Friday, September 15, 2006

#4 = "You have such a pretty face, why do you have to hide it?"

Spooney sent me this article on how people who drink alcohol are more successful than those who don’t. He has sent me similar things before.

I can’t decide if he devotes so much time trying to justify drinking because he secretly wonders if he drinks too much, or if he is countering my hyper-vigilance on the subject.

Because, you see, alcoholism runs in the family. My family, that is.

That phrase, “alcoholism runs in the family,” is #1 of the top 10 phrases most likely to be invoked at any family gathering. #2 is “I AM being careful, goddammit!” and “I don’t make monkeys - I just train them” is a distant third.

Yes, we have some issues with maturity. But the love is there.

Anyway, I read the article and noticed immediately that the researchers were assuming a causal relationship between drinking alcohol and career success. That’s not unusual. A lot of studies assume, or imply in their press releases, that causality exists where it has not been proven.

For instance, you could do a study of the rate of homosexuality in Catholic priests, and for sure you would find it would be above the national average. That doesn’t mean the Catholic priesthood causes homosexuality - although wouldn’t it be great if it did? They might finally get those outfits they wear updated a bit, huh?

But here, read for yourself:

The study published in the Journal of Labor Research Thursday concluded that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and that men who drink socially bring home an additional seven percent in pay.

"Social drinking builds social capital," said Edward Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University and co-author of the study with fellow researcher Bethany Peters.

"Social drinkers are out networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their BlackBerries that result in bigger paychecks."

Okay, let’s not even talk about the fact that whatever extra money you earn is totally eaten up by your bar tab, what concerns me about this is that they seem to be relying on some pretty questionable anecdotal-type assumptions. I mean, “adding contacts to their BlackBerries”? These guys watched way too much “West Wing.”

But where they really blow it is revealed at the very end of the article, where you uncover this little gem:

The researchers found some differences in the economic effects of drinking among men and women. They concluded that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and women drinkers earn 14 percent more than non-drinkers.

However, unlike men, who get a seven percent income boost from drinking in bars, women who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women drinkers who do not visit bars.

"Perhaps women increase social capital apart from drinking in bars," the researchers said in an effort to explain the gender gap.

What I love about the above is not only that they’re completely ignoring how a significant portion of their sample (um, women) disprove their theory of causality - but how they just don’t seem to give a fuck. They’re all throwing up their hands and saying “Eh, broads! Who knows WHAT they’re thinking?”

I’m thinking I could use a drink. But don't tell anyone. Because alcoholism runs in the family.


dad said...

Yeah, this is realy fucked up science. What I think the data might show if one could examine it is that outgoing, social types are more successful at making money compared to reclusive introverts. The fact that drinking socially is done does not prove that drinking has anything to do with their conclusion. And there is nothing to establish that increased networking takes place due to drinking as compared to other social activities where contacts are made. Many social activities offer a chance to have a drink or two. The activities aren't there for drinking, but for socializing.

Here is my classic example on non-causality. More children are killed as pedestrians my cars in the summer. More ice cream is sold in the summer. There is a relationship but no causality.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Dad, you're right.

I wonder what they'd come up with if they did the same study in Utah?

GETkristiLOVE said...

(hiccup) Wha??? Dude! It's Friday, let's Paaaaaaaaar-tay!

Skylers Dad said...

Dude, your really harshing my mellow...

Sun Micro does this to you.

Grant Miller said...

Did the article mention anything about guys that drink alone at home, in their darkened basement while watching a small black and white television, quietly weeping? Just curious.

Jess said...

Why with the weeping, Grant? Always with the weeping! Why does weeping make everything funnier? Drinking, eating, orgasms, etc...

(Personally, I like to add "curled into the fetal position" 'cause that makes everything funnier too. Sometimes I continue with "naked, wearing only black knee socks". Because what's funnier than being naked wearing only socks? Only weeping and fetal position! You are welcome.)

edyqfyf, yo!

Pops said...

True story: just a couple of weeks ago, to celebrate the end of a loathesome project, my wife went out with co-workers to a local pool hall/bar. One beer turned into a cosmo or two and ended with her loudly referring to her boss (!) and the hanger-on lackey who kisses his ass as "boyfriend and girlfriend."

Social capital, overdrawn.

Luckily she had gotten the raise BEFORE. I assume that was from wearing the tight-fitting clothing.

MonstrousJoe said...

Pass the blunt!

vikkitikkitavi said...

Kristi & SkyDad: Admitting you have a problem is the 1st step.

Grant: No, it doesn't. But then, you don't really WORK, right?

Jess: Grant's a very sensitive fellow. That's why he comes to my site. I give him the validation that he so desperately craves.

Pops: Yeah, here's the thing about socializing with coworkers: from that point on, they know WAY too much about you, and will use that knowledge to justify assumptions about your performance.
No thanks.

MJoe: See Kristi and SkyDad's comment, above.

michael said...

My two years at Kent State were most enlightening for the time I spent earning my scholarship in the erstwhile writing center. Like you can teach clear writing to a kid who doesn't believe clear thinking has anything to do with it. Clear thinking is hard, and people write all the time, so they can't be related.

I've heard other "cause-and-effect" proposals so off-the-wall I can't keep them in my head. There was one about the Earnshaws being rich because their house was clean and so there was class envy between them and those, and I quote, "Wuthering Heights people," a moment I can remember only because I was sure there was a camera on me, somewhere.

The same kids who believe that it's someone else's job to brush up their writing eventually go on to initiate and develop lame "theories" for research. I'd give you a case in point, but I see you've already got yourself one.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Michael, these days I'm afraid that lazy thinking has taken over the world.

Case in point: "intelligent design"

michael said...

Hm. Well, lazy thinking is always waiting to happen. My particular grievance about a stupid president, whatever his/her name might be, is the license his behavior gives anyone to think being stupid and in charge is ok.

My red-state family members are a sharp bunch, really -- for the issues that matters to them, the conservative agenda is a right fit for them. And yet they invariably alternate between laughing at the president's failures to evince signs of intellect and believing he's much smarter than he lets on. These people are still steaming on the isms of the Bush I administration. Don't criticize the president, you'll demoralize the troops, and all that jive.

I can only take so much of it. When the president of my country is trying to top Tom Cruise's performance in front of Matt Lauer, I just can't stand it. The leader of the free fucking world and the signle most powerful military power on the planet, trying to browbeat a personality journalist with waving hands and rhetorical conceits learned off a Houston used car lot.

But with a president who summarily declares the Gordian knot part of the Axis of Evil, something about rating opinion as important as fact is excused, even empowered.