Issuu on Google+

Issue 7

Optimism

Lent 2010


V

Team VIVI D

Dear readers, intentional and accidental,

We here at Vivid have always sought to place ourselves at the bleeding edge of culture. We put the ‘gist’ in ‘Zeitgeist’. So for this edition, we’ve chosen to look at something the G2 won’t think of picking up on until at least January 2011. In a world full of the negative media commentary, we’ve gone for optimism. Oh yes, we’ve gone there.

Our page 3 is a little different this time around. Previously we’ve cocked a proverbial snook at the portrayal of women (and men) in the media. This time around, we’re using it to highlight something we all believe is a really worthy cause [cue music of tiny violins striking up in background]. In all seriousness, the Global Poverty Project gets a huge thumbs up from us – check them out, they’re all over the internets.

If you’d like to get involved – nfc26, vp287, es462 are the places to email. If I haven’t emailed you back about something crucial, it’s probably because I’ve exceeded my quota for about 2 years now.

Enjoy…

Introduction 2

Team VIVID

Letters to the Editor

4

Christian faith?

5

Mind over Matter

6

Optimisms

8

Communism debate

9

Gordon Brown

12

Love, today

13

The joy of living life backwards

14

Hope for gays

14

The death of Ideology

17

Interview: Rocco Falconer

18

VIVID investigates: RAG blind date 20 Interview: Rebecca Watson

22

The Dial

24

Case notes: Jack

25

Reasons to be cheerful

26

Agony Anglican

27

Boaties

28

The Cambridge Slacker

29

Afterword

30

Stock photo cred its: Ha n na h Copley

We’re welcoming some new faces to Vivid this issue – Nicky, Claudia, Vicki, Beth and Nicholas have all been a pleasure to work with. So have the stalwarts - Nick, Emerald and Louise. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Matilda and Alice for all their hard work. Alice, if you’re reading I know that you’ll be happy to know I’ve just about been able to eradicate all the bad practices and mistakes you made in previous issues.

Contents


“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health -- including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation. And I would also venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended’’

Photographer: Deb de Graaf

V

The Global Poverty Project seeks to ensure people give good aid. Obviously there is both good and bad aid. Our generous donation of clothes following the tsunami may have meant well, but didn’t meet the needs of the locals. In contrast, good aid is about targeting investments on things that really needed and desired by the local community, and in things that produce real results in the long term. And, it’s about providing the sort of aid that enables a community to lift itself out of poverty, so that it won’t need aid in the future. http://www.globalpovertyproject.com/

Page Three

Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations:

3


V

Team VIVI D

B la h h B la h B la h la B h la B h la h B la B la h B la h B h la B h la B B la h h B la h la h B la h B la B la h B la h B la h B h la h B la h B la B la h B la h B la h B h la B la h B la h B la h B la h B h B la h la h B la h B la B la h B h la B h la B h la h B la h B la B la h B la h B la h B h la la h B la h B B la h B la h B la h B h B la h B la h la B h la B h la h B la B la h B la h B h la B h la B B la h h B la h la h B la h B la B la h B h la B h la B h la h B la h B la B la h B la h B la h B h la la h B la h B B la h B la h B la h B h B la h B la h la B h la B h la h B la B la h B la h B h la B h la B B la h h B la h la h B la h B la B la h B la h B . la h B la h B la h B

S in c e re ly, I. A . M . D u ll

Stock photo cred its:And rew Zold , Geoff Teeha n

Correspondence 4

D e a r V iv id


I l l ustration: Edwa rd Lee-six

idea – to them it must’ve seemed like the ultimate conversion package. After all, it’s basically a sign saying ‘Only we can save you!’, with an instruction manual on Jesus as the means of survival and a little touch of intimacy through the card to show that they really do care about you (and how rubbish you’ll be unless you do as they say). How could it possibly fail? Surely I’d be queuing up for Holy Communion in no time... But I’m not. Nor is, I imagine, anyone who wouldn’t have done so anyway. I’m not particularly against religion – I was raised by a Jewish mother and a Christian father. I had a Bar Mitzvah, but I also go to Midnight Mass. While I am, like the vast majority of Cambridge students, comfortably secular, I do believe that from a cultural and artistic point of view religion has much to offer. So why do I still find CICCU’s behaviour utterly contemptible? My problem is that, aside from being unwanted spam and yet more needlessly wasted paper, it also doesn’t make sense. When I received my kwik-e-konverter kit, I emailed the deliverer to ask her whether they’d actively sought me out because of my Judaism. If not, then perhaps they were only guilty of bad market research standards, and I guess we could label them as essentially well-meaning, if horrendously misguided, optimists. However, if they did target me, this would sound worryingly close to outright bigotry. As one might expect, I received a rather pussyfooted apology in response. But this won’t do at all – CICCU cannot go both ways. If they believe as passionately in “friendship” as they suggest on their website, then they have no right to even attempt evangelism – a vital part of being a good friend is not thinking that someone has to radically change their beliefsystem or they will be ‘without true life’ (yet this is exactly what it says on www.ciccu.org.uk). However, if they are going to go the other way and be hard-line evangelists, they have to be proud to make enemies and never apologise for doing God’s Will. Therefore I cannot accept their apology – it’s too inconsistent. Either they’re hardliners, and while I despise their principles, I can at least respect their internal consistency; or they don’t really endorse CICCU’s core ideology at all and have to radically change the way they present themselves. They must make a call on this though – blind faith in God to do their dirty work is not a good enough excuse.

Christian Faith?

According to their website, ‘CICCU exists to make Jesus Christ known to students in Cambridge.’ But what exactly is it they hope to achieve from this? The number of Cambridge students who have heard of Jesus can’t be far below 100%. Most of us have at least some acquaintance with the proposed Messiah, and many of us will have already rejected him outright, or ditched him for some other deity (e.g. Allah or Richard Dawkins), or perhaps quite reasonably figured that the discussion isn’t worth the bother in the first place. Yet, CICCU and its cohorts continue to bombard us with their campaigns and attention-grabbing, though ultimately anticlimactic, taglines (I’m afraid ‘grill-a-Christian evenings’ aren’t quite the exercises in religious martyrdom we all hoped they’d be). I myself recently received a particularly disturbing package in my pigeonhole. It contained the following: a copy of Mark’s gospel, a handwritten note suggesting I read this, and a flier for something called ‘RESCUED?’ Now I can imagine the CICCU operatives coming up with this

Duncan Brannan

V

5


V

Taz Rasul

Positivity is the respite of the perpetually unfortunate. Catchphrases such as “Mind over matter” pitch your thoughts against your actions; reckoning that, should the life you engage with using your physical bodily senses be unsatisfactory, favourable mental interpretation is an adequate substitute. Are our wonderfully entertaining, contemporary,

emotionally-open, make-you-some-oolong hippies kind of correct – is a positive mind a good alternative to a “positive” existence? Or is this jabberwocky about sensing and feeling just hindering a more practical solution- affirmative action (read: to grow a pair)? With a British attitude, I delve into my misfortunes to experiment..

