Fine Dining and the 1%

Sometimes I lose sleep thinking about the paradoxes of life.  Like why winter must follow summer.  Why can’t summer follow winter?  Or how come milk comes from a cow?  Why can’t it come from bluejays?  These are the kind of things that keep me up at night.  The sheets are tangled at the foot of the bed.  My skin is covered in sweat.  I can’t get a tune out of my head.  Something nonsensical and jagged, such as, “Last Train to Clarksville.”

“Take the last train to Clarksville

And I’ll meet you at the station,

You can be here by four-thirty,

‘Cause I’ve made your reservation, don’t be slow,

Oh, no, no, no,

Oh, no, no, no.”

See what I mean?

This in mind, I woke up at 4 A.M. and wondered about fine dining.  OK,  I understand that fancy restaurants provide many jobs for many people of varying skills, but at the same time, isn’t the status quo left static in these places?  Is there some kind of untoward abnegation of social responsibility happening by dropping big bucks for food?  On the other hand, as noted, doesn’t eating in these establishments keep small and artisanal producers alive?  Provide jobs for unskilled workers?

Most importantly, I reasoned, fine dining keeps the rich off the streets.  Think about it: Instead of making more money and behaving recklessly, they are eating.  Restaurants serve a subversive function.  Sated, made woozy and lulled by fine wines, the rich who spend $300-$1000 for dinners forget their woes and challenges.  Life is at the table.

We have them just where we want them.


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