From the Land of Sand, Sun, and Burittos to das Land auf Wald, Schnee und Bratwurst.....

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Stop, Collaborate and Listen………

Anyone born between 1975 and 1982 knows that these are the opening words of a song from an artist that took the nation by storm in 1990. The before mentioned artist was at the top of his game for about a year before becoming the pun of many jokes from the before mentioned age group still to this day. Even with that said, the dance floor exploded last Saturday night at the Karlruhe University Fruhlings Unifest (spring university party) on Saturday night. This party was a great example of a key difference between American and European culture, our conflicting views about Alcohol.

This is one of many university parties that I have attended since my arrival last May. The concept of an event like this is unbelievable from the typically conservative American standpoint. These parties are held on the campus of the university. The party last night was held in die Meansa, or the cafeteria of the university. This was a grand event that was planned and operated by the students of the university itself. All of the money made from this event go to cover the cost of the party, and any remaining goes to the student union. The concept itself is a great fundraiser for the significantly under funded university student unions. These events are something that the students thoroughly enjoy and actively take part in, and they help to fund future student related events.

But, this is something that is not possible in the United States. Alcohol and it’s abuse is a hot topic among Politicians and soccer moms alike. Thanks to this abuse, ignorance, and some good old lingering early twentieth century oppression, we have a drinking face in the United States that is repeatedly laughed at in my presence, upon engaging in conversation with just about every European I meet. They just can’t believe that our society makes such a big fuss over all things alcohol, and neither can I. An American University would never permit an event like this for one simple reason; it would be viewed by the public as promoting the use of Alcohol amongst the students.

If the students of SDSU were able to throw one of these fund raising events, lets say in Montezuma Hall, it would in no doubt of my, or anyone else’s mind, be a complete and chaotic debacle. The security at the front gate would be as strong as for the oval office, and there would be one cop for every 5 students inside. Students would not even be able to pretend to dance if the DJ put on a Vanilla Ice record for the fear of spilling a beer on a prick SDSU cop and getting arrested for “Public Intoxication.” The Fire Department would shut it down just before it started to get going for some bogus code violation, and then it would be criticized all over the local papers the next morning because some freshmen who used a fake ID to get in would get alcohol poisoning and have to be rushed to the hospital.

The above situation would happen due to the paranoia and over protectiveness of the police forces and the lack of education of the students. This issue of education is not one of such concern in Europe for the simple fact that children are well educated on the subject in the house from a young age, and will typically consume small amounts of alcohol starting at around age 12 with the family. This is opposed to the Reaganistic D.A.R.E. style “Just say No!” education that is stuffed down the throats of young Americans starting in Elementary school. In my opinion the education styles preferred by the ignorant conservatives which we Americans so grandly elect, make kids more curious to try alcohol at a young age, and make the law enforcement more aggressive to enforce these laws. Would anyone be shocked if I said I drank before I was 21?

I would like to be like Ice and say, If there is a problem, Yo I’ll solve it, but this is a subject that has little room, and way to much developed infrastructure for one mans words to make an impact. So I will just continue to enjoy myself (and my beer) at these German University parties, and check out the hook while the DJ revolves it!

Some interesting websites:

Legal Drinking Ages World Wide


*Make sure to check out the “Values of the Prohibition Party“ page.