Death-Row Dining – The New Yorker.
This is an interesting peak into the idea of the final meal. What do condemned prisoners request on the night before they are executed? And what does that say about them? About food? And what does our interest in such curiosities say about us as humans?
The article was worth reading for me, if only for the bizarre subject. Not the standard faire of internet journalists pumping out click-bait.
I am always on the lookout to see cultural principles (and contradictions) at work. Many of us profess to be relativists. We do not believe in the existence of good and evil in any absolute sense. There are only personal opinions about good and evil. But here is a stubborn fact: No one can actually live out relativism consistently. I frequently have conversations with people that want to tell me that my concern over moral issues is ungrounded because there is no such thing as absolute morality. And that means I am guilty of trying to impose my morality on others. These folks then go on to pound the table on various moral issues. This suggests to me that they don’t take their relativism very seriously.
Anyways… It is fascinating to me to see what provokes outrage among a generation of relativists. What drives the morally apathetic to impassioned protest? In my experience, anything that smells like retributive justice is sure to do it. Someone tried to open up a restaurant in London called the Death Row Diner- “Eat like it’s your last meal on earth.” The menu featured a number of famous (or infamous) last meals. But the restaurant never got off the ground because folks were offended.
“The public response was swift and marked by moral outrage. Some wondered if the project was a joke, or some kind of performance piece….
“The offense caused is easy enough to understand: there’s something undeniably stomach-turning about the gimmick of presumably well-off city dwellers forking over eighty dollars to eat fancified versions of the prison- issued food that the mostly poor and otherwise marginalized—criminal or not —denizens of death row pathetically requested before being executed. It commodifies the loss of human life—justifiable or not—and makes light of a grave and controversial issue, marrying the parlor game and its real-life counterpart without acknowledging that one is for fun and the other is an ugly truth. From another angle, the project glamorizes and memorializes people who have committed horrific crimes.”