Chicken and Beer

These two go together apparently, with a few restaurants, several recipes, and even a rap album all sharing the name.

So when will beer, and all alcohol, follow chicken in being banished from breast cancer celebrations, whoops, I mean fundraisers?*

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Before I say more, let me announce my own hypocrisy. I am no teetotaler. I love my wine. But I am also NOT a non-profit, or a health/cancer advocate, or anyone even remotely qualified to give any advice, least of all medical advice. In fact, I would never suggest anyone make any of the choices I made during cancer either medically or mentally/emotionally, etc.—in fact opposite choices are likely the best bet for most folks. I definitely do not encourage others in drinking alcohol—I like making my own dumbass choices and everyone else can make theirs. I am just an anti-social Cancer Curmudgeon. I enjoy pointing out the Dumb Shit Done, in my stupid opinion, in the world of cancer, in service of Pink and otherwise.

A few years ago Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink campaign focused on the hypocrisy of KFC joining with some Pink group, coating their chicken buckets Pink to raise “awareness”, and probably to use customers’ goodwill to make a load of money—because that is the real reason so many big name corporations put the pink ribbon on their products. BCA has taken on other products/corporations for this pinkwashing. And I mean pinkwashing in the strictest sense—a product that is linked to causing cancer (like fast food sold by, you guessed it, KFC) being sold by a corporation using the pink ribbon to sell the dangerous damn thing. Like, get cancer and fight cancer at the same time? WTF?

I don’t know what Pink races and other Pink events are like in other regions, but in my rural beach resort area, many popular Pink events are hosted and/or sponsored by a local bar or brewery, and feature consumption of alcohol, and usually unhealthy food. No one blinks an eye about this, in spite of the MANY warnings in breast cancer health reports linking alcohol (and crappy food) consumption to breast cancer. Well, I’ve seen a few random Facebook posts griping about alcoholic drink recipes designed to honor Pinktober—but nothing about alcohol-business sponsorship of large events. I hope some are out there that I simply have not yet stumbled over.

Oh, I know, these local businesses are willing to help, to give money to local groups that provide invaluable services of support to breast cancer patients. Therefore I should quit my whining about it. I am sure I benefited, indirectly or even directly from these funds. Apparently, no other businesses are willing or able to pony up. And like I said, I still love wine. So yeah, zip your lips Cancer Curmudgeon.

But I cannot help but cringe when I see all these ads, increasingly as October approaches, for cancer “awareness”** events that feature alcohol. As recently as this spring/summer, there was an event at one beach town (I live right on the Mid-Atlantic East coast, near several beach resort towns) called Boobs and Brews in honor of a recently deceased mets breast cancer patient, to raise funds for the state breast cancer coalition. This fall, several Brews for Boobs (notice, differently named from the other event) parties will take place at different locations each weekend in the Delmarva region. And the annual Pink Run, which I suspect is the largest in the local beach area, is held at a popular bar. After the run, drinking and eating of BBQ (is that healthy food?) will ensue. Special PINK Ruby Red Crushes will be featured. I assume they will be traditionally alcoholic, since the website does not specify that the drinks will be non-alcoholic. Not even gonna go into the donation structure of this run: in which one can donate increasing amounts of money to be designated as a 34B cup ($50) to 44DDD cup donor level ($2,5000). Cute, huh? YES I am being sarcastic!!!!! More like, disgusting and typical in the continuing awful saga of the sexualization of a deadly disease. But, whatever, dude, that is how we do at the beach.

Also,  I should pause to mention here that I HATE that word—boobs, titties, and all slang for breasts—never liked them, but now that I’ve had breast cancer, I absolutely loathe these terms.

Hey, I’m a good Eastern Shore girl—I love the BBQ and the wine and it sounds like a fine time for some (not the anti-social Cancer Curmudgeon). But it irks me that these support organizations, which have many duties including educating the local population about risk and cancer, take this Pinkwashed money, so guiltlessly, and by association are saying, “hey, drink up, it’s OK”.

Am I really the only one to think this strange?

I just recently bitched about how impossibly ignorant most people are—not understanding the risks of making unhealthy choices and how those choices impact probability of cancer and other illnesses. But how can folks understand, when their fight against cancer is sanctioned by an alcohol business? Folks can FIGHT cancer, with beer in hand! (YES, being sarcastic!)

No, I don’t expect BCA or anyone, really, to take on all these localized events in which a breast cancer-causing industry throws a party for boobies; that would be ludicrous. And I suppose taking money from alcohol based businesses is no different than joining with cosmetics industries, or pharmaceutical industries that produce both cancer treating medicines and chemicals that cause cancer. And of course I use cosmetics, took the cancer treating drugs, as well as continuing to drink alcohol and yes, even eat bad chicken. So why am I bitching?

