Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

Hurt by Sobriety

Responding to my post asking if you can trust a guy who doesn’t drink, a reader objects, “Nobody ever got hurt by staying sober.” Providentially, Andrew Sullivan shows this is not exactly true. The quality of Stephen King’s novels, and therefore his readers’ enjoyment of them, was hurt by his achieving sobriety. So yes, as a Stephen King fan, I’ve been hurt by his staying sober. Did you read Duma Key?

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Max Devore

posted August 3, 2009 at 7:34 am

That has to be one of the silliest comments I’ve ever read. Have you read Bag of Bones? Lisey’s Story? The short story collection Just After Sunset? You may not like the way his writing has evolved as he got older, but to dismiss that as a failure of talent caused by sobriety is irresponsible.

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Glen Davidson

posted August 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm

I don’t know, Max, I think that David might be concerned that clarity of thought would lead to disagreement with his own brand of “intellection.”
Nietzche from Ecce Homo:

To believe that wine exhilarates I should have to be a Christian—believing what is for me an absurdity.

Later, around the middle of life, to be sure, I decided more and more strictly against all “spirits”: I, an opponent of vegetarianism from experience, just like Richard Wagner, who converted me, cannot advise all more spiritual natures earnestly enough to abstain entirely from alcohol. Water is sufficient.

I’m mostly with Nietzsche on the matter, although I wouldn’t deny myself the taste of good wine–other than that I can’t generally afford it. Would I drink much? Almost never.
I never did get much pleasure from alcohol itself, and I don’t appreciate the dullness it causes. The Enlightenment is thought to have greatly benefited from the introduction of caffeine to Europe, with at least some reduction in alcohol consumption in consequence.
That all said, there is something to the social nature of alcohol that commends some use of it, IMO. Again, it doesn’t take much, hardly taking us to the lack of clarity required to appreciate, say, ID and similar notions. Hence I’m no Nietzsche in the sense of being wholly abstinent, yet as a generally dulling morals-loosening drug of intellect, well, I can hardly praise alcohol.
Glen Davidson

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Gabriel Hanna

posted August 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Glen Davison: yet as a generally dulling morals-loosening drug of intellect, well, I can hardly praise alcohol.
The if-by-whiskey fallacy:
I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey:
If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

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Glen Davidson

posted August 3, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I can only say “Amen!” to that, Gabriel.
Glen Davidson

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