I l l ustration: Lou ise Wi ndo

Mind over Matter 6


Id e n t i t y t he f t i s t he s in c e r e s t f or m of f la t t e r y

s)

eles

D e p r e s s io n is a g r e at e xc us e t o party

Optimisms!

If a m a n s t e a ls y our woman, it ’s a c o m p li m e nt t o yo u r good t a st e !

H e w o n’ t ha v e d i e d in va in

hom

ess

At l eas t y not h o m e o u ’r e l ess ! (u n l

o n ly)

( f o r in h e r it o r s

is An overdose by jus t de at h ha p p i n e s s

U n e m p lo y m e n t is an oppo r t u n it y to spend y our in h e r it a nce!

Jacob Sharpe

V

7


V

Luke Hawksbee

It’s often said that the idea of a communist revolution is ‘Utopian’. Is this a fair assessment of the hopes for revolution, or is it just pessimism and ignorance of history? One of the arguments used against communism is that a revolution cannot be successful because greed will always rule. ‘People are naturally self-interested’, they say, ‘and nothing can change human nature; it’s a nice idea, but it won’t work because a minority will take advantage or seek control.’ In 1936, however, landlords and industrialists were willingly turning their assets over for collectivisation by anarchists as part of the war effort against Franco’s fascist military coup. Sadly the war was lost (but due to complicated factors), denying us a more long-term historical example. The Zapatistas, however, have now maintained collective control of resources such as land for over a decade, adding to the optimist’s hopes that this self-interest is a product of our society rather than an immutable human nature. ‘Even if communism would work, how would we get there?’ ask the pessimists. ‘People are lazy and don’t care about politics, you can’t

convince them to work together to change society’. But history has shown us time and time again that we cannot write off the masses as unable or unwilling to make change: ordinary workers contributed to the 1848 revolutions, the Paris Commune of 1871, the Spanish Civil War, the Autumn of Nations, and many more revolutions, both abortive and successful. Perhaps the most vivid illustrations of this lesson are the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 – I’ll look at the latter year. In March of 1917, strikes and protests spread throughout Petrograd; within 4 days the Russian cabinet resigned and before the end of the month the Tsar had abdicated. The government had been overthrown, and despite attempts to avert revolution by politicians and generals, Russia was controlled by democratic workers’ councils 6 months later. This revolution was clearly a ‘spontaneous’ act of the workers, smashing the myth that ordinary people are naturally too apathetic to make change. The pessimists object that the revolution led to a one-party dictatorship; while the subsequent history of the USSR is indeed a tortuous and unfortunate one, examples from other countries show us that this decline into despotism is not inevitable.

Communism Comment 8

The institution of Democracy is the pinnacle of human achievement, giving every citizen the freedom and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on how their society develops. We should share this amazing opportunity with the whole world, and applaud Western nations who have strived to deliver the payload of democracy to the Middle East. Our current system of ‘representative democracy’ is little more than a hidden oligarchy; we should have true Proportional Representation and a constant referenda to allow the people to decide the course of our nation. We should have a democratic system where even the uninformed and uneducated get to decide how our country is run. For too long the educated elite have had their way in suggesting overly-intellectual policies, it’s time for the people to take control! Our whole world could be a utopian version of the BBC Have Your Say forums, just listen to the voices yet to be heard...

“Its simple, any female getting pregnant before the age of 16 should be forably sterilised and the pregnancy aborted. Any male getting a girl under the age of 16 pregnant should be castrated. That would certainly cause a bit more care to be taken.” Stuart Booth, Northampton, United Kingdom

“why does the govt send these people to university they should be conscripted into chain gangs” ptere blake

“The UK hardly produces any CO2. It’s all these blacks in Africa chopping down tree to use firewood for cooking.” Jim Bob, Leeds, United Kingdom

“Is it the time for China to send troops to take over Burma and bring democracy to Burmese, just like what US and UK did to Iraq” Wenshan, Pontypridd

“It is a well known scientific fact that women are lazy , slapdash , and easily distracted .They also have smaller brains , and are prone to bouts of


V

Dan Walker

In 1994, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation declared war on the Mexican state, in order to defend the rights of indigenous Mayans against a government they believed to be so out of touch with the people’s desires as to be illegal. Since 1995, they have maintained an uneasy ceasefire in order to pursue a non-violent political programme. Far from the dictatorial tendencies of Castro, Stalin or Mao, the Zapatistas spelled out in advance the people’s right to resist unjust actions or interference with democracy by their armed forces. They are renowned for their commitment to democracy. Elections are held as regularly as every fortnight – although direct democracy is practiced too – and territory is marked with signs reading ‘Here, the people give the orders and the government obeys’. To conclude: revolution is certainly achievable, and the optimist might say desirable or even necessary. We are not ready for revolution now, but over time our experience of class struggle will grow and we will learn from the past. One thing we can ascertain so far is that we must safeguard democracy against the bureaucrats that won power under Stalin, Mao et al. Here’s to a society where the people give the orders.

I l l ustration: Lou ise Wi ndo

“Interpreters ? No they should not be given asylum! If you want to live here you should have the decency to learn our language! We should have no need for interpreters, or at least not a lot of interpreters.” Joe Turner, London, United Kingdom

“Excellent idea, have them all neutered, along with yobs, chavs, benifit louts, alcos, druggies, prostitutes, the homeless, the disabled, the mentally ill, the royals..” eezyweed, Belfast, United Kingdom

“This from someone who has never touched a drug other than disprin or panadol and the occasional glass of wine: Ecstasy should not have been heard of – should not be available in the first place, like cars which spray grit/sand on the road in front of you. They are not available but cars like that would be great. But Ecstasy – shouldn’t be available in the first place.”

Caroline, UK

“Of course — after all in America guns are opart of life — and over here they will be soon too — to defend onself agaist the blacks the wogs and the ofer immgrents” Liam byrne, Westminster

“The lack of moral fibre at the BBC is a symptom of todays sick and vile society. Whatever happened to good, honest broadcasting? I for one do not want to see genetalia on my radio!” Peter Proudfoot, Berkshire

“Dogs don’t bite people. Its people with dogs that bite people ????” Peter White

“Women are becoming fatter – maybe there is a deep-rooted reason for this. Too many rapists out there, illegal criminals let out of prison, rape law against women in favour of men, one of the reasons why I put on weight, for protection.”

