Incite Magazine VOLUME 14, ISSUE 5 · MCMASTER UNIVERSITY, HAMILTON ▪ MARCH 2012
ANIMALS: From Free Willy to the honey badger MAURITIUS ISLAND: More than just the home of the dodo plus PIGGING OUT: Which beast goes best in a burger?
EDITORIAL DOMINION AND DOMESTICATION Sam Colbert & Anna Kulikov, Editors-in-Chief
he motto of the Hellenic Air Force Academy, which trains pilots for the Greek military, roughly translates to: “We shall become much better than you.” Ironically, an image of Icarus forms the centre of the Academy’s logo. This figure of Greek mythology is known for flying too close to the sun, which melted the wax holding together the seagull feathers he had formed into wings. The story of his subsequent fall back to Earth is meant to serve as a warning against runaway pride and ambition. Despite the tale, we humans are still searching for dominance over the skies, the land, and everything in between. And we’re still using animals to help us. In “Release the Hounds”, Alisha Sunderji tells of how animals are employed in modern warfare – be they Bat Bombs or plague-carrying fleas. Incite’s meat eaters give you the rundown of which beasts go best in a burger in “Veal Me Up”, and Cindy Yin experiments with a week-long dietary meat and animal product overload. We’ve even got the smallest and furriest of the lot doing some acting for us. In “Honey Badger Don’t Care”, Kathryn Morission describes the honey badger featured in National Geographic documentaries, as well as the foot-tall reality TV stars of Meerkat Manor. Rebecca Bartley talks about other A-listed animals in “Rat Race”. Be they for cuddling or for combat, for spectacle or for supper, we’ve got plenty of uses for our fellow animals. But, as Kacper Niburski reminds us was the case with dodo birds in “Ink Extinct”, we should remember not to overdo it. -SC 2 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
ARTWORK BY IANITZA VASSILEVA
ne of my favourite cyber pastimes is watching YouTube videos of cats and other fuzzy creatures, and consequently, frequently reaching for the tissue box. Maybe this foreshadows my inevitable fate as a crazy cat lady, or maybe it just confirms that, unlike those who add to the ‘dislike’ bar count, I have a soul. Between you and me, I know that you also have a soft spot for cute animal clips, so look for Devra Charney and Steve Clare’s reviews of the funniest animal videos on YouTube. On a more serious note, Incite Magazine’s theme this month has allowed our writers the opportunity to explore our multifarious and complex relationships with animals, such as the nature of our relationship with our pets as featured in Leanna Katz and Jane van Koeverden’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Meanwhile, Jasmine Waslowski outlines the attitudes of different religions towards animals, and argues for a possible reconnection with our spiritual selves through reconnection with animals and nature in “Born to be Wild”. For those of us who seek peaceful coexistence with animals, Nicki Varkevisser has reviewed Hamilton’s vegan establishments and mapped her findings in “Vegan Treasure Map”. Willing to try anything once, Nolan Matthews braves a week in the raw and surprisingly survives the trials of raw veganism to tell his tale. In my own corner of the magazine, I reflect on the emotional capacity of elephants and other animals, and recount some prejudices that have plagued the science of animal emotion. Inside these pages, the zoo awaits. -AK
ARTWORK BY ALICIA GIANSANTE
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Happenings Selected news from near and far Rainy Days Anna Kulikov Brief New World Shawn Fazel
Incite Magazine is published six times per academic year by Impact Youth Publications, founded in 1997. Entire contents copyright 2011-2012 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@mcmaster. ca; they may be edited for length and clarity and will not be printed unless a name, address, and daytime phone are provided.
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Birds of a Feather An examination of pecking order Dr. David Egan Metamorphosis The influence of cultural contexts Abdullahi Sheikh Born to be Wild Embracing your inner beast Jasmine Waslowski
Editors-in-Chief Sam Colbert Anna Kulikov Managing Editors Irena Papst, Layout Ianitza Vassileva, Graphics
Veal Me Up A Review of Chuck’s Burger Bar Steve Clare, Anthony D’Ambrosio, Charlotte Mussells, Julia Redmond
Content Editors Jeremy Henderson Matt Ing Kate Sinclair Jane van Koeverden
Vegan Treasure Map Hamilton’s hidden gems Nicki Varkevisser The Noah’s Ark A true account of the biblical fable Anthony D’Ambrosio 2012 CE Multiverse Championship The ultimate showdown Sam Godfrey The Other Dozen Creatures of the Chinese zodiac Andrew Terefenko Honey Badger Don’t Care A different kind of reality TV Kathryn Morrison Rat Race Animals in showbiz Rebecca Bartley You Are My Sunshine Sunny’s story Raman Kumar Lost and Found Story of a dog Bridget Steele Crazy Little Thing Called Love Conversations with pet owners Leanna Katz, Jane van Koeverden
Contributors Rebecca Bartley, Katija Bonin, Steve Clare, Anthony D’Ambrosio, Dr. David Egan, Dylan Euteneier, Mallory Fitz-Ritson, Michael Gallea, Alicia Giansante, Sam Godfrey, Emily Johnson, Leanna Katz, Raman Kumar, Avery Lam, Courtney Larmand, Meghan LePage, Nolan Matthews, Mary-Cathryn McCarthy, Kathryn Morrison, Charlotte Mussells, Keisha Neoma-Quinn, Kacper Niburski, Oskar Niburski, Ben Novak, Meg Peters, Julia Redmond, Olivia Rozema, Abdullahi Sheikh, Bridget Steele, Alisha Sunderji, Michael Teichman, Andrew Terefenko, Livia Tsang, Nicki Varkevisser, Stephanie Wan, Karen Wang, Jasmine Waslowski, Rachel Wiesner, Afrisa Yeung, Cindy Yin Covers Joshua Lewis
Faire dodo The island of Mauritius Stephanie Wan Ink Extinct A tale of two dodo birds Kacper Niburski
Printing Underground Media & Design
The Animal Way Relationship advice from nonhumans Dylan Euteneier Wild Times in Whidden Animal House’s Mac connection Michael Teichman
Contact email@example.com Incite Magazine
Release the Hounds Wild warfare Alisha Sunderji Hybrid Hazard The dangers of biotechnology Katija Bonin, Meghan LePage Empty Stomachs and Broken Hearts Raw veganism v. an all meat diet Nolan Matthews, Cindy Yin
Almost Trampled A safari story Meg Peters Octopus A poem Oskar Niburski Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 3
HAPPENINGS do you have an ace?
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LIVIA TSANG
IN CANADA Free Willy VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A panel of researchers recently presented evidence to suggest that whales and dolphins should qualify as “non-human people.” The group claims that dolphins and whales should be granted basic rights, such as life, liberty, and well-being. They assert that these marine mammals can understand numbers and abstract concepts, as well as have their own distinct culture and traditions. Recent studies have also shown that dolphins are second only to humans in brainpower, capable of understanding words and even recognizing themselves in the mirror. The call for personhood arises primarily from statistics that show that these marine “persons” suffer greatly in captivity, experiencing stress, over-aggression, and even stomach ulcers. Killer whales, for instance, live between 80 and 100 years in the wild, whereas they average a mere 25 in confinement. Better hurry to SeaWorld before they are gone!
...AND AROUND THE WORLD No Longer Just for Kids KABD, Kuwait – Camels are leading the charge into the future. On February 14, mechanical robots, rather than human camel jockeys, completed the six kilometres of the 12th International Camel Race. Their whips were controlled by remotes. Traditional camel jockeys were recently replaced due to international pressure on the camel owners, who were found to be involved in human trafficking. The owners would use trafficked Indian and Pakistani children as their camel jockeys, due to their smaller frame and lighter weight. Determined not to give up this centuries-old racing tradition, the owners used modern technology to start a whole new generation of sport. 4 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
Who’s the Smallest Of Them All? MADAGASCAR - Four new species of chameleon have been found in Madagascar, one of which is possibly the smallest vertebrate in the world. The Brookesia micra grows to be just 16 millimetres in length, and can easily sit on the top of a matchstick. Tracking down these teeny chameleons, which are already equipped with excellent camouflaging abilities, was no small feat. Catching them however, was apparently as easy as “picking a strawberry”. These miniature chameleons are an example of double island dwarfism, as they are from an islet off the island of Madagascar. Island dwarfism occurs when species grow to be miniature due to limited resources. There is now speculation that there are even smaller chameleons on rocks around the islet, making for a third level dwarfism: dwarfism on an island of an island of an island. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish LONDON, United Kingdom - Recent findings presented to the Proceedings of the Royal Society challenges the idea that humans are the most complex and effective communicators. It turns out that dolphins, already considered to be one of the most intelligent mammals, greet each other with whistles. Researchers have concluded that the whistle conveys a message of greeting that includes an age, health status, and intent. The research also shows that when dolphins travel in groups, they move slowly and call out to other groups using a signature whistle. When approached by a threatening creature, dolphins in a group select a leader to “speak” for them through a different whistle. No word if scientists have learned how to apply the dolphins’ social cohesiveness to the Republican Primaries. Compiled by Alon Coret, Charlotte Mussells & Adira Winegust
Rockin’ Robin RALEIGH, North Carolina - With all the news about global climate change, many scientists have been focusing on the effects on human behaviour. But researchers at North Carolina State University have noted that the mating habits of birds have also changed. Although most North American species are monogamous, more and more birds have been sleeping around and cheating on their partners. Scientists suspect that this behaviour is occurring so birds would be able to expand the gene pool to adapt more easily to different climates. Must be the Engineers JERSEY SHORE, Pennsylvania - Percy and Connie Emert were relaxing at their Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania home and they saw something rather peculiar. Instead of spotting a bunch of drunken adults earning copious amounts of dollars stumbling across their lawn, they spotted an even more curious being darting across their lawn – an all-purple squirrel. No one is sure how the squirrel acquired this purple hue, but the couple decided to release it back into the wild after a couple of days. No word back if the squirrel has earned its engineering degree. GOAT LEARNING HOW TO JUMP
A goat gets his bunny rabbit on and jumps around to a funky electro beat. Goats don’t often make it big on YouTube, but this video proves that they have the acting chops to elevate their species to the level of amusing cats or hamsters. This video is especially funny due what we like to call the “flopfactor” of the goat’s ears, which flap around like he’s trying to achieve Dumbo-style liftoff. http://youtu.be/Da3WEEIeSUQ - Steve Clare & Devra Charney ARTWORK BY AFRISA YEUNG
BIRDS OF A FEATHER Dr. David Egan
teeming menagerie lives inside of me, and different creatures surface at different times. Sometimes I’m as brave as a lion. At other times I’m as wily as a fox, as busy as a beaver, as happy as a clam, as stubborn as a mule, and as lazy as a sloth. I pig out at supper and monkey around in the evening. When I open my mouth, I sometimes hiss, grunt, bark, or growl. I can creep, crawl, hop, and prowl. These words describe things that both humans and non-human animals can do, and do in meaningfully similar yet different ways. From the buzz of a phone on vibrate to the tweets of Twitter, the latest technology retains an animal connection. I don’t have to fish around very much to find other expressions that wouldn’t exist if we didn’t interact with animals. The Bruins slaughtered the Canucks in last year’s Stanley Cup Final, but things might have turned out differently if the Sedins could have unleashed their full potential when yoked together on the same line. So I invite you to ruminate over this: our self-understanding is deeply – essentially – informed by our understanding of the non-human animals we share our world with. If metaphors are in principle replaceable, my animal vocabulary isn’t strictly metaphorical. If I tried to replace every animalinspired
ARTWORK BY EMILY JOHNSON
