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Viewing Bar Fights As Normal Male Behavior Encourages Violence

The debate about a 1985 kerfuffle involving Brett Kavanaugh reveals a split in perceptions of how men should be expected to behave when they drink.

Senate Judiciary CommitteeSenate Judiciary CommitteeThe 1985 altercation that led New Haven police to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, then a 20-year-old junior at Yale, does not sound like much of a bar fight. According to the police report, a 21-year-old complainant said Kavanaugh had thrown ice at him, while one of Kavanaugh's friends, Chris Dudley, had hurled a glass, injuring his ear. The genesis of the fight is barely intelligible: Apparently Kavanaugh and his friends were staring at the complainant, trying to figure out if he was the lead singer of UB40, which had performed in New Haven that night. The guy told them to cut it out in an unfriendly manner, which annoyed Kavanaugh.

I'm not sure what, if anything, this incident has to do with Kavanaugh's fitness for the Supreme Court. But attempts to use the story against him have provoked a revealing debate about how common it is for young men to get into bar fights. Broadly speaking, Kavanaugh's defenders think bar fights are a rite of passage for men, so they are no big deal, while his detractors say most men don't get into bar fights, so Kavanaugh's involvement in one reflects on his character. Although I'm inclined toward the latter view, I've yet to see any solid data on the question. But it seems likely that men who view bar fights as normal are more apt to start or join them.

"I don't know one guy, including myself, who wasn't in a bar fight," Newsmax TV host John Cardillo remarked on Twitter this week. "Not a single one." New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, one of the paper's token conservatives, reported that "I've been in two bar fights, though I suppose one was technically a 'Jumbo Slice fight.'" Fox Business Network correspondent Charles Gasparino bragged that "Ive been in dozens of bar fights (ask the guys I grew up with)," "nearly lost an eye in one," and "that's just one of the injuries (I have the scarred stitch marks to prove the rest)." Although Gasparino has "never been black out drunk," he said, "I have had to defend myself, which I am still perfectly capable of doing."

These accounts, especially Cardillo's, are very different from my own experience. I've patronized many bars over the years, but I have never been involved in a bar fight (or even witnessed one, as far as I can recall), and I know lots of male drinkers with a similar lack of such experience. For what it's worth, an online survey that Esquire conducted in 2010 found that 74 percent of the 5,000 or so respondents had never been involved in a bar fight. This was not a random sample, but given the magazine's audience I assume it was overwhelmingly male. Within this group of men who read Esquire and take the time to fill out online surveys, bar fights were definitely not the norm.

Some people are more temperamentally inclined to violence than others, which may be a good reason for anyone who values peace to avoid drinking with Cardillo, Gasparino, or their friends. But social expectations and beliefs about the relationship between alcohol and violence also can affect how people act when they drink.

In their classic 1969 study Drunken Comportment, the psychologist Craig MacAndrew and the anthropologist Robert Edgerton pointed out that behavior under the influence of alcohol varies between individuals in the same culture, across situations in the same individual, over time in the same individual, across cultures, across situations in the same culture, and over time in the same society. Their most interesting evidence came from cross-cultural comparisons, including societies in North America, South America, Africa, and Asia. They cited examples of tribes where people would get falling-down drunk without any dramatic changes in demeanor and others where people routinely got into bloody fights after drinking. Within the same society, people drinking in a ceremonial context would be peaceful and friendly, while people drinking in a less structured situation would be raucous and violent, even though the amounts consumed were comparable.

Violent tendencies vary from one person to another in every culture and situation. But when you combine aggressive people spoiling for a fight with a context that gives them an excuse, you are asking for trouble.

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  • Radioactive||

    Jacob...I ever see you in a bar, I'm kicking your ass, and then you can cross off that little item from your bucket list.

  • ThomasD||

    In the interests of libertarianism can we agree that, if upon your chance meeting, Jacob Sullum is willing to stipulate that he has had his ass well and truly kicked then you can refrain from any actual ass kicking?

    Granted, the two are not all that far apart to begin with, but at least this way Sullum has the illusion of choice.

  • perlchpr||

    Nah. I think he needs to be reminded that the male of the species is built for violence.

  • DiegoF||

    It would be funny if when her turn comes it turns out young Coney Barrett had a nasty habit of splashing drinks in faces and pulling a mouthy bitch's weave off.

  • Just Say'n||

    Secretly, all the male senators would whisper to each other "that's hot"

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    On a somewhat related note:

    Would.

  • Just Say'n||

    "We need a thorough investigation of Amy Coney Barret's nasty catfight that she once had as a freshman in college with another woman who was wearing an obscenely low cut dress. We understand that there is video of the matter and we insist that copies be made available to all senators on the committee"

    - Senator Graham

  • Just Say'n||

    Eh, on second though Graham wouldn't ask for this. Scarlet O'Hara wouldn't enjoy such a spectacle. I'm going to say, um, Grassely maybe.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Yeah, I was a little surprised at your choice of Senator in the original post, but I though maybe you were suggesting Graham would do that to throw people off the scent as to his real interests.

  • Just Say'n||

    Graham is a "warsexual". Meaning that he's only aroused by pictures of dead Arabs.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Dead Arabs are hot.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    Andrew Sullivan refers to Senator Graham as "Butters." The comparison is apt.

  • DiegoF||

    LOL, you know they were pissed at Trump this time for denying them the prospect of seeing her and Kamala getting all up in each other's faces.