[psychoticfool], United Kingdom

Catherine Cave, Milton Keynes, UK

Communism Reaction

hysteria . Men on the other hand , are industrious , diligent , and focussed . They are also intelligent and calm in a crisis.”

9


Since 2004, WOMbat has been making distinctive clothing that’s built to last; ready to ‘wombat’ rain, mud and sand. The WOMbat clothing range encapsulates the ‘chilled out’ of the Australian outback – great for those gap year nostalgia moments, and without the pressing need for insecticide. For those with actual outdoorsy plans, WOMbat offers various sponsorship programs, from white water rafting in Canada to paddle boarding in Cambridge. Looking to fake the gapyear look to impress your more mature/world-weary companion? WOMbat’s clothes are brushed back for that worn, vintage look, as well as bearing some suitably ‘ironic’ graphic designs. WOMbat’s colourful winter offerings can help fend off many a grey Cambridge day, with bright pinks, greens, cobalts and purples mixed in with some earthier tones. Here at VIVID, we’re particular fans of the women’s outback jeans, ideal for looking sporty on that walk to Granchester, while the slim fit ensures great side-on exposure for when you bend over to consider local botany. Importantly, WOMbat’s clothing is also forward looking ethically, as 46% of the adults’line is made from fairtrade cotton, and this figure is planned to increase substantially over the next year. Much of their denim range is organic and ecoball washed. WOMbat stores also stock jewellery from Juzi (a Kenyan cooperative that makes beads out of old magazines) and footwear from SimpleShoes (who use recycled and eco-certified materials). So you can feel both snug and smug So, where can you find WOMbat? They’ve recently opened a store on Cambridge’s Bridge Street, where the laid back feel of the store (it’s made of natural and recycled materials) can provide some much needed retailrespite after the usual Sainsbury’s skirmish. Or check them out at:

www.wombatclothing.com


Debate

V

11


V

Dan Walker

Go rdo n Br ow n Saturdey 27th june 20 07

Mundy 10 Novumber 20 0 9

Excerpts from the PM’s diary 12

Just got off the phone with Mrs Janas, I think I sorted things out just fine. I think she understands the letter was well-ment, and I think the British people will understand the underlying motive, and not focus on a couple of silly spelling mistaks. Wensdy 6 Janury 2010 Press are rayving about some attempted coop today by Geff and Patti. They'v completly the wrong end of the stik. Pretty sure the actual plan was to organise a show of aprovalgot by all Labur MPs, to seel my postion as leader before the Election. Gutted to find the story has been leked far too early, and the vote now wont teke place. . . Sundey 10 February 2010 Labour can still win, I'm abslootely sure of it. Who cares if the Tories are 10 points ahead? The people will see through Cameraon before long, and if they don't, we'll just introduce a form of Proportional Representation, thatll hobble them. As the Guardian said, I will go on, and on, and on.

Stock photo cred its: And rew Zold

Finally made PM. I've got a good feeling about this, if I can grow the economy for one decade, don't see why I can't do it again... Some people say that's blind optimism. But I prefer what my optician said, "you've got 30 % optimism in this eye-". It’s everyone else that has a problem wth seeing the future. How does the old saying go? "In the land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king"... Tusdey 10 Desember 20 08 The press has picked up on an issue in PMQ's today, ridickuling my 'saved the world' fumble, but I can't see why there making such a fuss about it. I did save the world. Just ask Paul Krugman, nobel laureate in Economiks, he said I was 'awesome' . Just ask all the European leaders. And just look at my impeccable record as Chancellor of the Exchequer (the mess is not my fault, Darling). The people will be able to see through it, I'm sure... current Frday 21st April 20 0 9 Did another one of those Youtube things today, on expenses this time. Was told to look happy and friendly - pretty sure I nailed 'the smile'.


was black and white (no really) and irony had not even been invented yet!!!111one! The airy fairy ideals of love that Patrick Swayze and the Bee Gees have taught us had to be rejected and instead the image of a heartbroken man, balls to the wind, must enter our consciousness. All my expectations were now that love was pain and that it hurts, a lot. I ignored small voices in my brain telling me that all I was doing was arbitrarily swallowing one system of ideas and expectations in place of another and that the sensible thing to do would be to wait for my own experience of love before I made up my mind. No; I’m convinced that love is very much like an onion and not a red, red rose. If it turns out to be in fact a life-affirming and joyful experience I will actually be crippled with disappointment.

ence the pain, the jealousy, the humiliation, the ‘rollercoaster’ of emotions. I wanted it all! All the greatest people who have walked this earth have experienced heartache: Frank Sinatra, Jesus Christ, Peter Andre, etc. I felt that if I did not dwell in the bottom pit of despair, just like they did, I would very simply not be a complete human being. My view was that falling in love and then bleeding my heart out became an absolute necessity. It implied a rite of passage and bought with it a sort of wisdom that destroyed innocence and left a permanently shattered look in the eyes. As a child of the 21st century, I must become a disillusioned cynic who questioned everything by the time I was 14 (but not an emo) otherwise I might as well be living in the 1950’s when everything really

Love, today

According to Carol Ann Duffy, what you should be giving your valentine is not a red rose or a satin heart, but an onion. Yes, an onion is more ‘truthful’, because it will blind you with tears like a ‘lover’ and make your reflection a ‘wobbling photo of grief’. In case you haven’t guessed, Duffy thinks love is one of possibly the worst, most dehydrating experiences you can ever have. I have not myself experienced this splendid thing called love so I only have its many portrayals in film, books and music (as well as the experiences of friends) to really go on. I sat opposite a friend in a pub on Valentine’s Day while he held his head in his hands and muttered incoherencies under his breath: ‘Bitch…what an absolute bitch…ruined my life…left a void…I love her…’ After sounding almost exactly like a Carol Ann Duffy poem for about an hour, my beleaguered friend got to his feet and said his goodbyes: ‘I’m off to play Call of Duty and have a wank. You know, to fill the void’. As I watched his dressing gown flap its way in the wind as he left, I had a chance to ponder over this devastating picture of love that had just been sitting in front of me with his legs far too wide apart. To be honest, I thought it looked absolutely fantastic. Right at that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be reduced to a barely functioning human being with poor personal hygiene by a man in whom I had invested a swathe of unrealistic ideas about romance from popular culture as well as my entire life’s amalgamation of father figures. I wanted to experi-

Sarah Ahmed

V

I l l ustration: Lou ise Wi ndo

13


V

Matilda Bathurst

Matilda Bathurst solves the problem of depressionrelatively, nostalgically, and negatively:

