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EXETERA Edition Six / June, 2013 /










E D ITO R S’ LET TE R S In his final editorial, Max Benwell hands over the Exetera baton to next year’s Editor Mark Izatt.


From the floor of my bedroom during the Summer of 2011, I set up a Facebook page which called for students at Exeter to contribute to a new magazine on campus. This is where Exetera began, and now, as I sit in my room Max Benwell two years and six editions later, it is sadly where it must end. At least, Editor that is, for me. While this may be my last editorial, the good ship Exetera will continue to sail, and I cannot think of a better person to replace me than Mark. As some have already noted, Mark is basically a much better, far cooler version of myself (thanks, Mum), so there’s really nothing to worry about. This latest edition may also focus on the political, yet my relationship with Mark since he joined the magazine has been anything but. There have always been stories of overambitious deputies, manipulating their way to the top, but I am proud to say the Mark is one of a kind, and one the most genuine people I have ever met. Farewell.

It was about a year ago that I sent the editor of Exetera my first ever article, a look at everybody’s favourite sex blogger and part-time dominatrix, Slutever. That editor was Max Benwell, and he hasn’t left me alone since. Mark No, no, I’m joking. Max is a great guy. A great guy to fake friendship Deputy with in order to become the editor of Exeter’s best campus magazine. That’s how politics works, isn’t it? It’s all about who you know. Thanks for everything, Max; I’ll get my assistant to send you some flowers or something when I have an immaculate bob and a pair of sunglasses surgically attached to my face. Ciao!

Izatt Editor



Max Benwell Deputy Editor

Mark Izatt Designer


Dutch Holland

Felix McCabe Visual Director

Alexis Mastroyiannis Web Editor

Kathleen Sayers

Copy Editor

Sales and Marketing

Imogen Custers

Declan Henesy

Web Developer

Maciej Kawalec Contributors

Jennie Frewen /Callum McLean / Christopher Featonby / Harry Kilpatrick / James Roberts / Louis Jones / Marcus Gosling / Rob Price Models

Imogen Custers / Vivian Law Many Thanks To Our Interviewees

Tom Payne / Matt McDonald



















37 W/E











The University of Exeter Mail Room, The Old Library Prince of Wales Road Exeter, Devon, UK EX4 45B A message to our generous sponsors from the College of Humanities: In the previous issue of Exetera an article of mine was published which spoke about why a science degree would serve one better than a humanities degree. In the wake of ‘The Science Edition’ I became aware that some comments had been made regarding the unfair and inaccurate – albeit hilarious – treatment of the humanities in the aforementioned article. The objections were totally justified. As I am sure your colleagues in the English department are well aware, the article used a literary device called ‘irony’. The article was ironic because everybody knows that humanities students are far better in every conceivable way than those empirical, evidence-based science nerds. In fact, I am a humanities student myself, and without the stellar work of all those involved in the college my intellect would not have reached the zenith at which it currently stands. Without a shadow of a doubt, had I never received my tutelage from the Humanities I never would have been able to produce such an outstanding piece of polemic discourse. No harm was intended, but if offense was caused, I apologise. Yours sincerely, Louis Jones (2nd year BA History and Philosophy)



Commies. Champagne Socialists. Hippies. As functional and irresistibly devastating as these terms are for describing your average Leftie, they are beginning to show their age. In a time where your average middle class communist is more identifiable by their multicoloured skinny jeans than patented Che memorabilia, it’s time the Right moved the art of insulting Left-wingers into the 21st Century. So, here are six ways to hit those monarchyhating pacifists right between their thick-rimmed glasses: Drug-addled Fairtrade consumerists Ah, the delights of consumerism: a trust-fund and convenient access to a cheap backstreet ‘pot’ dealer. What could go better with that Fairtrade chocolate than a pouch of herbal goodness produced by a child slavery ring in Columbia? The Latter Day Evangelical Church of the Obamarite Ascension Nothing upsets the chattering hipster of Britain more than the thought that one wealthy, Christian, American male might have beaten Barack Obama – another wealthy, Christian, American male – to the Presidency. The British Left’s mindless devotion to the Obamarite cause is superbly ironic in its delusional fanaticism. Radical post-post-prefeminist and anti-racist Euro-radicals With every new Left-wing ‘ism’ comes a new identity, then a new ‘post-ism’ revision, and all of the meaningless conjecture in between. A damning indictment indeed; there is little the Leftie intelligentsia dislikes more than the perspective it held three months ago.

Starbucks-drinking, iPad-toting tent-dwellers I refer, of course, to the Occupy Movement which so blighted the streets and desecrated our lawns. A motley crew of Marxist ‘intellectuals’ and unwashed bohemians, nothing exposes them better than the iPads from which they recited their diatribes against worldwide capitalism. Beenie-wearing smoothie-drinking tax dodgers Forever drinking the condensed components of a compost bin, with beanie hats clinging to their heads, in a vain attempt to perpetuate adolescence. You see, with adulthood comes taxes, and then comes the horrifying realisation that ‘tax the rich’ means taxing you. Bourgeois Tate Modernists The Leftist heart cannot help but be set aflame by the latest artistic bunkum. Monochrome prints of grey buildings, taken by cameras with fashionably large lenses, and sold throughout Soho as A Surrealist Journey into Urban Counter-Culture. Then again, that’s irony.





By Declan Henesy


irst dates are awkward. There’s no way to get around that fact. It doesn’t matter whether you have more chemistry than Brangelina; the course of true love never did run smooth. There are hundreds of what-ifs and burning questions to be answered. Will he/she like me now they’re seeing me for the first time sober? Will they be ‘the one’? Dear god, I hope not, I’m only 20. Of course, I’ll discuss my taste in music, film and literature. I’ll discuss the obscure DJs I listen to, the independent film I just saw at the Picture House, and how

I couldn’t put down that classic English novel. But do I tell them my favourite song right now is Taylor Swift; that my favourite film is Aladdin (and yes, I know the words to every song); and that, in fact, I haven’t read that book but I did see the film adaptation starring Keira Knightley. According to numerous online articles, the key is ‘to relax’, ‘just be yourself ’, ‘don’t over think it’. What does that mean? How can I relax when somebody is judging me on everything I do? And how do I know they’re judging me? Because I’m judging them for every little

thing they do. Be myself ? Doubtful. I am 100% aware I can be a complete dick; I’m overly sarcastic and nowhere near as funny as I think I am. Why on earth would I show somebody I potentially want to have sex with that side of me? And don’t over think it? Whoever said that has never dated anybody. Ever. The first important step on your path to everlasting love is choosing a venue. ‘Everybody goes to Firehouse’ you say, ‘let’s go somewhere different.’ You ponder some possible options. Something kooky. Something different. Something to tell the grandkids. You think and think but nothing groundbreaking comes to mind. But it’s fine: you can Google it. Google has always been a friend to you. ‘First Date Ideas to Wow Your Date’ suggests: A farm trip? Erm no. If you wanted to look at animals you’d go to Timepiece Wednesday. A fortune teller, perhaps? Future relationship predictions could be awkward. Maybe skip that one. How about a flower show? At this point you’re wondering whether this article is a joke. A flower show. A flower show? I mean, come on. So you have an inspired idea. ‘Let’s go to Firehouse,’ you say. ‘Why didn’t I have that original thought in the first place?’ You arrive early. You don’t want your date standing there on her own. In your haste to arrive early and grab one of those rare things that is a spare table at the Old Firehouse, you have turned up 45 minutes early. Who cares? You’re there. You’re date arrives and you give them one of those awkward hugs. A voice in your head is screaming at this tiny moment of physical contact. Not out of lust, but sheer unadulterated awkwardness. The date has commenced. You begin by talking about your mutual friends. Your favourite spots in Exeter. It has quickly been established on which side of the divide you spend your Tuesdays; Cheesy or Thieves? Now, why does your date keep stringing disparate words together and pretending they’re talking about real things? They mentioned Shadow Child, but when did the conversation stray into Lord of the Rings? And then suddenly you’re sure they are discussing a DJ called Tampax. What? Who? Huh? You move on. You’ve read about what not to talk about. Cosmo has outlawed telling drunken anecdotes. Shit. You’re a student. What else do you talk about? You don’t know and you sit there

