One of the best-written comments we’ve ever gotten

And I’m posting it to the main page because it deserves to be read. Noa Wotton ’10 wrote:

Getting things around the PR machine is wonderful, and genuinely important, but in my opinion we could be a little bit more mature about it. So we complained about poster policy and got their attention – you could call that a victory. Actually, we got their attention enough for them to do the reaching out that we could have done in the first place, to clarify that there was nothing to complain about.

I really appreciate the critical coverage of what the administration is up to, but what I’m trying to say is PLEASE ONLY RAKE MUCK WHEN THERE’S MUCK TO RAKE. Whining about non-issues not only sets a negative tone for all of our experiences here and sabotages those of us who are trying to FACILITATE communication between students and administration, but it trivializes the student voice of protest (that we need carry weight when there’s actually something important at stake).

I hope you know I love you… that said, I wrote a rant in response to your last “what the hell” post about Bon Appétit,
http://wesleying.blogspot.com/2007/07/bon-appetit-off-to-bad-start.html
and never got around to posting it, but this is how I feel.

What the hell is right:

I am way more appalled by your ridiculous cynicism than I am by anything Bon Appétit has done. Honestly, it’s getting cliche. They haven’t even moved in and you seem to have already made up your mind to hate them, to loudly rejoice in all of the minutely frustrating details and ignore any good changes that might be trying to grab your attention. Do you hate the food already, too?

Last time, you were complaining about their corny food descriptions (hilarity aside, would YOU write about cafeteria food?). Now, they are rehiring all of our dining staff… but not everyone trusts them yet. Okay, you could assume that makes them the devil, or you could WRITE THEM, like I did, to clarify this and make sure they know we’re going to hold them accountable.

This post is harsher than I usually try to be, but it’s just what honestly comes up… I think I’m seeing something that has frustrated me for a long time (not just on this blog, but with college kids in general) that I haven’t been able to put into words. Basically, your post about Bon Appétit felt whiny and entitled.

I think of those girls on “My Super Sweet Sixteen” who get a $40,000 car for their birthday but throw a fit because it came on the wrong day. Okay, so we’re not dealing with anything close to that level of obnoxiousness, but… still. I guess I’m just hell of grateful that I can eat. And not just eat, but eat basically as much as I want, whenever I want. At a pretty amazing place, with straight up fantastic friends.

I feel like you’re getting off on whining about little inconveniences and just enjoy that more than mentioning the positive changes that are happening.

1. Bon Appétit had nothing to do with rolling dining into the residential comprehensive fee, and since we have no choice in the matter and it’s basically like tuition, I wasn’t too incensed that they didn’t mention it in the dining contract. They already told us the figure via email ($10,130 or $11,512, depending on year), and you can find it in four seconds by searching wesleyan.edu for “residential fee.”

Yes, Weshop weekend hours are crappy. It’s nice that we can grab groceries on campus, but yes, that’s inconvenient. And earlier late night sucks, though our dining is still pretty flexible compared to some schools. And the Daniel Family Commons deal is fucking bizarre. Though, believe it or not, I don’t want your pity regarding my sophomore meal plan. Five buffet meals a week suits me fine.

And, while you’re busy bitching about how Bon Appétit is hiring all the dining staff back but not emphatically enough, I’m told that they were the only bidder that didn’t propose to cut staff. I’m with you on staying attentive and making sure they don’t try to pull a fast one, but this is not something we can criticize them about at this point.

It does make a big difference to me that they have a stated commitment to buying local, organic, and sustainably grown food – in their words, “socially responsible food sourcing.” While I don’t know the details yet, I’m willing to believe that they beat Aramark in that regard.

And they’re just starting. Who says they won’t listen to student feedback? In my experience feedback is better received when it’s not presented as an attack, but you know, we can do it from many angles. Over, sideways, and under on a magic carpet ride.

