Page 1

Incite Magazine Volume 13, Issue 3 ¡ McMaster University, Hamilton ▪ december 2010

hard times: Cold, poor, sick and sexy been there, dundas: Spirit of the west plus rally for sanity: Letter from Washington

Editorial now is the winter Andrew Prine, Editor-in-Chief


n the morning of Saturday, 27 November, I stepped outside, stuck out my tongue, and caught my first snow flake of the winter season. The day before, I stomped on my first piece of crackly ice. Whatever the calendar may say, these two events mark the beginning of winter, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s finally here. It may seem odd, but there are few things that I care about as much as the weather. My reasons are unorthodox, but my passion is real. There is an old joke that asks “How do you make a Canadian apologize? You step on his foot.” On four separate occasions, I have responded this way to being trod upon. I’ve never been entirely comfortable that my philosophical outlooks are rooted on jokes, books, and my upbringing, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact that this joke works at all reveals a lot about Canadian models of behaviour; aversion to conflict and an unwillingness to offend are engrained in my being. It’s not

2 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

photography by zainab furqan

that I don’t have negative emotions, I’m just unable to express them. Every time I’m slighted, shoved, or stepped on, my annoyance builds, but it has no where to go. I also happen to be a straight, svelte, healthy, white, (vaguely) Catholic male from Southern Ontario. Aside from having trouble finding clothes that fit, I can’t say that I’ve been subject to discrimination. I am extraordinarily thankful for all of the privileges I’ve been afforded, but they’re not without their drawbacks. There are a lot of subjects that I can’t comment on, a lot of jokes I’m not allowed to laugh at, and a whole lot of crippling guilt. Political correctness, history, and my ethnic identity have robbed me of every emotional outlet. The weather is all I have left. “Hard times” means something different to everyone. In Ishani Nath’s account of her mother’s battle with cancer, it is the effects of disease, fear and uncertainty; in Shawn Fazel and Anna Ku-

likov’s trip to the “Everything to do with Sex Show”, it’s something more literal. Jenny WhistanceSmith sees a shortage of time and money as a challenge in Been There, Dundas, leading her to plan a staycation to the historic village just down Main Street, and Meg Peters sees briefly experiencing the bite of poverty as a learning opportunity when living on a social assistance diet. In Hard Times, Great Art, Kate Sinclair explores the relationship between suffering and creativity, and convincingly concludes that poverty, unrest and political upheaval are the seeds of artistic genius. Drawing on 21 years of middle-class privilege and the beginning of winter, I wrote this editorial. Maybe she’s on to something… Irena Papst was erroneously omitted from last issue’s masthead. Irena is a layout contributor to Incite. Features

6 7 9 10 12 14

Breaking Bread, Not the Bank Cheap eats on campus Jenny Nicolle, Jane van Koeverden Do the Math “Social Assistance Diet” Meg Peters Hard Times & Holidays ‘tis the season Adira Winegust Eurozoned Out Financial woes in the EU Shawn Fazel Mac in Time Mactivism & Student Strikes Sarah Kanko Arts Spread Mark Belan, Cameron Billyard, Lisa Perlman, Mandy Shek


Photography by alex miculan

4 4

Minutes from last month Selected news from near and far

13 19 23

Toolbox: Been there, Dundas Jenny Whistance-Smith


Letter From: Washington Jeremy Henderson

Letter to the Editor Response to the last issue

Power/Play Yang Lei Review: Thrift Stores Cameron Amini, Meghan Dertinger, Alexandra Epp

Incite Magazine is published six times per academic year by Impact Youth Publications, founded in 1997. Entire contents copyright 2010-2011 Impact Youth Publications. Opinons expressed in Incite Magazine are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Incite Magazine’s staff or Impact Youth Publications. Letters of up to 300 words may be sent to incite@; they may be edited for length and clarity and will not be printed unless a name, address, and daytime phone are provided.

18 22 24

Hard Times, Great Art Creation from desperation Kate Sinclair Sexin’ Copps Coliseum Incite visits the Sex Show Shawn Fazel, Anna Kulikov One in a million Hard times with family Ishani Nath Editor-in-Chief Andrew Prine

Managing Editors Yang Lei, Layout Joanna Chan, Graphics Will van Engen, Photography Editors Chris Hilbrecht Anna Kulikov Hilary Noad Adira Winegust Communications & Marketing Ishani Nath Kathy Woo Assistant Editors Angela Irwin, Hannah Webb Contributors Cameron Amini, Mark Belan, Cameron Billyard, Meghan Dertinger, Alexandra Epp, Jon Fairclough, Shawn Fazel, Annie Fraser, Zainab Furqan, Jeremy Henderson, Lu Gao, Sarah Kanko, Joe Marinaro, Alex Miculan, Alex Ngaleba, Jenny Nicolle, Irena Papst, Lisa Perlman, Meg Peters, Mandy Shek, Kate Sinclair, Anne van Koeverden, Jane van Koeverden, Jenny Whistance-Smith, Afrisa Yeung Covers Lisa Perlman Printing Digital Art & Graphics, Inc. Contact Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 3

Happenings Incyte



Under my skin In a stunning article published on 7 November 2010 in Nature, a team of stem cell researchers from the McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute led by Dr. Mick Bhatia announced their method of generating blood cells from skin cells. This method generates immunologically compatible cells for the patient, reducing the need for an extensive bone marrow donor registry. This article comes right on the heels of McMaster’s record-breaking Get Swabbed! Bone Marrow Drive. Talk about feeling boned.

Houston, we have democracy HOUSTON, TEXAS—Everything is bigger in Texas, and a sense of civic duty is no exception. On 2 November, 2010, three United States Astronauts, Scott Kelly, Douglas Wheelock, and Shannon Walker, voted in the US Midterm election while 200 miles above Earth. They voted via a secure internet system whilst conducting research on board the International Space Station. Kelly, one of the astronauts, said that it was an “honour and a privilege” to vote from space. Extraterrestrial participatory democracy began in 1997 when the State of Texas passed a bill that allowed astronauts to vote while in orbit, made possible because of NASA’s Houston based headquarters.

compiled by Yang Lei

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Dear Incite, I was reading your new Sincite special review of lingerie shops when I saw that Widemart Shoes was on the list! While I pretty much agree with everything about the flimsy interior and unpromising exterior, there should have been even more in the article on the shoes. I know, as this is coming from someone famous for his footwear! I am variously known on campus as “that guy with the boots” or “Sir Kinky Boots” or just “Boots” ...whose exploits to the uninitiated (complete with photos!) can be followed on Facebook at Overheard at McMaster/Discussion: Kinky Boots. Of course Widemart shoes is awesome, since they are the only store for miles that stock “crazy rock star” shoes and boots like mine in weird sizes up to 12. Everyone could do with a better selection of sizes and it is thanks to them that I got to try on, then fall in love with, my famous boots. And what fun it has been wearing them all over town and school!! So reading the review made my day as this is the store that made me the “celebrity” that I am. It is for the reasons above that I think that the reviewer should reconsider their 1.5 hooker boots out of 10 score, and at least boost them to a 2, for a whole pair of awesome hooker boots, or even to a higher rating, for providing me with my two outrageous pairs of boots in outrageously hard to find sizes! Thanks Widemart! Tim 4 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

compiled by Adira Winegust Photography by Jonathan fairclough & will van engen

...AND AROUND THE WORLD Maserotten luck chateau mcely, CZECH REPUBLIC—Following his arrest for the use of phony license plates, the Czech minister of transport, Vit Barta, will now get to judge firsthand whether his efforts to improve public transit have been effective. The forged plates on Mr. Barta’s Maserati were spotted as he was pulling away from his own wedding. Despite his fast car, Mr. Barta was unable to outrun the law, a 5000 Koruna fine ($238 Canadian), and a six month license suspension. Czech transportation ministry spokesperson Tomas Dombrovsky said that Barta lost his original license plate while driving on a rugged country road with his Maserati and was illegally using a fake to replace it. While Mr.Barta has told the Czech national news that he has accepted his punishment, speculation runs wild as to what could possibly have driven him to such reckless behaviour…

Miss Universe knows little about actual universe CARACAS, VENEZUELA—It seems that Miss America pageant queens aren’t the only ones who know nothing about maps or other countries in the world. Former Venezuelan Miss Universe Alicia Machado has closed her twitter account after mixing up China and the Koreas in a recent tweet. Following the skirmish in the Korean peninsula in mid-November, she wrote, “Join me in prayer… that these attacks between the Chinas do not make the situation worse.” While closing her twitter account may interfere with her long term goal of using her talents to improve the lives of those around her, geography teachers don’t seem too upset. I personally believe, that our education over here, and everywhere, should really do better to help them, and such as.

