George F. Will calls Mary Eberstadt "intimidatingly intelligent." George must be easily intimidated these days, because Mary is one of the nicest (and funniest) people I know.
She’s also our premier analyst of American cultural foibles and follies, with a keen eye for oddities that illuminate just how strange the country’s moral culture has become.
In mid-2008, Mary penned the "The Vindication of Humanae Vitae," the best defense of the encyclical written on its 40th anniversary. (You can read it at www.firstthings.com.)
Now, in Policy Review, she’s written "Is Food the New Sex?" a brilliant dissection of culinary puritanism and bedroom libertinism that includes the greatest subhead in recent magazine history: "Broccoli, Pornography and Kant." But don’t let the invocation of the Sage of Koenigsberg put you off your feed, so to speak; the article is quite accessible to those who last encountered The Critique of Pure Reason via Cliff Notes.
Mary Eberstadt’s argument is neatly conveyed by her fictitious, but telling, tale of two women. Betty is 30-year-old Jennifer’s grandmother.