in silence hoping the other person breaks it. They do. Thank god. And everybody finds ‘deal-breaker’, that one difference in opinion which means this relationship can never grow into anything serious. For some it’s the desire to have kids. For others it’s being a dog lover. For anybody with a brain from our generation it’s a love for Harry Potter. But what if halfway through your date you find out they prefer Twilight to Harry Potter? I’m sorry, but that date is over. The person you are with is a disgusting human being. If this occurs, I feel it’s safe to say you can leave as promptly as possible and leave them to take care of the bill. Now you feel ill. You forgot about that essay deadline. It’s likely this won’t go anywhere. Conversation is perhaps forced at first but it soon begins to flow and is enjoyable. If only the situation were to remain so amiable. One of the big questions that looms is what happens when it comes to the bill. You pay, of course. But do you? You at least offer. But they offer to go Dutch. You tell them not to worry – it’s on you. They insist. You insist. Oh god. What does this mean? Do they actually want to go halves? Are they just being polite? If a man goes halves, he’s no longer a gentleman. If he insists on paying he’s sexist. There are so many questions and now you’re just standing there half risen to pay like a complete fool, no closer to resolving the issue. You end up paying and pray to god that your date won’t take a feminist stance on the contentious issue that is the bill. So, the date part of your date has ended. Finished. Finito. Phew. But wait, there’s more. You’re terribly nice so you offer to walk your date home. But

that moment just before you reach their door is brimming with expectancy. Do you kiss? You decide yes, you’re going to go in for the kill. But how to attack? A peck? Some tongue? In that moment you realise you haven’t kissed anybody sober in – well, you can’t bring to memory the last time you kissed somebody sober. You’re going to be abysmal. You definitely haven’t got enough Dutch courage for this situation and you’re very aware that only an hour ago you were eating a pizza oozing with garlic. In those seconds you are certain this is set to be the most awkward moment of your life. It’s not, so just kiss your damn date and be done with it. You did it. It was ok. In fact, it was better than ok. What happens next is up to the gods, because you have survived and the possibility of sex is on the table. And what is the funniest thing about this terrible situation which we term ‘the first date’? We love it. It’s exciting. Being thrust upon somebody you barely know and forced to converse gives you a rush of life. Those butterflies in your stomach that previously made you queasy now lend a spring to your step. Even if you’re not too taken with the person you shared time with, you can’t deny that you feel surprisingly good. ‘Why?’ one may ask themselves. Because the first date is an unpredictable bull with whom you were thrown into the ring. You tackled that bull head on, wrestled with it, dodged it and coaxed it to attack. Yes, you may have acquired a few scratches along the way, and possibly decided that the prize, in the end, wasn’t for you. But if you wrangle with that bull and you win, ride that sexy beast for as long as you can.


Exeposé vs The Tab



From the Safer Sex Ball’s CCTV footage scandal, in which a blowjob garnered global attention, to the discovery of multiple cocaine hotspots on campus, there’s been no shortage of attention-grabbing news at the University of Exeter this year. Founded in 1987, Exeposé is Exeter’s only student newspaper. With 5,000 copies distributed fortnightly, it is the go-to for both local and national news coverage and commentary. Despite only being launched in Exeter two years ago, The Tab has quickly become the most read source of online news for students, with over 20,000 hits in May alone. Although starkly different in their tone and content, the two publications still compete daily for the latest stories, shrouding their headlines in secrecy before they go to print, and battling leaks to protect their scoops. But is there really as much politics in student media as we are led to believe? We spoke to the editors Matt McDonald and Tom Payne to find out.

Words: Max Benwell Photography: Felix McCabe




“I admit that we’ve had some fun with headlines this year. But if people saw that as damaging or biased then that’s up to them.”

How would you describe your political stance? Probably left of centre. I affiliate with Labour. That’s something that has emerged in the last three or four years, being involved in higher education and the student newspaper. It’s something I didn’t know much about before, but now I feel I have a stake in it. Do your politics influence the way you make decisions as an editor? Exeposé is not meant to have political alignment. We go with whatever we feel is right for our readership and the right thing to do. What are your plans for after you graduate? I’m hoping to study journalism at postgraduate level, with a view to being a reporter at a national paper. But before I start my MA I have placements at the Daily Mail, The Times and Western Morning News. Is the Daily Mail somewhere you can see yourself working in the future? Yeah, I can see myself working for the Daily Mail. I think it’s a great paper that knows its readership, which is reflected by the fact that it’s the best newspaper in the country. What are your thoughts about going to a paper which is routinely accused of sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and recently, the death of a transgender teacher after they published an abusive column by Richard Littlejohn? That’s probably the work of a few reporters and subs, and obviously the people at the top, but if you stay true to what you believe then I don’t see any problem. There are always tensions in the way readers react. But while there are a lot of negative reactions to the Daily Mail, they have a group of readers who agree with most of what they have to say, which you get at every national paper. What do you think Exeposé has done best this year? The real strength of Exeposé this year has been its response to the competition of The Tab. Rather than maintaining a passive voice, we’ve tried to bring

something fresh to Exeter’s news agenda through our more controversial investigations and stories, which have got people talking about issues which they might not have considered before. One particularly controversial story was an investigation into the use of cocaine on campus. How did you go about obtaining the evidence? We had to go to a few places we wouldn’t normally have access to. We went into Northcote House with swabs, but couldn’t tell them it was part of a cocaine investigation, so we had to organise a meeting with the press officer. There was sneakiness involved, but that’s part of the fun of student journalism. How do you respond to accusations that many your headlines this year have been sensationalist? I admit that we’ve had some fun with headlines this year. But if people saw that as damaging or biased then that’s up to them. All I care about is getting readers, and if we’ve got a good headline or a good story and people want to pick up a copy of Exeposé, I’m happy. Has your print run been affected at all by the Internet? Exeposé prints 5,000 every fortnight, and from that we waste about 80-90. However, print journalism is a dying industry, and most people now care about getting their news quickly without having to wait for the papers to come out. So, in the future we could see a decrease in the amount of printed editions, but a rise in our online presence. The Guild checks and regulates all of your content before it’s published. Has this had a negative impact on your capacity to publish recent updates quickly like The Tab do? One drawback of our relationship with the Students’ Guild which has been a source of agony and frustation is the bureaucratic mire which prevents us from getting stories out as quickly as we’d like. The incoming editors know that it’s something which has to change, but all good things develop over time and it won’t happen overnight.

Now that your online presence is increasing, do you see The Tab as a rival? It’s great to have the competition, as more media outlets means more competition and therefore higher quality for everyone. The Tab speaks to an audience which more traditional, broadsheet newspapers don’t always consider. It’s done a great job and will continue to work alongside Exeposé perfectly well. Is that what you’d say you like most about The Tab, it’s antibroadsheet appeal? Yeah, but I like how ironic and sarcastic it can be. That’s very effective, and there’s definitely an audience for it, as there’s an audience for the stuff that we produce. Is there anything you don’t like about The Tab? The kind of articles which, although I understand why they do them, are just gifs. Obviously there are readers for that, but to me it’s not what student journalism is about. Student journalism should be a bit more out there, a bit more ballsy. I think that, occasionally, when they claim to be doing things ironically it actually ends up undermining their attempts to break serious stories. As we saw recently, with the news that the Guild president had been barred from the Ram, the comments on The Tab seemed to be rather negative. How would you like your time as Editor to be remembered? [Laughs] I don’t think anyone from the Guild or the University will remember it too fondly. But I would like to see it as the year when we really brought Exeter to the front of the news agenda both nationally and in student media terms. Before this year we had just done things as they came along and not really put ourselves out there. But now Exeter is really competing with the more populist newspapers and is even being recognised by national outlets as well. This is something which, journalistically, is really important for the Unversity and is what I would like to think I have changed myself.




“I’m trying to phrase this without sounding really arrogant, but it doesn’t really feel like a rivalry because a lot of the time it’s just flicking through their pages and seeing the stories which we’ve already published.”

How would you describe your political stance? I used to be quite politically minded back when I was in school; I was involved with the Liberal Democrat party in 2005 and 2006. Since then I’ve become somewhat more distant with identifying with party politics. Do you think your politics influences your work as an editor? Not really. With The Tab we’ve always set out to give as much balance as possible in terms of viewpoints. We believe that every student should have the opportunity to write and publish what they want. If we get a good, well-written article, and it’s a bit contentious or controversial, then I’m not going to disagree with it being published. If The Tab hadn’t come to Exeter what do you think you would have done? I’d probably be a functioning alcoholic [laughs]. During my Freshers’ Week I went to a social in the Ram for XMedia Online and there were about five people there, and I joined because it was only a quid and I got an Arena card out of it. The thing is, Exeposé claim that they’re independent but they are the University’s society newspaper. They’ve stepped up their game a lot over the last few months in terms of the stories they cover, but other than that they have never inspired the same passion to write and produce news in the same way as The Tab has for me. Do you see Exeposé as rivals? A lot of the stuff in Exeposé is examples of students writing stories or reviews on things that The Tab just don’t cover, like the books section or the games section. We don’t really cover those sorts of things, because in general we believe that if you want to read a film review you’ll be reading Empire, or if you want to read a book review you’ll be reading the book section of the Guardian, that sort of thing. We do very different things. But are they rivals? There are areas of crossover, and I always read through Exeposé to see if there’s anything we’ve missed. [Pauses] I’m trying to phrase this without sounding really arrogant. But because of our platform and how user-friendly The Tab is to reader and editor and writer, we’ve often run the stories

