Cognition & Reality

Thursday, 3 March 2011

“The Hangover,” Roofies And The Liquor Industry

Filed under: Propaganda,Psychomyths,Urban Myths — drtone @ 8:16 am

“The Hangover” is among the worst movies I have seen all the way through. Usually, if a movie is that bad, I shut it off in ten minutes. Sometimes, it takes me longer than that when a film has an actor or two I like, and I keep waiting for it to get better. “The Hangover” has Zach Galifianakis, whom I liked in the HBO series “Bored to Death.” Maybe that’s why I kept watching it.

It says almost everything that need be said about it that “The Hangover” introduces a number of plot points that it resolves through exposition in the end credit sequence. Therefore, most of the movie, which depends on creating suspense about how its main characters entered a bizarre predicament that includes finding a tiger in their hotel room, is a red herring consisting of props and characters that don’t fit into any story worth telling at length. Inexplicably, “The Hangover,” which apparently was a big hit, has a 7.9 rating on IMDB, and received positive reviews when it came out a couple of years ago.

Perhaps the most annoying feature of “The Hangover,” and the one that makes it a topic for this blog, is that its central premise involves the presupposition that taking Rohypnol–referred to repeatedly throughout the movie as “The Date Rape Drug”–will cause you to forget everything that happened in the eight hours or so after you take it. When the characters discover that they have taken “roofies,” the first question one of them asks is whether he was raped the night before, as if that were the central feature of the preparation. It does not matter that, as I have mentioned here before, it has been long established that the use of Rohypnol for “date rape” is largely, if not wholly, an urban myth. I no longer have the Blu-ray disk, but I believe that the substance in question is sometimes referred to as Rohypnol and sometimes as GHB, which are not the same drug, inattention to detail not surprising in a project so ham-handed and sleazy.

I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but the continuing appearance in films and TV shows of fabrications about “date rape drugs” other than alcohol, which is the undisputed champion in the category, smacks of a propaganda campaign supported by the liquor industry. Many women believe that, rather than becoming so drunk that they let their defenses down, they have been lured into unwanted sexual situations by men who have spiked their drinks with GHB or other substances. It is rare, however, for any drug other than alcohol to play a role in non-consensual sex, something that has been true since approximately the beginning of time. One can see, however, that it would serve beer, wine and liquor manufacturers to introduce the idea that what they sell is not the main culprit in “date rape.”


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