  • Just Say'n||

    "I suggest that Barrett's nomination be settled by a jello wrestling match between her and Senator Harris"

    - Donald Trump

  • NoVaNick||

    Or doing a striptease on the bar

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Their most interesting evidence came from cross-cultural comparisons, including societies in North America, South America, Africa, and Asia.

    They didn't dare include the Irish in this study.

  • MasterThief||

    They had to avoid all of Europe to dodge that damning statistic

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    And Australia too it would seem.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Beat me to it. Australians think it's just a sport.

  • ThomasD||

    They need to exclude the entirety of northern Europe.

  • Radioactive||

    and about 90% of the continental US...

  • Just Say'n||

    "I've patronized many bars over the years, but I have never been involved in a bar fight (or even witnessed one, as far as I can recall)"

    So this Kavanaugh thing has become Pizza gate for Ivy League graduates, it would appear.

  • Just Say'n||

    "For what it's worth, an online survey that Esquire conducted in 2010 found that 74 percent of the 5,000 or so respondents had never been involved in a bar fight."

    They should have polled men, rather than whatever you call someone who reads Esquire

  • Mongo||

    I've gotten into a few fights at Comet Ping Ping Pong Pizza.
    I slapped the shit out of a 7-year old girl. Choked a few 6-year old boys.
    BRING IT ON, TUFF GUYS.

  • Idle Hands||

    It's worse than that.The question was specifically "have you ever been in a physical fight at a bar" not have you seen a bar fight or involved and 25% of fucking esquire readers said they have physically engaged in violence which seems ridiculous on it's face; but blows up Sullum's entire thesis.

  • Just Say'n||

    I enjoyed Sullum thoroughly emasculating himself in a feeble attempt to led credence to the latest talking point

  • John||

    I am not sure which is worse; that Sullumn considers Ross Dothat to be edgier than he is or that he just admitted to the world that does.

  • Just Say'n||

    I guess social conservatives are less prudish than cosmos

  • Cathy L||

    Yeah, super weird for socons to be more into using force than libertarians.

  • John||

    We are talking about the kinds of bars one goes to Cathy. Are you just not following the conversation? Because your response makes absolutely no sense.

  • Just Say'n||

    Cathy also avoids any bar where the median income of the patrons is no less than $90,000 annually

  • Just Say'n||

    Where are the "libertarians" at Reason? Are you talking about Tuccile?

  • Zeb||

    Whatever else you might say about him, Sullum is a pretty damn solid libertarian.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Whatever else you might say about him, Sullum is a pretty damn solid libertarian.

    And one who's never been on a Donnybrook at the local watering hole.

    Maybe Jacob did an interpretive dance to Tequila on the bar to get out of it.

  • damikesc||

    I am not sure which is worse; that Sullumn considers Ross Dothat to be edgier than he is or that he just admitted to the world that does.

    Saddest realization: Sullum is correct. Douthat IS edgier than he is.

    Next up, Sullum comes out, HARSHLY, against damned kids on his lawn.

  • Cathy L||

    "Not being violent is emasculating."

    Yeah, that's not pathetic at all.

  • Just Say'n||

    Did I say that, because I'm pretty sure I didn't say that.

    What is emasculating is pretending like mixing alcohol with twenty-something year-old boys is not going to result in some jerk-offs trying to act like tough guys. The only way to come to that conclusion is to have never have associated with twenty-something year-old guys or having lived in such an upper class setting where no man has ever performed any task with his own hands.

    The premise here is beyond ridiculous.

  • Just Say'n||

    More to the point, let's have some real talk Cathy: if women didn't enjoy men fighting so much then there would probably be less fights. As it stands, though, most women secretly enjoy men fighting and when you add in alcohol and idiotic twenty-something year-old boys, you're going to have barfights.

  • DiegoF||

    I was going to add to my other comment, we should've had Shackford to explain why gay men do not fight in their bars. But, of course, we need no such thing.

  • damikesc||

    Just Sayin' is right. When asked "Why do guys do this stuff?" the answer is, nearly always, "Because women like it".

    Men are a very, VERY results-oriented sex.

  • Cathy L||

    most women secretly enjoy men fighting

    I'm vigorously making the jerking-off motion right now.

  • BYODB||

    For what it's worth, I've been in two bar fights in my life and both were in my early twenties. One of them involved literally the entire bar and the other was a fight behind a shitty bar in Deep Ellum. Neither involved a police report, either.

  • ||

    "Not being violent is emasculating."

    Yeah, that's not pathetic at all.

    Not nearly as pathetic as going the entirety of your life never having shed even a drop of blood for fear of offending someone.

  • Zeb||

    I've offended many people in my life, but somehow managed not to have to hit any of them.

  • TuIpa||

    No one wants to be anything like you though.

  • Just Say'n||

    OK, let's all just suspend biology and crime statistics and pretend like twenty something year-old single men, with alcohol in their system, are not more prone to violence.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    I'm not sure they are more prone to violence as that they have not yet developed the filters and controls needed to avoid getting involved in needless violence.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Then you're pretty lousy at being offensive, or else one of them would have hit you. Fight's on.

  • Cathy L||

    Not nearly as pathetic as going the entirety of your life never having shed even a drop of blood for fear of offending someone.

    Yeah, I avoid shedding other people's blood because I'm afraid of offending them. That's also why I believe in the NAP.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I avoid shedding blood of other people because I would have to dig large pits to bury them in. That is too much work.

  • Just Say'n||

    This may surprise you Cathy, but not every person in the world abides by the NAP. And if someone hits you, you better hit back. That's just how the world unfortunately works. But, sure, let's pretend like everyone spent their twenties at the yacht club

  • Cathy L||

    I spent my 20s in bars. I spent my single-digit years in bars too, dragging my dad home and watching my uncles fight. It wasn't actually fun.

