Price of puritanism
Pot shops are poised to open on street corners all across the commonwealth. But MBTA management is still feeling queasy about allowing beer ads back on T property, out of concern for young passengers who are probably too busy staring at their phones to notice. It would be funny if it weren’t so short-sighted.
The T, locked in a chronic struggle to balance its budget, estimates it could bring in $2.5 million a year by allowing limited alcohol advertising on T property, which had been permitted until 2012. But the Fiscal Management and Control Board on Monday deadlocked on an advertising proposal, failing even to reach agreement on the parameters of a pilot project to test it out.
The proposal would have limited alcohol advertising to certain hours inside T stations, and forbidden it at stations where the highest number of student passes are used. After a round of give-and-take, reports Commonwealth magazine, four members of the board deadlocked (the fifth was absent).
“We desperately need money, but there are certain places we need to draw some lines,” said board member Brian Lang. “It isn’t good for the overall climate of our society.”
Neither are profanity and bullying on social media but we don’t tell kids they can’t go online. And alcohol ads are rampant during football games but we don’t tell them they can’t watch the Pats.
The no-booze-ads policy is well-intentioned but, in 2017, simply ridiculous. Young people aren’t getting their social cues from passing buses. And we find it particularly hypocritical for the city of Boston to protest the T advertising, since Boston allows booze ads on street furniture — including bus shelters.
The head of a neighborhood civic association who is opposed to the resumption of alcohol ads on the T complained about a recent billboard he saw that advertised beer on a beach, noting most beaches forbid alcoholic beverages. (Has he never heard of red Solo cups?)
The more important question — is this prudishness really driving MBTA policy?