Today is a happy, happy day. [Insert exclamation mark, as appropriate]. However, maybe you are reading this tomorrow, or the next day. Possibly two years after (it depends how long Vivid is in circulation for). If I am judging by the likely accumulation of a series of negative occurrences, then this means that today is not such a happy day. Sorry. But if something worse happens tomorrow, then today is indeed a happy, happy day- by comparison. [Insert celebration] This may seem like puerile waffling. But it is actually the

key to all life’s problems. Imagine you were rootling around in the fridge, and made the mistake of drinking someone’s Tropicana which had been standing around for roughly a term- although the congealed greenish residue suggested longer. For at least 5 minutes, your life would be thrown into fitful attempts to regain your prior state, when you remembered oranges as nice, pretty fruits that didn’t

The joy of living life backwards 14

A new court case in California could have massive consequences for the future of same-sex marriage. So how comes no-one knows the true facts of the matter? Optimism, over the past year or two, has been a hard task for those Californian homosexuals wishing to get married. In 2008, a President with the most progressive gay rights policy in history was elected in a landslide. Yet, at the same time, California voters upheld the sneaky, deviant, nasty Proposition 8, and the state’s constitution was formally amended to define marriage as between a man

and a woman. California is home to one of the largest gay populations in America; unsurprisingly, Prop 8 didn’t go down too well with them. In fact, two particular gay couples have decided to file a lawsuit, challenging the constitutional validity of the proposition. They’ve persuaded Theodore Olson (former US solicitor general), and David Boies, the two celebrity lawyers who opposed each other in the Bush v Gore (the case to decide the winner of the 2000 presidential election), to work together on the case. The potential impact of this lawsuit cannot be overemphasised. Almost sure to reach the Supreme Court, it could result in the mandatory legality of same-sex marriage across all 50 states in America. Gay Americans have never had such good grounds

to be optimistic, though there are naturally those who will fight tooth and nail against the case’s success. In January, Varsity published a piece decrying the involvement of Prof Michael Lamb, the Cambridge psychologist who testified during the trial. He propositioned that sexual orientation does not negatively impact one’s ability to raise children; he thus challenged one of the defendants’ key arguments. Psychology is not enough of a science, it was claimed, to be applied generally in court cases. Intrigued, I decided to talk to Mr. Lamb to hear his point of view. Lamb, though level-headed and academic, was painted by the defendants as a partisan liberal. They failed, thus, to recognise that his research is based on purely scientific criteria. He pointed out that not just anyone can claim to be an “expert” and testify in court – US legal rules ensure that all evidence is I l l ustrations: Lou ise Wi ndo


the very real psychological well-being, not just of adult lovers, but even more crucially, of the children they raise. To ignore the hard evidence from research in this area would not just be homophobic but downright criminal; though we might question whether there was ever any distinction between the two.

debate is about withholding a certain status…and its hard not to see this as reflecting some kind of prejudice.” People need to wake up and see what’s at stake here with the issue of gay rights. This isn’t the usual kind of bigotry, the run-of-the-mill discrimination against the happiness and basic rights of homosexuals. No, this is about

strictly scientific and reflects an established body of work. Dismissing this “reflects and ignorance both of psychology and the evidentiary process”. Lamb’s problem with the gay marriage issue is that people don’t think hard enough about it. The media is eager for single-factor explanations and sound bites like “gays can’t raise kids”. What they fail to report is the reality – for example the fact that 99% of research in this area shows that same-sex couples raise children as well as, if not better, than their heterosexual counterparts. Why has nobody heard this simple detail? The worst irony is that those gay couples are allowed to raise children, such as in California, cannot do so to the best of their ability because they are not allowed to provide the security of a stable marriage. As Lamb put it: “The part that’s lost in all this

table as the rest, then you could say that they are all on a neutral par: that of experience. We can deem something to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but we can never regress, because we are constantly experiencing. Because we can never regress, we can never truly evaluate- our perceptions are constantly diverging from the initial event at the speed of experience. And thank God they are. We need the illusion of relativity to get us through any perception- it wipes our memories. In last term’s issue of Vivid, a interview about euthanasia blared out the question: ‘What future is there in living?’. My answer is that future is overrated. Live backwards. Fear tomorrow and love yesterday. There’s a reason why the phrase ‘carpe diem’ is in a dead language.

sion, by relativity. I would claim that such an ‘optimism of the past’ is probably the nearest thing we can ever get to euphoria – a momentary happiness, the mind-blowing extent of which is formed by the knowledge that it is entirely transitory in its falseness. (Because of course euphoria is false. Otherwise we would be able to hold on to it). Such transitions occur within relationships, work issues, and self-image. Yesterday is always idealised until something better comes along, which is only better in the sense that it is different from the ‘neutral’ present. Soon that event will either pale in comparison to the next ‘good’ thing that happens, or will be idealised to extreme, unmanageable, extents by the next ‘bad’ thing that happens. Yet, if all these events are as forget-

Hope for gays

cause projectile vomiting. This state would immediately be idealised in your mind, as an oasis of neutrality- and then, after you had washed your mouth out with fairy liquid, you would forget all about it. Not knowing that you would be living a life of relative jubilation, where fruits posed no danger other than an extra millimetre of shiny wax on your Sainsbury’s basics apple. We must, therefore, celebrate the negative. It enables a nostalgia of the time prior to that negativity, which is itself a type of optimism. But this isn’t the type of wishywashy nostalgia created by a memory of the past- an experience a bit like visiting Auntie’s Tea Shop. This is a nostalgia which is entirely created out of illu-

John Wallis

V

15


V

16

I l l ustration: Rebecca B rig ht


nation’s lavatory systems; the point is the spark of ideological yearning never died; it has simply been misplaced and transferred. However, this does not necessarily mean we must do away with our pessimistic outlook. Rather, we must take pessimism to the end; not only must we have pessimism of the intellect but also pessimism of the will. We live in a time in which we are oppressed at being men men with a real individual body and blood, we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace and try to contrive to be some sort of impossible generalised man. Only when we realise that enjoyment is not only not our right, but also not necessarily entirely desirable will we be able to, paradoxically, truly gain what we want from life. To enjoy is the new super-ego, we must learn to realise that it is OK not to enjoy and that the sooner we capitulate to this fact, the sooner we do away with a striving for the impossible generalised man and the sooner we will return to ideological progress and indeed a far more optimistic view of life.

hope yet for ideology? Rather than dismissing it as being dead and gone, could it be possible to suggest that it has, in a sense, been misplaced and that we are simply looking for it in the wrong areas? Ever contentious Slovenia philosopher Slavoj Žižek uses the example of what he claims to be one of 20th century’s greatest philosophers, Donald Rumsfeld, to make a similar point. Rumsfeld’s notion of the known knowns, the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns is, according to Žižek, not necessarily something to be laughed at, for if we follow his somewhat confused logic, isn’t it clear he is missing a ‘variable’ to his philosophical formula? The unknown knowns. That is to say, the things we don’t know that we know are precisely our understanding, or lack thereof, of our current ideological outlook. Ideology is in fact alive and kicking, we just simply do not know that we know it. It can be found in the people who choose a Mac over a PC, free range over battery farm, or as Žižek states, even within a

