Monday, December 18, 2006

Sometimes, underage drinking has economic consequences

by Ken Houghton

UPDATE II: And sometimes, it really doesn't.
Wearing a light blue shirt under a dark pinstripe suit, Ms. Conner acknowledged drinking alcohol while under the legal age, but said that it would be "pushing" it to say that she had a drinking problem.

"I would not say that I am an alcoholic," she said, though at times, she said, she was unable to resist drinks offered free to her.

You're not an alcoholic if you don't pay for the drinks??

I know several people who, in their high school days, were in NYC bars. (Generally, places where a musical act—a jazz band, say, or Black 47—was playing.) And I have little doubt that they did or could have had a drink or three there with, as Tom notes, little fear from either the drinker or the proprietor.

Also, since my MBA and Valerie were conceived at almost the same time, I'm sympathetic to the idea of bringing a baby into a bar, no matter what Reese Witherspoon may have read.

But there are still times when the risk just doesn't come close to the reward. And while, say, Vanessa Williams recovered (with a boost from The Mouse), it's not so certain that the current Miss USA will be so lucky:
Internet gossip Web site reported that pageant officials and NBC met Tuesday to discuss [Miss USA Tara] Conner's alleged bad behavior, "including her conduct at New York City bars." The Web site did not name its sources.

Miss USA is considered a role model and must act accordingly, said Lark-Marie Anton, spokeswoman for the Miss Universe Organization, which produces the Miss USA pageant. Behavior such as underage drinking is clearly prohibited, she said. [emphasis mine]

Underage drinking in public is especially prohibited—and rather too easy to catch, especially if you have an 18-year-old companion.
It may be true that no publicity is bad publicity
Meanwhile, TMZ has learned that The Donald himself could have made a decision on Conner's future weeks ago, and allowed the matter to pass with a minimum of media attention. However, according to a well-placed insider, Trump has been relishing the publicity that the Conner situation has generated for his pageant and let the fiasco continue to play out.

Of course, as of today, Ms. Conner can drink wherever she wants. She just won't have Miss USA monies with which to do it. Those pre-21 drinks are getting to be very costly.

UPDATE: Duncan weighs in, not on the side of the angels or the temperance league.
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