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Student who mocked white males out as president

2 min read

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/03/living/maya-peterson-prep-school-instagram/

I was at first hesitant to talk about this, because this article is about an incident that took place in my own high school. Nonetheless, it is a topic that I feel rather strongly about and definitely an issue relating to taste.

This article discusses the stepping down of Maya Peterson from student body president last spring. Maya was in my grade, and I have known her since 2010. Here are the few opening paragraphs of the CNN article regarding this:

Money, prestige and race are front and center in an ongoing controversy surrounding one of the most expensive prep schools in the country and its former student-body president.

Maya Peterson was the first black female student president of The Lawrenceville School, an affluent academy for boarding and day students located in New Jersey.

This March, after Peterson mocked her white male classmates on Instagram, she claims she was asked to step down or face disciplinary action.

According to reports, Peterson took the first option and resigned under administrative pressure.

The obvious taste in question is Maya's instagram photo. Maya had posted an instagram photo of herself in stereotypical preppy (male) clothing and a hockey stick with hashtags such as which offended many students and caused a rather heated debate on campus. Some considered an act of reverse-racism and others stood by Maya.

In an interview, Maya expressed her view on the tastefulness of her post: "I understand why I hurt people's feelings, but I didn't become president to make sure rich white guys had more representation on campus," she said. "Let's be honest. They're not the ones that feel uncomfortable here."

My opinions of this event have less to do with the tastefulness of the post, but about the way online publications displayed the event. Most publications framed Maya's stepping down as a very tasteless decision on the school administration's part by providing only a part of the story. For me, seeing my school go through this showed me how large of an impact delivery can have on how others take in information. 

“I F*cking Hate @RuPaul”

2 min read

http://boingboing.net/2014/04/04/rupaul.html

This article is a rather dense and heavy article regarding the split between transgenders and drags. Trans-activist Andrea James talks about her viewpoint on drag culture and the use of taboo words in the trans culture. The article is really about hating slurs/behaviors that are offensive to transgender people rather than about RuPaul who is an American drag queen, actor, and author. In fact, the author explicitly claims, "For the record, I don't fucking hate @RuPaul. I've respected and admired Ru for a quarter century."

What I found more interesting, however, was the response of other transgender women to Jame's article: Open Letter: 350+ Trans Women and Transfeminine People Stand Against Calpernia Addams and Andrea James found here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/zinniajones/2014/04/open-letter-100-trans-women-stand-against-calpernia-addams-and-andrea-james/

Here, trans women stand up and express their discontent of being represented in a way they don't agree with. They state on the letter that they were "appalled at recent attacks on trans woman journalist Parker Marie Molloy published by Calpernia Addams and Andrea James on the Huffington Post and Boing Boing."The trans women who signed this letter have been offended by James' oversimplification of their sexualities and personalities. They conclude with their wishes that Calpernia Addams (who is also a transgender activist) and Andrea discontinue "publishing further columns exhibiting this variety of homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, misgendering, ageism, and unwarranted hostility toward other trans women" and that publications do not offer them opportunities/spaces to do so. They close with the powerful line: "We reject Calpernia Addams and Andrea James as voices of our community."

Another Post on Why it is Not OK to Make Business off Tragedies (after Richard's post)

2 min read

Last May, the National September 11 Museum removed a product from their gift shop after receiving much negative feedback from the 9/11 attack victims' families and the public. The product was a cheese platter shaped like the United States of America that had three decorative hearts marking the three cities that were impacted by the hi-jacked planes during the attack.

This platter brings attention to an interesting interserction between the sacredness of the memorial and the museum's need to make money. No one would ever question any other large museum having a gift shop; in fact, I think I'd be more surprised if I reached the end of a museum's exhibit and did not find a gift store. This museum probably relies on the money raised through the gift store (along with other sources of funding) to function. On the other hand, a memmorial is almost like a graveyard -- an ongoing funeral ceremony to remember the deceased. From that point of view, it is indisputably inappropriate to sell gifts such as cheese platters in such a setting.

Because of the in-between nature of the memmorial museum, I think the museum should also find products for its gift shop that balance the sacredness of the memmorial and the museum's need to raise money. Perhaps some products that could meet this criteria could include a t-shirt with meaningful quotes on it or the rubber bracelets with meaningful words on them. At least in my opinion, I feel like these would be more acceptable than a meaningless cheese platter.