The death of Ideology

When considering the current political apathy it is tempting to claim that ideology has long since died. Indeed, at the end of Dostoevsky’s book, Notes from Underground, the unnamed narrator claims that we are so divorced from real life that we have grown to loathe it, that we hate any reminder of it. I claim that the despondent ending is truer today than ever before. Who could blame us for feeling this way? Who could fail to understand our apathy? Each morning we are presented with the horrors of starvation, AIDS, rape, murder, honour killings, class war, wars with other nations, wars we never voted to participate in, wars in countries we had never heard of until that morning, we are surrounded by interminable wars and interminable hostility. But what can be done? We read the paper, cluck our tongues, shake our heads and exclaim ‘that’s too bad’, before going back to worrying about whether or not we have had our five fruit and veg for the day, or if we have had too much red meat that week, and so it goes. Where is there room for ideology in all of this? There will never be a revolution, there will never be a mass political upheaval – there is simply too much terror in the world. Let us have our flat screen TVs and our Playstations, let us die surrounded by machines; the horror of the ever growing mass connectivity is simply too much to handle, we’ve clearly no energy, no desire, no compulsion left to fight for what we truly believe in. It’s just far easier, and frankly far more comfortable, to consume and to divorce ourselves from reality. However, despite our bleak circumstances, could there be

Nicholas Tufnell

V

I l l ustration: Lou ise Wi ndo

17


V

Vicki Perrin & Nicholas Tufnell

VICKI

ROCCO

NICHOL AS

Having left the army Rocco Falconer travelled to Sierra Leone in 2008 on his gap year - on arriving he was shocked by the substantial damage to both the infrastructure and to the people, yet he was also struck by the undeniable beauty of the place. Recognising both an enormous need yet a potential for business, Rocco set out to bring those two elements together. Thus, Planting Promise, with its slogan ‘Charity is Business’, was formed. In July 2008 a summer school was built, attracting 450 pupils on the first day. Locals were soon given employment by Planting Promise in order to fund the new resources provided for by the charity. Planting Promise now operates over 1200 acres of land with one school currently operational and two more due to be built in September as well as an internet café and an adult education program.

Interview: Rocco Falconer 18

Why did you specifically choose Sierra Leone? I was inspired by Sierra Leone’s history of successful military intervention, something I strongly support, and by the fact that Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. Are you thinking of applying this model of aid to other countries? Ideally yes, I certainly have a long-term vision that involves creating a sustainable model in Sierra Leone and if the model works and it can sustain itself, there’s no upper limit on expansion in that respect. Would you consider places such as Sierra Leone as problems to be solved? Oh yes, it is a problem to be solved, but an immensely complex one. The way that you come to terms with big grand problems like Africa is not from the top down level, rather you try to find locally conceived and locally run provinces that can deal with the minutiae of the problem – the solution has to do with bringing wealth, bringing employment, bringing education and bringing prospects to people. Did the people of Sierra Leone ever view you as nothing more than some sort of western vanity charity organisation, were you taken seriously? Totally seriously. The perception of resentful Africans hating western support is a construct of a confused or guilty morality of westerners. By and large I have never experienced anything which has come close to someone saying that I am just doing this work because I want to feel good. I have never encountered anything other than immense gratitude. Indeed if it wasn’t like that I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t seek to expand unless I thought I was really helping. So there was no feeling on the ground that you were just a western organisation trying to exploit them for your own gain? I never found that, no. I don’t know if it’s fair to say but the gain to me is pretty minimal, in


Do you think there is a possibility of creating a victim culture? Perhaps not victim culture but incompetence culture. The western perception of Africa needs to change. We need to stop blaming ourselves by saying how terrible colonisation was, colonialism was in many ways a bad thing; however, it had its good aspects and it was fifty years ago. African leaders have done much worse things for Africa than British leaders have. Africa needs to stand up on its own two feet - it needs to recognise what it’s got and then it needs to change global perceptions. The glibness with which we just give Africa leaders money before getting morally outraged when they spend it on a fast car or pink champagne, seems to me to be just naïve. We need to be more positive and recognise that there is an enormous amount of potential there. The profitability of Africa is immense; currently it has only profited the most dark and dangerous people, and the Chinese. If we can bring it more into the mainstream it will be a success. Do you think aid generally arises from western guilt? Well it’s partly to do with guilt but there is the argument of the politics of good intentions, that is, whilst it is true many people want to help and the intentions are good, many people don’t necessarily realise how to do that in the most effective manner. Is there not a suspicion among regular people that the west is responsible for creating the corrupt leaders? No, I think when you go into a local village the relationship is not defined by politics rather it is defined by what you are doing there. All this talk of universals that we’re currently indulging in sounds great but I think fundamentally it come down to the local level, of individual people making local decisions on the most micro level and I believe this is a long term approach. What I can do is bring in a degree of education supported by business, which helps everyone or at least has very few side effects. Do you think charities working on a local level can undermine government control? Yes, certainly. But it depends what the charity is doing - I think you need to distinguish humanitarian aid from bilateral aid. Aid that is supporting rich leaders is not the same as UN work giving out vital food supply in Haiti, or in Somalia, or in Ethiopia. Are you optimistic about Sierra Leone and international aid in general? I am certainly optimistic about the future of Sierra Leone, Africa has got an enormous amount of profitability which people don’t really recognise. Recently there has been significant economic growth, there are increasing moves for anti-corruption in Sierra Leone and it has a large amount of resources. I am enormously confident about the future of Sierra Leone and the future of Africa. I think Africa is the future. So yes, I am very positive.

Is the emphasis on business an emphasis on globalisation? Very indirectly in the sense that we’re talking about getting people to start business as a means of bringing themselves wealth and employment which gives them prospects, in so much as globalisation is the status quo of capitalism then yes I suppose so.

.Why do you think learning is better than silver and gold and do you place an emphasis on business within learning? We follow the Sierra Leone curriculum and in the curriculum is one hour per week for something called learning for life and during that period teachers tend to talk about business to the kids. This could fall along the lines of a moral argument, is capitalism right or is it right to talk about business? But I don’t really have much time for that, suck it up, capitalism is the way we operate, so just deal with it.

