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Land of the free, home of Bud Light

July 21st, 2009 Posted in Culture by

bud-light1The United States of America is – by some considerable margin – my favourite country in the whole wide world. This is, in no small part, because it has individual freedom and personal responsibility in its very DNA. That’s why I was upset and disappointed to experience first hand yesterday something I believed to be an urban myth.

Whilst sampling the delights of American high culture (i.e. spending the day at the Universal Studios amusement park in Orlando) in the oppressive Florida heat, my travelling companion and I felt the  urgent need for a refreshing beer. But – despite us both being over twice the legal age to consume alcohol in Britain – we needed to show our passports to seal the deal.

Bud Light is so p*ss weak, it would hard for a toddler to get drunk on it. If only America’s love of liberty wasn’t so curtailed by a major sprinkling of puritanism, it would be an even greater holiday destination.

14 Responses to “Land of the free, home of Bud Light”

  1. Julian H Says:

    “it has individual freedom and personal responsibility in its very DNA”

    Aye, but its DNA has evolved into a more neo-con-plus-Michael-Moore-esque-interventionist-puritanism strand, much like the evolutionary process that much of America’s population refuse to consider because it “goes against God.”

    I was speaking to an American recently who argued quite persuasively that Americans have never been instinctively liberal (in our sense of the word) – but only that there used to be a liberal elite. And now the nirvana they tried to create has been well and truly screwed by both Left and Right.


  2. Sylvan C Says:

    Bud Light may *taste* distinctly like watery urine, but it is in fact 4.2% ABV, which is a perfectly reasonable alcohol content. Nothing else about it is reasonable, however.

    As for getting carded, just wait until you’re asked for ID at the cinema when buying tickets for an R-rated movie…

    Julian H: As an American myself, I’d say it depends on your definition of ‘liberal’. If you mean social liberalism (wealth redistribution, welfare, state services, progressivism), then I would agree with your friend. If you mean classical liberalism (natural rights, civil liberties, free markets), I would disagree wholeheartedly.


  3. Laurence Boyce Says:

    He obviously thought that you looked a bit youthful, Mark. Treat it as a compliment, and try not to let the episode spoil your entire stay!


  4. Julian H Says:

    It was more classical liberalism, Sylvan, the logic being – many of the founding fathers were secularists and staunch defenders of free trade (including freedom of movement) – but much of the population were not, and never have been, being instead rather puritanical, God-obsessed and reactionary.


  5. tim leunig Says:

    You were lucky Mark. As a grad student I was refused a drink in a bar in Nashville even with a UK passport. The bartender asked me what it was, and when I said a UK Passport as prove of age (I was 25) he said that he had never seen one, and it might be something I had mocked up in order to get a drink while underage. The rule was: a Tennessee Drivers Licence or no alcohol. Since non of us was from Tennessee that was a problem, and in the end he did allow the 40-something from California to buy a round on the strength of his California driver’s licence.

    Funny place America. The freedom to bear arms, but not to drive at more than 55mph.


  6. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    You ask for a pack of Marlboro at the ciggie counter at the local supermarket you going to get Marlboro Lights automatically not normal Marlboro.


  7. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘individual freedom and personal responsibility in its very DNA.’

    Can you light up at Disneyworld?

    I doubt you can

    Yeah Mark how you getting on with the public smoking bans over there in the land of the free.

    Hmm no public smoking ban in South Africa

    No seatbelt laws

    None of that concealed weapons permit bullshit there are gun control laws but hey people still carry automatics.

    But shit Mark you don’t speak Afrikaans

    Bit of tourist me thinks visiting Universal Studios & all


  8. Mark Littlewood Says:

    You can smoke in Disneyworld. Cigs cost about 4 dollars a pack here.

    I even visited Disney’s Africa zone today.

    If there are seat belt rules, they aren’t very rigorously enforced.

    I am indeed a tourist at Universal Studios. I haven’t done a rigorous polling exercise, but I get the feeling that most people here are.


  9. Julian H Says:

    “But shit Mark you don’t speak Afrikaans”

    One doesn’t need, at all, to speak Afrikaans in South Africa. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the S.African population don’t speak it.


  10. Dave Atherton Says:

    I hope you guys are enjoying your vacation. Two points, firstly 33% of adult Americans claim never to of had a drink and I read an article in the Times written by a British journalist who was at a party in the Hamptons, Long Island. She met a lady who said that she was in rehab at Alcoholics Annonymous because she could not resist a second glass of wine. Prohibition and Puritanism must be a deeper vein than first imagined.

    I also read recently that if you go back to pre Reformation England most foreign writers commenting on the English character described us hot headed, temperamental and moody, but happy and jolly, ie more Latin than Anglo Saxon. Not too sure I agree but worthy of further investigation. Again 400 years, if true, of Puritan influence.

    One aspect you have to pay tribute to Puritanism is wealth creation and capitalism. If you look at massive differences in wealth between North and South America, wasn’t it fortuitous for America we defeated the Spanish Armadas of 1588 and 1596.

    BTW the reason American beer is so tasteless is that all beer is pasturised before it is bottled killing all the active elements.


  11. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘One doesn’t need, at all, to speak Afrikaans in South Africa. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the S.African population don’t speak it.’

    Most Whites probably do speak it well I speak it & all the other Whites I know speak Afrikaans


  12. Mark Littlewood Says:

    You don’t need to speak Afrikaans in South Africa anymore than you need to speak Welsh in Wales


  13. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    Depends where you go

    Sure everybody speaks English but its not always what is preferrable


  14. Mark Littlewood Says:

    As I said above, it’s like Wales then.