Arts and Letters Daily, that very best of web sites, has an article tonight from the New English Review by one G. Murphy Donovan. It is titled "The Culture in Kitchens", and here is how it begins-
"There are four clear threats to the modern family, and possibly civilization: cell phones; video games;the Internet; and junk food. We allow the first three because they are cheaper than tutors, private schools, or nannies. Indeed, games and gadgets support a kind of electronic autism where neither parent or child speaks to each other until the latter is old enough to drive".
Anyone who can write or think like this gets my attention. An accomplished satirist. A sort of 21st century Twain. Here is more of the painful truth:
"Grazers are families who eat separately at home where preparation, menu, or timing is irrelevant. Grazers usually feed their kids like pets-on demand from cans and packages".
This I can also appreciate, as I feed a beagle on demand, and as everyone knows, the beagle, like the Great White Shark, is one of Nature's Eating Machines.
I like to think that if I had a family I would feed them at table, at one time, and feed them well. Alas, I am a misanthropic hermit without husband or child, but I do feed myself well, as though I did have a hungry family.But I get to eat all the cherry chiffon pie. Unless the beagle begs for a piece-
Who among us has not seen and been appalled by "electronic autism". I used to see it nightly in the nurses' lounge where people ate in silence whilst twittering, texting, and watching "House Hunters International". In the old days conversation at the break room table could be entertaining, for we talked about who was quitting, who had been "written up", and who our night staff supervisors were dallying with in empty rooms. No more. Even gossip has met its match and been wrestled to the ground and throttled.
A threat to civilization indeed!
*This article is in the November issue of the New English Review.