Inspiration for an Enlightened Generation
Orwell was right p.14
11 Million Voices p.16 Inter-dimensional Perspectives p.28
The Rise of the Remix p.44 Conspiracyville, USA p.60
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Konekt Issue 2 Editor’s Note
Orwell Rolls in his Grave by Katherine Morton
11 Million Voices by Maryam Adrangi and Whit Jones
The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance by Matthew Lombardi
Understanding the Nobel Peace Prize by Samuel Yorke
The Threat of a Nuclear Iran by Jason Wiseman
Revelations by Jeff Fraser
The Lost Self by Kevin Shabahan
Our Prologue Days by Paul Tye
Mumblecore by Andrew Smyth
Eh Musical Compilation by Kate Kilgour and Ally Hall
Interview with E-603: The Rise of the Remix by Joanna Adams
Culture & Society
The Glamourization of Addiction by Andrea McPherson
I’m Onto Your Game by Melyssa Wright
Welcome to Conspiracyville, USA by Amarnath Amarasingam
It’s All the Same by Jeff Waite
Tipping the Scales by Kelly Reid
The Market Taketh and the Market Giveth by Ryan Zade
When I Was Your Age by Jason Collins
DIY: Resisting the Rewind by Samantha Evans
Science & Technology 80
Tweeting Your Way Through by Sean O’Loghlen
Bye, We’ll Chat by Celine Song
Join the discussion @ Konekt.ca
Konekt Magazine Issue 2 Winter 2010
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Note Thanks for picking up Issue #2 of Konekt Magazine. After taking the student community by surprise this past September, we’ve worked hard to ensure that the product you are reading today is one that has improved significantly, taking into account all of the fantastic feedback from you, our loyal reader. We’ve brought some new faces on board, tweaked our content, and moved towards some key layout and design upgrades that will make Konekt a more enjoyable read. Meanwhile, we’ve maintained the stuff you loved: a diversity of unfiltered opinions on topics ranging from pop culture to philosophy to technology and anything else your peers have endeavoured to share. Bringing together the inaugural issue of Konekt was quite the challenge, but it was nothing compared to the task of putting together a worthy encore. For helping us get this marvelous publication together on time, I want to use this space to thank my new associate editors and all of our writers for their hard work and dedication. I also must single out our wonderfully talented Art Director, Jennifer Mann, to whom all the credit goes for the stunning visual appeal of this magazine. Last but not least, Konekt’s founders and publishers Jeffrey Howard and Neil Martin must be acknowledged for their tireless efforts in improving this project day in and day out, skillfully managing every step of creation from idea to print. Konekt is a testament to the hard work of so many people. This is the first student publication in Kingston’s history that is available on all three post secondary campuses. It is also the first and only student publication that is fully funded by advertising dollars from local community businesses, a truly special benchmark in town-gown relations. For that, I want to thank our many generous sponsors and advertisers for putting their faith into this student project and helping to make Konekt a high-quality, free publication for Kingston’s students. As always, if you have any suggestions or want to write for the next edition of Konekt, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org Sincerely,
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GLOBAL ISSUES GLOBAL ISSUES
ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE: THE CYBERSECURITY ACT OF 2009 Katherine Morton
It might be time to pull 1984 off of the fiction shelf. Meet Bill S.773, the Cybersecurity Act that has the Blogosphere in a frenzy.
dream might soon become a reality, because...
there are many propositions in this act that have the potential to end the free Internet as we know it. The bill itself is filled with murky language and ambiguity. It begins with the findings of congress related to the need for more Internet security. Contextually loaded words like “cyber-Katrina”, “9/11”, and “terror” “terrorists” “terrorism” abound in this section. Amusingly enough, at one point a quotation from President Obama is included which actually holds China up as a model for Internet control. “We know that cyber-espionage and common crime is already on the rise,” said the President, “And yet while countries like China have been quick to recognize this change, for the last eight years we have been dragging our feet”. Right. Because everyone wants to be like China when it comes to censorship! Of real interest, however, are Sections 14 and 18 of the act. The former section designates the Department of Commerce as the “clearinghouse of cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information”. One might ask, “What the hell does that mean?”. Well, in the words of the bill itself, it means that the Secretary of Commerce “shall have access to all relevant data concerning such networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access”. And this means that...
all those nifty little acts that have been designed to protect individual privacy, like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Privacy Protection Act will no longer be able to protect U.S. citizens from the all-seeing eye of the government. It is Section 18 of the act that has really grabbed media attention though. This may be because it essentially gives the president the power to disconnect or limit access of private sector computers to the Internet in the event of an as-yet obscure and undefined “internet emergency”.
The bill defines the particular private sector computers in question as “critical infrastructure”. And it defines “critical infrastructure” as being “composed of public and private institutions in the sectors of agriculture, food, water, public health, emergency services, government, defense industrial base, information and telecommunications, energy, transportation, banking finance, chemicals and hazardous materials, and postal and shipping”. So, um, everything. Granted, the state has assured the public that these new powers will not be used for evil, but rather for the good of the nation. But who decides which data is “relevant”? Are individual credit card bills relevant? Cell phone records and Internet communications? News and journalism? This definition is left up to the person who pulls the strings. Not to mention that once someone’s personal information is accessed, no matter what the original reason for uncovering it, that data could conceivably be used for a variety of other purposes. Perhaps most importantly, the bill gives no guidance regarding what conditions are necessary for the President to declare an “internet emergency”, allowing him to pull the kill-switch. These decisions are left to a very small, very powerful group of men and women. Now, as many have pointed out, there is no guarantee that this bill will ever get passed. But it may yet slither its way through congress by virtue of Sen. Rockefeller being chairman of the committee in charge of approving it. The bottom line is that a free and critical media is essential for keeping governments in check, and there is the small matter of where the line will be drawn. How far will the U.S. government go in the name of counter-terrorism, and how many countries (ahem, Canada) will follow their example? In the words of Sen. Rockefeller as quoted recently in the Washington Post: “It’s not a problem that will ever completely be solved. You have to keep making higher walls”.
Introduced by United States Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe, the bill is described by congress, innocuously enough, as “A bill to ensure the continued free flow of commerce within the United States and with its global trading partners through secure cyber communications”. Sen. Rockefeller has long been a supporter of tightening Internet controls. Great grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller and nephew of famous banker David Rockefeller, the senator has never been a fan of the information highway. He once pegged “cybersecurity as the number one national hazard of attack”. Even more telling, after portraying the Internet on C-SPAN as a refuge for terrorists and other scary monsters, he posed the question: “would it have been better if we had never invented the Internet?”. Rockefeller’s
11 Million Voices: A youth call for action at the UN
Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen by Maryam Adrangi and Whit Jones
Maryam Adrangi graduated from Queen’s in 2007 with a degree in Environmental Geology and has been active in the environmental sector ever since. She has worked on environmental education projects in Bolivia and Ecuador, and is involved with several non-profit organizations, including the Sierra Youth Coalition and the Canadian Water Network. Maryam is now a Grassroots Organizer with the Rainforest Action Network in Toronto, campaigning against the Tar Sands. On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, Maryam and many other dedicated youth from around the world participated in a highly publicized sit-in at the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The entire event was captured by Whit Jones, Deputy Field Director of Energy Action Coalition, in a minute-by-minute live blog. Here is what happened:
17:01 I’m at the heart of the Bella Center, where youth activists from around the world have set-up a sit in. They are reading aloud the names of the 11 million people who have called for a fair and ambitious treaty, and are refusing to leave until their voices are heard and demands are met. 17:18 Sit-in holding strong. Media swirling and no sign of security. Looks like they are choosing to ignore this for now. Something tells me that these people wont allow themselves to be ignored. 17:34 More people join the sit-in as media continues to interview youth from around the world calling for a real deal here in Copenhagen. I’m hearing names being read from Nigeria, Jordan, the US, Canada, Australia. The world is clearly ready for action — when the people lead, it’s time for the leaders to follow. 17:51 After 51 minutes, security finally moves in, asks them to sit on side. Young people refuse to leave, holding strong. U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, the U.S.’s chief negotiator just walked by and definitely noticed. 17:57 Circle turns in-ward to huddle and decide what to do. With very little hesitation, they turn back and stay strong. Applause from on-lookers. 18:02 I just ran around the circle – this is truly global! There are people from Canada, Wales, Turkey, France, U.S.A., Denmark, Australia, Germany, China, Lebanon, England, Ireland, Kenya, Norway. Young people around the world are invested in each other’s futures and are not about to give up. 18:07 Many people just dragged away. There is a bit of pandemonium and everyone is spread out. Chants of “the Whole World is Watching” coming from throughout the halls. 18:11 Still about 19 people reading names – super inspirational. Video coming…. Trying to figure what happened to the two people who were dragged away 18:33 Medium risk-team has dispersed, but 17 people still reading names. Doesn’t the UN realize that with fewer people it’s going to take a lot more time to read through the 11 million names that are calling for a fair, ambitious and binding treaty?
and is waiting to see what happens… Reading of names picks up again, still bringing the voices of 11 million people into the Bella Center.
19:04 All the lights in the corridor turn off, they are trying to get civil society to leave.
01:33 Members of civil society being run out of different corners of the Bella Center – security is definitely making a sweep. Sitters are clear they aren’t trying to make trouble for security, just trying to make sure their future is secured.
19:23 This update comes in the form of quotes from people sitting-in: “We want a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal. I’m prepared to not leave until we get this” – Ann, China
01:43 No signs of security yet. Live Web Stream is going strong and people are contacting us from all over the world. This is truly incredible. Thank you for all of the support.