  • Just Say'n||

    I'm sorry to hear that. I am not condoning violence. I'm only saying that this behavior is not unusual for twenty something year-old guys who have booze in their system. And sometimes, people are jerks and they try to use violence against you, at which point a response is necessary. Booze and adolescence is a bad mix. It would be better if they were all just smoking pot. Of course then that would lead to obesity issues or something.

  • Semantix||

    "I'm not condoning violence."

    However,

    "And if someone hits you, you better hit back. That's just how the world unfortunately works."

  • ||

    Also,

    I spent my 20s in bars. I spent my single-digit years in bars too, dragging my dad home and watching my uncles fight. It wasn't actually fun.

    "It was so not fun that well after I could avoid it all entirely I voluntarily chose to go back for several more years."

    I'm calling bullshit.

  • DiegoF||

    There is no excuse. I did read 1990s Details as a teen; and I have long been proud to say that doing that merely made you a faggot, which is a type of man nonetheless. It was such a simpler time in retrospect; we never knew the depths things would sink to.

  • Just Say'n||

    I just fail to see how Esquire is a "men's magazine". And I'm not saying that every man must have been in a bar fight when they were younger, but to suggest that it is so out of the ordinary that you are surprised by it is a sad statement on your adolescence.

  • Radioactive||

    Esquire, a men's magazine. If by men you mean castrated beta's who get coffee for wymen and who enjoy needle point and pomeranians

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Not to mention skinny jeans

  • DiegoF||

    Esquire is Teen Vogue for those who lack the courage to not identify as men.

    Look, I think we all basically think the same fucking thing about fights. Hopefully you outgrow the practice as soon after junior high school as possible, and as completely as possible, but we observe that plenty of people did not to varying degrees. I could probably go on with comment after comment about fights that everyone here would agree with and consider just plain common sense. This particular sober examination of the phenomenon is just laughable. And in any case Reason really is no fun by denying us the red meat of seeing what Robby or Britches has to say about the subject.

  • Just Say'n||

    At this point, I think ENB is the alpha at Reason offices. Pretty sure she could kick the tar out of Robby and Sullum

  • John||

    Sudderman's wife Megan McArdle is an amazon. She is over six feet tall. There is no question who the alpha is in that relationship and McArdle is the alpha at any reason staff gettogether.

  • ThomasD||

    Do you think she squats over them in displays of dominance?

    Asking for a friend.

  • Radioactive||

    I know a couple of kindergarten kids who could do that, and at the same time. You'll have to set the bar higher than that.

  • Cathy L||

    Wtf kind of magazine do you think it is? It's absolutely a men's magazine. The target audience is men.

  • Just Say'n||

    Pretty sure it's target audience is not men anymore if you read the articles

  • damikesc||

    It's as much a magazine for men as Playgirl is REALLY a magazine for women.

    ...and not gay dudes. Perish the thought.

  • Here for the outrage||

    males, yes
    boys, yes
    men, no

  • Bearded Spock||

    This is one of the few subjects whereupon I can speak with authority: I've seen plenty of bar fights.

    Not as a participant, mind you, but as the guy trying to break them up: I worked as a bouncer/security in a beer tavern in Jackson Hole, WY for a while. Drunk cowboys (and cowgirls and tourists who think they are tough) love to fight.

    Hardly a week went by without some kind of altercation. Usually it was just angry words and dirty looks that could easily be defused, but about once every 2-3 months it would turn into a fist fight.

    One got so bad we had to call for police backup (I almost got my butt kicked by a furious cowgirl trying to protect her boyfriend).

    So I'm thinking Sullum either is being disingenuous here, or the "bars" he frequents are more "exclusive" than the average watering hole in Outside-the-Beltway America.

  • geo1113||

    One fucking bar fight and you can't be on the Supreme Court...WTF!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    A few president had duels where someone got killed or hurt. Andrew Jackson is thought to have been in 103 duels.

    Multiple presidents killed people in war.

    Bill Clinton not only used drugs which were illegal but fled to Canada which was draft dogging.

    Booosh used drugs and had a DUI.

    United States Senator David C. Broderick, of California, and ex-Chief Justice David S. Terry, of the Supreme Court of California, on September 13, 1859 dueled.

  • geo1113||

    Cotton versus Blumenthal at 10 paces. PPV.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    In 1985 it was normal and something guys did sometimes.

    That has changed. Bar fights are not as common as they used to be as a right of passage.

    Jacob, it is always stupid to judge old acceptable behavior with modern standards. You cannot change history dude.

  • Ryan Frank||

    Also calling throwing a drink at someone being in a "bar fight" is kind of ridiculous.

  • Bubba Jones||

    We are dumbing down the definitions of everything, it seems.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^

  • loveconstitution1789||

    To pussies that write at Reason throwing a drink is a bar fight.

    As an MP, I have broken up actual bar fights where a few people are literally thrown around or through windows.

    Drunken sailors like getting laid and fighting other branches of the US military.

    I always found it funny that Marines like to fight sailors, except when an Army or Air Force puke wants to start a fight, then its Navy AND Marines vs the Army or Air Force.

  • Ron||

    I always found that funny as well considering without Sailors the Marines don't get anywhere, and maybe thats the reason Marines don't like being dependent on anyone

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I love reminding Marines that their Seal says Department of the Navy, US Marine Corps.

    Marines are part of the US Navy.

