Coolness is the Concept

How Many Drinks talks a lot about social norms, and I am wondering whether art imitates life, or life imitates art, when it comes to drinking and entertainment culture.

For example, do movies reflect how we live – in this case, how we drink?

Or do people copycat what they see, and choose to behave like on-screen characters?

You don’t have to look too hard to see how Hollywood glamorizes and normalizes booze.

James Bond drinks his martinis and the Vesper shaken not stirred.

An entire trio of movies was made, based simply on a group of buddies having a hangover.

Simon Pegg made a strange film about an epic, crawling quest to return to a pub.   Nicholas Cage explored the desperate depths of alcoholism in Leaving Las Vegas.   Tom Cruise made an iconic 80’s film called Cocktail, where the world’s last barman poet takes center stage.  And of course, Old School is a movie exploring all the nuances of a kegger.

There are thousands of movies and TV shows that show us alcohol in all its raging, subtle, ridiculous, terrible, shocking, amusing and sickening glory.  If you bother to observe how alcohol touches the lives of characters in film and television, you’ll see how it runs the entire length of human emotion and experience.

Comedy.  Tragedy.  Ugliness.  Absurdity.    And of course….Cool.

That’s the part that gets us – sometimes young people, but adults too.  We get convinced it’s cool.   ‘Cool’ is a complicated concept.  But we all understand what it is, deep down.  And so do alcohol companies who want us to drink…using ads, commercials and product placement to make us think their product is cool.


Author: Doug Ironside RN

Doug is a Registered Nurse (PHN) with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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