students constructing culture
Issue 7.5 Spring 2008 05
A Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publication 75 University Avenue West Waterloo, On. N2L 3C5 519 884 0710 ext. 2738 519 883 0873 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org Editor In Chief Josh Smyth Managing Editor Zach Rowe Graphic Designer Alexandra Bailey Associate Editors Global Sarah Lifford Local Mark Ciesluk Trends, Culture, Counterculture Maeve Strathy Literary Igor Valentic Contributors Nick JD Cunningham Alexandra Cutean, Randell Duguid, Kevin Field, Jessica Henderson, Dan Lynn, Breanne MacDonald, Mike Morrice, Yasaman Shayangogani, Lauren Smee, Josh Smyth, Maeve Strathy, Shelley Therrien, Igor Valentic, Monique Wallace, Jessica Weise,
Joy Being happy can be hard work. When we make a commitment to social justice, to change, to awareness, it often stems from a simmering anger at the oppression, injustice, and pain that we see all around us. How many of us have read or seen something that opened our eyes and come away feeling overwhelmed instead of empowered? How many times have we seen friends open their own eyes, only to shut them even tighter a moment later? Is it wrong to empathize like this? Of course not. Is it productive? Not in the long-term. Anger is strong. Hate is stronger. Embracing them as a motivation for social change is easy, and it’s seductive. I’ve sat in many, many rooms being dominated by whoever had the biggest chip on their shoulder about an issue. More than once, I’ve done the dominating. It certainly gets things done, but it also lights a fire that burns people out incredibly quickly. This is no foundation for sustainable change. Continuous sadness destroys more than it saves. We certainly do our movements no favours by talking about guilt without talking about hope. Buddha made famous a truism about human life – that the only things we can predict at the moment of birth are suffering and death. What does this mean? Perhaps that sorrow will find us, but we must go looking for joy. Thankfully, it’s not hard to find. Indeed, I’d argue that it’s impossible to miss. Look around for just one moment at the world we wake up to. It’s filled with more beauty, more inspiration, more harmony than any of us can possibly wrap our minds around. By all rights, tears of elation should greatly outnumber tears of frustration. Laugh. Sing. Smile. Learn. Struggle. Find your joy wherever you can. We must not be afraid of admitting that sometimes, progress actually gets made. When we go out into the world to try and change it, we try to give a voice to the voiceless. Making that a voice of hatred does them all a disservice. There’s lots to do – let it be done with joy. - Josh Smyth, Editor-in-Chief
WLUSP Administration President Keren Gottfried VP Advertising Angela Foster VP Brantford Dan Schell Chair, BOD Colin LeFevre Vice Chair, BOD Rafiq Andani Directors Ryan Clubb, Rachel Crawford, Lauren Burns, Chris Copp, Dennis Watson Photo Credits Cover: Randell Duguid Inside Cover: Shelley Therrien, Lauren Smee Inside Back Cover: Josh Smyth, Breanne Macdonald, Back Cover: Josh Smyth
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Global Cheer up by Josh Smyth.......................................................................................................Page 4 Learning by Mark Ciesluk.....................................................................................................Page 6 My joy by Monique Wallace...................................................................................................Page 6 Interlude: just so you know, youâ€™re not immune to love by Kelly Grevers. ...............................Page 7 Local Telling stories by Kevin Field................................................................................................Page 9 Top 10 advantages to being a Laurier grad living in China by Mary Erskine...........................Page 10 Trends, Culture, Counterculture Most of us have roommates by Alexandra Cutean..................................................................Page 11 Reflections by Maeve Strathy.............................................................................................Page 12 How to mimic the lifestyle of your parents by Mike Morrice.................................................Page 14 Literary Conversation on the eye by Jessica Weise............................................................................Page 14 Marble palaces by Igor Valentic..........................................................................................Page 15 Lethe by Jessica Henderson.................................................................................................Page 16 Jealous creatures (truth-joy) by Nick JD Cunningham............................................................Page 17 More at www.BlueprintMagazine.ca
