Editorial: Drunken revelry

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While the splendour of Antigua & Barbuda’s 60th Anniversary of Carnival was certainly on display for all of the world to see, the darker side of Carnival also took centre stage in ways that seem to be worsening every year.  Social media took the many displays … correction, too many displays of alcohol overconsumption to new heights.  
And maybe it is a perception thing but there seemed to be a greater percentage of drunken videos featuring women this year.  Maybe that is because we are used to seeing men falling down and making a fool of themselves and have become desensitised to such drunken tomfoolery, so it no longer tantalises the palate for “ugly”.  Or maybe it is because when a guy drops down drunk, there is no simulated sex being performed on his limp body.
This year, social media was littered with videos of people overindulging in alcohol.  And with that overindulgence came displays of lewd behaviour that have been captured for all time.  We wonder how people react when they recover from their drunken stupor, get over the hangover from hell and see that their antics are captured in one of the many videos that has been sent to their phone.  Worse, that their drunkenness has been included in a top 10 list of “drunk fails” and has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
Clearly, these people have no self-control and have ignored the “drink responsibly” advice that has been repeated ad nauseam before and during Carnival.  They have decided, somewhere along the line, that they are going to party to the maximum and damn the consequences.  That may have been okay in the past, pre-internet and social media days, when just a few dozen people may be able to witness their extreme party antics but not today.  Nope!  Those good old days are gone.  Today, those actions live forever for every friend, family and associate to see.  Did we mention co-workers, bosses, congregations, etc? 
And while people may be willing to ignore the obvious and the advice that surround them regarding irresponsible alcohol consumption and sex, they should not ignore the impact that these video recordings will have on their future; especially in a society as small as ours.   That video now becomes part of the life resume for all to reference; whether that is a prospective boss, boyfriend, girlfriend, or an acquaintance. 
In one of the many disturbing videos, a young woman is seen staggering and falling in the street and eventually on the sidewalk.  The general response is laughter … ‘we lub ugly’, remember.  Without getting into too much detail, she ends up flat on her back and is mounted by another woman who proceeds to simulate rough sex.  All this, in full view of the spectators, each and every one of them likely carrying a cellphone with a camera  capable of capturing the moment.  In fact, it would not surprise us if there are several angles of that one incident online. 
That is the world we live in today. Everyone carries a phone and that means, everyone carries a camera.  Therefore, it is highly likely that if you ‘get on bad’ someone is there to take a photo or video and post it for all the world to see.  And the more outrageous your behaviour the more viral your video will become.  Get on bad enough and you will be world famous.  All for the wrong reasons but world famous nonetheless.
In another video, a female reveler is held upside down while a male reveler rips her undergarment apart and simulates cunnilingus (Sorry for the graphic description but this is real life!).  And, in the video we saw, you could clearly see other people with phones in hand, apparently video recording.
Look, we are under no illusions that you can eliminate irresponsible drinking from Carnival.  As we have said, before, we promote it as part of the experience (to a certain extent).  One of the key buzz words and selling points is “all inclusive”.  That helps promote our Carnival but it also promotes a ‘drink as yuh like culture’ that easily removes boundaries.  Throw in youthful inexperience and the desire to push boundaries in the pursuit of an extremely good time and bad behaviour is bound to happen.
In the end though, it is a personal responsibility.  Sure, the server should cut off anyone who is beyond cognitive reasoning, but people need to know their limits.  Society is only willing and able to babysit so far and then it is up to you.  If the fact that you don’t remember the great time that you had doesn’t help;  Or, the vomiting and two days needed to recover from the hangover doesn’t help;  Then, the fact that you will be publicly reminded of all that you have forgotten (including the vomiting) via a viral online video for the rest of your life should do the trick.

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