Another Hollywood Sermon

from Spiked

I confess I have my own bias here. I’m convinced that many people are in AA for peculiar, narcissistic reasons. I’ve been to a few AA meetings myself, as a guest and observer, and they gave me the creeps. The people I’ve known who have quit drinking without AA have all seemed healthier and less neurotic, and it strikes me as sad that the only alternative to self-destruction should be a quasi-religious cult, with a Holy Book, a set of rules and its own Devil; booze continues to occupy a place of dark, exalted power in these peoples’ lives.

I’m not the first to point out that we live in strangely puritanical times, in which everything is seen as dangerously ‘addictive’ and the road to Redemption lies in therapy. Nevertheless, I try to put my personal reservations about AA aside when people say it has saved their lives. It’s pretty hard to argue with that. Yet Crazy Heart does seem to me to reflect a climate in which people are obsessed with risk-prevention, in which children are wrapped in cotton wool, and no middle ground is seen between destructive excess and puritanical self-denial.

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