The June 4 NY Times was one argument after another for drinking - clearly, alcohol interests control America's greatest newspaper!

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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, June 4, 2008. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

New York Times Assault on Sobriety!

Fox News regularly accuses the New York Times of being pro-gay, anti-Bush, and anti-American involvement in Iraq. But it is now clear that the Times is, more than anything, pro-alcohol.

In the first place, the Times has had a regular wine column for decades, begun by Frank J. Prial, and more recently continued by Eric Asimov.

(At least Asimov wrote, when he was preparing to introduce his son to the addictive pleasures of wine, that his wife forbad him, after hearing an alarming lecture at the kid's school that this would make him an alcoholic. Thank God we are not pursuing here in the U.S. the madness that prevails in southern European countries. )

But the June 4 issue of the newspaper went totally beyond the pale, starting with a front page article expanding the madness that alcohol is good for you ("New Hints Seen that Red Wine May Slow Aging"). Yeah, sure - just ask the wino on the street how his health is.

Of course, the Dining In section led with an Asimov column (called "The Pour") on Burgundy wines - have I mentioned - just tell the wino on the street how well a good Burgundy goes with a meal.

But it is actually in The Arts section that the full bias in favor of alcohol becomes apparent. On the first Arts page (are you keeping track - this now includes the front page, the first dining page, and now the arts page in a single issue of the newspaper), Dwight Garner applauds a collection of Kingsley Amis' extensive writings on drinking in a review titled: "Toasting the Joys of Imbibing Properly."

In the first place, Amis was obviously an alcoholic - why else would he publish three books about booze: "On Drink," Everyday Drinking," and "How's Your Glass?" Just consider Amis' notable quotes: a diet is good so long as it doesn't reduce "your alcoholic intake by the smallest degree."

In fact, the review notes, Amis did lose some of his intellectual acuity by the end of his life. But the reviewer than affirms Amis' biographer's belief "that it [alcohol] added more to his life than it took away." Clearly, the biographer and reviewer are two more alcoholics in denial.

To sum it up, the reviewer notes with favor Amis' alcoholic viewpoint: "The human race has not devised any way of dissolving barriers, getting to know the other chap fast, breaking the ice, that is one-tenth as handy and efficient as letting you and the other chap, or chaps, cease to be totally sober at about the same rate."

Shocking! Scandalous! And this in America's leading newspaper!

But the Times is not done. On the same page on which the Amis review continues, the Times includes a review of Spanish musical performances. The title? "Sun, Sherry, Castanets: Musical Postcards from Spain."

Obviously, this is one more subliminal suggestion to Americans that drinking is pleasurable. No wonder we can't eliminate underage drinking, so long as people under the age of 21 can read the Times. I suggest we place the Times behind the desk in libraries, insist that young people show proper identification (just as if they were at a bar) before being allowed to purchase the paper, and force the Times to run countering articles to each one that portrays drinking in a positive light.

Either that, or change the name of the gray lady to "The Alcoholic Review."