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There has been talk that the Dean of Students Jeff Huang and other CMC administrators want to crack down on the amount of drinking at CMC. Even if they make a serious effort to do so, they will find it extremely difficult to change the drinking culture here. Why? Let’s talk about status games. Humans have always competed with each other for access to the opposite sex, so we can pass our genes on to the next generation. But if we attempted to kill everyone that competed with us, there wouldn’t be very many survivors available to gather food, repel diseases and fight off other groups. Instead we developed games, like sports, humor, and fashion, as ways to assess status that wouldn’t leave a group devastated. Different games have dominated over time and in different cultures, but every culture has them. Everyone wants to associate with high status people, who are the best at playing the game, because status is a proxy for evolutionary fitness. Furthermore, people that choose not to play games are assigned low status, because it’s assumed that they don’t play because they’re bad at playing.

drinkingThe dominant social status game at every college in the US is partying. Partying lets us judge how fun other people are to be around, how much other people seem to like them and what sort of sexual partners they attract. On its face it makes little sense that our nation’s best and brightest youth are so willing to drink; alcohol use kills brain cells, hurts academic and athletic performance, makes us more aggressive/more prone to engage in risky behavior, and has severe long-term health effects.

But drinking gives us higher status, because it’s a credible signal of commitment; by drinking, we show our peers that we’re willing to take risks and hurt ourselves for the benefit of the group. Drinking also gives us high status because it’s wasteful – it kills brain cells, makes the drinker feel sick, and makes schoolwork impossible, so it’s notable if you can party hard and still get good grades. When you see studies showing that drinkers earn more money than nondrinkers, it’s not because alcohol opens pathways in the brain – it’s because people who drink have higher status than nondrinkers, and thus are more likely to get paid more, compete in the workplace, and get bonuses.

CMC is the hardest partying school of any of the 5C’s, due mainly to our cultural legacy as a men’s only college, and the high proportion of athletes here. Because of our reputation and culture, not only do we attract students who are more likely to engage in hard partying, but we also train each incoming class to value partying as well. We assign social status to other CMC students based on how fun they are to be around and the status of their sexual partners, both of which are facilitated by partying and alcohol.

As long as drinking gives students higher status, then any attempts by the school to reduce the amount of drinking, either through more restrictive policy or through admitting more introverted students, will fail. Partying will get pushed inside dorm rooms, to the other colleges, Claremont bars or College Park. But people will continue partying; they have to, to preserve their status. High status people could announce that they’re playing a different game, but they earned their high status by being good at partying, so they have little incentive to change the game, just like you wouldn’t want CMC to suddenly begin admitting students with low SAT scores.

To be alcohol-free is to risk being judged harshly by one’s peers and not invited along the next time everyone goes out. While Kenley Turville works her tail off for SLC, dry events will never be a big draw, because everyone worries that they’ll be assigned low status for choosing not to drink. We assert that we can have good time without drinking, or we know someone who’s fun and doesn’t drink, but we’re still there on a Saturday night taking pulls from a handle of Captain Morgan and bragging about how drunk we were the next morning at Collins. While the administration thinks the problem is simply about alcohol, for students, the stakes are far higher than a few shots.

(with thanks to Andy McKenzie and Charlie Sprague for discussion, and Katie Walker for the photo)

Should CMC change its alcohol policy?  Come listen to the discussion on Tuesday, November 17 at Debate Night at the Ath.  Sign up here.

55 COMMENTS

  1. What about the many white trash alcoholics that live in double wide trailers next to a swamp. I speculate that they are not drinking for “status’ purposes. I’m hesitant to accept your argument that we as CMCers drink because we are concerned about our status. Perhaps we just want to have some fun…

  2. What about the many white trash alcoholics that live in double wide trailers next to a swamp. I speculate that they are not drinking for “status’ purposes. I’m hesitant to accept your argument that we as CMCers drink because we are concerned about our status. Perhaps we just want to have some fun…

  3. I don’t know a single friend of mine who has achieved that “status” because they are “good at partying.”

    While I agree that it is probably impossible to change CMC’s drinking culture, I think this reasoning is inane.

    I think what CMC’s administration needs to realize is that our party culture is actually a draw rather than a blemish on our reputation. Who cares if we like to get drunk a lot, but our average test scores and selectivity keep going up?

