From the September/October, 1999 issue of Touchstone
Dessert First by Jonathan Carson

Dessert First

How the Modern Version of Carpe Diem Has Seized the Day

by Jonathan Carson

“Life Is Short: Eat Dessert First,” reads a T-shirt popular among college students. “Carpe Diem,” reads another, “Seize the Day,” as the words of Horace are usually translated. The first shirt gives the common understanding of the second. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we are all dead. The authority of the Roman poet is invoked to justify, indeed glorify, adolescent self-indulgence.

Adolescents, especially adolescent boys, need no encouragement, of course, to choose instant gratification. Yet this is what they are getting from their English teachers. Elements of . . .


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more from the online archives

28.5—Sept/Oct 2015

Who's Your Teacher?

on Our Sacred Duty to Teach the Devil to Death by Marcus Johnson

29.4—July/August 2016

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on Anselm's God & the Virtue of Existing  by T. L. Jernigan

22.5—June 2009

A Law for All Seasons

C. S. Lewis on Civilization & the Natural Order by Timothy L. Hall

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