You have found episode 1 of Beer & Bros. If you’re looking for fraternity brothers goofing off and being “bros,” look elsewhere. The Beer & Bros. Podcast is actually two brothers, drinking beer. The twist is that they talk about the week’s news while drinking said beer. This week on the show, the hosts, Dan Fugate and Lyle Hayden, introduce themselves to you, the listener, and then have a discussion about Ethan Couch, the affluenza kid. Give it a listen. It’ll take less than ½ hour of your time and, we’re guessing, you’ll enjoy it.
So, what is affluenza, anyway?
It’s a psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation. The term goes back to the late 1800s, according to Google’s n-gram. (Incidentally, you should check out n-gram. It shows the frequency of use of words in literature throughout history.) The term became popular following the release of a book called Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic and a 1997 PBS documentary of the same name.
Ethan Couch, born in 1997 (coincidence?) was driving his father’s truck, which he’d stolen, on Saturday June 15th, 2013. After being caught on video stealing two cases of beer from a local Walmart, Couch got into the stolen pickup with 7 other teens and sped down the road.
Approximately an hour after stealing the beer, Couch, who was later found to have a blood-alcohol level of .24, was driving 70 mph in a 40 mph zone on a rural, two-lane road where Breanna Mitchell had broken down. Pulled off to the side of the road, Mitchell was being assisted by Hollie Boyles and her daughter, who lived nearby. Brian Jennings, a local youth minister had also stopped to help. Couch’s truck swerved off the road and hit Mitchell’s SUV, then Jennings’ car which then hit an oncoming car. The truck flipped and hit a tree. Mitchell, Jennings, Boyles and her daughter were all killed. Couch, his 7 passengers, and the children in Jennings’ car survived, as did the passengers in the passing car.
Thanks to stellar work on the part of Couch’s defense team, the 16-year-old was given 10 years probation. He later, with the help of his mother, evaded police and fled to Mexico.
Listen to the show to get all of Dan and Lyle’s thoughts on Couch, his mother, poor parenting, and the “affluenza defense.”