Tag Archives: animals

A Society Thriving on Cheating and Deceiving

              Over the course of our two quarters of CTW I have realized that our society thrives on cheating. Despite all the negative connotations that we place on cheating, nearly everyone continues to do so and it is amazing just how prevalent it is in nearly aspect of life. From the individual to entire organizations, it is impossible to resist the temptation to take the easy way out by cheating.


            In the first quarter, we delved into the wrongdoings of the food industry in their attempts to cheat their customers of the truth in order to make a greater profit. The most significant portion of this occurs in the animal farming industry in which large factory farms do everything in their power to conceal the atrocities they commit in order to provide meat to the industry. Through videos such as “Meet Your Meat” by PETA we can see just how poorly the animals are treated. I’ve linked the video below so you can get an idea of some of the treatment I am talking about. The industry fears that if people discover the truth about them because organizations like PETA made more videos like this one then they would be out of business. To combat this they continually deny (and lie) about these occurrences, calling them isolated incidences and claiming to have dealt with them. They cheat their customers of the truth so that they can continue to exploit the animals and avoid losing profit.

            The CEO’s and other important figures of these organization’s choice to cheat likely developed from their education. In my second quarter of this course I surveyed my peers to discover how prevalent cheating is at Santa Clara University, and more importantly what kind of students cheat. Along with the negative connotations that surround cheating comes the idea that those who cheat tend to be those who are too lazy to work, and cheat just to get by. Cheating is not often associated with success, yet what I found is that the correlation is more prevalent than many people think. The most important observation I made in my research was that the majority of people who admitted to cheating were those who also succeeded in the classroom. I sent out a survey to the freshman class asking several questions with the goal of discovering both what kind of student they are and if they are cheaters. The respondents’ identities were kept anonymous for the survey, so the idea of self-preservation affecting the responses is mute, making the results more in line with the truth. The first question I asked was, “Have you cheated in the past school year?” 75% of the respondents answered yes. What you may want to believe is that that 25% who said no must be the top students and the 75% must be the bottom feeders, but the results from my fourth question: “What is your GPA?” say otherwise. Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 4.38.13 PMOf those who responded saying they cheated, not a single student had a GPA below a 2.66, and 25% even had a GPA above 3.66. This shows that the correlation between cheating and high achieving students is very real, and is even more common amongst high achieving students than “lower tier” students. And these acts of academic dishonesty are not fluke occurrences either. The majority of these same students also responded saying that they did not feel remorse for their actions and would be willing to cheat again. And cheat again they did. These top student’s success in the classroom likely led to them having successful careers and perhaps becoming CEOs in the factory farming industry. There cheating in school taught them that cheating is acceptable in real life. Therefore, when they find themselves in the position to cheat professionally they have no problem with it.

               Cheating is prevalent in all aspects of life, for nearly everyone. It begins early when people first go to school and develop their work habits. Minor acts of cheating develop into a habit that often results in success for these individuals. They have taken the easy way out of hard work, yet have achieved the same success as the hard workers. So why stop there? They don’t, and those who cheat in school continue to take the easy way out throughout their career. These people, like the CEOs, associate success with cheating and do so throughout their professional careers, creating the world we know today, one which revolves around cheating.

Sources

Friedrich, Bruce. “Meet Your Meat.” Youtube, narrated by Alec Baldwin, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 1 May 2002, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RX88IGJ35g.

PETA Image:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/be/Peta_logo.svg/2000px-Peta_logo.svg.png

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Aren’t We All Ducks in the Same Pond? // Alex Tay

Imagine a bright, sunny, and peaceful day.  You are sitting aside a pleasant body of water, this may be a neighborhood pond, a smooth lake, or even a calm sea.  Everything around you is still and exudes a an aura of calm. The bare surface that you are sitting is not rough nor smooth, not hot nor cold, but simply acts as a soft surface to only promote your sense of calm.  There are no car horns, buzzing electric wires, or wailing winds but simply the sounds of nature. The only movement in this aura of tranquility is a small duck that is gently traveling across the body of water.  A picturesque scene, right? Continue reading Aren’t We All Ducks in the Same Pond? // Alex Tay

I Understand Nothing // Emily Wilken

It’s weirdly paradoxical to be in a place where you are aware that you are unaware, yet that is where this class left me. If there’s one common theme that seemed to run through everything we studied as a class and everything I researched on my own, it’s the idea that we are less aware and understand less than we often realize.

During first quarter, we read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. As someone who had fairly recently become a vegetarian, I was interested to read the book, but also expected that most of it would cover what I already knew. I was wrong. I found much of this book surprising. To me, the most shocking part of Foer’s book was his description of how the animal agriculture industry handles animal waste and how this affects people.

In total, all farmed animals in the U.S. produce 87,000 pounds of waste per second. This 130 times what the human population produces. There is no real regulation on all this animal waste. Most often, it is put into football field-sized pools. It often runs off into water supplies and toxins such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide inevitably evaporate into the air. Children raised near factory farms are twice as likely to develop asthma, while children raised on a typical hog factory farm have an over fifty percent chance of developing asthma. People living near factory farms also have problems with persistent nosebleeds, earaches, chronic diarrhea, and burning in their lungs (Foer 174-176).

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Before reading this book, I was aware (to some extent) that factory farming harmed animals and harmed our environment. What I hadn’t considered was how factory farming harms people.

