Is Food The New Sex?

Mary Eberstadt tut-tuts changing mores:

Just as the food of today often attracts a level of metaphysical attentiveness suggestive of the sex of yesterday, so does food today seem attended by a similarly evocative and proliferating number of verboten signs. The opprobrium reserved for perceived “violations” of what one “ought” to do has migrated, in some cases fully, from one to the other. Many people who wouldn’t be caught dead with an extra ten pounds or eating a hamburger, or wearing real leather tend to be laissez-faire in matters of sex. In fact, just observing the world as it is, one is tempted to say that the more vehement people are about the morality of their food choices, the more hands-off they believe the rest of the world should be about sex. What were the circumstances the last time you heard or used the word “guilt” in conjunction with sin as traditionally conceived? Or with having eaten something verboten and not having gone to the gym?

It's a fascinating read, although I think Eberstadt tries a little too hard to argue that the moralization of food is somehow directly related to the demoralization of consensual adult sex. Modernity has allowed us, via technology, far less dangerous and consequential ways of enjoying both food and sex. And society adjusts to this new freedom as we discover the lingering problems with each. Still, who can resist a subtitle like "Broccoli, Pornography and Kant"?

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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