“UN security has dragged us to the side just like rich nations have been doing to developing countries ever since these negotiations began. We wanted to show that we will not be pushed aside without our voices being heard and that’s why we tried to stay in a circle, so that the voices of these 11 million people can’t be pushed aside.” – Maryam, Canada “The voices of these 11 million people can’t be ignored. We won’t allow it” – Dominek, Germany
01:44 Spoke too soon. Security showed up, appointed person liaising with them. 01:51 Security ready to crack down. Jeh is giving an impromptu speech, paraphrasing “we have been told by the Secretariat that if we risk arrest, we could jeopardize the ability for ALL of civil society to be involved in coming days. We have come to consensus, despite reservation, that we will take our concerns outside and take it to the streets. We are calling for mass civil disobedience, and solidarity actions around the country. Join us.” Applause!!!
19:30 We’ve confirmed that the one person taken away by security has been released, glad he is safe. Oh, and it turns out that they turned off the lights for Earth Hour, thanks WWF! 19:36 Senator John Kerry just walked by the sit-in, shook the hands of each of the 19 people, and told them “Thank you for your commitment.” I hope Senator Kerry can convince President Obama to show the same sort of leadership when he arrives on Friday. 22:03 About 20 yards from the sit-in, fossil fuel hack is interviewed by Fox news – people riled up by sit-in respond with “boos” and laughter. He’s laughed off the camera. 22:15 During the sit-in we spotted one of our climate heroes here in Copenhagen, Dessima Williams, chairwoman of the AOSIS (small island state negotiating block). We asked her for her reactions on the sit-in, and told us an incredible story! 14 years ago she sat in at this SAME center for 8 days to urge military funding to move towards women focused development. A true hero, and the struggle goes on.
22:38 Thanks to the support of all of you online, this action is now resonating louder and louder here at the UN Climate Talks and beyond. But we still need your support. The youth at the sit-in are talking with delegates from around the world as they pass by the demonstration. We want to be able to tell these negotiators — many of whom are now coming under immense pressure from rich countries to back down and compromise their very survival — that the world supports them. We know that 19 people at a sit-in isn’t enough — we need your voice too. Can you add your message of support to this post and push it past 100 comments? We’ll repeat those messages to our heroes as they walk by, and remind the countries blocking progress that the world is watching! 23:45 Maryam puts up an incredible personal post about her experience. 00:00 We made it to midnight! The conference center begins to empty out and janitors start tidying up the space. 01:12 Team meeting to figure out plan for night. Things are getting quiet around here, but your comments and tweets are keeping it energetic! 01:25 Security circling corridors. Team has sat back down
01:54 Over 150 people watching live stream. Thousands of people know what’s going on. Thanks everyone for joining us. Gotta run before I get swept away!
23:45 Maryam blogged: “We just began our seventh hour here in the Bella Centre, sitting-in until world leaders achieve a fair, ambitious, and legally-binding treaty. The past few hours have been incredibly positive as party members, NGO members, and UN observers have come by to meet us and ensure our wellbeing by offering us food, water, and blankets. Members of party delegations have walked by giving us a thumbs up, and several climate A-listers have walked by to shake our hands and congratulate us on our bravery. Some other successes: -Someone made a facebook group called “I will stand up while youth sit down in Copenhagen” -We are the main story on German television -Al Gore sent a message of support -NDP leader Jack Layton came by to say hello to some of the Canadians and international youth sitting-in -John Kerry came by and shook our hands -Head of AOSIS gave us an awesome shout-out On another special note: The amount of civil society that has been allowed into the conference centre has already been restricted significantly. As we come to the high-levels of the negotiations, civil society’s access will be further restricted from 1500 participants to 300. The voice of civil society is being increasingly muted. But the voice must be heard loud and clear: We need a fair, ambitious, and legally binding climate deal now. There is no time to delay.” *For the full blog entry and more first hand accounts of the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference, visit http://itsgettinghotinhere.org
18:56 Rumor is that they might be kicking out all of civil society at 7 PM (4 minutes from now). We’ll see what happens.
The Kids Donâ€™t Stand a Chance by Matthew Lombardi
A kid growing up in Canada in the 21st century should not have to learn about the true nature of this planet from a WorldVision commercial.
According to the UN’s latest Human Development Index, an annual global survey that measures key indicators such as life expectancy, literacy, per capita GDP, and school enrolment, Canada ranks as the 4th best country in the world in terms of overall quality of life.
If we really do believe the rhetoric our politicians spew about our children being our society’s most precious resource, and that they are our future, then we ought to treat them as such. That means making sure they actually understand the ever more interconnected world in which they are growing up. How can we claim to be properly educating our leaders of the future, while keeping them blind and ignorant to the harsh global realities of the present?
We are a very desirable place to live, by any standard. Despite this, our primary and secondary school education curriculum is horribly deficient in teaching kids about the realities of the everglobalizing world in which they are growing up. So why is the kid next door’s prime ambition to become rich? Because he hasn’t been taught any better. Instead of learning about the realities of the developing world beyond our borders, he learns math and science and other disciplines that will presumably lead straight to some moneymaking enterprise upon reaching adulthood.
We should all lament the fact that students being educated in a country with the 4th highest quality of life are kept in such a sheltered bubble of naivety. It’s even more incomprehensible, as a country built upon immigration, that we don’t properly teach our youth about the world at large. Stephanie Nolan, the New Delhi Bureau Chief of the Globe and Mail, once said, “If you have an iPod like mine, or a cellphone, or a Wii, you are connected to the 14-year-olds… who are enslaved by rebel groups in the Congo and who dig for coltan, the mineral that is the essential ingredient in our gadgets.” Why don’t we teach our kids that fact? Instead, we are concerned with their Grade 10 science curriculum and making sure they understand how the iPod works. To hell with any concern for how it came to be.
You know that old saying, ‘give a man a fish’? It’s time to update it: Give a kid a new pair of shoes, and keep him entertained for days. Give a kid proper information about where those shoes may have come from, and he’ll have a conscience for life. Kids should not be sheltered from the harsh realities of the world. As soon as children learn the loop-swoop-and-pull, they should be taught to ask instinctively, are my new shoes the result of my peers around the world being exploited in a sweatshop? This lesson may sound like something too extreme for a kid to handle, but it isn’t.
Why aren’t we giving our kids the information they deserve, so that they have the opportunity to develop ambitions imbued with a sense of social responsibility? The rare kids who possess this sense are anomalies. Forget about teaching corporate social responsibility for business students.
Beginning to teach global responsibility for the very first time in University is akin to closing the barn door once the horse has already been stolen. Our education system needs to teach kids a sense of global social responsibility far before their entrance into post-secondary degrees. In his 2005 Commencement Address at Knox College, thenSenator Barack Obama told the graduating students, “Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself.” I couldn’t agree more. I certainly don’t want my tombstone to read, “Here lays Matthew Lombardi, who wasted his entire life marketing new scents of liquid tide for Proctor & Gamble. But at least he died rich”.
I would like to believe that I have more to give to the world, but more importantly, I know that I have a responsibility to give more to the world. What I am advocating for is not so radical. Just provide kids with the truth. They are smart, resourceful and, given the opportunity to grow up and learn through a socially conscious lens, will likely come up with better solutions for correcting injustice than the adults currently running our world. The truth is empowering. It gives kids a sense of responsibility from a young age. It gives them the opportunity to develop a sense of ambition that isn’t solely focused on making a buck. It’s time to update our primary and secondary school curriculums, to ensure that the next generation of leaders is imbued with a more thorough sense of global awareness and social responsibility. Great change begins at the grassroots and education can be the silver bullet.
Why do so many adolescents reply “rich” when asked what they want to be when they grow up?
Understanding the Nobel Peace Prize by Samuel Yorke
Without question, the choice to award Mr. Obama the Nobel Peace Prize received a massive amount of press, with every political and cultural news source offering a view.
During the summer of 2008, I was fortunate enough to attend a ceremony for Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed Yunus in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I was working as an intern for Dr. Yunus at the time for his microfinance organization Grameen Bank (which he shared the Peace Prize with in 2006). After the ceremony, a number of youth from local universities in Dhaka and international students such as myself were invited to sit with then Nobel Chairman Ole Danbolt Mjos. In addition to answering questions from students, Mr. Mjos gave his opinion on the successes and failures of the Prize itself. Mr. Mjos admitted from the onset of the discussion that, in the twilight of his tenure as Chairman, he was able to speak more candidly about the history of the prize.
