It’s August of 2017, and I finally pull up my future schedule for the first time. Everything looks great until, no that had to be a mistake. There’s no way they’d make me go to a class that met from 7:20 to 9 p.m., right? Wow, was I wrong. Fast forward to the first day of class, and I still couldn’t believe that I was walking to class, all the way on the other side of campus, while the sun was going down. To make it all worse, the teacher seemed far too happy to be teaching a bunch of freshman at this awful time on a Wednesday night. I’m not a guy who can handle over-eager optimism, and this guy was just beaming at us from the start. Didn’t he know that I was a Biology major, a science student with absolutely no interest in taking another English class? Needless to say, my first experience concerning Nick Leither and “Food Porn” was not a great one.
“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”
-David Foster Wallace, “This is Water”
When I walked into my English Critical Thinking and Writing (CTW) class on the first day, I had no idea what to expect. My professor, Nick Leither, showed the class David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech “This is Water.” After discussing the speech, Professor Nick switched gears and flicked the screen over to the next slide. The screen displayed the course overview, reading “Food Porn: Reading Food, Self, & Culture.” Both intrigued and confused, I left class on that first day with two questions. First off, how can an english class be entirely dedicated to food? Also, what the hell is water? I had no clue what was to come during the two quarters of this class.
I should first explain that I did not sign up for this class. Every freshman at Santa Clara University (SCU) is randomly placed into a mandatory CTW class before even arriving to campus. I was honestly quite displeased when I learned that I had been assigned a 7:30-9:10 PM CTW class. Convinced that my brain would not be capable of attending class at this time of the day, my naive-self even talked to my advisor to see if I could switch into a different CTW section at a different time. As you can probably guess, my advisor told me to suck it up, and viola- my “Food Porn” CTW class at 7:30-9:10 PM was here to stay for two quarters. Although I was first unhappy by my CTW course placement, the class and its material caused me to reflect on my lifestyle and personal values, which which will continue to stick with me- not only for the remainder of my college experience- but for the rest of my life.
Authors: Elizabeth Biersch, Christopher Curley, Stephanie Giertsten, Julia Heath, Kellen Johnson, Jake Koplowitz, James Leclercq, Claire Lowe, Jeffrey Moon, Nina Odegaard, Lauren Perez, Timothy Powers, Danny Shafazand, Claire Skelly, Jacob Steiner, Layne Suhre, Parker Truesdell, Anne Underwood, Megan Wilcox
Over the first quarter of our critical thinking and writing class, nineteen of us freshmen at Santa Clara University studied the disturbing realities of the factory farming system and the influence of big agribusiness in the United States. Now in our second quarter, we have collaborated with one another to write this essay to do our part in helping spread the knowledge to others in order for more public awareness. We understand that it’s often difficult to face hard truths about things we often like to take for granted. While examining our own participation in the food industry, we too have struggled with our own choices and ethics. Our goal is not to guilt readers. It’s to share, examine and expose the awe-inspiring, inefficient, unsustainable, and often corrupt system that exists behind much of what we buy in grocery stores and put in our mouths.
This is what we have to say. Continue reading Starving on Excess: The Dangerous Exploitation Behind Your Food