In societies where food is scarce, being fat is a mark of distinction. In the West it’s increasingly the opposite. The “fat cats” of yesteryear are today’s yoga bunnies; conspicuous consumption has been replaced by conspicuous restraint. If it’s still considered elite to be able to pull out an iPhone while waiting at traffic lights, that’s only because such gadgetry is still relatively scarce. In years to come, snobs will sneer at the masses who can’t get anywhere without consulting their GPS. Skills like orienteering, arithmetic and memorization will be prized as marks of virtue and class. Twentieth-century James Bond was cool for his gadgets; twenty-first century Jason Bourne is too cool to need any. All of which is to say, of course, that I refuse to update my phone.


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