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State College Hypocrisy on Display for St. Patrick's Day

Amid great controversy, State College bars were paid by the borough and Penn State to close on State Patty's Day for the second year in a row, harming the local economy in order to take the moral high ground. Of course, State Patty's Day always falls on a Saturday, which is the most socially appropriate day of the week to drink, and that is why it the biggest bar day of the week, even outside of college football season. By contrast, St. Patrick's Day can fall on any day of the week, and this year it falls on Monday, which is probably the least socially appropriate day to drink, being the start of a work week and all.

So this year, some of the same State College bars which were not open the night of Saturday, March 1, will open at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, March 17. Not only will the bars be open, but at least one will have live bands starting at 7:00 a.m.! I don't care if it is an Irish Catholic holiday, it is still not socially or biologically appropriate to drink at 7:00 a.m. any day of the week, let alone a Monday, unless you happen to work a night shift, in which case 7:00 a.m. in your 5:00 p.m.

Can this disparate treatment between State Patty's Day and St. Patrick's Day be considered anything other than blatant, in-your-face hypocrisy? Of course not. Drinking before lunch is just as foolish whether or not one regards the occasion as a "real holiday," or a "made up" holiday. And the fact that it's a "real holiday" does not shield you from public drunkenness, disorderly conduct or DUI charges. The key difference is who participates in these holidays.

Very few people over age 25 participate in State Patty's Day, while St. Patrick's Day revelers come in all ages. It is easy for the local Establishment and Penn State to express moral outrage over State Patty's Day, while looking the other way at a holiday that people in their own age group and socio-economic class participate in. It is reminiscent of upper class men in the Victorian era who thought that porn was too indecent for unrefined proletarians to lay their eyes upon, but perfectly acceptable for refined gentleman such as themselves, as long as their wives and children didn't know.

Personally, I will not be going out of St. Patrick's Day. It is Monday, and I don't drink on Mondays.

Matt McClenahen is a criminal defense lawyer in State College, Pennsylvania, home of Penn State University.

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