[CR] Week in Review

Our Change.org campaign is going strong, and if you haven’t cast your vote yet, there’s still time: first-round voting has been extended to February 25th, so help us make the final push to crack the Top 10 Ideas for Change in America! When you’re finished casting your vote, catch up on these headlines from around the country.

Stories this week:

Malcolm Gladwell published a long piece on the sociology of alcohol and cultural contexts in the latest issue of The New Yorker (subscription required). He found our society’s unwillingness to engage in realistic alcohol education problematic. In the conclusion, he wrote:

“There is something about the cultural dimension of social problems that eludes us. When confronted with the rowdy youth in the bar, we are happy to raise his drinking age, to tax his beer, to punish him if he drives under the influence, and to push him into treatment if his habit becomes an addiction. But we are reluctant to provide him with a positive and constructive example of how to drink. The consequences of the failure are considerable, because, in the end, culture is a more powerful tool in dealing with drinking than medicine, economics, or the law.”

Alyssa Rosenberg concurred with Gladwell’s observation in a follow-up post at The Atlantic on Thursday, and connected his points to the problem of our inconsistent age of majority:

“Drinking is supposed to be one of the signifiers of adulthood, it’s one of the legal demarcations of full majority.  Even if almost everyone drinks before they’re legally 21, I tend to think having truly figured out drinking is one of the demarcations of being grown up.  And yet unlike voting, where you can register, and think about who you support, and march off to the voting booth, or driving, where you’re licensed by the state, there’s rarely a threshold act or a genuine training process for learning how to drink.”

What are your thoughts on this article? Let us know in the comments.

Administrators at Yale have noticed a spike in alcohol-related hospital admissions this year, and an investigation into those problems led two Yale Daily News reporters to ask, “Does Yale Have a Drinking Problem?

In other news…

Two articles in The Heights at Boston College caught our attention this week. Special Project Editor Ana Lopez surveyed the history of the college’s alcohol policies, noting that after Legal Age 21 took hold, the college experienced some new problems: “BC’s effective dry status pushed hundreds of students into surrounding neighborhoods on weekend nights. The presence of rambunctious, and now underage, coeds in the neighborhoods began to strain the community’s already precarious relations with the University.” Later in the week, columnist Joseph Pasquinelli indicated that these types of problems persist on campus today.

Student health professionals at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have created a YouTube contest to encourage responsible drinking on campus. Check out The Racquet for more details about how this contest will fit into the larger anti-binge drinking initiative at La Crosse.

Did we miss something this week? Leave us a news tip in the comments.

One Response to “[CR] Week in Review”

  1. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with education and licensing. Malcom Gladwell is fully correct because culture has taken over medicine and economics and as a result, the ageist drinking age has been created because culture is not dealing with alcohol problems correctly. Boston College’s alcohol problems has increased a lot because of the ageist drinking age. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is doing the correct thing by encouraging alcohol responsibility with a contest.