Fellow Pennsylvanians, please raise a glass of your favorite state-issued alcoholic beverage, or illegal New Jersey import of same, for a New Year’s toast to the Liquor Control Board — namely, to its cockroach-like capacity to survive all disasters, most of them self-inflicted.
The LCB spent much of 2011 overseeing the slow-motion implosion of its latest attempt to mimic a legitimate business. Its “wine kiosks” — a small army of haywire adult vending machines deployed to the commonwealth’s supermarkets — showed once again what everyone knew: that the post-Prohibition agency is just not very good at the most significant part of its job, which is facilitating the consumption of wine and spirits.
For a finale, though, the beverage ministry showed that it’s also not very good at the other, diametrically different part of its job: hindering the consumption of wine and spirits. This disaster took the form of an advertising campaign apparently meant to promote responsible drinking, which ended up ham-handedly offering an excuse for sexual assault.
The lurid ad, showing bare female legs on a floor with panties around the ankles, suggested that rape can be blamed on women who have a few too many — rather than on the men who rape them. It was pulled this month amid a wholly justified uproar. And it revealed the same kind of gross incompetence in pursuit of a simple goal that characterized the decommissioned wine-droids.