Micro Police Dog NARA, JAPAN—The Japanese prefecture of Nara recently certified a teeny-tiny 6-pound Chihuahua as its search-andrescue police dog in a job usually reserved for much larger breeds. The dog, named Momo, passed her final exam by successfully locating a person within five minutes after sniffing an article of their clothing. Momo will be employed for earthquake rescue; officials hope that the miniature Momo will be adept at squeezing through smaller crevasses in the rubble inaccessible to traditional rescue dogs. It’s true what they say—in Japan, everything is smaller and more efficient. compiled by Lu Gao & Adira Winegust


Carleton University offers more than 100 graduate programs for you to choose from: 28 engineering and design programs including industrial design, electrical, computer, aerospace and biomedical engineering


22 public affairs programs including international affairs, public administration, journalism and political science


32 science programs including computer science, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and earth sciences


29 arts and social sciences programs including anthropology, Canadian studies, French, geography, linguistics, philosophy and psychology


MBA and PhD in Management programs


Interdisciplinary programs in such areas as sustainable energy, infrastructure protection and international security and biomedical engineering


Benefit from our convenient location in the heart of Canada’s capital, the option to study full- or part-time, and over $45M in financial support. Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 5

breaking bread, not the bank

Jenny Nicole and Jane van Koeverden hunt for cheap food on campus


ur initial excitement about writing this month’s food adventure faded when we realized that overspending during the past month had left us with very little spare change. We decided to see what we could find around campus for under five dollars that would satisfy our hunger pangs. As upper-year students, our money-saving instincts are heightened—at this point, books usually take precedence over food— so we feel that others may be able to learn from our experience. Our tour started in North Quad, the setting of our strongest memories of firstyear dining. Afterward we paid a visit to the Student Centre, followed by Bridges and Mary Keyes. Feeling adventurous, we finished our quest by exploring the food options at McMaster University Hospital. Centro It felt natural to first approach Centro (formerly known as Commons), the hub of first year dining. The food looked better than we remembered, but perhaps that was just a reflection of the newly renovated surroundings. Unfortunately, most of the prices at Centro were not in line with the average student food budget and we were hard-

6 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

pressed to find cheap nourishment. We were dismayed to discover that one small cup of yogurt would cost us $1.99 and pieces of fruit are priced at $0.83 each. In our ravenous state, we turned to the lamely-named Centre Stage, which appeared to be the only mildly affordable food station. We decided to sample two of the cheapest menu items, a grilled cheese sandwich ($2.99) and veggie egg mac ($2.29). Having to pay for these items and realize their actual prices was a bit unnerving compared to the blissful swiping of student cards. Despite the less grungy atmosphere of Centro, Centre Stage’s offerings didn’t live up to our first year memories of grilled cheese and eggs from the former, more suitably named Sizzles. Either the food quality had declined or our exposure to non-residence food had refined our tastes. Discouraged that our food adventure had so far been unsuccessful, we plunked our plates on the conveyor belt and exited the doors. Union Market Our second destination was Union Market, reputed to be fairly inexpensive. Sure enough, things looked promising as

we walked in—the first food items we noticed were 2/$1.99 chocolate bars. After a thorough look around the store, we decided to purchase one sesame seed bagel ($1.10) with cream cheese ($0.40), and a Nutrigrain bar ($0.67). We also couldn’t resist grabbing some 5-cent candies, although we were a bit suspicious about how long they had been there. Realizing our energy levels were low, not uncommon for students in November, we also decided to grab a medium coffee ($1.30) to further fuel our adventure. La Piazza Due to its central location, La Piazza is probably the busiest place to grab a bite on campus. From what we could tell, prices were similar to Centro, but with a wider range of options. It was difficult to determine the cost of everything because the prices of many items were not listed, a potential trap for unassuming students. The lineups at the cash registers were even longer than we remembered, making us hangrier than ever (hangry: increased hunger resulting in acute anger). Even so, we couldn’t resist grabbing a couple bowls of soup—Italian Wedding and Creamy CauContinued on Page 8

do the math

Meg Peters on the “Social Assistance Diet”


ave you ever wondered what it would be like to live on social assistance, to have to struggle to make meals out of a very small amount of food? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in residence and have to use your floor’s common room to prepare every meal out of canned or boxed food? This fall, McMaster helped its students do just that. In early October, the faculty of Social Sciences and the McMaster Poverty Awareness Club organized the “Do the Math Challenge,” a program aimed at educating students about the harsh reality of living off of social assistance food, as well as supporting the immediate implementation of the Healthy Food supplement: an increase of $100 per month for every adult in Ontario receiving social assistance. A generous donation by a faculty member was used to buy fifty boxes of food, and fifty participants received around the same amount that a social assistance recipient would typically live off for a week. The goal was to have each participant go from three days to a week on this food alone.

Photography by Joe marinaro (FLICKR)

The ingredients: • a bag of rice • 1 can of beans • 2 No Name macaroni and cheese • 1 loaf of bread • 3 cans of tuna (vegetarians re- ceived peanut butter) • 1 litre of milk • 3 granola bars • 2 cans of soup • 3 servings of oatmeal • canned vegetables • 1 potato • 1 onion • 3 No Name juice boxes Also permitted were five so-called “pantry items”, as long as they were purchased prior to the beginning of the week. They could include vegetable oil, flour, salt, sugar, coffee, tea, margarine, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, or spices. Bleak, huh? The entire challenge was in resisting anything outside of the box for a whole week. The participants were not supposed to eat out with friends, order coffees between classes, or even make themselves something to eat from anything other than the contents of the box. Participants

were also encouraged to write down their feelings throughout the week and were invited to a reflection session at the end of the challenge. On the fateful day of 1 October, I picked up my box, or grocery bag as it turned out, excited to begin my journey in the shoes of the less fortunate. With a liter of milk kept cold in my residence minifridge, and my roommate scratching her head over the No-Name cream of mushroom soup sitting proudly on the shelf, I told myself that I was ready to begin. What I didn’t realize was how difficult it is to plan a menu around these items without a kitchen of my very own. The program outline recommended that we compile a menu for ourselves using the item list, but I ignored the recommendation, telling myself that I would surely survive without planning out my every meal. I also didn’t realize how spoiled I am when it comes to food. Generally, I live in health food stores. I snack on cashews or peanuts, eat a salad with every meal, only eat no-sugar-added nut butters, and whole wheat pasta, and brown rice. Before beginning the challenge, I wouldn’t have Continued on Page 8 Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 7

“food ADVENTURE” continued from Page 6

liflower—costing us $2.37 for a somewhat poorly named “large” serving. They were fairly tasty, but not particularly filling. As we left, our gazes shifted longingly to the plate of the person waiting behind us in line with a smoked salmon and goat cheese panini. Unfortunately, said panini was out of our price range. Bridges Walking into Bridges conjured images of custom-made pasta and chili. The vegetarian’s haven on campus smelled amazing and offered a wide variety of meal options. But besides the veggie burger ($4.79), we were unable to find a full meal for under five dollars. The side dishes better suited our wallets and we ended up going for garlic bread ($2.19) and sweet potato fries ($2.49). These delicious foodstuffs helped dull our hunger pangs, and feeling relatively satisfied we headed over to Mary Keyes Residence to see how their prices compared to the rest of campus. Mary Keyes: Bistro & Place We did not linger at Bistro. One glance at their menu confirmed that the only items below five dollars were their soups. Instead, we turned to the convenience

store in Mary Keyes, where we found a variety of non-perishable goods, including Kraft Dinner ($1.89/box) and canned tuna ($3.49/can). Items such as sushi ($6.25+) were also available, but we were far too cheap for that. One positive aspect of the place was that it offered foods not found anywhere else on campus (such as Triple Chill Cake from McCain, peanut butter, and pickles).

the Corner Café, which offers 24-hour coffee at fairly reasonable prices (S: $1.26, M: $1.37, L: $1.63). This discovery concluded our journey on a positive note; the knowledge of Corner Café’s existence could prove valuable for future all-nighters.

McMaster University Hospital Realizing that we were not having much luck finding cheap chow in the campus’s normal student haunts we decided to venture into unfamiliar territory at the McMaster University Hospital. The hospital cafeteria doesn’t cater exclusively to students, but we had heard rumours of reasonably priced food. Our findings confirmed these stories; items such as yogurt ($1.10), cereal ($1.10), sushi ($5.99), and fresh sandwiches ($3.79-$5.29) were a bit more affordable than elsewhere on campus. Faint with hunger (again!), we picked up a cheeseburger ($3.99) and a veggie sandwich ($3.79). They were surprisingly tasty for hospital food and, finally feeling full we found our way out of the hospital. Just inside the entrance, we found

Looking back on our quest, we became more aware of how tempting buying food on campus can be. In the thick of midterms and assignments, when time is even more precious than usual, the sheer convenience of campus cuisine can even make Centro seem appealing. McMaster has wisely distributed food vendors around campus, recognizing and capitalizing on students’ tendency to purchase food that is readily available and fully prepared. Unfortunately, buying food on campus can add up quickly if one isn’t careful. The meal plans that most students have in first year certainly contribute to a lack of awareness concerning spending. Our concluding advice would be to take the time to visit the Dundas or Jacskon Square farmers’ markets along with grocery stores, where reasonably priced items can be purchased. If you are pressed for time, food on campus is a convenient option, but don’t be surprised if you find your bank balance dwindling by the end of the week.

stomach sure needed it, because satisfaction was especially lacking that week. By the end of the first day, I felt as though I was oozing toxic slime in the form of sugar, table salt, and preservatives. I craved salad, and pasta, and my mother’s stir-fry. Amidst the all-canned food, the only meal in the box that had felt real was the rice and beans. Unfortunately, both ingredients quickly ran out, and I was left with the dreaded cream of mushroom soup and litre of milk, neither of which I ended up consuming. Though both were protein rich, it had been way too long since I’d been able to drink milk, and I’ve never been overly fond of creamof-anything anything. I was hungry, but not that hungry. This made me wonder, if I had nothing else, would my feelings change? And what can be said about those who actually don’t have anything? Are the donations to food banks always helpful? I have been experimenting with my

diet since I was twelve years old. I’ve dabbled in fasting, vegan-ism, raw food-ism, and almost everything in between. I’ve participated in World Vision’s 30-hourfamine four years in a row, raising money and awareness for poverty in developing countries. But all this while, I failed to realize the tangible implications of poverty here at home. Though it seems obvious, I had never thought about the fact that those receiving social assistance did not have the opportunity to experiment with food or decide on a diet that could fit their lifestyle and values like I did. And in a way, those living off of social assistance become cyclically defined and trapped by the food they eat—packaged, preserved, and No-Name stuff. So we did the math, now what? We really need to figure out a way to replace the canned cream-of-crap for real food, with real fruits and vegetables, so that we can give a chance to those less privileged for healthier and happier stomachs and lives.