  • Ron||

    Weren't the Marines called marines because they were created to protect ships at sea, hence marine as being of the sea?

  • John||

    Yes Marines originally were the force that ships used to board and seize other ships or snipe opposing ship's crews. During the age of sail it was virtually impossible to actually sink the larger warships. The cannons just were not powerful enough. So, you won by killing enough of the crew to either make it impossible for them to fire their guns or for you to board and just take it as a prize. The Marines were the ground troops that did that. And they acted as a personal security guard for the Captain to keep the sailors from mutinying and enforce dicipline and keep them from sodiomizing the cabin boys. Rum, sodomy and the lash really was the tradition and not just a saying.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Fun fact: The Marines are also called leathernecks. That came from the leather collars they had on their uniforms to protect against slashes to the neck by Barbary Muslim pirates.

  • Radioactive||

    the men's department

  • John||

    Throwing a drink at someone is what women, who think their pussy pass will save them do. Throwing a drink at another guy is about the surest way to get your ass kicked I can think of. The person who gets in the first punch wins 90% of fistfights. If you really want to get in a fight, you go over and clock the guy as hard as you can and follow up with as many more as you can. You don't throw a fucking drink in his face as an invitation for him to do that to you.

    I honestly don't know how the staff at reason manages to get through life considering some of the bizzare things they believe.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its the same lack of leaving the bubble that causes them to have zero idea how most of America thinks or acts.

  • JonBlack||

    Look son, being a good shot, being quick with a pistol, that don't do no harm, but it don't mean much next to being cool-headed. A man who will keep his head and not get rattled under fire, like as not, he'll kill ya.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Unless you throw the drink and immediately follow it up with a haymaker.

  • damikesc||

    I remember Libertarians trying to NOT be abject total pussies.

    "Bar fights are totes bad. MALE PRIVILEGE, BITCHES!!" --- Reason staff

  • Radioactive||

    unless you're a pussy bitch

  • NoVaNick||

    Ah, 1985-when men were men and Boy George was considered weird (to put it politely)

  • Ron||

    the only reason bar fights are no longer a right of passage is because everyone gets arrested these days with felonies, no more boys will be boys let them get some steam off.

  • John||

    Bingo.

  • DiegoF||

    You get a felony case for a bar fight? I thought if they decide to prosecute, simple assault is what they threaten you with so you plead to disorderly. I don't know anyone with a felony for an ordinary fight like that.

  • John||

    That is probably true. Also mutual combat cases are a nightmare to prosecute. If no one is seriously hurt and it is your first offense, it probably get pled down and you get off with some kind of deferred adjudication and it going off your record at some point. But that is still a pick pain in the ass and a very expensive propisition when you factor in hiring a lawyer and all that.

  • gaoxiaen||

    I don't recall the cops arresting anyone. The just told everyone to go home.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yup. Getting beat-up should not result in a national conversation. Just hurt pride

  • Radioactive||

    and a renewed interest in lifting weights and boxing

  • ThomasD||

    My elder son is a high school senior, he has punched exactly one other student one time in anger, and that was in 9th grade after football practice. Which makes him one of the violent ones.

    I certainly got into a lot more fights in school, although he has probably hit a lot more people they I ever have (TKD and HEMA are his hobbies.)

  • MasterThief||

    I'm starting to get interested in HEMA. Always loved swords, but after watching stuff on youtube (mostly skall) it looks like a fun hobby.

  • Eddy||

    "cross-cultural comparisons, including societies in North America, South America, Africa, and Asia"

    Oh, for crying out loud, this isn't a National Conversation (or a Cross-Cultural Study) of Maleness. It's deciding whether we're going to have Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court or roll the dice and maybe get a Democrat-approved nominee - an Anthony Kennedy clone, perhaps?

  • Just Say'n||

    Eddy, just enjoy the beclowning

  • Bubba Jones||

    He through ice at someone who assaulted him?

    Lol.

    Pass the soy milk.

  • Agammamon||

    I was in the US Navy - bar fights absolutely weren't common. Rare as hen's teeth actually.

    Still, if you had gotten into one or two that wouldn't have reflected poorly on your character.

    One every week? Yeah, you've got a problem. One every year or two? Well, there are always assholes out there.

  • Agammamon||

    Also, as described, what happened with Kavanaugh wasn't a bar fight. Not even close.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I forgot you were a fellow squid.

  • gaoxiaen||

    I was in the Navy and it wasn't a good weekend without a bar fight, with Marines as opponents or allies.

  • colorblindkid||

    I have plenty of girl friends who regularly got in bar fights as well. Just sayin.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Recall that the Dems filibustered Gorsuch. Let's not pretend this is about a bar fight.

  • Just Say'n||

    Shhhhh....don't question clowns, just enjoy the spectacle. This article is super serious

  • MasterThief||

    Let's take the bar angle out of this. How many young men have been in a fight? I'll agree with Gavin McInnes when he said every male by the time they reach adulthood should have punched someone and been punched. I've been in bar fights (none of which I started) and other fights (mostly when younger and occasionally instigated by me.)
    Any guy who hasn't been in a fight likely hasn't really experienced a number of things. I'd suggest that any such man probably isn't working class to begin with. He hasn't spent much time in a bar that serves drinks costing less than $5. Lastly, he probably is the sort to call the police when facing a disagreement and hasn't stood his ground against someone willing to get physical. In short, Sullum probably has little clue as to an average man's experience.

  • John||

    I was in plenty of fights growing up. And there is something very appealing to the adreniline rush that comes with violence and something very satisfying about dealing it on someone who deserves it. If violence were not seductive, it wouldn't be the most common feature of human behavrior.

