Griffiths / Why are we listening to the wowsers?

“Why should people who live on the other side of the clock be denied the pleasure of a quiet drink after work?” writes Lowbrow columnist JOHN GRIFFITHS

I’M not, by nature, a hateful man, but there’s a lot of things in society today that I don’t much like.

John Griffiths.

John Griffiths.

Ugg boots worn in public are an obvious place to start. Fluffy, high-sided slippers are great around the house on a cold morning but when worn to the supermarket advertise a concerning lack of self-respect.

Canberra’s lead-footed legion of red-light runners have nearly brought me to grief on numerous occasions and, were I king, would be despatched with summary executions (to encourage the others, of course).

Political groups seeking to push their bandwagons along on the backs of every passing tragedy are hardly any better than those already mentioned.

Liberal Party politicians telling Canberrans that a vote for the Coalition is a vote for “job security” can only either be blithering idiots or assume that their audience are the fools (possibly both of these things are true).

Journalists who take media releases from interest groups and report those groups’ survey findings as the will of the people may well be the worst of all of these.

Which brings me to the news that most Canberrans support bars turning off the beer taps at 3am and that two in five of us “believe Civic to be unsafe or very unsafe on a Saturday night”.

In terms of general preference, on a par with my views on ugg boots and red-light runners, I can get behind this sentiment.

In the long years since I left my 20s behind, the nights have been few and far between when I’ve wanted a drink in town after 3am.

But really, so what?

Young adults have limited scope to turn up the music and crack open another beer at home, their parents take a dim view.

The nightclubs are their living rooms (sweaty, confusing living rooms perhaps, but that’s a matter of taste). For mum and dad to reach out for the light switch all the way from their safe suburban homes strikes me as beyond unfair.

There are other groups threatened by these pushes for abstinence as well.

Health care workers, police, hospitality workers and transport drivers to name just a few are part of a world that doesn’t live the average Canberra suburban life of working 9-5.

Why should people who live on the other side of the clock be denied the pleasure of a quiet drink after work?

Why should the views of people who are almost never out on the town, for whatever reason, at 3am have any bearing at all on those who are?

If you don’t want a drink at 4am in Civic, I’m hard pushed to find anyone forcing you to partake of that libation. Given that most people are indeed safely asleep, kilometres away, at that hour it’s an unusually easy menace to avoid.

HL Mencken described puritanism as: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

Most people when they grow up realise that staying on the lash until the sun comes up is a staggering commitment of time and money, for a usually very limited return.

But why are we seeking to deny grown adults the right to make that decision for themselves? And denying the businesses that meet their demand the chance to make a reasonably honest dollar?


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