National Lampoon Goes To English Wine Country

This story out of England plays like a bad National Lampoon movie, but it is instructive too, as well as funny.

First and foremost, who wants to go to college at Cambridge. Apparently for years it was the policy of the St. John's College Dining Hall that students were allowed a bottle of wine each at supper. Now how civilized is this? Damn civilized, if you ask me and very English.

century would do. They started a However, it appears by the change in policy that the find students of St. Johns were throwing back rather than tippling. Out of the blue the policy was changed to allow only two glasses of wine per person. I know! How barbarous. The students thoughts so too and did what any good English kid in the 21stFacebook group called, "St John's Has Banned Us Taking Wine
Hall". Not too catchy, but I think the point was made.

But here comes the Lampoonian twist. Apparently the Dean of St. Johns became part of the group under an assumed name ("Pedro Amigo—I swear)  to get the lowdown on what was being planned by the now more sober conspirators on Facebook.

Once discovered the Dean denied it. Then kinda denied it. Then justified the spying.

All over the reduction of wine drinking at the dining hall.

But never let it be said that the students of St. Johns College at Cambridge represent the best minds England has to lend to the future:

Rosanna Dawes, a second-year Classics student, said: "It must have been
the Dean because it was his email address. I wouldn't have minded if he had
used his real name but to use a false name is a bit stupid. I think
it is morally repugnant. They are saying that Facebook is a public space and
people are making public comments, but in fact most people see it as a
private place to express themselves and use it that way."

Ms. Dawes, the Classicist in training, believes there is some sort of expectation that a Facebook group is a private place into which no outlying eyes will or should wander. Hmmm.

Perhaps the retreat from a bottle at dinner to only two glasses per meal is a good idea. Nevertheless, there a below average comedy swimming around this story somewhere.

Posted In: Culture and Wine


5 Responses

  1. Phil - October 29, 2008

    It never ceases to amaze me how dumb some people (generally younger) can be about posting things to their facebook, myspace, etc. accounts. Newsflash: it isn’t exactly a private place . . .

  2. Dylan - October 29, 2008

    What Ms. Dawes (Okay, 3 seconds for your Batman Flashback, then back to business–Alright Done? Good.) exhibits is typical of “Digital Native” behavior. It’s the name those, who grew up with this stuff from a young age, are given by Market Researchers.
    It’s a classic generation rift for you to knock her belief that Facebook is supposed to be a private setting for self- expression. Obviously it’s public! Well, that just a matter of perception versus reality.
    Here’s the reality of their perception: I was involved in a recent social media campaign and THE MAJOR insight drawn from 13-24 year old Digital Natives across the board was privacy control. They want more of it. They want more ways to express themselves and more control over that expression. Insatiable group aren’t they?
    Lack of privacy was the reason there were declining numbers and a mass exodus of active profiles from MySpace to Facebook. They feel like they own this digital world, and for someone they consider an outsider (The Dean), to come in uninvited, more than that under a pen name (Which I love), why wouldn’t they be aghast by his rude digital behavior? To them it’s the equivalent of me walking in on one of your family dinners with a fake name tag.
    They know eyes will wander on Facebook, but they want control over those eyes, they don’t believe it’s right and they’re trying to set the rules.
    It seems like an odd thought, but imagine their perception. This is the generation worth coming to understand, as in 10-15 years they’ll be the ones packing the largest amounts of discretionary income.

  3. mydailywine - October 29, 2008

    Ok. Yes, obviously Facebook is a public space. But the Dean is suffering from the old school disease of inauthenticity by not just looking at the posts but actively participating under a false persona.
    The Dean should have engaged the group under his own name or not at all.
    Remind anyone of the Wholefoods chatroom debacle not long ago?

  4. Tom Wark - October 29, 2008

    It strikes me that a bunch of people are suffering from something over at St. Johns, including the Dean and those who figure they have some expectation of privacy on Facebook. Hey, at least they still have wine with supper.

  5. Eli W.K. - October 31, 2008

    Perhaps a low-brau romantic comedy where the dean meets someone on facebook while being shisty and has to play out his facebook persona
    while dating her. Lol, lots of that silly English running through doors being chased by different groups to silly music as well. I like it. The dean will learn many lessons about himself through the ordeal. At the end he could have a fun wine splashing fight with the students and tell the uptight faculty to wank off. HA!
    Hmmmm, maybe not.

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