Global Cheer up Josh Smyth In this information-heavy age, we spend our days surrounded by statistics. Many of them aren’t particularly cheerful. We hear about the hundreds of thousands dying in this war or that one, the millions suffering from AIDS, malnutrition, or bad water. For every cause, there is a sheaf of numbers attached, columns of zeroes screaming for attention. You’d be forgiven for thinking that quality life on Earth is on a downward path. This is certainly a commonplace perception. It is also, thankfully, wrong. There’s a statistical term that describes the problem here. It’s called “denominator bias.” In study after study, it’s been shown that if you tell someone that 10,000 out of 1,000,000 people will die in a car accident (for example), they will think it far more dangerous than if you say 1,000 out of 100,000, or 1 out of 100. All of these figures are the same – one percent – but most of us, when we hear a fraction, only look at the top number. We think in terms of absolute numbers of people when it would pay, for a moment at least, to remember that not only have the numbers of people suffering increased, but so has the overall population. Critically, the population has been growing much, much faster. Pick an indicator, any indicator. Infant mortality, illiteracy, disease rates, malnutrition; measured globally, all of these are at the lowest levels in the history of the human race. Perhaps the most shocking of these conceptual jumps has to do with violence and war. We’ve all heard, many times, that the 20th Century was the bloodiest in human history. The Second World War alone killed upwards of 100 million people, yet, as it turns out, this truism is nothing of the sort. A couple of historical demographers managed to build some centuryby-century estimates of the percentages of the human population dying violently. It turns out that the 20th century, in which around one percent of all deaths occurred violently, was actually the least violent, ever. Jump back to the 17th century, and you get somewhere around 2.5 percent. Go back to hunter-gatherer societies and the proportion gets up to 20 percent. We live in the most peaceful world that has ever existed – and there is nothing wrong with occasionally acknowledging that. Perspective is a precious, precious thing. In making this point, there are some obvious moral and practical limitations. First of all, this is not, and should not, be taken as an acknowledgment that there is somehow an “acceptable” level of suffering, death, or deprivation.
There is nothing of the sort. Every life must matter. As agents of change, though, we have a responsibility to work within what is possible, to know what is achievable, and to have more than a bit of hope that the world is moving in the right direction. Looking at the world and seeing only the bad is a recipe for disillusionment and burnout, and that helps nobody. Better to spend 20 years working joyfully for change than two years working angrily. I’ve spent hours at booths in the Concourse; I know that guilt is a far less effective draw than constructive effort. It’s no use making people aware of the disease without mentioning that there may be a cure. It’s here, though, that the “things are getting better” point needs to be fleshed out a bit. Not only do we live in a time when positive change is happening faster and faster, we also live in a time when the power to achieve that (continued on page 5)
(continued from page 4) change is growing exponentially. I don’t mean financially, although that is a part of it. More important is the sea change in the way we, the rich and the privileged, relate to the rest of the world. We still certainly do terrible things in the name of our “interests,” we still oppress, are still bigoted. At the same time, we are unimaginably less bigoted than our recent ancestors, many of which wouldn’t have even acknowledged the humanity of most of the world’s population. Much more usefully, though, our own attitudes matter less and less. The charity of the rich isn’t going to save the world; the power of the poor will do that. All we can hope to do is help a little. We didn’t shut down the Doha round of WTO talks – India and Brazil did, fighting for a fairer deal for the developing world, a world that has a great deal of power due to that most evil of evils – globalization. There are many dark sides to globalization, to be sure, but it has given the poor far more leverage than they have ever had. Every time a Canadian factory job heads overseas, we should be smiling. The cornerstone of anti-oppressive practice is the idea that we all must recognize the power of our own privilege. This is exactly right, and exactly what can form the foundation of sustainable, joyful, and humble social change. As activists, we too often cling to our recipes for saving the world all at once. I can’t imagine a quicker road to hopelessness, or a more oppressive and top-down way of thinking. I hope we can dream a different dream, one that involves using our power for what the powerless want, not what we decide that they need. If someone in India wants our job, we should use our power to help give it to them, not lecture them about the inequities of the global “system”. Instead of fighting a few huge struggles against the big nouns (hunger, war, etc.), we can fight a few million smaller ones. We live in a system that allows that to happen – let’s use it. The world is getting better. It’s a slow, chaotic, piecemeal, tragic process, but it’s happening. Every one of us should be able to get up in the morning with a heart full of joy, knowing that on the balance of things, things are a bit brighter than they were yesterday. Millions of people are doing inspiring things, all over the world. Why aren’t we screaming this from the rooftops? Because we’re afraid. We’re afraid that without the moral blacks and whites, social movements will lose their strength. That deeply underestimates the very power we seek to develop – understanding. Let us wake up to the world that is both good, bad, and getting better. Let that understanding motivate us to go out and work for change, and smile while doing it.
