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Former NYTimes Columnist Nicholas Kristof Had Some Interesting Thoughts on Alcoholism

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | April 13, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | April 13, 2022 |


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I’m not that familiar with former NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof because I rarely read the opinion pages of The NYTimes unless I’m intentionally trying to provoke a rage blackout. He’s a progressive journalist, he’s reported extensively on human rights issues, and he’s won several Pulitzer Prizes for commentary (and been a finalist seven times). But he’s also the kind of progressive who owns his own vineyard and a house worth millions of dollars, which is not a bad thing! If you win a bunch of Pulitzers, you probably deserve to be well paid. All I’m saying is that lots of money has a tendency to create barriers to understanding.

Recently, Kristof resigned from the NYTimes, packed up his bags, and moved to Oregon to run for Governor. I’m not sure if he’d have done well or not. Oregon’s a liberal state. Kristof is a liberal journalist, never mind his complete lack of political experience. It was not, however, the lack of political experience that ended his bid for Governor before it even started. It was the residency requirement. You have to be a resident of Oregon for three years before you can run for Governor. Kristof was not. He voted in New York in 2020. His car was still registered in New York. I guess he thought he could get the courts to overlook the residency requirements by flashing those Pulitzers.

He couldn’t, and now he’s no longer running for Governor. He’s also no longer a NYTimes columnist. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but I am saying that when it comes to Kristof’s opinions, he should probably stick to human rights issues and definitely not expound on the dangers of alcoholism because if he had managed to sneak by those residency requirements, a quote like this — given on his own vineyard — might have killed his bid, anyway. From The Intelligencer:

“I don’t think that most people appreciate that most years, alcohol kills more people than drugs,” Kristof told me, though he clarified that he does not believe this is true of the type of alcohol that he makes. He also does not think that profiting off the sale of alcohol and lowering rates of alcohol addiction, two of his stated immediate goals, are in conflict. “You know, I’ve lost friends to alcoholism, but I haven’t lost any to Pinot Noir alcoholism,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be in favor of barring alcohol in general. I think that wine can be, or cider can be, a social good and can create social capital. Things that bring people together, I think, are good for society. I think alcohol can do that, and I think that’s true of wine and cider. I take your point that some people start with nice Pinot Noirs and then… ,” he trailed off. “But I think that is much less common, and those who die, the mortality from alcoholism, it’s driven really by working-class Americans, and it’s in kind of bulk hard liquor particularly. I don’t think that good wine and cider add significantly to the problem.”

I think that what Kristof is trying to say is that well-off people — the kind who can afford to buy the $11 bottle of cider that Kristof sells in the farm store around the corner from his vineyard — don’t die of alcoholism because the alcohol in a good Pinot Noir — the fancy kind that cost more than a day’s wages for “working-class Americans” — doesn’t penetrate the liver. Because that’s how alcoholism works, right? Good wine doesn’t kill people! Bad wine kills people! Trader Joe’s wine kills people!

Kristof, by the way, plans to harvest his Pinot grapes for the first time in the fall.

Source: The Intelligencer



Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.



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