Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Viva Italia
There is enormous cross-cultural variation in the way people behave when they drink alcohol. There are some societies (such as the UK, the US, Australia and parts of Scandinavia) that anthropologists call “ambivalent” drinking-cultures, where drinking is associated with disinhibition, aggression, promiscuity, violence and anti-social behaviour.

There are other societies (such as Latin and Mediterranean cultures in particular, but in fact the vast majority of cultures), where drinking is not associated with these undesirable behaviours – cultures where alcohol is just a morally neutral, normal, integral part of ordinary, everyday life – about on a par with, say, coffee or tea. These are known as “integrated” drinking cultures.

My impression of Italy from the week I spent there in 1980 was that Italian men didn’t need disinhibiting to get over their shyness so they could start hitting on women. That’s just what they did, at least in the touristy cities. It was like a country full of Silvio Berlusconis. Above is Ruth Orkin’s 1951 photo “American Girl in Italy,” and that’s what Florence was like in 1980, too.

By the way, the American Girl in the photo is 83 today and said in August:
“Some people want to use it as a symbol of harassment of women, but that’s what we’ve been fighting all these years,” Craig said in a telephone interview from her home in Toronto. “It’s not a symbol of harassment. It’s a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time!”
The girl in the picture and the photographer were out trolling for reactions. The photographer liked the reactions the American Girl got the first time she walked down this particular street in Florence, so she had her go around the block and do it again, which sent the hubba-hubba meter to eleven. (But that’s still pretty much what it was like in 1980, so this picture is merely exaggerating reality to convey reality, which is pretty much what photography is all about.)

P.S. The American Girl went back to America, then went back to Italy and married an Italian man.
From Steve Sailer.

Lodato sempre sia... SS. Cosmas and Damian, Conshohocken, Pa.

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