Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hitchens on Booze

No doubt Christopher Hitchens was imbibing when he was beaten up by Syrian thugs recently. That had me going back to reading Hitchens' hilarious tips on drinking right:

“The research also shows clearly for the first time that drinking any kind of alcohol — not just red wine — can protect the heart.”

I rolled this luxuriously around my tongue with the approbation that I customarily reserve for port or single malt. Its finer points made themselves apparent in the glowing yet decisive manner that is politely imposed by a good vintage. Not just the occasional drink — the daily drink. Not just red wine — any alcohol is better than none. An apple a day, they said in my boyhood, kept the doctor away. Yeah, that’s right — just bathe your teeth in sugar water and acid and see what happens. Much better to hurl the heartburn-inducing fruit into the trash and reach firmly for the corkscrew, which was the strategy that I began to adopt when I was about 15.


.... Winston Churchill put it very squarely when he defined the issue as, essentially, a wager. He was a lifelong sufferer from the depression that he nicknamed his “black dog”, but he could rouse himself to action and commitment and inspiration, and the brandy bottle was often a crucial prop. I have taken more out of alcohol, he said simply, than it has taken out of me. His chief antagonist, Adolf Hitler, was, I need hardly add, a fanatical teetotaler (though with a shorter and less wholesome life span). The most lethal and fascistic of our current enemies, the purist murderers of the Islamic jihad, despise our society for, among other things, its intolerance of alcohol. We should perhaps do more to earn this hatred and contempt, and less to emulate it.

Read the whole thing.

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