“The past was alterable. It could always be altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” –George Orwell, 1984
I was eating peaceably at William & Mary’s Sadler Dining Hall when I looked up to see the comments written on the television depicted in this article’s cover photo. As you may or may not know, dear readers, the dining service at Sadler, operated by Sodexo™ (all rights reserved), offers its diners the ability to send feedback to it in a sort of critical review / Q&A format. Students can submit their thoughts on food and customer service, potentially offering suggestions on their improvement.
It did not take me long to understand the writing on the wall (in this case a television). William & Mary is showing early signs of becoming a police state. Before you call me out as crazy, there is precedent for this. The feedback on the television read, “the good today was on point, keep it up! :-)” I am not one to judge or criticize the food at the Sadler Center: some days I like it, some days I don’t. However, I was particularly taken aback by this comment.
It showed great signs of political manipulation and distortion. The message appeared to be complementing the “food” at Sadler, yet it did not use the word “food,” it used the word “good.” The very concept of benevolence and positivity was equated with the meals served at the Sadler Center. This Sadler propaganda is intended to reshape the way students of the College think. If “food” equals “good,” there is no way “food” can equal “bad.” Think about it.
In carefully analyzing this message (I am using methods of “close reading” learned in my Interpreting Literature class), you also get the sense that whoever has posted this message is attempting to appeal to W&M students by imitating our speech patterns. The food was not merely tasty, it was “on point.” The use of an emoticon, or emoji “:-)” appeals to us smartphone users and also essentially dictates to us how we should feel about the message. We are being taught how to think and how to feel. The message itself is also repeated numerous times word-for-word on the television, implying that this idea is not merely an outlier, but a consensus.
We must stay vigilant as William & Mary students and attempt to resist the oncoming storm of propaganda and other measures taken to transform our beloved college into a police state and us into its willing collaborators. Be careful, dear readers, and resist such things. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be taking my leave now to go get some good to eat at Marketplace Dining Hall. I’m sure it’ll be on point.