Danger lurks at every fun, delicious turn

Pax Arcana

One of the most annoying things about being a newspaper or wire service reporter is that you typically have no control over your own headlines.

I can only assume that’s what happened to one hapless AP reporter, who filed a sober, well-researched, and touching story on the dangers of binge drinking on college campuses. A common thread of the story is the utilitarian dependence on hard liquor to get drunk fast — either to obviate the problem of procuring alcohol while under the legal drinking age or to attempt a feat of utter stupidity (as with the too-common convention of trying to drink 21 shots on your 21st birthday).

The headline of the story?

Drinking games prove deadly to college students

So the story is about how Beirut and Beer Die cause people to drink to their own death? Because my experience was that consuming small quantities of beer (5% alcohol by volume) over long periods of time (average Beirut game = roughly 4.2 hours) was less likely to get you drunk than, well, just about every other activity on the typical college campus.

Turns out the headline is pegged to this graph, which is about the sad death of Winona State University student Jenna Foellmi:

According to police reports, she had three beers during the day, then played beer pong — a drinking game — in the evening, and downed some vodka, too.

The story goes on to report that alcohol-related deaths on college campuses have almost doubled from 1999 to 2005. Some cases were similar to that of Brad McCue, who died after drinking 24 shots in two hours in 1998.

Drinking games are not mentioned again in the story.

The best part? This little note appended to the end:

(This version CORRECTS Walters’ title.)

I don’t know what Walters’ title was, but it must have been something.

Drinking games prove deadly to college students [AP]


1 Comment

Filed under booze, journalism

One response to “Danger lurks at every fun, delicious turn

  1. I have to give props to my alma mater about their drinking policy. They didn’t care about beer (even if you were underage) because it’s so difficult to get yourself to the hospital (which gets you into the newspaper, in their eyes) on beer, let alone die. They had a somewhat annoying no hard liquor policy (even if you were 21) on campus, but because you could still of course get it. It all came down to staying away from police, out of the hospital, and on campus. It was pretty effective.

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