by David Rackoff
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he Indignities of Coach Class, the Torments of Low Thread Count, the Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems. David Rakoff’s collection of autobiographical essays, Fraud, established him as one of our funniest, most insightful writers. In Don’t Get Too Comfortable, Rakoff journeys into the land of plenty that is contemporary North America. Rarely have greed, vanity, selfishness, and vapidity been so mercilessly and wittily portrayed. Whether contrasting the elegance of on+H530e of the last flights of the supersonic Concorde with the good times and chicken wings of Hooters Air, portraying the rarified universe of Paris fashion shows where an evening dress can cost as much as four years of college, or traveling to a private island off the coast of Belize to watch a soft-core Playboy TV shoot, where he is provided with his very own personal manservant, David Rakoff takes us on a bitingly funny grand tour of our culture of excess, delving into the manic getting and spending that defines the North American way of life. Somewhere along the line, our healthy self-regard has exploded into obliterating narcissism, and Rakoff is there to map that frontier. He sits through the grotesqueries of “avant garde” vaudeville in Times Square immediately following 9/11. Twenty days without food allows him to experience firsthand the wonders of “detoxification,” and the frozen world of cryonics, whose promise of eternal life is the ultimate status symbol, leaves him very cold indeed (much to our good fortune).
At once a Wildean satire of our ridiculous culture of overconsumption and a plea for a little human decency, Don’t Get Too Comfortable is a bitingly funny grand tour of our special circle of gilded-age hell.
David Rakoff is a writer-at-large for GQ magazine, and a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine and Public Radio International’s This American Life. He has also written for Outside, Vogue, The New York Observer, and Salon, among others. He lives in New York City.
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