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My hot takes

| Monday, April 27, 2020

The Viewpoint section of The Observer is known for its ability to spark discussion throughout the tri-campus community and in rare cases, even through random spheres of the Internet. I’ve worked at The Observer for over three years, and in that time, I have read many letters and columns which debate some of the most pressing political and social issues of our time. Some of these pieces have garnered intense backlash, sparking weeks of responses — and no, I am absolutely not going to link the letter you’re thinking of right now. 

Yes, Viewpoint creates campus discourse and specializes in hot takes. But I’m about to top them all by sharing my most controversial opinions about food, music and more. My family and friends have been berating me about these stances for years, and I’ve finally run out of Inside Column ideas. A match made in heaven (or hell, depending on how you look at it).

If you need a new family argument to spice up your dinner conversation, I invite you to discuss one of these or dig into your own consciousness to take a stand on something ridiculous. We all need a break from discussing current events right now. 

I don’t like lasagna. 

I’ve hated lasagna since the first time I ever tried it as a kid. My mom told me for years I would grow out of it, just like she said I would grow out of my awkward phase. Well, guess what? My awkward phase is now a permanent part of my personality, and I still don’t like lasagna. Life comes at you fast. 

My hatred for this classic Italian dish is somewhat inexplicable. Even I have a hard time explaining why I don’t like lasagna, as I like all the components individually — pasta, sauce, cheese, vegetables or meat. But when put together in layered casserole form, it doesn’t work for me. This take doesn’t make sense, and therefore, I’m not going to justify it. I’ve only met a few people who stand in solidarity with me on this subject, so if you do, too, I see you. And to those who consider lasagna their specialty, I have nothing but respect for you and your culinary skills. It’s not you, it’s me. 

The Barenaked Ladies are good.

I grew up with Canadian rock band The Barenaked Ladies — or BNL, as they are known to some fans — because my parents used to play their albums while hauling me and my siblings around in our minivan. I wasn’t aware that being a BNL fan was a hot take until my friends started roasting me when I got to college. 

The Barenaked Ladies get a bad rap. Yes, they sang the theme song for “The Big Bang Theory,” a show I definitely didn’t watch for at least seven full seasons, and also “One Week,” an unmistakable earworm of the aughts. But as with so many artists, if you dig beyond the surface, you’ll find some truly great bops. I would highly recommend listening to their first album, “Gordon,” front to back — it’s one of my favorite albums of all time. Some bonus singles include “The Old Apartment,” “Too Little Too Late” and “Shoebox.” While perfect for any occasion, these tunes are best enjoyed on a road trip, with a Coke and cherry-flavored Icee for maximum nostalgia. 

‘High School Musical’ is the greatest movie ever made.

In my first-ever college class as a nervous freshman, I had to give the now-infamous Notre Dame introduction with the addition of my favorite movie as an icebreaker. In my desperation to remember my own name (and the complicated explanation that comes with saying you’re in the Gateway Program), I forgot every movie ever made except “High School Musical,” and since that day, I have embraced my stance as an unapologetic HSM stan.

Still, as I recently rewatched this movie, I’m convinced that my stance has moved from ironic to literal enthusiasm for HSM’s merits as the most groundbreaking film of all time. A stellar soundtrack? Check. Memorable (and meme-able) lines? Check. Inspired two more movies that are also quite good? Check. Troy Bolton, a heartthrob for the ages? Check. Tell me how “High School Musical” is any different from “The Godfather.” 

Blue raspberry and grape-flavored candies should be outlawed. 

This was, by far, the most heated and oft-discussed topic among some of my friends from high school. This is the only time I’ll ever talk about philosophy, but I do oppose the existence of blue raspberry on a philosophical level. As we all know, there are red raspberries and black raspberries, but you’ll never be able to find a blue raspberry in the wild. Indeed, blue raspberries are as real as “zero gravity” or “birds.” 

I understand why blue raspberry flavoring was created to stand apart in color from strawberry, cherry and watermelon, but that doesn’t mean I’m OK with it. Call it blueberry instead of creating a new flavor — that’s so much extra work anyway! On a much simpler note, anything grape-flavored tastes like the chewable aspirin my mom used to make me take when I got headaches before I could swallow pills. To this day, even the sight of a grape lollipop can make me gag. 

Jolly Ranchers serve as the perfect microcosm for me to showcase what I feel are the best candy flavors. This list is, in fact, definitive, absolute and unassailable. From best to worst, the order is this: green apple, cherry, watermelon, blue raspberry and grape. Taste is more important to me than philosophy, ultimately. 

If you don’t agree with me, all of this is (kind of) a joke. But I invite (actually, implore) you to email me your opposing stance. I miss normal human interaction and would love to discuss anything with anyone. Plus, my family is tired of hearing me wax poetic about the merits of Disney Channel original movies.

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

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About Claire Rafford

Claire is a senior from Tempe, Arizona majoring in English and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy and Business-Economics. She peaked when her team won the Battle of the Books state championship in 2011.

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