‘The Master’ Shatters Taboo About Drinking Household Poisons

Finally, thanks to a brave script from Paul Thomas Anderson and even braver performance from Joaquin Phoenix, I am free of the stigma that comes with casually poisoning yourself in a quest for utter self-annihilation. Never again will I have to pretend I don’t put Lysol in my gin-and-not-tonics.

How liberating it is! Just as Brokeback Mountain taught us it was okay for cowboys to cuddle for warmth when it got cold in the tent, and Do The Right Thing made us realize that black people have the right to eat pizza, The Master in one fell swoop does away with the choir of hypocritical voices that say you shouldn’t mix rum with chemicals commonly used to develop photographs. Take that, backward social conservatives.

I shan’t be sipping my paint thinner from a brown bag any longer, I can tell you that much. It’s a new dawn in America. To those who, like me, have chafed at an appallingly narrow definition of “spirits”—who have been laughed out of liquor stores because we asked for a pint of gasoline, anything to give our hooch some bracing lethality—I am pleased to announce that our righteous struggle is over. Hollywood, it turns out, can still make a difference. So raise a glass of bleach to them. 

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