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The Greyhound

Alcohol permeates arts and society on campus and beyond

You may notice a theme in this week’s section. I felt that a little introduction was necessary because this is not the norm, as anyone who reads the section knows.  Hopefully this theme attracts some new readers this week, and I beg you, stick with me and read all the articles in addition to doing the crossword puzzle.

I am sure my writers didn’t quite know what to expect when I requested that this week’s articles be focused around alcohol and that the other sections would be following suit. I am proud of them not only for trusting me but for their willingness to participate.  Everyone is aware of the existence of alcohol in the world (and on campus) but it is usually not the forefront of the section. It is referenced vaguely or touched upon briefly, but never highlighted.

This section is called the Arts and Society section. We cover the arts, including, but not limited to art, fashion, television, music and theater on campus and in the world and we cover society, including almost anything because of its broad nature. Looking at the focus of the section, it is surprising that the subject of alcohol has not been more fully explored in earlier issues. I am not saying this section should promote drinking and I am not saying we should discourage it, but it is possible to discuss it and its influence.

Alcohol has long been involved in mainstream media and pop culture. The characters of How I Met Your Mother not only live above the bar but spend much of their time sitting at the bar and the ‘80s sitcom Cheers took place mainly at a bar. Flip on the radio and you will hear Miley Cyrus singing about “Red cups everywhere” or Ke$ha singing “Aint got a care in world, but got plenty of beer.” Theater can exist in booze-laced nightclubs like in Cabaret or Chicago or can show celebrations with alcohol like in Fiddler on the Roof. Movies depict house parties powered by alcohol and teen angst.

This list is brief because even without a series of articles examining alcohol in the arts and pop culture, it’s clear that alcohol is in the public eye. Most people, regardless of their opinions on alcohol, can identify what it is at a young age. It has become an accepted part of society, something normal to be depicted in the arts.

It can be argued that the media and all of the artistic mediums discussed above have normalized alcohol for us. To some, it seems impossible to have a good time without alcohol. That mentality seems to be the societal norm so deeply engrained in us from a young age that it seems inescapable.

Not drinking or even drinking in moderation seems as if it will be met with eye rolls and isolation from one’s peers. There is the constant pressure to conform with others because of humanity’s desperate need to fit in and be accepted. Obviously not everyone feels this pressure, but some people do. There is no need for a discussion about alcohol to divide people into two camps, those for it and those against it, because those extreme points of view limit the possibility of discourse.

At Loyola, we are extremely discourse-based about many things, so shouldn’t alcohol be included on the list of things we can all discuss? We are a college campus and no one is ignorant of the existence of alcohol. The school sponsors events for seniors, over the age of 21, to consume alcohol such as at wine tastings and senior 250s. No one on this campus can be defined by any one thing. There are people on campus who drink and there are people who do not drink, but every one of them still has the universal connector of Loyola.

Even if a person does not drink, they can still appreciate an article that discusses alcohol as an inspiration for a music album. The existence of alcohol is unavoidable, both in society and in the arts. We cannot put a bag over our heads and pretend it is not part of society.

Hopefully this issue will help create an open dialogue about alcohol on campus and I hope no one finishes this issue thinking that the goal of this publication is to portray Loyola students as having a singular interest. That person will have not only missed the entire point of this issue but obviously is not an avid reader of The Greyhound. Every week, this paper strives to present Loyola University Maryland readers with a voice on anything and everything happening on this campus and in the world, but by sidestepping alcohol, are we really doing our job?

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Alcohol permeates arts and society on campus and beyond