Grad Student Deconstructs Take-Out Menu

Top Headlines

Food

Outback

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Man Proud Of Food He Ordered

DEDHAM, MA—Noting how the man grinned with satisfaction after his Buffalo Chicken Ranch sandwich with a side of spiced panko onion rings arrived at his table, sources at Chili’s Grill & Bar confirmed Tuesday that local diner Matt Schoesse ...

Café Adds Heartbreaking Little Lunch Menu

EUGENE, OR—Noting the new food items in a small boxed-off corner of the overhead chalkboard, patrons at local coffee shop Fairmount Java told reporters Monday that the café had apparently added a heartbreaking little lunch menu.

How Michelin Rates Restaurants

For decades, the French company Michelin has published a restaurant guide that rates restaurants on a scale of one to three stars, giving them a coveted Michelin star status.

People Apparently Been Using Rest Stop Barbecue Pit

GREENVILLE, SC—Scrutinizing the ashes of charcoal briquettes inside the weathered firebox, motorist Matt Palmeri reportedly deduced Thursday that people traveling southbound along Interstate 85 have apparently been using the rest stop’s barbec...

Man Who Stopped Dieting Already Seeing Results

MIDDLETOWN, KY—Noting that his new look had really turned heads among friends and family, local man Steven Jensen told reporters Wednesday that he had recently stopped dieting and had already started to see results.

Fast Food Customers Less Appealing Than In Commercial

GREENVILLE, SC—Expressing his disappointment shortly after sitting down for lunch at a local franchise location Wednesday, area man Peter Strauss told reporters that the customers at Burger King were actually far less appealing in real life than the...

Restaurant Gives Totally Unwanted Twist To Mexican Cuisine

BERKELEY, CA—Claiming that the eatery was already generating a buzz among locals with its “East Meets Mex” flavors, owners of the Bento Burrito location on Shattuck Avenue explained to reporters Tuesday how their new restaurant offers a ...

Scout Returns With News Of Quicker Checkout Line To The East

SALINAS, CA—After venturing forth into the vast, unexplored territory beyond the battery display, a scout is said to have returned from the farthest reaches of the Safeway cashier lanes with word of a quicker checkout line to the east, sources confi...

Cake Left Out In Break Room With No Instructions

MINNEAPOLIS—Leaving dozens of workers unsure as to whether they were permitted to consume the enticing dessert, sources at the offices of Highwood Insurance told reporters Wednesday that a cake had been left out in the break room without any instruc...

Local Oaf Not Sure What Part Of Counter You Order At

FAYETTEVILLE, NC—Appearing visibly confused as he scanned back and forth from one side of the establishment to the other, a local oaf was reportedly unsure which part of the Hilltop Deli counter he was supposed to place his order at Tuesday.

Lunch Barely Misses Area Man’s Vital Organs

CHICAGO—In what doctors are calling nothing short of a miracle, local man Jared Fox narrowly averted catastrophe Wednesday when the bacon cheeseburger he ate for lunch managed to pass through his body without hitting any life-sustaining organs.

Middle-Aged Man Having Best Snacks Of His Life

MORTON, MN—Marveling at the increases in both quality and satisfaction that have come with decades of experience, local 51-year-old Doug Kearns told reporters Tuesday that he has lately been having the best snacks of his life.

The Pros And Cons Of Going Vegetarian

While the vast majority of Americans are meat eaters, USDA statistics show that a growing number of Americans are becoming vegetarians and vegans to adopt healthier diets, ensure food safety, and practice ethical eating habits.

Man Regrets Straying From Sour Cream And Onion Potato Chips

COVINGTON, KY—Expressing a deep sense of regret regarding his decision to take a chance on jalapeño, local 36-year-old Mike Willhite told reporters Wednesday that he now sees all too clearly his folly in straying from his beloved sour cream a...

FDA Recalls Food

WASHINGTON—Saying it was vitally important that citizens avoid consuming any of the affected items, the U.S.

Male Gaze Falls On Buffalo Chicken Bites

BINGHAMTON, NY—Patrons at Thirsty’s Tavern and Grill confirmed Monday that the objectifying male gaze has fallen upon a $6.95 plate of buffalo chicken bites, resulting in the menu item being treated as if it serves no purpose beyond providing ...

Man Feeling Guilty About Chowing Down At 9/11 Museum Café

NEW YORK—Eagerly digging into a Southwest chicken wrap after touring the site for two hours this morning, Michael Frydland admitted to reporters that he felt a little guilty about totally pigging out at the National September 11 Memorial & Museu...

Takeout Bag Feels Light

OAKLAND, CA—Moments after picking up his carryout order from local restaurant Hunan Palace Monday evening, area man Alden Welch, 31, reportedly experienced a sharp sense of unease upon noticing his takeout bag felt unusually light. Unable to effecti...

Determined Restaurant Patrons Tough It Out On Chilly Patio

CHICAGO—Steeling themselves against the occasional breeze and the cold of the wrought iron table and chairs against their skin, a group of determined restaurant-goers reportedly braved the slightly chilly temperature Thursday and dined on the outdoo...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Preparedness

  • Doctors Recommend Getting 8 Centuries Of Cryosleep

    STANFORD, CA—Claiming that the practice is essential for effectively recharging the body and waking fully rested and alert, doctors at Stanford University issued a report Monday emphasizing the importance of getting at least eight centuries of atomi...

Business

Coworkers Pull Off Daring One-Hour Lunch Break

TUCSON, AZ—Saying they couldn’t believe such a wild exploit had even been attempted, employees at local marketing firm Synergy Media Services told reporters they were still completely dumbfounded Thursday after account manager Tim Gibbons managed to pull off a daring one-hour lunch break.

