary was frolicked by John).

It can be an action verb (John really gives a frolick

a passive verb (Mary really doesn't give a frolick)
and adverb (Mary is frolicking interested in John),

or as a noun (Mary is a terrific frolick).

It can also be used as an interjection (Frolick! I 'm late for my date with Mary).

It can even be used as a conjunction (Mary is easy, frolick she's also stupid).

As you can see there are very few words with the overall versatility of the word frolick. Aside from its sexual connotations, this word can be used to describe many situations:

1. Greetings........."How the frolick are ya?"

2. Fraud..............."I got frolicked by the car dealer."

3. Resignation......."Oh, frolick it!"

4. Trouble............."I guess I'm frolicked now."

5. Aggression........."Frolick you!"

6. Disgust................"Frolick me."

7. Confusion............." What the frolick....?"

8. Displeasure............"Frolicking shit man..."

9. Lost........................"Where the frolick are we?"


11.Retaliation............."Up your frolicking a**!"

12. Apathy................."Who really gives a frolick?"

13. Suspicion............."Who the frolick are you?"

14. Directions.............."Frolick off."

It can be maternal........"Motherfrolicker."

It can be used to tell time......."It's four frolicking twenty!"

It can be used as an anatomical description............."He's a frolicking a**hole."

Lastly, it has been used by many notable people throughout history:

"What the frolick was that?" -Mayor of Hiroshima

"That's not a real frolicking gun." -John Lennon

"Where the frolick is all this water coming from?" -Captain of the Titanic

"Who the frolick is gonna find out?" -Richard Nixon

"Heads are gonna frolicking roll." -Anne Boleyn

"Any frolicking idiot could answer that." -Albert Einstein

"It does so frolicking look like her!" -Picasso

"You want what on the frolicking ceiling?" -Michaelangelo

"Frolick a duck." -Walt Disney

"Houston, we have a big frolicking problem." - The crew of Apollo 13

Yes Jenny, I think Ian is frolicking on to something here!

Ian M (Ed): I think this post establishes you as the definitive world authority on the word, Kathy. You could however have added (15) Shock and Awe, as in the famous last words of General Custer: "Holy sh*t! Look at the frolicking Indians!"


Well see what WD has done to me?  I never used to have trouble with my spelling. Yet here I was now thinking frolic must really be spelt frolick and I had to go and look it up. 

As for you Kathy Farrelly, what can I say? 

How about you just frolick off.

Father Park, you are right - all the rest of the liquid stuff is lolly water. Not only that, it is full of artificial sweetners.

Everyone should look up aspartane and see what it can do to you. Beware of foods that say, no added sugar. Sure as eggs there you will find aspartane. Nasty stuff from what I've read.


My attention is drawn to a letter to the editor in the SMH about this Saturday's Randwick Races.

I was there on Saturday and couldn't help to notice about a thousand or so young people getting plastered under that hot sun at a Lawn Party where drinks were included in the price and, it seems, unlimited.

Disgruntled of Randwick apparently runs a hostel next to the racecourse, where they currently host a number of well bred young gels from Malaysia.

The poor lasses were apparently terrified as hundreds of these kids staggered from the course, urinating and vomiting in their front garden. It was far worse inside, though. I think the ones who made it to the hostel next door were possibly the only ones still capable of walking.

Did I do that at their age? Probably. But I did notice an odd thing. Groups of guys seemed to arrive together as did groups of lasses. And they left in the same arrangement. Alcohol, it seemed, hadn't loosened the inhibitions enough to give them courage and approach the opposite sex - which is what we did in my day - it seemed to reinforce the akwardness of this Generation X, Y or whatever it is.

So my conclusion is that binge drinking is a phenomena of its own, and a quite separate social activity from Malcolm B's complaint about wowserism. Personally, I think they may be safer taking drugs. But then possibly they had done that as well.

Prost! Alla Salute! Santé! Cheers!

Olivia, I think that the topic you have written about is very relevant, not only in Australia but also in other parts of the world. I myself, hailing from central Europe, have experienced how different drinking cultures affect young people. And though the culture (and laws) concerning alcohol may differ in Europe, the youth there will party hard, too!

It is important to spread awareness about the possible consequences the abusive use of alcohol can have (as it seems the Australian Government plans to do) but not to demonise the topic altogether. Young people will continue to drink and I feel that too much preaching can often lead to more rebellion than realisation.

Go along with that

Olivia, I will go along with all that. Coming from a long line of Temperance Movement adherents I never got to get with the grog. And the only taste I ever had, 30 years ago, was enough to put me off for life anyway. I simply do not see what is so great in the taste of the stuff. Give me OJ any day for a decent drop.

Now, having just ploughed through a few hundred letters written in the period 1910-1930, grog was just as much a matter of social concern back then. Descriptions of the drunkenness in the camps of soldiers headed off to the Great War take some beating, and I doubt it was just the fact that they were going to war that was the reason.

It was destroying families then, and it is destroying families now. As for the growth in youth binge drinking, well, I see that is a reflecting a breakdown in values in the society and culture generally, and not just in this country.

Greater affluence brings greater social problems. That may change now if the world slips into a depression.

OJ was a once a week or month treat when we were kids, of Depression era parents. Maybe the kids of today are in for a shock and withdrawal symptoms might be rather severe.

Even I have taken to watering down the OJ of late.

Rationale, please

Jenny Hume: "Even I have taken to watering down the OJ of late."

For reasons of economy, or realisation of the sugar content, Jenny?

Mind you, I still have trouble persuading my very health-conscious parents that I would far rather drink water than fruit juice.

Both, Fiona

Fiona, both as the stuff is far too expensive and far too sweet. I don't need to for economy but why waste money if you don't have to?

A simple solution

Don't buy, or drink, orange juice. Imbibe water, and eat oranges instead.

