Friday, August 5, 2011

Drinking Etiquette: For Those Who Drink and Those Who Don't!

This little gem came in through the bookdrop at work a few years ago, and I've been gleefully hoarding it ever since. It's a government pamphlet meant to--I kid you not--encourage social drinking. (Re)printed by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, & Welfare in 1976, the aim was to help people "preserve the enjoyment of social drinking situations while eliminating much of the pain that is produced by unwise drinking." That's great, but LOOK! Look at the cartoonish partygoers and their cute little gin blossoms, awwww!

Check out that font. I'm in love, I tell you. It's love at first psychedelically flourishing serif. And if the pamphlet doesn't answer all your questions, you can write in for more information. Like, putting pen to paper, then sending your message off in a blue postal box with a ten-cent postage stamp? This Luddite is utterly charmed.

Charmed, that is, until I reach the page that shamelessly employs ethnic stereotypes and implicitly denies the American-ness of non-white Anglo Saxon Protestant folks. Emphasis added by yours truly:
"While Americans are having major troubles resulting from their use of alcoholic beverages, other national  groups and cultures do not have such problems. The Italians, Orthodox Jews, Greeks, Spaniards, Chinese, and Lebanese all use alcohol regularly and in quantity, yet have few problems as a result. It is important to note that these major cultures, with long histories of relatively safe drinking, share certain common practices in their use of alcohol... This consensus may be one that Americans should consider and adopt." Oh really? So in 1976, there were no Italians, Orthodox Jews, Greeks, et al that could be considered American. Because America wasn't a big melting pot yet in 1976, ohno. If I wasn't holding the pamphlet in my hands right now, I wouldn't believe this.

Also: Cocktail parties are "a primitive, dangerous drinking rite," bringing "too many people into too small a space to drink too much too fast without eating, all spiced with conversation that can't be heard." Wait a minute. That's TRUE! I don't call them cocktail parties, but a gathering based solely on drinking party IS about as fun as sticking my head in the toilet. Which happens to some people after such a party, actually. Two points to the silly vintage etiquette pamphlet!

 Happy Friday! Be good this weekend.


  1. This is such a funny little pamphlet, I like it!


  2. I love pamphlets like this, they're so fun to look at (even if parts are wrong and embarrassing). They're the kind of thing nobody thinks to make anymore, and they totally should still make them! How else am I going to know how to host a head in toilet party?!


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