*cough*

Anyway, whining is fine and dandy, you have a right to be negative. The thing is, as a widely read news source, Wesleying has the power to influence the tone of public discourse on whatever topic it addresses. So, when I read what I see as excessive, unnecessary negativity on Wesleying, it really frustrates me.

I HOPE that most students aren’t going into this year planning to hate Bon Appétit (because if you’re planning to, you will – anything involving cafeteria food is easy to hate).

Drawing out the negative is nothing new for media; on the contrary, it’s a long standing tradition. But what was Wesleying voted best of, again? That’s right… alternative media. We don’t have to buy into anything we don’t want to buy into. This is just my sensibility, but it would make me happy if, as a species, we could be a bit slower to point fingers and a little bit more open – open to recognizing positive intent, open to finding and addressing our own shortcomings, and willing to roll with changes and find positivity, instead of wedging ourselves into a cozy pit of cynicism.

You may have seen it chalked on the sidewalk – Make motherfucking LOVE not WAR. Believe it or not, it’s not just some kids in the White House who can make principle policy and policy reality. Try makin’ some love not war in your own life. It feels good. I mean, nothing beats some real good lovin’. Truly though. Who’s ready for a paradigm shift? We can do it.

Thanks for listening
Noa

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30 thoughts on “One of the best-written comments we’ve ever gotten

  1. Anonymous

    However, I’d like to point out that they did post Noa’s comment on the main page – generally, Wesleying seems to have always made an effort to be fair in its treatment of any issue (not necessarily nonbiased, but at least fair). I think this was a great move. Props to Xue and Holly.

  2. Anonymous

    However, I’d like to point out that they did post Noa’s comment on the main page – generally, Wesleying seems to have always made an effort to be fair in its treatment of any issue (not necessarily nonbiased, but at least fair). I think this was a great move. Props to Xue and Holly.

  3. Anonymous

    Knowing Noa and given my interpretation of his comment, I don’t think he was out to completely discredit Wesleying. I think he would agree that Wesleying is hilarious (a la miniature dorm burning), brings us memes before they’re memes (otters, hamster), and connects us to the rest of the campus both in real life (what’s going on weekends) and online (like this discussion we’re having right now, albeit anonymously). Yes, Wesleying affects the Wesleyan community in positive ways because it has a large readership of current and incoming students (and faculty). But this blog’s influence also has the potential to sway student attitude and opinion. If that means complaining about things that are going on the need attention, like the Butts tunnels getting painted over, then it’s generally a positive influence. But when it has to do with disparaging a dining service and new campus center that hasn’t even opened yet, the blog is just setting students up for cynicism. His remarks applied to a specific set of posts that had the potential to create obnoxious belligerence about a student center no one has set foot in yet. Wesleying is awesome, but those posts just went a little too far in spawning dissatisfaction in an unconstructive way and founded on preliminary evidence

  4. Anonymous

    Knowing Noa and given my interpretation of his comment, I don’t think he was out to completely discredit Wesleying. I think he would agree that Wesleying is hilarious (a la miniature dorm burning), brings us memes before they’re memes (otters, hamster), and connects us to the rest of the campus both in real life (what’s going on weekends) and online (like this discussion we’re having right now, albeit anonymously). Yes, Wesleying affects the Wesleyan community in positive ways because it has a large readership of current and incoming students (and faculty). But this blog’s influence also has the potential to sway student attitude and opinion. If that means complaining about things that are going on the need attention, like the Butts tunnels getting painted over, then it’s generally a positive influence. But when it has to do with disparaging a dining service and new campus center that hasn’t even opened yet, the blog is just setting students up for cynicism. His remarks applied to a specific set of posts that had the potential to create obnoxious belligerence about a student center no one has set foot in yet. Wesleying is awesome, but those posts just went a little too far in spawning dissatisfaction in an unconstructive way and founded on preliminary evidence

  5. Anonymous

    Nice, we’re complaining about eachother complaining too much.Does anyone really care that much? Listen to criticism and complaints and make your own damn decisions. ^ That’s a command, not a complaint.