which they run a week beforehand. So it doesn’t really feel like a rivalry because a lot of the time it’s just flicking through their pages and seeing the stories which we’ve already published. What drives traffic the most to The Tab website? Our widest read articles are always the ones which have certain sexual connotations. You look at the stats over the last year and one of the biggest articles has been on the whole Ram blowjob fiasco. Generally, it’s always something which is contentious and makes people think “ooh I don’t know about that”. That’s what makes the best splash or best story: the things that shock people, which you get with sex along with any other horror story. Have you ever published anything just because it was controversial? That’s always an element we’re thinking of whenever we publish a story, but I can’t think of an example where that’s been the sole reason why we’ve published something. There’s always another edge to it, and an element of public interest, when we’re running a story. With that in mind, what was your justification for putting up a poll where you said visitors could vote on whether they wanted to see the CCTV footage of the now infamous ‘Ram Blowjob’, and that if the majority voted ‘yes’ you would show it? The idea for that came from the poll which Guido Faulkes ran a few months earlier with the Kate Middleton photos, asking people if they wanted them to be published or not. It was really a case of gauging our readership and seeing how they would react to the story. It was arguably a very sensationalist thing to do, but we knew it would generate traffic. But then again, it was a case of us wanting to see how it was going to be received, and then off the back of that, work out the best and most sensitive way to cover it. Would you have published the video if there had been no legal barriers in your way? We knew we were never going to publish the video because of a legal consultation we had about it. But personally, even if

there were no legal barriers, I don’t think I would have. It was already everywhere at the time, so really there wasn’t any need in us publishing it. So you set up a poll asking people if they wanted to see it, knowing that you weren’t going to show it? Yeah. How would you describe The Tab in a sentence? For students, by students, about students…with as many short words and clichés as possible. Where do you see yourself in twenty years times? Ideally, I want to be a staff writer for HBO, and I want to be the person sitting in his apartment in NYC while they’re panicking to find someone to write the next episode of Season Eight of Boardwalk Empire. I’m the person they call up. How would you like to be remembered? I’d like to be remembered as the person who established The Tab in Exeter as the main source for news, and set the whole process in motion.


Words: Rob Price

3D GUN PRINTING Come the revolution, gun control advocates will be the first against the wall



n December 14th, 2012, after fatally shooting his mother, Adam Lanza arrived at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he gunned down 6 adults and 20 children, all aged between 6 and 7, before taking his own life as the first responders arrived on the scene. The weapons used were legally purchased by his mother. On July 20th, 2012, James Eagan Holmes murdered 12 and injured 58 others in a Colorado cinema before he was apprehended, using legally purchased weapons. On August 5th 2012, Wade Michael Page carried out a mass shooting in a Wisconsin Sikh temple, killing 4 and injuring 6, before committing suicide as police attempted to apprehend him. Again, his handgun was legally purchased. Free access to firearms and unpredictable, unpreventable, indiscriminate murder come hand-in-hand. Gun control, where it has been effectively been implemented, has been a proven success in averting such indiscriminate slaughters, as well as lowering suicide and accidental death rates. However, in around 20 years, gun

control will fail, forever. This is likely to happen for three reasons. The first is the quintessentially American obsession with guns. With the right to bear arms codified into their constitution in the form of the Second Amendment, gun ownership has become one of the American political psyche’s great sacred cows. In 2010 firearm-related fatalities in America were 31,328, amounting to roughly 10.2 for every 100,000 people. This is in stark contrast to Britain, where strict gun control legislation was introduced in the aftermath of the 1996 Dunblane massacre. Here, the firearm-related fatality rate is only 0.25 in 100,000, a vindication for proponents of gun control. Next comes the internet and the radical new political ideologies which have emerged with its expansion.. With nearly superabundant access to information, there now exists a culture of sharing for sharing’s sake. To some it has become a moral imperative to distribute, without limitations or pay walls, any and all media and information. There isn’t

much that can’t be learnt with a Google search and a few clicks of the mouse. Lastly, we add a still-nascent technology, one with the capacity to be violently disruptive to the established order and intellectual property regimes: 3D printing. A 3D printer does what it says on the tin, allowing the user to create physical objects out of raw material (normally plastics) using a digital blueprint, typically distributed online, limited by the size of the printer and the detail which its capable of reproducing. A 3D printer today costs about $5000, still putting it out of reach for the casual consumer, and is limited in functionality; its capabilities and precision are still far less developed than traditional industrial processes. Toys, clocks, and certain tools have all been successfully manufactured with them, and as time goes on, their prices will continue to drop and their capabilities will continue to grow. A 3D revolution is coming, similar to the Intellectual Property revolution currently underway, but far more radical, and with far more obvious consequences. Why would you buy an expensive lamp-

shade when you could print it at home from the comfort of your desk? Why would you pay through the nose for your children’s toys when you can print almost identical ones for nothing more than the cost of the raw materials? Why pay for any physical good, if the blueprints can be found online for free and you own a machine capable enough to realise them? Taken together, these three strands converge to produce a future where people will be able to print any gun they want, at home, as if they were Airfix kits or flat-pack furniture. In such a world, efforts at gun control will have completely failed, and will be irredeemable. Take America’s rabid pro-gun lobby, inject a mindset of radical information sharing and grant them access to 3D home printers, and you have a potentially lethal weapon in every home, untraceable and unregulatable. People and companies are already working toward this exact aim: Defense Distributed is foremost amongst them, aiming to create a so-called ‘Wiki Weapon’. This is, in their words, a “non-profit, collaborative project to create freely available plans for 3D printable guns”. Against this, the gun control advocate has no recourse. One can no more halt

technological progress than one can stop the tides. Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, has already managed to design and manufacture an entire handgun (the only external part required is a nail for a firing pin), named “The Liberator”, that has since been shared online hundreds of thousands of times, despite the best efforts of the Obama Administration to shut it down. And this is just the beginning. So, what can be done? In short, nothing. In such a world, attempts at prohibition will resemble nothing more than the persistent attempts to shut down piracy databases such as Pirate Bay, websites which resemble multi-headed hydras; new ones emerge as soon as old ones are shut down. There is no reason to believe that gun blueprint distributors will be any different. For now, gun prohibition works: Britain is testament to this. But once 3D printing technologies reach maturity, firearm control will come to be worse than useless – it’ll be positively dangerous. In the same way that abstinence-only sex education fails in a world where sex most certainly exists so too will prohibition-based gun control be completely

off-kilter with a world where anyone with an internet connection, a grudge, a penchant for gun-based Xbox games and access to his parents’ printer will be capable of untold destruction. Some make the claim that given differences in culture, one cannot transplant conclusions on gun control from Britain to America, and vice versa, but the Internet ignores national boundaries, and will spell an end to firearm regulation even in territories where it has, in the past, been successful. To simply say “no guns allowed” will be so detached from reality that it will be of no use at all, and will likely be actively counter-protective to efforts in education and harm reduction. The gun control advocate’s sun is setting. In a stark example of the disruptive impact technology has upon society, the cause will cease to be effective, and become not only unfeasible but actually irresponsible. The age of the “wiki weapon” draws ever closer, and all we can do is try to prepare ourselves. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that it might not happen.



Atlas the Lion has lion paws, A tail, a tassel, and a Lion’s jaws. His daddy says “When stuck in the crowd Never pander to others – always walk proud.” First day on the plain he was pushed in With the other animals, like a pin. The buffalo watched him with a nasty stare – There were no other lions, only Atlas was there. They muffled his claws, the claws on his feet, Then gave him some eucalyptus to eat. He sniffed at his food, they said “don’t be rude! Here like all others you won’t have meat.” They taught him the Zebra, taught him the slow, Wise Sayings of the Old Buffalo. He recited the Year of the Grazing Deer But when he rumbled a roar they all said “No!” At the end of the day Atlas had bowed His educated head, and he did not look proud. At the end of his legs he saw hooves, not sharp claws. He was taught to have antlers instead of jaws. The headmaster said “Atlas the Lion will be educated Until the predator in him has mutated. Well-schooled, he could even become a toad.” Lions evolve into toads once they’ve graduated. But the question is, will Atlas evolve or explode?

From the go-getting women of the high octane eighties to the fierce queens of the Harlem drag scene, Mark Izatt takes a look at the transformative power of clothing, and how fashion shapes and is shaped by the political landscape.

Photography: Felix McCabe


Mark wears smoulder JOAN CRAWFORD; brows MARLENE DIETRICH; hair MARILYN MONROE; desire to transgress gender boundaries ENGLISH LITERATURE DEGREE; nose model’s own.