DO THE MATH “DO THE MATH” continued from Page 7

called myself picky, just health conscious. But now that I look back, I see that I was a health snob. Every meal proved to be problematic. I forced myself to eat the sugary peanut butter, consoling myself with bland tea. I made the No-Name mac and cheese by borrowing a hall-mate’s saucepan, discovering in the process that fake cheese does not quite agree with my stomach. For snacks, I found myself dipping the Quaker granola bars in peanut butter or making oatmeal, one of the only things in the box I would have purchased myself. A few days in I discovered a surprisingly healthy and tasty meal that I had never even considered before: beans and rice. I guess it seems pretty obvious that it’s a good way to get the nutrients that your body requires, but I was shocked by how delicious it was, especially in comparison to nameless tomato soup or macaroni and (fake) cheese. It was the most satisfying part of the entire experience and my 8 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

Chanukah, Hard Times & Holidays Adira Winegust


love the holiday season. I love the feeling of joy that descends upon the city, from the university administrator to the HSR bus driver. I love all the tinsel and Christmas lights that backlights the snow. I love the holiday menu that is available at Starbucks during this time of year; a way to my heart is to buy me a tall nonfat-decaf-extra hot crème brulée latte with a little whipped cream. I love the Christmas songs that play on the radio in every car, store, café…to a certain point. I personally think that these songs should be played the week before Christmas and the week after it—that’s it. Any longer and I want to shoot someone. As a Jew, the holiday that tends to fall within the same month as Christmas is Chanukah (or Hanukah). Chanukah is one of my favourite Jewish holidays, and the one I miss most when I’m away from school. I have fond memories of Chanukah from my childhood: dreidel games with my siblings and the smell of latkes (potato pancakes) wafting through my house. I really love the holiday season, if the last paragraphs did not reveal that sentiment. That is why I was really excited when I got assigned to write the holiday column for the December issues of Incite. But, there was a catch to writing the article—it had to

artwork by afrisa yeung

fit into the theme of “hard times”. Now, how could the holiday season, full of joy, relate to hard times? When I recently went on a trip to the mall, I really could not see the connection. All the holiday decorations were up, all the children were waiting anxiously with their parents to sit on Santa’s lap, and every shopper had at least one shopping bag full of presents. Currently, there is a backlash against the consumerism that typifies the holiday season, such as Adbusters Magazine “Buy Nothing Day”. This backlash against gift giving is nothing new in the history of Christmas. Though most people today account for the tradition of gift giving at Christmas to the story of the three kings giving gifts to baby Jesus, the actual origins of the gift giving tradition are based on the Roman holiday, Saturnalia. Saturnalia, a Roman festival that honoured that God Saturn (or Zeus for those following Greek mythology), was celebrated on December 25th in a number of ways, including through the practice of Roman citizens giving gifts to one another. This pagan influence of gift giving during Christmas actually led to the practice being banned in the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. But, the ban on gift giving was later rescinded by the Catholic Church after

the story of St. Nicholas giving gifts to children, and the gifts presented to baby Jesus by the bilabial Magi could be used as a more “Christian” justification for gift giving. It is currently estimated that a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas season. Statistics Canada reported that in 2003, retailers sold approximately 300.5 billion dollars worth of goods and services, of which 59.5 billion dollars (approximately 18% of the total) comes from the Holiday season alone (NovemberDecember). Statistics for the 2009 season were not studied by Statistics Canada, but it is probably safe to assume that despite the economic downturn, the percent of business sales accounted for by the holiday season have more or less remained the same. Back to my trip to the mall. When confronted with the question of “hard times,” I came to realize that the current form of the holidays yielded no answer to how fitting “hard times” are to the seasons. I had to go back, way back, in history to look at the origins of Chanukah and Christmas holidays. Finding the historical connection to hard times and Chanukah was not very hard for me, as I have always received money from my relatives in lieu of traditional gifts. Continued on Page 11 Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 9

EUrozoned Out

Shawn Fazel on the roots of Europe’s austerity measures


urope’s financial troubles have dominated economics news lately, with Greece, more recently Ireland, and soon Portugal, Italy and Spain all nearing financial collapse. Does it take an economics degree to understand what is happening to Greece? No. I’ll explain to you what you need to know to understand the Euro crisis without the grueling ECON 1BB3 lectures. From 2000 to 2007, Greece’s economy grew at a steady pace, with high confidence for further growth as foreign investment flowed in. The largest industries, tourism and shipping, were being flooded with foreign capital. Upon admittance into the Eurozone, the low interest rates of EU bonds allowed for cheap loans to finance Greece’s increasing government debt. What is government debt? Governments, like companies, receive revenue by means of taxes and distribute these funds through government spending. A country’s budget allocates revenue and spending for the year, and when spending is larger than revenue, there is a budget deficit. This means that the government must take out a loan to finance its excess spending for the year. These loans, known as government bonds, are printed and sold. Generally, the governments of strong economies are always in some degree

10 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

graphic from library of congress

of debt, as their stability gives bondholders confidence, keeping the interest rate of government bonds down. The interest rate on government bonds important because the government must pay it. The higher it is, the more the government will have to spend on sustaining the debt it already carries. So what determines the interest rate? Market expectations of risk: namely inflation and government insolvency. Inflation is a rise in prices across the board. Remember when Coke bottles were $1? Now they’re $3. That is inflation. With respect to any kind of debt, inflation transfers funds from lenders to borrowers. Let’s say I had taken out a $100 loan 10 years ago at 5 per cent annual interest and bought 100 Coke bottles. After inflation, today those same Coke bottles are worth $300, while my loan with interest is $128. Investors don’t like that, so they adjust the interest rate based on expected inflation. Insolvency occurs when a debtor cannot repay his or her loans. The Greek bond interest rate then depends on the risk of Greece not being able to pay back its loans. This risk is generally low with government bonds, but not always. When fears of government default rise, so do interest rates, thereby increasing the cost for the government to

maintain its debt. This adds pressure to a government that may already be at risk for default, and this vicious cycle can effectively cause government finances to collapse. To break this cycle, something is needed to restore confidence in the government’s bonds. In the example of Greece, the IMF and EU put together a loan package to restore confidence in Greece’s ability to repay its debt to the bondholders. This way, Greece could continue issuing more bonds at a lower interest rate, reducing strain on a government that will have to adopt austerity measures for the hard times. This means increasing taxes, reducing government spending and cutting jobs in the public sector, and it is these changes that have led to the protests we hear about in the news. The 2008 global recession hit Greece’s shipping and tourism industries hard, and foreign funding stopped almost instantly. The government’s tax revenue from these industries fell and the budget deficit grew further. The debt that had been building from 2000 to 2007 became more expensive to maintain. The Greek government had to pay Goldman Sachs hundreds of millions to keep Greece’s real spending hidden from IMF and EU’s prying eyes. Once investors found out about the hidden spending and actual debt

levels, insolvency fears grew, pushing the interest to be paid on bonds even higher. The interest on the unsustainable debt pushed Greece’s spending higher still, increasing the risk of insolvency as the vicious cycle ensued. It is estimated that in 2010, Greek debt had hit 120 per cent of GDP, meaning that even if Greece took every citizen’s income for the year, it would still not pay off the government’s debt. Many argue that if Greece had an independent central banker — in other words, if Greece could print its own currency — the crisis could have been avoided through managing the original borrowing rate prior to the 2008 recession and being able finance its debt by printing more money. Although printing money would have caused a different crisis on its own, it would have at least isolated Greece’s troubles from the Eurozone. From the perspective of Greek citizens, the hardships would have probably been twofold, with hyperinflation that would then have set the economy in a deep recession. The bailout package from Germany and the IMF has thankfully avoided this grim prospect, and has allowed fiscal policy to regulate the crisis to some extent. Besides the bail-out, Greece has had a tax-evasion problem that robs it of important revenue. This can be interpreted as a loss in confidence by the taxpayers in their government’s ability to adequately

manage their tax dollars (or euros). In many respects, the responsibility for proper government spending falls upon the shoulders of the policy-makers. Today, Ireland and Portugal are in trouble as well. As has been the case with Greece, bondholders are taking a closer look at the countries’ finances and are losing confidence in the governments’ ability to repay their loans. Risk goes up, fewer people buy bonds, interest rates to be paid go up resulting in larger fees for the government to pay upon their debts. Very recently, Portugal passed an austerity budget with the aim of reducing its deficit from 7.3 per cent to 4.6 per cent of GDP. Portugal is already one of the poorest countries in the EU, so the spending cuts and tax hikes will have a strong effect on the average citizen. In response to its new budget, Portugal is already seeing its largest protests in 20 years. So far, the country has not been asked nor has asked for any financial aid package. Ireland has just presented new austerity measures in the latest budget that aim to save $20 billion over 4 years, and has accepted an EU and IMF rescue package of roughly $115 billion. It is the second country in the Eurozone to be saved this year. As a testament to the important of the mass psychology in global economics, the prime minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has just recently announced

that there is “absolutely” no chance of any rescue package for Spain. The idea of an unstable Spain worries financial markets, as Spain’s output accounts for 12 per cent of 16 EU countries, or half of Ireland, Greece and Portugal combined. Since austerity measures slow economic growth, strong austerity in Spain could impact the growth of the Eurozone as a whole. Overall, it is a shame that developed governments aren’t able to take hold of their finances themselves and must instead resort to the aid of the EU and the IMF. Here in North America, we are not immune from the threat of government insolvency. The US government debt is nearing $13.7 trillion, or 95 per cent of GDP, with no sign of any measures being taken to cut back on the deficit spending. Instead, the US is extending the Bush era tax cuts, losing several billion dollars of what could be important revenue. When this debt begins to catch up with the United States, it will be detrimental to Canada’s economy as well. In any case, the government will always battle for our votes, indulging in all the increased spending and tax cuts necessary to win a majority parliament. Instead of falling for tax cuts that sound too good to be true, we need to ensure a secure financial outlook and demand responsible fiscal policy from our government.