That being said, I am sure there are people that would argue that this museum should not have a store at all. I think the judgment of the tastefulness of this store depends on how much certain people were affected by the incident or how sensitive they are about it. I think this is not a black-and-white matter, but rather a situation where thorough consideration and understanding is required from both sides before reaching a judgment.

This Man Really Hates Pizza...

4 min read

https://munchies.vice.com/articles/why-i-hate-pizza by Sara Rocco

To be honest, I was a little personally offended by this writer's twelve paragraph rant on pizza and pizza-eaters. She has a lot of baseless and quite extreme opinions on pizza-eaters. Let me walk through her argument step by step to show how nonsensical it is.

First off, she starts off with: "Most pizza sucks. It's overly bready - way too much bread relative to the toppings. The tomato sauce has a sickly sweet tinge to it. The cheese is super low-quality but stacked high, rubbery and flavorless." This girl clearly has not had a high-quality pizza. Maybe try some thin-crust pizza. Also, I don't think she realizes that there are many, many different types of pizza out there - some have more cheese, some have less. Some even have decent quality cheese.

Then she goes on to say that "pizza is food for an underdeveloped palate." Woah, I was not aware of the underdevelopedness of my palates, were you? This just seems slightly hostile. Then she attacks two other cheese-based foods: Kraft macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches. Now I'm questioning if this girl's problem is with pizza or with cheese.

She claims that "people [who eat pizza] think that it somehow represents them." In her perception, people eat pizza to present themselves in a nonchalant or cool way, trying to tell people "I'm fun! I don't care about my health! I like this thing that makes you feel young or alive." NO. People eat pizza (despite its bad health) because it's delicious. They like it. If we wanted to be careless about our health we would eat Krispy Kreme Burgers (yes they do exist). She reduces pizza-eaters to people who are unable to make food-decisions on their own, and who eat pizza just because it is trendy to."With a limited amount of time on Earth, I would rather talk to people who are observant enough to pursue their own interests beyond cultural trends for the sake of cultural trends." Well I'm sure many of us would rather talk to sensible pizza-eating people than a rude super judgmental overthinking person.

She talks about people whose instagram names involve the word pizza or people who ."They want to be seen as having a laissez faire attitude because pizza is fattening, and cheap, and pretentious. Pizza is accessible, so people think it will make them seem accessible. But who wants to be truly, totally accessible?" For the record, I instagrammed a picture of pizza this past summer. I didn't do it to seem cool, or to seem accessible. I did it because it was a damn good pizza (with extra cheese). Also, my instagram name is hashtagfat (follow me!). Get at me, Rocco. 

"It represents a certain type of nostalgia, because as kids there were always pizza parties in school, or contests where if you read enough books you got a free pizza. It's associated with celebration or happiness to a lot of people." The only reason pizza as an incentive worked is because it was delicious and kids actually enjoyed it. The incentive to read was pizza, not broccoli, for a reason. 

Moreover, she says, "I would rather have tacos. They're in the same price range, but don't leave you with that disgusting feeling after eating a slice of shitty pizza." Well, stop eating shitty pizzas and have a quality pizza for god's sake. Or eat your taco in peace, leave the pizza-eaters alone.

"I think it's immature when people have clung to things like pizza as part of their identity. I worry about people, honestly, who want to define themselves by a food they eat. NO ONE IS DEFINING THEMSELVES AS PIZZA! YOU are the one that's defining people by what they eat. I think it's immature to be judgmental. People are just trying to enjoy some good old pizza as a treat to their underdeveloped palates.

She ends her article with a speculation "a guy who takes a girl out to pizza has his life less together than a guy who takes his girl out to a steak dinner." Okay. No guy ONLY takes a girl to pizza (hopefully). Pizza tonight, steak tomorrow, maybe Chinese the next day... She clearly does not seem to be able to wrap her mind around the concept that people who eat pizza also eat other food and that they don't define themselves as pizza. 

Frankly I don't really care whether or not she likes pizza. i just wish she would stop judging people so righteously, and think she is so above the pizza-eaters of the world. I also wish that some guy would take her out to get some quality thin-crust pizza. (Sorry I got a little emotional while writing this)