    That said, in our society two kinds of people can get into fights; those young enough or poor enough to have nothing to lose and those two crazy to care if they do. Fighting is all fun and games when you are young. The problem is when you get older fighting likely ends with you getting hurt badly or hurting someone else badly and ending up in jail. If you have a life and something to lose, neither of those are good alternatives.

    So, as unmanly as this sounds, unless I have no other choice, I will always walk away from a physical confrontation. As badly as I would like to have a license to beat people sensless on a regular basis, I don't have one and couldn't do it to nearly as many people as I would like if I did. If some drunk dumb ass in a bar confronts me and I don't walk away, what is going to happen? Either he is going to kick my ass or I am going to kick his ass and end up in jail and potentially losing my job and my life as I know it. There is just no good result that can come from not walking away at this point in my life.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    This is my situation also. On top of that, when I'm in a bar nowadays it's because I'm doing photography for a band. If I stir up any shit it can reflect badly on the band, so I make it a point to play nice.

  • I can't even||

    Sure. That's why I found other ways to blow off steam by the time I was 18 - like lifting and rugby.

  • MasterThief||

    No disagreement there. I'm putting this whole silly thing in context and pointing out how detached from reality Sullum is. As an adult I avoid violence in all but the most extreme circumstances. That I know how to fight and have the size and bearing to convey that probably helps keep things from getting physical. My point is that as a boy and young man that is something you should experience. Knowing both the pain and consequences first hand helps you avoid it in the future except when necessary.

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    +1, well said

    Also I would add if you carry, and you live in an area where plenty of people carry, you have to assume punching someone in the face or starting a fight could escalate to someone ending up dead. Never worth it. Especially if you have anything to live for.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Let's discuss the implications of recognizing the lead singer of UB40.

    Red, red wine!

  • Idle Hands||

    This. is. retarded. Wtf are you talking about? That Esquire survey specifically asks if you've gotten in a fight and 25% responded yes. This leaves a rather large range of possible interactions from having witnessed a bar fight to being involved but not actually fighting. So basically your article boils down to an anecdote. Also Sullum if Ross Douthat has been in edgier bars/situations than you, you need a shake up.

  • Just Say'n||

    ^ THIS

    I've seen Ross Douthat speak. He's a quiet Catholic intellectual. If Douthat went to rougher bars than you when you were in your twenties than you probably wasted your twenties.

  • John||

    I am trying to grasp what bars you could go to that would make whatever bars a doucy nerd like Douthat freqented seem "rough" by comparison. Honestly, I am completely stumped.

  • Just Say'n||

    I have no idea. I grew-up in a blue collar area and went to a lot of neighborhood bars. A fistfight was not a frequent occurrence (it usually ended with guys getting in each other's faces and people separating them), but it wasn't something that was so infrequent that people would be astonished if it occurred.

    There is booze and women involved of course some drunk is going to try to act like he's a tough guy. That's literally the whole reason why people say weed is less of a hazard to society than booze.

    This is such a dumb article. It should have been titled "I Never Saw Any Fisticuffs At the Yacht Club"

  • John||

    Bar fights happen. You are right they are usually just a couple of drunken apes yelling at each other and maybe pushing. But they do occasionally happen. I wouldn't call them common but they sure as hell are not unusual enough for anyone who has been in many bars to be surprised by one.

  • Idle Hands||

    In fairness Douthat included a "food fight" as an instance he saw/was involved in a bar fight. But none the less if Ross Douthat can best you in a game of "never have I ever" you've failed at life.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I think that if Ross Douthat has been in a bar fight, this isn't an outlier.

  • MoreFreedom||

    "I'm not sure what, if anything, this incident has to do with Kavanaugh's fitness for the Supreme Court. "

    That's the point, it doesn't have anything to do with Kavanaugh's fitness for the Supreme Court. What does matter is his record as a judge. Under the basis Democrats are using, most Democrat politicians should resign in disgrace, plus a lot of the GOP as well. They obviously don't want to apply the standards they're using to vote against Kavanaugh, to themselves.

  • Ron||

    I want a person on the supreme court who has life experience such as attempting to make it with women and maybe a bar fight or two and how about lets throw in several traffic tickets and vehicle evassion. I want the people on the supreme court who understand the law but also has had to deal with the law like every normal American. these cloistered legal nerds with no real world experience have no concept of the real world outside of their legal chambers. My life experience has shown me the least judgeful of people are those who have lived a life.

  • Idle Hands||

    This whole kavanaugh thing has shown me I really don't live in the same reality of a great many people I thought I respected and had integrity.

  • John||

    The entire last three years has shown me that over and over again.

  • Idle Hands||

    I will forever use this as the Rostarch test on whether I can even trust a opinion writer going forward.

  • DiegoF||

    John what do you think of Blasey Ford as a witness, and as a victim? How does she compare in general?

    Obviously my own knowledge is very limited, but she seems to me to be very much on the fragile end of the spectrum. I have talked to quite a few victims of successful rapes quite soon after the event, although granted there was probably some self-selection going on in terms of who has talked to me about it; I probably got the more resilient ones. I don't want to talk out of turn here about Blasey Ford. But frankly, I myself have been through worse.

  • John||

    I did not watch her testimony. From the highlights I saw, I don't think she was a bad witness. It seems like everyone bought the idea that she was being sincere. And really that is all a witness can do. Her problem is her testimony isn't credible and no amount of sincerity on her part is getting around that.

