Strangely depressing…


Malcolm Gladwell, Annals of Anthropology, “Drinking Games,” The New Yorker, February 15, 2010, p. 70

Describes the ritualized drinking parties Heath and his wife had attended almost every weekend in Bolivia. The Camba did not drink alone. They did not drink on work nights. And they only drank within the structure of their elaborate ritual. An analysis of the rum the Camba drank revealed it to be a hundred and eighty proof. And yet there was no social pathology among the Camba-no arguments, no disputes, no sexual aggression, no verbal aggression. There was no alcoholism. Anthropologists Craig MacAndrew and Robert B. Edgerton observed, “Persons learn about drunkenness what their societies import to them, and comporting themselves in consonance with these understandings, they become living confirmations of their society’s teachings.”

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