More specifically, he offered interesting insight into two choices by the committee: the addition of Al Gore; and the exclusion of Mohandas Gandhi. In the case of Mr. Gandhi, Mr. Mjos stated that his exclusion by the Nobel committee during the aftermath of Indian independence was a severe and unequivocal oversight. Mr. Mjos argued that this choice is particularly difficult and telling for a number of reasons. The Nobel Prize cannot, as stipulated by Alfred Nobel’s will and testament, be given posthumously. This is particularly difficult in the case of many individuals who, because of their commitment to peace, place themselves continuously in situations of grave danger, either from war, assassination, violence, or otherwise. This was certainly the case for Mr. Gandhi, and, in the words of Mr. Mjos, it is exceptionally tragic that Mr. Gandhi died before he could be honoured by the committee. And even though the shortlist for nominated candidates is confidential, Mr. Mjos admitted that Mr. Gandhi had been shortlisted, and subsequently passed over, a number of times. When placed into context, Mr. Gandhi’s case can be seen, according to Mr. Mjos, as a lesson for the committee to not view the prize as a “lifetime achievement award”; the committee must, in other words, not assume that there will be future moments to honour worthy candidates and recognize their place in history. By contrast, Mr. Mjos stated that the addition of Mr. Gore to the list of Nobel laureates was very surprising. To be sure, Mr. Mjos did not go so far as to say that Mr. Gore was undeserving; rather, he insisted that Mr. Gore’s environmental activism did not fulfill the conventional understanding of the Peace Prize criteria. As Alfred Nobel’s will stipulates, the prize should beawarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” It is difficult, on the surface, to fit a commitment to voicing the necessity of environmental sustainability into the criteria. Certainly, Mr. Gore did nothing to reduce or abolish international militaries. But he did stimulate awareness in the realm of environ
mental degradation and the potential threat to human security. This focus on expected benefits of environmental awareness (i.e. limiting the spread of famine, flood, disease, and conflict over increasingly scarce natural resources), according to Mr. Mjos, was the defining indicator in Mr. Gore’s selection. When coupled with the international attention and financial endowment (approx. $1.6 million US) that comes with a Peace Prize award, Mr. Mjos concluded that Mr. Gore and his cause of environmental security were the obvious choice in 2007. However, Mr. Mjos cautioned that the choice of Mr. Gore of the Nobel criteria set a wary precedent. While Mr. Gore’s cause met the stipulations when considering his attention to the possibilities of devastation if environmental sustainability was not acknowledged on the international stage, Mr. Mjos admitted that Mr. Gore, while innovative and renowned, failed to truly meet the image of the archetypal laureate set forth by Alfred Nobel. In other words, laureates who only meet certain interpretations of the criteria are appreciated less than those who fit the exact specificities of “fraternity”, “standing armies”, or “peace congresses”, for example. As such, Mr. Mjos stated that the committee was considering the possibility of adding another category to the Nobel Prizes, such as a Prize for Environmentalism, in order to acknowledge properly such potential laureates while maintaining the true vision of Alfred Nobel. Now, with that backdrop in mind, enter the choice of Mr. Obama. Much has been made of the fact that, in the early days of his presidency, Mr. Obama was nominated for the award. Why not wait until the end of his presidential tenure? In truth, the Peace Prize itself is not meant to be a “lifetime achievement” award; it is meant to highlight the figures in the past 12 months that have contributed the most to the promotion of world peace. This means that, as the choice of Mr. Gore indicates, the selection of a Nobel laureate can seem less merit based and more of a popularity contest (i.e. Mr. Gore can place his Nobel Prize alongside an Oscar for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, for example). But as the exclusion of Gandhi indicates to members of the committee, time is of the essence and the committee must be cognisant of their place in history as much as any other aspect in the decision making process. That said, the largest difficulty with the decision isn’t the short period of time that it took for Mr. Obama to win. Indeed, his rhetoric has changed the dynamic of international discussions in the realm of nuclear disarmament and instigated a new forum of dialogue with the Muslim world (both of which are distinctly salient when contrasted with his predecessor). No, the problem with the decision of Thorbjorn Johansen and the rest of the committee lies in Alfred Nobel’s final criteria: that the award be used to elevate the cause of the laureate. If nothing else, Mr. Obama’s persona has become a lightning rod for anger and a stimulator of divisiveness in recent months and his Nobel Peace Prize did nothing to advance his many causes internationally; in fact, the effect was the exact opposite. While it is difficult to believe that any of the Nobel committee members could have foreseen the extent to which their choice would bring Mr. Obama’s administration negative attention, it was inevitable that the selection of Mr. Obama would be controversial. That said, it is rare that a Nobel Peace Prize is not controversial; that is one of the reasons why the shortlist is not made public. When placed in the context of past concerns of the Nobel committee, we can better understand the factors weighing on the decision process. But it should not be understated that past failures cannot be amended by a rushed decision.
Overwhelmingly, the view has been one of denouncement — either of the Prize itself or of the specific choice of Mr. Obama. There are a number of arguments for why Mr. Obama is undeserving of the honour, some of which will be discussed in this article. But what hasn’t been discussed, at least not to a large extent, is the evolution of the committee and the decision making process, which can be useful in contextualizing the choice of Mr. Obama.
The Threat of a Nuclear Iran by Jason Wiseman
As new nuclear facilities are discovered in Iran, accompanied with long-range missile testing, the Israeli-Iranian Cold War might turn hot sometime in the near future. This article will analyze the Iranian regime in an attempt to explain why it poses a serious threat to international peace and security. First and foremost it is crucial to separate the Iranian leadership and the Iranian regime from the Iranian people and public. Iranians around the world have shown incredible courage and solidarity in defying the repressive dictatorship that is the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is clear that the Iranian leadership does not truly speak for their people. The citizens of Iran continue to struggle daily in their attempts to bring down the corrupt theocracy they live under and free themselves from state repression. Many people inquire as to whether Iran truly poses a serious threat to international peace and security and, if so, then why. This is broken down into 3 categories. First, the nuclear threat. Second, Iran’s state sponsoring of terrorism. Third, state sanctioned incitement to genocide. Iran’s nuclear threat is often perceived to be just a threat against the State of Israel or, at the very most, only threatening to the Middle East. The truth is that Iran’s history of nuclear development, accompanied with its history of lies and deceit about the intentions and progress of its nuclear development pose a serious threat to international peace and stability. Iran has already set off an arms race in the Middle East which encompasses many different states in the region.
States that are currently believed to be pursuing nuclear powers include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Algeria. In addition to this, the Gulf States have been spending billions in ballistic missile defence systems. This is a result of a combination of challenges to regime status and fear from a nuclear Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran has cynically placed its nuclear facilities deep underground in heavily fortified bunkers in densely populated civilian areas. This makes an air strike against Iran not only strategically difficult, but also politically dangerous. If the US or Israel were to strike Iranian nuclear facilities it would undoubtedly kill many innocent civilians in the process as a result of the Iranian regime deliberately and illegally putting its civilians near its nuclear facilities. This acts as a strong deterrent because it would allow the Iranian leadership to echo a rallying cry across the Muslim and Arab world to unite against the West and Israel in response to any US or Israeli air strike.
Increasingly troubling are the alliances Iran has made in the international community.
Its two closest friends are rogue states North Korea and Syria. Although North Korea was initially believed to be the ring leader in this axis, Iran is now believed to be leading the pack because of its missile fuel development. Both North Korea and Syria’s nuclear arsenals use liquid fuel for their weapons, while Iran is believed to be acquiring solid fuel. The difference between the two is that liquid fuel has a short shelf life, forcing each missile to be fuelled up close to its launch and be stored above ground. With solid fuel a missile can be stored for up to a year underground and launched immediately. Solid fuel also provides greater accuracy, longer range and is needed in order to hold nuclear warheads. Currently within Iranian missile range is the entire Middle East plus six European Union countries. What is most important to note in understanding the nature of this threat is that the regime is built on a Shi’ite fundamentalist ideology which is both extremely dangerous and unforgiving. This ideology subscribes to the belief that the path to heaven can be achieved in a nuclear apocalypse which will bring the return of the 12th Imam and the end of days. This is displayed every year in Iran’s Ashura ceremony which commemorates an ancient martyr in a ritual where people cause themselves to bleed out their foreheads by methodically beating or whipping their own bodies to show their commitment to martyrdom. What is important to take from this is that the Iranian leadership glorifies martyrdom and death while its enemies believe in the sanctity of life. Whether Iran’s nuclear arsenal would be used to destroy or extort, it is crucial to recognize that the Israeli-Iranian Cold War cannot be viewed in the same context and the US-Soviet Union Cold War. This is because the concept of mutually assured destruction will not be viewed as a deterrent by the Iranian leadership but rather as an incentive. During the entire existence of the Soviet Union there were never any Soviet suicide bombers, however Iran produces hordes of them. Simply put, Iran has shown that it is willing to put its ideology before its own survival, making its possession of nuclear weapons an unprecedented threat to international peace and security. The more imminent and ongoing threat posed by the Iranian regime is that it is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, providing material, financial and operational support to terrorist organizations operating from Afghanistan to Argentina. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Core (IRGC) has a sect called Al-Quds which deals with their proxy terrorist armies such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Muslim Brotherhood cells in Egypt and Jordan. Iran continues to spend billions of dollars on funding these terrorist organizations, resulting in the deterioration of the Iranian economy and the expansion of deadly weaponry for Iran’s proxy armies. Hamas bases itself in the Palestinian Territories while Hezbollah bases itself in Southern Lebanon. As of Sept 10, 2001 (a day before 9-11), Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in history. Hamas on the other hand has launched more than 8000 rockets into Israel, all aimed at soft civilian targets. Both of these terrorist organizations are subsidiaries of the Iranian regime. Hezbollah and Hamas fighters were both trained by the Iranian army, on Iranian soil. Both groups use Iranian tactics, Iranian weapons, and their long range weapons are controlled by the Iranian army. The Iranian regime works tirelessly to increase the danger of terrorism, particularly nuclear terrorism, worldwide.
As tensions continue to rise in the Middle East many people are asking whether Iran will follow suit and abandon its nuclear program or continue to defy the international community.
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When a dictator with the blood of tens of thousands of his countrymen on his hands talks “extinction” he must be taken seriously. And when UN diplomats rise to their feet and clap their hands at a call to genocide by a man with such impressive credentials, they must understand that their public display of support cannot be ameliorated by murmurings of ‘we don’t really mean it’ in private. As time continues to run out, the world is faced only with bad and worse options about how to deal with the Iranian regime. Collective action against Iran must be taken soon. A nuclear Iran would scuttle Middle East peace efforts, undermine moderate voices in the region, and place Israel under threat of annihilation. Iran’s nuclear program poses a direct threat to international security and is not safeguarded by the checks and balances of a democratic state. As its leaders continue to reap the benefits of having stolen an election in broad daylight, the Iranian people continue to suffer at the hands of this ruthless dictatorship. A nuclear-armed Iran would embolden human rights abusers and undermine Canadian efforts to promote universal human rights and dignity. The world must join together in stopping the Iranian nuclear program, saving the Iranian people and putting an end to this merciless regime once and for all.
