Ask Moe and Jim

Dear Moe and Jim,

I’m not a music snob. I just happen to know the difference between good music and the rest of the crap out there. Is it so wrong then to automatically judge people based on their music preferences? I don’t think so, and I do it all the time. If I find out you listen to the Fray and Dave Matthews Band, right away I can tell you are a bore who lacks creativity. Should I try to stop judging based on music, or does it have any validity?

Music Judge

Dear Judge,

You are not only justified, but even obligated to judge someone based on his/her musical tastes. Music represents the complete scope of human emotion and is thus a sure-fire indication of whether or not somebody is worth your time. Who else, if not boring people, would listen to boring music? You are completely correct to assume that fans of DMB, the Fray, etc. (and the list goes on and on) are negligible people, whereas a fan of say, Led Zeppelin, is without doubt interesting, intelligent and good-looking. Did I mention that I love Led Zeppelin? Judge on, my music-loving comrade.

Moe

Dear Judge,

Generalizations can be helpful in certain aspects of life when you don’t have the time to examine all that comes before you in detail, but they should never be used against people. Criteria form stereotypes, which we all know pave a morally dangerous road. You are not only objectifying people by turning them into the music they listen to, you are judging them on the quality of that music against your own beliefs. Thus, the people you encounter are twice removed from their individual humanity.

Jim

Dear Moe and Jim,

I say there is a hazy line between when stealing is okay, and when it is wrong, but my friend thinks it is always wrong. For instance, I don’t hesitate for a millisecond before walking back into Paresky and picking up a dessert after I swiped for my meal. I would pick up a scarf that broke off a headband at Wal-Mart and take it home with me, but I would never shoplift something in good condition that the store could feasibly sell. Am I completely wrong and immoral like my friend claims?

Small time crook

Dear Crook,

I am totally on your side here. Let us consider, for instance, literature’s most lovable thief, Robin Hood. We can’t help but sympathize with Robin Hood, because those from whom he steals deserve to be stolen from. When considering theft, ask yourself – is the victim of my theft a thief himself? Don’t feel bad about stealing from Wal-Mart, because their whole success is a result of day-to-day thievery from the American (and increasingly global) public, not to mention other practices that would make Satan himself shudder.

Moe

Dear Crook,

The petty theft you mention is always wrong, since you are taking for your own benefit at the expense of someone else. Will it hurt the school’s two billion dollar endowment to take an extra slice of pie? No, probably not. Fact is – it is not morally defensible. However, it is your choice to overrule whatever uncertainties you or your friend may have. But another thing to consider, you may abstractly be stealing from the evil empire of Williams or Wal-Mart, but you don’t actually face the entity of Williams; you face dining services. They have their own budget and their own integrity as people.

Jim

Dear Moe and Jim,

I am not happy with the OCC Brunch setups. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating a free gourmet brunch, and that’s why I go. But I get there, fill my three plates with deliciousness, and finish my whole meal before the speakers begin talking. Then I sit there growing angrier and angrier listening to the speakers while the brunch food has been banned from me. I go for the food. I don’t want to stay for the presentation. Do you think it would be all right for me to leave before the speakers present but after I ate my fill?

Eat and run

Dear Runner,

I think you should appreciate the many troubles that the OCC takes to provide you with such an opportunity. When attending such a brunch, you should eat in moderation, as a sign of humility, and be prepared to listen quietly for upwards of two hours about how other people managed to make ridiculous amounts of money. Psyche! You should stuff your stomach, stuff your pockets and get the hell out of dodge! Let me tell you, there is no greater satisfaction that gluttony at the expense of those who are going out of their way to secure a lucrative future for you.

Moe

Dear Runner,

No, I think it would be very difficult for you to justify eating and running. The brunch is an exchange. They give you food, and you give them your attention. You’re trying to steal the food for free (I refer you to the above on this). If you want to say the attention is also supposed to be for your benefit, thus it’s you choice to surrender it, think of it as – they give you food, you give them respect.

Jim

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