Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slap the Bag -- Ohio's Greatest 21st Century Innovation?

It was sometime in 2003 or 2004 when I walked down the Mill St. hill in Athens and first heard it, then turned and first saw it. A group of 7 or 8 undergraduates were tossing around the bag from a box of Franzia boxed wine as part of some sort of pseudo-pagan spiritual cleansing. Little did I know then that I was witnessing an early version of Slap The Bag -- the first great American drinking game of the 21st Century.

The origins of "traditional" songs like Kumbaya or Sloop John B. are often mired in controversy. But there is no doubt that Slap The Bag was anonymously authored at my alma mater, perpetual Top 10 Party School, Ohio University.

The title of the game is not in dispute, but what, exactly, happens during the game is.

Official Rules of Slap the Bag
According to me, Slap the Bag is played thusly:

  • Bag of wine is extracted from Franzia box.
  • Bag of wine is guzzled for 30-odd seconds by Player #1, who after said introductory guzzle rants for 30 to 60 seconds about ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who did them wrong.
  • Rant builds to a crescendo, whereupon player guzzles again, slapping the bag savagely (observers are welcome to slap said bag as well, when compelled to do so).
  • At conclusion of follow-up guzzle and related slapping, bag is passed, or even tossed high in the air, to next player.

Yeah, so that's pretty much it. Hilarity and hi-jinks ensue, and all that. But what's significant is the insinuation of cheap wine, which despite its cheapness, insinuates class, and so elevates the whole thing from a mere drinking game into a drinking ceremony:


And (it gets good at 1:30):

Since moving back to Cincinnati four years ago, I have yet to hear the home-grown Afghan Whigs played in public, either on the radio or on a bar's juke box. Similarly, I haven't seen Slap the Bag. Cincinnati is in real danger of hearing about yet another Ohio innovation from Hollywood.

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