"Don't buy, or drink, orange

"Don't buy, or drink, orange juice".

 As is well attested Fiona, I do not drink... Orange juice. It is in fact the wrong colour. Given the recent "definition" of "binge" drinking it would appear that I have been in need of a liver transplant for some thirty over years.

If one does not admit to the colour, is a bottle of red considered "binge drinking"? Surely it all comes down to the millitres?

I have been guilty of buying orange juice though. My son refuses to swallow soft drinks of any brand colour or flavour - a habit of his twelve year lifetime - preferring oj. I do get him to drink water.... occasionally. With luck we'll change the balance. On the whole though, oj is preferable to the Cokes and Pepsis of the world.

On a more private matter, you'll be pleased to realise that my WD ambition has been realised. I now promise exemplary behavour...

Vaulting ambition....

No doubt, Father Park, you should also be pleased to realise that you only achieved your ambition because I was in transit between the NT and the Deep South and/or coughing my lungs out because of this wretched avian flu.

I will have a certain moderator's guts for garters in due course ;)

Scruffy and scurvy

Fiona,  I drink water mostly and buy oranges but rarely eat them. Why? Can't be bothered peeling them. If I do ever eat them I roll them firmly in my hand to soften them up, make a hole and then suck the juice out, then break them open and eat the now juiceless pulp.

We always did it that way in school. Saved getting juice all over the ladies college uniform. Mind you that did not stop one teacher trying to straighten my uniform while saying to me: You really are the scruffiest girl in the school. Maybe that is what put me off oranges. Too messy.  

BTW: What I did not tell that fashion conscious teacher was that I often slept in my uniform to save time in the morning. There was a long bike ride to the school and if you were late for morning prayers you were shut out till they were over, and had to wait outside for the Head to emerge to ask you why you were late. Flat tyres were no excuse so without good excuse the punishment was to be kept in after school. Locked out and kept in - a boring and regular part of my school days.

Give me a banana any day over a dribbling orange. Think I will stick with the OJ to keep the scurvy at bay thanks.

So easy

You are right there, Fiona.

Drink water and eat oranges. So easy.

Never gave my kids any juice. They drink only water. Well, Alix (my daughter) will drink milk.

The dentist reckons that as a result of my kids not drinking soft drink or juice , their teeth are in very good condition, with no cavities.

Journalism or an opinion piece?

There is a vast history of wowserism bedevilling this country almost from the beginnings of settlement to the Sallies, the temperance movement (largely aligned with females) and beyond.

Journalism should be about reporting not about  lecturing.

Now, the point you make about the Italian (and generally) the southern European attitude to wine provides some balance but what exactly is a binge?

In mediaeval times, most people drank either brewed beverages or wine (depending on their wealth) because it was safer than the water.

You forget, however, the traditional English exploitation of alcohol: drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence.  Google Hogarth's Gin Street (or was it Gin Lane?)

Don't opinion pieces have a place here?

Why thank you Malcolm, an opinion piece is exactly what I intended to write.

Funny you should say that actually. Before writing my piece I looked to the other Webdiarists to gauge an idea of the tone and language that was appropriate for this site, including you. Referring to almost all of your posts, I'm wondering whether this is a case of not practising what you preach. That's not to say I don't enjoy reading your work. You have your voice, and I'll have mine. After all, isn't that what Webdiary is about?

If you're asking me to define binge, I'm assuming you have never done so, in which case I'm not so sure why you have your knickers in a knot over what I've said in the first place.

You could probably binge on water too...

Who knows – didn't Beer Street lead to Gin Lane?

Anyway, I'm far from a wowser. I just thought it would be interesting to hear the argument from a Gen Y point of view. After all, we may be the bingers but we're still the ones who have to clean up the mess.

Proud: thereby goes

The point I was making ("Just trying to help Your Honour") was that I thought you were journalism students (and, in the sense that you are posting here to earn your piece of paper I rather think you are practising on us; in the sense that you are commenting or contributing, I welcome your comments) rather than opinionistas (to coin a phrase). 

What I post here is neither journalism nor intended to be, although, apart from the typos, it is generally much better written than most of what I have seen so far from the people competing at my Alma Mater.  

I contribute to the community. I do so very wittily, very opinionatedly, and very often. I adopt a number of different styles and all reflect a literary background.   Every now and then, I tell you all what the law is - well, that's one's duty.

There are no bad friends in this community. We disagree vociferously and there are few we bother to hate, although there are some who hate us. A lot of us have become friends. One of my roles in life is to be an educator. Students don't HAVE to listen.

 As for water, check it out. If you know any combination of chemistry and physiology, you'll understand that in sufficient quantity it's toxic. Once that happens, it's us old bludgers who have to clean up your mess. If you want to clean up ours, or our parents', keep the writing tight.

That's what I thought we were here for vis a vis the programme: to give constructive criticism. I always construct criticism. 

Would you like me to do a critique on what I have written here over the years?   Can do.

Drink at Manning some time? Your shout. [What does the plaque on the staircase say?]

What is journalism anyway?

I think maybe I should clear up what us students were required to do. We were supposed to write either a news story or an opinion piece about an issue of our choice.

Yes, we are journalism students, but given that the title 'opinion piece' suggests that one has an opinion, the changing ways of journalistic practice today and the nature of Webdiary (varying styles, genres etc.), I aimed to write specifically for a Webdiary audience rather than say a traditional media source. I wanted to stimulate conversation - which is what I believe I have done.

I appreciate your feedback! It's what helps us learn (if we've pulled the ipods out of our ears and decided to listen). I think we can all educate each other.

If you would like to do a critique of your life's work then by all means, go ahead. 

As for the drink, I am but a poor uni student. So drink's on you. What does the plaque say?

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