Alcoholic hypocrisy


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“In Heaven there is no beer/ That’s why we drink it here.”

No doubt Iowa Hawkeye football fans have sung along with this tune many a time over the course of this season. It’s a tradition as rich as the pink locker rooms and Hayden Fry’s colloquialisms. College football fans across the country shout their “unofficial” celebratory songs with pride. Most know ours by heart, but it soon could be a remnant of our faded past.

The Partnership for Alcohol Safety — a collaboration between Iowa City and the UI — has begun to look at ways to stifle any negative drinking perceptions that exist in our bubble of corn and education. One such cut could be our “unofficial” victory hymn.

“We believe in the safe consumption of alcohol,” said T.J. Anderson, the vice president of the Hawks Nest. “And although some have deemed the ‘victory’ tune as part of the culture of drinking, we believe it stands as a tradition that unites student fans.”

Anderson is right. While it makes prudent sense from a public-relations standpoint to cut our ties to politically incorrect tunes, the UI must look within before dampening on our whimsical victory cry.
Football game days are a beacon for economic opportunity. And, as an intelligent and entrepreneurial university, we take advantage of that by selling alcohol in the Kinnick Stadium press box. It comes as no shock that we do this. UI alumni and deep-pocketed donors always enjoy a cold Coors Light with their game-day experience.

But in the (relatively) cheap seats down below, the throng of college students — and those who wish they were college students — joyously sing lead tenor in this fishbowl of hypocrisy.

Football game days only occur for six or seven Saturdays, while commerce is an everyday staple of our economy. Selling beer and alcohol-related items at university shops and stores solves that problem quite nicely. Instead of a beer itself, we can find a bottle opener with the Hawkeye logo or a nice wooden platform to play “bags,” a highly popular drinking game on college campuses.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

I don’t think Robert Frost had intended his famous poem “The Road Not Taken” to be used in a column discussing drinking, but it works nonetheless.

The UI’s path to becoming free from alcohol entanglement is praiseworthy. However, its “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy holds back its prime objective. Instead, the university should embark on the less-traveled path of self-reflection and honesty.

If the university officials aren’t doing everything in their power to squelch our negative relationship with alcohol, then maybe the cuts should come from within. The UI’s budget situation has taught us that before we implement any changes to the masses, we must make adjustments from the top.

This song may just be a blip on the radar of our consciousness, but it can give us a hint regarding what UI officials truly emphasize.

Truth and honesty are two devils that dance in the pale moon light, and they don’t dance in harmony. We have a problem at the UI. It will be here to stay for the time being. Students must make changes. Their willingness will be the key cog in any change.

Let’s evade any crusade of political correctness, however, before we judge our own hidden agendas.

I hope in 10 years that we will all be singing a different tune.

By that time, it could be a sober one.

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