“ As far as I’m concerned,

being any gender is a drag ” Patti Smith

“ All dressing is power dressing; clothing not only

sits on our skin, but changes us from the inside out ”


ponents came from the world of popular music, with artists such as Boy George and David Bowie adopting drastically androgynous new styles, taking influence from previously underground trends and bringing them into the popular sphere, forging identities beyond the conventional. However, fashion had political significance long before Ziggy Stardust descended from Mars. When Coco Chanel rid the world of the suffocating corset in the early 20th century, loose clothing became a symbol of the emancipation of women. They were no longer trussed up in whale-bone and dripping with heavy jewellery; they were free to move, to work, to think, and to possess a new, understated chic. Later on, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, clothing became an agent for the liberation of teenagers, with designers like Mary Quant bringing in the revolutionary mini-skirt, and far more drastically, with the opening of ‘SEX’, the avant-garde punk boutique conceived by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood in 1974. The punk movement expressed an anarchist belligerence and appropriated fetish clothing, bringing it out of sex clubs and into the public eye. Although they only gained exposure over recent decades, underground styles such as fetish-wear had existed long before they were brought to the fore. Drag culture, perhaps harnessing the power of clothing and make-up more potently than any other discipline, is an example of another such subculture, finding increasing popularity with the majority. Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, filmed during the 1980s, explores the rich culture of drag balls in Harlem, New York. A drag ball is a competition in which contestants ‘walk’ a runway in outfits corresponding to a number of categories, such as ‘Paris-

ashion has been given a bad name. than men (a pay gap which is yet to close All too easily it can bring to mind entirely) it was important for women to unemployed rich kids, jewel- be taken seriously in the workplace. By bedecked magazine editors with botoxed appropriating masculine imagery traforeheads, exploited models living ditionally synonymous with authority, off almonds and cigarettes, hordes of women exploited the patriarchal hierarsycophantic bloggers and freakish clothes chy in order to empower themselves and which cost more than a five star trip to demand respect. Dubai. Despite popular misconceptions, Love her or hate her, we might see the however, there’s more to the industry late Margaret Thatcher as the mascot of than trust funds, vanity and Devil-Wears- ‘80s power dressing. As she climbed the Prada archetypes. career ladder, she acquired an exhaustive I don’t need to tell you about the selection of suits and an increasingly votransformative power of clothing; you luminous helmet of hair. Like the colourknow that what you wear to a Friday ing of a poisonous insect, her new look morning lecture is going to differ from seemed to say ‘don’t mess with me,’ and what you wear to a job interview, and you wouldn’t take the President so seriously if he delivered his speeches in a Juicy Couture tracksuit. The word ‘fashion’ itself means to mould, to form, to shape. Just think of that overused metaphor which likens clothing to armour and makeup to war paint; it’s overused because it makes sense. Clothing can distinguish us, conform us, even change our shape and height. The effect which our clothing has on our mindset and behaviour is immeasurable. By dressing in any given way, we wield the power to change how we The queens of feel, how we are perceived Paris is Burning and how we are treated. In 1975, John T. Molloy published an instructive book titled put a firm middle finger up to the men ‘The Women’s Dress for Success Book’, who would sooner have her elbow-deep and the concept of ‘power dressing’ was in Fairy liquid than running the counborn. Towering shoulder pads and an- try. Defence and attack were important gular tailoring took over the womens- in an environment as fiercely patriarwear scene into the ‘80s, with influen- chal as British Government. Thatcher tial figures such as Princess Diana, Grace once described her handbag as the only Jones, and the cast of the bitchiest tele- safe place in Downing Street, and to her vision show of all time, Dynasty, leading credit, she fought her way right into its the way. Masculine silhouettes expressed top seat. a sort of sartorial feminism, setting out While feminism became increasingly to assert the authority of high-achiev- prevalent throughout the twentieth cening women in a man’s world. In a time tury, the power dressing phenomenon when women were paid considerably less wasn’t limited to women. Its other pro-


“ We’re born naked,

and the rest is drag ” RuPaul

ian high fashion’, ‘butch queen, first time in drag at a ball’, and ‘vogue femme’. Participating drag queens often belong to collectives called ‘houses’, becoming ‘children’ to a ‘drag mother’ after whom the house is named. By walking in balls, they could win trophies and highly regarded accolades such as the ‘legendary’ title, and eventually the chance to become house mothers themselves. The drag lexicon, which was popularised by the documentary and, more recently, by the televised talent show RuPaul’s Drag Race, is particularly colourful. The best queens are ‘fierce’; the art of delivering scathing, witty insults is ‘reading’; to ‘beat one’s face’ is to apply immaculate make-up; to look good is to look ‘sickening’. A ‘kiki’ is a party, and a ‘kai kai’ is sexual encounter between drag queens – try not to confuse those two. For a group of people who found it difficult to fit in with popular society and were often disowned by their families for their sexuality or transgender status, drag ball culture was an opportunity to be accepted, adored and rewarded. Still, it has never been without its perils.

Venus Xtravaganza, a regular on the ball circuit and one of Paris is Burning’s most celebrated subjects, was a transgendered woman saving up for sex-reassignment surgery. Like many drag queens, she resorted to prostitution as a means of income, devoid of other options due to the prejudice which had affected her upbringing. In 1988, her strangled body was discovered under the bed of a New York hotel room. The tragedy is relayed by Grace Jones Venus’ house mother in Paris is Burning, providing a startling reminder that, beyond the underground community which accepted people like her with open arms, the world isn’t always kind to those who refuse to conform to convention. In her seminal 1990 work Gender Trouble, influential theorist Judith But-

ler wrote: “In imitating gender, drag implicitly reveals the imitative structure of gender itself – as well as its contingency”. She argues that the performance of drag exposes gender for just that; a performance. It calls into question the relationship between sex and gender, a relationship ‘regularly assumed to be natural and necessary’, a ‘fabricated unity’. Typical transphobic polemic condemns cross-dressing as ‘unnatural’; Butler replies by asserting that no gendered behaviour is natural at all. It is, in fact, performance. In drag culture, a successful imitation is given the accolade of ‘realness’. It might at first seem paradoxical to call imitation ‘real’; however, the notion suggests that displaying an awareness of the construction of our outward façades – and the affectations

“ In imitating gender, drag implicitly reveals the imitative structure of gender itself ” Judith Butler

which comprise them – is in fact more authentic than believing such façades to be natural. Furthermore, drag can be seen to transcend the realm of gender. In the competitions documented by Paris is Burning, categories such as ‘executive realness’ entail dressing as successful, straight men, fulfilling a fantasy of acceptance, conformity and respect of the sort the LGBTQ population were rarely granted in the wider world. Drag queen superstar RuPaul has said: ‘we’re born naked, and the rest is drag’, perhaps unwittingly recalling Simone de Beauvoir, who wrote: ‘One is not born a woman, but rather becomes

one’. The same is true for all of us; our identities are constructed by experience, as well as prescribed by society. Although biological sex has become entangled with gendered behaviour, theorists such as Butler unsettle the bonds between them. When we dress, we are making a plethora of references to every sartorial decision which has been made before us, all of which influence how we are perceived. Team a pair of jeans with Venus a white t-shirt and a Xtravaganza cigarette and you’re channelling James Dean macho; don a white halter-neck sundress and you’re referencing the voluptuous femininity of Marilyn Monroe; kitten heels with a circle skirt will take

you straight to Stepford; a black dress and a cigarette holder will take you to Tiffany’s for breakfast. The lofty, glasswalled skyscrapers of the financial district will smile upon a Savile Row suit, and a glittering drag club in the centre of Harlem will have you however you are, sequins or not. Just be sure to keep it real. All dressing is power dressing; clothing not only sits on our skin, but changes us from the inside out, shaping us into something beyond the corporeal – into signifiers of a long socio-political history and carriers of infinite connotations. So, if you’re ever tempted to disregard fashion as a shallow industry, remember that every sartorial decision you make is quietly monumental, entering you into an age-old cultural dialogue which is lodged into the very fabric of your Versace bomber jacket, or, more realistically, your cotton-blend t-shirt. You are standing on the shoulder pads of giants.


YOUR BODY IS A JPEG As it turns out, there’s more to being a model than just being really, really, really ridiculously good looking. Max Benwell explores the recent backlash against photo retouching in the fashion industry, and the claims that it might be to blame for rising cases of eating disorders in the UK.