Exultation (top right) Joy (bottom left) By Yasaman Shayangogani
GLOBAL - 6
Learning Mark Ciesluk
Monique Wallace Our daily experience or feeling and hold it to the is of a local world viewed point that weâ€™ve since forgotThe topic of joy is both simple and difficult to discuss. Rick through many expectations, ten to care about the fate of Warren, a famous pastor in the U.S. says, â€œI have found that happiness and for good reason; it would who and what were involved is fleeting, but joy abides. Happiness comes and goes, but joy [endures] be overwhelming to approach in favour of our well-defined foreverâ€?. every social situation as tomemories. When I think of joy, traveling to the unknown comes to mind. tally new, without an ability Eventually, the grind of Recently over reading week, I went to Jamaica and found much joy under to make predictive use of disrepetition can take away the sun! Jamaicans are very open and honest people, and born as a positions attributed to others. from our daily experiences Canadian with a Jamaican background, I found it very invigorating when It is this ability to consistently and from that which gives locals would notice, without hearing my voice, that I was a foreigner. The form accurate expectations of them the flavour we crave culture in Jamaica is very vibrant and relaxing. Being on a beautiful island the behaviour of others which as a playful species; our consurrounded by water, I noticed that Jamaicans take advantage of time by allows us to find comfort in a ceptual structures ossify in going to the beaches after work to enjoy its warmth and â€œcoconut treeâ€? home community. our minds as a natural outscent before heading home, which to me spells â€œJ-O-Y.â€? We form these pregrowth of such daily stagnaUntil now, I had felt somewhat incomplete before traveling to dictions based on our knowltion. More than merely bormy â€œhomeâ€? country; the mystery of Jamaica had revealed itself to me and edge of those we meet and ing us, a life of repetition I was satisfied beyond my imagination. Joy ripped through my heart as I of our surroundings, only hastens our forgetting of the finally traveled through the unknown, as if I were filling pockets of empty half remembering to remain changing nature of the world spaces within me. This is my joy. aware that what informs outside of our lives which we our understandings of things base our expectations on. ages, changes, and evolves. But the structures we imAnd thus while we live our pose upon the world are not complex lives through convenient reference to our structures set in any stone more binding than we allow them to become built to represent the things and people around us, the things bound by. The most plain features of daily experience and those structures reference continue to exist and grow inde- the most traversed of local paths become phenomenal when pendently, half forgotten beneath our structured conceptions taken slowly and inquisitively, in the spirit of building new of them. structures and examining old. In this truth is contained a Our friends often change into virtual strangers be- significant feature of the forgotten: that which we forget can cause we forget to find out who they are today while we be learned anew, if only we care to commit ourselves to that are too busy in our purlearning. suit of new opportunities As inquisitive apart from each other, even minds and playful beings, though the friendship itself the ability to forget our surcan endure because of a roundings and rediscover mutual attachment to some our relationships with long ago companionship friends, family, and places and its half-forgotten strucallows us the unexpected tures. Our cities and homes luxury of forgetting the change and grow and die litrichness of our every day erally beneath our feet, disexperiences and the wonpassionately requiring that der of reconnecting with our old structures of underthem at will or by surprise. standing them be forgotten Those who would consider and replaced with the new forgetting merely in negaif we are to remain in touch tive terms would do well to with our locales. We fall in remember something beau:PVSDBNQVT:PVSWPJDF:PVSNFEJB love with the idea and idetiful. al of a time, place, person,
Interlude: Just so you know, you’re not immune to love Kelly Grevers So, I’m sitting in a room, okay, and I’m watching bits and pieces, all these people, coming and going, starting and stopping, watching them. I see these birds, you know, the kind of birds that just swoop, that seem to swoop, that seem to swoop all day, diving for nothing but the sake of flying and soaring around. I see these trees, like these BIG TREES, growing up from these concrete blocks people walk along and I can see this because there’s a window, a huge pane of glass that seems to hide nothing from this view. Anyway, I’m sitting on this chair, in the midst of all of these other chairs that we scattered around and everything happens and is happening around me. I watch people, excited, trying to impress and all I am is what I see. And all I see is water, flowing, rising tides and currents, splashing, flipping, lapping around me as though I am not there but am a part of it, with it, ebbing and flowing too. All of a sudden, as I fold back memories and glance through the pane of glass further