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by Alexander Cockburn

Pour, Little Rich Girl

Politicians here still parrot Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign against teen drug use. Barack Obama's in trouble for supposedly telling teens he too used bad drugs, including heroin. But the needle and the joint don't hold a candle to simple booze when the cohort, stretching from midteen high-schoolers through to college-age kids, is marinating itself into weekly oblivion. Another lost generation is in the making.

Kids are getting loaded earlier and more often than they used to. One big concern touted in the press endlessly used to be date rape, with the girl-victim laid out by drugs. Now it's binge drinking. High-schoolers, and in particular high-school girls, drink hard liquor in large quantities as fast as they can and pass out. Sometimes they get gang-raped and wake up pregnant.

This is the culture. Even meth addiction looks better. Much of it started with the "Girls Gone Wild" home videos, which were largely filmed during spring break. Now it's spring break all year round.

Google tries to strip these off YouTube and such as soon as they go up. But there are undergound sites that may be searchable.

For fun at fraternity or sorority parties, the pledges -- that is, those who have been accepted for membership -- are made to drink until they throw up and pass out. Then they are stripped by the sober contingent and have swastikas and racist epithets written on their bodies in permanent magic marker and posed in indecent positions -- then the whole affair is filmed and posted on Facebook and MySpace websites.

If parents really want to know what their kids are up to, they should read the Facebook entries -- but it's probably better not to know. A friend of mine with a frat-boy son returned shaken from one weekend visit to the fraternity house, where he witnessed a lad who vomited on the sleeping fathers during "Dads Weekend." This was after he had drained a bottle of Grey Goose vodka, which followed a day of nonstop drinking. "I don't know how he survived," my friend concluded in some perplexity.

A recent survey done in Montana, admittedly a heavy drinking state across all age groups, had 38 percent of high-schoolers admitting binge drinking within the past 30 days, above the national average of 28 percent. Binge drinking is defined in these stats as having five or more drinks in one session. Over a third of these young boozers said they'd been in a car whose driver was also busy getting loaded. You trip over reports of the resultant auto disasters all the time, in local papers everywhere.

Teen and college drinkers include returning vets from Iraq, mostly in their mid-20s. Portland State University in Oregon, 400 miles north of where I live, has 800 vets enrolling this fall, and many other colleges across the country have a similarly huge inrush. These include a predictable complement of people with severe problems of post-traumatic stress syndrome, which is likely to produce sociopathic behavior.

Parents who are worried that some drunk will drive their own drunken children into walls or other cars, or that their own drunken children will be behind the wheel, now encourage the parties to take place in their own homes. This carries its own risks, in the form of "social hosting" laws in many states, where the householder -- even if away on holiday or on business -- can get nailed for allowing the party. This includes liability for damages if any death or injury stems from the revelry, either on site or in some carload of party-goers on their way home.

If Americans look for leadership amidst this crisis, they probably won't want to dwell too long on George Bush, a frat boy with a major drinking problem until -- supposedly -- he laid off after Laura had been on the receiving end of one too many unpleasant homecomings. George claims God saved him, but there are no signs of the mass religious revival that would now be necessary.

Any good news? There is a study out there, conducted by people at the University of Virginia, that shows teens having consensual sex early in their teens or even preteen years are less likely to become delinquents later on. Seems the steady diet of sex drains them of the energy and initiative required to do all the other bad things.

© Creators Syndicate

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Albion Monitor   November 30, 2007   (

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