Saturday 10 May 2008


More on grog...

Since my previous grog blog post, the debate about "alcohol driven violence" has continued in Sydney. More blood has been spilt in and around pubs.

A few days after that post, I was walking down King St Newtown with a friend. From afar, we could see two men kicking and breaking open boxes. As we got closer, we could see the two young men had all the accoutrements of well to do college boys. We also were able to see what they were doing.

The boxes they had been kicking had been left outside the Newtown St Vincent De Paul office. They were kicking the boxes and their contents across King St. They were were kicking clothes that had been donated to St Vincent De Paul.

I guess this appalling behaviour would also be classified as "alchohol driven violence".

I hope as the debate evolves, we'll be able to decouple "alcohol" and "violence". I am not suggesting there is no connection between alcohol abuse and violence. Alcohol certainly makes the violent more inclined to violence.

Even more than a war on alcohol however, our culture needs to declare war on violence.

After all, getting violence out of pubs will likely simply shift it elsewhere.

We may have an increasing number of female CEOs, a female Deputy Prime Minister and successful women everywhere we turn, but the dysfunctional manhood that sees violence as an instrument of first resort for negotiating the world is proving remarkably resistant in the face of wider social change. It is quite possible that the achievements of women in recent decades as well as developments in technology and the economy have left a whole swathe of men even more alienated and more inclined to violence.

A discussion about alcohol abuse is very worthwhile. An open discussion about mindless male violence, its origins and the models it has in our culture is even more urgent.

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