Drinking on YouTube

By Deane Barker on June 4, 2012

BLACK METAL TROY or, How to Drink Online: This is an affecting piece about the life of a 20-something alcoholic.  What makes it interesting is that he became part of a sub-culture of drinking videos on YouTube.

I had no idea these even existed – people will film themselves drinking to excess, just kind staring into the camera.  In particular, there’s a sub-sub-culture dedicated to chugging 40 oz. malt liquor in the 10-minute time limit of YouTube videos.

The descriptions of the videos are surreal, and I assume the only people who enjoy them are people who are also drinking, in some perverse effort to avoid drinking alone.

Troy liked videos that were filmed in creative locales. On the 40 Oz. Forum, much consideration was given to, as they called it, one’s “styles.” It was considered good styles if you showed yourself cracking the cap, and very good styles if you cracked it and threw it at the camera, and even better styles if you cracked it with your teeth and threw it at the camera, but bad styles if you puked, or wussed out on something you said you were going to do like beer bong a 40, or throw a television off a roof. It was considered especially bad styles to drink in silence, or always in the same room, or in any other manner that might be construed as lonely or lame.

The irony there is rich.

The article is quite heartbreaking – I never did figure out what happened to Troy, the title character, but I assume the worst.  However, it’s a fascinating look at a group of people bonding around a social media channel, for better or worse.

Troy has no friends and no life, but he gets views on YouTube, and in his world, that counts.