The Blog

Booze Or TV: Which Is Worse For Your Brain?

It seems a recent article insuggests that hitting the sauce does not kill brain cells, but can damage them -- particularly in the cerebellum.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

by Dan Dunn

While channel surfing the other night I came across a news report about alleged deleterious effects of alcohol consumption. It seems a recent article in Scientific American Mind suggests that hitting the sauce does not kill brain cells, but can damage them - particularly in the cerebellum.

Granted, I was six beers in at the time, but booze-addled or not, I can recognize a specious claim when I hear one. So I decided to investigate. While I'm pretty sure I studied the brain in high school biology class, for the life of me couldn't recall anything about the cerebellum. After Googling it I discovered it's the part of the brain that controls memory and learning retention. Shut up, Google!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. While channel surfing the other night I came across a news report about alleged deleterious effects of alcohol consumption...wait, man, this beer glass is empty again.

As you can imagine, such damning charges levied against the substance that is the very foundation of both my livelihood and dating life made me depressed. Coincidentally, the TV news report also cited that as a byproduct of booze consumption. The report concluded with an ominous warning about several other medical conditions related to drinking, including dementia, psychosis and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which sounds like something dreamed up by the dude that made Human Centipede.

The TV report required immediate action. I had to do something about it right away. So I changed the channel.

Two Broke Girls was on CBS. Now, expecting NFL games and 60 Minutes, I watch CBS about as often as the Pope watches YouPorn - which is to say once every couple of weeks or so. Not to disparage anyone who enjoys CBS's regular primetime programming, it's just that I personally find their lineup to be a bit out of touch with my tastes. Most likely because I'm no longer living in a managed-care facility.

It took all of three minutes to thoroughly convince me that no amount of alcohol could induce more brain damage than an episode of Two Broke Girls. As proof, I offer the following:

Now, enjoy a pitcher of martinis.

Now, tell me honestly, which one made you feel more stupid?

Two Broke Girls is followed by a program called Mike & Molly that has been scientifically proven to have the same effect on the brain as chugging an entire bottle of Jägermeister, smashing the empty bottle over your head, and then using one of the thick shards of broken glass to lobotomize yourself. If you can still tie your shoes after that, congratulations, you get to be a writer on Mike & Molly.

CBS is also home to Two and a Half Men, which has the distinction of being both the highest rated sitcom on television and proof positive that our species is descended from apes. This show is so mind-numbingly moronic that when given a choice between a humiliating public flameout and phoning it in on Men for upwards of $2 million an episode, Charlie Sheen chose the flameout. And not one person in America blamed him.

Not that CBS is the worst offender, mind you. Remember ABC's Work It? What's that? You don't. Well, then, you must have blinked last fall...but trust me, in terms of potential harmful effects on the human body, it was the television programming equivalent of Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.

Now I'm no neurosurgeon, but there's no way you can convince me that downing a 12-pack of Natural Light every day for an entire year could possibly wreak any more cognitive damage than an MTV Jersey Shore marathon.

Don't believe me? Let's ask Snooki then...

She fucking, like, saves animals. Like, that's what she does. Ah, but what about all the teenagers out there who are strung out on your show, Snooki? Who will save them? You? The Situation? Jersey Shore may not actually be murdering young minds, but at the very least it's encouraging impressionable brain cells to commit mass suicide.

In short, I submit to you, Scientific American Mind (if that even is your real name) that the genuine hazard here is not booze, but TV. If we, as a nation didn't drink so much television, we'd all have more time to watch liquor. Or maybe I have that backwards. Quality over quantity!

That was my point. Jeez. I need another beer.

And can someone remind my secretary to remind me not to write these things when Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is on? There's only such much grey matter to go around.