word with a non-animal-inspired substitute, my language would be not simply blander, but restricted in its range of expression. We sometimes dismiss the totemism of nonliterate cultures as a pre-scientific form of thought that we’ve moved beyond, but this totemism is deeply inscribed in the language we use and the forms of life that language expresses. A curious asymmetry emerges here between how we think of humans and of non-human animals. The animals whose attributes we assume have fixed natures: elephants don’t chirp, and when raccoons are wily, they have the wiliness of raccoons, not of foxes. For it to make sense to describe someone as a lion or a hog, we already have to share a common understanding of what lions are or what hogs are such that this description means something specific and unchanging. By contrast, the people we describe in animal terms don’t have fixed natures in this sense: at one time I resemble one animal in one respect and later I resemble another in another. For animals to have this totemic role in our language, they have to represent some defi-
nite set of attributes. People, on the other hand, are quintessentially theatrical: we take on a flexibly infinite variety of roles. Or maybe it makes better sense to look at it from the other direction: when we look at certain animals, we recognize some of the attributes of our fellow humans. Pigs come across as hedonistic and content, elephants come across as old, wise, and patient, mice come across as fidgety and neurotic. Not only do we understand ourselves in animal terms, but we also understand animals in human terms. But in either direction, the asymmetry remains: we see animal species as having one fixed and particular set of human characteristics and we see people as possessing a shifting menagerie of many different animal characteristics. Philosophers have spilled a lot of ink thinking through how humans are different from other animals. Aristotle provides the classic formulation: we are the zoon logon echon, the animal with logos, which can mean reason, thought, or language. But if we want to understand what’s distinctive about human nature in contrast to animal nature— and bearing in mind that the whole idea of “having a nature” is something we construct, regarding both ourselves and our animal cousins—we might do better to reflect that we’re distinctive precisely because we don’t have a fixed nature. Our language readily identifies certain essential features of pigginess, dogginess, tigerness, and so on, but this language then enables humans to put on any one of these masks at one time or another. As much as humans might obsess over the-difference-betweenhumans-and-animals, our selfunderstanding doesn’t put us at an unbridgeable distance from other animals, but situates all of them within us. Far from being different from all other animals, we contain them. Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 5
METAMORPHOSIS Abdullahi Sheikh
he heart of a lion, the kindness of a dove, the wisdom of an owl. These sayings all betray a human tendency to see shades of ourselves in animals. But while these comparisons are ubiquitous, they are far from universal. Different cultures have different understandings of what animals embody. So, how do we explain this tendency, and what can account for differences? While it may be common to describe the owl as wise, how did this peculiarlooking bird come to be associated with sagacity? One theory explains that the owl’s large imperious eyes and its ability to rotate its head 2700 allows it to perceive a great deal of its surroundings. And sight is analogous in many cultures to wisdom. However, in the Middle Ages, a parallel was drawn between owls and witches, and consequently, the birds were seen as foolish and dangerous creatures, and became objects of fear. Anything from historical significance to physiological features to mythology can influence our characterization of animals. The snake is the perfect example of this. No doubt influenced by biblical stories, the snake has come to 6 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
ARTWORK BY OLIVIA ROZEMA
embody the qualities of dishonesty and callousness in many Christian cultures. However, in ancient Greece, snakes were sometimes seen as symbols of medical knowledge. For instance, Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine and healing rests on a staff that is entwined with twin snakes. This connection has persisted to the present, where images of snakes are used in medical logos, such as the EMS Star of Life, which depicts Asclepius’ staff. Aesop understood this better than most. A writer and poet in ancient Greece, he wrote many stories in which animal personalities revealed the different facets of human nature. In particular, he used animals as literary tools to depict human faults or follies. In one of his most well-known and loved fables, “The Tortoise and The Hare”, the two animals are stand-ins for two humans: one speedy and therefore arrogant, and the other slow yet dedicated. The names of the animals alone evoke their roles in the story and foreshadow the message that is to be drawn from their competition. It becomes clear that our portray-
als of animals and their traits come not only from the animal, but also from our own natures. The way that we see and understand the animal – whether it’s a snake, an owl, or a lion – all depends on what we want to see. In the same way that everyone who looks in a mirror will see someone different, so too everyone is quite capable of drawing their own conclusions on the characterization of an animal. Regardless of whether or not we see ourselves as just animals or as above the rest, we seek to understand (or perhaps cloud our understanding of) our fellow members of the animal kingdom through ourselves and our own traits. HEY GUYS, WHERE DID EVERYONE GO?
Have you ever felt totally alone in the world? Well, this penguin sure did after his friends and family slipped away and dived into the lake behind his back. He is left standing awkwardly by himself, looking for his missing flock, while an on-looking group of laughing humans compounds his embarrassment. This is another video with tragic overtones. The incident must have been downright distressing for the forgotten fowl! Fortunately, zoo officials confirm that the flock was later reunited. http://youtu.be/wIZPE7v6OnE - Steve Clare & Devra Charney
BORN TO BE WILD Jasmine Waslowski
ave you ever considered crocodiles to be a part of the human family, or looked at deer as symbols of innocence? Believe it or not, many African cultures regard crocodiles as equals, and Buddhists consider deer to be sacred messengers. Religions around the world embrace animals in their spiritual practices. Especially in indigenous cultures, animals have been recognized as guides, symbols, and friends. In the past, the natural world was often used as a gateway to the supernatural. Spiritual leaders, such as shamans and priests, would dress in animal costumes to emphasize their connection to the natural world. Every aspect of nature could be regarded as a potentially useful life lesson. Members of the Buddhist religion consider all forms of life to be on the same level as humans. Most African tribes also have a spiritual relationship with animals. Some tribes worship cattle, while others view the killing of a crocodile to be as foul a crime as murdering a person. Native American tribes use animals as spirit guides and exemplars of behaviour. If animal symbolism was so prominent in ancient and indigenous cultures, why has it lost its relevance in modern times? Some would argue that while indigenous people primarily value nature for its basic resources, others maintain a more aesthetic appreciation of the wild. In the past, people were forced to adapt their lifestyle to
Mother Nature’s wrath, but nowadays, technology overcomes the need to synchronize with the natural world. We are no longer at the mercy of nature; it is at the mercy of our exploitation. But whether or not you feel like you’ve lost touch with wildlife, don’t forget that the natural world still exists.
ARTWORK BY OLIVIA ROZEMA
Even in Hamilton, nature speaks to us every day. It might be uplifting to let go of our daily stresses, and try to connect with the wildlife that surrounds us. It isn’t difficult. You don’t even have to walk through Cootes Paradise to find wildlife. You can go down to Faculty Hollow and see a deer, walk across the
BSB lawn, and find a squirrel, or wander through campus at night to see a raccoon rummaging through the recycling bins. Perhaps it’s not as romantic as we’d like to imagine, but these animals may still have valuable lessons if we care to listen. Maybe one of these animals is a totem for you. A totem is any object in nature towards which an individual feels a strong affinity. An animal totem could be a creature you frequently see (in reality or in your dreams), an animal you’ve had emotional experiences with, or simply a beast you’re strongly interested in. Just keep in mind, you don’t get to choose your totems; the animal chooses you. So, if the numerous Hamilton deer seem to be speaking to you, why not take a moment to listen? Notice, for example, that a deer’s antlers grow behind its eyes and look something like antennae. This might indicate that you should give more credit to the accuracy of your thoughts and perceptions. Furthermore, a mother deer’s protective behaviours could be emphasizing the importance of maintaining a cohesive family. It is your choice whether or not to believe in the messages animals have to offer, but perhaps it’s an avenue worth pursuing. Next time you start dreaming about squirrels, ask yourself: is there a rodent problem in the area, or is the animal trying to say something about your life? Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 7
VEAL ME UP
Steve Clare, Anthony D’Ambrosio, Charlotte Mussells & Julia Redmond
irror, mirror on the wall, who’s the tastiest of them all? One of our favourite things about animals is their deliciousness. With that in mind, four brave culinary adventurers made the journey to Chuck’s Burger Bar (194 Locke St S, Hamilton), one of Hamilton’s most beloved burger joints, which features unique menu items such as bison and venison. Food fans Julia “Redmeat” Redmond and Charlotte “Muscles” Mussells joined sandwich snob Steve Clare and fantasy food analyst Anthony D’Ambrosio to sample six different burgers with a variety of toppings, including roasted pear, tequila-lime barbeque sauce, and coleslaw. Which reigned supreme as the tastiest animal? You’re about to find out! Cow Burger (Angus beef) C: This was our control subject, so it might seem a little boring for me to admit that it was also my favourite. I’ve got no beef with flavour like this. J: There were no surprises here. The succulent beef confirmed its status as the most popular choice for burgers, even though it doesn’t have the novelty factor of some of the other meats. S: One juicy bite of this ambrosial dish was more than enough to remind me of the taste potential of cow meat. It was udderly delicious, and that’s no bull.
Lamb Burger C: The poor, vulnerable lambs should be left to grow up and produce wool instead. For them to be ground up and smushed into burgers is insulting and wasteful. J: I’m gonna go out on a lamb here and say this burger was simply baaaa-d. S: Lamb proved a succulent experience—too succulent, in fact. The flavour of the patty was masked by the toppings and came across a bit sheepish.
Pig Burger (Bacon) A: If your team is lacking in originality and patty potency, then bacon would be a great addition. However, this jeopardizes team chemistry. Bacon is an individual performer and was unable to co-exist with its topping teammates. C: Bacon had it all going for it, but it just could not deliver under pressure. I think that the taste of bacon is already wonderful, so putting it in burger form is just holding it back. S: A whole patty of bacon... what could go wrong? Unfortunately, this was the most disappointing food experience since the return of the McRib. Two hooves down.
Turkey Burger A: Though not a favourite in most fantasy leagues, turkey had an impressive rookie performance. Its great team chemistry with cranberry makes turkey worth adding if your fantasy team needs help in this category. J: Many people would say that turkey should stick to furnishing a Thanksgiving table. But after tasting this burger, they would surely change their minds—the turkey was surprisingly juicy. The cranberries and slaw were a beautiful compliment and raised the burger to a whole new level. S: The turkey strayed dangerously close to dryness, but a healthy dollop of flavourful cranberry sauce was just enough to salvage this dish, and I gobbled it up.
Bison Burger C: Toppings on this one are key: as far as meat goes, bison is pretty standard stuff. The lime and tequila BBQ sauce with pineapple will send your mouth on a wonderful tropical vacation! A: This is perhaps the most versatile patty. But despite its high patty potency, it’s still a great team player! Bison has no major drawbacks and is a strong asset in all fantasy leagues. J: Bison could have called itself beef and I’m not sure I’d have noticed the difference, but it still made a darn tasty burger! Venison Burger A: This patty won’t really make or break your fantasy food team. It was dry and outperformed by its teammates, though its rarity is a plus. J: I expected the venison burger to taste of the sweet innocence of Bambi. Instead, the meat was too dry and the burger underwhelming. S: The venison burger was lacking in flavour. The unique taste I expected never materialized.
