Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Trying desperately not to cross the line between making fun of law school and making fun of war, which I'm really not trying to do, since war is a lot more real and scary and serious than law school is.

"Free Cookies"

The Dean wrote in an e-mail: "Alternatively, you may feel that you would benefit from being in a relatively quiet place without the intrusion of news media. For this purpose, we will make available the south end of the Harkness dining room. We will have coffee and snacks (donuts, cookies) available during the day, free of charge, at times when meals are not being served."

Free coffee, cookies and donuts? Good intentions, and not that I'm against free food, but what does it have to do with the war? And, if the Hark is actually making the cookies and donuts, isn't the war punishment enough? And wouldn't the cookies be better used as weapons - biological warfare; one cookie can kill thousands; harder than plutonium; can crack windows and teeth alike.

My first thought was that if they start out giving us cookies and donuts, will the food get better if the war gets worse? The first sign of ground troops and we're upgraded to sandwiches. Tanks mean turkey and cranberry sauce. Bombing raids mean it's time for a lobster bake.

I find it hard to imagine the meeting that led to the cookies-and-donuts decision. Were there other options on the table? "It looks like we're about to go to war. What should we do? Should we suspend classes? Have an assembly? Simulcast CNN across campus?" "How about cookies." "Huh?" "Not just cookies. Donuts too." "Great idea... but what will they have to drink??" "Ooh, nice catch there, associate dean for student beverage enjoyment. We'll give them coffee too." "Sounds like a plan. Now let's get back to making course selection a more complicated and drawn-out -- and less automated -- process."

My biggest question concerns the donuts. Donuts are fried in oil. Oil comes from the Middle East. Are we using Iraqi oil to fry the donuts? Is it all a secret ploy to support the opposition? Is the oil we fry donuts in even the same thing as the oil we use to make gasoline? This seems like such a basic question, but I really don't have any idea. I find it hard to imagine that it's vegetable oil that we pump out of the ground, but I'd believe you if you told me it was, as long as you seemed like you knew what you were talking about.

I went to find some of the free cookies this afternoon - thinking about the war made me hungry. But there weren't any. The sign on the door read, "The Reflection Room" and listed its hours - 7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m." Aside from wondering what they expect us to do late at night when we're craving a Boston Crème, I found it hard to believe that someone took the time to name the room. "The Reflection Room?" It sounds like that weird spot in the middle of every art museum, with a fountain, a pile of rocks, and a Yanni CD playing in the background. This is the freaking cafeteria. "The Reflection Room" smells like roast beef and looks out over the Gropius Complex dormitories. What kind of deep reflection can I do while staring at salt and pepper shakers and a pile of napkins?

I know the intentions are good. There's nothing the administration can actually do about the war - except perhaps fund it, given the size of Harvard's endowment - so anything they try and do is going to seem silly and insignificant. Coffee and cookies and donuts don't make any sense, but at least they're trying. Like MTV News. I turned on MTV last night to watch Sorority Life and Fraternity Life - don't criticize me for my TV preferences, please (but do give Everwood, Monday nights on the WB, a fair chance. It's good stuff.) - and they were pre-empted for war coverage. On MTV? What is the audience of people who are watching MTV for news? It's not like if they want to watch news about the war, they don't have just a few other choices. "Well, the words they were using on MSNBC were just a little too big for me to understand, so I switched to MTV News, where not only can I watch Uncle Kracker telling me all about missile defense, but I can hear President Bush's news conference with J-Lo's latest single playing in the background. Split screen. Baghdad on the left, Madonna on the right. Scrolling ticker: "Turkey allows United States to use its airspace... Vanessa Carlton releases latest single... Hussein hiding in bunker... O-Town gets haircut."

I know the war is serious stuff, and I don't mean to joke about it. It's scary, it's uncertain, our military is filled with courageous and honorable people risking their lives for a greater good. I have unlimited respect. We're relatively safe here in law school. They're the ones who deserve the free cookies.