So, I spent several hours yesterday compiling my thoughts into a jumble of Googled research on drinking and alcoholism (as part of a greater exegesis on counterintuitive/postnormal science).
Bottom line conclusion: USA's "Pffff, other COUNTRIES?" approach to believing in science (and disbelieving results in other civilizations) is, as usual, wrong, this time in regards to drinking. Binge drinking is lower in so-called "wet" cultures (places like France, Italy, and Germany where drinking is part of everyday life and not necessarily something banned so draconically until 21), and *much* higher in "dry" countries (UK, Ireland, Norway I think), though cirrhosis and other long-term problems are worse, generally, in "wet" countries. (But on the other hand, France has had huge success in cutting everyday drinking and cirrhosis by about 50%, in part by draconian rules on liqour advertising, i.e. NONE at sporting events... try to imagine that in the US w/o your head exploding.)
I'll post a link later, but if you google for ECAS (European Council(?) Alcohol Survey?), you'll find some of the 'fo.
Also, in counterintuitive/other COUNTRIES news, Slate (www.slate.com) recently had an article about how gay marriage has *not* destroyed hetero marriage in Scandinavia. (Raise your hand if you're surprised.) (Ok, you, you there with your hand up: yeah, you. Slap yourself.) I suppose this isn't exactly counterintuitive (it seems rather reasonable to me), but I guess it fits into the larger "counterintuitive" theme -- at best there's inconclusive evidence that a culture more accepting of diverse sexuality actually *encourages* it. Kids seem to grow up straight or gay somewhat independent of their parent's sexuality (though again this is not scientifically concrete). The whole "that which is verboten I must do" ethic does seem to be an unavoidable side-effect, though, in both drinking and sexuality. (Cf. also birth control/contraceptive use, and, you guessed it, other countries' success in teaching these without necessarily increasing teenage sexuality. I'll google some links to this later.)
Anyway, before I lose this post too to computer malfuckntion, the reason I've drawn you here today: this is sort of a lackluster first post, but I've been fiendishly reading exegeses of the Matrix movies (or as I prefer, the Matrices), and I am proud to say that I was right and most everyone else was wrong. There's a whole MESS of imagery and very well-done deliberate story weaving there, ESPECIALLY in the second one. This confirms (in part) my theory that US audiences are hostile to movies that exist on both a semi-literal and subtextual level. (I've forgotten my other examples, but they're there dammit.) So to read a quite *excellent* analysis of the last two Matrices, go here and here. I cannot claim to be anywhere as smart or well-read as these guys, but I'm kinda proud that I saw the tip of the massive iceberg they uncovered.
It's always nice not to be the lone voice in the woods (is that from Emerson? Am I making that up?).
Alas, I can't think of any clever uses of my new matrix-knowledge to vampishly pun here, so I'll post this before it goes away.
If I can see farther than other (hu)man(s), it's because other (hu)man(s) are short-sighted,
17 hours ago