  • I can't even||

    Hiding behind the wild hair and big glasses, talking with a squeaky voice like a teenager while looking a decade older than she is - everything about her signaled sociopath liar to me.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Sometimes the stupid stuff you should not do as a young man are valuable learning experiences.

    Someone strap Sullum to a chair and make him watch the Star Trek: TNG episode "Tapestry" for 24 hours.

  • NoVaNick||

    This guy who lived across the hall from me my freshman year in college (1990) came back from his frat hazing beyond stinking drunk one night in nothing but his jockey shorts. He saw me and threw a trash bin at me, then started taking swings. Not wanting to engage him, I backed into my room and locked the door.

    I happened to look him up the other day and he is now a pediatrician. Should I call the medical licensing board in the state where he practices and report this incident?

  • geo1113||

    I hope you laughed at him the next day.

  • NoVaNick||

    Too bad we didn't have iPhones back then, wonder if the threat of a viral video of oneself has helped curb drunken jackassery?

  • John||

    I kind of feel bad for kids these days. It would really suck to be 19 or 20 years old and have any of the stupid shit you say or do when you are drunk end up filmed on a phone and forever recorded on the net.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Not only that, but back in the day you ripped the phone cord out of the wall so the bartender couldn't call the cops. Now any asshole can call them.

  • John||

    Did even the most cyical think that the media would ever get so stupid that it would be examining the college drinking habits of a nominee to the Supreme Court to determine his fitness for the bench? Even I am surprised at how stupid this has become. I know shouldn't be surprised but I still am. This is just pathetic.

  • Zeb||

    It's desperate. Between Trump not being a total disaster, and him actually being able to make some significant changes, they are not in a good spot.

  • The stain on Monica's dress||

    Craahing your car isn't normal either but it is a possible consequence of using a car.

    Who thinks barfights are normal?

  • Ron||

    Everyone I know have been in a car accident, therefore it is normal in my world. the other axiom is if youv'e never crashed then you aren't trying hard enough, thats mainly for race car drivers though

  • Tuipa||

    "Everyone I know have been in a car accident, therefore it is normal in my world"

    I guess if you define normal as " a small handful of people experiencing an outlier"

    But only you would be definining it that way

  • Ron||

    Thats why I added "in my world" to define the scope. but that does include every family member over 16 and all my friends

  • TuIpa||

    So my comment stands.

  • Mickey Rat||

    There is normal as something you should do, and normal as something that is not unusual. They are not the same thing.

  • Tuipa||

    So no one. Thanks.

  • AlmightyJB||

    LOL.

  • Just Say'n||

    I'm saving this article, because it's just too good.

  • Idle Hands||

    Has Reason dropped a Kavanaugh yearbook truther article yet?

  • John||

    It is like peak Cosotarian Reason.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Post-modern Cosmotarian Reason?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Jacob Sullum probably hated the food fight scene in Animal House.

  • geo1113||

    Food fight during your college years...rite of passage. Debate!

  • Ron||

    High school maybe but by the time you were in college you were paying for your own food so you wouldn't waste it in a fight. BTW if you messed with my food there was a fight

  • geo1113||

    The food was part of the room and board.

  • Ron||

    some of lived off campus so food was not part of room and board

  • ThomasD||

    No, food fights were not a thing when I was in college (early to mid 80's)

    Food fights were a thing in elementary school.

  • Eddy||

    Let's contemplate the significance of David S. Terry, former Chief Justice of California, who killed a U. S. Senator in a duel and was later killed himself...while trying to attack a justice of the U. S. Supreme Court.

    Ice-throwing my butt.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_S._Terry

  • John||

    The other thing about this article is how sexist it is. Bar fights are not the exclusive provence of men. I have seen a few bar fights in my life and the most vicious one I have ever seen involved two women. The fact that it never occurs to Sullumn that women get in bar fights if further proof, as if any were needed, he knows absolutely nothing about this topic.

  • geo1113||

    You nailed it, John. I have seen the same with women. I have also seen a number where guys fight and then after the fight, they are drinking buddies.

  • Just Say'n||

    Girls are vicious in fights. Getting hair yanked out of your head is worse than a blackened eye, in my opinion

  • John||

    Women do shit like pull each other's hair and gouge each other in the eye that would only the most psychotic of men would do.

  • geo1113||

    I always liked seeing the ripping off of the shirt.

  • Radioactive||

    the nipple slips are the cherry on top of the ice cream!

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Now you're getting down to the nitty gritty, or should I say the nippy titty?

  • ThomasD||

    I've seen women fight, but I've never actually seen hot women fight.

  • Jeep's Blues||

    Interesting, four of my good friends from high school, two who work for my home state's government at the state level, one in a position of considerable influence and power, and another who works with children are all social drinkers and were involved in a bar fight several years back where a bottle was thrown and one went to the hospital. They are a rambunctious bunch who don't take anything off anybody, especially after a few drinks. They are also all women.

    So what's the new standard, Mr. Sollum, and who exactly, and how far back, does it apply to and when?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They are also all women.

    From my experience, the most likely group to get into a donnybrook.

  • Jeep's Blues||

    ETA *Sullum*. Apologies for the misspelling.

  • Eddy||

    It's best to avoid places where a drunken fight is a risk.

    But if you don't, then I don't believe in letting Democrats using that as an occasion for putting an abortion-sympathizing, constitution-rewriting judge on the bench. Which is worse and more violent than any bar fight.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Then you should stay away from Pittsburgh.

  • ThomasD||

    This is not unreasonable advice for most anyone.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Viewing a bar fight from 30 years ago as disqualifying for anything today is insane.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    War is insane and Lefties are at war.

