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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Was Ken Burns’ Prohibition Good for the Spirits?

Half a lifetime ago, an older woman in my graduate program cattily inquired, “Are you a serious drinker?”  My patented response: “Not at all.  .  . I’m a ridiculous drinker!” That’s because the Wig & Pen liquid-seeking machine (a.k.a. this blogger) comes with a  homeostatic metabolism that makes more than a couple of drinks more trouble than they’re worth.

That includes drinking while watching TV—even during the most malicious sporting events. But last week offered a notable exception. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Prohibitiontheir latest and often brilliant social history—served up among many, many things a 5-hour hammering in generic product placement. For 5+ hours, the yang of  WCTU, Anti-Saloon League, and Carrie Nation alternated with the yin of toasting in bars,  partying in speakeasies, and--above all--the sensuous, aesthetically captivating flow of spirits from bottles into glasses. Given the unrelenting cadences and heavenly lengths of Burns and Novick’s production, who (besides the great granddaughters of the WCTU) would spite me for dispatching a beer with each episode?
The greater question, of course, is--was there a national spike in alcohol consumption during the airing?  And if you lack the will and resources to settle that matter, what transpired in front of your  own TV during the nights of October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd?

Sample the preview:


Anonymous said...

Glad W&P is back, Lou! Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I make it a point never to watch a Ken Burns documentary. Many recent doc's are done in an annoying present tense style, which could easily drive one to drink.

Anonymous said...

Jeeze, It's 9:00 on a Sunday morning but just looking at the promo makes me want a drink. And gosh I'm a responsible fellow rarely having a nip before 10:00.
Hobo Joe