Analysis Of Malcolm Gladwell's 'Drinking Games'

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Binge drinking and alcoholism have been a long-time concern in American society. While the government and schools have made great efforts to tackle the alcohol problems by enacting laws and providing education, the situation of dysfunctional alcohol consumption hasn’t been sufficiently improved. In the essay “Drinking Games,” author Malcolm Gladwell proves to the readers that besides the biological attributes of a drinker, the culture that the drinker lives in also influences his or her drinking behaviors. By talking about cultural impact, he focuses on cultural customs of drinking reflected in drinking places. He specifically examines how changing the drinking places changes people’s drinking behaviors by presenting the alcohol myopia theory.…show more content…
People can easily excuse their disputes, violence or sexual offenses simply by saying “I was drunk and didn’t know what happened” and “I lost control of myself.” At the same time, the society will easily accept their excuses because people do expect and believe that drinkers shed their inhibitions under the biological effects of ethanol. But in fact, alcohol’s behavioral effect is more of a cultural influence, and people can totally be in control of themselves even if they are drunk. In Gladwell’s essay, he provides examples of the Camba ethnic group and Italian Americans who are both in integrated drinking cultures and have the habit of drinking heavily, but can control themselves and do not usually have trouble with alcoholism after consuming alcohol because their cultures believe they can. Gladwell also demonstrates the alcohol myopia theory and the related experiment overview to prove that in ambivalent cultures, people who are heavily drunk can remain in complete control of themselves and make rational decisions if they are given proper incentives. “I was drunk and I lost my control” is never a valid excuse for behavioral problems from alcohol; to solve the alcoholism problem, our culture should change its belief of alcohol’s behavioral

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