Photography: Felix McCabe

“I have never yet seen, and you probably never will see, a fashion or beauty picture that hasn’t been retouched. Unfortunately, we are living in a retouched world.” Derek Hudson, Photographer



ne of the fashion world’s greatest ironies is that despite all of the measures taken by models to meet the industry’s extreme physical standards, their bodies are still considered imperfect. Despite years of staying hungry and subsisting, as insiders have claimed, on diets of cigarettes, laxatives and tissues, models are still trimmed, squeezed, liquefied and airbrushed on Photoshop, their bodies digitally transported from the realm of the impossibly-skinny-butsadly-real, to that of complete fantasy. According to recent research, between 2000 and 2009 cases of eating disorders rose by 16% in the UK, while there is evidence to suggest that triple the amount of cases go unreported. For many, the cause behind this worrying trend can be traced directly to the fashion industry and its obsession

Before and after shots reveal how political leaders have used photo manipulation for propaganda purposes. Pictured from top: Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Abraham Lincoln.

with size zero. The equivalent of a UK size 4, this is currently the only size of clothing which leading fashion designers supply to magazines for photoshoots. Known as the “sample size”, this makes a near impossible 22-inch waist one of the most basic requirements for anyone wanting to be a female fashion model. According to a study from the London School of Economics in 2012, there is a direct link between the use of unhealthily thin models and the rising levels of eating disorders in the UK. From their research they were able to provide evidence that conditions such as anorexia and bulimia are socially transmitted, with the now synonymous relationship between attractiveness and skinniness in our culture exerting immense pressure on women to lose weight. However, while the health of models is an issue that has been at the centre of the size zero debate for many years now, a new backlash has recently emerged against the industry’s use of Photoshop, and the way in which it exposes society to an even more unachievable ideal of female beauty. As one of the largest news agencies in the world, Reuters has very specific rules that their photojournalists must adhere to when it comes to photo retouching. Their handbook clearly states that “materially altering a picture in Photoshop or any other image editing software will lead to dismissal.” The only editing allowed includes “basic colour correction, subtle lightening/darkening of zones, sharpening, removal of dust,” as well as “other minor adjustments.” There are no such rules in the fashion industry; materially altering photos is more of a career path than a breach of professional conduct. As one professional photo retoucher I spoke to told me, it is completely up to the client’s discretion how much photos are edited. “Guidelines are discussed between retoucher and client, whether that’s a photographer or art

director,” he explained, “every brief will differ between each client, and will dictate how much creative control you are given.” For many campaigners, it is this lack of regulation, and the fashion industry’s ability to dictate what the perfect body is supposed to look like, whether attainable or not, that has contributed to more people than ever developing unhealthy relationships with food. However, is Photoshop really bad for our health? Or, is the rising epidemic of eating disorders in the UK just so alarming and difficult and complex, that our only possible response is to clutch at straws and blame photo editing software? Since the emergence of photography around the middle of the 19th Century, its ability to visually replicate moments in time and make them tangible, and therefore editable, allowed photo manipulation to become one of most powerful tools in the production of political propaganda. One of the earliest examples of politically motivated photo editing can be dated back to the early 1860s, when a portrait of Abraham Lincoln (pictured left) standing next to a desk, holding a now iconic pose, was released. However, as it later emerged, neither his desk, nor body, belonged to him. The only part of Honest Abe in the photo was in fact his head – the rest was that of the Southern politician John Calhoun. Photo manipulation was also one of the favourite political tools of some of the twentieth century’s most evil dictators. Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini all deployed manual editing techniques to help them maintain their images as flawless, hyper-masculine leaders, and erase any former political ally-turned-foe from the visual archives of history. However, with the Internet now providing us with open access to an almost endless sprawl of mass information, political photo trickery has

Painted new skin

Airbrushed hairline

Lowered eyes and tilted them inwards Mirrored, reshaped and painted eyebrows


Airbrushed under-eye bags

Accentuated cheekbones

Slimmed Cheeks

Reshaped lips, mirroring one half in order to make them symmetrical Shrunk nose

(Right) Julia Roberts in an advert which was later banned for its excessive use of photo retouching. (Far right) In 2009, Ralph Lauren made Fillipa Hamilton’s waist smaller than her head. “Sexy!” said no one. (Below) Madonna before and after being resurrected by Photoshop.


(Above) Rachel Weisz made headlines for her unrealistic lack of face lines in an advert for L’Oréal last year. (Left) “Of course it’s Photoshop, people don’t look like that,” said Jennifer Lawrence about her appearance in the new Dior campaign.

become much easier to spot. To the amusement of the free world it is now primarily the retreat of embattled autocracies and hermit nations, such as North Korea and Iran. For example, just this year the Iranian government was caught out after they released a photo of one of their fighter jets soaring triumphantly over a snowy Persian mountain range. After a small amount of digging online however, it emerged to be nothing more than “a Photoshop creation combining a wallpaper image courtesy of [the stock photo website] Picky Wallpapers, and one of the original photos of the jet from [its] unveiling.” As it stands, the fashion industry is currently having a much better time at dictating reality to their followers. Their use of photo editing may not be driven by any explicit political ideology, but it is still operating within a wider, more insidious political framework, which asserts control over our bodies through promoting an unattainable image of beauty. Now that the technology of photo editing software has become so advanced, and professional retouchers so adept at making their edits appear ‘real’, even the most cynical viewer would be surprised at just how much of a difference they are able to make, and how much of an aesthetic standard they are able to impose. Common retouching techniques include smoothing out all of the blemishes a model may have on their skin, which often entails the complete removal of pores. If necessary, waists are also pinched and pushed inwards, noses shrunk, and any sign of flab on the body trimmed off. As is well-documented on the website Photoshop Disasters, every so often this has the tendency to go wrong, rendering the model’s body into a hilarious, albeit unsettling, distortion. In 2009, for example, Ralph Lauren produced an advert featuring the model Fillipa Hamilton (pictured left), whose body was made to appear so warped and ill-proportioned that the label was forced to issue a public apology. “For over 42 years, we have built a brand based on quality and integrity,” they said. “After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body.” As the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman is no stranger to the ongoing debate around the impact of fashion magazines on women’s health. In

1993, she was responsible for publishing a shoot featuring a young Kate Moss, in which the model’s appearance was emaciated enough to make her one of the first models labelled with the term ‘heroin chic’. Defending her use of models, Shulman stated in 1998 that “not many people have actually said to me that they have looked at my magazine and decided to become anorexic.” However, since making this claim Shulman has become one of the biggest names within the industry to campaign for a greater awareness of the fantasies presented by fashion magazines. As well as campaigning for larger sample sizes, earlier this year she announced her plans to make an educational film for teenage girls, teaching them all they need to know about the methods that go into creating a fashion editorial. “They are a construct, like a movie is a construct,” she told the Guardian in February, “the harm is the idea that they are reality.” However, given the extent of photo retouching methods in fashion magazines, and the amount of people who still have faith in the fantasies they are able to create, convincing the public of this harm will take more work than just one film. As Brené Brown, an American scholar specialising in the area of female vulnerability, argues, “it’s in our biology to trust what we see with our eyes, [which] makes living in a carefully edited, overproduced and photoshopped world very dangerous.” One person who is doing all they can to tackle this danger is the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who as well as putting forward proposals to ban airbrushing from children’s adverts, has also advocated for warning messages to be printed alongside photoshopped images, telling the viewer which editing tricks have been used. Swinson has also been the one of the leading figures to campaign for the removal of adverts which take retouching too far. So far she has managed to successfully lobby the UK’s Advertising Standard Agency to ban three adverts, including a pore-less Julia Roberts for Lancôme in 2009, and an impossibly complexioned Rachel Weisz for L’Oréal last year (both pictured left). However, despite all of this backlash against the fashion world and its impact on society, there are still doubts that the growing number of eating disorders over the last decade can be blamed entirely on their methods.

Kate Moss, one of the first models to be labelled “Heroin chic”, is famously qouted at saying “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”

In 2011, Elizabeth Perle, the Editor of The Huffington Post Youth Network, wrote an editorial titled ‘Photoshop Isn’t Evil. There, I Said It’. According to Perle, singling out photo retouching completely oversimplifies the problem, which is as much embedded, if not more, within the current discourses surrounding the female body as it is a .psd file. “The pervasive use of image alteration software,” she writes, “is only one small piece of the strong, sexist undercurrent that continues to dehumanize women as objects.” Moreover, certain studies raise significant questions around the idea that most eating disorders are even socially imposed at all. Based on over 30,000 participants, research in 2006 found evidence that suggested more of a genetic link, pointing towards “a strong biological basis for anorexia nervosa, contrary to the common notion that it is mainly a pathologic response to fashion”. This “common notion” is one also brought into doubt by a number of case studies published in the 1980s. As the website Science of Eating Disorders revealed last year, there is a range of studies on women who have all been born blind but have still developed pathological aversions to food, whether this be because of clinical depression, psychological trauma, or many other destabilising experiences or conditions. When it comes to eating disorders, it’s evident that there has always been more behind them than what meets the eye. In promoting an ideal body that doesn’t exist, campaigners are right to blame Photoshop for the increasing number of eating disorders across the UK. But to believe that it is solely responsible for the current epidemic not only retouches the truth, but airbrushes it completely out of the picture.