In the end, it was an extremely hard-fought Battle Royale. Bison and beef both stood out as very flavourful and juicy. Lamb made for a tasty patty, but when competing with its toppings, was lost in the herd. Turkey was a controversial item: some praised it for its taste and the way it was complemented by the toppings, while others found it dry and lacking in flavour. Bacon was also a matter of debate, and the table was split on whether or not the dish was a success. Venison stood out as the weakest burger: a small patty lacking in both texture and flavour, we didn’t get enough bang for our buck. Despite our differences, we came to the same conclusion; animals are very tasty indeed. It’s good to be a carnivore. 8 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
ARTWORK BY RACHEL WIESNER
o the untrained eye, the average restaurant menu seems devoid of options for people seeking an animal-free meal. In reality, there are a plethora of delicious options, even for vegan people, who must avoid butter, eggs, and meat. Trust me: the world is your (vegan) oyster. In the Hamilton area there is an eclectic variety of vegan treats just waiting to be discovered. Love Mexican? Try Mex-i-can (107 James St N, Hamilton)! As their menu states, they will “veganize” any of their dishes by substituting the meat with vegetable sauté mix. Have a sweet tooth? Sestres Fine Pastries (191 Ottawa St N, Hamilton) selection of vegan fine goodies will satisfy it! You can even get a grilled “cheese” sandwich (made with non-dairy cheese) at Homegrown Hamilton (27 King William St, Hamilton).
Kind Food 399 John St, Burlington This is the closest vegan restaurant to Hamilton, and oh boy, is it worth the trip. Kind Food has a simple menu that focuses on using healthy and organic ingredients. I shared their Rueben and a Buddha bowl with my dining partner. Both were very satisfying but the Rueben was just extra fantastic – the melted mix of Daiya (dairy free cheese), sauerkraut, Russian dressing and tempeh (a meat replacement made with fermented soybeans) even satisfied a regular meat-eater. Afterwards we couldn’t resist trying the delectable sweets displayed at the front. We ended up splitting the Mile High Brownie – a dark, chocolate-y brownie, layered with butter cream icing, chocolate ganache, and a drizzle of caramel sauce. It was one classy brownie – so much going on, but not too sweet…just perfectly perfect. We also sampled the lemon gem cupcake, which was fantastically fresh and yummy. What makes these desserts even more incredible is that they are vegan, gluten-free, have no refined sugars and still taste better than the average cupcake or brownie. Luckily for us Hamiltonians, Kind Food is moving their bakery to Locke Street (under the name of GFV Baking Co.). If you simply can’t wait for them to open, don’t worry, you don’t have to. Their desserts are now available at the East Meets West Thai Memory Bistro on campus! 25 King William St, Hamilton After perusing the menu with friends for India Village an embarrassingly long time, we decided to 370 Wilson St E, Ancaster go back to basics and order the most well Though it is not an exclusively vegan or vegetarian restaurant, India known Thai dishes. We started with the Village is a vegan dream for those who love big flavour. All of their “Vegetarian Lover’s Plate.” After one easy vegan dishes are clearly marked and their vegan holster contains “veganization” (asked for no egg), we got such treasures as chana masala (a popular chickpea dish), vegetable ourselves a fine assortment of appetizers samosas, and methi garlic roti (an Indian flatbread) that perfectly to try. We found the kabobs and fresh rolls complements the curry dishes. On this trip we chose the Bhindi a bit bland, the sauces delicious, and the Karahi – a medium spiced medley of vegetables including okra – spring rolls average, but crispy corn patties a crazy veggie I’d never tried before. The dish was topped with won our taste buds over and came out as a sprigs of fresh ginger – a taste that stood out amongst the blend favourite. My friends described the Mushof delectable spices in the tomato based sauce. The favoured dish room Tom Yum soup’s mingling flavours of the evening was the mushroom bhaji – savoury button mushas “cool” and “intense.” We also all noted rooms paired with onions and peas in a spiced tomato based sauce. We ordered this the large sheets of (what we later deduced one mild –medium spiciness, and the touch of heat was perfect. This is another reswas) lemongrass floating around in it. Lasttaurant to please all types of diners. Even for those who don’t like spicy food, India ly, the vegetarian Pad Thai (sans egg) was Village has plenty of mild options. Both locations are cosy, and can get busy – so a tasty and had the right tangy-sweetness. I reservation is recommended on weeknights. recommend this place to Thai lovers of all Notes: Ask for the roti (bread), unbuttered! sorts - great for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike, but vegans have to fend Affinity for themselves because they don’t differ87 John St S, Hamilton entiate between the vegetarian and vegan Affinity is an all-vegetarian restaurant with a huge selection of clearly marked vegan dishes. dishes including the best faux meats in town. Though they have a dinner buffet, my Notes: When ordering vegan, double check ultimate favourite is ordering the Sweet and Sour Soy Chicken à la carte; nothing with your server that your dish can be beats a piping hot plate of tender faux chicken bits and veggies slathered in their made without dairy or eggs. Eggs can be tangy sweet and sour sauce. I definitely recommend Affinity if you want to satisfy a sneaky and find their way into a seemingly meaty craving in a meat-free way. They also have incredible dairy-free ice cream and vegan dish! a huge assortment of tea. ARTWORK BY NICKI VARKEVISSER
Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 9
NOAH’S ARK Anthony D’Ambrosio
nd God saw that man was boring, and that every thought in his heart was inescapably dull. And the Lord repented for making man on the Earth, for it grieved Him that they had become so lame. And the Lord said, “I will destroy unexciting man whom I have created from the face of the Earth. And beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air too! For I regret that I have made them and they spendeth their Friday nights farming. I shall throw the most popping jam of all time and only allow entry to those creatures who can busteth a move. The rest will be expelleth’d from the face of
the Earth. Oh, and it shall be a boat party.” God needed a bouncer to supervise this shindig for the ages. There was no man as fit for the job as Noah. God approached him and said, “Noah, you are 500 years old and still kicking it as hard as you were when you were 18. You will be the bouncer for my year-long boat bonanza which will cleanse the world of these dreary creatures and replenish it with generations of party animals. Of each inedible species you shall permit entry to only the finest two specimens, one of each gender, and of the tasty animals there shall be seven equally capable pairs, also evenly
ARTWORK BY KEISHA NEOMA-QUINN 10 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
split by gender.” To this, a perplexed Noah responded, “But Lord, what of the living things which don’t gain entry?” “Haters gon hate,” replied the Almighty Creator, as he snapped his fingers in z-formation. Noah began to work. Constructing the ark itself was not difficult; the real problem was installing lights that would rapidly pulse on and off throughout the party, because God had said, “it’d be pretty sweet, but like no pressure or anything.” Noah’s three sons endorsed this event by bombarding animals around the world with thousands of promotional flyers which read, “Boat Jam 4 Da Ages. Only Da Best Allowed In. Nuff Foxy Ladies 4 Da Boiz, Free Entrance After Sunset 4 Dem Girlz. DJ Divine Spinnin’ Live Beats.” Despite many complaints, Noah eventually reached his animal requirements and the party began. Unfortunately for the dinosaurs, they arrived just too late because they were busy trying to locate what they called “a land before time.” For forty days and nights, the bass from the sub-woofers drowned out the screams from outside, as the torrential rainstorm drowned the life from the outside. A great time was had by all the crazy party animals as the jam kept rockin’ hard for the rest of the year on top of Mount Ararat. After the dove Noah released from the Ark passed out mid-flight, he decided the party was over and it was time to repopulate the world. God then spoke to Noah and said, “My son, you have done admirably. Henceforth you shall be known as Broah. To show my appreciation, I will refract light and maketh pretty colours. It shall be called a rainbro.” Days later, God looked upon the world but felt uneasy. He turned to the bearded man beside him and said, “Charles, are you sure this was a good idea?” The man looked up and replied, “It may take a few million years for you to realize, but this was for the betterment of your creation. Trust me on this one, big G. But for now, there are some finches in the Galapagos calling my name. Catch ya later.” He exchanged a fist bump with the almighty Lord, and was off in a hurry.
elcome, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, angels, demons, and beasts of indeterminate moral affinity, to the 2012 Mythical Beast Showdown! With Atlantis hosting this year, we’ve had the biggest turnout in history and prehistory yet. In light of this, if you can easily hover, are lolling in the heavens, or are omnipresent, please do not occupy seats in the grandstands, for space is limited.
