Sustainable Decadence

Sustainable Decadence
(AP Photo/Nam Huh)

I read The Decadent Society while on a weeklong cruise from Miami to Miami, stopping at various sun-bleached points in between. Future historians may well classify such voyages back to the place where you first embarked as the very embodiment of early twenty-first-century bourgeois decadence, with food and drink, entertainment and diversions, all available in seemingly endless supply. With chapter titles such as “Sclerosis,” “Sterility,” “Repetition,” “Comfortably Numb,” and “Kindly Despotism” (“No jeans in the dining room after 6:00 p.m., please.”), Ross Douthat’s new book, The Decadent Society, seemed particularly apt as I considered whether or not to make another pass through the buffet line before heading to the bar for the extended happy hour.

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