into the the street, I realise that everyone around me is my mother. I’ve been surrounded, as of late, by mothers. Yesterday, I found a picture. It was in a National Geographic from 1975. A woman was driving a tractor. There is a baby, presumably. The woman is the mother. And the baby is in her arms. The baby is drinking from its mother. And she drives on. Immune systems are ours. They come directly from our mothers. We share our blood with our mothers. That could be why. But, do you know what this could mean? We are connected. Our blood is our mothers’. Our blood is therefore grandma’s too. And our great grand mother. And hers too. The first ever human mother gave her blood to her child. And her child passed it on to their child. And eventually, that blood was our mothers’. Sunflower Which is now ours.
Sometimes the world is so beautiful I get goosebumps. And suddenly I realize, as an ambulance drives by, that there is no pane of glass in front of me and that we are all ambulance drivers and that there isn’t really an ambulance going by but a moose and I’m in the woods. Do you ever get that feeling that you know exactly where you are and the location keeps changing, kind of like a slide show - you know, the kind they used to show you in grade school to try to get you to believe what they are sharing with you - a slide show going through your mind showing you pages of places you’ve never been but dream of going, places you’ve been, feelings, sensations, yes! An entire slideshow of sensations of goose pimply love that washes over you? Everything is cinnamon, you know, everything is love, your grandmother is love, your mother is love, and you too are love - nothing is seperate, you are love and love is you. Sometimes the world is so beautiful I get goosebumps. And suddenly, I find myself not in a room at all, but standing at a door, to the heart of earth, knowing I am home.
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It’s not to soon to start planning for next year! If you are concerned about Social Justice Issues, LSPIRG can help you to be an agent of change towards a just world! Here are some of the Working Groups that were active during 2007-08: • • • • • • • • • •
Be Green, Go Brown Beyond Words Feminists Without Borders Global Citizenship Conference Graduation Pledge Campaign Coalition Invisible Children - Laurier Chapter Journalists for Human Rights Miss G_ Waterloo Livin’ Simple Fair Vote Canada, Laurier
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Local Telling stories Kevin Field I wish I could tell you a story about what joy is. As a Christian, I’m told by our subculture and its traditions that I’m supposed to know joy deeply. So deeply, in fact, that I wouldn’t be able to resist sharing it with you. I think you know the kind I mean: something like being overwhelmed with a genuine sense that things could not possibly be any better at the moment. The truth is, I am pretty broken. Couple that with constantly witnessing oppression from an interpersonal scale to a global scale, and it becomes a difficult and confusing task to find joy. Maybe you were at the GCC’s closing keynote this past weekend. How do we listen to someone like Samantha and hold together the reality of all of the rape, death, and even worse things in the world, and still somehow find hope, let alone joy, to sustain us? It’s rather easy for such stories to beat our consciences into cynicism, despite our best efforts. At least for me, they often elbow their way into my mind, shoving aside memories that might have helped me find the answer. Memories like the Chaplain’s Study Tour to Mexico in 2004. Twenty rich, white Canadians visited a highly impoverished neighbourhood in urban Morelos, Mexico, not to bring them anything material, but just to see and listen. Amidst all of the hardshiparound her, a girl told us how she hoped to become a teacher. She had as much joy as her brother, who was so happy just to have a soccer ball and friends to enjoy it with. Even the cynical among us can’t write that off as being naive, like we
Dance Josh Smyth might try to with children born into our wealthy bubble. However, cynicism’s prophecy easily fulfills itself: If these memories don’t turn into our stories, soon they won’t even be memories. Thomas King tells us that the truth about stories is that that’s all we are. The study tour was full of stories of other people’s hope--and I don’t think they can have this without experiencing joy--but most of them have faded for me now. I could have adopted the stories, telling and retelling them. They would have lived and grown, becoming part of my story. Instead, I stayed broken and silent. Hopefully this isn’t you, but then again, maybe you’re reading this edition of the Blueprint for that very reason. Whoever you are, I hope you can imagine with me how our culture could change if we fed those stories that give us joy. What would our world become if you and I turned our memories of survival into stories of growth? What if you and I chronicled peace and reconciliation instead of war and terrorism? What if you and I could celebrate one another’s moving towards wholeness as if it were our own? Maybe that’s what joy looks like. Maybe that’s how it enables people to handle their hardships: with hope. The world is your story. You tell me.
