Dr. Pat Deneen explains the connection between our recent tailspin and the decline of our use of the most civilized utensil. Pat has done well, in all seriousness, in following Leon Kass in reflecting deeply on the connections between how we eat and who we are. We Americans, in our love of fast food, have invented and embraced many ways of getting around the fork, and so of dispensing with the leisurely family meal. It is somewhat repulsive to observe a generation unschooled in the ways of the fork. But that doesn’t mean, it seems to me, that we’re more casual about the eating of meat or inching closer to cannibalism. Big slabs of meat--such as those served in steakhouses--can’t be eaten without forks and have fallen out of fashion. It also might be that finger food is especially conducive to conversation, and our bigger problem, as Susan McWiliams has explained, is a new preference for the narcissistic beverage bottled water over the more convivial beer. I might add that I also see a contempt for proper form in people who use a fork inappropriately--for example, for eating fried chicken, ribs, pizza, or doughnuts.