For one of my essays, I explored how our culture tends to respond to the problem of hunger in the U.S. Often, people see food drives as an easy and effective way of responding to the issue. In reality, we are unaware of how inefficient food drives really are at addressing the problem of hunger. While the average person may be able to take a dollar to the store and buy a can of green beans, food banks are able to use $1 to purchase about four meals (often including fresh produce) because of discounted rates they have access to on food (Schilling). We are unaware of how the problem of hunger can best be solved through monetary donations because we want to feel good about ourselves when we donate a few cans.Â

In another essay, I argued that the clothing industry’s sizing system (or lack thereof) harms our self-esteem. Women’s clothing brands often label clothes so that women will fit into smaller than expected sizes. This sets women up to become frustrated, confused and disappointed. While waists of size 8 jeans often vary by three or more inches (Dockterman), women tend to be unaware of this and may tend to blame their own bodies when they can’t find clothes that fit. In addition, studies have shown that women inevitably have to try on a size larger than expected, the negative effect is greater than the positive effect in self-esteem experienced when trying on a size smaller than expected (Aydinoglu; Hoegg).

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Two pairs of American Eagle jeans. The pair in the back is a size 0, while the pair in the front is a size 4 (Bodley).

Perhaps the thing that best drives this point home from this class is something that we looked at within the first week or so: This is Water.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI

David Foster Wallace’s speech makes an important and challenging point that we are often unaware of our own attitudes and biases. Without realizing it, we go through life with a self-centric view, unaware of the perspectives of those around us. To be aware of other’s perspectives, we must do the difficult work of continually paying attention.

Overall, this class made me aware of a few situations and truths that I was not before. I hope that I continue to grow in awareness, especially in awareness of the perspectives of those around me.

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I also think that sometimes we know the truth, but we refuse to acknowledge it for whatever reason. Like Foer says, “It’s possible to wake someone from sleep, but no amount of noise will wake someone who is pretending to be asleep” (Foer 102). Is there any point to awareness if it doesn’t lead to some kind of change?

Works Cited

Aydinoglu, Nilfer Z. and Aradhna Krishna. “Imagining Thin: Why Vanity Sizing Works.” Journal of Consumer Psychology (Elsevier Science), vol. 22, no. 4, Oct. 2012, pp. 565-572. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2011.12.001.

Bodley, Riley. “In this photo are two of my favorite pairs of jeans…” Facebook, 9 May 2017, http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1141910845955788&set=a.122027494610800.36926.100004106511339&type=3&theater.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. Little, Brown & Company, 2013.

Dockterman, Eliana. “One Size Fits None.” Time, vol. 188, no. 10/11, 12 Sept. 2016, pp. 78-84. EBSCOhost, login.libproxy.scu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=117821613&site=eds-live.

Hoegg, JoAndrea, et al. “The Flip Side of Vanity Sizing: How Consumers Respond to and Compensate for Larger Than Expected Clothing Sizes.” Journal of Consumer Psychology (Elsevier Science), vol. 24, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 70-78. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2013.07.003.

Schilling, Erin. “Georgia United Hosts Annual February Food Drive.” The Red & Black [Athens], 7 Feb. 2018, http://www.redandblack.com/athensnews/georgia-united-hosts-annual-february-food-drive/article_34f61954-0bbd-11e8-9991-a790ef8f4fcd.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2018.

“This Is Water” Full Version-David Foster Wallace Commencement Speech. YouTube, 19 May 2013, youtu.be/8CrOL-ydFMI?t=20m30s.

Food for Thought // Caley Falcocchia

“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.  

Continue reading Food for Thought // Caley Falcocchia

The Fast and The Delicious?// Andres Jimenez

My mother’s cooking was never to amazing when I was a child, the same dishes week after week began to haunt my evening dinners. So when we had a chance to get fast food it was always the best. “What do you guys want to eat?”, were the best words my parents would say after an exhausting day. McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King all so delicious and fun, but which one shall we choose? It became harder than a judges role in the pursuit of justice to decide what we wanted. Not only thinking about the food, but the new toys and the huge playgrounds. But in the end no matter what we got or ate it was always a let down after the meal. From tired bodies to hurt stomachs there was always something that made us regret why we even wanted it in the first place. What is it that is bringing us back to these fast food restaurants? Continue reading The Fast and The Delicious?// Andres Jimenez

Can’t Keep My Thoughts to Myself // Emma Carpenter

I was uncomfortable from the minute I walked into “Critical Thinking and Writing” at 5:25pm on a Monday–the first day of my college career. I was uncomfortable being in a new state, surrounded by new people who had new interests and perceptions of what was “in” and what wasn’t. I grew even more uncomfortable when my teacher was late and one of my classmates insisted we all get in a circle and chat. That was not me. I was also very intimidated by the idea of critically thinking and thinking for myself. I had become very good at keeping quiet and reading the classroom and then reiterating exactly what I knew the teacher wanted to hear on whatever assessment came up. In fact, if I was directly asked my thoughts on something I would mutter an “I don’t know” and quickly divert my attention. Critical Thinking and Writing? This was not my cup of tea, to say the least.

Continue reading Can’t Keep My Thoughts to Myself // Emma Carpenter

A-What?-Ness // Ana Maria Vidaurri

I’ll always remember my brother telling me “ignorance of a law is not an excuse to break the law.” This seemed really strange to me, as I wondered how everyone could possibly know every law in every city in every part of the world. I’ve come to realize that what my brother said to me those many years ago is true, not just in judicial hearings, but in everyday life.

So often people choose to do what is easiest for them. They choose to drive a car because it is easier than walking home. They choose to go to McDonalds because it is easier than picking up groceries at the supermarket and cooking a meal. And more often than not, they choose to ignore underlying problems when dealing with intense issues, such as animal cruelty, sustainability, and violence. However, it is crucial for one to educate themselves on important issues in order to gain greater understanding of a situation and generate a clear opinion.  Continue reading A-What?-Ness // Ana Maria Vidaurri