Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Diasporic Dining XXXVII : La Grand Bouffe

We always associate Epicurus with pleasure, but he really believed in moderation and considered pleasure to reside in the diminution of pain. So what would Epicurus have thought about the all you can eat buffets that are so popular with Americans. The idea of a buffet is that you don’t have to order one thing. Buffet applies not only to food, but to love. Open marriage and swapping are the buffet idea applied to sexuality. Why should you have sex with only one person? Why must fidelity be considered a requisite of true love? There’s the old expression, "you can read the menu but you don’t have to order." But why not order? That in effect is what you do when you go to a buffet and simply move through successions of chafing dishes, one seemingly more sumptuous than the other. Then there are the old-fashioned midnight buffets which used to be a requisite of most cruises, with their groaning boards of meats and roasts. The buffet absolves you from having to make a choice, but there’s also something lost in the process and it relates back to free love. At a certain point during the buffet you begin to get stuffed, one food obliterates the next. Michel Piccoli, Marcello Mastroianni, Philippe Noiret and Ugo Tognazzi were the stars of a move called La grand bouffe in which a group of aristocrats make a pact to have group sex and eat themselves to death. La Grand Bouffe was a buffet in extremis and what it did was to kill people as well as taste. Say you can have any woman or man you desire and you become a licensed serial adulterer. You may satisfy all your fantasies. But what happens when everything starts to taste the same?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.