The decline and fall of western civilization measured one ounce of dihydrogen monoxide at a time:
America at its industrial peak? Manhattan Mad Men enjoying three martini lunches and only slightly embarrassed about the bottle of scotch in the bottom drawer of their office desk.
America in the era of hope and change and financial meltdowns? "The mayor will be the first to admit that he occasionally indulges in bottled water. It’s not something he’s proud of."
More: Don Surber on twists and turns of the New Puritanism:
Let’s see, abortion is OK. Gay marriage is OK. Smoking pot is OK.
Drinking water is something to be ashamed of?
William Burroughs' aphorism, which neatly summed up a generation of boomer-era nihilists was, "Nothing is true, everything is permitted."
But a bottle of Evian? That's ever so gauche, old sport.