The real secret to American freedom

Four Loko, for those Canadians who may be unfamiliar with the flavoured malt liquor, carries a hefty 12 per cent alcohol content, is sold in 24 ounce cans, and can be purchased at convenience stores throughout America for two dollars and fifty cents. Because it is also filled with caffeine, a Delaware law enforcement chaplain dubbed it "legalized liquid cocaine."
So if the elixir of life has been discovered, why is it not available in Canada?

One of the greatest people ever I met in Vegas was a man named Oscar, "AKA GONZO," as he said in a text later that night. He approached my group of friends in a convenience store asking if any of us were gay, and if not, if anyone would like to "fuck [his] wife."
Before he took me to meet his wife, Oscar told us about his life, one that began my enlightenment as to why this beverage had been created.

Oscar is in the US Army and so could never “be gay.” For Oscar, going to work meant pretending he was a straight-laced married man, something completely different from the overtly homosexual man that we met. His wife was simply a good friend who helped protect his image in exchange for his military benefits.

So how do things like this make America a haven for Four Loko and its ilk?
The difference is that in a society like America, the need to hide who you are is more necessary than in Canada. I’m not saying that it’s easier for a gay man in Canada to come out, simply that in the States it’s a bit more dangerous.  

In a similar vein, a 2007 Gallup poll stated that 53 per cent of Americans would refuse to vote for an atheist president. Not coincidentally, nearly every elected official in the US professes religion, mainly Christianity. Yet, as right-wing Republican leaders have proven, just because you preach family values doesn’t mean you actually practice them. This holds true for everything. From homosexuality and atheism to intelligence, fashion, sports and trends. American is a nation of Oscars. That is why they are a nation with Las Vegas, the Mall of America, and... Four Loko.

We simply don’t need things like Four Loko in Canada. Our drunks and our highs are not in the same vein as the “American way,” a more desperate drunk, as opposed to the jovial nature of the Canadian one. America is a nation where millions need to be distracted from their existence, because it is not actually who they are.

To highlight the escapist qualities of Four Loko, I can share two important lessons I learned during my stay. One, never pay for a cash-for-services transaction up front, as you will immediately lose any leverage you had. Two, never try to reclaim lost stripper money by gambling. That is not wise.

So fresh off of the most expensive thirteen-hour stretch of my life, with zero dollars in my name, and no sleep for days, I believe I shared a feeling or two in common with the average repressed American.

I can never imagine what Oscar goes through, nor am I comparing the troubles of a middle-class vacation to that of the others I’ve mentioned. All I’m saying is that when I met Oscar, we were both reaching for a nice tall 24 ounce can of Four Loko, and for a brief spell, money, clothed strippers and the odour of well-used limos all sank beneath the haze of a $2.50 bottle of liquid cocaine. 

//Mac Fairbairn
Opinions Editor

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com