Numerous writers dutifully integrated this marketing theme into their copy, from the food and beverage pieces to the “ShopGirl” column on hangover-friendly merchandise. Even Phil Bacharach’s Flogging Molly concert preview tipped its hat to “everyone’s favorite drinking holiday.” (I thought that was New Year’s Eve, but never mind.)
Having alcohol as the issue’s theme allowed for the successful solicitation of advertisements from local liquor stores, bars and other alcohol vendors embracing the St. Paddy’s Day marketing opportunity (including a “gentlemen’s club” featuring both green beer and “sexy oil wrestling.”) Anything for a buck, right?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a latterday prohibitionist. Further, I realize the Gazette is a commercial enterprise in the business of profiting through advertising. Still, would it have been too great a revenue sacrifice to devote even a single page to reminders of the dangers of binge drinking and DUI, the importance of designated drivers or tips on what to do if you and your partying friends find that you’ve overindulged and would like to reduce the risk of harming self or others?
Even some snarky remarks attributed to Bucky the intern would have been better than nothing. Balancing the Gazette’s promotion of recreational drinking with some basic information on alcohol abuse hotlines, sober venues or how-to-staysafe-while-partying would have been appropriate. Without it, this issue of the Gazette is little more than a cynical exploitation of risky behavior for the sake of selling ad space. It’s comparable to publishing an issue with a commercial sex theme (featuring ads from various topless bars, strip clubs, hook-up venues, etc.) without including any information on preventing exposure to HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.
At the risk of coming across like a finger-wagging, moralistic old fart, my view is that the Gazette should treat its readers/advertising consumers/community with more esteem.