Food

Outback

Grad Student Deconstructs Take-Out Menu

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Jon Rosenblatt, 27, a Harvard University English graduate student specializing in modern and postmodern critical theory, deconstructed the take-out menu of a local Mexican restaurant "out of sheer force of habit" Monday.

Jon Rosenblatt with the menu in question.

"What's wrong with me?" Rosenblatt asked fellow graduate student Amanda Kiefer following the incident. "Am I completely losing my mind? I just wanted to order some food from Burrito Bandito. Next thing I know, I'm analyzing the menu's content as a text, or 'text,' subjecting it to a rigorous critical reevaluation informed by Derrida, De Man, etc., as a construct, or 'construct,' made up of multi-varied and, in fact, often self-contradictory messages, or 'meanings,' derived from the cultural signifiers evoked by the menu, or 'menu,' and the resultant assumptions within not only the mind of the menu's 'authors' and 'readers,' but also within the larger context of our current postmodern media environment. Man, I've got to finish my dissertation before I end up in a rubber room."

At approximately 2 a.m., Rosenblatt was finishing a particularly difficult course-pack reading on the impact of feminism, post-feminism, and current 'queer' theory on received notions of gender and sexual preference/identity. Realizing he hadn't eaten since lunch, the Ph.D candidate picked up the Burrito Bandito menu. Before he could decide on an order, he instinctively reduced the flyer to a set of shifting, mutable interpretations informed by the set of ideological biases—cultural, racial, economic, and political—that infect all ethnographic and commercial "histories."

"Seeing this long list of traditional Mexican foods—burritos, tacos, tamales—with a price attached to each caused me to reflect on the means by which capitalist society consumes and subsumes ethnicity, turning tradition into mass-marketable 'product' bleached of its original 'authentic' identity," Rosenblatt said. "And yet, it is still marketed and sold by the dominant power structure in society as 'authentic' experience, informed by racist myths and projections of 'otherness' onto the blank canvas of the alien culture."

Added Rosenblatt: "Then, of course, I realized that this statement was problematically narrow, since I was assigning an inherent 'actual' meaning to the Ethnicity Content of the take-out menu. Which was, in itself, contradictory to one of the primary theses of deconstruction, i.e., that it's impossible for an 'impartially' observing arbiter to establish any ultimate or secure meaning in a text. I'd just begun to make a mental note of the cartoon anthropomorphic burrito on the front of the menu as a signifier of such arbitrary 'otherness' when I yelled, 'What the hell am I doing?'"

Rosenblatt's inadvertent outburst nearly led to an altercation.

Rosenblatt's analysis of the Burrito Bandito menu.

"I totally woke up my neighbor in the room across the hall," Rosenblatt said. "He looked like he might hit me, so I tried reasoning with him, but it came out all wrong. Instead, I found myself saying that the multiplicities and contingencies of human experience necessarily pose a threat to the tendency of any arbitrary power or 'authority' to dictate oppressive hierarchical social structures or centralize power. Ergo, any attempt to establish hierarchies and centralized power according to arbitrary dichotomies of 'right' and 'wrong' behaviors was therefore not only morally and philosophically, but also politically problematic, and, in fact, oppressive. Man, did that ever not work."

According to friends, Rosenblatt has been under a great deal of stress in recent months due to the financial strain of student-loan debts, his part-time tutoring job, and a heavy academic courseload.

"Lacking proper sleep and struggling to keep up in the intensely competitive crucible that is Harvard grad school, Jon is starting to lose it," said roommate Rob Carroll, 26. "He has become so steeped in the complex jargon of critical theory that he's unable to resist the urge to deconstruct even the most mundane things."

This is not his first time Rosenblatt has deconstructed a random item out of habit.

"The other day, we passed a bus stop with a poster for Disney's The Country Bears," said friend Karen Pilson, 26. "I heard him mumble something about the incorporation of previously received notions concerning wildlife and our ecological environment into a reassuring, behavior-validating consumer commodity in the form of aggressively infantilized computer-animated pseudohumans that talk and play country music. Before I even had a chance to react, he went off the deep end and started throwing out terms like 'prenotional,' 'prolegomena,' 'gynocritical,' and 'logocentrism.' I was just stunned."

Added Pilson: "I told him he was worrying me and recommended a good psychiatrist. Bad move, because that prompted him to launch into a whole discussion of Foucault's 'Male Gaze' as it applies to mother/child pair-bonding in Lacanian psychoanalysis."

In spite of his friends' concern, Rosenblatt seems unable to restrain his reflexive impulse to deconstruct.

"I can't help it," Rosenblatt said. "Even when I close my eyes at night, I feel myself deconstructing things in my dreams—random stuff like that two-hour Dukes Of Hazzard reunion special or the Andy Warhol postage stamp or commercials for that new squeezable gel deodorant. I'd say I'm going crazy, but that presupposes an artificial barrier between societally preexisting concepts of 'sanity' and 'insanity' which themselves represent another false dichotomy maintained for the preservation of certain entrenched elements of the status quo and... Oh, God. I'm doing it again."

Rosenblatt is considering taking a leave of absence from his graduate studies to spend several months living in his mother's basement in Elmira, NY.

Asked for comment, Professor Derek Nystrom of Skidmore College, an expert on deconstructivist thought, said that the Burrito Bandito take-out menu is open to many interpretations.

"The menu can be viewed an infinite number of ways, depending on viewer perspective," Nystrom said. "None of these differing views would be any more or less 'correct.' However, the menu's Pancho Villa-style burrito caricature, complete with bandoliers, six-guns, gaucho moustache, and sombrero, would be considered problematic by most scholars."

Added Nystrom: "To paraphrase: 'What is a take-out menu not, anyway? Everything, of course. What is a take-out menu? Nothing, of course.'"