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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

`He has never smoked or drunk in his life'

Whilst watching American Football on Sunday night, announcer Chris Collinsworth was describing a player's upbringing (or lack thereof) and how this player had to care for his siblings at a young age. He described the player in glowing terms and then added that `he has never smoked or drunk in his life' as if that somehow added to his virtue.

I don't smoke, but I don't think it makes me morally superior. Yet, the not drinking or smoking equals moral superiority is quite prevalent amongst certain Americans. It's as if drinking one pint will turn you into a drunken immoral mess.

This moral superiority stretches into other areas as well. In various birthing magazines the virtues of natural childbirth are extolled. Anyone having an induction for example is a bad mother. They don't say that outright, but the tone of the articles certainly suggests that. Never mind that the mother may have a medical condition that means induction is necessary or that sometimes a baby is in danger if it is left in for too long.

Of course there are times when drinking too much, for example, is not a good idea. This applies to many things, but for those that exude a certain moral superiority there is no middle ground. you're either a teetotaller or a drunk.