Interview: Rocco Falconer

terms of the fact that we’re not actually making that much money over there, we’re making just enough to cover our costs, although we should make more now with this big plan but it’s always cost me money, in that I’ve put a lot of my own money into it, I don’t derive any profit from it, apart from the unquantifiable sense of good intention, but I’ve never had a complaint

Vicki Perrin & Nicholas Tufnell

V

19


V

Maggie Browning & Sophie Lloyd VIVI D investigates: RAG blind date 20

6.30pm MAGGIE Just been informed that my RAG Blind Date has asked to swap me for someone else. Am offended, though figure that it might be due to incidents on Varsity Ski trip, involving us trying to stay the night in his room (/bed) after misplacing our key, and then being delivered by this gentleman back to our door in something of a hysterical heap. Oh hum, hopefully my replacement date will be more promising. 7.35pm SOPHIE Running late; tensions are high. I have no idea what to expect, other than “a pink shirt”. Glancing down at my date’s RAG form once more, I see that it is very caring (his three most important things in life are happiness, family and friends), yet there are hints of a sexual undertone (“I am romantic, extrovert, spontaneous...) so I begin to wonder if this guy is going to be a little too hot for me to handle. My worst fears are confirmed when I meet my date: extremely handsome and the aforementioned pink shirt is so crisp it looks as if his mum ironed it for him. I begin to panic, and look around to see if there are any other pink shirts, perhaps someone already kissing someone else, or gently touching himself in the corner of Revs. Sadly it was not to be, so am lumbered with this lovely young man, who immediately offers me a drink. Help. 7.45pm MAGGIE Finally locate my new date in Revs. Charming enough, although not the 6 ft 2 promised on the blue form... Quite an impressive individual though – a fifth year medic with a sailing blue and a wholesome look about him. I am sensing a difference in lifestyles by this point- chronically lazy 2nd year SPSer and Cindies regular does not have that much in common with someone working a 70-hour week learning to save lives. I am undeterred about our apparent differences and engage in an enthusiastic discussion about the pros and cons of the NHS; not so good after two pitchers of Blue Lagoon and a couple of raspberry mojitos. 9pm SOPHIE Conversation appears to be going very well, assisted by the 2for1 cocktails. Thank you Revs. I glance across the room at Maggie, who meets my eye in a wild, panicked fashion. Her date is starring at her breasts. I wonder if she has noticed. I find myself rapidly sliding down the slippery slope to intoxication city, aided by my arch nemesis: long island iced teas. It is only 9pm and I feel lying on the floor is what I want to do most in the world. I try to prevent my date from noticing by smiling frequently – I appear manic and crazed. Charming as ever, my date comments that he is glad he got such a ‘happy date’. ‘Happy’ is a word that in my drunk, confused state of mind I associate with ‘fat’. Tears ensue. 10pm MAGGIE Post Revs, head to Cindies. Literally lose my date within about two seconds (he is lovely but I’m trying to pull tonight for God’s sake and not somebody who makes me feel vastly inferior – he helped out on a spinal surgery today while I lay in bed with til 5pm). CU:TV is shamelessly exploiting drunken fools; currently available online if you want a giggle. 11.30pm SOPHIE Utterly wasted but try to hide it as best I can. Many young women flock around my date the minute our feet touch the sticky dancefloor. I leave him to it – he was far too nice for me. 1am MAGGIE Decide that I have exhausted the possibility of a decent night and head home. Verdict? Mildly amusing and all in aid of a good cause.


V

Nicholas Tufnell

Rebecca started in the sceptical world as a magician in college. She soon noticed that there was an overlap between sceptics and magicians in the sense that magicians understood how to easily trick and fool people. Subsequently she became interested in sceptics and magicians such as James Randi and Penn and Teller, who are committed to educating the general public. Rebecca also noticed there weren’t many women in the sceptic community, thus encouraging her to start her own website, which is where she is today with skepchick.org. Rebecca is also on the sceptic’s guide to the universe podcast, which has 70 000 listeners a week.

Please could you give us an outline of what it is you do and how you came to where you are today?

Interview: Rebecca Watson 22

I got started in the sceptical world when I was a magician back in college. I soon noticed that there was a weird overlap where magicians kind of see how people can get easily fooled – for instance, they see and expose psychics for what they truly are: second-rate magicians who are taking advantage of people. So basically magicians like Randi or Penn and Teller have committed themselves to educating the general public. Randi in particular has spent decades helping scientists not get taken in by frauds, especially when testing people who claim to have psychic abilities. This is also linked to the million-dollar challenge, in which Randi offers a million dollars to anyone who can prove that they have paranormal abilities – no one has won it yet. So I got really interested in what they were doing on that level and I also noticed there weren’t a whole lot of prominent women in this community, which encouraged me to start my own website and which is where I am today with skepchick.org now having about a dozen women writers and one token male writer. Additionally I’m also on the sceptic’s guide to the universe podcast, which has about 70 000 listeners a week. Why are so few women overtly involved in the emerging zeitgeist of rational thought? A lot of people have suggested that it is evidence that women aren’t as sceptical as men, that they are more ready to believe weird things naturally. This is the social issue: we still tend to encourage women to be quiet, to not stand up and be confrontational, but there is something very confrontational about scepticism. But times are changing; we’re encouraging women to be mouthier. What is your definition of a sceptic? Using the scientific method and applying it to everyday life, looking at things in terms of what’s rational. There are a lot of things about scepticism that are quite compassionate. The anti-vaccine movement lead by people like Andrew Wakefield, carried on by celebrities like Jenny McCarthy in the USA is doing serious harm to children. Sceptics are saving lives by encouraging more people to get their kids vaccinated. Is there room for optimism in scepticism? Fundamentally I don’t think scepticism is pessimistic, rather it is simply realistic. It’s important to understand that it’s part of being human to believe weird things and you’re never going to have a population of humans that’s absolutely perfectly logical and rational: it just won’t happen. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think the goal of scepticism is to eradicate harmful beliefs - I believe that’s very optimistic.


There is a point at which scepticism becomes denial and I think that has happened with many global warming sceptics. If the vast majority of the world’s climatologists believe that global climate change is real and happening and probably caused by humans, I’ll trust them on that. Global warming sceptics tend to twist the facts, move their goal posts, tend to say anything they can in order to hang onto their beliefs. You realise that they’re no longer being appropriately sceptical, they’re simply denying the facts that are out there. You use technology a lot to propagate your ideas, but should we be sceptical of technology itself? Technology is fantastic - I think it is the greatest thing to ever happen to the sceptic community. It’s good to remember that there is a real world out there full of real people but technology has allowed those who are spread out across the world to go online and find a podcast or a blog or a forum where people are saying the things that they’ve been thinking for years. You have posed for a pin-up calendar - is this your sceptical stance on feminism and theories about exploitation of the female body? We did it to make enough money to send people to a conference. Some women responded saying that this was exploitation, but I didn’t see it that way – it was more than just smut and I put out a male calendar as well. We went out of our way to do more than just your standard pinup looking girl and put sceptical quotes and scientific facts alongside the pictures. I consider myself a feminist and in fact skepchic.org has just as much feminist content as sceptical content. I strongly believe that feminists and sceptics as groups need to overlap more, to benefit from each other. It was also an incredible amount of fun – I encourage everyone to go out and have a really good picture taken naked! Fundamentally, are you an optimist or a pessimist? Does this outlook have any relation to your scepticism? I am definitely an optimist. I think it does bear heavily on my scepticism, because if I weren’t an optimist I would give it up and I would get a day job in an office somewhere and not think any more of it. But it is my optimism that keeps me fighting when things seem bleak, when Jenny McCarthy is on TV it encourages me to get up and fight against her; I wouldn’t do that if I wasn’t optimistic.