  6. Anonymous

    Nice, we’re complaining about eachother complaining too much.

    Does anyone really care that much? Listen to criticism and complaints and make your own damn decisions.

    ^ That’s a command, not a complaint.

  7. Anonymous

    Yeah, sometimes I wonder if Holly and Xue were guys, people would be as cavalier about using the term “bitching” or “whining.” Like if they’re guys, it’s just opinion. But because they’re girls, it’s bitching and whining.Does it occur to anyone that 1) they are two people and 2) accusing them of bitching and whining isn’t really fair if you want wesleying to continue? You all obviously read it a lot. Do you want to attack the only two people who make sure that something gets posted every day? The irony is that you say they’re bitching and whining, but you’re bitching and whining about them bitching and whining. And I don’t see them going out of their way to attack the apathy or the bitchiness of the student body. They address honest-to-god concerns–like Holly’s post about adjuncts. Or her post on the lack of health services for students. She’s taking her role seriously as someone people listen to. You many not always agree with it, but I’m really glad she’s keeping up. And I’m glad Xue posts her things about the prefrosh and mantis-keeping.The dorm-fire module they made was hilarious. And they’re helpful as hell. Any time I’ve emailed them, they’ve always helped me. Between the two of them, they have a ton of institutional knowledge. I feel grateful knowing that even though I’ve never met them in real life, they’re both incredibly insightful and kind to students who email them with problems. And they actively recruit other writers, let that be known. It’s really frustrating to hear people complaining about the way they do things when every single person on the campus can write for them and post their own stuff.

  8. Anonymous

    Yeah, sometimes I wonder if Holly and Xue were guys, people would be as cavalier about using the term “bitching” or “whining.” Like if they’re guys, it’s just opinion. But because they’re girls, it’s bitching and whining.

    Does it occur to anyone that 1) they are two people and 2) accusing them of bitching and whining isn’t really fair if you want wesleying to continue? You all obviously read it a lot. Do you want to attack the only two people who make sure that something gets posted every day?

    The irony is that you say they’re bitching and whining, but you’re bitching and whining about them bitching and whining. And I don’t see them going out of their way to attack the apathy or the bitchiness of the student body. They address honest-to-god concerns–like Holly’s post about adjuncts. Or her post on the lack of health services for students. She’s taking her role seriously as someone people listen to. You many not always agree with it, but I’m really glad she’s keeping up.

    And I’m glad Xue posts her things about the prefrosh and mantis-keeping.

    The dorm-fire module they made was hilarious.

    And they’re helpful as hell. Any time I’ve emailed them, they’ve always helped me. Between the two of them, they have a ton of institutional knowledge. I feel grateful knowing that even though I’ve never met them in real life, they’re both incredibly insightful and kind to students who email them with problems.

    And they actively recruit other writers, let that be known. It’s really frustrating to hear people complaining about the way they do things when every single person on the campus can write for them and post their own stuff.

  9. Anonymous

    First of all, I know Holly personally. And I know she thinks that for her, this is the best way to change policy. When she read the housing policy agreement and found that they wanted to ban pets, emailing fran koerting got her no where. It wasn’t until she had an *online* petition that did anyone listen to anyone. The WSA tried to claim credit for it, but it’s true, no one did anything until she put it online.Same goes for when Xue posted the butt tunnels being painted over. As a senior, it bothers me to hear “Well, you know, there are people starving in China so we shouldn’t worry about what’s going on at Wesleyan.” You guys treat this as if Holly and Xue don’t care about anything except Wesleyan. But it’s a blog about Wesleyan. And as seniors, to be fair, Noa, I think they know more about how the administration and the WSA treat students who go through the correct ways of addressing their concerns–they ignore them. But at Wesleying, if a concern is raised, the administration does something because they know the entire student body can see it and prospective parents and oh yes, the media. And the media DOES read it. It’s quite possibly one of the best means to getting policy changed. And I think we forget a lot that Xue and Holly aren’t always negative. I do recall them being unbelievably positive about the new president. And pointing out obvious policy problems (like the poster thing, or the lack buffet-lunches) isn’t really whining if they believe that these are going to adversely affect the community.I think the freshmen are sort of spoiled in the fact that they never experienced Wesleyan without Wesleying and to criticize it as if it’s something that has been around for as long as, say, the Argus. They’ve done an amazing job bringing the campus together and their efforts are commendable. Seriously, for a student group that’s not even really a student group and mostly just two people, I’d say they’ve done more for Wesleyan than anyone else this year. So I say thank Wesleying. Fuck the haters.