Chanukah, Hard Times & Holidays “chanukah, hard times & holidays” continued from Page 9

Traditionally, money was given to children during Chanukah time, as money is symbolic in the Chanukah story. According to popular tradition, after the Assyrian-Greeks banned the study of Torah, the Jews would have to study it in secret. The Jews were forced to study in caves, and whenever Assyrian-Greeks patrols would come around, the Jews would hide the Torah and pretend to be gambling with a dreidel (the spinning top). In fact, the whole tradition of giftgiving during Chanukah is a relatively new tradition originating in North America after waves of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe. Many historians attribute the beginning of gift giving during Chanukah as a way that immigrants tried to “Americize” the holidays in order to fit into the new surroundings. I remember as a child that when we were confronted with the whole “Christmas vs. Chanukah” question and jealously, our parents always told us to be proud of the fact that during Chanukah, we got eight

days of presents, and all the other children only got one day of (which I then questioned because of the song, “Twelve Days of Christmas”). This source of Jewish pride has even been made famous by Adam Sandler and his “Chanukah Song.” Perhaps due to its close proximity with Christmas, out of all the Jewish holidays, Chanukah has the most “Holiday specials” broadcasts, and is celebrated by most Jews and often has public celebrations with the likes of Prime Ministers and Presidents. But, as I thought more and more about it, I realized that the whole origin of why Jews celebrate Chanukah is rooted in the whole idea of “hard times” and the lack of resources. The story of Chanukah begins when ancient Israel was taken over by the Assyrians-Greek, under the leadership of Antiochus Epipanus (circa 165 BCE), who forbade torah learning and other Jewish rituals. The Assyrians-Greek desecrated the Jewish temple in Jerusalem by placing stat-

ues of Greek gods in it and by sullying the oil used to light the Menorah. After a successful rebellion against Antiochus, the AssyrianGreeks, under the leadership of Judah the Maccabee, the Israelites were able to return to the Temple. But, the Israelites only found one small jug of oil, bearing the seal of the high priest, with enough oil to light the Menorah for one day. The whole miracle, celebrated by countless Jews, is that during the “hard times,” the jug of oil was able to light the Menorah for eight days, the time needed to get more oil to the Temple. Thus, the connection between hard times and Chanukah was easy to find. Alas, for some, the connections between hard times and the holidays is thin at best,but perhaps the point of the holiday season, with the decorations, music and presents, is actually to celebrate the fact that we are no longer in the hard times of our ancestors. Isn’t that reason enough to celebrate? Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 11

Mac in time

Sarah Kanko on student activism at McMaster


hen was the last time you blockaded a McMaster office or stormed a cafeteria? It seems that students are more concerned with the difference between an 11 and a 12 on their transcripts than with the problems of the world, but has this always been the case? Last year, my calculus professor asserted that students are becoming increasingly apathetic and don’t protest important issues the way they used to. Is this true? Is our generation actually less active than those of the past? In the early years of McMaster, there was very little student activism. The control of the university rested wholly in the hands of the administration, and the student body was too small to be a forceful, effective instrument for reform. Even if students had managed to organize themselves, because they were generally in agreement with the opinions of the administration, there wasn’t a desire for change. Until well after the end of the Second World War, the majority of Mac students were uninvolved in political or social issues, leading the editors of the Silhouette to complain of the political apathy that plagued the campus. One article, published in a 1951 issue of the Silhouette wrote, “following weeks of inactivity, the campus of good old McMaster U. has again gone through with a smashing week of nothing. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has happened.” This post-war generation was also called the “age of mediocrity,” the “silent generation,” and the “self-satisfied ones.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? One of the first protests to cause any sort of change was the Storming of the Buttery in February, 1960. A group of hungry students protested the restrictions of on-campus services in one of the campus cafeterias known as “the Buttery,” which resulted in the Dean agreeing to service extensions.

12 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

This food frenzy was followed by a coup d’état of the Student Council in November 1962. What began as a prank turned into a political statement when a group of students carried off the Student Union’s President, installed one of their own members in his place as an “enlightened despot”, and ratified a new constitution. The movement was designed to jolt students out of their apathy but the new government didn’t last. A brief protest in 1965 about the overcrowding of residence halls and classrooms resulted in students being given financial compensation. This protest was followed by a 75-hour sit-in to protest the quality and cost of residence food on 18 Sep-

panded to include an undergraduate student and a graduate student. One of the last student protests of this era of change happened in March 1978, when a sit-in was held to protest a planned increase in student fees. A group of students occupied an office of the Divinity College but did not generate a strong response. The spirit of student activism faded and was replaced by a period characterized by dull, legislative detail in the late seventies and early eighties. At one point during this lull, a small number of sociology students blockaded Kenneth Taylor Hall, started a second rally in Togo Salmon Hall, and attempted to occupy the office of the Academic Vice President. Their controversial response to program reform was ambitious, but they failed to generate much interest or sway student opinion. Despite the protests, the changes were later accepted through a majority vote. Since the mideighties, there have been numerous strikes and demonstrations at McMaster by our on-campus unions, but none of these strikes have become the largephotography by socialworkernz (flickr) scale protests that tember 1970. The meals were improved, more cause drastic changes to the university, and none options were introduced, and prices were fixed in of them have incited the students in quite the response. same way as the cases mentioned above. One of the most forceful student demonstraIn the brief time I have spent at MAC, there tions happened in November of 1971, when 2500 have been no protests or sit-ins, no MSU coups students, over half from McMaster, blocked the or offices under siege. At the same time, scores of Peace Bridge at Fort Erie to protest the atomic clubs are campaigning across campus and around blast tests the Americans were planning on Am- the world for good causes. In fact, there are more chitka Island. organisations supporting world issues now than The following years were full of student McMaster has ever hosted in the past. Students activism and change. A general meeting of the still care about causing change, but we just go MSU passed a notion to initiate a general strike about it in different ways. So yes, dear calculus if the Senate did not immediately agree to dis- prof, we may not start riots, form mobs, make cuss important student issues, especially student signs and chant, but we aren’t just the apathetic representation. As a result of the discussions and generation we can appear to be. protests that ensued, the Board of Governors ex-

been there, dundas Jenny Whistance-Smith


ovember is often a hard month for everyone: it gets dark frighteningly early, the skies are gray and dreary, and it grows colder every day. All of this just reminds us of the long, loooong winter months ahead. November is particularly hard for students, as the horribleness just described gets combined with a mountain of school work given by professors who have just realized that it’s almost the end of the semester and they still need 60% more gradable course work. While students are waking up in the dark, putting on ten layers of clothes, and loading their fiftypound backpacks, only to trudge to school and spend the next twenty hours in the library, they are no doubt dreaming of the winter break to come, and fantasizing of a tropical getaway. Unfortunately, November is also hard on the average student’s bank account, with Christmas shopping, eating out or ordering in too much as there is no time to make food, the many coffees bought in a futile attempt to stay awake and study longer, and a general nearing the end of first semester’s budget. Unfortunately, no money means no holiday, but don’t despair just yet: Incite is here to help you have your very own staycation in the lovely and pic-


turesque village of Dundas. Dundas is a quaint little hamlet located a short bus or bike ride down Cootes Drive, nestled in Dundas Valley and surrounded by the Niagara Escarpment. It was settled in the early 19th century and many of the buildings that remain today were built in the late 1880’s, everything built before then having been destroyed in a massive fire. Dundas has many things to offer to the weary student in need of some fun. On these pages I will describe some of my favorite places to visit in Dundas. This is in no way a comprehensive guide, as I am still discovering much there myself, but, whether you are looking for somewhere to have food and drinks, shop, engage in outdoor activities, or absorb some culture, Dundas is the place to go.

Food & Drinks

If you are looking for some scrumptious home-cooking, but don’t want to actually make it at your home, Adeline’s Family Restaurant (2 King Street West) is a great brunch option. They make most items on the menu from scratch, including some incredibly fluffy scrambled eggs and homemade hamburgers. But if it is the burger you want, be prepared to fight for

it if you are in a large group, because they only make a certain amount of patties every day to ensure they are as fresh as possible. If Adeline’s is filled to the brim with the church crowd, The Valley Charbroil (44 King Street West) is a short walk down the road. They are also a delicious brunch spot but to be honest I have no idea what their breakfast is like, since whenever I walk in I get too tempted by their mouthwatering cheeseburgers, grilled-cheese sandwiches, and onion rings. At this establishment you order and pay as soon as you enter, which is refreshing as your food is delivered promptly and you are free to leave whenever you would like, without having to wait for the bill. Taylor’s Tea Room & Takeaway (11 King Street West) is a charming spot where you can enjoy to-die-for fresh baked scones, the daily soup and sandwich, or some traditional English dishes such as steak-and-kidney pie. They also have a large assortment of loose leaf teas and serve high tea from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. If you are looking for dinner and drinks, Thirsty Cactus Cantina & Grill (2 King Street East) serves flavorful Tex-Mex Continued on Page 16 Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 13


artwork by lisa perlman

artwork by mandy shek 14 â–Ş Incite Magazine â–Ş December 2010

artwork by lisa perlman

artwork by mark belan

artwork by cameron billyard

artwork by lisa perlman Volume 13, Issue 3 â–Ş Incite Magazine â–Ş 15

“been there, dundas” continued from Page 13

dishes, and makes a mean margarita. They also have live music every Wednesday and Sunday night, in case you are looking to have a foot-stomping good time. Collins Brewhouse (33 King Street West) is located in one of the historical building of Dundas and has delivered the best in food and service since 1841. They have an extensive menu, so no matter what your preference you will be able to find something to eat and enjoy. They also offer entertainment in the way of Trivia Night every Tuesday from October to May, and Texas Hold’em every Sunday afternoon.