184 PRINCESS STREET
In regards to Iran’s incitement to genocide, this is an issue which must be taken very seriously because hateful speech is often followed by hateful actions. Iran is unequivocal in its rhetoric that it seeks the destruction of Israel, making Iran the only UN member-state ever to publicly declare that it is committed to the destruction of another UN member-state. Going beyond words, Iran has matched its rhetoric with actions clearly aimed at achieving this goal. Iran’s constant funnelling of arms to its proxy armies, its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons accompanied with its record of deception towards the West, clearly demonstrates that the Iranian regime must be taken seriously when it openly states that it wants to destroy the State of Israel. Perhaps most disturbingly is the UN’s impotent response to the genocidal and anti-Semitic rhetoric coming from President Ahmadinejad. Although some UN diplomats (including Canada’s) either boycotted or walked out of Ahmadinejad’s latest hate speech, he was met with a roaring applause by many other diplomats. No country, particularly one with as serious a security threat as Israel, could possibly ignore Ahmadinejad’s call for genocide. To ignore the threat this dictator poses to the world would be both irresponsible and suicidal. American columnist William Safire puts it best when he states:
Revelations by Jeff Fraser
“The universe is ending,” I said upon my arrival. “That’s a hell of a greeting,” he replied. “What happened to ‘Hello’?” Agat inhabited one of a few islands remaining in a sea of thermal equilibrium. His library was within the event horizon of a space-time singularity, strong enough to create a thousand-lightyear-wide antientropic pocket, in which atoms and molecules could still form. It was a modest habitat; in the sense that none of it was extended beyond the four physical dimensions and neither was there any exotics involved in its construction. Agat had once told me that his library was the size of a G-type star, though I was too young to have ever seen a star and I had no experience from which to draw a comparison. When I saw him these days, he chose to be an old, graying man, with lined jowls, liver spots, and a round belly. I did not know why. “It’s good to see you,” he said, slapping me on the back. “You’ve been away too long.” “I have,” I replied. It was always good to see Agat, despite his ugliness. Of my few friends, he was the one I most admired. Perhaps that was because he was the one I least understood. I was always unsure whether his intellect simply surpassed mine in capacity, or his age had brought him cognitive powers I hadn’t yet developed (by any reasonable metric of time, my age, raised to a two-digit power, was still only a fraction of his). We knew many, if not most, of the same things, but he had experienced much I knew only in concept, and harboured perspectives that never ceased to surprise me. Unlike many of my siblings, I found that this occasioned respect rather than envy. Agat was a scientist, in a very loose sense of the word. Many days he spent reading the texts of myriad extinct civilizations, slowly and methodically, though what he gained from them I have yet to discover. In his library he kept only his most prized selections. Some were made of various organic or silicon compounds, some were quantum-encoded and some used more developed forms of data storage; he arranged them by medium, from least to most advanced, so that one could traverse his shelves as if walking through the veins of technological progress, from books, to hardware computers, to soft data storage in imaginary matter. Of course, that is only figurative – one could not hope to walk the length of his vast, planet-sized vaults. Often, he would visit the histories his books described to better his understanding–the Great Division of the Andromedan Obrids, the Hysidian Circle, or the American Civil War. Occasionally, he would experiment with intelligent species of his own design, hoping to learn some new law of consciousness or chaos. The sight of Agat smug with some new finding was always a welcome one.
On that particular Sunday, however, it had not been Agat that had beckoned me. One of the old man’s idiosyncrasies was to demand visitors take the form he most preferred for himself; so I dressed in a physical body and translated into his home to make one final effort to entice him before we moved on. I might have known it would be a vain attempt, but something compelled me there all the same. “I don’t think so,” Agat said, as I had expected. “Once the branes separate completely, all the energymatter in the universe will dissipate,” I urged. “The vacuum interstices will separate. Space-time will fold upon itself; not even dark energy will survive.” “And I will be reduced to nothingness,” he said. “I will return to the oblivion from whence I came. Out like a light, ashes to ashes and all that poetry. In a word, I’ll be dead.” He smiled warmly. “Is that so improper?” It was true that many sentient beings before us had expired of their own volition. The concept of statistically diminishing returns – what Agat jokingly called ‘Pascal’s Bane’, though I never learned the reference – had been a universally accepted doctrine for aeons. No sane person wanted to exist for eternity--it gets boring. But Agat had lived the majority of the universe’s lifetime, trillions of his Earth years and though I had only been around for the final chapter, I had never seen him show signs of depletion. Agat was still, as he would say, “young at heart.” And I knew that if I had to go on without him, I would be leaving behind something I loved very dearly. “At least come and see the other side. Imagine how beautiful the birth of a new verse will be,” I said. I knew he could sense my excitement, so I stopped trying to conceal it. “We’ve found a verse developing at a triple intersection! Just try and imagine what the temporal experience there would be like. The new physical laws, even just moving from one point in space to another – ” “No,” he said, with no hint of a question. “Sorry to disappoint, my young friend, but this particular universe and I go a long way back. I’ve developed a bit of an attachment to her.” I had long ago learned the danger of asking Agat direct questions, but at that moment I could hardly help myself. “Why not?” I demanded. In my fleshy ears it sounded like the whine of a small child. Agat heaved a sigh. It was an interesting gesture, whose roots in human evolution I had never bothered to trace. But I knew that Agat’s every action was measured, every subtle movement driven by a reason, in spite of – or including – the frail appearance he chose. “Aeons ago,” he said, “I was human. Before the Collapse, before the extinction of physical beings, before the merging of galaxies, before humanity’s sun obliterated the planet Earth, before humans discovered immatter and learned to transcend their bodies, before they even fully understood the laws of physics or consciousness or that empathy was a
On a Sunday I went to see Agat to tell him that the universe was ending. He already knew, of course, but I had not spoken to him in some time and was unsure as to what he intended to do about it.
chaotic mathematical quantity – I was a human. I was a train attendant, actually. I handed out biscuits and orange juice to old ladies.” I didn’t know what a train, a biscuit, or an orange juice was, but such confusion was part of the price I habitually paid if I expected answers from Agat. “I wasn’t a particularly special human being. I went to church, I paid my taxes, I raised my family and I lived my banal human life. One day, I met a man who gave me a letter with the secret to immortality. He didn’t say a word, I can’t recall his face and I have very little reason to remember him other than the letter he handed me before he walked off. I spent some time, a little later, trying to find him – but the universe is a big place and those who had heard anything about it seemed to think he was gone. Somewhere, or nowhere.” He paused a moment, and produced a smoking pipe from his pocket that was magically already filled with tobacco. It began smoldering of its own accord,and he set it against his rubbery lips, slowly inhaling a puff. In the silence, a hundred million electrons flitted in and out of existence in the air between us, though with my primitive human senses I couldn’t see them. I waited patiently. “The letter wasn’t just a step-by-step guide to leaving my biological body behind,” he said, upon exhaling. “Yes, it did contain the Kobyshev complex field matter equations that humanity wouldn’t discover until millennia later, and it also revealed the solution to the mind-body perception problem— and yes, it did explain the meditation states and surgeries I would need to achieve transcendence.” Another puff. “But the better part of the letter contained simple truths about my life, and the things I would learn in my life. “I didn’t see that when I first read the letter, of course – it was all gibberish then. But as the ages marched relentlessly, worlds died and species were born, that letter would be the guiding hand behind my greatest discoveries. It never revealed what I would learn, mind you. It was only suggestive. Selecting a few of the infinite pathways my life could take.” He thought, then, to offer me some of his leaf. I politely refused. “When I had matured into a truly unlimited consciousness, one of the first things I did was follow the most important of those suggestions: I attended a conference, held outside of space-time, in the dark place between the manifolds. A conference with myself. With many of my selves, in fact. I was the only one to attend.” He let out a single quivering guffaw at my raised eyebrow. “Every ten billion years,” he boomed, “I would attend the conference again, and speak again with my deciaeon-separated selves and would both remind myself of my previous perspectives and be refreshed and steered by them. There were always twenty-one selves at my conference and every time I attended, all the exact same words were spoken – that, of course, being because there was only one conference, at which the words were only once spoken. Yet I discovered new things every time I attended it. New perspectives on old
things, new eddies of information, novel patterns in the melee. But chiefly, I learned about myself. There is no better way to introspect than to have a real conversation with oneself.” Agat’s belly rolled with laughter, and he raised his arms in a gesture meant to illustrate grandeur. “My conference was a glorious and insightful congregation of my own vanity!” I smiled. “It’s an interesting thing to learn your future character before you experience it,” Agat continued, on a more pensive note. “I knew many billions of years ago what I would be like today – or rather, what I would be like 302 million years ago when I attended for the last time. It’s another interesting thing to know when you will stop attending the conference.” He went on before I could object to that last ominous sentence. “I can’t say I noticed it immediately,” he told me, “but there was a distinct separation between my early selves and my later selves. My earliest incarnations were garrulous and eager to share their new discoveries in much detail. On my first few attendances, I would often learn about my future discoveries in advance of making them. Those fresh ones would ask many questions and often they would be angered when my older selves withheld the answers. I remember one me, the seventh one to attend – a particularly bad eon for me, since one of my favourite apprentice races had just been wiped out in a supernova I hadn’t been able to stop – threw a tantrum and stormed out of the conference early.” He chuckled to himself and I found laughter coming out of my own chest, as I imagined a steaming young Agat cursing himself and his other selves as he stomped off back into the confines of spacetime. The youthful features that sprang into my mind oddly resembled my own. “The older my selves were, the more reserved they were, the less I learned from them. The oldest self to attend the conference – the one I was when I just attended – never spoke. At first I worried that I would become jaded and would hate my earlier enthusiasm; later I worried that I would simply run out of discoveries and have no answers to give. “But as I attended the conference again and again my self-esteem remained strong and I discovered more and more that I loved my earlier selves as one loves one’s children. I learned to withhold my knowledge from them, not because I did not want to share with them, but because I wanted to see them delight in the discoveries all the more when they made them.” He took a long breath from his pipe. He discovered, with visible surprise, that it was burnt out and tossed it high above his head. I watched it rise, in the light gravity, among bookshelves tall as skyscrapers. Eventually, it vanished from my sight. “You see, the question that pressed me most in those later years, that plagued me while I held it secret, was whether my endeavours would come of any use. As I wound down and as the universe wound down around me, I finalized my library, collected the last of what I considered the most important information in universal history – and realized that there was no one left to use it.” Agat nodded at me. “Yes, there’s you and
He gave an incurious wave up at the volumes piled above us to a vanishing point. In this body, they made me feel very small. I had seen artificial nebulae, light-years across, fashioned into massive information databases, the quantum states of their hydrogen and helium constituents spelling out mathematical equations and the mysteries of philosophy. I had seen space-time vortexes composed solely for the purpose of enlightening the entrant. But nowhere else in my travels had I encountered such variety, such scope, such completeness. “We can take it with us,” I said. “What use would it be in a new verse?” he scoffed. “All the knowledge here pertains to this universe, this history. The new frontier you’re heading for – that’s a fresh start, in every sense of the term. Nothing will be the same, not even the physical constants. You wipe clean the slate of history.” He shook his head, and for the first time I sensed something behind his boundless enthusiasm. It looked like… exhaustion. “No, friend,” he went on, “what I’ve discovered is that, at the end of the day – and I think you will agree, this is the end of the day – knowledge for the sake of knowledge is quite worthless. There must be something to do with that knowledge, in order for it to be valuable. And what will my library be worth, if I leave the only reality it was ever meaningful to?” “But you can’t end your existence believing everything you’ve done has been meaningless!” I blurted, horrorstruck. “You haven’t wasted your life. This… this is an opus! Truly worth remembering.” My voice slipped on the last word. I scolded myself for using it. But he only guffawed, long and incredulously. “I haven’t wasted anything!” he exclaimed. “My life has been wonderfully worthwhile – it’s only my library that’s worthless!” And he broke out in renewed, contagious laughter. “But I understand what you thought I meant. It was something that struck me only recently, something that saved me from my doubts. Just before my ultimate appearance at my conference, I realized it and I saw it confirmed in the faces of my ancestors. I finally discovered why I had accumulated all this knowledge. The final mystery, solved. The last answer, and all the time, the most obvious.” The real reason I had come. “You see,” said Agat, “the value of the fruits of your labour, and the value of the labour itself are two quite independent quantities.” He waved one more time, expansively, at his library, and then he smiled at me. “I didn’t do all this for the sake of the knowledge, as I once thought. I did it because I loved the doing.” That left me silent a while. “That’s it?” I asked. “That’s it.”