LOCAL - 10
Top 10 advantages to being a Laurier grad living in China Mary Erskine 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Hearing about the WLUSU election scandal from the other side of the world. Not having to contribute financially to the new hawk; therefore slightly happy about its return. When asked to think of a “chant” to perform in front of a large audience of ESL teachers for a competition, I had a wealth of O-Week options to choose from and settled on “P-A-R-T-Y, party hardy woo-hoo Laurier!” (etc.) and subsequently won the competition. I can finally put all those Global Studies and Polical Science classes to use…still trying to figure out how to do so, however. I can finally put all those Spanish courses to use…if only I was teaching in a country that spoke Spanish… Eating out now costs $2.00 at a local restaurant rather than $10 at the dining hall (and they throw in the tea and the MSG for free!) Paying half as much rent for a sweet apartment in downtown Shenzhen than I paid for a tiny room on Albert Street. Line ups are arguably more efficient if you are able to let go of Canadian etiquette and not worry about personal space (read: push your way to the front); and make Laurier line ups seem tame in comparison. My student wardrobe is still in full use; a nice pair of jeans are still considered ‘dressing up’ when working at a kindergarten. Public transportation takes you farther for less money; you can get to Hong Kong in the same amount of time it takes to get to Conestoga Mall!
Trends, Culture, Counterculture Most of us have roommates Alexandra Cutean Most of us have roommates, and most of us have roommates that we often just want to slap or snap at. Sometimes though, we find ourselves in the presence of a very special person with the profound ability to enrage and engage us. I come home. The kitchen looks like a war zone; dirty dishes everywhere, open cans of what is supposed to be chili, and the Family Pack nearby for purposes of community; socks strewn about the floor; a blaring TV reciting a play-by-play of this or that sporting event; and smack dab in the middle of this chaos, invading a two-person love seat, is The Blob with (albeit limited) speaking abilities. This is the routine. It varies a little; sometimes Shake N’ Bake replaces the “chili,” and other times the real Chris Bosh takes a backseat to the virtual one. Thanks to the wonders of technological pervasiveness, I have the ability to witness the rejection of the natural world for the digitally enhanced and artificially mastered, in real time and in the discomfort of my own home! If you will: allow me (briefly) the luxury of hypocritical immunity. Maybe I should give The Blob a little room to maneuver; we all kind of live on this day-to-day “business as usual” mandate, right? Yet, because of this, isn’t it somewhat rational and necessary to question the merits of Darwin’s arguments about survival of the fittest? If this is true, our status as “evolved” seems to be contributing to a bulging waistline rather than a trim appearance. Instead, I think either our status as “fit” for survival is automatic now, or we’ve managed to radically redefine the essence of “fitness. ” No? Well, perhaps we’re clever and think that it is our political institutions that are fit, and thus we as individuals are allowed to balloon out of shape, because Mama Welfare State will coddle and protect us. Hmm, I thought the French Revolution was intended to teach us fraternity, not maternity. Yet, consider that maybe our current situation is similar to that of an aged All-Star: prime in his day, athletic and trim, strategic and confident; today he is slow and flabby, yet still enjoys the decadent lifestyle of his youth. Is this really survival of the fittest, or is it some bizarre survival of the legacy of fitness? Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, but the rich All-Star does not represent me, the Average Joe – or whoops! Where’s my gender sensitivity – Average Joanne” (record
