Every Dog has Its Day: Thoughts on Gluttony

this-66lb-hot-dog-sundae-is-the-ballpark-frank-we-deserve

The 66lb hot dog sundae from Epic Meal Time includes chimichurri, donuts, caviar, bacon, chili, and pad Thai among other things. It is the most extreme example of the super-size-me, everything-included food culture we have become accustomed to over the past 10 to 20 years.

While I enjoy bizarre food combinations and strange cuisines (e.g. peanut butter on a cheeseburger, chicken and waffles, french fries and milkshakes, pickles with cake frosting, kimchi on chicken-fried steak etc.), I found myself disturbed (as well as disgusted) by Epic Meal’s compulsion to pour the contents of an entire grocery store on top of a frankfurter.

This got me thinking about the nature of gluttony, not only as an excess of food (both in quantity and quality), but also as the epitome of excess as an impulse across human experience.  Continue reading

Summer Reading II: C.S. Lewis

 Books

My second blog on summer reading comes from a much overlooked book, C.S. Lewis’s An Experiment in Criticism. Like so much of his writings, in An Experiment, Lewis is as prescient as he is original, arguing for a more well-rounded and robust reading culture. Only recently have others, like Alan Jacobs and David Ulin, begun to echo Lewis’s basic message about literature.

One of Lewis’s most important points is that at both a high-brow and low-brow level, there is “a confusion between life and art” in the practice of reading fiction.

At the lower level, this confusion is exemplified in the lust for sensational news stories. However, for Lewis, the more corrosive form happens “on a higher level” where:

it appears as the belief that all good books are good primarily because they give us knowledge, teach us ‘truths’ about ‘life’. Dramatists and novelists are praised as if they were doing, essentially, what used to be expected of theologians and philosophers, and the qualities which belong to their works as inventions and as designs are neglected. They are reverenced as teachers and insufficiently appreciated as artists.

The danger here is in losing any sense of literature as art, as something that was made. Lewis explains: Continue reading