After Agat’s lifelong industry, the accumulation of all the knowledge towering around me, this was his parting message? Not an equation, not a unifying theory, not a grand masterpiece, but the simple moral that none of these mattered? It wasn’t the answer I was looking for. It wasn’t an answer at all, really; just another eccentricity, laid on the table for my purveyance. All my relations with Agat had built up to this, the single most important notion he expected to trawl from existence – and I could only stare blankly at him, as if he had uttered something in an alien language. Had I understood him? It was a question the others would not have asked themselves a second time. Or a third, or a fourth. Or twenty-one times. Or the many millions of times I would ask myself the same question. To my friends, Agat was a chaotic quantity – something that didn’t make sense because it wasn’t made to. I had always seen something greater, a pattern in the melee, a synthesis, though I could never explain it. In those last moments with him, and for a long time afterward, I would worry that I had been wrong. Later – a very long stretch of time later, after Agat was gone and I had watched a whole new verse grow to maturity, my time in that dead one only a fuzzy recollection – I would realize that on that day, in the great library, I had not even heard what he’d said. Most of what Agat had told me in my short time with him, I had not understood. Nor had he meant for me to. Then, I was just another presence at Agat’s conference, too eager for truth to see that the greatest lessons come from the silences in between. My life, like Agat’s, has never been about answers. It has been about perspectives; and perspectives, unlike facts and figures, are not something that can simply be shared, no matter how powerful the minds that attempt to transmit them. Perhaps my experience will take me to the same conclusion as Agat. Perhaps not. Regardless, that was what made Agat wiser than I was: his journey lay behind him. We chatted for some hours more, but it was idle. It was the kind of conversation Agat gives when he believes the most significant lesson has been imparted, whether or not it has been received. At the end, I made ready to leave. I opened a wormhole back to one of the immatter cities, where my friends were waiting to depart for the new verse. Through the twisting quantum tunnel, with senses far removed from the primitive human optics I wore as eyes, I could see crystal towers glittering with virtual light. Air molecules, unlucky enough to drift into the opening, sparkled like fireflies as they gave up all thermal energy and fell apart into their constituents. My body would, of course, do the same when I stepped through, as would Agat’s library, eventually, when the singularity ran itself dead. Only a few eons hence, the entire universe would be cold, silent and empty – what they had once called heat death. Then, ultimately, the topological structure that formed the foundation of the universe would collapse out from under it, and not even spacetime would be left. I turned back to Agat – a fragile, simple old man, with eternity at his back and a victorious laugh in his belly. “Will you … leave … now?” I asked him, with unexpected difficulty. “Not quite yet,” he replied. “I have some unfinished business before the end. Nothing too important – just a letter to deliver.”
the others. But soon you’ll be gone too. And do you plan to be catching up in the meantime?”
The Lost Self by Kevin Shabahan
I looked around the room and scrutinized my surroundings with the hope of regaining some lost facts pertaining to myself – all in vain. Above my head, the ceiling fan was decorated with silver blades that spun lazily, reflecting the light from my bedside window, growing lustrous by the newly born sun that was only starting to rise to its throne. I had no purpose–for how can one secure a purpose without a vague idea of even his own name? I was nothing more than an observer amidst a series of inanimate objects which only further obscured my state. Thus I continued to examine my surroundings, looking for a sign to point me in the direction of my lost identity. The computer desk to my right suddenly endowed me a with surge of hope; I was overwhelmed by the possibility of a sudden flood of information, almost to the point of inertia on my own behalf. It was as though a challenge had been set for me –overwhelming, but exciting at the same time. A dichotomy dwelled within me– on the one hand, a satisfaction by the comforts of stability and repelled by any sort of spontaneous disarray of the routine, while on the other hand, an inclination towards adventure and a longing for any sort of deviation from the ordinary. I rushed to my computer, nearly tripping over the footrest placed beside the bed. I sat down and turned on the computer, vaguely noticing the strong leather scent dispersing from the chair. I examined the desk while waiting with much anticipation for the computer to load and noticed an orange coffee mug with a question mark on the far left of the desk. Surrounding the keyboard was a set of silver coloured speakers a cup with a single pencil inside. The room and the desk were oddly plain. Looking around I saw only the bed in which I awoke, a foot-rest by the bed which was now knocked over to its side, a black closet which remained fully closed and the white desk on which the computer was situated. The room was a cube, with walls as white as my blank memory. When the computer finally loaded I was almost reluctant to proceed with my former pursuits and the monitor was still turned off. I began to wonder about the things I was about to indulge in, what kinds of peculiar facts was I about to attain about myself and the power which radiated from the sets of information about to enlighten me about who I was, and perhaps even more importantly, of what my future tasks should be. I began to contemplate. ‘If I was given clear knowledge about myself, would
I lose the freedom which I now had? Will I be locked inside of some never-changing life which will fetter me down to a single road from which any digressions would be prohibited by the authority of my identity? As of now I am nothing but an existing being. I am free from a name, a purpose and all the constraints which come with these; turning on the monitor would inevitably thrust me into a certain kind of life—a reality in which I would propel forward without my own choosing – but now I have absolute freedom and lack any factuality. Of course there are inherited genetic determinants that will partially limit my freedom, but I feel as though I have the power to give myself any name, any profession and any identity that seems desirable. Alas, I’m yet impeded furthermore by societal constraints and am still bound to conform to structural determinants set forth by the environment in which I’m in.’ As much as the thought of being able start a new life seemed pleasing, my rational mind would not allow me to conceive the idea in any way. At last I had gained enough courage to reach for the power button on the monitor. I was reluctant and my left hand was shaking as I reached for the button which was soon going to reveal to me the crucial facts about my identity. I was about to discover, my interests, profession, the people I knew and all the other bits of information which swarm the millions of personal computers belonging to an innumerable multitude of individuals around the globe. I finally turned the monitor on and saw a screen which disappointed me greatly and gave me a relieving sense of comfort all at once. It was disappointing to say the least, as I was preparing myself for a drastic change—but comforting in the sense that I realized this change wasn’t nearly as extreme as I had envisioned it to be. I was greeted by a password screen with two slots, one being the user-name and the other being the password box; of the latter I was fully ignorant while the former gave me nothing but a name: Oliver. Out of all the names that exist I was now bound to a single one. How was I to be certain that the house in which I was in belonged to me? Was this even my computer? Doubt was fuelling my thoughts and I began to ponder furthermore about my situation and all the uncertainty which pervaded it. I began to felt aggravated and anxiety took hold of every muscle almost to the point of convulsions – I was tempted to scream but suppressed the urge. At that point I caught a glimpse of my obscure reflection appearing on the computer screen which made my facial structure vaguely visible. My reflection was being interrupted by what seemed to be a ball moving around the screen, accompanied by the same question mark as I noticed earlier on the coffee mug. Why had I not thought of this before? I ran over to the closet and opened the door in search of an actual mirror, but to no avail. In the closet hung different items which varied by size, colour and make, but the examination of the closet deemed to have little significance in comparison with the amount of knowledge the acquisition of a mirror would bring about. I ran out of the room and into
I was dragged out of a dream by the shrill buzzing of my alarm clock this morning, when I realized that I had lost all sense of self. It was rather disconcerting at first left me in a state of shock for quite some – my bewilderment extinguished within me, all sense of panic. I looked around and found a distinct familiarity with the room in which I awoke, accompanied by a clear knowledge of the purpose of each object. Missing was any memory relative to my identity—no thoughts attached to my very self; I had no name, no face, no reminiscence of my past. I was a tabula rasa. The word “I” had lost meaning and merely useful for the sake of confirming my mere existence.
