She encounters bacon on brussels sprouts, bacon in sundaes and martinis, bacon, bacon everywhere, along with marrow and liver and lard.
“It’s all or nothing,” she wrote, flagging a dichotomy: cooking in trendy restaurants has never been fattier, while the trend of “cleansing” with a severe regimen of liquefied fruits, vegetables and nuts has never been hotter. Feast or famine. Binge or beet juice.
I turned from her lament to the front page of The Times. It reported the accidental death of someone participating in the X Games, a magnet for “extreme athletes,” as the article called them. The word “extreme” stuck with me and struck a chord. We compete extremely (look at Lance). Work out extremely (look all around you). Eat extremely. Watch extreme amounts of whatever we’ve decided we love, which we love in extremis. Even our weather is extreme: superstorms, Frankenstorms, snowmageddons. […]
Moderation. Remember that? It was once held up as an indisputable virtue, virtually synonymous with prudence. […]
But America these days is an immoderate land of fixed opinions and outsize fixations. More and more we wallow: in our established political philosophy; in our preferred interest group; in our pastime of choice; in whichever health routine we’ve turned into a health religion.
I BLAME the Internet. Well, that and social media and cable television, with its infinity of channels. In theory our hyperconnectivity and surfeit of possibilities have broadened our universes, speeding us to distant galaxies, fresh discoveries and new information. But in reality they’ve just as often had a narrowing effect, enabling us to dwell longer on, and burrow deeper into, one way of being, one mode of thinking.”