  4. I don’t know a single friend of mine who has achieved that “status” because they are “good at partying.”

    While I agree that it is probably impossible to change CMC’s drinking culture, I think this reasoning is inane.

    I think what CMC’s administration needs to realize is that our party culture is actually a draw rather than a blemish on our reputation. Who cares if we like to get drunk a lot, but our average test scores and selectivity keep going up?

  5. Burke dear sir, you are wrongy wrong my friend… I’ll explain manana at breakfast. But three quick idears.

    1. You have no numbers or figures, just assumptions about what you think makes people popular or cool.
    2. The administration probably will make alcohol policy changes, and there is not shit you can do about it besides conform or find another school. Remember, rich people don’t protest.
    3. You’re a lil bitch

  6. Burke dear sir, you are wrongy wrong my friend… I’ll explain manana at breakfast. But three quick idears.

    1. You have no numbers or figures, just assumptions about what you think makes people popular or cool.
    2. The administration probably will make alcohol policy changes, and there is not shit you can do about it besides conform or find another school. Remember, rich people don’t protest.
    3. You’re a lil bitch

  7. This piece does a pretty good job showing the absurdities one has to go through in order to explain everything by evolutionary biology. Now I’m not denying that evolution accounts for the development of many of our behaviors–it surely does–but at the same time any view of the world that fails to look at how human beings think about about and justify their actions fails to understand humans as they are. When you discard the basic reasons people give for the way they behave, you miss the most relevant and interesting phenomena and instead try to understand us as if we were lab rats.

    And it’s not convincing. Sure, people party because they want to appear to have status. But just ask them. They often party because they are bored, to hang out with their friends (including just friends of the same sex), to meet people, to hook-up, to have interesting conversations, to relax, and just because they like the feeling. Sex and status surely account for some of, but certainly not all of, this reality. (And likewise people who don’t drink often don’t because they think they have something better to do or because they think it’s bad for them for some reason. Again, those reasons matter.)

    This partially helps explain why your conclusion is also pretty ridiculous. Like it or not, people respond to various incentives. So if it becomes harder to drink, there will be less of it. Period. Sure, some might do it elsewhere or be more discreet about it, but all around there will be less of it.

    A closing question: did you write this piece in order to show how cool you are in hopes of landing a fine mate, or did you write it because you think you are right and take a pleasure in convincing others about the truth about things? If you say the former, well, I’ll give you credit for the consistency, but I’d doubt you actually believe it. And if you do, well, that might just show an incredible lack of self-knowledge.

    • Good response. I like most of Kevin’s articles but this one was extremely subpar. It doesn’t acknowledge any tradeoff between incentives, it assumes countless things, and it gives a cursory glance of sexual selection and applies it in an absurd fashion. If there is a disincentive towards drinking, that doesn’t mean alcohol will magically disappear from the campus. Just because Dean Huang is considering enacting some changes in the alcohol policy, doesn’t mean he wants to or can ban alcohol from campus. Just because a behavior may get one laid more often doesn’t mean the only reason we do it is for the sex.

      One point I’m sad nobody brought up is the ACTUAL drinking culture at CMC. Show up at any Alum event and you’ll find old men partying harder than we do on our best nights. That’s not to say that the administration can’t enact some well reasoned policies, but any draconian policies won’t stick.

      As for the dry events, they are extremely fun and Kenley has been great this year. Maybe I’m alone in this, but when I see someone at a dry event, I don’t immediately assign them a low status. And anyone that does this isn’t worth associating with. Are we in college or highschool?

  8. This piece does a pretty good job showing the absurdities one has to go through in order to explain everything by evolutionary biology. Now I’m not denying that evolution accounts for the development of many of our behaviors–it surely does–but at the same time any view of the world that fails to look at how human beings think about about and justify their actions fails to understand humans as they are. When you discard the basic reasons people give for the way they behave, you miss the most relevant and interesting phenomena and instead try to understand us as if we were lab rats.

    And it’s not convincing. Sure, people party because they want to appear to have status. But just ask them. They often party because they are bored, to hang out with their friends (including just friends of the same sex), to meet people, to hook-up, to have interesting conversations, to relax, and just because they like the feeling. Sex and status surely account for some of, but certainly not all of, this reality. (And likewise people who don’t drink often don’t because they think they have something better to do or because they think it’s bad for them for some reason. Again, those reasons matter.)

