Friday, September 20, 2013

Ban The Blarney

McMurphy's downtown Amherst 3/10/12 10:45 AM

UPDATE (Sunday afternoon):   

Looks like the "Half Way to Blarney Blowout" promotion disappeared from the McMurphy's Facebook page over the past 24 hours. What's up with that? Something I said, hopefully.

Original Post:
"You're name is mud" may still be a familiar expression as the negativity is obvious -- even if you don't know the sad story of Dr. Mudd and his cold hearted patient, John Wilkes Booth. 

The term "Blarney Blowout," unlike the innocent doctor just doing his job,  has also earned a mud like moniker.  A well deserved one.

This promotion encourages exuberant college aged youth to consume copious amounts of alcohol starting very early in the day, all in the name of profit.  What could go wrong?

In July an Amherst man was acquitted of rape using the "morning-after-regret" defense.  Of course the morning after was a follow up to a day of partying during the "Blarney Blowout" 2011 edition.

And we already know the pernicious public safety impact of the 2013 event, when thousands of youth packed the quad area of Townhouse Apartments requiring a bevy of police (town, state and UMass) dressed in riot gear to bring under control. 

UMass/Amherst recently became serious about the dangers of out-of-control partying.  Cancelling Fantazia at the Mullins Center due to concerns over the drug "Molly" certainly demonstrate that. 

The 5-member Amherst Select Board are also the town's "Liquor Commissioners" (and ironically enough, "Sewer Commissioners".)

If Umass can impose its will on the privately operated Mullins Center to cancel a potentially dangerous production, the Select Board should follow suit and come down on McMurphy's Uptown Tavern like a ton of kegs.

And that's no blarney.


Anonymous said...

Anyone die from this last year?

Larry Kelley said...

Only a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

I think this event let's kids blow off a little steam. It's not pretty but it's all on foot, so it's better than them driving around. Drinking may not be pretty but no one is freaking out about Oktoberfest. Besides, these are private businesses licensed to serve alcohol. What exactly should be banned?

Larry Kelley said...

My concern is that theses kids start the day with a diet of beer and then later start driving around looking for another party.

At Townhouse Apartments for instance.

Anonymous said...

There is one problem with your suggestion,Larry. There was no riot in town at McMurphys. They put into place many things to control the crowds. The riot was a townhouse Apts. So using your philosophy the town should ban the sale of all alcohol by liquor stores in Amherst on that day. Whether McMurphys had their Blarney promotion or not students will still gather at townhouse and party.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually I kind of like that "philosophy":

Anonymous said...

Liquours 44 is in Hadley.

Larry Kelley said...

Figures you would recognize that.

Walter Graff said...

My take is the town shouldn't ban the pub crawl. Unfortunate as it might be pub crawls happen at colleges all over the country and in the UK. Of course they are designed to make money for local establishments. I did quick search for problems that occur at other college events such as this and from what I can see, there doesn't seem to be much if any trouble with these events. And if you look at what happens in ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ regarding the pub crawl, it really isn't that bad, not great in isolated instance but for the most part a successful event. I attribute the issues that happen both on Blowout day and other weekends to three things.

The town of ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ does not have an infrastructure for the college social scene as is. While this town refuses to be anything but a "sleepy town", the reality is that off-campus housing is a subject to these issues.

ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ would have been smart to further develop a economic strip geared towards students around the ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ Brewery/Hanger area close to campus. If students had more to do socially than hang out in the decrepit downtown establishments on designated drink-as-much-as-you-can days, these large parties that end up happening at private community condos because there really is no place to go for 20,000 students would not be as prevalent.

ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ believes it is a "sleepy town" where Emily Dickinson watched from her window and Robert Frost strolled the woods watching bears and got lost at the fork in the road. Basically it's a town that wants to be one thing and ignore a reality.

Instead of developing areas contingent with the needs of a large student body, creating a new tax base, creating new business, attracting students to the school, putting ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ on the map as a great place to go to school and making ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ a larger cultural and social scene, ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ chooses to act like this is a small town where families can go to The Eric Carl museum and live a peaceful life as if Emily was still a prisoner in her home.

Well they can still do that and the town can satisfy all while satisfying the needs of a migratory population as big as the full-time town residents. But I wouldn't expect anything like that from a town like this and as a result you have issues weekly. Many people refer to the way ʇsɹǝɥɯ∀ functions as having a stick up your ass.

The second issue is the way the college is set-up for residence. A large percentage of problems for UMASS are off-campus. Rather than focus on building residence on-campus UMASS has a unique off-campus population in terms of size. Allowing 21 year-olds to live alone for the first time in a house with no rules and no supervision is a disaster waiting to happen for the small percentage of emotionally immature. We see it each week.

The third issue in my mind is clearly the type of students the school attracts. It's nothing more than reflection of the kinds of families some of these kids come from.

Then again you could also use the hammer/nail scenario to explain a lot if you wanted to look at the other side. A blog such as this focuses on college issues. If you look at actual statistics then you will see there really isn't much of an issue in a campus of 21,500. According to the University from June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2013 there were 684 overall off-campus incidents. 3% of the undergraduate body got in trouble, mostly first-time occurrences. That really is not a big problem in such a small town with such a large off-campus residence.

Anonymous said...


I don't often agree with you, but on this one, I'm with you 100%.

What some of the posters fail to realize is the difference between what a private business (or anybody else) CAN DO and what they SHOULD DO. LIke every citizen (and remember according to the Supreme Court, corporations are citizens), they have a responsibility to the community in which they reside. Promoting excessive drinking through promoting a phony event is hardly responsible behavior, IMHO.

Larry Kelley said...

I focus on the problem Nitwits hoping to change their unacceptable behavior.

I let the UMass Office of News & Media Relations handle all the positive stuff, which is indeed the vast majority.

Anonymous said...

What they should do? Tell that to Budweiser. Our largest corporations don't spend any time on that at all.

Anonymous said...

You're name is Larry Kelley. SPELLING, YOUNG MAN!

Anonymous said...

I think you mean "your" (grammar counts too)

Saw the football dollars heading out of town by coach bus this morning (seemed to be the cheerleaders?)