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40 ounces to freedom

By Roland Lara on Nov 17, 2005 3:51PM

A Bridgeport alderman wants to ban 40s in Chicago.

Dammit, man, don’t take away our sunshine.

Citing “public drunkenness and the litter, loitering, and public urination that come with it” Ald. James Balcer (11th) wants the current ban against selling individual bottles and cans of certain types of booze to now encompass the beloved “forty.”

For the two Chicagoist readers unfamiliar with a 40oz., we’d refer you to the frequently hilarious, invariably informative, and often offensive UrbanDictionary for its entry on the forty. The Sun-Times also describes it as “liquid crack,” and Ald. Balcer said that the alcohol content of some of the forties is like six shots of whiskey.

The alderman says his ban is going to battle the problem of hardcore alcoholics who do not have the money to buy a six-pack or more. And the chair of the Deering police district advisory council says the forty is the drink of choice for the “degenerates” who make life “miserable” for the residents of Bridgeport.

Okay, first things first, “public drunkenness and the litter, loitering, and public urination that come with it” sounds like a hell of a party and a lot like the last Chicagoist happy hour (plug: Chicagoist’s happy hour is TONIGHT, so come on down to Monk’s after work).

Second, Chicagoist is not going to pretend we don’t know what the alderman is driving at, we think, um, kind of, but giving the reason for the ban that people who tend to drink forties cannot afford to buy more is outrageous. Poor people cannot get hammered, too? That’s just un-American. Like it would be better if they’d just buy a case at a time? Or a bottle of Chardonnay?

And this sort of classism argument with the obvious racial overtones is inescapable when you get this unintentionally hilarious rejoinder from the president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association about “unintended consequences”: that in addition to the forties of malt liquor, the alderman’s ban would also prohibit large containers of premium beers, such as Foster’s, Heineken, and Corona, thus infringing on “Metra commuters who want a quick beer after a long week, particularly in the summer.”

Yeah! See? Alderman, if you get your way, rich white folks cannot get blitzed on the train before they go home to their wives!

Of course, we haven’t even gotten around to Chicagoist’s affection for the forty, especially for Mickey’s, which is the superior forty, and anyone who says differently is mistaken.

Ald. Balcer, don’t you have a jaywalking ban to advance?