Food for Thought
In the global cafeteria, civilization has perverted
hunger into ambient appetites. Society now values the way food is
served more than how much it is craved. The preparation and
arrangement of food is now more consequential than how it tastes.
The atmosphere must now represent the cuisine; and the current
setting reflects what selections are available.
In sophisticated cultures, food must feed the senses and satisfy
the mind before it can nourish the body. But a starving man
doesn't care who serves the food, or how it is displayed, just as
long as there's enough food on his plate ... so he won't have to
eat the world just to make a meal. A soirée on
the Eve of Destruction, or a picnic in the
Wasteland is no food for thought.
The Neo-Puritan critics complain that Americans have
sacrificed their precious freedoms for the material
comforts of excess food and surplus leisure, for obscene wealth
and pathetic self-indulgence. The proper question is
not what must be sacrificed to recover that vaunted
freedom?, but rather why does anyone presume that
libertine is not a form of liberty?
In the choice between a smorgasbord and a salad, Neo-Puritan
critics want to impose the austere ideal of an anemic morsel
sitting alone in an empty cornucopia, of a malnourished
appreciation of food as art ... however, gluttonous
Americans have chosen the paradigm of the candy store.
Freedom gives them the privilege of eating themselves into an
unhappy boredom, an unhealthy decadence, an unfulfilled
potential. Liberty gives them the right to be wasteful,
dissatisfied, and insensitive. America has dogmatically insisted
upon having its cake and eating it too! America has the
right to be wrong! Despite Neo-Puritan complaints,
freedom is the opportunity to wreck what is functional,
to ruin what can be fixed, to destroy what can be improved.
Americans advertise such extravagance as an inalienable right in
their ever-distending litany of profligacy. It's the ugly
American, the ambassador of profiteering, who panders this
practice of gorging on swill as a universal benefit of democracy
to the marginalized peoples of the world, the ones who are
dazzled by America's tawdry glitter. That's why wisdom too is not