This picture was taken in a northern Californian suburban mall by a kind reader who hoped it might prompt others to suggest alternative lit-promoting drinks—Catcher in the Rye bourbon, say. (Tequila Mockingbird, alas, has already been done.)
The photo is amusing, perhaps less for the way it captures the commercial savvy of a winery cashing in on the "Eat, Pray, Love" phenomenon (now a motion picture!), than for how it delicately nods at our more conventional approach to marital misery and workaday ennui: ie, eat, pray and drown sorrows in a cheap pinot grigio because you can't afford to go on an international spiritual journey to discover the beautiful you that no one else sees except for the strapping Latin lover you pick up along the way.
Lest this sound like yet more Elizabeth Gilbert bashing, I'll say that she is indeed a gifted writer, not least because she is charming enough to subject millions of people to the kind of neurotic navel-gazing most of us have to pay therapists to divulge. (Personally, I enjoyed the "eat" part, muddled through "pray" and lost interest by "love", by which point I felt the memoir delivered diminished returns. But Ms Gilbert's prose style is clean and well-judged, with the kind of casual, self-conscious insight that is all too easy to underestimate.) Those who still prefer to heap scorn on authors of blazingly successful memoirs about finding meaning amidst privilege might consider listening to this really quite great TED talk Ms Gilbert delivered on creativity last year, between sips of pinot grigio.
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