  10. Anonymous

    First of all, I know Holly personally. And I know she thinks that for her, this is the best way to change policy. When she read the housing policy agreement and found that they wanted to ban pets, emailing fran koerting got her no where. It wasn’t until she had an *online* petition that did anyone listen to anyone. The WSA tried to claim credit for it, but it’s true, no one did anything until she put it online.

    Same goes for when Xue posted the butt tunnels being painted over.

    As a senior, it bothers me to hear “Well, you know, there are people starving in China so we shouldn’t worry about what’s going on at Wesleyan.” You guys treat this as if Holly and Xue don’t care about anything except Wesleyan. But it’s a blog about Wesleyan. And as seniors, to be fair, Noa, I think they know more about how the administration and the WSA treat students who go through the correct ways of addressing their concerns–they ignore them.

    But at Wesleying, if a concern is raised, the administration does something because they know the entire student body can see it and prospective parents and oh yes, the media. And the media DOES read it.

    It’s quite possibly one of the best means to getting policy changed.

    And I think we forget a lot that Xue and Holly aren’t always negative. I do recall them being unbelievably positive about the new president. And pointing out obvious policy problems (like the poster thing, or the lack buffet-lunches) isn’t really whining if they believe that these are going to adversely affect the community.

    I think the freshmen are sort of spoiled in the fact that they never experienced Wesleyan without Wesleying and to criticize it as if it’s something that has been around for as long as, say, the Argus. They’ve done an amazing job bringing the campus together and their efforts are commendable. Seriously, for a student group that’s not even really a student group and mostly just two people, I’d say they’ve done more for Wesleyan than anyone else this year.

    So I say thank Wesleying. Fuck the haters.

  11. Anonymous

    Everybody’s fully aware that this is a blog, not a news source, and everybody’s aware of who runs it. If you have a problem with their views, and sometimes I do but often I appreciate what they have to say, make your own damn blog. People keep treating Wesleying like it’s a service, no doubt because of its popularity, but they don’t owe you anything. In fact, despite their not owing you anything, they DO post counter-arguments to their posts. And when they do they should be free disagree again.My only problem with their bitching is that it gets stuck on the internet. We’re at a small institution that we paid a shitload of money for and we should be capable of making it the school we want (unlike war protests), but nobody gets away from their keyboard to try to change it anymore. But that’s not their responsibility

  12. Anonymous

    Everybody’s fully aware that this is a blog, not a news source, and everybody’s aware of who runs it. If you have a problem with their views, and sometimes I do but often I appreciate what they have to say, make your own damn blog. People keep treating Wesleying like it’s a service, no doubt because of its popularity, but they don’t owe you anything. In fact, despite their not owing you anything, they DO post counter-arguments to their posts. And when they do they should be free disagree again.

    My only problem with their bitching is that it gets stuck on the internet. We’re at a small institution that we paid a shitload of money for and we should be capable of making it the school we want (unlike war protests), but nobody gets away from their keyboard to try to change it anymore. But that’s not their responsibility

  13. Anonymous

    I think that Noa’s response captures much of what I have been feeling about Bon Appetite and our collective student response to it as it appears on this blog. He has expressed my feelings with a degree of knowledge, respect, and grace that is admirable, as is befitting of the author.If we have problems with the dining service, we, as the consumers, should by all means express them. But let’s not be bossy because we’re priveleged.I am grateful to the authors of this blog for the steady information and concern that they have for the student body. That’s why I read Wesleying pretty religiously. But really, let’s try to be positive about our food, because it’ll taste better that way. Complaining can be positive if done right. Let’s do it right.

