Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Prohibition, Socks, and Bathtub Gin

Day 148 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and Tony (aka my husband) is reading Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent, because he wants to know more about the money and power behind prohibition and connect it to the current debates on legalization of marijuana.

The book just came out in May, so Tony requested it at the library and got an email when it came in, and I hope he is able to renew it so he can finish it. So far he is impressed by the bombardment of facts, including one he didn't know: some of our elected representatives used to be appointed. "Think of the corruption!" he said, pulling on his socks this morning. Then, revising his cynicism a tad, "Think of the potential for corruption!"

(These were clean socks, but they will be sweaty later, as Tony was on his way to volleyball camp. Tomorrow is laundry day, which happens to coincide with garbage day in my household. Speaking of which, I cleaned up my office, and rearranged the book stacks, to impress my daughter, who has not yet noticed.) If he doesn't finish it in time, and can't renew it, maybe he will watch the upcoming Ken Burns documentary on prohibition. But I think he is really enjoying the reading, despite the tendency to fall asleep. (He's a hardworking, physical labor, volleyball coach of a man. Who likes a good Cuba libre at the end of the day.)

But reading, to return to our main subject, is a pleasure all its own. To hold the book in hand, to concentrate, to look up and ponder, to re-read that last paragraph....to....zzzz.

OK, but I, too, am interested in how the do-gooders and temperance ladies, together with the activists for women's suffrage (sometimes the same people), coincided with the powers that be (not, then, the women, but they were clearly gaining power) to produce legislation and an era, bound to be revoked, and residual good & ill. The dustjacket flap promises rich detail and the truth about Joseph P. Kennedy! And The Great Gatsby! And Dorothy Parker. Who is reading Dorothy Parker? Who is drinking bathtub gin?

3 comments:

nene said...

I was curious how '...dirty socks, laundry day and garbage day along with straightening up the study' figures into the subject of analogizing it with the debate of Prohibition of alcohol vs legalization of Marijuana'?
I know back in the post Vietnam era my means of 'escapism' was not what was the subject matter in 'prohibition'. I would eat a lot though in lieu of laundry and cleaning, obsessively. I'm just say'n!

Kathleen said...

Sadly, it does not figure in. That's why I'm so bad at math.

But very good at meandering.

Kathleen said...

The jacket flap doesn't really make all those promises, just the Kennedy one.