NO HOMO? The hip hop industry is often associated with misogyny, homophobia and masculine posturing – much like, well, most industries in the world. Callum McLean takes a look at the fresh generation of LGBTQ artists defying the genre’s conventions and changing things for the better.



t has been four decades since Queen (in Pitchfork’s words) “duped a nation into pounding a masculine chest with a feminine fist”, and less than a year after Frank Ocean’s coming out. We might ask, who are the contemporary masters of gender bending in a world of pop music still ruled by heteronormativity, homophobia and misogyny? Let’s start by looking on the fringes of mainstream rock and pop, at indie and alternative music. The blog rock hordes and their raised Pitchforks are ostensibly one of the most liberal-leaning fields of pop music. Hipsters love gender equality and post-modernist conceptions of sexuality, right? That said, the alternative genre is still undeniably ruled by straight, male artists, with any contenders of the other sex still being tarred with the same ‘female singer-songwriter’ brush. Sure, many breakthrough successes from artists like Feist continue to surface, and 2009’s notable surge of female solo artists comprised five out of the ten Mercury nominees, including the winner. Although Speech Debelle’s debut marked the first female Mercury victory in seven years, it suffered embarrassingly low record sales. Despite the weighty oomph of her postriots anthem “Blaze Up A Fire” last year, no one’s going to remember it over Plan B’s slightly politically dubious “Ill Manors”. So, what are we left with? Florence Welch’s tremulous wail doesn’t look to be quite the siren of the patriarchy’s downfall. Still, things do seem to fare better on the sexual orientation front, with no one batting an eyelid at the openly gay front men of Bloc Party (Kele Okereke) or Grizzly Bear (Ed Droste). However, they do underplay their sexual orientation.

More outspoken LGBTQ artists, such as the openly transgender Antony “And The Johnsons” Hegarty, still find it necessary to draw attention to troubling gender boundaries, as challenging popular heteronormative trends is still a project far from completion. On to hip hop then, where use of the word ‘faggot’ is still troublingly commonplace (used 213 times in Tyler, The Creator’s last album). Although Frank Ocean’s open letter revealing that his first love was a man was met with plenty of public support from other rappers, we don’t have to look hard to find explicitly homophobic sentiments in rap music. Heteronormative sensibilities pervade many all-male crowds, spilling out of incidents like openly bisexual Azealia Banks’ homophobic slur in a recent twitter spat with upcoming fellow female rapper Angel Haze. And that ‘fellow female rapper’ tag only outlines the persistent problem of the pigeonholing of every new woman Zebra Katz on the scene as the ‘new’ Nicki Minaj or Lil’ Kim, decades after Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s feminist stardom, and Missy Elliot and Mary J Blige’s chart domination. Given that Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim’s infamous beef was essentially rooted in there being space for only one diva in town, it seems depressingly clear that the female rapper – and the masculine swagger they need to adopt to win respect in their scene – is still a novelty. Jennie Livingstone’s 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning sheds light on New York drag ball culture. An LGBT strong-

hold, the ball subculture creates space for the marginalised – largely African American and Latino drag and transgender groups – to celebrate and compete, “walking” and “voguing” in highly stylised shows of “realness”. The best dressers and the most outrageous attitudes win the most respect. Sound familiar? “Gay men inMykki Blanco vented swag”, quotes Michael Quattlebaum, whose rapping alter-ego Mykki Blanco delivers an aggressive flow of cold put-downs to horror-show beats, wearing smeared lipstick, a wig and a nightie. Mykki is one of many kick-ass rappers to emerge into the limelight last year, lumped under the ‘queer rap’ umbrella. See also Le1f, Cakes Da Killa and Zebra Katz, who told the Guardian: ‘creating a strong, black, queer male is something that needed to happen’ after the success of his single ‘I’mma Read’, which heavily referenced Paris is Burning’s ball culture. These artists’ explicit appropriation of rap’s tropes of swag reveals a height of camp that’s existed in hip hop for decades. In Wire magazine, Sam Davies writes that hip hop is “camper than a row of pink velvet tents”, with its airbrushed music videos and flaunting of glamour. ‘Queer rap’ hammers home this glaring hypocrisy with equal measures of defiant, flamboyant individuality. While the likes of Zebra Katz and Mykki Blanco are unlikely to purge homophobia and sexism from the entire music industry, they do offer timely reminders of its lingering prejudices, holding up a defiant middle finger to heteronormativity in music – and it’s one that deserves our attention.



It’s more political than you might think.

Words: Jennie Frewen

C 36

ookbooks aren’t often considered exhilarating: endless variations of the same lasagne recipe rarely get hearts racing. However, when a cookery book like Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem comes along, illustrating the complexities of the most divisive political issue of the past 60 years – the Arab-Israeli Crisis – exhilarating is exactly the word I’d use. Ottolenghi, a London restaurant chain owner and celebrity chef, has become a favourite for middle-class parents, his salads being reproduced at dinner parties nationwide. However, his recipes also reflect a much deeper crisis. The Arab-Israeli conflict influences world politics well beyond the coveted lands surrounding Jerusalem, beyond the impoverished Gaza Strip and the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It has been credited with fuelling America’s terrorism problems, and 7 million refugees currently await their return to the land they call home. How, you may ask, can food help elucidate the complexities of the problem? Well firstly let’s consider what Ottolenghi credits as influences for his colourful creations and the food of Jerusalem: “Russian Orthodox priests; Hasidic Jews originating from Poland; non-Orthodox Jews from Tunisia, from Libya, from France or from Britain… Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank and many others for the city and well beyond… Ashkenazi Jews from Romania, Ger-

many and Lithuania… Christian Arabs and Armenian Orthodox; Yemeni Jews and Ethiopian Jews.” The list goes on. He comments on how their food cultures are intertwined in this melting pot of a city, and yet somehow remain completely separate. Ottolenghi suggests that the people of Jerusalem can be brought together through food, but it is the complex culinary culture of Jerusalem that really epitomises the difficulty in finding a resolution. Take hummus, for example. Despite being a mundane supermarket staple in the UK, in Jerusalem this unassuming yet prized dish is an explosive subject. Palestinians have eaten it for generations, and yet much of the Jewish population refer to it as “Israeli”, claiming that it is mentioned in the Old Testament, a validation similarly used to support the creation of Israel. Another example is Za’atar, a herb that grows in the mountains surrounding Jerusalem and is mixed with sumac and sesame seeds for a traditional spice blend of the same name. Ottolenghi describes it as “one odor that encapsulates the soul of this ancient city”, and for generations Arabs have collected it and used it in a multitude of dishes. However, in 1977 the Israeli government banned the harvesting of wild Za’taar, citing its endangerment and threatened any daring offenders with a $4,000 fine or six months imprisonment. In the depths of the thorny relationship between Arabs and

Jews, local customs and food have been poisoned too, infected by the international battle for the city. Further to this, Ottolenghi comments on how Arabic food culture within Jerusalem is often staunchly traditional. With chefs being unwilling to edit recipes handed down through generations, it would seem that the Arab communities are trying to cling onto bygone times. In contrast, Jewish cuisine is increasingly vibrant and experimental, collecting recipes from a myriad of different cultural groups and making them their own. This can be seen in the ‘Israeli Salad’, which is often described as the national dish of Israel and referred to by this name throughout the world. This is undoubtedly a derivative of a ‘Palestinian Salad’ or ‘Arab Salad’ regularly eaten across the Middle East. In its traditional form, the ‘Arab Salad’ comprises of cucumber, tomato and parsley. Jewish cooks have tweaked this recipe with the addition of carrot, cabbage or radishes, and now call it their own. This battle for traditional Palestinian and Arabic food reflects a deeper and more significant battle for the continuation of the Palestinian way of life and a state to call their own. By looking beyond the rockets, failed peace negotiations and endless wall-building that has come to encapsulate the Palestinian-Israeli Crisis, we can see two communities embittered by warfare and fighting for hummus.

W/E Moral apathy, political apathy – is there anything we actually care about anymore?

