November 8, 2007

Dear hunger strikers: eat me!

Hunger strikes are not ordinary forms of protest, like marches or sit-ins. Here's what the New York Times had to say on the subject a few years ago:

Politically motivated hunger strikes tend to occur in a very specific kind of society and at a very specific time: namely, in places with a long history of official repression, but where that repression has gradually begun to loosen. If it is the institutionalized nature of abuse that fuels the strikers to such extreme action, it is the cracks of liberalization that lead them to believe that such a course might shame the government into change -- and often they are right. Mahatma Gandhi's hunger strikes against British rule in India helped turn British public opinion and hastened Indian independence. Even the 1980-81 hunger strike by the Irish Republican Army -- abandoned after 10 men died -- could be considered a partial success in that it strengthened a perception of the Thatcher government as callous and swelled I.R.A. recruitment.

However, there is another common situation in which people will engage in hunger strikes: when they are forced to attend an elite American university. The latest hunger warriors are a group of Columbia students who are determined to put a stop to, well, everything bad ever. The entire statement and list of demands is a masterpiece of baroque liberal solipsism that must have taken six months to assemble using feminist process.

Everyone has their favorite parts. Here's mine: "We strike because we have inherited a world in which racist, gendered, and sexualized hierarchies dominate the way power flows. We strike because the administration consistently resists implementing structural changes that will allow us to challenge these hierarchies."

Yes, the world would be an egalitarian utopia if only the Columbia adminsitration would get out of students' way.

If you're looking to send the starving, anti-sexualized-hierarchies students a message of support, here's a picture for the e-card.


Posted by Daniel Radosh


Harvard students recently helped unionize University employees through a successful hunger strike. Campuses hate bad press. Students starving themselves is bad press. Using an effective tactic for one cause doesn't degrade other causes which it has been used for.

If they don't have specific viable demands at the outset, though, they are obviously unlikely to get specific results.

Finally, probably the only thing more irritating than people long out of college whining about the apathetic youth today is people long out of college whining about the engaged youth today.

I agree with Sam. Uh, Sam's point was that Rachael Ray is incredibly hot, right? I had trouble focusing due to the picture. Boy, would I like to challenge her hierarchically.

I suppose it would be inappropriate to make some joke about "two things in this picture that you would like to stuff." I say inappropriate because it's FHM, not Stuff.

Sam - the only thing more irritating than people long out of college whining about the engaged youth today is people in college whining about people long out of college whining about the engaged youth of today. So there!

Seriously, the problem with the Columbia strikers is not their engagement. As you say, Harvard students helped pulled off something significant, though they wouldn't have without organized unions. It's what they're engaged about. Fasting because your school doesn't have an ethnic studies department -- and believing that the absence of an ethnic studies department is a major cause of racism in society -- trivializes the actions of the Harvard students, not to mention Ghandi.

Fair enough. I guess my big question would by whether they attempted to use any other tactics before this. Jumping immediately to a hunger strike before, I don't know, sending the President an email about an ethnic studies department suggests that they were less interested in results than in media attention.

And again, it sounds like they made a serious miscalculation in not having some specific viable demands at the outset. It seems like they'll inevitably look like idiots whatever settlement is reached, or else just starve to death.

And Rachel Ray makes me want baste my ears with wet cement.

All the better to see her with, eh?

I'm terribly alarmed at the proximity of that bare shin to the hot edge of the oven door. A third-degree burn waiting to happen! That girl must not've been a Home Ec major.

Were she to burn herself, I would offer that human semen - mine, specifically - is rich with emollients that can soothe and heal the skin. The way Nature intended.

"I have found 2 things in this photo that after I have finished enjoying... I just want to lay down and sleep...

Post a comment

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2