Could scepticism be applied to climate change? And if it were applied, surely that would imply a dangerous optimism?

To get to the point where you don’t trust anything is of course not healthy – I don’t encourage paranoia or huddling in a corner somewhere crying yourself to sleep every night. To take what is going on in Haiti as an example, I think instead of just donating money to whatever link is going around twitter, as a sceptic it is important to look at how much of your money is actually going to get to the people. There has been a big issue in the states where the musician Wyclef Jean’s charity has come under fire – it has been grossly negligent. Someone could take that money and give it to a charity that has a demonstrated history of doing good work.

Is scepticism always helpful?

Certain labels like ‘militant’ are counter-productive, unfairly equating the sceptics to fundamentalist religions; there are fundamentalists from certain religions that are literally killing people, whereas I think that atheists, at the very worst, can be a little annoying.

Interview: Rebecca Watson

Do you think scepticism and its associated connotations, including atheism, science and rational thought, are becoming too aggressive?

Nicholas Tufnell

V

23


V

Team VIVI D

Th e D i a l

Bee

Oh Bee, Where is thy sting? On your bottom. How rotten for your bottom, Or is it?* Oh Bee. (*it is)

Christopher O ’Donnell

The Dial 24

the typed cruelty on the screen me from this font of knowledge that I woulld rather not No i cannnot find solace in the sum of Hermes you Harm Me

Lorem ipsum dolor sit am et, con i s csectetur adip i n g e l i tn.i b h c Proin n e siam eui n i s l. E t a t v e li t mod sem . lacerat luctus p m rmentu D u i s fe ntu m condime que uis dia m. Q conf r i n g i ll a t o r, to r sequat u ll a m e l e i fe n d n i m e corper sed. s e u lt r i c t dolor si


I had quite a ser ious accident at work and I’m rec According to Nur overing from an se Jill I was ver operation. y lucky that I did n’t break my nec k. I was an Irrigatio n Manager. Loved that job - the hou and the pay was good. I knew I nev rs were so flexib er should have tak le thing told me it en that hill job would end in tea , somers... Anyways, Nur through the operat se Jill said I pul ion ‘fantastical led ly well’, and tha lous progress’ and t I was ‘making that I would ‘be marvelas right as rain see it like that. in no time’. I did Okay, I wasn’t in n’t go back to my job any pain, but the was well … let’s fact that I couldn just say I didn’t ’t ‘everything happen lik s for a reason’. e it when she sai d ‘Angel of Death prescribe me mor e medicine than medical codes’ I what is regulated demanded. ‘Don’t by the be so silly,’ Nur going to give you se Jill giggled, an overdose. All ‘I’m not you need is a lar Ergh. ge dose of optimi sm.’ I was a bit of a git towards her. She got fed up of about my job, abo me moaning all day ut things in gen eral, so she tur could be in a muc ned round and sai h worse position, d, ‘You you know’. ‘Doubt it,’ I rep lied. Then she got angry. Really she went on blah angry. Blah bla blah blah I should h blah n’t think the who blah blah blah I le world is agains should be thankf ul for being ali t me blah blah. ve after my accide nt blah Then she began to cry. ‘I’ve lost patients today…poo couldn’t put him r Mr. Dumpty, the back together aga y just in…doctors did all just had to let him go.’ I felt they could but the a bit of a twat y to comfort her. to be honest. So I I knew Humpty qui tried te well, but did versation with him n’t really have …it was hard for a conhim to string wor brain was a bit ds together becaus scrambled from all e his the wacky backy thought about Sol he used to smoke. omon. I knew he Then I was admitted to Nurse Jill sadly hospital on Thursd shook her head and ay. But said, ‘Mr Grundy and died on Saturd grew worse on Fri ay.’ I later fou day nd out that Robin He was a Cock, but was brutally mur he didn’t deserv dered. e that. This really got things in perspe ctive. Like the well from the ope nurse said, I was ration on my hea recovering d. I’m alive. Sur other job, but I e I had to look did take a vocati for anonal course in cat pursue that. Jac ering, so I could k Horner’s always always on the lookout for him, the fat bas tard. Apparently people to make pie he has private hea s for employees. lthcare for all of his The doctor came and examined my head. ‘Fixed wit per. The marvel h vinegar and bro s of modern-day wn pamedicine, eh Jac right, you know. k?’ said the doc I should be thankf tor. He was ul…thankful that so I can’t go out I’m still here. in the rain becaus Okay, e the brown paper brain would be exp would get soggy osed and likely and my to cause a haemor nor can I go out rhage blah blah in the sun becaus blah and e (a) the vinega brown paper might r will whiff and get singed by the (b) the sun and disintegr brain which is lik ate and fall int ely to cause bla o my h blah blah [sic]. I’m not going to ..BUT the fact is, write myself off just yet. well,

Dr Grimm

Therapist

Stock photo cred its: onth i na i r, buzi l lo-stock, nu reen-R Estock

Transcript

WITHELD]

1 of 10

Patient Name Jack [SURNAME

Session

16/02/2010

Case Notes: Jack

Date

Jenna Corderoy

V

25


V

Mark Fiddaman

REASONS TO BE CHE ERFUL 1. Significant other has not yet run off with the man from Allied Carpets. 2. Skin’s fine. No problems with the skin. 4. Ducks.

5. No imminent threat of nuclear war/ milk running out.

6. The phone calls have all but stopped. 8. The World Health Organisation announced the eradicatio n of Smallpox in 1979.

