Aux armes, citoyens! M. Le Brun of Point Chevalier has noted the dispatches made by M. Idiot-Savant of Palmerston Nord about l'absinthe. They make for alarming news. If you are too drunk to follow these links, I shall summarise.
Dr Paul Hutchison, who speaks for the National Party about something or other in the House of Representatives, has asked several questions of the Minister of Health about the consumption of l'absinthe by les jeunes. It seems he is worried that the young folk might be drinking it as a substitute for party pills (incidentally, at Auckland University Orientation Week, the men from ACT on Campus were selling party pills for one Dollar each; the side-effects included waking up later with an ACT Party membership, which at least is marginally less unpleasant than waking up with an ACT Party member).
Dr Hutchison's particular concern is that victuallers might be making RTDs (the favoured tipple of sixteen year-old girls) with l'absinthe, a chilling thought for all those who appreciate their drink. Rather than ask a sixteen year-old girl, he wastes Government time asking the Minister Questions like this one "Is he aware of any drinks on the market that contain Absinthe; if so what is the Absinthe content?" To which the obvious answer would be "Yes, Absinthe contains Absinthe; the Absinthe content of a bottle of Absinthe is one hundred percent."Dr Hutchison has further questions, such as "Further to the reply to question for written answer 01791 (2008), is he concerned that people could develop unwanted side effects by drinking Absinthe; if not, why not?" To which the obvious answer would be "Taken in immoderation, Absinthe has the same unwanted side effects as any alcoholic drink; these include, but are not limited to: singing Come on Eileen, attempting Borat impersonations and falling over.
Quite why Dr Hutchison is concerned that young people might be obtaining a perfectly good drink, which is really is far too grown-up for them, is a mystery. Of course, l'absinthe was banned in several European countries before the Great War, because it was thought to cause madness and Symbolist poetry. In recent years, the prohibitions have been lifted. The dread of l'absinthe was based on nothing more than speculation. Perhaps Dr Hutchison has not had the time to keep up with the medical literature. Or perhaps he has been looking at too many French Impressions. Perhaps he is worried that drinking l'absinthe leads to this sort of thing:
Perhaps next he will come across William Hogarth's Gin Lane and demand the abolition of Bombay Sapphire.
I am sure Dr Hutchison could concern himself with more important matters. He might trouble himself with the cigarette tins that are being given away with an RTD called Cody's, which allow smokers to discard the cigarette packets that now come with gruesome illustrations of the effects of smoking. Or perhaps he should be concerned that his colleagues, Dr Jonathan Coleman and Mr Simon Power, fell in with a bad crowd a while back.