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My face was unrecogniable, like everything else that was supposedly true about me. I had implanted myself in front of a mirror in which reflect a being wholly alien to me– he appeared human but the word human had at that time, little meaning. I continued to analyze the image projected onto the mirror and noticed first the eyes which held little expression, except a sense of marvel, illuminating from the greyness of the iris and the mildly dilated pupils. The curly orange hair stood prominent upon the pale face, only adding to the unfamiliarity of it all. It was at that time when I began to look at this image in a very peculiar manner which differed greatly from the typical manner in which most people view other humans or themselves, as humans, for I was examining this character with an obliterated sense of what a human was. This reflection was not at all human to me because all humanly notions had essentially been expunged from my mind and thus all I observed was merely a living being – a being which happened to represent me. I would like to make clear the fact that I hadn’t forgotten what a human being was, but rather, I was no longer familiar with my humanity and had been granted with the ability to look upon myself not as though examining another human being just like myself, but as if I was merely just an existing being, looking upon another being, which was labelled linguistically as “Human”. In a sense it could be inferred that I was simultaneously viewing myself from a third-person perspective with an absurd sense of unfamiliarity and also pondering and contemplating my existence as the being that I was viewing – I simultaneously played the role of an observed object and the observer, as the strangeness of my reflection at that time, the utter abnormality of that which I was viewing, retained no value to me but that of an observable object fully separate from my inner thoughts. Suddenly I heard a ringing noise and deemed it to be the telephone. There was one just outside of the bathroom, hanging prominently on the wall beside the light switch. I picked it up and answered. “Hello” I said nervously into the phone. “Hi, Oliver?” replied my interlocutor on the other side. It was the voice of a female, oddly familiar–it was Mandy!
I suddenly fell onto the ground and began to have convulsions which made it seem as though electric shocks were running through my every nerve cell. With the shock rushed into me a surge of memories which rapidly filled the missing knowledge regarding my identity. Every sort of information I was to know of myself entered into my mind as if the blank slate which was formerly my mind was being painted with an artist whose art determined all my factuality. I woke up with an intolerable headache and sudden pangs to my heart. I had a dried up stream of blood running from my nose and had a hard time regaining my balance as I stood up. I was no longer a blank slate –nothing about my identity was any longer uncertain to me – a sense of wonder mixed with a sense of comfort followed by the melancholy state one gets when returning to one’s home from an adventurous trip got a hold of me. I was back to the world of familiarities. I began to ponder once again and had an interesting realization. I was now a man of identity and knew all it was that pertaining my name, but yet at the same time I was no different from the man who had hours before, absolutely no knowledge about himself. You see, I was overcome by the fear that the facts which relate to me would imprison me into a life of utter restraint but now had realized that really, my future was all in my choosing. It could be said that my past had been imprinted in me, perhaps often lacking my voluntary inclination, but the canvas remained yet incomplete and the artist who was responsible now, for completing it was no one aside from myself.
the living room, noticing a door on the far left side, which seemed to lead to the bathroom. At this point I was calmer and began taking gentle strides towards the door, examining my surroundings on the way over. The living room had an overall modern look. There was a moderately large TV fixed onto a black wooden television stand on top of which were books, a vase, newspapers and other things which didn’t quite capture my attention – although they would all be worth a look after I was done examining myself in front of a mirror. The floor was a light green carpet and there was a white couch facing the TV – again I wasn’t at all tempted to stop because my mind was now fixed on viewing myself in front of the mirror which had to be in the washroom...
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by Paul Tye Two young men have set out on a journey. To call this an odyssey would be hyperbolic. Rather, this journey is less of an Opus and more of a prologue. I have been asked to join them and assist them. As an unworthy apostle, I have been amazed. When Nathaniel Fried and Ryan LePlante told me they were producing three of Shakespeare’s most famous works, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III and The Merchant of Venice, entirely with students, in one school year, and to top it all off will be footing the bill, I told them they were crazy. Well, to be entirely true to chronology I finished my gin, ordered another, stared at them for a few seconds and told them they were crazy. Their journey is unique in content but not in nature. Rather, it is a classic story of university students, emboldened with energy and not jaded by experience, setting out to do something new. Starting Canada’s first-ever fully student-run Shakespeare repertory company falls perfectly into this category. Nat and Ryan, both fourth year drama students at Queen’s, are two of the most talented performers I have ever met. I had the pleasure of working with Nat on a production of Hamlet just three short years ago. I met Ryan through Nat and was blown away by his near expert grasp of the writings of English’s most revered and celebrated writer. Nat comes from theatre people and has been exposed to the art, both here and in England, since his childhood. Ryan attacks the stage with a ferocious perfection. Shakespeare is as close to a scared cow as our literary culture possesses. From grade school onwards we are exposed to his work and told, with little room for debate, that its greatness is self-evident. For many of us this meant fearing the playwright. However, these two men have no fear, and dive whole-heartedly into keeping his work living and relevant. Trying to explain the amount of work involved with this type of undertaking is akin to trying to unravel a carpet with a nail clipper. Every word, every suggestion, every movement must be interpreted and is laced with a half millennium of tradition and scholarly interpretation. This is where the directing process comes in and where men like Fried and LePlante hit their stride. Great directors avoid words like vision. Rather, they have to understand the stage with pragmatic realism. Each character is played by a person, each person has lived a life, and each life is filled with experiences that are
beautiful, painful and unique. It is this person who performs the character and not the other way around. Watching Nat bring this out of actors was amazingly emotional and rewarding. What this technique develops is not only a cast that better understands their roles, but also actors who better understand themselves. This is the foundation for the monolithic task that is a Shakespearean acting. My role is simple. I manage the house; keep the bank account in order and keep enough sanitizer around to avoid a mini H1N1 pandemic amongst the cast. Despite this small roll I feel part of something greater than the sum of its parts. As I reflect on this feeling I realize much of student engagement is like this. From a low budget theatre production, to charity drives to dance recitals there is so much that happens in University towns because of the immense amount of energy and talent students bring to their passions. When I look at it this way my job no longer seems small, or insignificant, but rather precise and critical; like part of a fine timepiece. Over my past four plus years as a student I have always been amazed by the amount of talent and drive that constantly surrounds me. I have witnessed many similar journeys and felt privileged to see each one. I see so much of the future of communities, countries and our world working together, debating, acting, dancing and breaking through boundaries to influence reality. I cannot count the number of times I have said to myself, “remember that name, because you are going to hear it a lot in life.” Nathaniel and Ryan are just two of the many people who fall into this category. This realization reminds one of the importance of building relationships and being good. When we open our minds we experience new things every minute. When we open up our minds to new people we find authentic human experience. Each of these people will stay with us, good or bad, forever. I have learned the value of keeping as many in the column as I can. Shakespeare said, “What is past is prologue.” I mourn the reality that my past continues to grow while my future continues to shrink. This is true for all of us. Although time controls us we are in control of what we do while the sand changes sides of the vial. When I reflect on his words I do not think the playwright was saying that we cannot change our past, therefore we should forget it. Rather, I think he was speaking about the present and encouraging humanity to ensure each of our individual preambles are as storied, as fulfilled and ultimately as beautiful and we can make them. Whatever your postsecondary raison d’etre, live it to the fullest. These are our prologue days.
Our Prologue Days
Mumblecore: The New Millenniumâ€™s No Budget Filmmaker by Andrew Smyth
Mum-ble-core [muhm-buhl-kohr] A North American micro-
budget film movement that emerged in the early 2000s
The root of Mumblecore’s appeal is in its total detachment from economic commitment. Even low budget independents, working with at most a few million dollars must answer to profit-driven financial backers. With hyper-low budget pieces made for a few thousand dollars, financial pressures are smaller, expectations lower, and filmmakers given total creative control, often writing, directing and editing their own work. Furthermore, these films demonstrate a wider trend among this generation’s youth, that is, a hunger for all things self-reflexive. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and hours upon hours of MTV reality television all point to
young people’s desire to step back and examine themselves. Filmmakers producing autobiographical works, aside from facing criticisms of indulgence and vanity, are given the opportunity to revisit past ideas and experiences through an altered, and perhaps idealized, lens. A viewing of a Mumblecore film can be an invigorating, inspiring experience and often yields the response ,“Hey, I can do that.” The rough, gritty nature of these works gives off the impression that anyone with a camera can crank out a feature film. Au contraire. The lengthy, truly exhausting process of filmmaking must be noted. With a modest 63 minute running time, Dance Party’s, USA’s post production still took well over a year, as numerous rough cuts were sent cross country between editor and director. The Death of Indie Rock took longer still, with editor Marc Griffin saying, “I literally put in five years of evenings and weekends to get The Death of Indie Rock made, and it was worth every penny and every hour of lost sleep.” While the internet makes distribution (both legal and illegal) extremely simple, the relatively small audience of these films means theatre viewings are tough to find. Kingston’s Screening Room is well known for showing obscure films mainstream theatres won’t touch. Toronto’s Bloor Street Cinema also screens an array of lesser known works. Recently the Generation DIY (that’s hipster for “Do It Yourself”) film festival in Toronto showcased a number of Mumblecore films, including the Death of Indie Rock. Similar showcases have been held in cities across the United States and in Europe. Aspiring filmmakers looking to churn out their debut, semiautobiographical feature may have missed out. As the movement gains popularity, many filmmakers associated with Mumblecore have distanced themselves from the term. The very idea of grouping films supposedly free of constraints into a genre is by some counts contradictory. Additionally, the genre’s appeal could be in its obscurity. Take away a film genre from a bunch of indie buffs, thrust it into the mainstream, and what happens? Over saturation could make the movement irrelevant. While less than a decade old, Mumblecore has had a small but undeniable impact on film in North America. By situating itself in contrast to big budget works, these films have created, at least for now, an interesting and important opposition to the mainstream While there will always be a place for summer popcorn flicks, the continued interest in films from outside the Hollywood bubble spells good news for indie filmmakers.