  • ||

    Viewing Bar Fights As Normal Male Behavior Encourages Violence

    Also, Wet roads cause rain

    I've never been in a bar fight either. I've been in enough other fights at varying levels of malice and sobriety to know that bars aren't some sanctified ground where fighting never occurs.

    Considering the number of women who've hit me in anger relative to the number of men, I'd say bar fights, and male behavior are only loosely associated with violence.

  • John||

    The rule against hitting women was developed in a time where only the worst sorts of women would ever think of hitting a man. Sadly today that is not true. Women know that a man can't hit them without it being a big deal and too often abuse the privilege and engage in outraous and violent behavior towards men with impunity. I agree with your assessment that woman are more of a threat to be violent against you in the typical bar than men.

  • Ron||

    I've seen plenty of times where the woman cause a problem that her man has to settle more often then the other way around

  • MasterThief||

    That has been my experience. Woman complains that I accidentally touched her trying to squeeze by and brings her guy into it. Woman flirts and dances with me and suddenly changes completely when she sees her guy coming back and accuses me of something. Suddenly we're both in a fight neither of us wanted because the girl lied and instigated. And this is ignoring women getting violent and not getting hit back.

  • Eddy||

    I can see why the Dems and the abortion-fanciers would, like a guy with a laser pointer playing with a cat, try to distract the public with all sorts of issues which are beside the point - high-school malfeasance, thrown ice, yearbooks, dick-swinging...when all the time their interest is in using the U. S. Supreme Court as an adjourned session of the Constitutional Convention, with full power to adopt amendments in the guise of interpretation.

    If they were confident that Kavanaugh were willing to change the constitution in a progressive direction, including "abortion rights," the Dems would stop playing with their laser pointer and vote for the guy. Even if it could be proven that he liked to march around Dupont Circle dressed in a Confederate Flag skirt while singing "Southern Man," swigging from an open bottle of Jack Daniels, and pinching the buttocks of every woman he met, including Dianne Feinstein.

  • Eddy||

    Darn, I meant Sweet Home, Alabama, not Southern Man.

    That's like confusing Filmer with John Locke.

  • DiegoF||

    Did you also mean rebel flag shirt not skirt?

    Because if not, I have to say I actually prefer Southern Man as the proper accent on your surreal tableau.

  • Eddy||

    No, I meant to introduce a totally unnecessary skirt-wearing element into the situation.

  • Eddy||

    I just gotta be me.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    No, sorry. You can get in a fight anywhere is someone else wants to start one. This kind of attitude is as dumb as suspending or expelling every school kid who a bully picks on.

  • ThomasD||

    I'm concerned that all of this concern over a thirty year old minor incident is going to encourage unnecessary concern over thirty year old minor incidents.

  • DiegoF||

    As long as we start discouraging all the unnecessary concern over 30-year-old/minor incidents, I'll be cool.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Do we have an answer on what boofing is yet?

  • ThomasD||

    I'm not sure, but whatever it is I'm sure Sullum just did it.

  • ThomasD||

    Is anyone else getting the impression that these anti-Kav articles are some sort of assigned task? Like wearing your pledge pin on game day?

  • Zeb||

    How is this an anti-Kavanaugh article? It seems to be saying that the incident with him is minor and irrelevant.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Jacob hopes that this narrative takes off against Kavanaugh?

  • ThomasD||

    "Viewing Bar Fights As Normal Male Behavior Encourages Violence" = 'irrelevant.'

    Um, seems credible.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Bar fights normal?

    "Normal" is a funny word.

    Here's a film from my youth.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6BuoXNGbMg

    In other contexts of the era, that would have been considered battery. Within the context it was performed, it was normal.

    There are still places in the U.S. where going out, getting drunk, and getting into a fight is considered a successful Saturday night. God help us if that culture ever dies completely. The part of the male psyche that wants to stand up for himself and assert himself--as a source of entertainment even--is a wonderful thing. A world where men are easily intimidated by threats of violence is an authoritarian world.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I kind of dabbled on the edges of that crowd. I remember it well. Talk about toxic masculinity.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It sometimes got out of hand.

  • DiegoF||

    I presume they still do this. If anything, I remember hearing a few years back the general complaint that you're seeing crews that show up and are essentially really street gangs of a sort--just actually really pussy ones relatively speaking, since they go for the soft target of terrorizing these kids instead of tangling with serious thugs on the real streets. So everyone dislikes what they're doing to the scene, rather than having it be just some skinny kids having some good clean fun letting off some steam like you see here.

    I have a pretty face to worry about so I liked the music but it was never my scene. Dance music is where it's at; no one fights there. (Plus there are actual women, making it so much more remarkable--that, and nowadays the steroids--that you don't.)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Although the whole thing seems overly anecdotal to be taken seriously, let me add to it. In my experience it has as much if not more to do with the type of bar you're patronizing than the people you're with.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I've never traded words with anyone at a wine bar, that's for sure.

  • ThomasD||

    There have been multiple times I've heard people at a coffeehouse, or other more effete venue say things to another person that, in an actual bar, would have brought an immediate physical response.

    Some had no clue, some knew they had a free pass.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Except "get me another", ammirite?

  • Just Say'n||

    Single twenty something year-old men are more prone to violence than other categories of people. Even crime statistics support that notion. A bar frequented by young single men with alcohol in their system is definitely going to see more fist fights than a posh martini bar

  • Ken Shultz||

    When I was a kid, if you got into a fight at school, the Vice Principal would take you both behind the bleachers and let you finish the fight--until someone won and someone lost. He would ask if it was over. Then he would make you shake hands.