  14. Anonymous

    I think that Noa’s response captures much of what I have been feeling about Bon Appetite and our collective student response to it as it appears on this blog. He has expressed my feelings with a degree of knowledge, respect, and grace that is admirable, as is befitting of the author.
    If we have problems with the dining service, we, as the consumers, should by all means express them. But let’s not be bossy because we’re priveleged.
    I am grateful to the authors of this blog for the steady information and concern that they have for the student body. That’s why I read Wesleying pretty religiously. But really, let’s try to be positive about our food, because it’ll taste better that way. Complaining can be positive if done right. Let’s do it right.

  15. Anonymous

    Dining is an integral part of campus/student life, and we deserve to know what’s going on with it. Wesleying and its authors have done an admirable job of disclosing things we otherwise wouldn’t have found.Any opinions expressed on Wesleying are those of the article’s author. As Holly has said numerous times, this is a blog, not a newspaper. Opinions will come out—positive or negative—and readers need to understand and account for that.

  16. Anonymous

    Dining is an integral part of campus/student life, and we deserve to know what’s going on with it. Wesleying and its authors have done an admirable job of disclosing things we otherwise wouldn’t have found.

    Any opinions expressed on Wesleying are those of the article’s author. As Holly has said numerous times, this is a blog, not a newspaper. Opinions will come out—positive or negative—and readers need to understand and account for that.

  17. Anonymous

    RE: People who say would shouldn’t complain because we have food.Who the fuck cares that we have food every day. OF COURSE WE DO.WE’RE PAYING 11K PER YEAR FOR FOOD. Regular food doesn’t exclude you from complaining about hours or quality.Oh man, so much genocide in Darfur. OK, that sucks, BUT WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT.

  18. Anonymous

    RE: People who say would shouldn’t complain because we have food.

    Who the fuck cares that we have food every day. OF COURSE WE DO.
    WE’RE PAYING 11K PER YEAR FOR FOOD. Regular food doesn’t exclude you from complaining about hours or quality.

    Oh man, so much genocide in Darfur. OK, that sucks, BUT WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT.

  19. Anonymous

    AMEN, Noa. I am sick to death of whining for the sake of whining around Wesleyan. We have the luxury of having a voice with the administration — many students don’t on other campuses — so why not use it where it is most effective…not on something we haven’t even been exposed to yet, except on a website? The proof with Bon Appetit will be in the food quality, the service, their responsiveness to feedback, all of it. Which a website can NOT convey, no matter how well written. Wait to experience it before you complain even one word more. And Wes, save your pent-up whiny energy for something that really matters. Oh, say, protesting the war or genocide in Darfur? How about poverty, hunger, homelessness and disease in our own country? In fact, we should be grateful to have what we have with our dining service, our education, our campus, our lives. Think about how many people in this world won’t even get the amount of food in a WEEK that we eat in a DAY. Yes, seek to improve what truly sucks, but quit yer bitchin’ already.

  20. Anonymous

    AMEN, Noa. I am sick to death of whining for the sake of whining around Wesleyan. We have the luxury of having a voice with the administration — many students don’t on other campuses — so why not use it where it is most effective…not on something we haven’t even been exposed to yet, except on a website?

    The proof with Bon Appetit will be in the food quality, the service, their responsiveness to feedback, all of it. Which a website can NOT convey, no matter how well written. Wait to experience it before you complain even one word more.

    And Wes, save your pent-up whiny energy for something that really matters. Oh, say, protesting the war or genocide in Darfur? How about poverty, hunger, homelessness and disease in our own country?

