Of Pinot Noir and Pineapple Puke


On the off-chance that you do not view life through the sugary filter of a pineapple Bacardi Breezer, you’ve probably heard the news: our whole-wheat PM has whacked the predicted tax on so-called "alcopops".

The motivation for any legislative act can be read in at least a hundred ways. As I prefer the safety of thought inside the box, I am able to think of only three. Which is of no matter; commentators more learned than I offer more creative assay.

An initial, kind reading suggests that Rudd is utterly committed to temperance. Acting on the sound counsel of his health advisors, he’s assured that the dollar-a-pop price hike will stop flighty teenagers from smelling like pineapple sick.

I’m hesitant to accede to this reading. A basic grasp of everyday economics tells us: 10 alcopops equals one teen reeking of pineapple sick, singing that Flo Rida song and wanting to punch on with the Emos outside the train station. Following the new excise, this will cost the average teen $10. As you know – and as Mr Rudd’s health advisors know – $10 is not going to thwart these stinking little arseholes from pursuing their weekly primal excess. I dispense with this kind reading.

A second reading depicts Rudd as a man of compromise. Torn between cynicism and civic responsibility, he chooses symbolism over action. While Emos will continue to be bruised by their whiffy mates, smug leaders and forgetful parents can find comfort in this legal conceit. At Least We’ve Done Something, they say, all the while burying their own memories of teenaged overload.

Incidentally, what HAPPENS to memories of the fully grown where drug policy is concerned? Can they simply not recall the force of adolescent will? Were the drugs they took that potent?

I recall, albeit hazily, researching all manner of domestic objects: nutmeg, vanilla essence – I smoked half of the Australian National Botanic Gardens in an effort to liberate myself from my tits. I was, in short, the sort of teen the Rudd Government is currently aiming to deliver from the torpor of drugs.

As I explained to my school counsellor at the time, there is only one reliable method of curbing youthful appetite: feeding it with adult supervision. Honestly, I could have saved myself and the Education Department a great deal of injury if only there’d been a double-period Drug Elective every Thursday afternoon. Bong packing would have lost a great deal of its lure were it to have been a skill acquired beneath the gaze of Mrs Grant in the Home Economics block.

There are two primary readings of the alcopop contretemps, then. Kevin Oatmeal Rudd is a believer. Kevin Opportunist Rudd is a cynic. Both are possibly true.

I, however, suspect a foggier mechanic. I am prepared, of course, to entertain the thought that this is a nice bipartisan excise grab. Nonetheless, I believe there are darker and more strangely compassionate forces at play.

It is my belief that passionate wine snobs are behind this tax. With the aid of great Australian vintners, fans of the grape are shepherding our Yoof toward the gentle drunkenness that only a good pinot noir can afford.

The love of soft reds has long been a bipartisan matter. Clever lobbyists have finally penetrated the parliament house wine club. This excise is only the first in a series of moves designed to get the young off a noxious fusion of pop and trans fats and into long, moderate evenings tempered by antipasto and plummy drops from the Yarra Valley.

Gradually, pinot will eclipse pineapple as the savour of youth and
biodynamic vendors will sell washed-rind cheese and artichoke hearts to
tolerably tipsy teens. The Emos will hold their goblets aloft to their peers who, now sober enough to acknowledge The Veronicas are crap, will wave and cry, "There’s great tension in that bottle. And did you detect a seductive over-ripeness in the fruit?"

This is my hope. This is my dream for our future.

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