The advent of inexpensive digital video has put motion picture technology squarely in the hands of all who seek it. While overzealous family vacationers may have to wait to see their work on the big screen, groups of aspiring filmmakers with the desire, ambition, and a bit of knowhow have carved a small, but significant niche for themselves in the North American film industry. Mumblecore is characterized by its barebones production budget, naturalistic dialogue and use of non-professional actors. This all works to give the film a look of genuine authenticity that is impossible with larger budget projects. The so called Mumblecore movement began with Andrew Bujalski’s wonderfully quirky Funny Haha (2002). Over the next few years a handful of similar films were released, leading Bujalski’s sound editor to coin the term in 2005 at the SXSW Film Festival. While giving off a rough, unpolished look, these films still carry with them an undeniable beauty. None are better to demonstrate than Aaron Katz’s subtly crafted Dance Party, USA (2006) and Quiet City (2007). Katz, a recent film school graduate from Portland, Oregon delves deep into the inner workings of youth so successfully that his films can be viewed more as a retrospective documentary than a fictional narrative. Dance Party follows a group of semi-articulate teenagers around a 4th of July Party. Quiet City details two strangers’ weekend encounter in Brooklyn. Both use long takes, tight shots and careful pacing to make films that are firmly grounded in the irreverent, yet still compelling. While still at student at Queen’s, film student Rob Fitl set out to write and direct his own feature. Five years later, The Death Of Indie Rock (2008) premiered at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival. Shot primarily in Kingston, the completed film represents countless hours of work by an extremely passionate crew of volunteer filmmakers. Like most micro-budget works, and especially for audiences used to Hollywood fare, it takes a moment to adjust to the film’s rough aesthetics. Once the viewer settles in, the experience is rewarding. Many well-known Kingston haunts fill in for locations in Belleville and Montreal with inspired directing, skillfully editing and a powerful soundtrack bring the piece to life.
by Kate Kilgour and Ally Hall
Canoes and snowshoes. Hockey and poutine. Ski chalets and camp cabins. Whatever your Canada is, views of our nation are undeniably illustrated in a rural and rustic environment. Neighbours to the South and friends overseas satire Canada with anything that includes plaid ensembles, maple leaves or bushy beards. Television shows How I Met Your Mother and South Park are no strangers to these preconceived ideas surrounding stereotypical Canadian characteristics. Though we cannot deny the legitimacy of some of their claims, one creditable venture we can boast is how these nature-focused themes have inspired musicians to embrace their roots and their nationalism.
Avril Lavigne and Nickleback have been the Canadian musical big-shots for long enough. Kingston has been privy to some extraordinarily talented acts, and these bands are the first to recognize the beauty and support our country has to offer. We have compiled a selection of artists whose names emanate Canadian pride, with their subtle invocations to wilderness creatures and geographical embedded ness. Whether its intentional or inherently engrained in the artistsâ€™ psyches, the natural world plays heavily to the tune of O Canada â€“ from caribou to Alberta.
Fourteen reasons you should look beyond
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wooded canopy with echoing gospel, and a gruff-voiced leader to guide you through the narrative of each song. Peaceful and trance-like, their heavenly grooves will conjure up images of serene lakes and misty mornings. Jennifer Mecija’s voice and lyrics on ‘Winter Moon’ could be the perfect tune for January strolls and post-holiday un-windings. , Vancouver, British Columbia. Hailing from a Canadian small town, experimental DJ Dan Snaith turned to music at a young age as a creative outlet. Layered synth melodies, hip-hop and spiritual sound overlap to create a niche genre within each album. Perfect for evenings at the cottage or swaying through meadows at field parties. Toronto, Ontario. At first glance, their name might seem oxymoronic, and that’s exactly where their music will project you. Forest City Lovers’ sound would be equally fitting in a rainy suburban apartment or sipping warm beverages on a rocky beach. Barrie, Ontario. For the transitional Canadian climate when slush overtakes snow. Folk rockers Fox Jaws provide a dark, brooding and melancholic tone to the mix. Layered and climbing string and guitar combinations contribute to their take on a new wave representation of Canadian rock. , Toronto, Ontario. CBC sweethearts Great Lake Swimmers are making waves in the Canadian indie folk scene and beyond. Their music blissfully floats between quiet ambient melodies and uplifting choruses enhanced by vocalist Tony Dekker’s stylings. They’re the perfect addition to taking the scenic route on your drive back to the daily grind while reminiscing about weekends past. , Montreal, Quebec. Picture yourself curled up around a campfire surrounded by your closest friends and their accompanying instruments. With tunes that sound unplanned, Plants and Animals could very well be the product of a surprisingly coordinated jam session. They strum and hum to create a soundtrack calling to times of crackling wood and summer romance. , Toronto, Ontario. Their name rings true as the band finds inspiration from the advantages of growing up in rural Alberta but listeners can gain appreciation no matter their current location. Emphasis on lyrics and a vocal base to each track, the band could be on your playlist for occasions ranging from bike treks through the mountains to clinking pint glasses at a local Maritime pub. , Vancouver, British Columbia. Just as Karen O and the Kids did for Where the Wild Things Are, Said the Whale could provide the soundtrack for a modern day film adaptation of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. Dubbing themselves as “nautical indie-rock goodness,” the group has a danceable radio-friendly track in “Camilo (Magician).” But never fear, the album has enough variation to avoid becoming the next band featured on the latest W.B. teen soap. , Toronto, Ontario. Like the first bud peeking through a snow swept field, Snowblink envelops listeners in subtle whimsical melodies. After experiencing Daniela Gesundheit’s eerily soothing ballads you may get a sense of her intense connection to the natural world. Surprising additions weave their way into her tracks with whistling, unexpected melodies and sounds echoing a fairy tale. , Toronto, Ontario. Their name stemming from an agriculturally rich region of Ontario, the Sunparlour Players evoke imagery of rolling plains and swaying wheat. Powerful vocals and obvious blue grass leanings help define their sound. The accumulative affect of the songs may make your walls feel suddenly constrictive, and the outdoors surprisingly alluring. , Toronto, Ontario. A band appealing to the non-folk fans out there, Whale Tooth favors pop-ska infused instrumental and vocal combinations. Playful banter between male and female vocalists creates balance in the 5-piece group. With their single “Hibernation Song” featured on a recent episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation, keep a lookout for their potential to skyrocket into a nation-wide phenomenon just like the aforementioned series. , Toronto, Ontario. With a name that implies an organic and nature-centric approach to creating music, the electronically beast-like, heart-stopping tunes of Woodhands might be slightly surprising. Their unique amalgamation of a strong drum beat and dirty synth electro is eargasm-inducing. With the self-proclaimed goal to create “emotional, sweaty dance floors”, we dare you not to bust a move after taking a listen.
3. Canadian Wildlife.
6. Fox Jaws,
7. Great Lake Swimmers
8. Plants and Animals
9. Rural Alberta Advantage
10. Said The Whale
12. Sunparlour Players
13. Whale Tooth
1. The Acorn, Ottawa, Ontario. A band that combines whimsical vocals with folk-based strumming. The Acorn surprises us with electronic and experimental tinges in certain tracks, and their music will take you from afternoon wanderings to after-party foot stomping. 2. Bruce Peninsula, Toronto, Ontario. A plethora of musicians contribute to this band’s ethereal, yet powerful vibe. Picture yourself under a
An Interview with E-603 The Rise of RemixCulture and the Power of “Word of Blog”
by Joanna Adams
One artist in particular, Ethan Ward, or E-603, as he’s known to his fans, has a few ideas as to how this textured sampling of music has become the voice of the Facebook generation. Ward, a New Hampshirebased mash-up artist and former Hampshire College student draws influence from Girl Talk, but certainly isn’t a copycat. Not to be confused with the dearly departed character on the rebooted 90210 who bears the same name, Ward has been heating up the music scene, touring with acts like Yo La Tengo, The Cool Kids and Passion Pit across the United States and Canada. Since his debut album “Something for Everyone” dropped in the summer of 2008, his MySpace page has received more than 650 000 hits, and his 2009 sophomore effort “Torn Up” has been receiving a heap of airplay and buzz across North American University and College campuses and beyond. JA: You’re from New Hampshire, and your name is homage to your area code, right? E-603: Yes it is! Way back in High School, I needed a name to perform under at short notice. My friends and I were trying to think of something, and I wanted it to be cryptic and kind of neat at the same time, so we came up with E-603.
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In the month of October, the Toronto-Dominion Bank challenged Canadian University and College students to “Pump It Up.” By measuring the highest proportional response of “cheers” by students through various avenues of social media, like Facebook and Twitter, the winning school would receive a free concert headlined by Girl Talk. Unsurprisingly, Kingston’s two Universities, Queen’s and RMC, were the frontrunners to win the free concert due to overwhelming student interest. Queen’s emerged victorious, fuelled by an appreciation for this extremely popular artist and former chemical engineer, renowned for combining over 300 existing songs into creating an effortless electro-dance, new and dynamic Top 40 sound, or, simply, a Mash-Up. Pop culture and music sustains itself by constantly evolving, and Mash Ups and Remixes are the new frontier. Be it through a lyrical hook, a killer bass line or nostalgic irony, MashUps use culture jamming to transform mass media while making a self-referential commentary on itself through the creation of fresh beats. This type of media has a history of popularity within the Kingston community. “Rip: A Remix Manifesto,” a documentary by Canadian Brett Gaylor was an awarded Audience Favourite at March’s Kingston Canadian Film Festival. “Rip” follows the Girl Talk phenomena by arguing in support to free music from copyrights, enabling creativity and freshness in new media, notably by suggesting culture always builds on the past. Through “word of blog” and the internet, this type of music has been popularized in a way that feels personal to the listener, like their own little secret that major labels and corporations are finally starting to unravel. After all, even when mobilized by one of Canada’s Big Five banks, students transcended their cyber selves to win a momentous event.
