4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 21, 2003
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ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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Editorial Page Editors
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
So far, they are
a pretty sorry group
if you want to know
- Former first lady Barbara Bush
in an interview that aired on
yesterday's "Today" show, on the
candidates, as quoted by Reuters.
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The blanding of America
JESS PISKOR JOIN THE PISKOR
ood is an interest-
ing thing. It both
keeps us alive and
makes life worth living.
It is both nourishment
and a source of pleasure.
Unfortunately, the plea-
surable aspects of food
are under attack by a
group of unadventurous
and ignorant eaters: the Blands.
The Blands are intent upon making our
world uniform. Blands are the people who
seem to thrive on the boring and the uno-
riginal. Blands are the people who desper-
ately search for the same thing, the same
foods and experiences everywhere they go.
One of the main reasons chain restau-
rants are successful is the Blandian
mantra, "I like the comfort of knowing
that a burger in Los Angeles will taste the
same as here in Ann Arbor. When I eat at
Tchotchke's I know what I'm getting, no
matter where I am."
Why do Blands feel this driving need
to have the same food everywhere? Lack-
ing any understanding of real food, Blands
only feel comfortable eating when there's
a big pile of fried something on their
plates and free refills.
When I was a junior in high school, my
French class went to Paris. One evening,
our teacher gave us free reign to stroll the
Champs-Elysees to find dinner. A couple
friends and I found a little bistro where we
enjoyed a simple yet elegant authentic
French meal with fresh bread, a nice
entree, a cheese course and a cheap
French wine. For a reasonable price we
experienced something new and delicious.
The rest of the class - all Blands -
found a Chili's restaurant and had straw-
berry daiquiris and french fries while lis-
tening to American rock music.
In what must be considered a victory
for the Blands, another Jimmy John's
opened it's doors in Ann Arbor last week.
Apparently, three stores selling tasteless,
dry and poorly baked bread and overly-
mayonnaised sandwiches just wasn't
enough for the Blands. Maybe they just
couldn't get enough of the faux old adver-
tising, free smells and fluorescent lighting.
Jimmy John's is not good food.
Despite their ads, it does not have the
"World's Greatest Gourmet Sandwiches."
Yet people swear they are wonderful. I
will not deny that there are times when a
Jimmy John's sandwich hits the spot - in
the same way a Pabst Blue Ribbon does.
However, it displays a remarkable level of
ignorance as to what real food is to argue
that Jimmy John's is quality food - or
even remotely gourmet.
Well, there's no accounting for taste,
right? Wrong. Take your food relativism
and shove it. Freshly baked bread topped
with farm fresh tomatoes is better than
white bread and Kroger's tomatoes, guar-
anteed. People might think they prefer
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese or Lipton brand
tea, but this is for lack of trying anything
better or a result of years of palate dead-
ening foods. It takes a little while after
switching to real food to begin to taste all
the subtleties of flavor, but once tastebuds
are awaked, there is no going back.
Blands are bland largely because they
are lazy. The 10 minutes of effort it might
take to make a real sandwich is just too
much for a Bland, who would much rather
walk somewhere out of his or her way to
pay someone to prepare an inferior sand-
wich. Instead of using a modicum of plan-
ning to buy a real loaf of bread from a
bakery or perhaps go shopping for food
with a menu in mind, Blands put as little
thought into eating decisions as possible.
Blands might argue that they aren't lazy,
but rather too busy. However, the minimal
effort required to eat better and the gloating
attitude through which they express their
love of all things boring belies this claim.
Not only are Blands lazy, they are
deeply in denial. Unwilling to believe bet-
ter food is available at roughly the same
price, Blands create a mythology around
their choices and can be heard talking at
length about the quality of ingredients at
Jimmy John's or the superior taste of a
Bloomin' Onion. Psychologically unwill-
ing to find foods that are in actuality bet-
ter, Blands build up an aversion to new
foods and flavors.
Price is the last defense of Blands.
"Surely," they argue, "better food costs
more." Well, it can, but it doesn't have to.
A bit of intelligent shopping goes a long
way. Fresh breads and local produce can
be found at bakeries and farmer's markets
for no more than a few dollars and will
provide for more meals than a sub.
Yes, I'm a food elitist, a first class epi-
curean. But better that than a Bland, a
food relativist, living in a world without
moral absolutes and unable or unwilling
to distinguish good quality food from bad.
Piskor can be reached
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Massad's lecture was
'insulting' and unrealistic
TO THE DAILY:
It's people like Joseph Massad who are the
reason that there is no peace in the Middle East
(Profs address Arab-Israeli conflict, honor Edward
Said, 10/17/03). If Students Allied for Freedom
and Equality wanted to provide a "better under-
standing" of the conflict, it failed miserably.
