I am reminded once again that the latest object of the crazed, obsessive hatred of the ‘Person who knows that anyone who does anything he doesn’t enjoy or understand, however trivial, is evil and must be denounced with great frothing and drumbeats’ is a bottle of water.
I don’t know who Andrew Martin is, but apparently he has a book to sell, so we mustn’t expect too much. Even so, you would have thought that, having been offered a column in the Independent to attach to the advert for his novel, he would take the opportunity to find something intelligent or interesting to say. He sees things differently.
He starts by belittling someone who thoughtfully put a bottle of water beside his place when he was speaking at an event. Maybe he hasn't spoken in public much but there has always been water available to speakers, because they often like to moisten their mouths as they speak. (Personally I prefer whisky, but they you are.)
He goes on to insult entire classes of people who he has never met, whose motives he makes no attempt to understand, whose 'offence' should eb beneath the notice of any intelligent person, and whose behaviour he has, in any case, invented himself for the occasion.
Water is essential to the human body. How much is a matter probably left to the judgement of the individual body, which has ways of making it very clear when it needs more (or less). It is probably better to err on the side of overhydration than dehydration, since the body suffers far fewer ill effects that way. They aren’t so great anyway, the body is good at recovering from most imbalances.
Prolonged exertion in hot weather can cause considerable loss of fluid, which will need to be made up, at least in part. Dehydration can lead to headaches, nerve inflammation, muscle weakness and pain, aging of tissue and damage to organs. Of course, few people need to be told when they should drink water. If you don’t feel thirsty you probably aren’t.
On the other hand, a lot of people have acquired the habit of carrying a bottle of water around with them, and sipping regularly from it. In so doing they have gained the opprobrium of the sort of people who cannot allow anything, anything at all, to escape their criticism and sneering condescension.
Why these critics are prepared to show their pettiness and meanness of spirit in this way I couldn’t say, but they clearly are. And they can refine it further, too. They can criticise the use of bottled water as against tap water, ‘ethical’ versus ‘unethical’ brands, bottle size, mineralization levels, the apparent physical condition of the bottle carrier.
People drink water. They drink when they feel the need or the desire to drink. Sometimes they act for no particular reason. Sometimes they are influenced by the words or actions of others. It really isn’t a big deal. It’s just water.