scratching noise). You’re right! Yet, most of us live in the throes of middle-class comfort, aspiring to live like the AllStar despite the fact that we neither require it, nor can afford it. If the Average American is middle-class, and also lives in relatively high debt, I’d say that middle-class is a dangerous place to be. We’re comfortable, but demand to be more so; we’re neither rich nor poor, and never give more than we can afford to charity. Still, with our ear glued to the phone with creditors, we seem to manage to spend more than we can afford. Pfft! Well we’re not greedy, just smart! We’re skeptical of “charitable” organizations – who knows where the money goes? Yet, what exactly are we so skeptical of? Ironically, we are suspicious of their capitalist drive, and even in charity, we want to see the most bang for our buck. We are the snotty middle child; no one pays attention to us. Mom, you’re not watching! It seems Mom’s too busy trying to feed our little brother Haiti, and keeping an eye on those restless munchkins, Cuba and Venezuela. Mom also has to make sure that she pays due attention to our demanding older brothers, America and China. We’re just so oppressed and depressed. Teary-eyed, we make a Cheez Whiz sandwich and turn on Survivor. We spend half our lives in front of computers and TVs, and another two-thirds of it nodding politely, buying decorative pillows, and waiting in line. Really, we’re very busy; too busy to get involved politically, socially, or even communally. Sure Bob’s our next-door neighbor, but do we (continued on page 12)
TRENDS, TRENDS,CULTURE, CULTURE,COUNTERCULTURE COUNTERCULTURE-- 10 12
(continued from page 11) really need to get to know him? So, we suck it up, munch on our processed cheese and bread, and realize that Mom is never going to watch. Rejected and dejected, and for the sake of variety, we let the TV talk to itself and turn to our friendly, giving pals Wal-Mart, Nike – or wait! We’re becoming better and wiser consumers; surely Gap or Lulu Lemon don’t manufacture their clothing in big factories in the developing world. Regardless, when all else fails, we shop. We do it because we decide that a new pair of jeans and a nice bland and design-less Banana Republic sweater will make us look better, and thus naturally, make us feel better. Yet, this is temporary. We’re greedy little buggers, and up rises the familiar notion of the bang for the buck. We don’t want to pay our workers according to our rules and regulations, because we don’t want to purchase these products at “outrageous” costs. So, instead, we open factories beneath us and employ our little brother – how good of us! – paying him much less and working him much more to produce the same products. Since we are the whiny middle child, we think it’s somehow okay to overwork the little ones
and demonize the big boys. We’re helping out sort of, right? As for our older brother, the narcissistic fucker, he’s the one with the big bucks; let him change the world. No more thinking. I’m going to sleep. It’s 1:38 a.m. on a Tuesday night. Six hours after returning home, the TV is still blaring, another can of chili has been opened, rows and rows of Girl Guide mint chocolate cookies devoured, and the box is left to socialize with the socks on the floor. The noise is not unbearable, but thoroughly irritating. In the living room the main light is on, the stove light is on, the bathroom light and fan are collectively on, and no one is around. I almost don’t care anymore. Instead, I adopt a nice little routine, and am always reminded that our survival is largely based on our ability to endlessly and constantly consume without reason. We live in comfort because we have no qualms with demanding that others exert themselves, so that we will never have to. In that case, maybe I should stop my bellyaching and extend a danke schon to Herr Blöb for my fabulous lifestyle. Morning: wake, shower, dress, and I’m off to the local Starbucks to do my part.
a way to make your causes known all at once. I know I constantly take stabs at vegans, overly intense activists, environmentalists, etc. It’s not because I’m truly against all of these things. I’m a Rainbow Centre volunteer and a Blueprint section editor, for God’s sake! If I was anti-activism, I’d have no friends… I just like to challenge culture. The mainstream culture is so often under the microscope (namely, within my group of friends, in Blueprint, etc.). So this year I wanted to dedicate a little time, energy, and thought to deconstructing alternative culture… just to shed a little more light on it too. But! As I said before, I’m done with ranting for now. Here’s a thought: Be who you are. Be proud of who you are! Do what you want – as long as it causes no harm. Take good care of yourself. Laugh a lot! Talk to people. Be open-minded. Never stop learning. Love a lot! Lastly, do whatever brings you the greatest joy! Aside from that… don’t pay attention to anything I say. What do I know?
