In any MSM debate on alcohol, in addition to the mendacious consumption graphs exposed below (but repeated again today in the Times) , you are certain to see Hogarth's print 'Gin Lane' reproduced; you know the one - an inebriated slut with breasts exposed dropping her infant over a stair-edge. The MSM always seem to ignore the fact that Hogarth produced this as one of a complementary pair, and the other, 'Beer Street', was intended to show that getting merry on beer as opposed to gin was the healthy option; not that alcohol was bad, but that some alcohol was bad.
In Beer Street there is a hive of industry; new buildings are going up, built by ale-quaffing navvies; tradesmen carrying the marks of their trade enjoy a good laugh and a bit of slap-and-tickle - it's a celebration of our northern European English beer culture, long may it live. Wholesome. Healthy.
Both cartoons were produced in support of the Gin Act - an Act that sought to limit the damage done by the purveyors of cheap gin. Yes, we've been here before. In the 18th century we were still clever enough to realise the answer lay with restricting the supply of cheap gin, not with trying to stop the English drinking and having a bit of fun. Hogarth's message was simple - the problem wasn't alcohol, or its place in our lives, but cheap, irresponsible alcohol that poisons the feckless masses - the products of the multinational's research labs that produce cheap grain alcohol rainbow-coloured sweet drinks that appeal to the young, the stupid and those sans taste.