The Corner

Re: Drinking Makes You Smarter

At the beginning of Jim Webb’s third novel, A Country Such as This, there is a scene in which three soon-to-be graduates of the Naval Academy are drinking beer at Riordan’s (I haven’t been there in a while, so I’m not sure if that’ the right spelling) in downtown Annapolis. One of the characters, not surprisingly the one who will son be commissioned a lieutenant of Marines, orders another round. One of the other character objects, saying “don’t you realize that alcohol kills brain cells?” To which the first character replies: “any brain cell that can’t take a little alcohol deserves to die!” He then argues that alcohol gets rid of the “non-hacking” brain cells, implying that drinking makes us smarter because only the fittest brain cells survive.

Based on that reasoning, I shall soon be Einstein.

Most Popular


White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More