    In fact, we should be grateful to have what we have with our dining service, our education, our campus, our lives. Think about how many people in this world won’t even get the amount of food in a WEEK that we eat in a DAY. Yes, seek to improve what truly sucks, but quit yer bitchin’ already.

  21. Anonymous

    As a recent graduate, i completely agree with your post, Noa. Wesleyan students can be really whiny and bitchy sometimes, and i wish i had stood up more often and said so. thanks for your post.

  22. Anonymous

    As a recent graduate, i completely agree with your post, Noa. Wesleyan students can be really whiny and bitchy sometimes, and i wish i had stood up more often and said so. thanks for your post.

  23. Tenured Radical

    The faculty are often guilty of jumping to negative conclusions without giving something new a chance, so if this is what happened, you aren’t alone. I admit that I, too, was dismayed when I read the Wesleying piece, not because of hte muck raking, but because I *trust* you guys to tell it like it is and I was disappointed in advance. That said, I think all of us who blog, self included, can sometimes take a first impression and give it more credence than we should, so Noa’s remarks should probably be read widely.So don’t stop trying Wesleying. This blog is great, and if the new food service meets some of our hopes, that’ll be great too. Same with New President, who will come in with tons of expectations that he will not be able to fulfill either — but I bet he’s still going to be really good.And as to late night dining: when I was an undergrad at Oligarch U, late night dining was provided by students for students. Why don’t some of the frats/theme houses see what it would take to create simple food (sodas, wraps, burgers, ice cream, chips) between 10 and 2? Then students can price things reasonably, and keep the $$ in the student economy. Or give the money away to something worthy, like financial aid or refugee services.TR

  24. Tenured Radical

    The faculty are often guilty of jumping to negative conclusions without giving something new a chance, so if this is what happened, you aren’t alone. I admit that I, too, was dismayed when I read the Wesleying piece, not because of hte muck raking, but because I *trust* you guys to tell it like it is and I was disappointed in advance. That said, I think all of us who blog, self included, can sometimes take a first impression and give it more credence than we should, so Noa’s remarks should probably be read widely.

    So don’t stop trying Wesleying. This blog is great, and if the new food service meets some of our hopes, that’ll be great too. Same with New President, who will come in with tons of expectations that he will not be able to fulfill either — but I bet he’s still going to be really good.

    And as to late night dining: when I was an undergrad at Oligarch U, late night dining was provided by students for students. Why don’t some of the frats/theme houses see what it would take to create simple food (sodas, wraps, burgers, ice cream, chips) between 10 and 2? Then students can price things reasonably, and keep the $$ in the student economy. Or give the money away to something worthy, like financial aid or refugee services.

    TR

  25. Anonymous

    I didn’t bother posting before, because I didn’t get involved with the whole argument and have people yell at me, but I think everything you said was perfect, Noa. Muckraking is not necessary. If the school year starts and Bon Apetit sucks, or they cut off workers, I’ll complain then… but for now, I’m hopeful and excited. Beautiful post.

  26. Anonymous

    I didn’t bother posting before, because I didn’t get involved with the whole argument and have people yell at me, but I think everything you said was perfect, Noa. Muckraking is not necessary. If the school year starts and Bon Apetit sucks, or they cut off workers, I’ll complain then… but for now, I’m hopeful and excited. Beautiful post.

  27. Anonymous

    not gonna lie, i thought bon appetit was gonna be a good thing when i first heard about it but then as soon as i read the wesleying article on it, it made me sad.i am lame and easily swayed.

  28. Anonymous

    not gonna lie, i thought bon appetit was gonna be a good thing when i first heard about it but then as soon as i read the wesleying article on it, it made me sad.

    i am lame and easily swayed.

  29. Anonymous

    I like their muckraking. At least it’s getting a response from someone And it’s funny. And it’s not delegitimizing anyone else’s concerns.

  30. Anonymous

    I like their muckraking. At least it’s getting a response from someone And it’s funny.

    And it’s not delegitimizing anyone else’s concerns.

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