    This partially helps explain why your conclusion is also pretty ridiculous. Like it or not, people respond to various incentives. So if it becomes harder to drink, there will be less of it. Period. Sure, some might do it elsewhere or be more discreet about it, but all around there will be less of it.

    A closing question: did you write this piece in order to show how cool you are in hopes of landing a fine mate, or did you write it because you think you are right and take a pleasure in convincing others about the truth about things? If you say the former, well, I’ll give you credit for the consistency, but I’d doubt you actually believe it. And if you do, well, that might just show an incredible lack of self-knowledge.

    • Good response. I like most of Kevin’s articles but this one was extremely subpar. It doesn’t acknowledge any tradeoff between incentives, it assumes countless things, and it gives a cursory glance of sexual selection and applies it in an absurd fashion. If there is a disincentive towards drinking, that doesn’t mean alcohol will magically disappear from the campus. Just because Dean Huang is considering enacting some changes in the alcohol policy, doesn’t mean he wants to or can ban alcohol from campus. Just because a behavior may get one laid more often doesn’t mean the only reason we do it is for the sex.

      One point I’m sad nobody brought up is the ACTUAL drinking culture at CMC. Show up at any Alum event and you’ll find old men partying harder than we do on our best nights. That’s not to say that the administration can’t enact some well reasoned policies, but any draconian policies won’t stick.

      As for the dry events, they are extremely fun and Kenley has been great this year. Maybe I’m alone in this, but when I see someone at a dry event, I don’t immediately assign them a low status. And anyone that does this isn’t worth associating with. Are we in college or highschool?

  9. […] have a new post up at CMCForum about how the school’s attempts to cut down on the amount students drink will probably fail. I used some ideas from evolutionary biology and sociology to get to the […]

  10. I appreciate the feedback. Thanks for taking the time to read the post. I should not have couched a simple point in such an aggressive framework: it’s not smart to try and argue that people are ultimately selfish and competitive. But I’ve written the post so I’ll argue for it.

    I don’t mean to offend by calling someone status seeking. I think most human behavior can be explained in an evolutionary framework; if our brains and our bodies have evolved so well surely our behavior has too.

    Alabama Hick, one simple explanation is that getting drunk may be expensive (in relative terms), which signals that the drinker has money to burn. Surely there are high and low status hicks. A non-drinking hick would probably be ridiculed.

    Seriously?, the phrase “good at partying” is ambiguous, and I should have been clearer. Substitute in things like having good body language, being able to engage in stimulating conversation, dress nicely, and hold your liquor. What is it about CMC’s drinking culture that makes it so hard to change? I’m trying to find answers.

    Alex, my point is that I expect the school’s policy changes to be ineffective. Sure they might crack down on outdoor drinking but we won’t stop drinking.

    Shallow Philosophy, one of the main emphases of economics is the theory of revealed preferences – that our actions, not our words, are a better indicator of what we actually believe. At the margin, people will drink less, but drinking will still give people high status. As long as that’s true, students will drink, in their dorm rooms or in College Park or wherever. Most schools aren’t as lenient as CMC but students still find ways to drink. In response to your last question, I spend a lot of time reading blogs/books, at least 2 hours a day, and writing is probably the best way to show off what I learn during that time. The truth is very tricky to suss out. By writing for the Forum and on my own website, I’m trying to get better at writing and let others know what I am reading about, and what I’m thinking.

    The key question is on weekends why do so many students choose to drink? Out of the multitude of possible activities and states of being most people choose to drink alcohol. Drinkers earn significantly more than nondrinkers and most people feel awkward when they go out without drinking: why? If we’re looking for fun, to relieve our boredom, or meet new people, we could go ballroom dancing, bowling, etc. Drinking does make people feel more social, but this is largely a result of their expectations about drinking.

  11. I appreciate the feedback. Thanks for taking the time to read the post. I should not have couched a simple point in such an aggressive framework: it’s not smart to try and argue that people are ultimately selfish and competitive. But I’ve written the post so I’ll argue for it.

    I don’t mean to offend by calling someone status seeking. I think most human behavior can be explained in an evolutionary framework; if our brains and our bodies have evolved so well surely our behavior has too.

