April 22, 2010 Volume CXXVII Issue 11

Modesty and propriety found dead: Internet wanted for questioning

Contributing Writer

Donna Simpson, who hopes to set a world record by weighing 1,000 pounds, shops for food with her daughter.

Somewhere along the line, people lost what shred of modesty and propriety they might have had. People that in the past would have been side-show freaks suddenly became quasicelebrities. The line between famous and infamous has always been rather hazy, but people like Donna Simpson, 42, are part of a modern sensation—doing strange, senseless things essentially for the sake of getting on the news or becoming the newest internet celebrity. In case you haven’t heard of Simpson, she was in the news recently for weighing 604 pounds and expressing her desire to weigh 1,000. She is also trying to get Guinness to recognize her as the heaviest woman to give birth, since she weighed 532 pounds when her daughter was born in 2007.

Now I’m a fan of the idea of the great American Melting Pot—that in the true spirit of equality and political correctness, we’re all okay and part of the fabric of America. Or to put it a different way, we’re all God’s children. So it’s none of my business if someone weighs 604 pounds. To each his or her own, and if you’re different, I respect your right to be proud of your difference. But when you talk about how your ideal would be to weigh 1,000 pounds and you’re actively trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the heaviest woman to ever give birth and apparently dreaming of getting to be the heaviest woman alive, that seems like a problem to me. Or maybe that’s not the problem.

Maybe the problem is that we put this woman on the news, we interview her and we act like this is news. We go on and on about people who clearly overdid taking fertility drugs and have a whole litter of children. We put on shows like “16 and Pregnant,” “Teen Mom” or “Rock of Love.” In short, we celebrate things that in the past, people would have been ashamed of. Did anyone ever know the little kid on the playground who would eat bugs or something weird for attention? Apparently someone grew up and thought it would be a brilliant idea to encourage people to do that for money and shows like “Fear Factor” were born. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it didn’t absolutely infest our society.

Why do these people not seem to understand that they aren’t famous and that people aren’t laughing with them, they’re laughing at them? No one is proud of you for delivering a baby when you weigh 532 pounds because that can’t be healthy. Just because people are looking at you doesn’t mean that they respect you, care about you or like you. So much of reality television is just exploiting people, either by encouraging them to do stupid things for money, or by recognizing and making them “famous” when they do stupid things on their own. We should stop encouraging them. The serious “exploiting people is wrong and so is throwing away all vestiges of modesty so that you can get attention” rant aside, I’d just like to point out that Mrs. Simpson’s boyfriend’s name is Philippe Gouamba.

I mention this for two reasons. First, the media has gone out of their way to mention that Gouamba only weighs 150 pounds, because the “Jack Sprat and his wife” element just throws the issue of Mrs. Simpson’s weight into further contrast. And second, if you’ve ever played any Mario game ever, you might remember that the little guys Mario squashes so often are named “Goombas” and my first reaction to Gouamba’s name was to note the similarity. So even if humans are strange and silly and we spend our time focusing on some pretty stupid, ridiculous, embarrassing things and ignoring the real news of the world, at least life has little ways of making it seem like somebody, somewhere is probably having a good laugh at our expense.

Simply-to-Go, simply go away

Sports Editor

Simply-to-Go will never make up for the loss of to-go boxes in the Caf.

Simply-to-Go arrived on campus in Fall 2009, and after a full school year with it, I have to say: Simply-to-Go, go away. Whatever happened to the days of to-go boxes in the Caf? Yes, the boxes were made of styrofoam, which isn’t good for the environment, but most of the Simply-to-Go items are packaged in other materials that could harm the environment as well. With a to-go box, students had the choice to grab any food served in the Caf, from the pizza pavillion to the theme line, from the sandwich line to the salad bar. Sandwiches and salads are options for Simply-to-Go, but since they’re prepackaged, students can’t decide what to include in their entree.

Simply-to-Go is great in theory as a fast, easy way to grab a meal that is accessible all over campus. However, there are many flaws to the system that need to be remedied. For instance, students only get one entree, one side item, one drink, and one “plus”—a piece of fruit, two cookies or yogurt. This isn’t enough food to satisfy the average college student, especially the men. Even for those that are satisfied with a sandwich, some celery and an apple, the beverage choices leave something to be desired. The to-go cups are fine, but what’s with the tiny milk cartons? We’re not in elementary school anymore. Even back then, my mom packed me two Capri Suns with lunch. What I’d really like is a bottle of juice, a la the Mulberry.

Also, what’s with the breakfast sandwiches on blueberry bagels? No one wants sausage, egg, cheese and…blueberry. Is someone really eating that? I’d also appreciate a sandwich on regular old white bread. I don’t know what a Kaiser roll is exactly, but you can’t go wrong with classic Wonder Bread or even some wheat bread. It’s little things like that that I’d like to see—variety. Speaking of bread, what should you eat if you’re trying to stay carb conscious? There’s one mainstay item for those students who are avoiding carbs—the salad—but that gets old pretty quickly.

Every once in awhile, you get something awesome in Simply to Go, like the roast beef sandwich with bacon and real cheese, or the buffalo chicken wrap, but then these items just disappear. I appreciate the effort to mix things up, but it’d be nice if the variety was consistent. For the most part, Simply-to-Go is the same thing over and over again. I will say, I enjoy a good hummus plate. This is nothing against the wonderful Caf workers who cook for us and serve us each day. They’re doing a great job. I just want my to-go box back. Is that too much to ask?


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