Four Loko is the controversial alcoholic beverage that has been all over the news recently, as several states have or are trying to ban it. It is made by a Chicago company.
Last night I noticed that a big liquor store near Wrigley Field has its entire exterior wall painted with the Four Loko logo.
I can't tell you how many people I know who would never ordinarily drink something like Four Loko but have tried it because of all the publicity. Maybe the politicians will eventually kill it but, in the meantime, the guys who own it are making a fortune, thanks to the hysteria.
Society's choice in matters of this sort is either to let people make stupid mistakes, consequences and all, or restrict the freedom of everyone to prevent the abuses of a few. I support the former, many people support the latter, and where alcohol is concerned, people don't line up along the usual lines of more regulation/less freedom vs. less regulation/more freedom.
To me, the takeaway from all this is that we, as a society, do a piss poor job of teaching people about alcohol and the main problem is that those in control of the message are determined to lie in the interest of protecting people from themselves rather than telling the truth and hoping for the best. The trouble surrounding Four Loko is a manifestation of what happens when this dishonest approach to alcohol education reinforces myths that encourage risky behavior.