    Alabama Hick, one simple explanation is that getting drunk may be expensive (in relative terms), which signals that the drinker has money to burn. Surely there are high and low status hicks. A non-drinking hick would probably be ridiculed.

    Seriously?, the phrase “good at partying” is ambiguous, and I should have been clearer. Substitute in things like having good body language, being able to engage in stimulating conversation, dress nicely, and hold your liquor. What is it about CMC’s drinking culture that makes it so hard to change? I’m trying to find answers.

    Alex, my point is that I expect the school’s policy changes to be ineffective. Sure they might crack down on outdoor drinking but we won’t stop drinking.

    Shallow Philosophy, one of the main emphases of economics is the theory of revealed preferences – that our actions, not our words, are a better indicator of what we actually believe. At the margin, people will drink less, but drinking will still give people high status. As long as that’s true, students will drink, in their dorm rooms or in College Park or wherever. Most schools aren’t as lenient as CMC but students still find ways to drink. In response to your last question, I spend a lot of time reading blogs/books, at least 2 hours a day, and writing is probably the best way to show off what I learn during that time. The truth is very tricky to suss out. By writing for the Forum and on my own website, I’m trying to get better at writing and let others know what I am reading about, and what I’m thinking.

    The key question is on weekends why do so many students choose to drink? Out of the multitude of possible activities and states of being most people choose to drink alcohol. Drinkers earn significantly more than nondrinkers and most people feel awkward when they go out without drinking: why? If we’re looking for fun, to relieve our boredom, or meet new people, we could go ballroom dancing, bowling, etc. Drinking does make people feel more social, but this is largely a result of their expectations about drinking.

  12. Wow. Using sexual selection and evolution to promote drinking? No words can be said, except for the fact that Kevin Burke should quit trying to sound like a Biology major and stick to econ. Since he has no idea what he’s talking about. All this crap about alcohol opening pathways in the brain…none of this remotely constitutes a good article. Future hint: stick to econ–until you’ve taken more bio or psych classes.

  13. Wow. Using sexual selection and evolution to promote drinking? No words can be said, except for the fact that Kevin Burke should quit trying to sound like a Biology major and stick to econ. Since he has no idea what he’s talking about. All this crap about alcohol opening pathways in the brain…none of this remotely constitutes a good article. Future hint: stick to econ–until you’ve taken more bio or psych classes.

  14. CMCer, I should probably have been more clear in the original post. The point is that it will be extremely difficult for the administration to change our school’s drinking habits. Drinking by itself isn’t good or bad. I’m not trying to promote or defend drinking.

    While drinkers earn higher incomes than nondrinkers, alcohol actively destroys brain cells (read the full context of the “pathways of the brain” sentence). I’m trying to explain why that’s true; if drinking gives you higher status then that would help explain why drinkers would earn more.

    • you give a lot of great insight on things from an economic perspective but at least in this article, you’re biological insight has been very subpar. Unlike econ, biology is not as cut and dry with tradeoffs and explanations. For example, while drinking is terrible in so many aspects (life expectancy, cognitive abilities, etc.) the major disadvantages don’t occur until later in life, usually after one’s major proportion of income has been earned. And, though alcohol kills some brain cells, it is not always bad when brain cells die and it is not always good when new brain cells are created. Then there are other confounding factors. Those who choose to drink are not a random sample of society so any generalizations are subject to inherent biases. And while status may be one of these confounding factors, so may other things like religion, socioeconomic class, gender, parents, etc. which all conclusively affect income and one’s propensity to drink.

  15. CMCer, I should probably have been more clear in the original post. The point is that it will be extremely difficult for the administration to change our school’s drinking habits. Drinking by itself isn’t good or bad. I’m not trying to promote or defend drinking.

    While drinkers earn higher incomes than nondrinkers, alcohol actively destroys brain cells (read the full context of the “pathways of the brain” sentence). I’m trying to explain why that’s true; if drinking gives you higher status then that would help explain why drinkers would earn more.