Words: Chrisopher Featonby


’ve had enough of this philosophy essay. I’m somewhere in the depths of midnight, all alone in this cold room with nothing but a blank screen to mock me. My eyes weep from the humiliating glare of the clock ticking towards deadline time. I’d like to pretend that I’ve been slaving away for hours and that my poor little brain is swimming with constructive sentiments on the constructivist debate. The truth is that my essay efforts stretch as far as its current double figure word count. That’s as much productivity as my work ethic will allow until submission day arises. A lazy and disillusioned approach to my studies is one thing, but this apathy extends across all aspects of my life, and in particular can be transposed onto my failure to act upon moral principles and values. On the one hand, I would describe myself as an ardent environmentalist, yet in reality my action with regard to its preservation is limited to delaying my laundry run until I’ve trolleyed about campus without any dignity, or underwear, until a quiet remark is made. Similarly, if asked, I’d forever describe myself as an egalitarian and pursuer of social justice until the proles come home, and yet when it comes down to it my generosity to the less fortunate extends only as far as the purchasing of Cooperative Fairtrade chocolate. And I don’t think I’m alone in failing to fulfil my moral and ethical obligations. We all hold views on certain matters,

and are sometimes even implicated in afflicting these views onto others. But as a general rule, most of us are limited to proselytising our beliefs rather than living by them. Maybe that’s because our stated concerns are not really our true guiding principles but merely a front of beliefs which we feel we must hide behind in order to achieve a sense of self-justification. We all agree that charity is good and selfishness bad, but how many of us donate all/some/any of our belongings to the homeless? Do we consciously diverge from our moral obligations, or is it a sub-conscious event over which we have no control? My hunch is that we fail to embark on fulfilling our purported moral goals because we perceive them to be too difficult to achieve. We then use this reasoning as a justification for inaction. Ending absolute poverty is a distant and remote dream which can only be achieved through an enormous systemic change. The effect of an individual’s action would inevitably be marginal, and so inaction stems from the inability to have a tangible effect at reducing the suffering of those afflicted with poverty. It is this failure to effect any changes which I think can often lead to apathy and disinterest. Just as my degree disillusionment arises from the difficulty of its essay-related requirements, I believe we are all susceptible to becoming disenchanted with world issues as soon as we know

how difficult it is to solve them. For the sake of our moral conscience and sense of decency, it is often in our interests to be ignorant of or even to ignore the presence of these grievances. Now that I’ve successfully ‘distracted’ myself from the chore of essay writing for an alarmingly long time, my passive approach to studies can only be said be thoroughly developed. Not knowing what or where to begin, I ignore its requests for attention with another fleetingly superficial activity. I’ll do it eventually, because I have to in order to avoid any more confrontations with BART. But will I ever act in accordance with my principles?


Also more political than you might think


Words: Marcus Gosling


riends, Exeterians, Countrysidemen. Although you will most likely not lend your ears to the subject of chess, I shall nonetheless grab you by them and force to you to listen to what I have to say. First, a whirlwind introduction to myself and my unusual habits. I’m Marcus, finishing off my first year as an undergraduate, studying French and Russian. Oooh, why Russian? The prestige of learning such a great yet sometimes befuddling language is a delight, behind which lies a stratified and turbulent history. Also, it arms me with an aura of invincibility, which is always useful for my future world domination plans. I enjoy writing too – otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered constructing this! I’m currently writing a novel, presently based on a government official becoming embroiled

in corruption during the dissolution of Yugoslavia, and the wild repercussions the guilt brings to both his family and his conscience. I am a film-maker too, and thus have an alter ego, Agent Agent. You will soon be able to find them on YouTube. I can link you to them if you like. Without trying to sound belligerent, I believe my personality is quite deep – however, another integral part of my life has been my fascination with the ‘game’ of chess. “Chess is a boring game”, you might say. But you’d be incorrect on two accounts. Firstly, chess is one of the most intriguing, subtle and hugely addictive creations in history. Secondly, it’s not just a game. World Champions throughout the years have struggled to define its genre– some have depicted it as a science; something we cannot possibly know everything about because the human brain cannot comprehend such wide tactical and strategic possibilities. Others have linked chess to the art of analysis – players of all standards often enjoy great perspicacity away from the board as well as facing their opponent over 64 black and white squares. A warning though – great chess players are stereotypically dysfunctional in life itself. When away from the board, illustrious champions such as the American genius, Bobby Fischer, could not cope with the banality of everyday life. This is because for him, life was only exciting whilst at the chessboard. The pressure of ordinary social situations was too much, and nothing compared to the nuanced utopia of the great sixth Century Persian invention.

Chess is amazingly political too. If you consider the bellicose metaphor of chess, it provides an ideal battleground for countries to sort out their differences, none more so than for America and the Soviet Union during the tense era of the Cold War. In 1972 in Reykjavik, Bobby Fischer became the challenger to the Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky’s world championship crown, pitting the two world superpowers together in what was later dubbed as the ‘Match of the Century’. Fischer, a very particular man who hugely disliked playing in front of cameras, first accused the Soviets of fiddling with the playing room lighting and chairs to distract him, before failing to show up for the second game unless the match was conducted behind closed doors. After an intense 21-game fight, Fischer and the Free World came out on top, ending an era of Soviet dominance that had lasted since the War. However, little did the world know that Fischer’s genius would soon turn sour, as he failed to turn up to defend his title in 1975 and went into hiding for over a decade. In Fischer’s words, “all I want to do, ever, is play chess”. In future instalments, I shall aim to give a greater transparency to chess as a whole – a message of assistance from an insider to an outsider (I presume!), and hopefully you will be able to enjoy it in a new light, combating the damning view of inferiority it often receives.

Chess designed by Matthew Mitchell-Camp from The Noun Project


Words: Alexis Mastroyiannis

LO N E LY H E A R T S Feeling lonely? Looking to form a coalition? Exetera is happy to help. Non PoC, cis sexual, cis gendered, progressive liberal feminist activist womyn seeks male, cis gendered, cis sexual, PoC/non PoC for mutually respectful, p.c. entanglement in safe, neutral zone. Must be into semantics. And boredom.

Despondent, self-described liberal leader seeks slick, small mouthed, taut skinned conservative reptilian humanoid to dominate during power play. Well hung.

Distinguished, elder conservative Christian male and Lord with staunch, traditional values is looking for sex with a man. Literally any man.

Disgraced former Energy Minister seeks wife and son who will still love him. No texts, please.

Ghost of recently deceased former Prime Minister, GSOH, seeks strong, traditional male with whom to haunt the barren, post-industrial wastelands of the north. State funding provided.

Wildly successful political statistician seeks like-minded libertarian male to do it the wrong way in all fifty states.

Passionate, well-known political television presenter seeks person or persons of any gender or political persuasion to shout at belligerently and ask pointed questions. Must be in to public humiliation, and men who resemble the eagle character from the Muppets.

Saxophone loving, Southern politician from the US of A, seeks female professional for sexual relations. Will deny everything if questioned.

Female female impersonator and misandrist seeks like-minded heterophobe for gender play and starring role in a travelling, Judith Butler inspired comedy troupe. 39

P O L I T I CA L N U TJ O B S How the hell did they even get the job? “I’d like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.”

Prince Philip

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

Ann Coulter

on Russians murdering half his family.

on Middle-Eastern policy.

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

“The TV footage of dozens of gay demonstrators flaunting their perversions in front of the world’s journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive.”

Todd Akin

on plain old science.

Nick Griffin

on homosexuality.

“But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.”

Sarah Palin

on the Korean conflict.

“I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out, then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.”

Michelle Bachmann on Swine Flu.

“I don’t debate with Israelis.” “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”

Mitt Romney

on Americuh.

George Galloway

on debating with Israelis. “I’m not a witch.”

Christine O’Donnell on being a witch.

“It would lift my worries about inheritance tax because maybe I’d be allowed to marry my son. Why not?”

Lord Tebbit

on the legalisation of gay marriage and the joys of fatherhood.




Your fellow, fun-loving Aries Otto von Bismarck once remarked that “the making of laws is like the making of sausages – the less you know about the process the more you respect the results”. The same is true of dissertations. So shut up about it. Literally no one cares.

You are confident. You are man. You are sexy. You are everything a woman wants. You are a perfect physical specimen. You are going to show her. She will screen cap your snap chat. You will be mortified. Keep yourself to yourself, for the time being.



For many well-bred Sagittarians out there, last month was one marked by joyous returns: all your friends returned from the Easter break and, more importantly, Arrested Development returned to our screens. Hold on to these happy memories during the next few months, when the graduates among you return home to live with your parents for the foreseeable future, with no money and no job prospects.

OMG have you seen ‘the Great Gatsby’? NO? Don’t bother. Baz Luhrmann is a hack.



Although the last few months of constant exams and essays have taken their toll on you, heroin chic (spurned on by global obsessions with thigh gaps) is back in vogue, so the gaunt, emaciated and glass eyed look you’ve been rocking of late will really start working for you. The Gold Rush is coming, and you’re going to be filthy rich.

With Jupiter casting its ominous and quite frankly unwelcome shadow all over your sign over the next few months, you’re going to have a troublesome time finding summer work. Please remember that this isn’t the fault of immigrants, or the EU for that matter. Vocalising support for UKIP will just make you look like a bitter cunt.

HORRORSCOPES Hey you, here is your future.



As robotic, neo-con harridan Ann Coulter once said, ‘I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am’. She doesn’t understand irony, and neither do you.

For those of you gorgeous Scorpios graduating this year, it’s worth you remembering this quote from niche actress and belligerent fellow Scorpio Chloe Sevigny, ‘Actors rarely stay in touch with directors after they’ve filmed together. We go back to real life’. The same is true of the ‘friends’ you’ve tolerated over the past few years. Let the facebook cull begin.



