Mix'd Bag

Four Loko | Caf-fiending

7 Comments 07 | December | 2010

I can’t help but pay attention to the recent debate over caffeinated alcoholic beverages.  Having spent nearly six years in college (between undergrad and grad school), I partook in many an alcohol related fad and I feel obligated to share my opinions on the now-raging debate.

As reported on NPR in past weeks, a rash of recent events on college campuses has led the FDA, alongside concerned university administrations, to issue warnings to companies that manufacture these alluring tonics.  Although there are many, many different brands in question, the brew that is taking the most heat is Four Loko, a product of Phusion Projects.   Specifically, reports of student over-imbibing at Central Washington University (Washington State) and Boston College have saturated the news, online and otherwise.

The incident at Central Washington confirmed, “9 freshmen recently landed in the hospital with near-lethal blood-alcohol levels.”  The reporter in this NPR piece cites “female freshman, unable to talk or sit up, lying on mattresses in a basement.”  First off, wouldn’t that just be classified as a frat party?  Regardless, I’m not sure that Four Loko can be singled out as the sole cause for college coeds transforming into a cabbage patch.  According to record, or at least a shitload of hearsay, alcohol poisoning, blacking out, and remarkably poor decisions have been taking place since mankind invented booze.  College campuses merely represent a high gravity locale for distinctly retarded decisions to be carried out, much like the US Capitol Building.

Even though traditional booze products are a co-conspirator in this debate, it doesn’t appear that it is really coming under fire, because let’s face it, who is crazy enough to suggest shutting down a multi-billion dollar industry that permeates every aspect of American life.  And God help you if you try to take down caffeine.  Starbucks will ship you to Guantanamo for the rest of your life…..or at least until you can be tried in a civilian trial in a New York Court.

So really, the issue lies in the brightly prepackaged combination of alcohol and caffeine.  Dubbed, “blackout in a can” (a title previously held, in my opinion, by Steel Reserve), Four Loko’s recipe of (up to) 12% alcohol with caffeine (135 mg = one cup of coffee), taurine, and guarana make it, “like liquid nitrogen that won’t necessarily kill you.”  I’m guessing that quote was taken from a shitcanned Chemistry major at USC…

I understand that in this day and age, when candy cigarettes are only available on Ebay, any indication of marketing to underage consumers is met with big ol’ wrinkly frowns from the “grownups.”  Thus, Four Loko’s menagerie of dubiously fun and “kid-friendly” fruit flavors makes it an easy target for concerned parents (who probably got just as fuct on cheap whiskey and acid in the 70’s).

But really?! The prepackaging of caffeine and alcohol is causing rolling blackouts on campuses nationwide?!? Yes, of course, ban it!  BAN IT ALL!!…because lets’ face it, college kids are too stupid to figure out how to put Red Bull into a glass of vodka.  If we’re trying to foolproof alcohol, good luck.  As my friend Tyson put it, “Wow, imagine if these college CANDY ASSES ever got their hands on a bottle of (gasp!) vodka.  It would be time to ban……Russia!”

So where am I headed with all of this?  Let me first state that I’m not trying to argue that blacking out is cool, or that being able to see your heart beat through a down parka is “badass,” but rather it is quite likely this issue is receiving more attention than it deserves (this blog post included).  More to the point, Four Loko is paying a high price for putting a few “heads to bed.”

Let this blog serve as a warning….you’d better get your ass to the store for some Four Loko before the Gov’ment hits the decaf switch and sends our Caffeination back to the two-bottle system.  Otherwise you’ll be forced to pay an Ebay premium for your six-pack of Skittlebrau and bubblegum cigarettes.  As for the freshly minted college freshmen of America, still trying to figure out how to score drank with your meal points…get a grip.  Otherwise, the next thing you know you’ll be drinking cocaine infused rocket fuel or just hooking up nipple clamps to a car battery and beer bonging a Mickey’s mixed with Pixy Stix while the rest of Greek Row witnesses an explosive combo of defecation, smoke, vomit, and tears.

Now that would be Loko.

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