The spectator who prefers easy butts can easily dismiss … [the] commensalist nostalgias [of the dinner guests in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie] as simply some insectdance, or a deluded and delusive ritual of solidarity, or an essentially egoistic need for reassurance of social acceptability. Yet dinner parties are a residual—and a potentially meaningful—form of potlatch. And, even if it's hopeless, it's only human to attempt to recapture a tribal fraternity by such psychological surrogates as the gang, the clique, the set. Part of the irony is that real needs are denied, and the quest is switched from solidarity to food—seven guests in search of a Host….
(The entire section is 1734 words.)