9. I’m 20 and yet still derive pleasure from saying the word ‘mollusc’.

10. Mr. Wallace has dropped most of the charges

11. I have never to my knowledge been described as a “cockwit ”. 12.

Gave the lady at the Sainsbury’s a highly erotic stare this morning

13. I’m 20 and yet still derive pleasure from saying the word ‘meerkat’.

14. I don’t know how to ice-skate, so I can’t waste my time doing it. 15. Ditto paintballi ng.

16. Ditto foreplay.

Reasons to be cheerful 26

17. Come to think of it, Mr. Wallace was on the wrong side of the road. 18. Portmant eaux (pl.) 19. On second thoughts , it was I who was caught with the suitcase full of ostrich-pup pets and sanitary towels, not Mr. Wallace. Perhaps best to let sleeping dogs lie. 20. I’m 20 and yet still derive pleasure from saying the words ‘Mr. Wallace’.


I have a f ear of public t oilets. What am I t o do? Fear not my child, for the Lord is with you in your sleeping, in your waking and in unusual bowel concerns, watching, watching, interminably always watching. When I am troubled by something like this, I always bear in mind the words of the hymn, ‘ Be not afraid | I go before you always.’ If the Our Sav iour has been using the loo before you, what have you to fear? N othing, that ’s what.

Why does it always rain on me? Is it because I lied when I was 17? The Lord does not approve of those who take the works of Trav is in vain because they’re actually quite a good band and most people who take a pop at them do so out of jealousy and recycling this tired one-liner is really fucking stupid.

Niall Caldwell

First things first – praise the Lord! Your partner is true to themselves at last after years of self-denial and unfulfilling relationships. Seek no revenge, but instead reach for the stars – the stars of forgiveness that is! After all, when St. Valentine was crucified in the name of his lesbian love, Beatrice, did he not shout from the cross, ‘It is ok my dear – let us be friends and have a game of back gammon.’? For the real bonds we have in our lives are not those of flesh and leather, but those of trust and board-games.

My boyfriend turned gay on Valentine’s day. What revenge should I seek?

First things first – praise the Lord! God is Love, and as the apostle says, ‘Love is all around us.’ The growth of felicitous feelings in this world can only ever be praised and stroked and clutched ever tigher! Openess is the key to the growth of a healthy soul, and reciprocation is the most sincere form of flat tery.

I think my DoS fancies me. What should I do about it?

Agony Anglican

Dear Agony Anglican ...

V

27


V

Claudia Stocker

Boaties

28


CambridgeSlacker Thursday, 2nd December 201

CUSU desk overhaul

Hugh Jarse News Reporter

A battle of epic proportio ns is raging between several student associations to determine who is the most accepting of the LGB T community. A survey carried out by TCS has revealed the fierce competi tion between NUS, CUSU and colle ge JCRs. The most accepting colle ge was found to be Wolfson Coll ege, as both of the students who voted in the survey said they were ‘com pletely fine’ with the LGBT commun ity. Their JCR president told TCS that: ‘The survey further cements the accepting and friendly reputation of Wolfson’.

Some Angry Bloke

body

Full story on page 3

Photo: Generic DSLR Own

S battle over LGBT

er

Wanting to show the univ ersity- and we felt obli ged to get involved wide support for LGBT mat ters, Tom and add our acronym to the list. We Table of Facts: Chigbo spoke for CUSU, stating: ‘We would like to make it clear that we The Most Accepting Colleges are 100% okay with LGB T matters. also are okay College with any thing to do Percentage of okayness That’s a massive increase since last with LGBT mat ters.’ year (when no survey Wolfson College 100.0 was carried out).’ NUS: “‘We are definitely Clare Hall However, an NUS represen 98.7 tative claimed: ‘We are definite ly the most the most fine with the Peterhouse fine with the LGBT com 98.4 munity. We LGBT community.” represent many more of its members Churchill so it’s fair to say we are 97.8 a lot more With a university-wide okay with them than CUS referenU.’ New dum nham on ‘Is CUSU more fine 97.0 A large number of ASN with AC stu- LGBT than NUS?’ announced for dents have decided to dem onstrate next week, the Emmanuel 96.5 exciting debate conon the issue, with their spok esperson tinues. claiming: ‘It seems likely that a CU(Co mpi led using the result from inSU-NUS-JCR-LGBT rift is imminent Continued on dividual surveys sent out page 2 to each college. Over 7 students part p9 icipated.) The Perfect Baked Beans p24

Review: The Nativity

p17

CUSU, NUS, JCRs in TC

wrong message to the stud ent

ce desks communicate the

The Cambridge Slacker

CUSU believe that their offi

0 - Michaelmas Issue Eigh t

Emerald Paston

The

Exclusive Interview : San ta Claus

V

29


V

Niall Caldwell Afterword 30

Hello gentle reader. Niall Caldwell here, editor and shameless self-promoter. Due to an unsuccessful attempt to impose a superinjunction on the magazine I’m able to reveal that I was once chatted up in a toilet by John Terry. Not the footballer, mind, it was a welder from Swindon. I’m here to clarify any issues you may have had with our piece – epistemological, phenomological, scatological. We’ve tried to show you the optimistic side of life, Cambridge. Madness, I hear you cry. Hear me out fellow students, I cry back. Alright, you cry back (somewhat superfluously). Startling as it may seem, we Cambridge graduates might just make it through the recession alive. I know this is hard to accept – I too have felt the keen sting of only having three job options and an MPhil to pick from. But come on folks – nobody is here doing a GCSE in Fingerpainting (unless you’re at Homerton studying Education – but that’s what you get for picking a silly subject and I say that as someone who does English). There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful, from the simple pleasure of the next pint to the ingrained social bias in England’s political and financial centres towards people from Oxbridge. What is the rationale behind all this negative news? At the time of writing, The Times is predicting that the UK’s budget deficit will outstrip Greece. But I mean, Greece has some totally sweet beaches. Plus they invented philosophy and intercrural sex and as cultural achievements go, they’re normally considered fairly up there. I say enjoy the fact that the government is pissing away money like a drunk at a quiz machine. Our generation can always invent ever more complicated ways to refinance all this baby-boomer debt – have faith in the ever-present human ability to pass the buck! It seems as though we cannot live without wishing to experience negativity. Look at the comments below any Youtube video [I can haz cool points for mentioning the youtube in an article about yoof cultchaaa?] As a species we pathologically refuse to see the true message of Monty Python’s ‘The Life of Brian’ – that you can dine out on an overrated film for literally years that you should always seek to be happy in your situation, preferrably with a catchy song as accompaniment. Yes it is easy to moan. Critiquing, as the saying goes, is far easier than creating. Looking on the optimistic side of life is constructive – the reverse entails a life of sneering and vague disappointment. Forewarned is forearmed, one might say, but if all you expect from life is a slap in the face with a sock full of wank, then you might as well give up here and now. We’re all just carbon, folks. And much as I am quite capable of giving you a grand, teleological purpose – well isn’t it just better that you find out for yourselves? Until next time Vivideers, adieu.


V

31



VIVID magazine 7