Mossad tastelessly and tactlessly spent his entire
lecture attempting to undermine the legitimacy
of Israel and of the Jewish people. His compari-
son of Zionism to Nazism and racism was
insulting. The applause received for his com-
ments showed that there are still those around
who prefer the unrealistic option of getting rid of
Israel over peace. I, as a Zionist (and according
to Massad a racist, anti-Semite and Nazi), have
accepted the right of the Palestinians to have
their own country. It's time that people in Mas-
sad's camp recognize Israel's right to exist as
well. The Palestinians aren't going anywhere
and neither are the Israelis. Next time you want
to promote understanding, stop using immature
and uneducated comparisons, stop trying to
undermine the other side's existence and accept
reality. Only when we eradicate these methods
can we take the first step on the path to peace.'
Coverage of Said event biased;
SAFE 'wants to destroy Israel'
TO THE DAILY:
Although I am sure that the reporter meant to
cover Students Allied for Freedom and Equali-
ty's Edward Said lecture fairly (Profs address
Arab-Israeli conflict, honor Edward Said,
10/17/03), the article is so one sided as to be
worthy of a state-run Arab press. First, Arrine
summarizes the tripe that Joseph Massad
spewed, then pretends to offer a balanced
approach through the Daily's time-honored tra-
dition of asking the biased crowd that attended
whether it found the propaganda-fest useful.
From what I could gather from the publicity
ex ante (and the "coverage" ex post), Massad's
message is: Shame on the Jews, who were perse-
ruted that thevn owrs nrcuite Fair ennah hut
to do the same to others.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tragic and
complicated. People on both sides, especially
Palestinians, are suffering. SAFE contributes to
the problem by spreading lies and dissimilation,
but SAFE has a right to lie all it wants; the Daily
should know better. SAFE doesn't want a real
discussion of the conflict - it wants to destroy
Israel. The Daily should want a real discussion,
but only time will tell.
Bush should work to
improve U.S.-Arab relations
TO THE DAILY:
In all fairness to Slava Goldstein, his letter
to the editor (Reader would rather be bigot than
sensitive, dead, 10/17/03) is brutally honest. It is
also, unfortunately, based on a misunderstand-
ing of facts. Take Iraq, the most obvious of
examples. How many Americans were killed by
Iraq in the past decade? Now compare that
number to the number killed in the past year in
the invasion and occupation against Iraq. And
all those deaths in the past year are supposed to
be justified by the "threat" Saddam and his
regime posed to homeland security? We now
know that the weapons of mass destruction
never existed and that the evidence for them
was fabricated. And now there is the occupa-
tion. Rather than Iraqis cheering in the streets,
there are daily attacks on our troops. Yet the
message to President Bush remains unclear. He
continues to ask for an increased presence to
crack down on the terrorists, the ones that were
non-existent before intervention in the region.
Leaving all sensitivities and prejudices
behind and thinking logically, it is obvious
that you do not deal with a people backed into
a corner by pushing them further. Would
detaining those with a "Middle Eastern com-
plexion" or taking away the rights of Muslims
make for a safer atmosphere? Would it help
American and Arab relations? If you do not
want to take my word for it, ask any Japanese
American about World War II.
Chair, Students Alliedfor Freedom and Equality
the blame on those that promote hate and big-
otry, he feels that all American Muslims are
guilty of crimes that they have never committed.
Maybe in countries like Israel and Turkey it can
be perfectly legal to discriminate against citizens
due to their ethnicity or religion, but the U.S.
Constitution clearly states that these types of
actions are illegal.
Also, if we were to look at the current record
of these unconstitutional policies, we would see
that there have been no improvements in the
safety of Americans. Reports are constantly con-
cluding that Americans are no safer now then
they were before Sept. 11. There is absolutely no
proof that this discrimination against Arabs and
Muslims has in any way prevented a terrorist
attack, so even supporters of the government's
discrimination of Arabs and Muslims can't even
argue the effectiveness of these policies. Areri-
cans have a legitimate desire in wanting to pro-
tect themselves from terrorist attacks, the
problem lies in the way the Bush administration
is going about doing this. Starting offensive
wars to destroy non-existent weapons of mass
destruction and bending the Constitution to mis-
treat innocent people will not stop terrorism, if
anything it may even promote more of it.
Vice chair, Students Alliedfor Freedom and Equality
Photo of Sigma Chi house
appears to be inaccurate
TO THE DAILY:
It is a very sad time for the thousands of Uni-
versity Sigma Chi alumni like myself who have
such fond memories of the brotherhood and the
house, which by the way, is the oldest standing
structure in the country built specifically for the
purposes of housing a fraternity. To its mem-
bers, the Sigma Chi house is the physical
embodiment of life-long friendships, lessons
learned, and the University itself.
In recent years, the alumni brotherhood
worked tirelessly to improve the house struc-
turally and as a positive force on campus. There
were constant efforts to work with current mem-
bers to instill a a sense of personal responsibility
and integrity in matters relating to Sigma Chi
and the principles it embodies. Unfortunately,
those efforts did not nay off.
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