Maeve Strathy I wouldn’t call myself a cynic – just a deconstruction worker. That said, you may have noticed throughout this year’s issues of Blueprint that I write and rant a lot about the counterculture. I consider myself to be a part of the counterculture, but lately – especially this year – I’ve become increasingly frustrated with and pessimistic about all things alternative. Here I was thinking that the counterculture was supposed to be a kind of safety net for those of us who aren’t interested in or don’t fit into mainstream culture. Here I was thinking that the counterculture is “everything else”… so to speak. It turns out though that it’s got all sorts of rules and guidelines too. 1. Wear a button that outlines your favorite cause. 2. Join (or even better, create) a Facebook group that protests some corporation… like McDonald’s or Starbucks. 3. Become vegan. 4. Spend your life defending your values and your lifestyle. And try to do it as obnoxiously as is humanly possible! That said, this issue is not supposed to be about my self-indulgent ranting. The truth is that I’ve begun to wonder if perhaps I’ve got it all wrong. Why does any of this matter? Why should I care if you’re vegan? I hear from friends that it does a lot of good for your body. And I wear buttons sometimes too! It’s a fashion statement and
13 - TRENDS, CULTURE, COUNTERCULTURE
TRENDS, CULTURE, COUNTERCULTURE- 10
How to mimic the lifestyle of your upper/middle class, white, suburban parents in 15 easy steps!!! Mike Morrice I was recently re-acquainted with a particular means of pursuing joy in life, and the following is the product of that. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.
Attend a post-secondary institution. Begin to accumulate debt. Ideally your program has either the word “business” or “commerce” in it. Meet a nice guy or girl while there. Graduate from said institution. Spend at least five minutes contemplating the difference between an education and actually learning. Go to Europe! Explore the world and take it all in! Accept an entry-level full-time position at big company. Buy a car to get to and from your new job. This one can be tough, as you need to balance the needs of your hectic lifestyle with your desire to be fuel efficient. Be sure to consider a “crossover” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_SUV) or a hybrid SUV (www.fordvehicles.com/environmental/) - this way you can save money and the environment. Work a little harder at work to pay for the new car. Begin to finally pay off that student debt. Marry that nice guy or girl from university. Invite family and friends to the lavish ceremony. Buy a house, because as everyone knows, property is the best investment. Preference is given to a brand new home; no one else has ever lived in it before, and it’s custom built for your very unique needs. Also, be sure to plan ahead; a few extra rooms will likely come in handy very soon. **Wink** Work just a bit more. You have that new mortgage now, so job security is crucial. Have a baby. Demand a raise from your employer. You’ve been working overtime and you need to support a bigger family now! Consider buying a second car (www.hybridcars.com/suvs-minivans/toyota-sienna-hybrid.html). Invite your parents over to enjoy the newest member of the family. Repeat steps 10 to15 as you see fit.
Literary Conversation on the eye Jessica Wiese 1: “Just breathe. Tell me what you see.” Inhale. 2: “I see a vast ocean… an ocean as deep and violent as any of the raging seas in any of the books ever written or stories ever told.”
grey. It is slashed with gold; bands as rich as butterfly wings streak its surface. It is layered, and segmented, and glows when the red water flows.” 1: “It is glowing.” 2: “It is an optical abstraction. The colour does not change; it is what surrounds it that makes it appear changed.”
1: “What of the water?” 1: “I see your sea. Tell me of the centre.” 2: “The waters are white, and clear. Trails as dark as coal surround this wet Universe, lined with jagged fence posts shooting up into the sky. Mountains dusted with metallic snow compose this backdrop; beyond them, forests of eastwardbent trunks line the horizon. The sky resembles gasoline; it’s as pretty as a cobalt bomb.” 1: “Have you ever seen what a cobalt bomb can do…?” 2: “I am fully aware of the power and destruction associated with my Universe. But this salted bomb is not a threat to you, for it is mine and mine alone. I highly doubt even Szilárd took into account my personal ability to construct such a device.” 1: “Tell me of the fences.” 2: “The fences protect the water from intruders.”