    There were exceptions for big guys picking on little guys, of course.

    Why did that change?

    Liability is certainly one explanation, but I've long argued that the big difference is that we got rid of the draft and no one necessarily thinks of Junior High and High School as an excellent place to raise fine soldiers. It used to be that every generation went off to war. Turns out there are plenty of stout peasant lads who are enthusiastic to serve their country that way--and we don't need a draft anymore. I'd argue that just because it isn't necessary to cultivate the kind of fighting spirit that makes for good soldiers in school anymore, that doesn't mean we need to kill that spirit either.

    Be a sissy if you want to.

    Be a tough guy if you want to.

    This is as it should be.

  • I can't even||

    I recall being in roid-rages in my late teens - without ever haven taken steroids. I miss that infinite energy and feeling of power. I don't miss the bad decisions and willpower it took to stay in control.

  • damikesc||

    Rest assured, kids, above all else, at Reason PEARLS. WILL. BE. CLUTCHED.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Before or after they are pulled from asses?

  • ThomasD||

    As tight as these seem pearls might be enough.

  • Bearded Spock||

    I've noticed during this whole Kavanaugh mess that Reason has become indistinguishable from the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    The debate about a 1985 kerfuffle involving Brett Kavanaugh reveals a split in perceptions of how men should be expected to behave when they drink.

    No, it reveals a split between people who recognize that many young men are belligerent jackasses but grow out of it, and people who are being dishonest about the whole debate

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Until we know what boofing is, we can't move forward.

  • DiegoF||

    Heitkamp officially No. Flake, Collins making positive noises.

  • John||

    The word is that all of the Rs are voting yes. If that is the case, i cannot for the life of me understand why the Red state dems don't cast a meaningless Yes vote.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    People on the left will be running with the narrative that Republicans put a rapist on the Supreme Court for the next 20 years (which is why false accusations can be a serious thing). No self-respecting Democrat is going to risk future records showing that he voted to put a rapist on the Supreme Court.

  • John||

    It will likely cost Heitkamp, Donnally, Manchin and McCaskill their Senate seats. It will also likely kill their chaces in Tennessee because no one is going to believe any claims made by a Democrat that they won't just mindlessly vote as Chuck Schummer tells them after this. The Republicans could end up with 55 or 56 seats after this.

  • DiegoF||

    For once I agree with you wholeheartedly, except for the fact that I suspect that the red Dems must know something we don't if they are doing something that seems so idiotic as far as we can see, with no upside.

    If these Dems survive, and it is a good year for them, it could embolden them and everyone else like never before; look for red Dems to think the whole country is turning purple and go full Beto, like Jones certainly is (though probably more because he knows this is his last term). But I don't know it will. MO, IN, ND, and WV certainly are not purpling, not even by my pessimistic assessment so of all people I don't know what's up. And the Republicans have just completely closed the enthusiasm gap according to polls! Kavanaugh will energize them like nothing so far!

  • John||

    The other wildcard is New Jersey. Menendez is so horrible that it is now a toss up. New Jersey has elected Republican governors, I don't think it is unthinkable that they could toss "Indicted but a hung jury Menendez".

  • lap83||

    The debate about a 1985 kerfuffle involving Brett Kavanaugh reveals a split in perceptions of how men should be expected to behave when they drink

    I was a bartender for a few years in my 20s and it was never fun serving the type of customer that was prone to fights. Also, the type of bar where they are commonplace has never been my first choice to go. But do I give a shit that Kavanaugh threw some ice 30+ years ago? It honestly makes me angry to spend any amount of time thinking about it. So angry it's a good thing I haven't been drinking...

  • DFG||

    "I've patronized many bars over the years, but I have never been involved in a bar fight (or even witnessed one, as far as I can recall)"

    Never even witnessed one? Good lord, what kind of places are you drinking? Chuckie Cheese? I tended bar for about 10 years, through college and several years afterward, and have seen fights happen at even the nicest, high-end restaurants. I was also a bit of a drunk during all that time, and while I was never one to get belligerent when drinking, I was knocked out by a sucker punch while leaving an Irish bar on the west side of Cleveland by someone who apparently took issue with something I'd said. That was my only involvement in a bar fight other than getting them to stop. But you're right, they aren't that common, at least not in my social circles which weren't exactly Georgetown Prep caliber.

  • DiegoF||

    That's Chuck E Cheese, and I'm sure he'd have kicked your ass for getting it wrong. (And his crew don't fuck around.) I bet he fight dirty too; you know he probably bites and shit.

  • ||

    Good lord, what kind of places are you drinking? Chuckie Cheese?

    Actually, not even Chuck E. Cheese's are devoid of violence.

  • Macy's Window||

    First, throwing ice in a bar is not "a bar fight."

    Second, even if most men have not been in a bar fight, that doesn't make them terribly unusual or indicators of some pathology. Most men have not played HS football either.

    Third, this is the stupidest column I've read in a while.

    For the record, I have never been in a bar fight -- that I can remember.

  • EZepp||

    And the time to condemn the behavior is then and there, not 35 years later.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Are we to believe that GHWB and John McCain never got in bar fights?

    Even John Kerry?

  • Angelique||

    If we assume that alcohol makes men violent, then you could have a good argument for going dry again. After all, violent men cause a lot of damage, and it is in everyone's interest not to have to sustain damage to life, limb, and propery because someone had one too many.

    Either men can control themselves when drunk, in which case they should be expected to do so, or they cannot, so they cannot be allowed to drink.

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