Social media is a benjo ditch, an open sewer where gondoliers named Zuckerberg, Musk and Gates spend the day steering fancy Venetian canoes.

Every day, 4.48 billion people ignore the stench, agree to the terms of service, get on board, and go for a ride.

But it wasn’t always this way.

During the late 1990s and the first couple years of the new millennium, the internet was a beautiful new world. Information was at our fingertips. Volumes of encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries, and recipe books were ours for the taking. The World Wide Web also introduced us to forums where we could find things to buy, play games, meet singles, and get advice on how to do everything from growing a bonsai to fixing a washing machine.

Social media wasn’t even called social media yet. Sure, there were a few success stories like ShareYourWorld and Friendster, but Tom Anderson hadn’t even figured out what to do with MySpace. And it would be years before FaceBook started goosestepping across the globe.

On February 28, 2003, at 12:55am, Modern Drunkard Magazine flipped Dr. Frankenstein’s giant electric switch and proclaimed IT’S ALIVE! by sending a simple message to the world: “Have something to say about drinking? Here’s your chance to join the international community of drunks.”

I first discovered Modern Drunkard Magazine and the Modern Drunkard Chat Board during the summer of 2005. I remember, clearly, searching for good drinking stories. I remember having to drill down several pages into the results to find what I was looking for; Google, AOL, Yahoo and Dogpile queries mostly returned stories from former drinkers about how they “overcame addiction.” Hey, sometimes those quitters tell some pretty good tales, but I don’t want them packaged with a free case of moral advice. But that’s how I first discovered MDM.

For years, I lurked in the shadows, reading each one of the hundreds of posts that showed up on the Chat Board. Some of the stories made me laugh out loud, some were inspiring, some were insightful, some were a little sad, and some were flat-out silly. But all of them were like gold to me. The best part was that they were in a digest format, and they never stopped coming. To me, this was the motherlode. For several years, I regularly popped in to mine whatever was new.

Of course, I explored all the other new electronic platforms, too. Facebook and Twitter fascinated me (I still love Twitter). I saw these and dozens of other sites as a fast-flowing stream of information; it was a place to discover and create content that could inform, enlighten, and entertain.

By about 2011, Zuckerberg and company began tweaking their platform to make it less and less friendly to people like me, who just wanted the freedom to discover and share drunken stories. At about the same time, they also began whittling away at the freedoms that had once existed on the web. Their tendencies toward jackboot thuggery began to show. What started as a shiny new platform to share thoughts and ideas was beginning to serve as home base for the Social Justice League of the World and the epicenter of Cancel Culture. These are the things that make us slaves to fear. Fear of poverty. Fear of being evicted. Fear of getting kicked off of social media. All for being sympathizers of the wrong organization. To put it simply, tech giants began, and continue, to sodomize the First Amendment.

Through all this, I never forgot about the MDM Forum; I had never stopped coming back to peek inside. One day, I realized that to play by your own rules equals winning on your own terms. It’s great. It’s freedom. The Drunkard Chat Room offered the freedom I was seeking.

But I was an outsider. I was late to the party. Drunkard Chat had been open for business for about a decade, and it seemed that all the barstools were taken. I took a chance, created an official account, and wrote my first post. Surprisingly, the regulars jumped up to greet me with open arms and encouragement. Almost immediately, true friendships were created. Real relationships were built with real people. These folks were, and are, different than the “friends” on those other sites. They weren’t using this platform to post pictures of themselves making duck faces and holding glasses of wine. It’s a tight-knit international community that shares a love for the drinking culture.

Several years ago, many users began using Skype to get together on weekends for long conversations about everything from books and movies to sports and vacation destinations. It’s a true virtual bar. Together, we have all celebrated successes, mourned the loss of fellow drunkards, and shared ideas and thoughts about everything that has ever existed.

Many of the regulars have met up with fellow members all over the world. In August 2018, I joined a large group of MDM Chat members for a meet-up in Las Vegas. To all of us, it didn’t feel like we were meeting each other for the first time. Instead, it felt like a reunion of old friends and family.

It was during that gathering that two frequent members of the board, Ottenger, from Wuppertal Germany, and Artful Drunktective, from Hawaii, started a romantic relationship. She eventually moved to Germany, and they are now married.

That’s really what Drunkard Chat is. It is, as promised back in early 2003, an “international community of drunks.”

—Colin Deal

Drunkard Chat Board:


  1. 08.12.23 0038am
    if the boys wanna fight you better let ’em…
    which is all social media is – a back yard for measuring dicks, posing, posturing, infantilizing and fantasizing… without the automobile or the burd in tow.
    and the proletariat can go fuck itself!!!
    see you later? i doubt it. that’s the proletarian ending call… the finale to proceedings.
    as for social media hacks who inspire hatred and troll hashtags who have cottoned on how to get their foes banned and wiped from all social media interaction, declaiming them, creating a vast array of societal malcontents and cyperspacial (sic) boneheads.. well, that’s the status quo for you- we know they’re whack jobs and fuck wits and dubiously inclined – but that’s how it is… and the innocent, cyberspatiality speaking, can go and eff themselves via milf chat or whatever the deal is, there…
    i aint a chap who signs up to twitter or x or facebook or instagram or whats app… my chapness doesn’t stretch that far. it’s far too cloying an i me my moment to even contemplate all that b.s and bot paranoia. Ai runs most of these sites and it’s probably Ai telling you to go eff yourself right now, as i type something relatively simplistic formulaic and sane….
    though beware drunken junkies with a snide glint in their eye as they stealthily sign up in your moniker and do the durty on you. as to why…? only 50 years of bemusement will hint at why…


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