    • you give a lot of great insight on things from an economic perspective but at least in this article, you’re biological insight has been very subpar. Unlike econ, biology is not as cut and dry with tradeoffs and explanations. For example, while drinking is terrible in so many aspects (life expectancy, cognitive abilities, etc.) the major disadvantages don’t occur until later in life, usually after one’s major proportion of income has been earned. And, though alcohol kills some brain cells, it is not always bad when brain cells die and it is not always good when new brain cells are created. Then there are other confounding factors. Those who choose to drink are not a random sample of society so any generalizations are subject to inherent biases. And while status may be one of these confounding factors, so may other things like religion, socioeconomic class, gender, parents, etc. which all conclusively affect income and one’s propensity to drink.

  16. Wowww. This article is insane. I don’t even know where to start…

    First of all, I think a few people around here know who I am, and that is most definitely not because of anything alcohol related. So there is evidence completely against your argument.

    Second, you seem to think that dry event attendees = people who don’t drink. When did that start? I have and have always had tons of people at my events who drink frequently, and come to my events (on Fridays) sober.

    Third, I have NEVER seen your face at a single dry event this year, so where are you getting your information? If you had seen the people at my Hub Quiz last weekend, you would not even have an argument. There were plenty of people who drink along with people who do not. And I’m certain none of those people were concerned that attending the Hub Quiz would damage their social statuses. If you need proof, maybe ask Cos or Ben Kraus.

    Amitch said it best: You are wrongy wrong.

  17. Wowww. This article is insane. I don’t even know where to start…

    First of all, I think a few people around here know who I am, and that is most definitely not because of anything alcohol related. So there is evidence completely against your argument.

    Second, you seem to think that dry event attendees = people who don’t drink. When did that start? I have and have always had tons of people at my events who drink frequently, and come to my events (on Fridays) sober.

    Third, I have NEVER seen your face at a single dry event this year, so where are you getting your information? If you had seen the people at my Hub Quiz last weekend, you would not even have an argument. There were plenty of people who drink along with people who do not. And I’m certain none of those people were concerned that attending the Hub Quiz would damage their social statuses. If you need proof, maybe ask Cos or Ben Kraus.

    Amitch said it best: You are wrongy wrong.

  18. The only reason I can think of for the Forum to post this is that its so controversial.

    And by controversial, I mean entirely devoid of facts and existing purely so CMCers can attack it.

  19. The only reason I can think of for the Forum to post this is that its so controversial.

    And by controversial, I mean entirely devoid of facts and existing purely so CMCers can attack it.

  20. Everyone, I appreciate the feedback.

    Most groups of friends, given the choice, would prefer a drinking event to a dry event. Given that most people’s friends are drinking it takes significant courage, and disregard for peer pressure to stay dry.

    Insulting someone lowers their status, but is itself a status-lowering behavior, which is probably why many of you prefer to remain anonymous. For a fuller discussion see here.

    • Not much of a fuller discussion. Still all speculation and analysis, none of which is proof. Sounds like the “fuller discussion” of someone who reads “The Game” too much.

  21. Everyone, I appreciate the feedback.

    Most groups of friends, given the choice, would prefer a drinking event to a dry event. Given that most people’s friends are drinking it takes significant courage, and disregard for peer pressure to stay dry.

    Insulting someone lowers their status, but is itself a status-lowering behavior, which is probably why many of you prefer to remain anonymous. For a fuller discussion see here.

    • Not much of a fuller discussion. Still all speculation and analysis, none of which is proof. Sounds like the “fuller discussion” of someone who reads “The Game” too much.

  22. I think the status seeking argument has some correctness to it, however one cannot assign the status seeking reason to drinking to everyone. Some people may choose to drink because they think it makes them cool or whatever, but a lot of people don’t. I don’t think it’s fair to completely disparage Kevin’s argument. It has some flaws, but it’s greatest one is the assumption that the status seeking element applies to everyone.

  23. I think the status seeking argument has some correctness to it, however one cannot assign the status seeking reason to drinking to everyone. Some people may choose to drink because they think it makes them cool or whatever, but a lot of people don’t. I don’t think it’s fair to completely disparage Kevin’s argument. It has some flaws, but it’s greatest one is the assumption that the status seeking element applies to everyone.

  24. Kevin,

    While the topic of the article was controversial and I support many of your ideas, I do feel that you have over-theorized most of this article… for instance,

    “it’s because people who drink have higher status than nondrinkers, and thus are more likely to get paid more, compete in the workplace, and get bonuses.”

