Omnium Gatherum

The culture of campus dining

Jacob Akey, Crier Staff

Davison Hall is getting (some) of its groove back. There was a sizable drop in quality and options from the Spring to the Fall semesters of this year. Over the course of October, it seems that the decline has been partially reversed. Omelets are made to order in the morning, and Action Station is open more often than it was in September. Despite this improvement, the Deli has still not returned.

The Saint Anselm Debate Team took on the Second Amendment this past Thursday, the 28th. They mainly discussed the extent to which the Second Amendment allowed for restrictions to gun ownership, with teams of two arguing for and against the expansion of federal gun regulations. It was an entertaining and impassioned debate. I anticipate our debaters will do well in their remaining matches this year.

How we eat is as culturally significant as what we eat. It’s not something we think about often, but, like syntax, norms surrounding how we ingest are most striking when violated. Think Bill de Blasio whipping out cutlery to eat a slice of pizza or Seinfeld characters doing the same for a candy bar. Eating the “right” way is not just a matter of habit; it impacts the enjoyment of a meal. Eating shrimp with a spoon might be possible, but trying to balance a slippery crustacean while eating is sure to distract from the taste.

Since we here on the Hilltop appear stuck with sushi rather than a deli, it may benefit us to learn the cultural norms of eating sushi so that we may enjoy it better. First, I will preface this guide by stating that I am not a long-time sushi fan and am certainly not a snob; I can count on one hand how many times I have had sushi. As a proud Delawarean, fried chicken trumps raw fish any day of the week. I have, however, spent some time Googling the proper way to eat sushi and have tested suggested methods on the offerings at Davison. Here are my findings.

Sushi wraps can be eaten with either chopsticks or bare hands; it is only individual pieces of fish that shouldn’t be handled. The pickled ginger (gari) that comes with most sushi packs is meant as a palate cleanser between bites, but it can be dipped in soy sauce and eaten with the primary bite. Speaking of bites, individual pieces of sushi should be consumed in one go. Finally, the soy sauce and wasabi should be used sparingly and not mixed. Dōzo omeshiagari kudasai.

“He who rides the tiger is afraid to dismount,” or so the proverb goes. Republicans like Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin have harnessed a potent political force in the form of enraged parents. Still, I would warn our politicians that such an alliance may prove ill-advised. As evidence, I point to the Satanic Panic of the 1990s. This Satanic Panic was a series of highly publicized court trials where daycare workers were baselessly accused of sexually abusing children as part of Satanic rituals. The cases were promoted by unethical child psychologists and fame-hungry prosecutors. Nearly all accused were innocent, but their reputations were ruined. I’m bringing up this dark period of the recent past to show the irrationality and destructive power of angry and fearful parents. When parents believe that their children are being endangered, they stop at nothing to resolve the perceived threat. This is not a healthy or sustainable attitude towards politics. The manic mobs who have been protesting school board meetings across the country are not something that should be encouraged for political gain.

This is not a blanket dismissal of parent concerns. These grassroots groups are broadly protesting the politicization of curricula, with specific concerns over the introduction of non-traditional race narratives and sexually explicit material in the classroom. There have certainly been examples of teachers crossing boundaries in the pursuit of personal motives. But even if the issues that parent groups are protesting are valid, they should be handled within the realm of traditional politics. Nothing good will come of angry mobs feeding off of paranoia and anger. If Republicans choose to co-opt this movement, they do so at their peril.