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The Dumbest Campus Controversies Of The Last Decade [TEASER]

If Books Could Kill

Michael Hobbes & Peter Shamshiri

Books, Politics, Arts, Society & Culture, News

4.67.3K Ratings

🗓️ 30 March 2023

⏱️ 20 minutes

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Peter. Michael. What do you know about campus controversies? I know that we're about to get very technical about the definition of bond me.


So today I will be walking you through three of the dumbest campus free speech controversies of the last decade in honor of our coddling of the American mind episode.


And yes, we are starting with the bond me incident. I knew it. Do you want to walk me through what you know so far? Yeah, my memory of this is relatively hazy. But what I recall is that a student at Oberlin complained about cafeteria bond me. And I can't remember the format that they complained about it in but eventually this complaint trickled its way into right wing me.


And so what was a pretty anodine complaint about the quality of food at a cafeteria gets sort of laundered into a meta discourse about why any students complaining about woke stuff.


All of these college campus controversies are so much easier to understand as human behavior when you hear them in the order in which they happen. So four years after this controversy, we finally get a retelling from the beginning from the Columbia journalism review of like what actually happened. So we don't actually find this out until four years later.


The beginning of this story was basically a journalism professor at Oberlin was speaking to one of his journalism students and she was pitching a story about how like the Vietnamese food in the cafeteria like sucks ass.


The Chinese kids say the Chinese food sucks the Japanese kids say the Japanese food sucks. And this is just like a pretty common gripe among international students. I bet the American food sucks to yeah exactly it's cafeteria.


This is an essential part of the student experience complaining about the cafeteria food. It's also an essential part of the student journalist experience. So the professor eventually is like well, why don't you like write this up as a story. And like this is so much student journalism is just like the lowest stakes.


Nothing burger ass thing, but it's like as a student journalist, you got to feel like 16 pages every week of the student newspaper. Yeah, my my first article at my student newspaper was about seasonal allergies. There wasn't any like new information or anything. It was literally just like it's April.


As I remember like walking around the grassy areas of campus and just asking people like do you have allergies. Do you have allergies and finally I found somebody who did. And the opening paragraphs of the article were like every April just like a smith gets a stuffy nose and itchy ass. It's allergies season nice.


That like that was basically the whole story just like allergies exist. And one thing I really I like I deeply empathize with the people writing these stories because it's like this is student journalism. You're kind of practicing right you're learning what it's like to talk to random people. You're learning what it's like to package anecdotes and information into some sort of coherent structure. So this student basically just like she trundles off to the cafeteria to like right up the fact that international students have complaints about the international students.


And so I am going to send you the first four paragraphs of her story. Okay. Deep when a college first year from Vietnam jumped with excitement at the site of Vietnamese food on Stevenson dining halls menu at orientation this year craving Vietnamese comfort food when rush to the food station with high hopes. What she got, however, was a total disappointment.


The traditional bond me Vietnamese sandwich that Stevenson dining hall promised turned out to be a cheap imitation of the East Asian dish instead of a crispy baguette with grilled pork patay pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. The sandwich used Chabata bread pulled pork and go slow.


I do feel like it was undersold in the press the extent to which these students were correct about the food being shitties.


So ridiculous when said how could they just throw out something completely different and label it as another country's traditional food when added that Bon Appetit the food service management company contracted by Oberlin college has a history of blurring the line between culinary diversity and cultural appropriation by modifying the recipes without respect for certain Asian countries cuisines.


This uninformed representation of cultural dishes has been noted by a multitude of students many of who have expressed concern over the gross manipulation of traditional recipes.


Okay, here we have it. It's basically just like here's a student who's griping about the food turns out lots of students gripe about the food. I've never been on a campus where people were not complaining about the food providers.


And then we get to the two paragraphs that will launch years and years of takes. And you are going to read them.


Perhaps the pinnacle of what many students believe to be a culturally appropriative sustenance system is Daskom Dining Hall's sushi bar.


The sushi is anything but authentic for Tamoyo Joshi a college junior from Japan who said that the undercooked rice and lack of fresh fish is disrespectful.


She added that in Japan sushi is regarded so highly that people sometimes take years of apprenticeship before learning how to appropriately serve it.


When you're cooking a country's dish for other people including ones who have never tried the original dish before you're also representing the meaning of the dish as well as its culture.


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