What did I know going into the Critical Thinking and Writing sequence? Apparently, not a whole lot. Throughout my two quarters in this class, I’ve gained so much knowledge on factory farming, dishonesty, the writing process and American ignorance it’s crazy. To be completely honest, I didn’t expect it at all. After receiving my schedule and seeing that I was enrolled in a class called “Food Porn”, I really had no clue what the heck the school had just done. Who names a class after an Instagram hashtag? After settling in and being challenged to learn everyone’s names on the first day (mission accomplished), I knew that I was in for quite an experience. Continue reading Ignorance is Bliss? Eh // Sarah Busey
“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.
A man walks into a dingy classroom filled with yellow and green chairs, a brown satchel hanging across his chest. He smiles at the students, who have been comfortably chatting with each other about school and life, before putting his bag down and switching on his computer to do attendance. The man checks the room one more time, making sure he didn’t miss anyone, before saying, “okay”. The students quiet down, and the professor takes a seat in a chair, closing the circle that the class sits in to discuss. He clasps his hands together and leans over the desk. “So,” he asks, “What do we think?”.
Walking into my critical thinking and writing class, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I mean, the class is called Food Porn for crying out loud – what even is that? I probably thought the class was going to be about gourmet food, or something dumb like that. I was so focused on this name, Food Porn, that I didn’t think about the class title itself, critical thinking and writing. Continue reading “So,” He Asks Us // Allie Hogan
There’s this mentality in society that we are only mere blips in the world. As humans, on an individual basis, there’s this perception that what we say or do doesn’t matter in the large-scale. People think, ‘What difference could I possibly make?’ Sure, we may say that everyone matters and everyone is capable of greatness, but you only see that kind of stuff on movies and television shows. It isn’t real. These are fabrications made by people who know what the public wants to hear. We want to hear that everything is possible and the world is at our fingertips, but the reality is that the world kind of sucks.
Many people growing up in places throughout the nation and other countries dream about coming to the Bay Area, a place where businesses are flourishing, technology is rampant, and people can make millions with their innovative ideas. However, what doesn’t pass through the minds of many is that people continue to dish out thousands of dollar to live in a place where the cost of living is artificially high, and where, despite being the headquarters of many social media companies, many people don’t even know their neighbors. The majority of the Bay Area does the same task of dressing up in a dress shirt and jeans, driving hours in stop-and-go traffic in either their “environmentally friendly car” or brand new sports car, working a 9 to 5 job, going home to cook dinner and repeat the same process the next day. My experience in Critical Writing and Thinking here at Santa Clara has taught me to have my eyes constantly open, to acknowledge the ignorance we have as a society, and to consider ways to change that.
Bright lights, shiny floors, shelves and shelves of food—the average grocery store. “Humanely raised,” “free-range,” “natural”—the average label on grocery store chicken. You would think you could believe your food labels. You would think these labels would actually mean something. They do not though.
Today, chickens are raised mainly on factory farms. The farm system in America is not even close to the old picture that comes to mind. There are not animals happily roaming on green grass. These farm animals do not soak up the sun, graze naturally outside, nor live happily or healthily. They are fed antibiotics and hormones and crammed into small indoor spaces. Yet, Americans buy factory farm produced meat because it is readily available and cheap in comparison to quality, natural, truly humanely raised and organic meat.
Although for as long as I can remember I have known that organic food is better than its alternative, when I took my first college English class, Critical Thinking and Writing (Food, Self & Culture), my mind was truly opened to the health and humanity that factory farms threaten. That English class did for me just what its title suggests—it taught me about critical thinking and writing. Through that class, I have learned to question things that I would not normally question. I found out the truth about the cruelty and repulsiveness of factory farm meat, after being assigned the book Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. Continue reading Don’t Believe Everything You Hear // Katelyn Browne
Is It Really Organic?