    Remember that correlation does NOT imply causation. Most of at CMC drink causally, if not heavily. However, there are so many people at our school and others who do not enjoy drinking but have excellent social skills and will succeed in obtaining their “bonus” at the end of the year.

  25. Kevin,

    While the topic of the article was controversial and I support many of your ideas, I do feel that you have over-theorized most of this article… for instance,

    “it’s because people who drink have higher status than nondrinkers, and thus are more likely to get paid more, compete in the workplace, and get bonuses.”

    Remember that correlation does NOT imply causation. Most of at CMC drink causally, if not heavily. However, there are so many people at our school and others who do not enjoy drinking but have excellent social skills and will succeed in obtaining their “bonus” at the end of the year.

  26. Everyone is status seeking. Most things that we are proud of are things we do to raise our status.

    Kenley and Charles, a simple theory is that Hub Quiz is on Friday nights, when there isn’t much going on. People can complement their Thursday & Saturday drinking with a dry Friday night. Am I happy that our school is so drinking/party oriented? Not especially.

    Lewis, I believe that a lot of people don’t enjoy drinking but do it anyway (or have come to believe that it’s fun), because everyone’s doing it and they seem to be enjoying themselves. For example, think back to the first time you ever drank beer; it probably didn’t taste great. I understand that correlation doesn’t mean causation; I was providing a theory to try and explain the evidence. Obviously there are exceptions to any rule, like nondrinkers who succeed in the workplace.

    While I don’t really appreciate the tactics, pick up artists have an excellent understanding of high and low status.

    Here is some evidence that drinking raises status:

    • Why are you continuing to defend your status argument with the same type of thin arguments, and overgeneralizing debatable topics . A psych paper which loosely operationalizes “status” and “pride” doesn’t cut it. The methods of that paper are fine but your conclusion is way too over generalizing. They found an implicit association between people viewing photos of others in a prideful or embarrassing pose and words which stereotypically describe status. That finding is far from your claim that “Most things that we are proud of are things we do to raise our status”.

      This same critique applies your other citations: drinkers earn more because of status effects, people are social after drinking mostly due to expectancy effects, critiquing peers is status lowering, and pick up artists know a lot about status.

      Drinkers do earn more than non drinkers, but there are so many confounding factors which can affect this that you cannot attribute the effect solely to status. People are more social after drinking and there are expectation effects to a degree, but the majority of effects are due to physiological changes despite what that NYT opinion column you cited states. Critiquing peers can be status lowering if one is mean and unreasonable, but there is a reason we have a peer review system throughout academia. If one makes well reasoned arguments critiquing a peer, then one gains status, despite what the that random web page you cited states. And pick up artists don’t know much about status. They know how to psychologically manipulate vulnerable persons and use social pressure to get what they want.

      There is nothing wrong with having an opinion on this topic, but the rampant overgeneralization is vexing.

  27. Everyone is status seeking. Most things that we are proud of are things we do to raise our status.

    Kenley and Charles, a simple theory is that Hub Quiz is on Friday nights, when there isn’t much going on. People can complement their Thursday & Saturday drinking with a dry Friday night. Am I happy that our school is so drinking/party oriented? Not especially.

    Lewis, I believe that a lot of people don’t enjoy drinking but do it anyway (or have come to believe that it’s fun), because everyone’s doing it and they seem to be enjoying themselves. For example, think back to the first time you ever drank beer; it probably didn’t taste great. I understand that correlation doesn’t mean causation; I was providing a theory to try and explain the evidence. Obviously there are exceptions to any rule, like nondrinkers who succeed in the workplace.

    While I don’t really appreciate the tactics, pick up artists have an excellent understanding of high and low status.

    Here is some evidence that drinking raises status:

    • Why are you continuing to defend your status argument with the same type of thin arguments, and overgeneralizing debatable topics . A psych paper which loosely operationalizes “status” and “pride” doesn’t cut it. The methods of that paper are fine but your conclusion is way too over generalizing. They found an implicit association between people viewing photos of others in a prideful or embarrassing pose and words which stereotypically describe status. That finding is far from your claim that “Most things that we are proud of are things we do to raise our status”.

      This same critique applies your other citations: drinkers earn more because of status effects, people are social after drinking mostly due to expectancy effects, critiquing peers is status lowering, and pick up artists know a lot about status.

