Great article indicating the way our culture is. Just a little...
Saturday Night Lite
By DAVID BROOKS
Let me tell you a story to illustrate that we are living in a pusillanimous age. I was in New Orleans last Saturday night, dining with a wonderful group of people at a culinary landmark called Antoine's. Our host had arranged for a remorseless avalanche of delicious food, served in prodigious 19th-century style. There were about six appetizers, including oysters, foie gras and various lobster confabulations. There were main courses aplenty - fish, then crab, then steak.
Then dessert floated onto the table: a meringue pie roughly the size of a football helmet. And with it came coffee, but not just any coffee. It was called "devil's brew." A copper bowl was put in the middle of the table with some roiling mixture of brandy-ish spirits inside. Coffee was poured in and the concoction set aflame.
The waiter thrust a ladle into the inferno and lifted up long, dripping streams of blue fire, hoisting the burning liquid into hypnotizing, showy cascades. He poured out a circle of flame onto the tablecloth in front of us. It was a lavish pyre of molten, inebriating java and then, when he swung around to where I was sitting, I turned and asked the climactic question:
"Is it decaf?"
I was sitting there in an orgy of excess. My head was fogged with wine, bourbon, conversation and a couple of hours at the craps tables at Harrah's, but strong is the power of the zeitgeist. So I did what all of us middle-aged Prufrocks do when coffee follows dinner. I asked, "Is it decaf?"
Mr. Brooks ruminates over our compulsion to make everything safe, to make health habits more virtuous than 6 of the 10 commandments, to regulate, monitor, and to make everything boring.
Brooks ends with: But at least we have New Orleans. After stumbling out of Antoine's, some of us headed across the street to a piano bar run by Gennifer Flowers, Bill Clinton's old flame. And there was Gennifer herself in a black leather miniskirt, belting out a song called "Ya Gotta Have Boobs."
It was a reminder that no matter how dull and responsible you become, an alternative and much stranger moral universe is always just one slippery step away.
Lassiez les bon temps roulons. (Is that right Unclemick)