Whether you are looking to buy, or simply to window shop, Dundas has a lot of great stores to offer. Terraware (17 King Street West) provides the eco-conscious fashionista with a large variety of outfits all made from natural materials such as hemp and lyocell. They also strongly believe in fair-trade business ethics. If you are looking for something a bit trendier, One Rebellion (60 King Street West) features a plethora of name-brand items, such


as Bench, FCUK, Parasuco, and Silver Jeans. And, if you are the outdoorsy type, Adventure Attic (28 King Street West) has everything the outdoor enthusiast needs. Their clothing consists of outdoor apparel for the hiker, camper, climber, or kayaker , as well as all the equipment required to engage in

Master of Management & Professional Accounting

• Designed primarily for non-business undergraduates • For careers in Management, Finance and Accounting • Extremely high co-op and permanent placement To learn more about the MMPA Program, attend our information sessions: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 11:00 am – 1:00 pm West Room, University Club, McMaster University 16 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

these activities. If it isn’t clothes that you want, stop by Ellenöire (41 King Street West) where they have a vast selection of bath, body, and hair products. There, you can create your very own scent for items ranging from lotion to room spray (my created scent is lavender

play area, which this Incite contributor can definitely vouch for.

Arts & Culture

mixed with fir needle and sweet orange). If your life is lacking bling, Kevin Martin Fine Jewellery (7 King Street West) can fix that for you. It is owned and operated by long-time residents of the Dundas area who specialize in personalized jewellery. If you are a cooking fetishist like me, do not miss The Keeping Room (6 Cross Street). This store is named after the large central room in the homes of settlers during early the colonial days, in which pioneer families cooked, ate, and entertained. It is packed to the rafters with any type of cooking utensil or gadget you could possibly imagine and the staff are always willing to answer any cooking query you may have.

Outdoor Activities

Dundas and its surrounding area is in the heart of the Niagara Escarpment and the Bruce trail has many hiking, walking, and biking paths nearby. One of my favorites is the Look-Out. If you turn right from King Street West onto Sydenham Street and follow it up a steep hill, there is a spot on the right side of the street where you can park your car, get out, and enjoy a spectacular view overlooking Dundas, the

McMaster Campus, and the grand spread of Hamilton. It is particularly nice in the fall because of the vibrant colours, or at night as the sparkly lights of the city are utterly enchanting. A must-see are Webster’s Falls and Tew’s Falls, which can be found if you continue down Main Street West into Greensville. Webster’s Falls is one of the biggest and most accessible waterfalls in Hamilton. It is thirty meters across and the daring adventurer can either stand at the very edge of the water and look down, or access it from the bottom and play directly behind the thundering sheets of water. Tew’s Falls is very close to Webster’s Falls and is a thin ribbon style waterfall that falls a dizzying one-hundred meters into an eroded crevasse below. Both waterfalls are also surrounded by numerous forested paths that are ready to be explored. If relaxing and playing outdoors is more your style, Dundas is home to the Dundas Driving Park. The park is 26.5 acres and houses a sheltered picnic area, several softball fields, a wading area, a bandshell, an outdoor ice-rink, a tennis club and an incredibly fun swing-set and

When wanting to experience more arts and culture than the scribbles drawn on the sidewalk by a friendly Hamilton bum or the keyboard played by the one-armed man in Jackson square, look no further and escape to Dundas. The Carnegie Gallery & Giftshop (10 King Street West) was built in 1910 and is located in what was once the town’s public library. I stumbled into it one day while I was looking to sign out a book, as the building still says “Public Library”, though with faded letters. What I actually found is a gallery shop that offers the finest in visual art, pottery, jewellery, glass, woodworking, textiles, and photography. The gallery also features monthly shows and is home to the Dundas Art and Craft Association. Although art is plenty sophisticated it can sometimes leave you craving more. There, to fill that gap is the Dundas Museum & Archives (139 Park Street West). This museum may be small but it is packed full of knowledge and if there is anything you have ever wondered about the humble beginnings of Dundas, this museum will be able to answer it. They have a permanent exhibit about Dundas’s past as well as a second gallery that has rotating exhibitions throughout the year. On the grounds of the Dundas Museum are the fragrant heritage gardens, which offer opportunities for visitors to enjoy the perfume, beauty, and history of perennials, biennials, roses, bulbs, and annuals that were available in Upper Canada in the nineteenth century. No matter what you decide to do on your staycation in Dundas, rest assured it will be either the action-packed, relaxing, sophisticated, or entertaining break from school that you need.

A new MA in Women’s and Gender studies In Carleton University’s new Master of Arts program in Women’s and Gender Studies you will learn to use critical and gendered theoretical lenses to guide your exploration of key issues and debates. In this program you will acquire the critical skills you need to explore gender as a social relation of power and to conduct advanced feminist research. The MA program also provides a foundation for doctoral studies in Women’s and Gender Studies and a variety of other disciplines.

applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2011 term. Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 17

hard times, great art Kate Sinclair


hat artists must suffer for their art is a generally accepted truth. Hardship and resilience characterize the history of great masterpieces. True artists, when plagued with illness, poverty and all manner of strife, do not simply throw in the towel but troll steadfastly onward, trailing masterpieces in their wake. Thus, temperamental, whimsical and intense, the spirit of the true artiste has stood the test of time, even while the art itself has evolved. The icon of the destitute ‘artist in the garret’ emerged in Paris during the Romantic period when the aristocracy withdrew their sponsorship of the arts. Relegated to the fringes of society, artists became edgier, generating bewilderingly emotional music that started to push at the boundaries of artistic convention. Hard times, for the composers of the Romantic period, were in fact liberating, prompting artists to alter existing norms without having to cater to the wishes of their aristocratic patrons. Continued poverty and destitution, far from deterring the artistic pursuit, nourished these starving songsmiths. Anguish became the undercurrent of their compositions. So it was that champs like Gioachino Rossini, Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi and Gabriel Fauré came into this world. Doomed to know beauty but not to experience it, they produced works of great joy, great fury and great intellect, characterized by extremes in dynamic and tempo, emphasis on texture and disregard for form.

18 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

Since the Romantics, most great changes in artistic expression have been wrought through times of intense hardship. Slave songs from prerevolutionary America amalgamated and developed into what we now know

gence of surrealism. The pattern here seems to recall the famous line from Carol Reed’s 1939 film, The Third Man: “For 31 years under the Borgias, the [Italians] had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace— and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock.”

It would seem that hard times in history do not mean hard times for the arts, but does this imply great art is restricted to hard times? Is an artist only as great as their suffering? Suffering does seem to be a recurring theme in the history of artists. English poet and painter William Blake, for example, wore hand-medowns well into his adult life, which would be difficult enough even ignoring the fact that he experienced psychotic visions, had very few friends and was generally assumed to be mad. Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher and artwork by leslie furness morbid hypochondriac, as gospel, jazz, blues and soul. The de- had a pathological fear of change and pression years of the 1930’s produced never moved from the village where he a golden age in American cinema. The was born — a small life for such a great tense atmosphere of pre-World War I man. Europe saw the development of cubism Samuel Beckett, Irish playwright by Picasso and Braque which prepared and author, had his own somewhat the world for the subsequent emer- unique set of grievances. Plagued with Continued on Page 20

Power/Play Emotion Sickness Yang Lei, Columnist


recently discovered the Wikipedia article on “reductio ad Hitlerum”. It is the logical fallacy of associating something with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis as an ad hominem attack, with the implicit assumption that Hitler and the Nazis (a band from decades ago?) are universally reviled. Without doubt, this fallacy has been used since the end of the Second World War. More recently, we have seen it used to voice frustration in the United States with the Obama administration. Be they anger or revulsion, the emotions that are provoked when Hitler and the Nazis are invoked can make weak arguments appear stronger than they really are. As such, “reductio ad Hitlerum” is a specific type of appeal to emotion, a classic logical fallacy that renders the given premise null. Whether we were taught logic in school or by a slightly pretentious friend (or columnist), we know and understand that appeals to emotion show a weakness in argumentation. Either they are unacceptable premises or they are irrelevant to the argument. Emotional language, such as calling a regime “evil,” is logically invalid in an argument for the regime’s removal. A far more pow-

