Chris Snowdon a few days back, quoting from an editorial in the Lancet:
There is no excuse to ignore regulatory interventions for access, advertisements, and unit cost that are shown to reduce alcohol consumption. Like tobacco, the longer the delay in effective control, the more severe future interventions for alcohol will need to be. It is not unimaginable that bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild, which once bore the artwork of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, might one day be required to have plain packaging and images of oesophageal cancer or a cirrhotic liver.
I suppose it must be some doctor who wrote this. I don’t suppose it would have been a lawyer or an architect or a bus driver. The Lancet is a medical journal, after all.
I don’t quite understand the first sentence. But it seems to be saying that there’s “no excuse” to not introduce measures that will “reduce alcohol consumption.” It seems to be the unstated assumption that reducing alcohol consumption is an unquestionably good thing about which absolutely everybody is completely agreed.
But I can easily imagine a situation where one would want to increase alcohol consumption. If you’re having a dinner party, wouldn’t you want to provide a few bottles of wine to help wash the food down, and maybe some brandy or port afterwards with the cigars? Wouldn’t you want everyone to get pretty well oiled?
But, of course, the doctor who wrote this editorial probably has dinner parties that are alcohol-free.
Forget any thoughts of plates laden with turkey and ham with roast potatoes and carrots and peas and gravy. Forget any ideas of second helpings as well. And forget any ideas about subsequent plates with huge slices of lemon meringue pie and whipped cream. Above all forget about any cigars and cognac and chocolate.
Face it. If this guy threw a dinner party, the guests would each be given a slice of bread and a glass of water. And the bread would be gluten-free.
In fact, I feel confident in saying that this guy never holds any dinner parties. And never goes to any. He probably hates them.
And he probably hates them because they are orgies of excess. A dinner party is supposed to be a feast that provides more food than anyone can eat, and more alcohol than anyone can drink. For you want everybody to leave saying, “Carry I out, but don’t bend I!”
The antismoking Dr W in whose house I once found myself living never touched alcohol. But even he relented at Christmas, when the plates on his dinner table would become unusually full, and he would pour himself (and nobody else) a little glass of what looked like sherry, and ostentatiously take a single tiny sip from it while giving a toast. I used to imagine that afterwards he would pour the remaining sherry in the glass back into the bottle for use at subsequent Christmases, and had probably managed to make a single bottle last for 30 years or more.
But all that aside, we have been told in this editorial that we must reduce alcohol consumption. And that means no parties, no fiestas, no carnivals, no dances, no excess of any kind. Just bread and water.
And in the second sentence in this passage we are warned that if there is any delay in introducing controls on alcohol, it will only mean that there will need to be “more severe” future interventions.
We need “regulation”, “control”, “intervention”.
And then, in a final sentence of giddy imagination, the writer looks forward to the day when bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild are bearing “images of oesophageal cancer or a cirrhotic liver.”
For this is what he wants. He wants to take the things that Picasso and Dali beautified, and turn them into something poisonous and ugly, just like he’s already been making tobacco into something poisonous and ugly.
And when he’s finished with tobacco and alcohol, he’ll start on meat and fat and sugar and chocolate. He’ll deface everything he can lay his hands on. He will take everything beautiful and make it ugly. He’ll piss all over it.
For that’s what he’s doing: defacing everything, pissing on everything.
And if he could get at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, he’d probably gouge out one of her eyes.
Some people bring beauty to the world. And some people bring ugliness.
And isn’t the author of this Lancet editorial telling us much more about himself than he’s telling us about alcohol or tobacco? He’s telling us, in a few sentences, what a controlling, regulating interventionist he is. And how moralistic – “no excuse”, “need to” – as well. And how threatening and overbearing. And how he longs to deface bottles of wine just like he has defaced packets of tobacco. Isn’t he telling the world just what a poisonous little shit he is? And isn’t he even telling us that he’s antisemitic as well: Château Mouton Rothschild?
Is this really the sort of man that the medical profession would wish to speak for it in editorials in the Lancet? Is this really the sort of man that doctors would like to see representing them in the BMA or RCP? Isn’t he someone to be rather embarrassed about?
Wouldn’t they prefer to be represented by people who are trying to care for other people, help other people, cure other people, rather than pour out their poison over the world around them? Wouldn’t they want to be rid of these killjoys, and replace them with kinder and happier doctors? I’m sure there are one or two around.
All of which reminds me that Chris Snowdon is advertising a new free downloadable book he’s written: Killjoys. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m sure it’ll be a good read.