Friday, 30 March 2007

Beer O’Clock – Fisking Rosemary McLeod

Beer O'Clock comes from Neil this week:

Late last year, columnist Rosemary McLeod wrote an article called “Girls just can’t hold their beer.” You can read it here. It was nonsense.
Below was my response entitled “A stout defense of beer.”
Rosemary McLeod’s opinion piece “Girls just can’t hold their beer” (23 November) is based entirely on a series of stereotypes, generalizations and false conclusions which Nicky Hager and Robert Fisk would be envious of.
Ignoring her simply false claims that women don’t drink beer (they do) and that fruity ready-mixed drinks are “brimming with health giving vitamins” (it’s mainly sugar and food coloring), Ms McLeod makes a series of claims about beer which simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.
According to her, only beer makes men feel that they can sing in public. I’d advise her to check out any of this country’s fine karaoke bars and observe two obvious phenomena: a) women sing in public and b) people drink wine, spirits and cocktails before singing too. A few really brave souls even sing without drinking any alcohol at all.
Apparently Ms McLeod believes that it is only beer which makes men “ill able” to realize their “wild erotic hopes”. She seems to think the performance impairing effects of alcohol are only present in beer and not in any other form of drink.
I am sure many people were amazed to learn from her column that every single broken bottle in the history of New Zealand was a beer bottle. All those bottles on beaches, gutters, playgrounds and in long grass– if Ms McLeod is to be believed – without exception started life as beer bottles.
She even goes so far as to say every shard of glass she has ever driven over came from a beer bottle. I suspect the Top Gear crew will be on the phone shortly wanting to know what kind of car she drives.
Car nuts will want to hear about a vehicle which has such amazing suspension that the driver can identify by feel alone that the broken glass she drove over came from a beer bottle and not from a wine bottle, a vodka bottle, a coke bottle or a broken mirror.
Jeremy Clarkson could do a colorful little piece on the glass shard identification characteristics of various cars. Top Gear has done whole shows based on sillier concepts.
Ms McLeod needs to recognize that no one type of alcohol has a monopoly on anti-social behavior.
She surely can not argue that it’s only beer which causes people misbehave at office parties. I suppose bottle after bottle of cheap champagne only causes a furtive outbreak of Hegelian philosophy in the store room.
I guess all the first-hand accounts of quite intoxicated people at the Martinborough Wine Festival must have been made up because no beer was served there.
I suspect Ms McLeod sees only what she wants to see. She considers beer to be a second class beverage and feels comfortable attributing all the social ills she observes to it.
To her way of thinking, a $5 bottle of wine is inherently more sophisticated than a $10 bottle of beer. I would remind her that people are not called “winos” because they drink a lot of beer.
Her perspective on beer seems to have shaped by her drinking habits as a student back when she chose beer because it was cheap and less likely to lead men to believe she wanted to go home with them.
Imagine her reaction if I claimed “I drank Marque-Vue as a student so I know that I don’t like champagne…” She would laugh at such absurdity – as we should at her similar argument.
Beers can be bland or poorly made – so can cheap wine and rotgut whiskey.
Beer can be drunk to excess and contribute to anti-social behavior – so can champagne and vodka.
Good beer drunk for the right reasons can be a tasty and socialable experience – just as it can for wine and spirits.
As a result of her faulty argument Ms McLeod reached the somewhat patronizing conclusion that “beer will never be the thinking woman's drink, or the drink of the strategic thinker.”
I’d urge her and her readers to think again – this time based on the facts.
Neil Miller
Links Article:,2106,3875240a1861,00.html


  1. Amen, Neil. A great rebuttal to a ridiculous article.

  2. Only beer drinkers win wars. Winedrinkers never.

  3. Robert Winefield31 Mar 2007, 06:40:00

    "she chose beer because it was cheap"

    Alternately she may be scorning beer because it isn't potent enough to delude any prospective partner into thinking she was & is worth going home with...

  4. What a great post to read as I'm sitting down for a pint or five of imperial stout. The conversations I have over pints are far more interesting than talks over the fruity drinks with ice.

    (I don't actually drink fruity drinks, but I do overhear men who approach the girls holding them.)

  5. Hitler hated beer too.
    There we go, the complete thread post.

  6. What absurd generalisations; Men in my social group (def. not second-class types) all quaff astonishing amounts of beer, and Champagne and vodka are to blame for all of my anti-social behaviour. Fruity, ready-mixed drinks are the vulgar imposters of the alcohol world. Ugh.

  7. It looks like you succeeded in getting the column removed Neil. It's AWOL. Link just hits a page saying that the story no longer exists. Magic.


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