All right folks, over here, we’ve got two of the fiercest canines you’ll find, both emerging from the bowels of the earth. You’re probably familiar with Cerberus, particularly if you’ve died and gone to hell. He’s usually guarding the underworld for Hades, so you might have seen him on your way in. If you have, then you’ll know that he’s already gotten a-head, or rather two, of his opponent. That being said, we’ll see how he fares against his living foe. Fenrir is usually tied to a rock about a mile below the surface by Tyr, the Norse god of war, but he has been unchained for today’s match. His attendants are just now getting ready to take the sword out of his mouth for the first time in – oh, but it appears it won’t be necessary! There’ll be no exciting bout for us here, as Fenrir has just won by default; Orpheus started playing his lyre and Cerberus dozed right off. We’ll have to remember to adjust the rules next year. Let’s check in on a match that began yesterday. It appears that the basilisk is still trying to manoeuvre its way through the Minotaur’s labyrinth, without much success. Up in
the grandstands, Theseus is looking smug. As is customary on the final day of this tournament, it’s time for the Celebrity Match! This year, we’ve got some real A-listers. One had a role in the popular series of novels and films, Lord of the Rings. That’s right, a wyvern, the flying steed of the nazgûl! This wyvern is up against another pop-culture powerhouse. Known for its enormous might, but even more for its enormous ego, this foe gave its name to a famous work by Thomas Hobbes, and starred in a movie (never hungry for humble pie, this one). In fairness, ladies and gents, it should be noted that this beast does have rather impressive origins. You may have read about him in a fairly popular piece of literature. No, not another Tolkien book: the Bible. That’s right, it’s the leviathan. The sound of Thor’s thunder marks the start of the fight. The wyvern circles above the pool, keeping the leviathan underwater by doing that screeching thing, a haughty look on its face. What remarkable vocal stamina this wyvern is demonstrating! Oh, but our WaterCam is picking up movement, and here it comes. With a fantastic leap into the air, the leviathan has grasped the wyvern in its fearsome teeth, and is now dragging it down. Now, I don’t know if you can see this, but the depths are churning like a boiling cauldron, so we can only assume that this wyvern will not be moving on. Once again, the leviathan has proven to be king over all that are proud. We’re down to one of the final matches, now. We’ve got Sasquatch facing off against the Loch Ness Monster. Both are ferocious competitors: masters of stealth, man and maiden of mystery, this bloodbath is sure to – wait a moment, I’m receiving word there’s been a change in our itinerary. It appears the two competitors are conversing and bonding over their shared feelings of being lonely, misunderstood, and stalked by paparazzi. It’s not often that this sort of thing happens in a deathmatch tournament. After a long and gruelling tournament, we’re finally ready to crown our victor! Having quickly defeated both Ursa Major and Pegasus in matches that left us all seeing stars, our champion advanced determinedly towards victory. Commendable spirit, this one – comes back twice as hard after every setback. Congratulations to Hydra! Thanks you for attending this year’s Mythical Beast Showdown. Keep a look out for next year’s tickets on sale this summer. Just because one little world may be ending in December doesn’t mean our competitors will be deterred! Sir in the fiery chariot: drive safe. This is Hermes, signing off. Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 11
THE OTHER DOZEN Andrew Terefenko
hen asked, most people will tell you that the biggest invention to come out of Ancient China is either paper, gunpowder, or a rudimentary version of the compass. While I am fully aware of how (somewhat) important those items are in daily life, none of them were as successful at fulfilling the needs of humanity as much as another feat of ingenuity. I’m here to challenge these conceptions. The greatest and unequivocally wildest creation to ever emerge from the Orient unscathed is none other but the divine dozen, the intrepid twelve: the Chinese Zodiac. You look at those around you, and what do you see? Billy, the nicest guy on this side of the equator and no stranger to lending you a buck fifty if you get into a snacking mood. What do the ancient Chinese see in Billy? An impetuous brat borne of 1986, eager to please and spread his misguided generosity to all those who feed his obstinate nature. They saw Billy’s true colours, black and orange. You see, Billy, being born
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26 years ago, is a Tiger by the zodiac, which characterizes him as rebellious, sincere, and impatient, among other things. He didn’t lend you that loonie-point-five because he is nice; he did it because he grew tired of watching you ask everyone else and felt like straying from the mainstream answer to your request, which in this case was “no,” because you ask for change, like, every freaking day, you cheapskate. It goes deeper than being able to discern penny-pinchers, unfortunately. The Chinese have been predicting the personalities of key world figures for thousands of years. Everyone’s favourite scapegoat, Rick Santorum, fits his zodiacal profile to a tee. Much like a dog, he is honest; you would never catch him lying about his homophobic personal beliefs. He is passionately loyal; he has an undying devotion to completely absurdist scientific bashing. He is intensely idealistic; he has a vision for America that absolutely no one else in their right mind would support. Lastly,
while dogs are eternally empathetic and constantly worry about the condition of others, Santorum worries about the condition of bat-shit crazy fundamentalists all over the Bible Belt. Curiously, the ancient Chinese have managed to predict a leader’s personality while being eras removed from his existence. It gets creepier, as you will soon learn. Obama the Ox is dependable and tenacious, yet stubborn and like cosmological oxen, desires righteous “change” above all else. Rob “Rabbit” Schneider is artistic, tender, and flexible, but is bogged down by his superficiality in trying to make an honest day’s work as a gigolo. Charlie Sheen, the psychopathic snake, is wise beyond his years, creative in his usage of prescription narcotics, and consistent in his behaviour around attractive prostitutes. Snakes are also supposed to be lonely, but I think Sheen is the exception in this particular case. The important lesson to take away from this is that the ancient Chinese had it figured out. They know who you are, inside and out, just by knowing the year you were born. Lastly, to all those who were born in 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, or 2000, this is your year. You are mighty, benevolent, virtuous, proud, and dignified dragons, and your only flaws are arrogance and impetuousness. We dragons are so awesome, in fact, that out of the entire zodiac, we were the only ones great enough to receive a mythical creature of legend as our representative, while those born just months before us must suffer lives of long-eared varmints. Some may claim that I may be a bit biased, being a dragon myself, in equally judging the values of the entire zodiac, but to sceptics I can only say: you can’t spell ARTWORK BY EMILY JOHNSON magnanimous without us.
RAINY DAYS ELEPHANT HEART Anna Kulikov, Columnist
n African matriarch has just given birth. But what is usually a joyous event for the herd quickly takes a tragic turn. The calf is premature; he lies limp and pale under the scorching savannah sun. He cannot move and is barely breathing. His mother’s careful nudges quickly become frantic and, realizing that he needs to be moved to the shade lest he die from the heat, she struggles to carry him into the trees with her trunk. All the while, her herd circles the pair – visibly worried – and reach out to touch the baby. But, it is just not meant to be; the calf does not survive the day. For almost a week, the mother stands over his tiny corpse, forgoing both food and water. And when the herd finally moves on, she will trail behind it for days, despairing. Without a doubt, elephants are the reigning super-moms of the animal kingdom. The bond between a mother and daughter lasts for more than 50 years and forms through selfless and gentle care. The calf is typically 10 to 40 times smaller than the adult and born blind, and so must relycompletely on its mother to shield it from the sun and protect it from lions. The calf walks under the adult elephant, who, miraculously, never steps on it or trips over it. She also carries it over obstacles and hauls it out of mud-pits or ravines. And incredibly, her maternal instincts are not exclusive to her offspring. There have been many observed instances of elephants pushing rhinoceros calves out of mud traps and rescuing buffalo babies from the jaws of predators. And yet, some continue to characterize the elephant as insensate – intelligent, but insensate. Despite a history of scientific skepticism and persisting controversy, there is no doubt in my mind that animals feel, not just fear and anger, but
the ‘noble’ emotions that have been reserved exclusively for describing humans, perpetuating the separation of our species from the rest. I’m referring of course to the higher emotions of altruism, compassion, love, sorrow, and joy, among others. These characteristics have very rarely been attributed to animals, and their questionable existence continues to spark debate between sociobiologists. And scientists, at least those who brave the task, have used a variety of strategies (most of which are inherently flawed) to argue against their existence. These have included the solipsistic defence, which is the belief that the self can know nothing but the self, and the argument that the animal, lacking the means communicate complexity (i.e. using language), cannot possess complex emotions. It quickly becomes obvious that either not nearly enough time has been spent considering the issue, perhaps in order to pass it over for more “scientific” pursuits, or scientists themselves have become entrenched in binary thinking where there exists only a dichotomy between the civilized human and the insensate brute. Luckily, things have changed in the
past decade or so. There is already a large body of literature in the field of animal emotion. We have slowly realized, the backwardness of the argument aside, that we do not know nearly enough about animal communication and behavior to confidently exclude the possibility of complexity. We have also awakened to the reality that, although we cannot fathom to know the emotional states and conditions of our fellow human beings, we take for granted that they experience emotions because they exhibit proof of them in their behavior. But, there is much ground yet to cover. We continue to make the amateur mistake of anthropomorphism at every turn (although some would argue that we have no other frame of reference): romanticizing animals as saints or heroes and assigning human gender roles to animals are just two of countless examples. As for myself, if I were an elephant, I’m not convinced that I would find its emotional capacity limiting. For I believe that elephants feel both wide and deep, and in learning about the multidimensionality of their emotions, we can learn a lot about our own.
Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 13
HONEY BADGER DON’T CARE Kathryn Morrison
he honey badger, running in slow motion, wants a snack. So what does he do? He catches himself a fierce cobra. The honey badger approaches the snake ready to feast. “Get away, get away from me!” says the snake. But the honey badger don’t care. The honey badger don’t give a flic; he just takes what he wants! After a decisive battle, the honey badger begins to eat his catch. Little does he know he’s been bitten by the snake, and passes out from the toxin. But five minutes later, he gets right back up and continues his meal, as though nothing happened. What is the appeal of the honey badger? Sure, the narrating of the viral video is animated, but there must be a more compelling distinction from the typical National Geographic film. Perhaps the answer lies in our fascination with animals’ human-like behaviour. For example, in television dramas and reality shows, both involving a significant amount of character development, have some of the highest followings. If this special interest in human characteristics is the case, then what elements of the honey badger video involve character development? The narrator, Randall, portrays the animals’ inherent habits as human personality traits. In explaining why the honey badger enters a bee’s nest to eat the larvae, Randall doesn’t discuss the theories in terms of the animal’s instincts. Instead, he exclaims that the honey badger doesn’t care that it is being stung and simply pursues what it wants. Through the narration, the honey badger turns from animal to superhero. Meanwhile, Randall portrays the other animals with 14 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
human characteristics by imitating them with human speech. For instance, the snake’s instinct for self defense is summarized in the brief imitation “Get away, get away from me!” The instinct is immediately understood in a relatable way. The same goes for Meerkat Manor, which is essentially a reality TV show for small mammals. In the popular documentary, which follows the day to day triumphs and struggles of a family of meerkats, the main focus is on the social dynamic between the meerkats. Each foot-tall creature is assigned a human
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER TRIMMING (FLICKR)
characteristic. ‘Flower’ is labeled as the leader of the group while ‘Tosca’ is rebellious, ‘Shakespeare’ is courageous, and ‘Mozart’ is caring. As an audience member, you can’t help but become emotionally attached as the meerkats are faced with difficult and unfair situations. In one scene, Shakespeare, who was depicted as a brave and responsible character, heroically rescues one of the abandoned baby meerkats. The audience found themselves shocked when Shakespeare was later bitten by a poisonous snake and was abandoned by
his family in his weakened state. Being able to identify with situations where, despite one’s best efforts and valuable personality traits, one is still affected by misfortune, and so the audience sympathizes with Shakespeare’s struggle. Fans of Meerkat Manor grow to love Shakespeare and the rest of the meerkat family in the same way we become attached to a character in a drama or action film or programme. In the case of the Honey Badger, the natural instincts of the animal are instead portrayed as human characteristics. The image is of a fierce character who pursues his own goals regardless of the consequences. Meanwhile in Meerkat Manor, humanization is used to portray the social dynamic amongst the meerkats, creating emotional attachment to the family. This fresh take on the animal kingdom provides a new appeal to drama. So what will be the next TV drama to emerge from the animal kingdom? Perhaps it’ll be Wild Vervet: The Entrepreneurial Adventure. According to a study at Tilburg University, wild vervet monkeys have the ability to adhere to the rule of supply and demand. A sole monkey responsible for handing out food receives grooming privileges. But once a second monkey also hands out food, the demand for the first monkey’s food is cut in half. Or maybe we’ll see Eta Epsilon: Elephant Sorority. Elephants have complex social structures, with various tribal subgroups. The most important of these is the family, a tight-knit group of female elephants and their offspring. In contrast to the sisterhood, the males often live solitary lives.
