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viewpoint

New petition to ban porn on campus

| Wednesday, November 14, 2018

I’ll never forget walking in on my roommate freshman year. For some reason, he’d plugged his computer into the TV and was watching it on the big screen, hungry eyes glued to the flashing pictures in front of him, so that I had a full view of the video as I walked into the space. Yes, there was this degraded remnant of a gentleman, fully engrossed in an episode of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” My good friend sat salivating, drool dripping briskly as with bated breath his brain devoured these salacious images of some south-eastern brisket.

Clearly, food pornography has become a serious issue on this campus, putting the very souls of our students in jeopardy. Gluttony, indulgence and that mind-numbing lust for macaroni pizza, Oreo cupcakes and gallon-sized milkshakes have rattled the Notre Dame psyche, and very few (if any) Catholics have taken this into proper consideration. As WRAP week wrapped up, I had the chance to talk with plenty of people involved with Campus Ministry and the Knights of Columbus here on campus, and not one of them would even entertain that this debilitating disease exists.

And so the infection spreads, and festers. Late-night Taco Bell has become more than a merely tolerated practice in men’s residence halls — at this point, such indulgences are commonplace and have the full support of most hall staff, along with after-hour orders to Jimmy John’s and Domino’s. Not to mention Insomnia Cookies, the most diabolical invention of man since South’s biweekly burger night. Is it really unknown that modern man is most vulnerable to these temptations at night, after the draining toils of a long day? Our reliance on such snacks has even permeated our spirituality in ways many students now find integral and utterly acceptable, twisting the sacred into a tooth-dissolving sweetener. Don’t believe me? Then I’ll see you at Milkshake Mass this Thursday.

In our modern culture, there’s a notion that this is natural for men, that men have no choice and do this by some instinct that somehow justifies such slovenly behavior. I’m here to say no, that’s not who men were made to be and I’m not alone. Tens of hundreds of men, from Carroll to Dunne, are starting to see how destructive food porn really is, how it relegates meals to a purely aesthetic act of pleasure and how every taste starts to lose its flavor to the absurd fantasies of a perverted imagination. We’re passing around a petition to filter out food porn on the campus WiFi, doing our part to save students from their most base desires.

As a Catholic institution, it is our responsibility to reject the companies who want to promote immorality. It is our belief that whether ribs, pork shoulder or a burger the size of one’s head, a meal is more than just meat. There are levels of community built into a proper feast that are lacking if we degrade our meals in such a way, if we try and limit our dietary interactions to simple sensation. We here at Notre Dame fully believe that there is something special to our meals that makes them more than something we carelessly consume; meals have a plethora of intricacies and delicious surprises that make them more delicacy than fast-food, that deserve to be delighted in and listened to and to neglect all of these characteristics, for only the unhealthy is bad for both meal and man. Such immediate gratuity misses the actually lasting positives that meals are truly worth, and we believe that men do themselves and this world a disservice by ignoring such inherent value. Respect and decency, truly, are what separate us from the animals and love is the foundation of both.

So get a meal with friends, and put some veggies on your plate. Next time you think of turning to your phone or computer for the tantalizing images of a Bailey’s ice cream cheesecake, or some massive plate of nachos drenched in spicy cheese, take a step back and remember not to preemptively ruin the real joy a meal brings to the table.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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