Prohibition and the Impulse to Legislate Behavior

Simpson Colloquium SC 101 – Prohibition and the Impulse to Legislate Behavior

Today, most Americans believe Prohibition was a mistake: in its attempt to ban alcohol, the legislation inadvertently glorified drinking and fueled corruption and crime. But the real story of Prohibition is more complex. Before its enactment, drinking was a serious problem that needed to be addressed. And while Prohibition was ultimately repealed, it did impact drinking habits in ways some argue were positive. In this class, we will study the history, successes and failures, and legacy of Prohibition. Who should decide what individuals can and can’t do? How far should legislation go in regulating “personal” behavior? We will weigh lessons of the Prohibition experiment for modern efforts to limit behavior in areas like drugs, tobacco, junk food, sex, firearms, speed limits, and video games.

Meet Your Professor

John Benoit, Ph.D.John Benoit
Professor of Music

I was born in 1963 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. My mom still lives in the same house that I grew up in. My musical education began when my parents bought me a baritone ukelele when I was in second grade. I have been making music ever since. My formal musical education began when I started playing trombone in seventh grade, then piano in high school. I began college at Louisiana State University as a music education major, intending to become a high school band director. But I soon decided that I was not temperamentally suited for the job, so I changed my major to trombone performance. I had become really interested in music theory (harmony, counterpoint, form) as an undergraduate. So after graduating from LSU in 1985, I went to the University of Texas at Austin, where I earned a Masters and Ph.D. in music theory.

Prior to coming to Simpson College, I taught music theory as a part-time instructor for one year at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and for two years as an Assistant Professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. I came to Simpson in 1994 thinking that I would stay just for a few years. But I really grew to love the college and the community. Now, I intend to spend the remainder of my career here.

My wife and I live just north of campus in a 1917 Craftsman home that we are restoring. When not doing school work or house work, I spend most of my free time managing and making musical arrangements for two bands which I lead.

The Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra plays the music of the 1920s.  My dad collected antique wind-up phonographs, so I grew up listening to early jazz and foxtrots. I didn’t think much of the music at the time, but now I love it.

My second band (made up of many of the same musicians) is the Soya Vista Jazz Orchestra . It plays Vegas-style jazz of the 1950s and 1960s. I think that I enjoy working with these groups so much because they allow me to express myself creatively using both my music theory skills as an arranger and my performance skills as a trombonist.

Meet Your SC Leader

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Colin Zidlicky

I am Colin Zidlicky. I am proud to be the SC Leader for Dr. John Benoit’s SC101. I will be a third year at Simpson College as a double major studying Music Education and Music Performance (Organ and Trombone). Here at Simpson I am very involved with many (many) vocal and instrumental music ensembles, as well as Student Support Services, and Iowa Band Masters Association. I am also active in organizations outside of Simpson including FFA, American Kennel Club, American Rabbit Breeders Association, 4-H, and Relay for Life.
I have so many various interests that expand from music, farming, landscaping, athletics, crochet, animals and nature, art, photography, vintage cars, and of course everything and anything in between. So I know there will be common interests that we can share. If you are interested I have many stories to share that you just might find somewhat interesting. Hopefully you will make the best decision and join Dr. Benoit’s class so we can share our stories. I am very excited to hlep guide you to your success at Simpson and beyond. All you gotta do is make the best decision…. Dr. John Benoit’s SC101 class!

Meet Your Writing Fellow

Angela Smith

Hello Everyone:

I am Angela Smith, and I will be a junior at Simpson College this upcoming fall. I am majoring in Music Education, with a minor in piano. I am highly involved in Simpson’s music and opera departments.

I previously graduated Southeast Polk High School in 2012 and am from Pleasant Hill, IA. I ran track, cross country, and was a part of the diving team during high school. In college I continued running cross country competitively for a year and then gave it up due to commitments with the music department. However, I still enjoy running as a hobby. I look forward to meeting all the freshman this fall. Welcome to Simpson!


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