RAT RACE Rebecca Bartley
eiko, a male killer whale, first won the hearts of our generation when he began his acting career starring in his first (and only) movie series titled Free Willy. One of the most famous captive killer whales of all time, the trilogy documents the real life story of how he came into captivity, and eventually, into the spotlight. Keiko’s story begins in Iceland in 1979 where he was captured by a fishing boat, separated from his family, and sold to an aquarium. Three years later, he was sold and moved to Marineland in Ontario where he first performed before an audience. Over time, he was passed along to other amusement parks and aquariums, until 1993 when he achieved fame in his first movie ever as the main star of Free Willy. The publicity that Keiko received not only gave him more luxuries (like a larger, more comfortable tank), but also made the public more aware of the issues surrounding both captive and wild aquatic animals. The donations received from this movie led to the establishment of the “Free Willy-Keiko
Foundation” in February 1995. The foundation contained facilities to return Keiko to perfect health, in the hope of returning him to the wild, as well as helping other killer whales in danger. Keiko was found beached on December 12, 2003, pneumonia being the most probable cause of death. As a result of requests from Free Willy fans, a memorial service was held with over 700 people in attendance. A commemorative site remains to this day near the beach where Keiko was found, and people from around the world still come to visit. Keiko is still known as one of the most famous captive whales of our generation. Docs Keepin Time was a male black quarter horse known for his role in such movies as The Black Stallion and The Horse Whisperer, but his biggest and most known role was in the 1994 classic, Black Beauty. He also starred in many commercials and a rock music video. Docs Keepin Time began his career as a racehorse. Despite a very unsuccessful track record, he was discovered by Hollywood producers who re-
alized he might have more potential as a performer and trick horse. The opportunity turned his life around and he went from being a secondrate racehorse to one of Hollywood’s most sought-after horse performers. As a performer, Docs Keepin Time had to perform and learn many tricks. These included working without a rider, rearing, nodding, and shaking his head. For one particular scene in Black Beauty, Docs Keepin Time was trained to escape a burning barn while coated with a fire retardant gel. He showed impressive acting and training while remaining calm enough to do the scene, but natural enough to look like his character was in actual danger from the flames of the burning barn. Docs Keepin Time is still very much alive and healthy. He is expected to star in other films and is considered one of Hollywood’s star veterans and a top horse performer. He has three offspring, one of whom has followed in his father’s famous hoofprints, featuring in the 2008 movie titled Appaloosa, starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen.
ARTWORK BY MARY-CATHRYN McCARTHY Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 15
BRIEF NEW WORLD ANIMAL FARM Shawn Fazel, Columnist
here’s an animal living within me. After years of training to fit into society, it’s a tame beast. Its urges have been so repressed that they rarely manifest and their true nature sometimes forgotten. The prize is a society that has been able to control our impulses, urges, and dark desires. However, we have become so domesticated that any sign of our animalism is repulsing and foreign. Hobbesian political theory suggests that humans are incapable of controlling their animalistic instincts without a strong government to maintain order. Its central assumption, that human life is inescapably “nasty, brutish, and short”, is at the heart of modern Western political thought. Without society, Hobbes argues, humans are incapable of controlling their animal instincts for sex, blood, and power, which prevents them from developing trust and thereby enforcing contracts. The Yahoos, in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, are an example of the Hobbesian anarchy that exists given the absence of government: they are obsessed with “pretty stones”, throw their faeces at one another, and whose children’s skin is used to make sails. Gulliver is revolted by their presence and has difficulty coming to terms with the fact that they very well may 16 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
be human. According to Hobbes, we therefore develop a social contract, whereby all individuals repress their urges and submit to a universal authority. Like classical conditioning on a social level, our laws keep our animalism in check by threat of punishment, and by rewarding good behaviour (productivity) through trade. Economics gives the most drastically rational interpretation of society: we are utility-maximizing preference formulas who make perfectly reasoned decisions. A useful analogy is found in Kafka’s Report to an Academy, where a captured ape, in a cage too short and small to permit him to stand or lie down, slowly changes himself into a human in order to be free. By the end of the story, the ex-ape no longer remembers what it was like to be an ape. What is the true cost of that freedom, if his original state is repressed? Is that really freedom? Society forces us to “dispose” of our animal instincts until we forget them, and then to rejoice in the apparent freedom from those urges. In the words of Rousseau: “man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” We only get a real sense of what lies beneath our domesticated social facade in the domains of sex, art, and war. With regards to sex, the desire to re-
produce is undeniably animal and human. While it is not overtly discouraged or discredited by our modern state (unless Rick Santorum becomes President), it has, to some extent, been repressed by religion. A sexual morality that seeks to preserve social order, yet represses our deep desires to fuck anything, anytime, anywhere. Through some perverted notion of justice and economic liberalism, religious authorities limit the freedoms of their subjects, as if they are unable to make the morally correct decision themselves and require a strict and brutal regiment to ensure sanctity. When it comes to art, the rational economic perspective of humans has no explanation for the supply and demand for art. Freud argues that it is the expression of our subconscious ideas. This subconscious, namely our id (desires for sex, food and shelter), can be examined then through art, both its expression and interpretations, much like a Rorschach test. Whether humans are naturally inclined toward violence is still unclear. It can be the result of violence within society that breeds more violence, or an innate tendency towards it. Yet the role of violence in society cannot be downplayed, as every-
thing from bullying to war to violent videogames serve as evidence that we embrace a certain degree of violence. In the Hobbesian vein, Max Weber points out that only the state that can legitimately use violence to enforce laws – be it on its people or its enemies. Sport is another legitimate outlet for violence, likely rooted in our subconscious drives that result from our alpha-male traits, which prepare us for self-defence, and nourish our sense of competition for alpha-male status. That is why it is so important for sports stars to act respectfully (think George St. Pierre, the MMA fighter) since they are important role models for young men. Along these lines, the recent Oscarnominated Belgian film Bullhead tells of story of a man who seeks fulfillment through cattle-grade testosterone, since he lost his genitals in a tragic childhood accident. He grows up to be a brutish, hummer-driving, and testosterone-saturated bull of a man who’s never even had sex. This dark and captivating character suggests that without the ability to develop meaningful and loving relationships, a man will never develop past the hormone-induced angst of his teens. In the words of Don Corleone: “Because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” While we do evolve personally through our loving relationships with people, Freud argues this only fulfills and harbours our animal desire for affection and love. What is at our root is hard to determine; the Hobbesian conception of the brutish natural man contrasts with anarchism, which holds that humans are innately loving and capable of establishing a thriving society without any sort of imposed governing structure. Curiously, though, I would argue the Hobbesian belief is insulting to animals because it suggests that they kill each other as brutally and systemically as we have. Chimps and wolves are the only other species known to eradicate whole other social groups, and neither of them have developed the same technological capacities as we have in killing. War is an interesting middle ground between our ruthless reason and inner animal: a hunger for death and efficiency. While in the animal kingdom, killing is the result of competition for resources, in humans that competition is less clear. Some studies postulate that murder is highest between people of equal social status, since individuals of lower status offer no notable challenge to their superiors.
War is evidence that our animalism still manifests itself through our own version of reason. Our deep bloodlust is quenched through the rational arguments we make for killing one another. We are descendants of apes and always will be - nothing can remove us from it. It is safer, therefore, to accept and understand our irrationality instead of repressing it such that it remains closer to the unchartered territories of our subconscious.
What more can be said about this internet sensation? The dramatic look that started it all: six seconds of terror, suspense, and, of course, drama. When the most famous prairie dog in the world whips his head around, and the three iconic chords blare, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Dramatic Look has transcended boundaries, growing so popular that it was even featured on South Park. http://youtu.be/y8Kyi0WNg40 - Steve Clare & Devra Charney
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Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 17
YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE Raman Kumar
n the night of Halloween in 2006, I dropped by Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up some candy for the slew of trick-or-treaters who’d soon be arriving at my door. I tied up my dog, Sunny, to a post outside. Unfortunately, my mind was so preoccupied with candy and costumes that I returned home without the dog. Suddenly realizing what I had done, I raced back to the shop… only to find her gone. No one – not my neighbors, the shopkeepers, nor Animal Control – had seen a trace of my dog. She had simply vanished. That’s when I launched a major search and rescue operation, plastering the whole neighborhood with “LOST” signs and offering a $250 reward for her safe return. About three days later, a woman called me, reportting that she’d seen a young man walking Sunny on Dalewood Avenue. I zeroed in on the neighborhood, leafleting every house with signs. Finally, I got a call from a man who said that he had picked up the dog because he’d thought she’d been abandoned. Within minutes, I was at his house and recovered my pooch, who nearly knocked me over with excitement. 18 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEWART BLACK (FLICKR)
This whole ordeal proved to me the strength of my connection with Sunny. We had been through everything together. When I first arrived as an immigrant from India, she was my only friend for a while, and never failed to comfort me with her wagging tail. When I would have a tough day, she’d always lick away
PHOTO COURTESY OF RAMAN KUMAR
my tears. Sunny woke me up in the mornings with the cold tip of her snout, demanding food and patting, and would later run with me through the forests. By all accounts, it was a miracle that Sunny was ever born. Her mother was a huge German Shepherd, while her dad was a tiny spaniel. But somehow they
mated and produced a perfect blend of their genes – a beautiful, medium-sized golden pooch with a very sweet temperament. Nowadays, I find myself thinking more and more about Sunny. It’s been a year since she died of a stroke at age 14, and the urn of her ashes sits desolately on my bookshelf. Beside it lies a big silver spoon that I used to feed her sips of water as she lay on her deathbed. As the frosts of winter thaw and the spring comes in, my family plans to plant a small tulip garden in our backyard, where Sunny loved to play. My mother wants me to sprinkle her ashes all over this garden. A part of me feels like holding on to the urn forever, and that losing the ashes would mean finally letting go. But I know in my heart that Sunny’s ashes are not her lasting legacy. The person who I am today was shaped and molded by her constant presence throughout my childhood. She helped teach me the meaning of play, of joyfulness, and most importantly, of unconditional love. And so I will go out this spring and spread her ashes, watching with a mixture of sadness and joy as the barren soil blooms into vibrant reds and yellows.
LOST AND FOUND Bridget Steele
see a dog running beside my car. I from work. He figures one dog she hates point it out to my brother and say, “Do would be enough. However, as I become you think it’s lost?” “Obviously not,” more enamored by the dog and begin to he mumbles, “we are in a suburban neigh- secretly hope that we never find its ownborhood. It probably lives two doors down ers, my primary concern becomes trying the street.” I think to myself, “We are res- to discover the dog’s name. I employ the cuing this dog.” My brother rolls his eyes tactic of yelling common dog names like and says, “I will have nothing to do with “Spot,” “Clifford,” and “Beethoven” to see this,” as if he could read my mind. Quickly, if I get any slight ear perking. Fail. I resort I swerve into a side street and get out of to yelling sounds that end in “y” and the the car, instructing my brother to get in dog responds to all of them. Despite our the driver’s seat (he does not have his li- being the only two people in the house, cense) and follow me as I race the dog on my brother is mortified. To redeem myfoot. I secure the dog. self, I get out my laptop, go on Canada 411, So now, as I’m holding an 80-pound search Thunder Bay and call the very first dog in my arms in the middle of a busy number that comes up. street, I see my car horizontally barricadA woman picks up the phone, and I ing the road with my unlicensed brother at say, “I am from Kingston and I have found the wheel. None of this concerns me. I’m a large, black, mixed breed dog who has unfazed by my brother’s expression when probably lived in in Thunder Bay at one I put the dog in the front seat beside me, and force him to move to the back. When we arrive at our house, I instruct my brother to banish our family dog, Finn, to the neighbors’ so my new prized possession is not scared. Mission: find true owners. My brother first calls a phone number on one of the dog’s tags. It connects us to a lost pet database, but the I.D. number on the tag has no match. I look at the second tag and see that it has the name and phone number of a veterinarian clinic. My brother calls this next, and after a five-minute conversation he informs me that the vet is located in Thunder Bay, and that she wasn’t able to identify the dog. At this point in time my brother’s sole objective is to get the dog out of the house so my mother does not have a heart attack when she returns ARTWORK BY KEISHA NEOMA-QUINN
point.” She pauses, and only now I begin to consider how ludicrous it was to call a random number. She then says, “I think I actually know what dog you are talking about,” and gives me a cell phone number...with a BC area code. I’m thinking this is the world traveller of all dogs. My brother texts the number, and explains the situation. The respondent was a UBC student from Thunder Bay whose parents had just moved to Kingston and were taking care of her dog. She sent us her parents’ address and we dropped off my short-lived best friend. Two weeks later, I’m back in the car with my brother, who is texting. As the nosy sister, I ask who he’s talking to. He responds with “Michelle.” “Who’s Michelle?” “The dog girl, from UBC. We’ve become pretty close.”
Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 19
CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE Leanna Katz & Jane van Koeverden
yes sparkling, Ellery gushes: “She’s beautiful. I miss her more than I miss my parents.” He’s got all the classic signs of a man in love...or a pet owner. We’ve come to realize that the line between the two is blurred. Ellery met Mittens about four years ago. He loves her and would do anything for her. Without any prompting, he pulls out his Blackberry and proudly shows us the charming canine he’s set as his background picture. Forlornly, he says: “Sometimes I wish we hadn’t gotten her, I worry so much about her dying. What if she gets hit by a car?” His intensity shocks us. We’ve both been pet owners, but apparently, not in the true sense of the word. The deep bond, the unspoken connection, the unconditional love - it’s all bypassed us. Shanthiya has been with Olf for eight years now. She says, “I enjoy spending time with my pup more than I do with humans.” We’re a bit taken aback by her comment. We can’t wrap our minds around how a relationship with a pet can be as fulfilling as one with another person. Shanthiya persists, “My relationship with Olf is more comfortable than any human relationship.” Shanthiya also likes that Olf is completely dependent on her. She likes to care 20 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL GALLEA
for others, and “Olf has no ego,” she explains, “he doesn’t mind that I take care of him.” It’s a striking statement. She sounds more like she is talking about a person rather than an animal. But when pressed, Shanthiya says that human relationships are supposed to be give and take. She feels less comfortable when humans are dependent on her. Shanthiya pulls out her laptop to show us a photoshoot she did with Olf. In one photo after another, a shaggy white dog shows off his chops in various poses, culminating in a two minute video of Olf howling at the moon. Shanthiya’s eyes sparkle; ours glaze over. Sam, Cedric, and Indie have been together for three years. About the boys, Sam says: “I don’t love them, I’ve mastered them. They need me, I dominate them, and they love me unconditionally.” Cedric is a four-foot-long Ball python and Indie is a three-foot Corn snake. Shared with her two younger sisters, Sam says everyone in her family feels pretty ambivalent about them. “They’re low maintenance, so we keep ‘em around. They’re supposed to live for 17 years or something.” Sam is much less intense about her pets than the others we spoke to. She doesn’t feel any special relationship with her snakes and
states that she would feel equally indifferent about any kind of pet. To Sam, they’re all just animals. “They don’t care about me, my wit, or my intelligence. They only care about my opposable thumbs that can open their food container.” Later in the conversation, Sam wonders whether people’s feelings toward their pets are exaggerations of how they feel about other humans. The comment makes us think of Sam, cool about her cold-blooded companions, Shanthiya, fussing over Olf, and Ellery, smitten with Mittens. Maybe it’s love. Maybe they’re just crazy. It’s often hard to tell the difference between the two. Perhaps if Cedric, Indie, Olf, and Mittens could weigh in, they’d be able to explain it to us. JESUS CHRIST IN RICHMOND PARK
A newcomer to the internet humour scene, JESUS CHRIST IN RICHMOND PARK has what it takes to go viral. Contrary to its title, it does not, in fact, feature Jesus Christ. Instead, the viewer is treated to the amusing scene of a dog chasing a large herd of deer while its distraught owner follows far behind, spewing curses. In a heady climax, the deer veer into the road, the dog in hot pursuit, while the owner emits a feeble cry of protest. http://youtu.be/3GRSbr0EYYU - Steve Clare & Devra Charney
FAIRE DODO Stephanie Wan
hen people ask me where I’m from, I always respond a little apprehensively. It’s not because I’m not proud of where generations of my family lived, nor is it because I’m ignorant about the culture. The real reason is that I’m lazy. My family is from the island of Mauritius. When I tell people this, they either pretend to know where it is or they ask questions – a lot of them. The latter group starts off with a modi-
fied rehash of a Mean Girls scene: “If you’re from Africa, why are you Asian?” which is reasonable, even expected. Mauritius is a dot on the map, and has been long overshadowed by the alluring island of Madagascar, especially since the DreamWorks film came out. No, Mauritius doesn’t have a talking zebra with Chris Rock’s voice. Nor do we have dancing penguins. But if you Google Mauritius, the second hit you’ll see is the island’s official website for
For more information, visit bigrockbeer.com/eddies
tourism, which dedicates an entire page to an apparent gem in Mauritian history and culture: the dodo bird. Native to the island of Mauritius, its official Latin species name is Raphus curcalltues. This bird was unable to fly, and the Portugese took advantage of how easy it was to trap and catch by using it as a major food source until it became extinct in 1505. In the past century, the dodo bird has been made famous because of its notable role in Alice in Wonderland, and has become a fixture in popular culture ever since. Growing up, when relatives would travel to Mauritius, they wouldn’t bring back Mauritian Sega CDs or tasty dried snacks like Moolkoo. Instead, they bought my brother and I stuffed dodo birds with “MAURITIUS” obnoxiously emblazoned on the stomach (always one of a kind at show-and-tell), or tropical t-shirts with cartoon dodos in every possible variation of fuchsia. Our dinner mats had dodo birds on them. My key chains had dodo birds on them. I even used to have dodo bird pyjamas. These were all gifts from people who went to Mauritius and brought back little trinkets that supposedly represented the country they had visited. But Mauritius is more than just a place where some bird that couldn’t fly once lived and then died off. It’s a beautiful island where you don’t feel bad if you miss a photo opportunity, because there is something even more beautiful waiting for you around the corner. It’s a mosaic of cultural diversity, of soothing Mauritian tea, of beaches, of mountains, and of humorous conversations with the old owner of the bazaar that your father went to high school with. I know that the dodo bird is a part of Mauritian history, and that it’s just Mauritius’ way to assert itself as more than just a dot on the map. But if Mauritians embraced what their homeland truly was, instead of focusing solely on the dodo, maybe Mauritius could be known for something other than “that other island near Madagascar.”
ARTWORK BY EMILY JOHNSON
Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 21
INK EXTINCT Kacper Niburski
rank got tossed last week.” So began the beginning of the end: the last conversation between the two remaining dodo birds on Earth. “Yeah. I know. Worst part is that he had a wife and kid to feed too. I heard he was just swinging by the watering hole, minding his own business when - eerrk.” The dodo bird drew his wing across his neck, mimicking a slit throat. As the last two dodo birds in existence, they prided themselves on their humour. In fact, humour is a characteristic all dodo birds had. With a species name that was itself comedic gold, humour couldn’t be helped. In 1685, however, on their final day of existence, the last two dodo birds found it hard to be funny. Extinction doesn’t give us a lot of time to prepare our jokes, they often said by way of excuse. But it wasn’t always so morbid. Before the colonization of Island of Mauritius, the dodos were a rich and vibrant species. Blue, red, yellow, and green lit up their feathers like they were superstars of the animal kingdom, and they waddled around Mauritius with unbridled swagger as if they owned it. In a way, they did. Lack of predation, warm climates, and geographical isolation afforded the dodos a prosperous but docile 22 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
ARTWORK BY AFRISA YEUNG
life. Yet this blessing was also their curse. They sat around foolishly as they were being bludgeoned, speared, shot, strangled, drowned, and mutilated by humans. Not that they could run away; evolution had served them an unalterable screwball. Instead of wings, the dodos had nubs. To the Dutch who colonized Mauritius in 1598, those nubs were the next best thing to chicken wings. “Remember Fran?” “Uhm?” “You know, the great kisser. Everyone on the Island pecked her once or twice.” “Fran? Fran was my wife.” “Oh. Right,” said one of the birds as he stared off into the endless ocean, wishing that his apology wasn’t needed. The two had never met before today. They lived different lives, occupied different niches. One was a bachelor; the other, a family man. But only during the Apocalypse could someone find out that his wife was cheating on him and not give a damn. There were bigger things to worry about. “I never got your name,” said one of the dodos in an attempt to break the silence. “That’s because I never gave it,” retorted the other. A pause. The sound of shuffling feet. Eyes glued to the ocean in front of them.
From a distance, it looked like a storm was brewing. “Well, mine’s Adam. And if I am going to die today, I’d like to at least die with someone I can say I got to know.” “Sorry. Just a little on edge. Mine’s John.” “It’s all right. We’re all on edge. Who knows. Maybe we’ll fall off soon enough.” “More like be pushed off,” whistled John, hoping that the wind would carry his tune forever. Although it is hard to believe, there was a time when the name “dodo” carried weight. Because dodos were once so numerous on Mauritius, they decided where and when someone could “do-do.” At the time, it was considered a trivial accomplishment but now – before the moment of extinction – it was all the two dodos could remember about themselves. That’s what happens when one is scared shitless. All they can think about is their do-do. “So. How...” “Yes?” “How do we do this?” “What?” “You know. Repopulate the dodo population?” “Sorry?” “I guess what I’m asking is if you like top or bottom?”
“I don’t think that’ll work. We’re guys, Adam.” “You never know until you try...” ended Adam awkwardly. It’s hard trying to imagine the end of the world. The end of existence. The dodos had tried it before. Believe it or not, they had great existential philosophies. Ever skeptical about reality, they often engaged in ferocious arguments about whether or not their existence was merely a dream. Some dodos, using the advanced mathematics that only three toes could allow, even proved that alternate universes existed. But then humanity stormed onto the Island, and humanity became the dodo’s reality. At that point, they didn’t question existence anymore. They questioned why they existed in the first place, if only to be wiped out. They questioned why little dodos had to be senselessly bludgeoned on the head in order to quell humanity’s boredom. And they questioned why they were helpless against it all. “You think we’ll be remembered?” asked Adam, fearfully. “Maybe,” said John, thinking what to say next. “I can’t imagine humanity would forget what happened here. I like to think they’ll look back and see how much they can change things for better or for worse. Our skeletons will comb the beaches. Our feathers will decorate their museums. And we’ll become part of everything. They can’t forget that. Can they?” A pause hung nebulously on the airwaves. “If they do, then the inevitable will happen,” mumbled Adam. “The dodos will be the first animal to go extinct and humanity will be the last.” “Adam, that’s very de--” Just as John was about to finish his sentence, a bored, fat Dutchman who didn’t understand the brilliance behind the dodo’s tweeting and chirping, shot Adam and raced to cut John’s head off. He laughed when he did it. Blood shot out everywhere. He thought there was nothing funnier.