Artwork by Anne van Koeverden

erful line of argumentation would be to demonstrate, through the use of facts and descriptive rather than emotive language, that the regime embezzles tax funds, exploits minors and kills its citizens. Emotional arguments simplify complex situations and our worldview, rendering decision-making easier. With strong emotions, such as anger or fear, decisions very easily boil down to a false dichotomy—us or them, right or wrong. Given only two extreme choices, our decisions, whether on morals, causes, or opinions, become effortless. But we do not live in a dichotomized world. Real life does not have absolutes, and everything has a gradient. Thus emotional appeals, by trying to simplify and dichotomize that which is complex and graduated, are an unacceptable line of argumentation. However, we need to be careful not to just scoff at illogical arguments. There is the trap of dismissing appeals to emotion and arguments founded on them as soon as such an appeal is spotted. With regard to the “reduction ad Hitlerum”, we have seen humorous iterations of such dismissal in Godwin’s Law, stating that all online discussions lead to a re-

duction ad Hitlerum, and its corollary, which states that as soon as a discussion reaches such a stage the discussion ends and the argument is rendered null and void. But judging by their very existence, indeed their very prevalence, emotional appeals must serve some function in human thought. This makes it dangerous to just dismiss them by decree of logic. One cannot continue to reason in the real world if one discounts the opinions of the majority of the people in the world. Simply telling people they’re wrong doesn’t do away with the fact that they hold those views. Such is the problem with being a smug rationalist—it’s not productive, and effectively creates a logical underclass instead of addressing the issue. Because their popularity is indicative of some sort of intrinsic value, we should rather examine appeals to emotion, and the reasons people have for using and believing them, and address these issues rather than scoffing at and just ignoring them. Although emotional appeals simplify complex circumstances and “streamline” decision-making, they only work because there is emotion to appeal to. If Continued on Page 20 Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 19

“power/play” continued from Page 19

there are seeds of a certain emotion in our minds, then an appeal to that will have far greater effect than if we don’t feel that emotion at all. If there was widespread fear among Canadians of a deluge of Asian students in Canadian universities, then the response to Maclean’s November article “Too Asian” would have been far more receptive. Instead, we saw a flood of comments, both on the internet and in the print media lambasting Maclean’s for fear-mongering. In the same vein, there is strong emotional language involved in the dialogue about topics such as Islam and the West or migration of manufacturing jobs because people feel unsure about those topics. It seems to me that appeals to emotion only appeal to negative emotions. Negative emotions are far more powerful motivators than positive emotions. When one is in a positive mood, one wants to prolong the feeling for as long as possible, whereas when one is in a negative mood, one tries to exit that state as soon as possible. Thus, negative emotions spur people to action much faster than positive emotions. Negative emotions are associated with the unknown: anger, hate, guilt and other such emotions all ultimately reduce to fear, and the object of fear is the unknown.

Fearing the unknown has been a feature of our species since the dawn of humankind.

“Rather than dismissing those spouting the vile, the insidious, and the ingenious populist emotional rhetoric as cranks, by demystifying and taking concrete action to address concerns such as economic uncertainty or a crisis in cultural identity we defang and disarm those who try to win us over with emotional appeals. ” The only way to allay this fear is to make the unknown known. With more information, there is less uncertainty and as a result less fear. By disseminating information about topics that are near and dear to the hearts of people we

demystify the unknown. Although an informed forecast of our economy is a harder sell than simply blaming foreign countries for our economic woes, by reducing the level of fear of the unknown that exists in the population, we are de facto immunized, or at least boosted against appeals to emotion that prey on such fears. Rather than dismissing those spouting the vile, the insidious, and the ingenious populist emotional rhetoric as cranks, by demystifying and taking concrete action to address concerns such as economic uncertainty or a crisis in cultural identity we defang and disarm those who try to win us over with emotional appeals. It is important to realize the logical invalidity of appeals to emotion, but it is equally important to not forget their meaning and power. Offhand dismissal of a large segment of the population only leads to polarization, othering, and situations that feed the fear that makes emotional appeals so appealing in the first place. Only through an active effort to reduce the unknown can we decrease the fear people feel. Such efforts must take care not to be overly arcane but rather intuitive instead. It will require creativity and effort in a ceaseless struggle, but the alternative—rampant emotional appeals—we cannot just dismiss and reduce ad Nazi-am.

hard times, great art “hard times, great art” continued from Page 18

girlfriend trouble, depression and career problems, the lowest point in his life was a rather unfortunate incident that ended with his being stabbed by a pimp in the street. He lived to tell the tale, however, and perhaps his work was the richer for it. German composer Ludwig van Beethoven had it worst of all, living the life of a musician who could not even hear his own notes. It is said that the night of his death, during a raucous thunderstorm, Beethoven’s last act was to sit suddenly upright and shake his fist at the sky, dying a ruined man but a celebrated genius. A comprehensive look at the private lives of the artists we thought we knew makes one thing quite plain: none of them were strangers to suffering. Contemporary artists are no less tortured than the Beethovens and Becketts that preceded them. While the form of the 20 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

art may have changed (after all, an Eminem rap is hardly a Moonlight Sonata), the theme of suffering endures and the artist continues their quest to extract meaning out of hardship. That they all experienced pain is no coincidence. Art is a response, whether to societal hardship or to one’s own private turmoil. Hard times prompt us to seek relief and to lose our vulnerability by exerting our ingenuity. Hardship, then, should be embraced as the impetus that can put into motion an artist’s journey. Art cannot be isolated from the artist just as creative movements cannot be considered separate from the societies in which they originate. The art and the inspiration are inextricably bound. While love and contentment are powerful motivators, stable societies, and for that matter, stable individuals, rarely resort to art for their expression. While

the artist who draws his inspiration from love will always be popular, his work is only moving to the extent that it is pure. True epics always resonate with tragedy. The artist himself must be hardened enough to explore the darker aspects of the human experience yet sensitive enough to render the emotions therein a poignancy that they lack in reality. It could be, therefore, that the true artist glimpses depths of existence the rest of us know nothing about, from whence they draw their agony as well as their art. Thus, the most urgent inspiration comes out of fear, but more importantly, out of hope. If we should take one lesson from the artists that shape our history it is the absolute knowledge that there is something innate in us that strives always to extract serenity out of suffering, art out of despair and to find meaning in spite of it all.

sexin’ Copps Coliseum Shawn Fazel & Anna Kulikov


wo of Incite’s naughtier reporters approached this months’ theme from a rather creative angle. What follows are tales from a not-so-saintly Sunday spent searching for hard times at Hamilton’s “Everything to Do With Sex Show” in early November.

She Says:

As we stepped into the Copps Coliseum on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Shawn and I were promptly greeted by the sight of Miss Exotic World 2010 dangling naked from a hoop on the ceiling. This burlesque diva, with her humble Windsor roots, was one of the show’s (few) attractions. Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of floor space was reserved for vendors. Adult and novelty stores, from the Love Shop to Bonnie’s Bedroom and Sexcessories, peddled their silicone and battery powered goods en masse. Although I knew that I would be bumping into these vendors at Hamilton’s largest exposition of all things sexual, I didn’t expect to be so sullenly disappointed. Not only do I consider a $16 entrance fee —more than a week’s worth of groceries in the “Do the Math Challenge” (see

Artwork by alex ngaleba

page 7)—a tad presumptuous, but finding the Coliseum half packed with dildo vendors, I kind of think we got screwed. To the organizers of the show: I am fully capable of visiting the Love Shop for free, not to mention, minimizing my chances of running into dozens of middle aged couples and having no choice but to imagine their wrinkled bodies engaged in perverse fetish acts, having long ago abandoned the boring missionary game. A quick glance around the floor proved that Shawn and I were about the only ones under forty and the most attractive among the attendees. Shawn, though, received the shorter end of the (beating) stick where comfort was concerned. It probably was not an accident that the youngest, most strapping male at the show was accosted by an obese, moustache-sporting dominatrix who proceeded to blindfold him and torture him with pleasure devices. Meek and harmless by medieval standards, the fork and feather boa still managed to terrify Shawn. Paralyzed by laughter, I could not bring myself to rescue him. The “Mr. Exotika Male Review” probably didn’t do much to help Shawn’s recov-

ery. Perfectly chiseled and oiled men in uniform went a little above and beyond Elvis’ notorious hip grinds while tantalizingly shedding their clothing items. But no matter how attractive these strippers got, I could not reconcile how disconnected from reality the stripper show was. Though probably explainable by evolutionary psychology, how could any woman find a man in a military uniform sexy, while full well knowing what it symbolizes? One of the booths at the show was run by Aradia Fitness, a company with sensual studios all across North America, including the Hamilton location at 1119 Fennel Avenue. Aradia Fitness specializes in pole dance, chair dance, and lap dance classes as well as selling brass poles for several hundred dollars. To distract potential customers from the not-so-great reputation of the women who practice the services that they sell, the company claims their fitness classes are taught by women “just like you”—minus the elephant biceps. Having once taken a pole dancing class with some girlfriends, I have come to respect the enormous strength and athleticism needed to hold oneself upside down on Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 21

“sexin’” continued from Page 21

a pole, while doing the splits and gracefully stripping to music. Some other highlights of the show included the tormenting of a volunteer in a suction suit (...whatever that is); body casting of everything from pregnant bellies to hands, feet and other naughtier bits (in other words, decorative sculptures for your walls); and finally, a remote controlled vibrator operational within a radius of up to 30 meters. Such devices in the wrong hands could become dangerous and should only be sold with advisory warnings. Seriously. Although Shawn and I shared quite a few giggles, my experiences at the “Everything to do with Sex Show” were generic, boringly heterosexual, and stale. But the residual effects are nevertheless present. Inside, the liberal university student in me is waging war with the hopeless romantic: how do we, as a society, remove stigma from sex and appreciate its wonders without commercializing it and rendering it so utterly mundane and base?

