|"Ha! Ha! Ha! Being a stock photography model is such FUN!"|
Birds fall dead from the sky. Australia sinks into the sea. Brazil disappears under an avalanche of mud.
This is truly the end of days.
Any second now, birds will fly backwards. Dogs will howl into the sky. Flags will hang heavy at the tops of their poles and your wallet will fill with blood. Time will reverse, volcanos will erupt, the four horsemen will ride and everything you knew will turn into the opposite of itself.
And lo. It's already started.
Because today, the Daily Mail publishes a positive story about beer. Yeah, you heard me. Good news. About beer. In. The. Daily. Mail.
There is not one attempt to spin it negatively, distort the news, misrepresent anyone, lie, or otherwise seek to create fear and suspicion in their readers.
It seems that two Spanish scientists have done a study that confirms what people like the Beer Academy have been saying for years: moderate consumption of beer is not only not bad for you - it's positively good for you. One pint a day (yeah, I know, but bear with), accompanying a healthy diet, reduces the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Rather than putting weight on, in some cases it actually correlated with weight loss.
Suddenly, the Mail is saying things that the beer community have been trying to make people listen to for years, as if they were news: moderate beer consumption has the same health benefits attributed to red wine; beer is not to blame for the famous British beer belly, etc. There's some interesting stuff about the difference between Spanish and British drinking culture, and how it's the way we drink that makes a difference. I covered all this in Three Sheets to the Wind five years ago, but it's still nice to see someone finally sitting up and taking notice. It's more than nice. It's bloody wonderful.
One thing that made me laugh out loud though, because the alternative was to open a vein: in my 2010 round-up I commented upon the relentless negativity that afflicts many on the internet, noting that even when I post a blog about something really good, the first comments are without fail from people who have somehow managed to see a down side. I speculated that even if I were to post news that great-tasting craft beer cured cancer, some of you would still be able to find a negative angle on such news.
Well get a load of the Mail page. Here is news that is quite wonderful to behold, almost in the same territory, though not the same magnitude, as my hypothetical cancer cure story: moderate beer consumption is positively good for you. Could anyone POSSIBLY have a problem with that?
Oh hell, yeah.
The kind of people who write on Daily Mail comment boards make you haterz out there look positively cuddly and benign.
By half ten this morning, Royston Amhplett from Bournemouth had got in there with "And yet another ploy to increase the tax revenue." Yeah, that's right, Roy! That beer lovin' government and reactionary right-wing tabloid are conspiring to trick you into drinking more beer and enjoy yourself! That's what they want you to do!
Fraz from Gosport chipped in with "Researchers never fail to ASTONISH me with thier [sic] Groundbreaking "Discoveries" Just how much are these IDIOTS costing the Nation ???!!!" Er - nothing Fraz. If you'd actually read the piece before getting your specially green-inked keyboard out, you'd see that they're at the University of Barcelona.
Andy in Scotland moans, "If you wanna keep lapping up these fantasy stories that it's good for you, please feel free to drink as much as you like. It's just a shame that the reality is that your lax-attitude to alcohol is costing the national health service, tax-payers and police more money than any other substance on Earth. Shame on you, drunken Britain." Well, no Andy, they were at pains to point out it's not about drinking as much as you like; it's about moderate consumption. Hey Andy, go for a walk! In a few weeks the daffodils will be out and the little lambs will be frolicking in the fields. Go look at them for a bit. Breathe the fresh air. Let it go. Smile!
Pete in the UK (no relation), actually knows more about the topic than scientists who have conducted in-depth rigorous studies into the effects of alcohol: "What absolute nonsense, DM - and you wonder why the UK has a drink problem? This apologist lie of a story is not only scientifically inaccurate, but also is just another excuse for drunks to decimate our national health service." Yep, the scientific community and the right wing reactionary media are looking for excuses to cost the health service money all the time. That's what they do. Scientists wake up every morning and go, "Hmm, how can I use my big scientific brain to fuck up the NHS today?"
But top prize goes to a fella from New York who is in such denial about his relationship with alcohol and so unable to take responsibility for his own behaviour that he posted this classic: "There is a chemical additive in beer that they claim is a preservative. But in actuality it is a addictive agent [sic]. Many years earlier when I drank, a few beers did the job. Many years later 24 beers was not enough this is due to the so called preservation which is actually an addicting [sic] agent. I gave up drinking 14 years ago and never looked back."
When I have my first pint following my dry January, I'll smile and reflect upon the fact that every single day of my life, even the stressful days and the days where self-doubt moves in and squats over me like a heavy weather front, I am happier and more at peace with myself than any of these people ever are.
If I have one moan myself, it's not with the Daily Mail, the study itself, or anything like that. It's that at the time of writing, a quick internet search revealed that the only national British newspapers to cover this story were the Mail, Daily Express and Daily Telegraph. The Guardian, Independent, Times, Sun and Daily Star have all ignored it. How different it was back in November, when David Nutt produced a study that had not a shred of the scientific rigour and process this one has, that claimed alcohol was worse than heroin, and received blanket coverage.