Amethyst Initiative

The "Amethyst Initiative" is an effort by a group of college presidents and chancellors to get the drinking age lowered back to 18. The argument is that the current age limit "is not working." It contributes, they say, to off-campus binge drinking; fake IDs erode respect for the law. They point out that 18-year-olds "are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military"; the notion that they're not mature enough to handle alcohol is inconsistent.

Their website explains the name:

The word Amethyst is derived from the Ancient Greek words meaning “not” (a-) and “intoxicated” (methustos). According to mythology, Amethyst was a young girl who incurred the wrath of the God Dionysus after he became intoxicated with red wine. Amethyst cried to Goddess Diana for help.  Diana immediately turned the girl into a white stone. Upon discovering what had happened Dionysus wept, and, as his tears fell into his goblet, the wine spilled over the white rock, turning it purple.

The lesson for today's college students is clear: if you run afoul of a mean drunk, asking a Goddess for help isn't likely to work out: you get stoned, then stained. You might want to carry pepper spray or a 9mm Glock instead.

Our local paper, Fosters Daily Democrat, covers the Amethyst Initiative here, and notes that while the presidents of Dartmouth and Southern New Hampshire University have signed on, UNH's president, Mark Huddleston, has so far declined.

Instapundit is, as usual, sensible: this should (at least) not be a Federal issue. At Patterico, DRJ has a number of informative links.

When looking for informed comment on college drunkenness, however, my first thought is: what does Dartblog say? (Hmmm, I may not have meant that quite the way it came out…) In any case, Jennifer Bandy is skeptical.

Unless the college presidents who have joined this initiative are interested in actively changing the American culture, they are doing nothing more than blowing hot air, and that is as it should be.

Good point. It's in the job description, after all.

One comment on the Amethyst website. There's a big fat button on the right of the front page:

See our debates on opposing

… but (as I type) hitting that button gets you right to a 404: "The page you were looking for doesn't exist." Theory: this is either (a) a subtle comment on the typical University administrator's respect for dissent, or (b) their web designer is a drunken 18-year-old.

Last Modified 2012-10-11 3:17 PM EST

URLs du Jour


  • China shows its willingness to tolerate dissent:
    BEIJING — Two elderly Chinese women have been sentenced to a year of “re-education through labor” after they repeatedly sought a permit to demonstrate in one of the official Olympic protest areas, according to family members and human rights advocates.

    The women, Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, had made five visits to the police this month in an effort to get permission to protest what they contended was inadequate compensation for the demolition of their homes in Beijing.

    I believe the NBC folks will be too busy covering Beijing’s Hip-Hop Grannies to pay much attention to Wu Dianyuan or Wang Xiuying. Sorry, ladies: Meredith Viera will not be interviewing you!

  • In other Olympian news, Michael Phelps will soon get his physiognomy on boxes of Kellogg's … well, now they're called "Frosted Flakes of corn", but your blogger is old enough to remember when they were proudly "Sugar Frosted Flakes." Not everyone's happy about that.
    Olympic legend Michael Phelps will appear on boxes of the Kellogg's brand sugar cereal, drawing sharp criticism from health experts worried about the message he'll be sending to children across America.

    "I would not consider Frosted Flakes the food of an Olympian," said nutritionist Rebecca Solomon of Mount Sinai Medical Center.

    "I would rather see him promoting Fiber One. I would rather see him promoting oatmeal. I would even rather see him promoting Cheerios."

    I'm not gonna argue too much with a nutritionist, but: a cup of Cheerios is 110 calories, and nearly everyone puts sugar on them. A cup of Frosted Flakes will get you 143 calories. That's not a big deal.

    And—you'veprobablyalreadyseenthisbut—Michael's on a 12,000 calorie per day diet. Although it's said he usually has grits for breakfast, if he's sentimental about Tony the Tiger, he's probably got room for a bowl of Frosted Flakes.

  • And speaking of Michael, I doubt he's making any money off this T-shirt.

Last Modified 2012-10-11 3:41 PM EST