The perfect metaphor for American life in the new decade is the chef elimination program, of which there seem to be hundreds. It has all the aspects of life that we love, from the charming personalities willing to “risk it all,” to the effete judges who decide fate after a paltry bite or two, to the fatuous celebrity commentary and the dumbfounded echo chamber of public enthrallment. The emotional upheavals of having your future cut short by actions and decisions, some your own and some not, provide both good commentary and a steadily increasing pool of losers. Do we value most the pretty blonde of daring cleavage, or the sassy brunette? Is it right that we should favor the seasoned veteran of restaurant or bistro, grasping at the chance to escape obscurity? We watch as every category of food plays out the “live or die” scenario, cupcakes, ribs, fish or chicken. The first world is eating itself, week by week. We viewers participate as if eunuchs, unable even to taste the food.