This time, the drink is Four Loko, a 12 percent alcohol/caffeine boosted energy drink that comes in a 24-ounce can and tastes somewhat like crushed-up Flintstones vitamins and antifreeze. While there are certainly an infinite number of ways for college kids to get drunk, this seems to be the one of the moment, and because of that and our film-everything youth culture, there are tons of YouTube videos of people passed out from drinking the stuff. Oh, and some media sources have seemingly piled on by including Four Loko in reports of run-of-the-mill DUI-related accidents, like this report in the Star (originally from The Arizona Republic):
Mesa police say an "extremely intoxicated" teenager smashed her SUV into a tree Sunday morning after reportedly playing "beer pong" with the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko.
Police say Cummins failed to stop her SUV at an intersection, jumped a curb, hit a tree in a residential front yard and finally came to rest against a house.
Four Loko contains 12 percent alcohol - 24 proof - and is sold in 23.5-once cans and is banned in some states.
Was the beverage the problem for Ms. Cummins? Not really; it could have just have easily been a Canadian Club whiskey and lemon eegee's bender that led her to drive irresponsibility, but that wouldn't play into an existing weak story arc. And that arc seems to be working, as Sen. Charles Schumer, who clearly should have better things to do, is moving to ban the drink and other caffeine/booze combos nationwide, a move that five states have already made.
Wouldn't it be easier just to let the fad run its course? In a few months, no one will likely care about Four Loko anymore, because they'll realize it has a terrible taste, and there are far easier ways to get drunk.
Until then, tonight I'm going to get a Four Loko at the local Quik Mart and toast to freedom. I'll probably pour most of the can out, but the symbolic gesture will have been made.
Photo by JamesKM03, Flickr