Light-hearted scaremonger and infamous Gemini Enoch Powell once warned that immigration and race mixing would lead to ‘a river of blood’ on the streets of Britain. Whilst this sanguine flood obviously never came to be, your personal one will definitely appear. So don’t worry, you’re just late.

With the government finally moving on gay marriage, this month you’ll find yourself emboldened to come out to those who love you. Don’t stress too much about it – they’d already pretty much figured. No straight man makes that many RuPaul references. If you don’t know who that is, you’re not gay, just confused.



According to Melisandre, fictional priestess from the Game of Thrones universe and, for these purposes, fellow Aquarian, ‘the night is dark, and full of terrors’. This will also be true for you during the Thick as Thieves Dirty Bird Event. Try not to embarrass yourself.

With summer very nearly upon us, you fishy little Pisces will be longing to return to your natural, watery environment or, more specifically, the beach. Please remember that Exeter isn’t on the beach and that British summers are always cold and shit, so stop walking around in swimming gear. The winter has not been kind.


BRITAIN & BUREAUCRACY Louis Jones conducts a shallow analysis into our relationship with the bureaucrat.


t seems that everybody hates bureaucrats. In fact, the word has almost become a pejorative. Why? Because the idea of a faceless, nameless person is a useful scapegoat for both politicians and newspapers to blame for the current state of the UK economy. But I don’t think this is necessarily fair. Bureaucrats have been called a few things in their time: fat cats, red tape lovers, pen-pushers, health and safety pedants, jobsworths, dickheads… the list is endless. On the topic of dickheads, just last November the Prime Minister claimed that Britain needed to clear out all the “bureaucratic rubbish” hindering the great entrepreneurial spirit of great Great Britain. Tally-ho. This sentiment bounces all the way down the country’s Conservative echo chamber, with the Daily Mail earlier in the year shouting that “[a]lmost 30,000 town hall pen-pushers earn more than £50,000 when councils are cutting front line services.” 42

There are even anti-bureaucracy organisations, such as the People Against Bureaucracy Group. Although “Founded 1976”, if their website is anything to go by, they’ve been doing nothing at all for 37 years. They’re probably too busy being all efficient in the private sector. So why do people hate bureaucrats? The main reason seems to be jealously. Would you like £50,000 a year for an office job? I would. Jealous or not, it does raise the question: does the UK have too many overpaid public servants? Well, after doing some research on the Internet, which was neither qualitative nor quantitative, I discovered that the number of staff in the civil service has dropped by 40% since the 1970s. However, the amount spent (taking inflation into account) has remained the same. So, we could conclude that the UK employs fewer people who do a better job, which might justify that controversial £50,000 per year council salary. What amazes me about anti-bureaucracy sentiment is that it seems to presume that the people doing these jobs are monsters and not just people trying to work to the best of their ability while supporting a family and furthering their career like anybody else. Is it really their fault that they earn what they do? I say embrace the bureaucrat with open arms. They aren’t that bad, really, and the chances are you may even end up becoming one. And maybe you should; there will be no time for self-loathing when you’ve got a local council to inefficiently run!

The Diary of a Bureaucrat Monday bed until I woke up late this morning and decided to pull a sicky as I didn’t get to to go out 3am. The Whitehall lads came down for the football but we decided from and waterboard some frontline workers instead. Then we hit the town; John things take to tends and ls HR is an ANIMAL after a few expense-funded cocktai to check too far, although I did think it was hilariously ironic how the nurse had – lol! herself in to A&E and wait while the backroom staff filled in the paper work Tuesday were I took the Jag into work today as the lazy bastards working the Underground t withou street the in s conker playing n on strike again. I saw some school childre t Eyesigh HSE. the of y safety goggles so I gave a couple of them a beating courtes is a gift wasted on children. Wednesday for Big news! A new shipment of pens arrived in the office. I pushed them around at high stically a few hours and then asked my boss for a pay rise. I went in optimi wast£100k but we settled for £120k in the end. There was some meeting about stole just I Instead go. to arsed be ’t ed resources in the public sector but I couldn conwas kettle the e some office equipment for the kids and drank cold tea becaus . anyway fiscated for health and safety reasons. Too right; bloody dangerous thing Thursday off from The share price of Red Tape Inc. was at an all-time high so after a tip tion. one of my contacts I sold some to pay for my cat to get liposuc Friday of ‘Yes ‘Worked’ a 10-3. The weekend begins! I can’t wait to watch all six series Minister’ on Sunday.


A P O L I T I CA L By Anon


ou looked at me that time and said “I’m just not that into politics.” And I got angry because I didn’t know what you meant. What would it mean to be apolitical? What a luxury, I thought, to say: “no politics for me.” To suggest that as you don’t care for party leaders you somehow escape from what seems, so strangely, to affect everybody else. That you can get out just because you don’t wonder about blonde-ridden bikes in the city, or the future of the NHS, or the end of benefits. You don’t care about politics? Well then, where are you hiding? I couldn’t help thinking that I’d never dared to hope that politics couldn’t affect me just because I became indifferent to it, or, rather, what I thought it was, or might, or could be. And then I got lost: Would an attempt at an apolitical stance require a painfully exacting knowledge of the political? And who’s ready for that task? Maybe you were beyond me, maybe you’d thought all this through. I realised I really don’t care about current party politics. But this not-caring isn’t a living-without-politics. How misleading (I thought) to call such a detour as choosing between absent choices, while having no sense of how a particular gesture might actually play out in real terms, “politics.” Politics is felt in the marrow – deliberately avoid the word “heart”. Heart suggests passion, suggests soul. Politics is in the bones, dimly felt, a flaring pain in response to damp, a sense of thunder on the horizon, it’s in everything. Politics is the marrow, a jelly in a solid, feeding the thing which supports us – unseen, unfelt, unknown, until after death, when the structure collapses, and the substance is revealed, and feasted on by birds. The skeleton is the rules of daily life,

the birds are political and social theorists. This is not the best metaphor. After all, only some birds have learned to drop bones from great heights to get at all the jelly once it has been smacked into exposure on the ground below. These birds are often amongst the biggest of the Aves. Yet politics doesn’t nourish, it’s a condition of being – maybe it’s like gravity (I thought). Gravity never fed you. But it fed those birds, those giant birds, with their dropped bones. Gravity fed you, gravity coalesced the galaxies so you could be apolitical. Like gravity, politics is a condition of being. What one single human truly is? Truly single I mean, truly singular? Or if single, truly human? Bits of the brain don’t come online until we see and speak with other people. With all their shit. With all the jelly in their bones. Where could you hide away from all the things you’re influenced by? A monastery? A cave? Out on the ocean? Would you drop your language by your clothes, in a heap of spent and curled together fibres, and walk naked and unprepared into the wilderness for your apolitics? The English landscape is one of the most worked-over masses of land on the earth: sheep-shaped, plough-pulled, parcelled up and inscribed on the bedrock. There is no wilderness in our nature. Look at yourself, naked in the mirror, and tell me you don’t give a damn about politics. Adjusted, built, checked, cleaned, clenched, clothed, coded, cultured, decoded, described, double checked, dressed, expanded, extended, fed, fixed, gendered, heightened, implicated, kneaded, lasered, loved, lusted after, machined, medicated, needed, nurtured, outsourced, pierced, plucked, poked, preened, protected, raced, rushed, scanned, sexed, shaved, sourced, structured, stuck with

pins full of small virus, taught, treated, wanted – all of these things for your, and done to your, and considered to be of your apolitical flesh. What is apolitics? If you want to say that the values you hold don’t come from the left or right then fine, me too, but your apolitics might not be the stance you think it is. So, we don’t have to talk about rigged matches, and the least worst monsters. But in that case, we only have everything else you’ve ever thought, and been, and done to speak of, and where do you think you got those values anyway? To be clear (I thought): “I don’t want to be bored by something else that’s complex, potentially painful, and which seems distant from my experience” is not the same as “there’s no space for politics in my life.” So I said: “Politics is the way you wash your hands.” But politics is also the way you hate that sentence. I never dreamt that I’d dwell for so long on why you said that thing that time. That time where you told me you didn’t want to talk about politics anymore and said couldn’t we just talk about TV or sport instead. And so I asked why there weren’t any openly gay men playing professional football. And you said: “that’s just the Premier League.” And I said “still.” And you told me to fetch my hat, my pipe, my second best shirt, the socks with the cows on them, the ok cords, the feltlined brown-suede shoes, not that waistcoat, but this, and my collection of fetid bird bones in the jar, and to get the hell out, like some kind of Victorian scandal, as if I really had some hand in so crassly spilling politics in your soup.









The Political Edition  

Featuring: - Power Dressing - The Politics of Photoshop - Exeposé vs The Tab - 3D Gun Printing - The Politics of the First Date - Insults f...

The Political Edition  

Featuring: - Power Dressing - The Politics of Photoshop - Exeposé vs The Tab - 3D Gun Printing - The Politics of the First Date - Insults f...