Please don’t take this as an anti consumerist or capitalist diatribe. It isn’t. It is a realization that in a global market, we have been bought, packaged and stored.

Like the coffee, the Starbucks on campus leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I get it, though. I really do. Starbucks won the MSU’s financial auction for the space previously occupied by Williams. And I get it too that you like Starbucks and they’re just pandering to the student’s interest in promoting a supposedly high-quality brand.

But I ask if you’ve had Democracy coffee? Or what about Johnny’s? Café Domestique? My Dog Joe? Radius? There are hundreds of options in Hamilton and instead here we have a company telling us that we need to buy buy buy what everyone else is drinking.

It’s like a cult – we’re brainwashed while sipping our caffeinated Kool-Aid.

Maybe it’s the ebb of eventuality, though. We slurp our Venti Pumpkin Spice Latté drowning in cleverly crafted Taylor Swift-like pop-monstrosities with our soon-to-be paperweight iPhones while warming ourselves in American Eagles shirts and Hollister pants. This is the product of a global village – the sweet apex of human civilization where all can be equal because we are all equally advertised to.

But it is less of a village and more of a besieged four-by-four prison cell. We cannot escape. We are constantly barraged by what to think and what to say. Even what to drink – coffee – becomes an elect choice of status, and in the scrum of day-to-day, when we are trying to carve out who we are and what that means to us, we are sold our individuality by becoming a commodity ourselves.

But I don’t want to believe this. I think we can do better. I think we can be bold, like a coffee is supposed to be.

As students, we’re meant to deconstruct rather than conform. Challenging paradigms and forms are the spirit of education. Questions need to be asked, instead of blindly accepting what is being shoved down our throats. If we do not inquire, we become fodder for any charlatan who comes along and tells us that this is the new way to think.

In our case, we have an institution telling us that they sold out to the highest bidder in order to make a buck or two, and that the human right indiscretions are secondary to capital, and you’re just a bunch of students four years in the making, an amorphous blob of people whose indistinctness is solidified by corporate moulds. You are fungible. You are mutable. And you will change – look at these advertisements, look at this brand, and look at the world passing you by bit by bit by bit as we try to fit your square peg of an existence into this round hole of a lifestyle choice.

Maybe that’s dramatic, and maybe by placing Starbucks into the campus, the higher-ups are just trying to normalize us to the undead-existence beyond these walls where we drink over-priced coffee at such highfalutin establishments.

But when we are all the same, when we are spoonfed our likes and dislikes, and when we have no choice in the matter, I’d rather let the beans roast and the coffee go cold.


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