It began to_pour. 2: “It is a swirling orb of onyx, and what lies beneath has warped time and space itself. It has distorted everything around it, and it pulses with the rhythm of the Universe. If you listen closely, you will hear the buzz of a thousand Titans growing and the wail of a million stars collapsing.” 1: “The waters are pale as spring roses. Your island is on fire. What will come of it?” 2: “Nothing, it will remain in its state. I would rather see my island ignited in a solemn protest than calm it with a sip from Lethe. I would rather be marooned - swallowed whole by a hole - than dance with dying lambs who murmur as they pass ‘ad astra per aspera’ with round, sad eyes (for unlike the mind, the eyes see more when closed”.
1: “Fences attract ravens.” 1: “…What will come of you?” 2: “Then let them perch.” 1: “I detect a change in your demeanor; have I upset you?” 2: “It is of no matter; these streams bleed as you or I. They snake across the white, as roots burrow in the Earth.” 1: “Tell me of the Island.”
2: “I will implode, and explode into every line of prose I have never loathed. I have been branded by the stars; for on my skin lays the constellation of the Vain Queen and sadly, not even my fences can keep Poseidon out. I am no Keine, but I think…” The water_calmed. Exhale.
It began to_rain. 2: “This Island is made of Emerald, so deep it turns smoke-
“…I shall like to forever hang upside-down, while all the rivers of my red veins run into the sea.”
15 - LITERARY
Marble Palaces Igor Valentic If I had the time I would bury all the gold back into the dirt, Ripping shine off awe-taking marble Palaces like – crash; pockets and holes Full of sharpened diamonds and crusted scabs. And if I had some time maybe I would arrest you for following ambulances, Stealing glances and fantasies in passerby mirrors like – wait; seconds and shade Watching orange sunsets drape across piles of red bricks, dripping into yellow blades. And if I had a little time maybe I would bury all these corpses, Savoring stiff Fingers and purple Tongues like – sorry; we’ve died And we die and we’ll die on. And if I had the time Whispering silly Lullabies into their Red-moist ears like – hush; baby sleep Hear the Whales are roaring. And then, if I had a bit more time I would drive my car off a bridge, Chasing blue veins and green arteries into spiraling rapids like – jesus; inhale out and Wait for the Exhale in. But if I had all of time I’d waste it with you, Watching dust dance like shadows in the windows, singing: kiss; see all the Dreams of white marble palaces and Roaring ambulances? (…they’re hiding in the Heart).
Ecstasy (top right) Revelry (bottom left) By Yasaman Shayangogani
LITERARY - 16
Lethe Jessica Henderson O and E. A Lament. Lethe, slow and grey, Slides past my feet While the willow above me Weeps leaves into the water Eons I stand All forgotten Until Psychopompousâ€™ touch Wakes me from my oblivion (I redefine from fuzzy beneath his judgeâ€™s hand) He takes me to the frozen Queen She weeps, a wonder in tears The earth-bound king waves his hand Before me stands The golden one He comes from the time before With his lyre in his hand The icy bonds Around my heart Break and dissolve into warmth I reach out my hand for his He leads me up To take me back Darkness fades slowly to light And he steps free from the fates Still holding my fingers. I feel him turn, And look behind I fall. Forgotten, forgetful, lost. Forever.
17 - LITERARY
Jealous creatures (truth-joy) Nick JD Cunningham Jealous creatures seek joy but spit lava-hot hate down side streets in our neighbourhood. They dig tunnels and rake minds with grit stained fingertips. For this we disown them. But hey! Isnâ€™t that your tongue too? with the barbs and the pricks (the distilleries) and the upside-down doorways? This idea of truth-joy is a hatchet-mouth frothing at blade-teeth seeking jealous. And for this we disown it.
Volume 7 Issue 5 April 2008