JA: What is your musical background? What are you studying? E-603: I was studying Film and Media Production, but I’m taking a year off for a “musical hiatus.” When I was 12, I dedicated a room in my house to recording music I was producing at the time. I started studying classical composition, and from there I started making electronic music with vocal samples, from Top 40 hits. Then, I moved to only samples, and that’s where I am right now. JA: What was your first performance as E-603 like? E-603: It was at this kid’s house who I met in a Film Program outside of Boston in Newton, Massachusetts! I was playing the background track out of a computer while aggressively sampling these popped-up vocals on an MPC. Later, on certain songs, I would play the Little Tykes Xylophone. JA: When did you first start composing and combining music? What were you inspired by? E-603: I always took inspiration from music my brother downloaded. At one point, it was noisy and experimental, kind of Sonic Youth-ish. One day, I listened to a Kid Sister song that A-Track produced, and I thought that’s what it’s all about. Later, I started composing more electronic beats-based music, hip hop-ish but also electronic dance at the same time, composing with the lyrics I chopped up and sampled. JA: What are you looking for when you select sample and are creating music – are you looking for a lyrical hook, a killer baseline, or nostalgic irony? E-603: It’s definitely a combination – it’s something the audience can grasp on to and recognize and hopefully, if you can also get some sort of nostalgia out of it, that’s ideal. Sometimes, you look for the most well-known verses in hip hop or pop music that people are going to recognize, but sometimes, you look for more of a rhythm in the lyrics that will make the whole thing work. Certain verses of rap songs would never work over a sample – but you really want the verse to compliment the music that is underneath it and work as a whole.
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JA: That process is visible on your song “If You Wanna,” [track five of “Torn Up”] when you use a recognizable sample, Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” in a very unusual way, but it makes the song work! E-603: Right! There are about 30 other songs that I tried sampling over A Thousand Miles, but “Ante Up” by M.O.P. is what I ended up using, and it complimented the Vanessa Carlton song underneath it perfectly. That’s what it’s all about; Finding a recognizable rap song that had been around for a while, and complimenting the music underneath with it. JA: How did your first album, “Something for Everyone” come to be? How did you decide that you wanted to create an album, and what was the self-distribution process like? E-603: Two years ago, my friend asked me; “Ethan,
why don’t you make an album with your time off from school?” I thought I would make it simple, but I ended up spending 13 hours of every day in January sampling because there’s nothing better to do when you’re snowed in while in New Hampshire. When I released it, I had so many more listeners than I ever expected, as there was only one place where fans could download it from. After, I ended up getting a domain and it kind of made me more official. It was shocking! JA: You’ve been on tour with Yo La Tengo and Passion Pit. How did you spread the E-603 word? E-603: This type of music is popularized by the internet and the modern music industry world. It was word of mouth, but at the same time, it was kind of word of blog, I guess. One blog writes something, and then another person sees it, and they write about it, and they’re like “this seems cool” and it keeps going. I don`t know if I coined that term, “word of blog,” but I should keep using it! That’s how people hear about me – I mean; I know I’m always looking around the internet, scowering for what’s going on. JA: What do you think makes this type of culture jamming so popular amongst students and young people? E-603: Some say it’s because we’re so used to constantly changing things and that we’re such multitaskers, that we need music to be all over the place to capture our attention – but I think it’s more about where society is at, which is all about this heightened sense of Nostalgia these days – I mean, how many kids do you know who are into Pete & Pete (a Nickelodeon TV show from the early–mid 90’s) which is such a 90’s show? I have so many friends who ordered the DVD’s and say “we’re watching Pete & Pete these days” or “we’re watching the Muppet Show.” I don’t think earlier generations reached back like we do. In the 90’s, the 70’s were back, and we all wore Bell-Bottomed jeans again, man, I remember that. Every generation does it, but our generation has taken it to another level. People tend to like this fun music that grabs your attention because it’s so familiar in an unfamiliar way. JA: How do you feel about other artists in the Mash-Up genre? E-603: They’re cool, I guess. I never expected to be part of the movement; I was always into sample-based music like Prodigy and the Wise Guyz growing up. Now there’s a new label on it called “Mash-Up.” I think some artists are jumping feet first into becoming a “Mash-Up artist” without analyzing what the songs mean. But, there are other artists that do it well. People ask me all the time “what Mash-Up artists do you listen to?” and I don’t really listen to any, maybe because I’ve had too much of it myself, but people have been coming up with such great stuff! JA: In your song “The Right Kind,” track 4 of “Torn Up,” you not only sample my favourite song from one of my favourite albums, the original Beverly Hills 90210
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Soundtrack, “The Right Kind of Love” by Jeremy Jordan, but you also use it’s moniker in the title. Does it carry any special memories for you? What are you looking for when you title a track? E-603: Great question! The last thing you do when you make an album is title a track. I look for the “feeling of the song” and the mood, and that song has a glossy 90’s feel to it with the TLC sample, it’s just about hang out, summertime fun music. I loved the idea of calling it “The Right Kind” because it says that the song is the right kind of song, and it’s self-aware. JA: Are there any favourite segments of music you cast aside to wait for a big moment because it doesn’t fit or you’re searching for something to match it with? E-603: Yeah, I think some samples carry more weight than others. You can’t put a beat behind anything –there are samples like “Torn” [Natalie Imbruglia – Torn] which I put with M.I.A., a 90’s anthem, and I knew I wanted it to be an album staple. I definitely hang on to certain samples and try my hardest make it work because of what they meant to society at one point. JA: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen while performing? E-603: Once, a girl managed to swing herself around me and got a Piggy Back for two minutes while I was playing. People were trying to tear her off of my back, but she wasn’t exactly giving up easily. I was into it, and I’ve been sexually harassed before, getting my ass grabbed, but nobody’s ever jumped on my back before! When I opened for The Cool Kids at the University of Iowa, a brawl broke out! Another time, a kid fell out of a window... JA: Wow! E-603: It wasn’t a big deal. He was okay; it was only the first floor! JA: Is there any sample that you’re most proud of, maybe the most unexpected or the best mix of different music? E-603: I was excited and proud about using “Fly Away” by Lenny Kravitz and also using a Kid Rock sample and Lil Jon sample with it. But “Lights Out” has the first epic moment of the album; when I take “Bobby Dazzler” a classic by First Class which has that retro surfer-sound and I put it with “Head Bustas,” literally spelt “bustas,” with Lil Scrappy and Lil Jon. Then, I took “La La” from the Carter III [Lil Wayne], and used these Xylophone hits with the Baby voice I sampled right beforehand. What a lot of people don’t notice is that I cut the Xylophone notes to ride with the melody of the “Bobby Dazzler” song, so if you listen carefully when the whole thing comes in, you can hear the baby saying “La la la la la” but I changed the pitch in them to match, making the part as a whole more full. It’s not noticeable to the casual listener, but I’m sure my hardcore fans really appreciated it. That’s also an example on how much more time I spent on the album than people would have thought. That stuff takes hours, you know.
JA: It also takes a lot of producing, isolating, and technical stuff to get the beauty of the song as an independent entity. E-603: Exactly! Sometimes people donâ€™t understand the textures of what theyâ€™re listening to, and a lot of people say itâ€™s just tossing two songs together, but itâ€™s usually much more complex.
E-603 is wrapping up a North American campus tour. Check out E-603â€™s new album â€œTorn Upâ€? at http://www.e603.com, or on Myspace (http://www.myspace.com/ e603), Twitter (http://twitter.com/ethanwhat) or Facebook. For a sample list, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Torn_Up
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JA: What differentiates you from other artists who make similar music? E-603: I suppose it would be the production aspects of it â€“ and the attention to what some samples mean. Some artists that make similar music, in a way, half ass it, and put two songs or multiple songs together and think â€œwell that sounds goodâ€? but thereâ€™s something missing, and it doesnâ€™t mean anything, which to me is a little obnoxious because thereâ€™s less of a production value to it. I mean, some artists are unscathed in that aspect. I absolutely love and admire Girl Talk, and I know Gregg pays fine attention to the details, but itâ€™s others, some of the smaller name copycats who make similar music, miss the mark. Once again, I donâ€™t listen to other Mash-Up artists a lot, but there are a few names where it seems like theyâ€™re not putting a lot of time into it, and there are some amateur production flaws. The amount of samples and the attention to detail is what sets me apart. JA: So, the interplay of the details and the variety is what makes you E-603. E-603: Exactly!
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JA: Whatâ€™s next on your musical hiatus? E-603: Iâ€™m playing a bunch of shows all over the place and Iâ€™m always working on remixes or producing for someone. Right now, Iâ€™m working on a remix for a small electronic group from Boston called Southern Belle. This winter, hopefully Iâ€™ll be writing the Worldâ€™s First ElectroPopera. JA: Looking forward to it! Would that be like the Muppet Opera that Jason Segel created in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but with less Vampires? E-603: I canâ€™t imagine using Muppets; that would be difficult. I was watching the Muppet Show last night actually, and Jim Henson is a genius. Itâ€™d definitely be a comedy, but it wouldnâ€™t be about past events, like what Jason Segel did with Dracula. It would probably be modern and happen to casually be an opera full of ElectroPop music!
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