Victor David Hanson has an interesting article comparing contemporary America to that parodied by Petronius in his Satyricon.
As Hanson notes, the fragments of Satyricon that remain represent
an often-cruel parody about how the Roman agrarian republic of old had degenerated into a wealth-obsessed, empty society of wannabe new elites, flush with money, and both obsessed with and bored with sex.
In the famous sections about Trimalchio’s dinner, we are shown wealthy freedman hosting an excessive party where the guests engage in all sorts of debauchery. Hanson argues that this behaviour and excess can be equated to modern America.
It shows, though, that tastelessness and vulgar behaviour have a long history.
Hanson thinks Al Gore is today’s Trimalchio
Al Gore, like Trimalchio, does not mutter a word without revealing his ignorance — or hypocrisy. Over the last 15 years, the planet has not heated up, and the science of global warming is not established, which is why the nomenclature had to change from global warming to climate change to climate chaos in order to account for too much bothersome wet, snowy, and cold weather. The reconciler, who became a near-billionaire both hyping global warming and selling medieval-style indulgences as antidotes, now claims those who disagree with him are comparable to fascists and racists. All this comes from a wheeler-dealer who made big money damning fossil fuels only to sell a failing cable station to an anti-Semitic, anti-American fascistic enterprise, fueled by the millions garnered from the vast export of oil and gas from the Arabian peninsula. And to complete Gore’s Trimalchian man-of-the-people profile, he rushed the sale in hopes of beating the new, higher capital-gains taxes that he had been urging for lesser folk — sort of like progressive John Kerry buying and berthing his grand new yacht in Rhode Island to avoid the high excise and sales taxes in his home state of Massachusetts.