Australian Binge Culture

I read this fantastic article about how binge drinking is enmeshed within Australian society. I thought I would throw down a three of the key points from the article and open the table up for discussion. Click here to read more from the entire article.

1. Drinking has been apart of our culture from day dot.


Drinking has always been apart of the ‘Australian way’ from the early settlers with the rum wars to the 1950’s where people would drink hard up until 6pm at the pub. From the e diggers escaping their war memories to today’s sports-stars partaking in weekend hedonistic excursions. 

2. Current communication doesn’t work and alco-pop taxes are quite simply, lazy.

“The Federal Government’s $20 million binge campaign hit televisions, radio and billboards last week with the sign-off: “Don’t turn a night out into a nightmare.” Judging by the campaign budget, the Government is getting serious – more than it was with its dodgy alco-pops tax with its shabby pretence that it will hit young binge-drinkers. We know a tax when we see one. According to evidence now creeping out, young people aren’t drinking wise because of the tax, but they are drinking smart and drinking more.”

“Figures which show, for instance, that the cost of alcohol-attributable crime in 2004-05 (the most recent figures) was $1.735 billion, will not mean anything to someone heading out for a drink, let alone anyone else.
Somewhat easier to grasp is that:
– 20 per cent of dead drivers or riders were beyond the legal limit.

– 2.2 million Australians had been subjected to physical or verbal abuse from drunks.

– 12 per cent of Sydney’s inner-city hotels and nightclubs accounted for 60 per cent of the state’s alcohol-related incidents.

3. The line of accepted drinking behaviour is blurred and highly subjective.

“Its not alcoholism. Bingers, by definition, turn on and off. Theirs is not an alcoholic thirst; it’s a quest for write-off. binge-drinking is usually a group sport which requires momentum, commitment and a couple of hundred bucks per participant.”Perhaps we use it to make sense of others more than to know ourselves. It can improve or destroy sexual performance. It can make a conversation interesting or hideous. It turns up at marriage and it visits at death.”

I really like that last comment. About how the whole drinking thing exists in such an ubiquitous, dualistic way. The difficult thing is to identify what is ‘bad’ and what is ‘good’ about our drinking culture. I guess we need to find what the black areas are and what the white areas are in terms of accepted behaviour. Should that be a standard amount of drinks? The two cans, per man, per day type thing. Or how else should acceptable behaviour be quantified?

One thought on “Australian Binge Culture

  1. Hey Chris,

    Finding this stuff really interesting.

    This article in particular hits a hard note because the people in society who are being classified as binge drinkers are also those who have the “tough nut” classification about them as well. For me (being someone who has never been a massive drinker) it seems like a switch is flicked at some point in peoples lives where the norm is “you can’t be mr cool if you aren’t the most drunk person at the party”. The even scaryer thing about that is the age of that switch being flicked is getting lower. And that statement is pretty accurate because when do you not ever find yourself discussing a night out with the boys revolving around who the most maggot was. Sad really because it always ends up with “yeah I was pretty wasted.. spent way to much money and I feel like shit now”. What a way to spent quality time with your best mates.

    Keep them coming mate!
    Lovin it
    Carl

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