“The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.” - Christopher Hitchens.
I'm both a quote junkie and a Christopher Hitchens fan so I was kind of surprised tonight when I stumbled on this sentence and realized that I'd never seen it before. While I'm not sure I agree with the statement, I sort of liked the sentiment behind it. Hitchens’ list is interesting because it’s completely unexpected. Here are four modern indulgences that seem to define the laissez-faire hedonism of our aspirational society. Is there any real argument against any of them?
Champagne: I drink one glass of champagne per year. And yes, it's on New Year's eve. Does that make it overrated? I'm not sure. I can only think back of the old TV show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" when host Robin Leach would close out every show with the benediction, "champagne wishes and caviar dreams!" I guess that means champagne is representative of the American desire for wealth and an upper-class lifestyle. However, as an adult beverage, I think I'd go with the smoky flavor of a good single-malt scotch or an ice-cold tequila.
Verdict: Symbolical significance loses out to nouveau-riche pretension. Over-rated.
Lobster: David Foster Wallace, in his brilliant essay "Consider the Lobster" wrote one of my favorite and best-crafted sentences of all-time: "Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?"
Verdict: Fuck yeah! Lobster is delicious, yo.
Anal Sex: I am not being a prude when I say that I have never desired to have anal sex with a woman. I've just always simply believed that engaging in anal sex would be the equivalent of eating chicken when there was duck on the menu. There are further issues on this topic that I am too prudish to broach but I'll take Hitchens on his word here.
Verdict: Not my cup of tea but to each his own.
Picnics: On the other hand, I'm a sucker for a good picnic. In fact, I challenge you to find a man who is more heterosexual than I yet takes more pride in his 6-piece setting wicker picnic basket. For me, picnics have the same appeal as long afternoons at a baseball game. They harken back to an era of unrushed pleasure when time was not of the most immediate essence and life progressed at a slower pace.
It doesn't really matter whether I agree with Christopher Hitchens or not. The one thing I've always admired about Hitch is that nobody ever seems to agree with him and he seems to do an excellent job of offending a hugely wide array of people all for completely different reasons. Still, you can’t help but admit there’s something to admire about the guy in making a statement like that.
So with all due respect, here's my list of the top 10 Most Over-Rated Things in Life:
- Harry Potter books.
- The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
- Spa Days
- Sex on a beach
- French food
- Al Gore
- Mt. Rushmore
- Derek Jeter
- "Everybody Loves Raymond"
Honorary mention to Ben Affleck, breastfeeding, Maya Angelou, Bill Belichick, The DaVinci Code, cats, sliced bread, the Prius, Chipotle, Twitter, Crocs, and the Mona Lisa.
Oh yeah, one more thing...blogs. Specifically, this one.
Feel free to discuss, deconstruct, or disagree. More importantly, what's on YOUR list?