He Says:

The “Everything to do with Sex Show” visited Copps Coliseum from 5-7 November 2010. Vendors of sex toys from the Hamilton area gathered in hopes of throwing a monster sex bash. Unfortunately, Anna and I were probably the youngest and best looking attendees on that quiet Sunday afternoon, even in our winter overcoats and study gear. I had been promised this year’s exhibition would provide “more bang for your buck,” but $16 was a tall order for a chance to look at heteronormative

sex toys ranging from tiny weeny lingerie sets (women only, sorry guys) to the “Sex Swing 5000” with optional blowup doll (female dolls only). My money seemed more like a cover charge: the whole place felt like a strip club. A sexy techno beat blared in the background, not quite overpowering the speaker, who rambled about the beautiful [insert stripper name here] on the main stage in that unmistakable strip club tone. The exhibition was dark and smelt of old dried-up lube. Copps had been converted into a massive titty bar, except without the ladies, booze or young men—just the old guys with their wives, and lots of sex toys. The toys came in all shapes, sizes and textures for all orifices. The “Shocker 4000” looked like a pink machine gun that could knock you unconscious. There were remote controlled vibrators, to be concealed in your pants at public functions while your partner stimulated you at the touch of a button from afar. Slushy-slurping, fully-clothed nerds standing alongside topless body-painted twins were selling molding kits, to “preserve the shape of your loved one’s genitals or pregnant belly.” Even though the kits were being pushed by the only topless ladies at the whole show, I was not sold. If only they had molded Anna’s face while she fondled a cast vagina. Questions such as “Where has this been?” and the obvious “Whose vagina is this?” came to mind. I insisted she wash her hands afterwards. Besides the menacing dildos, rattling vibrators and lewd salespeople, there were also public advocacy groups with less sexual products. An AIDS

awareness booth was set up giving away flyers and condoms promoting safe sex. Another booth promoted a massage gel pack that warmed with a snap. I would eventually emerge from the darkness of Copps a new man, free from the shackles of standard sexual practice. A curvy, 60-year-old dominatrix disciplined me in the proper use of pain-inducing sex toys. I learned that it is not pain but a soft touch that is used to excite the “slave.” I was blindfolded and aroused with a fork while I lay helpless next to my co-writer, who grabbed a spoon and conspired against me. Et tu, Anna? I took my revenge soon after though, seducing the dominatrix with my boyish charm. She then blindfolded Anna and gave her the time of her life, while I awkwardly pulled myself together as the dominatrix’s friends (or Sunday bridge buddies) undressed me with their eyes. Moving on, we encountered a male stripper shaking his junk. It was so impressive we were tempted into the lap dancing seminar. Once again, we were faced with the stark reality of our youth: by not being over 40, we fell far outside the target audience of the show. As we left, we were kindly waved goodbye by a leathery fat man dispassionately spanking a woman strapped to a table. Her ass was red as a baboon’s, with no elasticity left. The look in his eyes was an odd mix of boredom and arousal. I could not see her face, but I can only imagine that some similar blend of emotions must have been displayed. I can’t remember the last time I watched someone being spanked on a Sunday afternoon. I wish it upon nobody.

WRITE, DRAW, EDIT OR DESIGN FOR INCITE MAGAZINE 22 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

Review Good as New

Cameron Amini, Meghan Dertinger & Alexandra Epp


hether you’re looking for high fashion on a low budget or just trying to reduce your carbon footprint, buying used clothes can help you look swank without cracking open your piggy bank. To get you started, Incite sent its fashion reporters to some of Hamilton’s thrift shop hot spots. Here’s what they had to say: Value Village 530 Fennel Avenue East Although Value Village is a bit of a hike up the mountain, it is a reliable, classic, second-hand store. Like its many franchises, this particular Value Village goes for the “bigger-isbetter” attitude, boasting by far the largest selection of used clothing and oddities in the Hamilton area. Everyday clothes, Halloween costumes (new and used), jewellery, shoes, household items, and that orange, bell-bottomed jumpsuit you’ve always wanted are all available as long as you have the time to sift through everything else in the store. What the place lacks in personality and atmosphere is certainly made up by low prices and the fact that the store simply has everything. There is also a certain comfort in knowing that

graphic by annie fraser

no matter what city in Canada you are in, there’s most likely a Value Village somewhere close by to fulfil your thrifty needs. So, if you have the time, take that hike up the mountain to this old favourite, and buy that orange, bell-bottomed jumpsuit. Talize 1428 Upper James Street Similar to Value Village, though not as well known, Talize also offers a large selection, long bus ride, and some awfully low prices. As with Value Village there’s the comfort of knowing that, in most large towns in Ontario, there’s a Talize to be found. In general, their selection is less diverse than that of Value Village, but of better quality. While Talize probably isn’t the place to go for a Halloween costume, you are more likely to find some nice, everyday clothes that are not noticeably used here than at Value Village. This store also provides a nice household wares section; if you’ve ever wanted a piggy bank of Fred Flinstone wearing fluorescent pink lipstick, this is the place to go. When you are cashing out make sure you get the student discount tag that is usable at any Talize.

Second Chance 162 Locke Street South Second Chance is a consignment store, making it slightly different from Value Village and Talize. Essentially, people bring in clothes that are lightly or not at all used, but retain ownership of these pieces until they are sold. The consignors—the owners of the clothing—will get 50% of the selling price once the item is sold. If it doesn’t sell, they get the item back. This process helps make sure that everything in the shop is of extremely high quality and in demand. The shop has a small but specific selection of chic and professional women’s fashions. The styles are typically geared towards a slightly older crowd, but there is the occasional eccentric vintage piece and item geared to younger crowds. Fran and Toni, the owners, say that their motto is “designer is better”, but also accept current fashions even if they’re not specifically designer brands. You can expect to find items from 20 to 80 dollars or more, or about 20% to 50% off the original selling price. This store is ideal if you need some fancy clothes but don’t want to pay the full designer price. Second Chance has been at its Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 23

One in a million Ishani Nath


t is strange how one thing, one minute detail of an existence, can consume someone so completely. I’ve never been good at being sympathetic. I always stumble trying to find the right things to say and attempt to mask my discomfort behind an awkward smile. The kind of smile that is moderate in size with minimal teeth showing, so as not to be confused with a grin of happiness. This smile is one of quiet understanding and silent sympathy. It occurs to me now that perhaps the reason I was never able to properly console those facing hardship was because I had never really experienced it. I was curling my hair the day my father called me. It was the annual semi-formal, and all of my friends and I were getting ready for a night on the town. Classes were done but exams hadn’t started yet; it was the perfect lull before the stressful times ahead. I had a new outfit and the boy I had my eye on was going to be at the party. I didn’t try to hide my excitement. When my phone rang, I assumed it was just my parent’s ritual phone call asking how my day had gone and telling me to have a good time at semi. This phone call was a little different. 24 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ December 2010

Artwork by afrisa yeung

My mother had recently been experiencing shooting pains up and down her leg and had gone to the hospital for some tests. She wanted to make sure that she dealt with it quickly because we were planning a two week cruise down the Panama Canal over the winter break as a celebration of my parents’25th wedding anniversary. I picked up the phone and began the cordial script of small talk. “Hi, how are you? Good. How are you? Good”. With that out of the way, my dad began filling me in. The doctors had been examining my mother’s leg with an ultrasound in an attempt to find the source of her pain. Up until now they had thought that the issue was a blood clot. Though serious, my main concern remained whether or not we would be spending the break sipping margaritas on deck. This phone call dashed all my hopes of a sunny Christmas. My father explained that the doctors weren’t able to find anything in my mother’s leg, so they had ordered more extensive testing. Through these tests, they found a mass. My father is not one to instill fear, especially when he is feeling it himself. So in his usual manner, he

urged me to not jump to conclusions. It was too late. My head was already in a state of total panic, equivocating mass to tumor and tumor to cancer and cancer to death. After the fiveminute conversation, I hung up. I didn’t know what to do with myself. The news was too much to contain. I desperately needed to tell someone, but my thoughts jumped to the night’s festivities. I couldn’t ruin everyone’s night. I walked to kitchen to get some orange juice and passed one of my housemates on the way to fridge. With one look, she knew something was wrong and within seconds I had said the words that I never thought I would face: “My mother is sick”. Before I could fall completely to pieces, one of our guests walked into the kitchen. Thankfully, my brown skin has always masked my emotions, allowing me to only express when I’m sad or embarrassed if I choose to, rather than when my body displays it. My skin tone combined with my ability to swallow my tears behind a seemingly genuine smile made it possible to hide my worries for the duration of the night. Not even my closest friends knew that my whole world had just changed.