Honestly I do not know. I guess I just wonder why I see so few criticisms of this type of sketchy partnership. I know that non-profit fundraising and cancer advocacy is a murky business. Too bad this murkiness muddles the messages of education for those who truly do not understand the complexities of cancer.

*I mean breast cancer celebrations sarcastically. For those who’ve never read any other posts on this blog, here’s the deal: I think the celebration aspect of these events gets confusing. Celebrate surviving, the end of treatment, fine, whatever. But often these events seem to celebrate breast cancer as a rite of passage, and I HATE that.   

**Please, are we NOT aware of breast cancer YET? Enough with awareness already, it is an empty word, no meaning anymore.

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Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

24 thoughts on “Chicken and Beer”

    1. Thanks. Although I’m not even sure I agree with myself. I mean I’ve always hated the Pintober festivities because of the boobies emphasis, but this weird element of the brews is just too much. I mean I love to drink too , but these events just seem wrong. Not excusing myself and my poor choices, just, confused. Sigh.

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  1. Yes! Just, yes. Although, I did love to have a glass of wine with dinner, once upon a time. Around here, we celebrate the day I had my bilateral mastectomy. The milestones should be the moments we have defeated breast cancer, not the illness itself.

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    1. Like I said, I’m a hypocrite because I still drink. And I do not celebrate anything having to do with cancer. I try to ignore all the anniversaries. And I understand that a big chunk of money for local support groups comes from these bars. It just a bit over-whelming this season.

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      1. It is overwhelming, I agree. We are in California, so there are quite a few health food stores and fitness centers are the sponsors here. I would probably be a hypocrite myself, but for the fact that a sip of wine gives an instant hangover now.

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  2. I so totally agree!!! I think little plastic stands on the bars and tables with the numbers linking alcohol consumption with incidence of breast cancer, along with a good list of fancy waters and juices, should be standard at fundraisers!

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    1. Hmm, you give me a thought–all the healthy food (and other stuff) businesses where I live are small time and unlikely to contribute to these events. This certainly goes a long in explaining my issue. I get it, honestly, but it just irritated me yesterday.

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  3. It’s just my opinion — but you are “bitchin” because you feel passionately about our failure to recognize and publicize the health hazards of breast cancer; but, promote those very health hazards to increase breast cancer awareness. You reached me. Thank u for bitchin.

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    1. I’m glad I reached you! I feel like I pay too much attention to all the “messages” out there–I see all the magazine covers saying this or that–especially alcohol, causes cancer. Yet I also am hyper-aware of all these brew & boobies events and maybe I’m just confusing myself because I don’t see more outcry about it.

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  4. dear CC,

    I hear you; and I get the dilemma about “awareness” events with come-ons about plenty of alcohol and crappy, unhealthy foods, and the sexualization of breast cancer. if the big promoters and sponsors are mostly bars…it does add a party-hardy, celebratory element that is exceedingly noxious. don’t be hard on yourself – you have raised a very valid point; how could you NOT be annoyed and perplexed that there has not been more outcry about it?! thank you for another insightful and thought provoking post.

    much love,

    Karen XOXO

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  5. Back in the old days, like 15 years ago, when I would come home from work (Fin. Mgr.) I would have 3 drinks a night, I wasn’t particular, it could be light beer, wine, or a whiskey cocktail, and it was never more than 3 because that would give me a hangover and I wouldn’t be able to count the next day. hehheee,

    Too many of these fund-raising events are drawing crowds who look forward to making them an annual even – look forward to next year’s event because last year’s was hysterical! It’s like football tail-gating, a social event. You know this stuff makes me so crazy mad I can hardly talk, much less type!

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  6. Hi Cancer Curmudgeon, I agree with you totally. Alcohol and breast cancer don’t go hand in hand. Such cause marketing is repulsive to me. I also hate slang words for breasts; in fact, when my daughter was around four or five, she started with the word “boobies,” and I immediately corrected her with “They are called “breasts.” I won’t allow her to use any other word for them. By the way, like you, I love wine! But advertising a cause and using alcohol to promote it is heinous. Great post!

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  7. Yep, me too: I still drink and will continue to, despite knowing the risks. But guess what? Other than my love of alcohol, I “did everything right” and still got nailed by BC. No family history, no genetic mutations, gave birth before age 30 and breast-fed by babies for one year, ate healthfully, exercised regularly, blah blah blah. Kudos to you for this post.

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  8. Well, dear, it’s the nasty and enormous underbelly of Capitalism (which would have never survived in the US, were it not for slavery first, and then the progression to mass incarceration and prison labor) whereby PROFIT is the end all be all; whereby all is justified if there is a profit to be had.

    And, Oh my goodness! …the lengths that some will go to sanctify that Profit Motive.

    Problem with that neccessity to make a profit in order to pay the bills is that people are forced to make a profit anyway they can, which is why there are so many – not only worthless – life destroying products and events going on.

    You have a sweet tender and powerful heart dear, don’t ever let anyone destroy that.

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