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CAT WEARING BOOTS 2
Cat videos have been the height of web comedy ever since the Internet was invented in the twentieth century. Cat Wearing Boots 2 is a classic of the genre, featuring the amusing exploits of a cat adjusting to his new boots on Christmas morning. The video set to the breathless laughter of the cat’s owner as his poor pet desperately tries to gain traction on the slippery floor and somersaults down a flight of stairs. It makes you think, though: where is the line between comedy and tragedy? It’s a border that’s blurred on the internet. Is it really ethical to laugh at a cat in distress? http://youtu.be/0jYKUUTVhvE - Steve Clare & Devra Charney
Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 23
THE ANIMAL WAY Dylan Euteneier
eing a fan of the BBC series Planet Earth, elation is the word that comes closest to describing how I felt when the Human Planet series first aired. Eight more hours of forgetting where I actually live to go explore the world, accompanied by sweeping panoramas and soothing narratives. It seems a little corny I guess, but I don’t care; it’s a wonderful world. Within the first five minutes of the first episode I knew I would be buying the box set. I imagined that it would focus on city life, science, art, and the human intellect. Instead, I found myself wrapped up in human life that felt animal-like. After watching the stories of people who never separated themselves from the natural world, our attempts to improve life through technology seem inane and futile. The most unbelievable forms of life are already out there. In the Sahel region of Africa the Wodaabe people gather at the end of the rainy season for an extended period of sexual freedom. This time is meant for winning a love marriage to complement an arranged marriage. The men decorate themselves in brilliant colours and high contrast makeup to parade/dance in front of women who decide which man they will sleep with that night. Shoulder to shoulder, each one appearing strangely overstated to catch the gaze of a young woman. I find myself thinking: this is a lot like the mating habits of birds. Actually, this is a lot like the mating habits of those who frequent Hess Village. It’s beautifully efficient, isn’t it? Like Emperor Penguins, we march to our breeding grounds with the purpose of pairing off and mating. Except, as human beings, we make it much more complicated. We fall in love, and when we aren’t in love, we do everything we can to find it. We dedicate whole months to it, we make movies about it, and our lives are over when it’s gone. Love makes the world go round. I imagine going to interview some different animals on what they think of love. What would my dog Chase have to say about the subject? He’s staring at me from his carpet as though to say, “I’d love you 24 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
ARTWORK BY JOSHUA LEWIS
more if I was allowed in the family room.” I would do an interview with the Schistosoma parasitic worm, commonly known as a Blood-Fluke. These worms know quite a bit about love. In fact they’re a whole lot better at it than we are, which is strange considering they live inside our bodies. Once a pair meets, they intertwine themselves and stay together for the rest of their lives. They float together through our bloodstream, a pair of lovers until their death. I imagine them sitting wrapped
around each other on one half of a loveseat as I ask them what they think about human beings and their relationship problems. The male explains how it’s all about commitment. The female makes a joke about how we have girl troubles because we don’t hold our significant others enough. “A girl just wants to feel loved,” she says. I ask myself what I am doing taking relationship advice from parasites. Except, as I look at them together, I find myself thinking that I have a lot to learn.
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WILD TIMES IN WHIDDEN Michael Teichman
hen someone uses “party school” to describe a university, most people automatically think of “Western University”, as the University of Western Ontario now likes to be called. And why wouldn’t they? The school has a reputation for regular drunken chaos, questionable morals, and general debauchery. People who go to Western take great pride in their party heritage. The institution was the only Canadian university to win a spot on Playboy’s “Top Ten Party Schools” list. It came in at number four, which established their reputation and infamy. But what most people are unaware of is that, in the olden days, Western was not, in fact, party central. According to legend, it was McMaster. The story starts with the 1978 film, National Lampoon’s Animal House, about a ragtag fraternity battling a corrupt dean and their preppy rivals at the fictitious Faber College. Animal House spawned a new genre of movies and was recognized as a cultural milestone by publications such as Empire and The New York Times, as well as the American Film Institute (AFI). It has even been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry. Filled with raunchy and decadent jokes, Animal House has become a cultural icon. As the myth goes, it was wild times in Whidden Hall, the traditional style residence that inspired the film’s creators, most of whom had gone to university before making the film. It is thought that much of the movie’s gags were in fact based
on the writers’, producers’, and director’s own freshman experiences. Acclaimed film director Ivan Reitman attended McMaster and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in 1969. While at McMaster, he was part of the Delta Upsilon fraternity and lived in Whidden Hall during his freshman year. So far, the myth seems plausible.
ARTWORK BY KEISHA NEOMA-QUINN
But, it does not end there. Other McMaster alumni include Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and Dave Thomas, who all eked out their first years in Whidden, where they started their careers as comics and party animals with a resounding bang. All veteran comics, and all alleged party animals. These distinguished alumni were thought to have lived on the fourth floor of Whidden, which has since become known
as the party floor and considered to be the site of the first toga party. Unfortunately, these are no more than rumours, with no hard evidence to back them up – except that the fourth floor of Whidden is the only floor with a mural, one of the Muppet character “Animal”. Coincidence? Perhaps. The movie’s influences, as it turns out, were a little more diverse. Co-screenwriter Chris Miller claimed in later interviews that Animal House was based on his old college fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi at Dartmouth College. Another co-screenwriter Harold Ramis also said the script was derived from his days at Washington University’s Zeta Beta Tau. What’s more, in later interviews, Ivan Reitman was asked whether his times in McMaster inspired him to make Animal House. Reitman said that neither Whidden nor McMaster itself was the inspiration for the film in any way. So perhaps McMaster did not have a role in Animal House. What is true, though, is that comedy greats Ivan Reitman, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, and John Candy all studied at the school around the same time. Levy, who graduated in 1969, met Reitman through the McMaster Film Board, of which he was vice-president. Short, who, like Levy, graduated from Westdale high school before coming to Mac, finished in 1972 along with Dave Thomas. Short received an honourary doctorate from his alma mater in 1991. Levy and Reitman received the same recognition in 2005, and Thomas in 2009. Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 25
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26 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
RELEASE THE HOUNDS Alisha Sunderji
he sun slowly rises over the industrial cities of Osaka Bay. The sound of a bomber off in the distance echoes faintly in the air. It is the year 1945, the peak of the American war against Japan. The bomber releases small, compartmented casings. In each compartment sits a Mexican free-tailed bat attached to a tiny, timed incendiary bomb. Once dropped, the bats fly out of the casings. From the ground, they are but lonely specks and could be almost be mistaken for wisps of smoke. They descend in masses upon each city – Osaka, Kobe, Satai – and roost in the eaves and attics of buildings. Ten, nine, eight... it’s only a matter of time until the incendiaries alight. The flames go largely unnoticed until they grow into catastrophic fires. The fires spread, swallowing the city wards, one by one. “Project X-Ray”, otherwise known as the “Bat Bombs” project, was a military initiative conceived by the United States as an alternative to the atomic bomb. The project came close to realization, but was abandoned in its final stages because it was advancing too slowly. Dr. Adams, a dental surgeon and the inventor of the Bat Bomb, was sure that the weapon would have been effective while avoiding the complete destruction caused by nuclear weapons. “Think of thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle forty miles in diameter for every bomb dropped,” he wrote. “Japan could have been devastated, yet with little loss of life.” The Bat Bomb is just one of many examples of the use of animals in warfare. From acting as morale-boosting mascots to serving on the front lines, they have often played decisive roles. While horses and dogs have been sta-
ples for centuries, bees have been used as weapons for millennia. The Heptakometes of Asia Minor (present day Turkey) realized that the honey produced from pollen of the rhododendron plant contains alkaloids that are harmless to bees but toxic to humans. The Heptakometes obtained a cache of the poisoned honey and cunningly left it in the path of the advancing
ARTWORK BY BEN NOVAK
Roman soldiers. A soldier’s pay comprised mostly of loot and plunder, so naturally the Romans consumed the honey. Debilitated and deathly ill, the Roman army was easily defeated by the Heptakometes. The use of insects as weapons has become significantly more complex and has changed in design since the time of the Heptakometes. In modern times, it has been titled Entomological Warfare (EW), and consists of using insects as direct
deliverers of a biological agent such as cholera. During World War II, Japan used EW extensively in their offensive against China. Some of the Japanese military’s most notorious war crimes were carried out by Unit 731, their centre for research and development of biological warfare. Every disease studied at the centre was tested on human subjects. The subjects, all of whom were Chinese POWs, underwent a series of experiments, such as being force-bitten by plague-infested fleas. The centre became a factory for the production of viable plague germs, ranging from anthrax to typhoid. Research from Unit 731 resulted in weapons such as the clay bomb, which consisted of a mixture of insects and disease that were dropped on Chinese cities. It is estimated that Japan’s entomological warfare was responsible for the deaths of 444,000 people. Similar to the multilayered destruction caused by the atomic bomb, the potential consequences of using animals in war extend far beyond the killing of people. For example, entomological warfare can contaminate environments, and the outbreak of disease among animals and plants could have devastating long-term ecological effects. Because migrating animals do not recognize political boundaries, their use in warfare jeopardizes the safety of countries that lie outside of the conflict zone. The tremors felt by animal warfare are arguably more pronounced than conventional military weaponry. Ultimately, this leads us to question whether the (arguably humanitarian) advantages gained by using animals as weapons of war are worth the risk of immeasurable and unimaginable consequences of losing control of the weaponry. Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 27
Katija Bonin & Meghan LePage
n Greek mythology the Chimera is a firebreathing hybrid with the body and mane of a lion, the head of a goat protruding from the midsection, and a tail that ends in a snakehead. In the Iliad, the Chimera is killed by Bellerophon and Pegasus to protect people from her terror, as she was believed to be an omen of storms, shipwrecks, and natural disasters. In the scientific world her name carries a different meaning: it is an organism containing a mixture of genetically different tissues, formed by processes such as fusion of early embryos, grafting, or mutation. In recent years, the idea of creating a human-animal hybrid has caused quite a stir, and has been maligned as unnatural, grotesque, and unholy. However, some scientists argue that mixing human and animal tissue is not only the future of science, but also has the potential to save millions of human lives.
