What Your Favorite Stanford Eatery Says About Your Fringe Political Ideology

CoHo – Democratic Socialism

You fell in love with this place early on and never left. You enjoy long-winded but hopelessly idealistic political conversations with friends over cups of coffee and you even get some work done once in a while. Last week you started learning Swedish on Duolingo for the third time. Jack Kerouac is your guilty pleasure, and you pretend to appreciate the free-form sound at jazz night. Some people online have written articles criticizing this place, but you don’t pay much attention to that.

Coupa Cafe – Lifestyle anarchism

Anyone looking at your Instagram would think you’re living the aesthetic student lifestyle, but let’s be honest: you’re not actually here to get anything done, are you? You walked here in your Doc Martens boots, ordered a medium chai latte (the coffee is stronger at CoHo, anyway), and sat down to write an essay about some guy named Bookchin who you haven’t even Googled. Every time you’re about to commit to doing work, you find yourself losing focus. Maybe if you write a self-aware Facebook post you’ll feel better.

Arrillaga Family Dining Commons / Lakeside Dining – Neoliberal Capitalism*

The only thing you love more than celebrating foods from every culture is keeping costs low with union busting and precarious at-will contracts. You’re here mostly out of convenience in timing and location. You personally think that the sushi tastes better with mayonnaise, despite the horrified looks from international students. All of this is to say, you’re here because you had the same “brilliant” idea as countless hungry students before you. Have some chicken: it’s tasteless and uncultured, just like you. (Come back later for Late Night, where your sleeping schedule will sync up with the dining workers who have to commute two hours back home, starting at 2:30 AM. Yay, “woke” capitalism!)

The Axe and Palm – “Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative”*

You didn’t put much thought into this, did you? You’re just here because your CS/ECON study group meets here, and you decided to roll with it. Or maybe you put in the thought and decided it really is your favorite place to eat. Either way, if you say it out loud in conversation you’re still going to get that look. Shrug it off, though. You know it’s not the “healthy” option, and you’re probably going to hate yourself for it when you’re 60, but you’re in college, so who cares?

Decadence – Egoist Anarchism

Life is simple. You do what makes you feel good, and everyone who doesn’t is just kidding themselves. Lots of people don’t even realize this is an option until it’s pointed out. Most people don’t even realize this place exists. Your politics are like the delicious macarons: pure enjoyment, little nutritional content. It’s hedonism in a pretty wrapper.

Panda Express – White Maoism™

You know, deep down, that this isn’t authentic Chinese. It’s a reflection of what was originally intended as seen in the funhouse mirror of American branding. You feel a vague sense of superiority when you use chopsticks instead of a fork or when you accuse your professors of reformism. You claim that you love Chinese culture, but the only book you’ve read by a Chinese author is The Art of War. What’s a “self-crit”?

Business School Cafe – Randian Anarcho-capitalism

You’re surrounded by head-in-the-clouds idealists. It’s not just the naïve humanities students always going on about meaning. It’s also the obnoxious STEM majors who think the Hyperloops will take them to Mars or something. You’re concerned with the only important thing there is: profit. You have a world-changing startup idea that has to do with blockchain. All you need to do now is find a STEM major to build it while you handle the business side.

Bytes Cafe – Transhumanist Accelerationism

You haven’t slept in two days, and when you do sleep, you dream in code. You’re really into MIRI. Like, weirdly into it. Humanities students never like what you have to say about their subjects, and you always have something to say about them. Whatever. You’ll outlive all these meatbags once you successfully upload your mind into a digital computer, but until then you’ll just keep spending most of your time arguing with people on Twitter about exponential rate changes and whatever Deep Mind just came up with. The food isn’t that great, but you just eat to keep your mental computer running.

Law School Cafe – Opportunist Reformism

You’re probably the smartest person you know, and you’ll make sure everyone else knows it too. You’re confident that institutional issues can be solved by adding more institution, and you think the state monopoly on force is probably for the best. You’ve dedicated your life to promoting justice everywhere, and you can explain why becoming a six-figure salary corporate lawyer does exactly that. That, alone, justifies the price of the wraps.

Subway – Fascism*

Frighteningly “efficient,” or maybe just plain frightening. You’ve gotten extremely good at standing and moving in line and responding formulaically to queries. You’d prefer not to think that this exists.

Treehouse – Marxist-Leninism

You’re the unsung hero. You’re always there for the hungry masses of students, especially those strapped for cash. You don’t get too bogged down in the details, but you still appeal to those with sophisticated palates. If you want to get together with friends to have a good time organizing, this is the place to go. Pitchers, two dollar pizza slices, and strong class consciousness: this is where it’s at, comrade.

*Ideologies may not actually be “fringe.”

Elijah Spiegel and Jacob Nierenberg and Medina Husakovic

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