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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"I'm still against it"

Beer gardens that cause no problems "send the wrong message"?

The Clark County (Wa.) Fair had a beer garden for the first time this year. There were no problems, no arrests, no drunks molesting farm animals...but that doesn't matter: some local politicians still are hellbent on shutting it down. The following is from the local paper, The Columbian:

A new beer garden at the 2007 Clark County Fair led to no arrests, but that hasn't shaken some elected officials' determination to shut off the taps in 2008.

"I'm still against it," said county Commissioner Marc Boldt, who said he'd visited the garden last week without partaking of its beverages. "I think it's potentially dangerous, and more than that, I think it sends the wrong message."

Sheriff Garry Lucas agreed, saying the lack of incidents at the fair - this was the first in years to see zero arrests - was beside the point.

"My opposition is philosophical, not operational," Lucas said Monday. "I don't think you have to drink beer to have a good time with your family."

Even if the garden were to stay around for five years without trouble, Lucas said he'd still oppose it in the sixth year.

So these two guys just think it should be shut down...because! I have to tell you, I find Lucas's "philosophical" opposition infuriating. You don't have to drink beer to have a good time with your family. What Lucas is really saying is If you're having a good time with your family, you can't be drinking...because I say so. The presence of a beer garden does not force anyone to go in and drink.

The beer garden is "potentially" dangerous (unlike all those fold-up amusement rides that travel around 100s of miles on the back of a truck, no, they're safe as houses!) and "sends the wrong message." What message is that? Let's see...sounds like I'm hearing the message that "Moderate drinking in a family setting is safe and enjoyable for most people." Pretty subversive and radical; just ask the Germans.


Unknown said...

Another example of "my mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts". The Sussex County Farm and Horse Show (NJ) has had a beer tent for at least the past ten years. It's well run, and they station a cop nearby. I've never seen any trouble, because people DO bring their families and are there to enjoy the whole "family atmosphere" thing. These guys are full of it...

Anonymous said...

There's an article on MSN about a movement to lower the drinking age as well

Steven said...

"Pretty subversive and radical; just ask the Germans.

Yeah, I was thinkingthey should tour Munich between May and September, but they'd probably just bring up the war and tie it to Bierhall Putsches.

There's no winning with ignorance.

Rick Sellers said...

I guess that is one option... wonder where that logic stops though. Say one sheriff and county commissioner were Pepsi fans - can't they also close the Coke garden at the fair simply because they don't like it? Maybe the Sheriff and Commissioner are vegetarians... heck, shut down that putrid BBQ at the fair too - that clearly sends the wrong message... and if you have to eat burning flesh to have a good time with your family, well then you're just nutty... and cholesterol kills! Was I wrong in reading the ONLY rationale they had was their dislike of the beer garden?

Pitty said...

Leave it to local politicians who just want there name in the paper for their next campaign trail and you get idiots who want to control everything and anything that affords them power. Idiots are what they are, plain and simple. I can drink beer and enjoy my family for hours on end I dont need some dumbass politician to tell me I cant. Any idea what their affiliations are?

Mark said...

Just another cause in the quest to ensure that all public interaction is rated "G." No, you shouldn't sit and get hammered in front of your family. What about folks without families? Why are we constantly held hostage to the innocence of little kids? It's freakin' infuriating.

Lew Bryson said...

The county commissioner and sheriff in question are both Republicans, according to a Washington progressive blog I read...but as I keep saying, ignorance and anti-alcoholism knows no party. If it's not religious Republicans today, it's nanny-state Democrats tomorrow. If we focus on one or the other, we lose track of what the other whackos are up to!

Dave said...

I'm glad you mentioned Germany because the beer gardens we visited last month in Munich were terribly dangerous and violent places. (sarcasm)

As Michael says above, these places don't cause trouble because people do bring their families, changing the whole vibe of the the thing. Drunken antics are no longer acceptable and people tend to self-police.

Lew Bryson said...

Exactly, Dave: families tend to make people behave better, especially in a social setting like a beer garden. One of my fondest memories of Munich is watching kids collecting chestnuts at the Augustinerkellar, and the smiling, indulgent patrons, relatives or strangers, helping them by pointing out ones they'd missed while holding a masskrug in the other hand.

The example people always bring up to demonstrate the horror of public drinking 'in front of the children' is excessive drinking and subsequent screaming and swearing at public sports arenas. I would argue that drinking in arenas and stadiums (don't give me any crap about plurals here, please) is completely different. You don't see behavior like that at restaurants: when was the last time you saw some face-painted lunatic start swearing at the top of his lungs at T.G.I. Fridays, for instance? There are a lot of people who seem to think that when they're at the ballpark, they're just watching the game at home or in the bar on a really big screen, and act accordingly. Sad, but there you are.

Of course, some people manage to find any kind of looser behavior upsetting -- like beer writers having fun at Triumph, as a random example -- even when kids aren't around.

Steven said...

I'll piggyback Lew's memories with one I have from the Hofbrauhaus Biergrten where I saw a matronly grandmother stop in for lunch with her 2, about 8-10 yrs old each, grandchildren.

They ordered a big plate of spaetzle, a Maßkrug of Dunkel, and 2 small, extra glasses... yeah, you see where I'm going, and that's exactly what happened. Grandmother poured each child a portion from the Maß and they all enjoyed their lunch.

My friend and I watched with admiration and thanked the powers that this woman wasn't in the U.S., because she'd have been arrested on the spot.

Strange world we live in.

OutOfKey said...

The old "wont somebody thing of the children" argument is so common from politicians that want to tell others what they can and cant do. Honestly isn't the decision of what is best for my family best made by me? Or have we reached the point where the government(however local it is) knows what is best for everyone.

Anonymous said...

I don't know precisely why I find the following apropos to this discussion, but there's some connection, I'm sure.

From today's edition of The Globe and Mail newspaper:
The United States now has 125 opera companies, reports The American magazine. "That's more than Germany or Italy, and roughly as many Americans attend live opera performances as attend NFL football games."

Anonymous said...

Here is some more info on this story.

Seems like the county already allows alcohol sales on another property they own.

So this guy has never served alcohol at any of his fundraising events?

Lew Bryson said...

Thanks, Longstaff, that's an interesting addition. Sounds like the Fair Board is a more representative body than the County Commissioners.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that makes me angry. Beer gardens are an ideal intersection of social interaction and great beer, and Americans would be doing themselves a favor by supporting them. People see that beer is sometimes tied to trouble; fine, but nixing beer is treating the symptom. Why not treat the problem itself by using beer for social good?