The next day was unbearably long. Usually when I phoned home it was because I was bored, or needed someone to edit a paper. Now it seemed that my whole day revolved around my phone, and every time it rang, my heart plunged into my stomach. The day after semi, my parents informed me that the mass was indeed a tumor. I was again instructed not to worry or jump to conclusions, but the first step in my mental chain of events had been fulfilled and the next step was one that I was not ready to handle. The doctors informed us that there was a 5% chance that my mother’s tumor wasn’t cancerous. I had always been told that my mother was one in a million and I kept hoping that these odds would carry over. My parents quickly realized that this was something big. Not only were we not going on our cruise, but we were in for a rough time ahead. Never wanting me to worry, or get distracted from my studies, my mother kept reassuring me that everything was fine. I had commitments at university and work and it was too much of a hassle to go home to be with my family. I tried to study, but after every equation I solved or paragraph I read, I took a break and phoned home. As the reality of the situation set

in, my father notified our friends and family. This triggered the flood of phone calls from all corners of the globe, calling to express their concern and offer whatever help they could. This support was usually the general expression of sympathy: “If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.” I had used this line many times before, but I was unaware of its complete lack of effect. It resonated like the “Hello, how are you” greeting convention, script-like and completely void of meaning. I had never realized the extent of my mother’s network of family and friends, but its vastness resulted in numerous repetitions of the sympathy script. My parents’ phone line was as busy as the American Idol hotline on the day of the finale. After three days, I realized that I could not wait a full week for exams to end so I could go home and see my parents. Exams make my student house unbearably quiet, and in the silence, all I was left with were thoughts of worry, in addition to the simultaneous dread and desire to hear from my parents. I didn’t want to emotionally burden my housemates during an already stressful time and a single day of worrying had already driven me to the brink of a breakdown. Within hours of waking up I had packed my

bags, booked my train ticked and cancelled my work shift for that day. I was heading home. My mother was officially diagnosed with cancer in December of my second year and the months that followed were some of hardest times I have ever faced. As a survival mechanism, I adopted a Batman-style double life. At school, I was just a normal student, partying too hard, stressing about finals, and procrastinating the completion of schoolwork. But back home, I was the cancer patient’s daughter. What took me a long time to realize was that although I was trying to handle things on my own, even Batman doesn’t fly solo. The support I received from friends softened the even the hardest of times allowing me to emerge from this experience as a stronger individual. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and in this case, what didn’t kill her made my whole family better, closer, and more appreciative.

set aside half an hour before visiting Deja Vu so that they can take full advantage of the wide selection of jeans and dresses. Especially appealing for girls are the dresses made in Kensington with colourful graphics and classic 60s and 70s style. Louis Leonowens, the owner, also displays a wide array of silver jewellery that he picks out himself in his many trips to India. He’s had Deja Vu at the King Street location since 1981, so feel free to ask him about the thrift stores in Hamilton specifically, or the vintage industry in general. Overall, expect to pay a little more than your average thrift store. The extra cost is justified though by the relaxed atmosphere, high quality, and good selection.

ering one wall and accessories stacked on shelves on the other. From first glance, it’s apparent that every piece of clothing in the store is special— that is, in the way mothers tell their children they’re special. If a garment isn’t a unique cut, an optical-illusion or dyed Nickelodeon-bright it’s sure to at least be covered in sparkles. Adventurous fashionistas will love exploring this fabric jungle. It’s not all pastel sweater vests and beaded collars, though; there are pieces that would look beautiful on anyone with enough style to pull them off. You may even find a vintage treasure; according to the shop owner, there are some never-before-worn vintage pieces in their collection. And for the less daring second-hand shopper, the belt, scarf, shoe and bag collection is affordable ($10-35) and adorable. If you are very sure of your style-sense or are planning on peacocking to attract your next mate, Peacock Chic is the place for you.

It’s been two years since the diagnosis. After a year of extensive and invasive treatment, my mother was declared cancer-free. She has since been in remission and officially returns to her job this month.

Good as New “Good as New” continued from Page 23

location on Locke Street since 1993, and has become a community staple. The store has a nice atmosphere and personality, the area is lovely and close to campus, and the owners are friendly. If you’re willing to get a little creative to make the clothes more suitable for younger people, and to pay the price for higher quality items, Second Chance is definitely worth your while. Deja Vu 262 King Street West If you miss the shops of Kensington Market in Toronto and the wonderful smell of incense, Deja Vu is the spot for you. Located near the corner of Hess & King, it’s the ideal place for affordable, cozy, and glamorous clothing. The clothes are classy, fun, new, used, and vintage. You can also bet on finding those items you love to try on, whether it be glittery dresses or chinchilla coats. Guys will love the $40 suits, plaid blazers, leather jackets, and $20 flannel shirts. Girls should

Peacock Chic 850 King Street West Just when you think you’re leaving Westdale, two brightly dressed mannequins invite you in to 850 King Street West. The shop is cozy and well organized with racks of clothing cov-

Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 25

m o r f r e t t e L

n o t g n i h s a W

Jeremy Henderson

Photography by Jeremy Henderson

Graphics by Irena Papst 26 â–Ş Incite Magazine â–Ş December 2010


hen people discover my passion for American politics, they often can’t figure out why I am so obsessed. I’m not American, and don’t plan on renouncing my Canadian citizenship any time soon. Personally, I don’t have much of a stake in American politics; I’ve got my universal health care and seem to have weathered the financial crisis quite well. What draws me south of the border is the unique idea that is America. As a country founded by expatriates of the British Isles, rejecting monarchy and nobility in favour of equal rights guaranteed to all through a written constitution, the United States was a country built around the ideas of equal opportunity and freedom from persecution. Washington, D.C. is the nation’s monument to these ideas. Built on land reclaimed from the Potomac River, the city was meticulously designed to embody the ideals that America’s founders identified as the most important. The Washington Monument dwarfs all other structures in the city, casting its shadow over presidential monuments, national museums, and federal offices. On Saturday, 30 October, 2010, the whole of the National Mall, from the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument, was populated by citizens inspired to action by two unlikely modern-day revolutionaries, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. While I have been involved in political events in the past, nothing compares in size or scope to The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the United States (with a few Canadian observers in the crowd) descended upon Washington, D.C., demanding the return of rational and meaningful discourse to American politics. The uniting characteristic of the attendees was not a common political position, but rather a desire for officials in Washington, media personalities, and everyday Americans to engage in genuine conversation and debate about the issues that face the nation without resorting to personal attacks, emotional diatribes, or unrestrained hatred. A survey of the signs carried by rally attendees reveals several types of people in the crowd. There are those that reiterated Jon Stewart’s call for sanity and genuine debate, sporting slogans like “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t Hitler.” or “Being loud, rude, and ignorant is not a political movement. It’s just bad manners.” This message seemed to connect more with the crowd than Colbert’s satirical call for more fear, although there were still a fair number of signs purporting the merits of fear, with calls for “more bears in government”, and warnings to “Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, and hide yo’ husband, ‘cause they’re taxing err’body out here.” The combination of signs gently calling for reasonable discussion and those satirically advocating for a society based on fear and irrationality caused the rally to appear very fragmented and confusing to outside observers, but on the ground, the two groups functioned as one cohesive movement. Other attendees took the opportunity to combat misconceptions about their state, religion, or political party. A group of people from Juneau hoisted a banner reading “Alaskans for Sanity (We do exist!)”. A Muslim woman’s sign read: “‫— زدلانودكام‬Relax, it says ‘McDonalds’”. A man in Republican garb declared “I am against Obamacare, but I’m willing to talk about it (and maybe even compromise)”. People from all walks of life used the rally to shatter illusions of homogeny within certain demographics, reminding the mainstream population of their capacity to think independently. They reminded me that there is no single Jewish, Hispanic, Californian, or white middle-class opinion. A person’s membership in a group does not limit his or her ability to think critically, analyze situations, and reach conclusions separate from those expected of their demographic. In an age of political campaigning that targets blanket categories of voters, it is easy to forget that not all young people voted for Obama, not all Republicans identify with the Tea Party, and that on Election day, the choice of who to vote for is made at the individual level. In a country that arguably values individuality above all else, it is puzzling that leaders on both sides of the aisle cater to large groups of people, treating their supporters as homogenous populations. The rally participants who emphasised their refusal to conform to the mould society has constructed for them are living proof that people cannot be claimed by any political party on the basis of an external characteristic alone. Despite its portrayal by some in the media as a progressive descent on Washington to push for the progressive agenda just three days before the midterm elections, the content of Stewart and Colbert’s presentation at the rally was strictly non-partisan. Those who used the gathering as a platform for a political message were definitely in the minority. Of course, there were those who mistook the Rally as an unapologetically left-wing political event, which it was not. While the majority of attendees would identify as left-of-centre, this was not an event about promoting progressive causes. There were protesters embedded in the crowd, calling for the legalization of marijuana, the protection of a woman’s right to an abortion, and even a few that demanded statehood for the District of Columbia. These activists, and their explicit promotion of traditionally liberal causes, seemed to detract from the important non-partisan message that inspired the rally. Sure, I admit that there were many signs bashing the Tea Party movement and some Republican candidates, but the majority were being critical of the manner in which these groups and individuals deliver their message. People were often critical of the fact that Tea Partiers often misspell their signs or launch ad hominem attacks at President Obama and other Democrats, but few were denouncing the ideas and values Tea Partiers promote and aim to protect. Several people dressed up as witches in a mockery of former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell’s infamous “I am not a witch” ad, but they would likely do the same if Hillary Clinton released something similar. In general, people who were at the rally would be open for discussion and civilized debate if Tea Partiers were up for it; unfortunately, recent experience does not give me hope that this will happen anytime soon. People are quick to judge those who they disagree with. Both Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, readily dismiss the arguments of each other, not based on the contents of the arguments themselves, but rather on the people making them. Most people, including myself, would be lying if they claimed to have never prematurely dismissed an argument based on some irrelevant characteristic of the speaker. Just as the most extreme conservatives will reject many of Obama’s policies because of an unfounded fear of socialism, unapologetic liberals are all too ready to dismiss anything that comes out of George Bush’s or Sarah Palin’s mouth. The tunnel analogy at the end of Stewart’s closing speech reminded his audience that despite differences in our politics, religion, race, or any other identifying characteristic, in everyday life, we can and do all get along. Generally, the end goals of the left and right are more similar than it is made to seem, and despite disagreements regarding policy, both sides should be able to make concessions and get something done. As Stewart put it, regardless of our personal leanings, at the end of the day, we all just want to get to the end of the tunnel, even if what waits for us at the end is only New Jersey. Volume 13, Issue 3 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 27

Write, Draw, Edit or Design for Incite Magazine contact

Incite Magazine - December 2010  

Incite Magazine - December 2010