the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

Malcom Gladwell on Drinking

In human behavior on March 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm

In an essay that is oddly but fittingly (for the subject at hand) stumbling and amusing, Gladwell (as usual) waits until the final page to make a simple point that nonetheless meanders and never really settles in your mind:

Nowhere in the multitude of messages and signals sent by popular culture and social instituitions about drinking is there any consensus about what drinking is supposed to mean.

To which some might say, “Who cares?!” But Gladwell’s point is not to deride those who fail to perform an ethnography of their immediate social circle, quoting Claude Levi-Strauss as they decode the behavioral eccentricities of undergrads at pint night—instead, he only asks that we consider what it is that allows us, against myriad corporate or cultural influences, to be so heterogeneous in our drinking habits as a society. Drinking represents a transient and controlled/allowed subversion of norms, but that’s not the whole picture: drinking continually shapes those norms as well.

I attached the article (.pdf) with the link below.

drinking

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