I'm convinced that there is literally nothing Mitch Albom could conceivably write that I could even remotely agree with. I just don't think it's possible. I even hated the fake tribute column that the fake Mitch Albom wrote for me back in September (before I read the e-mail address and thought it was real).
Also: I think he's probably ripping stuff off my website now. Is it beyond Mitch Albom to plagiarize a cancer patient? Of course not. I'm pretty sure he steals most of his great ideas from people with serious diseases.
This week from Albom: A boozy up-and-down makes this Loko loco
I know most newspapers have editors write headlines and stuff, but what the hell, let's just blame this journalistic abortion on Albom.
In short, the entire column is a literary incarnation of this clip from The Simpsons (sent to me by a reader on Friday):
Here's a general rule: you can usually tell how bad an argument is by how quickly the proponent mentions "kids" or "the children."
For Albom, it takes five words:
Can we agree that young people need no help in getting drunk?And it doesn't stop:
Let the fisking begin. Onwards, Mitch!
And can we agree that young people are attracted to the following:I'm not even sure what to do with that. I'm not necessarily attracted to large cans - I would not, for example, prefer a large can of urine over a small can over Coke. Which is why I don't drink Four Loko. And "sweet flavors like lemonade or fruit punch?" I guess Mitch has a point, but then I went to middle school and my affinity for "fruit punch" seemed to wane. "A cheap price?" So you mean people like things that don't cost a lot of money? And "staying awake?" I...don't even know what to do with that. I like getting a good night's sleep or something?
• Large cans.
• Sweet flavors like lemonade or fruit punch.
• A cheap price.
• Staying awake.
Put those all together, and you can understand why Four Loko is one of the fastest-growing alcoholic beverages in the country.
My biggest problem is with his last sentence: "Put all those together, and you can understand why Four Loko is one of the fastest-growing alcoholic beverages in the country."
Like most of what Mitch Albom writes, this is unequivocally false. This stuff has been around since 2005. It didn't really start to see sales growth until recently. Why? As one of my friends writes:
[S]ince this drumbeat started, sales of Four Loko are up like three-fold. Also, I tasted the shit and it's godawful.So you know who created this crisis? The media. YOU, Mitch Albom. You killed your college professor, you killed Sparky Anderson with that dream you had last week, and now you're going to kill children. You are the most dangerous man in the world, and your columns are slowly killing me.
Albom actually succeeds in listing some arguments against his position, even if he does manage to work in a jab at the Tea Party as well:
Now, in our current mood of "too much government," this will bring out protesters who cry 1. What's it your business if I want to get drunk? 2. Where are the parents in all this? 3.Why are stores selling to minors? and 4.What's it your business if I want to get drunk?That's actually a pretty good job of characterizing some arguments against banning the stuff. And Albom does a good job of addressing them. If by "addressing them" you mean he concedes argument #4 and never mentions the other three ever again.
Instead, he fires out WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!
I am more worried about kids -- high schoolers, college freshmen -- stuck in that adolescent wrestle of wanting to be cool versus not wanting to damage themselves. A yellow or purple can with kiwi or grape flavoring that also promises to -- and this is critical -- keep you awake is a dangerously tempting product.So ban Four Loko. Fine. And then...what? Have you really done anything at all? Or just made yourself feel better. Albom addresses this point:
Teens can mix rum and Coke. They can make Irish coffee. You can never fully stop underage drinking. But you don't have to dress it in fruity colors and sell it cheap.I mean...that's the standard for banning things now? Being "fruity" and "cheap?" Leaving aside Mitch's disdain for frugal gays, didn't he just acknowledge that banning this stuff won't have any real effect on anything, but we should ban it anyways because...I don't know, he doesn't like it?
There's one thing in this column that made me pretty happy, though: A nice window into Mitch Albom's worldview. I've read enough of his drivel to see this theme weaved throughout his pieces. And I think it's actually a pretty good window into a certain form of the "progressive" worldview - and a major reason I'm not on board with modern liberalism:
True, stores should never sell this stuff to minors. And parents should teach their kids to be responsible. And we should all love our neighbor, give to charity and maintain the proper body weight.
But since that world is fantasy, this world requires some help.Summary: People should do the right thing. But since they don't, we should mandate it by law. And throw people in jail for disobeying.
I'm drawing a fine line here between crimes with victims - murder, rape, robbery - and things that Mitch mentions - loving our neighbors, giving to charity, maintaining the proper body weight, and underage drinking. Everyone can agree that the former offenses should be addressed by our laws. But there's a certain subset of people that believe that the latter things should be addressed by the law as well. And I think there's a real problem with that mindset. Not the least of which is the fact that Mitch Albom subscribes to it.
One other thing that bothers me about Albom, besides everything: This guy has one major "GET OFF MY LAWN" problem, and I don't get it. The dude is 52. He was born in 1958. He reached adulthood in the mid 1970s. So what the hell is this stuff:
In case you don't remember measurements from high school (which is the age of many kids drinking this stuff), old-fashioned Coke bottles used to be 8 ounces...
Remember, while many of us went through the sneak-a-beer phase, these energy drinks are a whole new game...
I am more worried about kids -- high schoolers, college freshmen -- stuck in that adolescent wrestle of wanting to be cool versus not wanting to damage themselves...
Today, kids guzzle energy drinks as if popping chewing gum.Blah blah blah, "Back in my day we had some shenanigans but the kids these days are so much different because of Facebook and Red Bull and therefore we need to..." SHUT THE HELL UP MITCH YOU GREW UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COKE-CRAZED 80s YOU STUPID, PATRONIZING, CONDESCENDING, BORING, UNORIGINAL TWIT.
I'm not done with Mitch. I'll never be done with Mitch. The floggings will continue until he stops.