Thursday, August 21, 2008

Should the drinking age be lowered?

(painting by Claudia Eve Kleefeld)

The debate about whether or not the drinking age should be lowered to 18 is in the news right now. I'm very interested in this issue for a few reasons. One is that my novel is about a young woman's first year away from home living in the dorms, and her life is fraught with binge drinking.

The other reason is that I'm teaching a writing class in the fall in which we are going to examine this issue from various angles. We'll be reading Smashed, a memoir by Koren Zailckas; we'll be looking at alcohol ads to interrogate how alcohol is sold; and we'll talk about the various cultures of alcohol (from movies and happy hours, to dorm and frat/sorority life). Students will be writing several papers, including an "alcohol narrative," in which they examine how they first became aware of alcohol, the ways in which it has been featured (or not) in their lives, their relationship with it now, etc.

I'm glad this issue is in the news right now because it will make the class topic even more relevant.

What do you think? Should the drinking age be lowered to 18?
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