28 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
In 2008, 4380 Canadians were on the transplant waiting list. Of those, 215 died before they could receive a new organ. The simple truth is that there are far too few donors and far too many patients on waiting lists. In the hopes of saving lives, scientists have been driven to consider new areas of research like the mixing of animals and humans to create modern day hybrids. But instead of the positive reception they might have hoped for, their research has instead been called “an affront to human dignity as well as a danger to public health.” The idea of mixing humans and animals seems like a scene out of a lowbudget horror movie, but many scientists fear that the public has misconstrued what is actually going on. “The reason for doing these experiments is to understand more about early human development and come up with ways of curing serious diseases, and as a scientist, I feel there is a moral imperative to pursue this research,” says Professor Robin Lovell-Badge of the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research. In February of 2010, researchers at the Salk Institute in California were able to successfully replace a mouse’s failing liver with one that was composed of 95 percent human tissue. This new liver was used to study potential treatments for hepatitis, a disease that is limited to humans and chimps. Their ability to successfully infect this “humanized” mouse with hepatitis proved that a virtually human organ could function in an animal, and opened the very real possibility of using animals to house human organs. In 2004, scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota added human blood stem cells to pig fetuses, creating piglets ARTWORK BY BEN NOVAK with the blood of both spe-
cies flowing through their veins. Researchers were surprised to find that some of the blood cells had even fused to form human-pig hybrid cells. As far as transplantation goes, an organ composed of such hybrid cells (as opposed to separate human and animal cells) would be less likely to be rejected by a human host. While this is exciting news in the field of hybrid research, it brings with it a host of ethical concerns. In spontaneously fusing cells from two separate species, we might have exposed ourselves to a whole new realm of diseases that we would have no idea how to treat. The possibility of transferring what would have previously been exclusively animal diseases directly into humans is a serious concern, and one that needs to be addressed before any further development in the use of animals to grow organs. Chimera also means something that is hoped and wished for, but is illusory or impossible to achieve. Great strides have been made in science, where growing organs from stem cells is no longer a futuristic impossibility. While these experiments are pursued in the hopes of curing disease, we must question whether it is ethically responsible to use animals as our organ storehouses and test subjects. Can we justify the mutilation and abuse of animals for human gain? Or is this an idea that should be left for the Steven Spielbergs of the world to toy with? Though it seems promising, it is too soon to tell if these modern day chimeras will be as horrifying as their Greek counterparts. With the opportunities still endless, there is no telling what terrors or triumphs the modern day hybrid will bring. LIONESS TRIES TO EAT BABY AT ZOO
Six inches of glass are all that protect a defenseless child from the powerful jaws of a fully grown lioness. Fortunately for baby Trent, the glass panes are enough to hold back the feline fury, and fortunately for us, it makes for a hilarious video as the angry cat desperately tries to break out of her glass prison and devour the tasty baby before her. What makes it even funnier is that this lion just doesn’t give out, using a range of tactics to try and grab her snack. It’s a purr-fect mix of humour and suspense that doesn’t fail to me-wow. http://youtu.be/ jT7_CtjEVFU - Steve Clare & Devra Charney
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU Nolan Matthews & Cindy Yin
love meat. It is frequently the highlight of a dish. But I also appreciy first day as a raw vegan, I woke up with a stomach as ate the role that vegetables play to bring balance to a meal. I am empty as my section of the refrigerator. The night before, about to go a week without vegetables, and somehow I have a feelI decided to eat all the food that would soon be forbidden, a last supper of sorts, and all that was left was some asparagus. So for ing that meat will just not taste as good, as flavorful, or as exciting sans breakfast, I ate raw asparagus. It tasted like dirt. But feeling high on carbs and veggies. While it is uncommon, it is not impossible to sustain life with meat alone. The Inuit people have achieved it for hundreds of moral superiority, the hunger didn’t matter. I was saving the world. “Why stop at my diet?” I thought. Surely I could give up animals years, though it has been shown to cause health problems in the longin all aspects of life. The first thing to deal with was my clothing. I could term. So for the purpose of my health and safety, I will consume flax ditch the leather boots, but, looking down at my jeans, I was unsure if shakes twice a day in addition to meat. On the first day, I instinctively reached for toast and jam but they were animal-free. Animals could be hidden in all kinds of places I caught myself in time. There were no more slip-ups would never suspect. My paranoia was well-founded, as cattle parts apfor the rest of the day; I consumed half a rack of ribs parently show up in a lot of unexpected places, like insulation, cement, and two eggs sunny side up. The next day I met a crayons, fireworks, glass, and deodorant. friend for lunch at a coffee shop and saw my I wasn’t exactly prepared to move into a windowless log cabin, so first problem—there was nothing excluI compromised by only making my food animal-free. This sively meat on the menu. I settled wouldn’t be the only time I would admit defeat in this for a latte with extra whipped dietary experiment. cream; 36 percent milk fat has For lunch I bought an apple and a pear, but never tasted that good. At that they couldn’t stop the feelings of jealousy and point, I decided that there disdain I had for anyone walking around with would need to be some degree a slice of pizza. I felt like I had never wanted of flexibility. Just like the fair pizza so badly in my life. Moral superiority trade certification only needs was overrated. I wondered if raw vegans 20 percent of its beans to be were happy people. have been ethically derived, I Grocery shopping lifted my think a meal qualifies as long spirits, and I decided to buy only as 75 percent of it is meat. This unprocessed, uncooked food. now allows me to eat wraps and I stocked up on fruits, vegsandwiches (with really thin etables, and raw almonds and bread). For snacks, I discovered walnuts. I felt like a squirrel. the magic that is pork rinds. They I didn’t use any electricity are crunchy, flavorful, and satisfy in the preparation of any of my those hunger cravings between real meals, and they all looked like a meals. forest floor, a layer of green with The daily flax shakes were really berries and nuts sprinkled on top. I getting to me. I understood why they were never really felt full, and though raw veganARTWORK BY ALICIA GIANSANTE necessary (colon blockage is excruciating). Howism can supposedly bring “sharpness of thought”, that seemed ever, without more servings of vegetables and grains, impossible when food was what I thought about most. By giving up they were the lifelines to my protesting body. I was temptanimals I was becoming more like one. Understandably, my girlfriend was less than thrilled about sud- ed to add some fried bacon to the shake, but didn’t want to risk the denly dating a squirrel. Our first date had involved cooking, but now fatty goodness. While eating a family meal, my parents were perplexed it was something we could no longer share together. Meals have a sig- to why I was only picking out the beef strips. Not only did they fail to nificant social role, and by limiting what I could eat, I was limiting how understand investigative writing, they were also convinced that I was going to contract scurvy and die a painful death from malnutrition. food allowed me to relate to people. At the end of the week, there were no health complications, but My girlfriend and I were able to find dietary common ground in guacamole, which was a revelation to me. With guacamole, I finally plenty of curious questions about my carnivorous diet. So what did I had something that resembled the real food of my former life, but even discover in this week of meat-dominated glory? All the conscientiousthe guacamole revelation couldn’t save me in the end. On day five and ness made me feel like I was dieting. I was constantly making sure there wasn’t too much non-meat in my food. Too much time was spent a half, I was defeated by a hamburger and fries. Giving in felt so good. There are plenty of reasons to give up on eating animal products, on what I was not eating, leaving me unable to focus on the food on my but it turns out that, for me, the basic animalistic urge of wanting to plate. Perhaps any strict regulation of food is not a great thing; being overly nitpicky about one’s food takes all the fun out of it. feel full (of something other than principles) won out. Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 29
ALMOST TRAMPLED Meg Peters
few years ago, I visited an elephant sanctuary near Cape Town, South Africa and interacted with beautiful African elephants. Later, I visited Kruger National Park, where I observed elephant families in their natural habitat. I always thought that elephants were calm, gentle creatures that would not intentionally harm any living creature. However, upon returning to the park this past August, I came very close to being trampled by an angry elephant that will probably never forget the trouble I momentarily caused. This particular safari visit was a family affair, with my sister’s boyfriend Phil added to the mix. My mother brought along her friend, Alice, and her trusty super-intense camera, jumping into Alice’s car because none of her kids volunteered to do the same. Phil was the driver of the “kids’ car,” because he was the only other person with his international driver’s license, and he followed sheepishly behind Alice. Alice was a terrible driver; she would speed down the dirt roads and stop suddenly whenever my mother pointed to some animal hiding in the bush. Phil’s car was much more enjoyable, as we idled down the roads, stopping often to watch 30 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ March 2012
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEG PETERS
the animals as they lived oblivious to our eyes. Soon bored by impala, Kruger’s most concentrated animal, we played soft music and laughed at the monkeys ambling about. The only downside to our car was my brother’s smug smirk as he claimed shotgun before our day began. After lunch and an overpriced gift shop (35 rand, or around $5, for a deck of cards), my mother complained that Phil might get lost if we continued to travel so far behind Alice’s car. We agreed to follow more closely as long as Alice slowed her car to a speed below the limit. We climbed back into our respective cars, and my brother jumped into the front passenger seat once more. After seeing a teenage male lion sleeping with one of his paws on the road, watching a few giraffe pose for the camera, and pointing in wonder as a warthog resembling Pumba from Lion King ran across the road right in front of our car, we continued to closely follow Alice’s lead. Although she had slowed to slightly below the speed limit, she resumed her habit of stopping suddenly whenever something caught her eye. When Alice had not stopped for quite a few kilometers, Phil met her speed and
assumed she would warn us if any large animal could be seen ahead. Instead, she once again stopped suddenly, leaving my siblings, Phil, and I directly behind her, scrambling to figure out why we had stopped. On our right was a small elephant, probably a quarter the size of a full-grown elephant. We all stared at the baby, snapping pictures and ignoring our left side, until we heard a noise I will never forget. The male elephant to our left was furious that some metal contraption had come between his baby and him. He trumpeted loud enough for us to be shaken in our seats. His tusks arched upward as he yelled at us, apparently demanding that we move or be trampled. My brother in the passenger seat stared with complete terror, slowly putting up his window as if the glass would protect him from the massive animal. After a few breathless seconds of alarm, we shouted at Phil to move the car, and he quickly backed up and swiveled around Alice, until we were safely in front of her. The elephant stampeded across the road, crossing the exact position we had just moved from. We had escaped death by mere seconds.
OCTOPUS Oskar Niburski
I need at least eight arms to love you. So kiss me on the lips gently so that I may transform into an octopus, all for you. With one hand I would point you in the direction of a mirror with me beside you just in case you forgot, with the second I would hold your hand ‘cause it was shaking, don’t be nervous because with my third hand I would hold your world up, the fourth would curl into a fist to make sure nothing is in your way except maybe a stupid octopus, the fifth would be forever open just in case you needed my embrace, the sixth to hold your bags and your purse and your heart and the seventh to get that eyelash out of your eye ‘cause I just noticed it and it is right there, no not there, let me get it, and the eighth would be to tickle you with. And I know you are afraid of tickles…and spiders, but I swear, I would be an octopus, and if you would ever be confused I would spit out ink and write you a love poem where I become a human and promise to stay with you forever. Under the deep blue sea, I’d see to it that you’d be mine for as long as air bubbles last, but I know, octopuses resemble squids, but if you could love me, a square, a square Squidward who wears his square pants sometimes backwards, I promise I could be your starfish. If need be I’d be your straight up mermaid, or maybe I would forget the sea and wash up on shore like a whale who just wanted to kiss the beach cause he was land-curious and I would gasp, gasp forever heavier as if my lungs never tasted your love, each breathe shorter, for you, for you, and you, and only you, and when you came to lifeguard that beach, you’d see a fish outta water. But you would catch me, in a net, made out of black dresses and thick socks, dry me out on a towel that was actually a red bed sheet and create a lifejacket out of slightly burnt meals and too long kisses but they taste wonderful anyways. So then, when it came to the question whether we sunk or swim, we’d reply it is going swimmingly. And you would kiss me, like a fish kissing the water for the first time, it would be wet and I’d apologize out of embarrassment and you would say don’t worry sailor. And so we’d sail, it wouldn’t matter where, from here to everywhere except there, it would be like the Titanic was placed in Lake Ontario in the summer, wondering what hockey was. And you’d snuggle close, as if I had eight arms but only needed two, and you’d say, I love you.
ARTWORK BY ALICIA GIANSANTE
Volume 14, Issue 5 ▪ Incite Magazine ▪ 31
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Incite Magazine - March 2012