I majored in English in college. Like anyone who wants to read and write for a paycheck, my head was in a book during the day and in a bucket of Yuengling at night. One time, while working on a paper, I remember reading a quote from some great literary criticism scholar who said something along the lines of this: “The things about metaphors is this: Sometimes there is no metaphor.” Maybe it was Hemingway. I can’t remember.
The quote sticks as a reminder that sometimes you look like a fucking moron when you overthink and look too deeply into things. That quote absolutely applies in the case of this Letter To The Editor published in Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern. It was penned by Clayton Sharb, who must have just taken his first Intro to Sociology class and believes the line at Chipotle is a metaphor for inequality in America. That’s silly, so let’s dissect his argument and all have a laugh together:
Many of you reading this have stood in line at Chipotle Mexican Grill. We know that its lines are notably long and somewhat intimidating. But how can these long lines act as such vivid metaphors for the state of inequality in our “equal opportunity” American society?
The people at the front of the line who are close to getting, or have their burrito already, get cold when the doors are opened and a breeze rolls in. The breeze rolls in because the line stretches out the door and some waiting for a burrito in the back of the line are forced to stand outside.
The problems here are that because the line is so long, both the front of the line gets chilly from the breeze that rolls in, and the people in the back of the line are the front lines against the cold, suffering even more than the front of the line.
The front of the line now has two routes of action that could remedy this problem: First, it could scrunch closer together in the front and encourage the middle to follow suit, making room for everyone to stand indoors but losing a small amount of its respective personal space; second, the front of the line could continue to stand in front with no thought of adapting for the benefit of the whole line, because they are already being served or will be served imminently.
Only the first route of action would address the problem of the whole as well as the front’s vested interest to stop being cold from the incoming breeze.
This is me after reading Sharb’s garble of faux-sociology word salad:
Obviously in this micro-example, you can see the very front of the line where you receive a burrito represents success in America by acceptable means, or as some would call it, the “American Dream.” The relative front of the line represents the American elite, economically and socially. The back of the line represents low-income Americans struggling just to get out of the cold, where the inconceivable “American Dream” is the least of their worries. Everyone else in this line represents the American middle class.
Did you read that correctly, Bros? Your burrito at Chipotle symbolizes the same thing as the green light in The Great Gatsby. Except the burrito is something you actually obtain when your hard earned money, which means Mr. Sharb’s reasoning is guilty of a couple logical fallacies, as well as being just a generally shitty analogy.
This hypothetical situation in the line at Chipotle gives all the power to the front of the line to be as positively influential or as nonchalant toward societal headway as they want. The middle of the line has limited but burdensome choices, and the back of the line is left at the mercy of the rest, simply present, but in no way a player.
It is worth noting that the difference between a Chipotle line and real American class mobility is that in the Chipotle line, it is abundantly easier to move in the desired direction. Unfortunately, other than that key difference, this situation mirrors American society quite well.
So next time you are in line for your burrito, remember that a lot of micros can make a macro, and everyone wants a burrito.
Dude… The back of the line eventually gets to the front, crushes that $9 carnitas burrito bowl, and leaves happy. Whatever the fuck point you are trying to argue was lost after you pretended like you were the second coming of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hunter S. Thompson and you made this about “the American Dream.” Clearly you’ve watched “the wave” speech in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas too many times.
Maybe take a rhetoric class on arguing your point at Ohio State. Also: Lay off the drugs. Until then, stay out of law school, because what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
If you guys think he has a point, you’re more than welcome to express it in the comments.
[H/T: Jack on Twitter]