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Snapshots: Cereal, medicalized personalities, academic dishonesty, and skip the tips

Curtailed commentary on current conditions: Cereal, medicalized personalities, academic dishonesty, and skip the tips.



Print Edition: October 23, 2013

Illustration by Anthony Biondi

Cereal – adults only!

Strolling down the narrow aisles of a store the other day in search of cereal, I noticed something interesting: the giant wall of cereal was further separated into sections.

Sugary cereals with brightly coloured marshmallow shapes, catchy names, and fun mascots are shelved under the label, “Kids Cereal” and the same varieties in larger boxes are “Family Cereal.” Farther down the aisle, smaller boxes of cereal with higher fibre content and less sugar are filed under “Adult Cereal.”

Really? So even cereal can be 18+ now? Will I have to show two pieces of ID to buy it?

It’s no secret that sugar-filled cereal is designed to entice (and addict) children. That’s where the fun shapes and happy leprechauns come in. But I think what disturbs me is that this takes the next step: not only are these cereals marketed to children, they are categorized as what children are “supposed” to eat.

Healthy cereal, like spinach and broccoli, is just for grown-ups.


Illustration by Anthony Biondi

Don’t medicalize personality 

Ritalin and Adderall are the new cocaine. Vicodin and Percocet are the new heroin. We need a fix. The drug companies are happy to rationalize one for us. And if you can’t get your hands on the good stuff, you can always get your hands on the green stuff. Support your local grower! We treat drugs like a health supplement or economic duty.

We always need to fix something about ourselves. We take pills for symptoms of anxiety, paranoia, and loneliness. But we are not sick. We are canaries in a coal mine, huffing the fumes from pharmaceutical and tech companies that want to make us sick to sell us a cure.

I’m not against drugs, but I’m against using drugs to fix people’s souls. Drug-taking is nothing more than a vacation from reality. Sure, sometimes you need a getaway, but let’s not kid ourselves. Long gone are the days of Aldous Huxley’s LSD exploration. We take drugs today to forget who we are: human beings. If we don’t move away from our zombie obsession for the next fix, we will never be free.



Editing is academic dishonesty

The other day, I talked to someone looking for a tutor. What did he want help with?

“An essay,” he said.

Turns out he didn’t just want a tutor. He wanted someone to help him come up with an essay topic, connect the ideas, proofread, polish it up – all but write the damn thing.

He insisted that there are no rules against having your paper edited, that it’s a form of tutoring.

I looked it up, and the university’s rules are pretty specific about getting someone else to do your work for you – but, as he pointed out, the administration doesn’t seem to mind the dozens of posters around campus that advertise writing and editing services for student papers.

Helping someone with their work isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but correcting or co-writing an assignment that someone else will be graded for is obviously not cool. With written assignments, where does editing stop and academic dishonesty begin? And why doesn’t administration look more closely at the services that are being advertised all over their school?


Illustration by Anthony Biondi

Skip the tip, not the bill

Within the past week, I’ve heard rumours about some undesirable goings-on in AfterMath; apparently people have been walking out of the restaurant before paying for their meal.

If you are going to order something—and eat it—you should have to pay for it. Yes, AfterMath’s service can be slow; and yes, some of the staff can be forgetful, but those are not justifiable reasons for sticking your waiter or waitress with the bill.

I have experienced the frustration of having to leave and struggling to get my bill, and I know how exasperating it can be. But the servers are students just like the rest of us, so we should be able to understand, at least sympathize.

There is no justifiable reason to walk out of a restaurant without paying the bill, even if it is a student-run facility.

The next time you visit AfterMath, if you don’t enjoy yourself, you don’t have to tip, but at least settle up.


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