Some economists, consumer advocates and members of the U.S. Congress are proposing that the U.S. Postal Service get into home delivery of alcohol. The proposal is aimed at helping the USPS overcome its money woes. I do hope attention will be paid to important cultural issues: how, in a future where mail-order booze is legal, will we explain Smokey and the Bandit and The Dukes of Hazzard to our grandchildren?
Those movies and shows hinged on the adversarial relationship between the scalawags and the lawmen, which relationship existed only because of government restrictions on the transport of alcoholic beverages. Audiences understood this going in because it reflected the then-current reality. While the hooch-runners were appealing — especially Sally Field in her pre-Boniva heyday — it was understood that they were the baddies. The authorities were portrayed as buffoons, but they were in the right.
Now imagine watching those shows under a regime of legal delivery of booze by mail. You will have to tell your bewildered descendants that no, that sheriff has not gone rogue and he is not preventing the U.S. Mail from completing its appointed rounds. No, kids, Snowman is not the postman. Yes, kids, there were good reasons for Bandit and Frog (Sally again) and the Duke boys to go jumping their cars over every creek and gully in sight, and it had nothing to do with meeting first-class delivery windows.
Without helpful contextual notes, things that made sense in our day will look like a dystopian banjo-infused free-for-all.
— Christopher Jones, Bakersfield