      Drinkers do earn more than non drinkers, but there are so many confounding factors which can affect this that you cannot attribute the effect solely to status. People are more social after drinking and there are expectation effects to a degree, but the majority of effects are due to physiological changes despite what that NYT opinion column you cited states. Critiquing peers can be status lowering if one is mean and unreasonable, but there is a reason we have a peer review system throughout academia. If one makes well reasoned arguments critiquing a peer, then one gains status, despite what the that random web page you cited states. And pick up artists don’t know much about status. They know how to psychologically manipulate vulnerable persons and use social pressure to get what they want.

      There is nothing wrong with having an opinion on this topic, but the rampant overgeneralization is vexing.

  28. If the administration takes away parties, drinking will decline. Imagine if it’s a Wednesday or Thursday night and there are no big parties planned. Most people would end up drinking with a few friends in their rooms, maybe watch a movie, play some video games, but I’m sure very few would go and get blacked out on a night where there is no centralized party because then you would just look like a fool in front of your friends. CMC could make significant changes that would decrease the drinking on campus (or off campus). I disagree with most all of your points. Drinking to show status??? No. Drinking for fun. Yes.

  29. If the administration takes away parties, drinking will decline. Imagine if it’s a Wednesday or Thursday night and there are no big parties planned. Most people would end up drinking with a few friends in their rooms, maybe watch a movie, play some video games, but I’m sure very few would go and get blacked out on a night where there is no centralized party because then you would just look like a fool in front of your friends. CMC could make significant changes that would decrease the drinking on campus (or off campus). I disagree with most all of your points. Drinking to show status??? No. Drinking for fun. Yes.

  30. I know I am VERY late to add my two cents to the discussion, but I thought I would point out to anyone who sees this that I think that while the status theory has some merit, I do believe that a crackdown on drinking would do much to diminish the drinking culture at CMC. And my hypothesis is actually supported by the status theory posited here.

    I think that by cracking down on public and school-sanctioned forms of drinking, the administration will force drinking underground. However, I think that this will do a lot to break the drinking culture. Status is ultimately defined by your peers and their evaluations on your behavior. Status is collectively defined and assigned. If you have such a fractured, fragmented drinking cultures, as would happen if drinking was confined to the few scattered bars in Claremont, or in the rooms, or even on other campuses, there would be a less cohesive definition of high status behaviors (such as drinking = status). Add on to the fact that the drinking is less visible or engaging to those who are not in your immediate vicinity (such as the fact that no one cares in a bar who’s the most wasted unless that person is dancing on a table, or the fact that unless someone is passed out in the hall, no one sees/cares what’s going on in the rooms of their acquaintances), will lessen the impact drinking has on status. If no one but your friends know how much/how hard you party, no one but your friends will assign you status. It’s how culture works. Unless a significant majority of CMC’ers decided to convene at one specific place frequently (one bar, or one off-campus location/party), drinking will immediately become more clique-y, and therefore it will be less about a large-scale status game being played out among a whole school.

  31. I know I am VERY late to add my two cents to the discussion, but I thought I would point out to anyone who sees this that I think that while the status theory has some merit, I do believe that a crackdown on drinking would do much to diminish the drinking culture at CMC. And my hypothesis is actually supported by the status theory posited here.

    I think that by cracking down on public and school-sanctioned forms of drinking, the administration will force drinking underground. However, I think that this will do a lot to break the drinking culture. Status is ultimately defined by your peers and their evaluations on your behavior. Status is collectively defined and assigned. If you have such a fractured, fragmented drinking cultures, as would happen if drinking was confined to the few scattered bars in Claremont, or in the rooms, or even on other campuses, there would be a less cohesive definition of high status behaviors (such as drinking = status). Add on to the fact that the drinking is less visible or engaging to those who are not in your immediate vicinity (such as the fact that no one cares in a bar who’s the most wasted unless that person is dancing on a table, or the fact that unless someone is passed out in the hall, no one sees/cares what’s going on in the rooms of their acquaintances), will lessen the impact drinking has on status. If no one but your friends know how much/how hard you party, no one but your friends will assign you status. It’s how culture works. Unless a significant majority of CMC’ers decided to convene at one specific place frequently (one bar, or one off-campus location/party), drinking will immediately become more clique-y, and therefore it will be less about a large-scale status game being played out among a whole school.

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