DOUGLAS & MARSHALL cut from the same cloth 5
DEBATE is a coalition government really to be feared? 3
the newspaper University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
Vol. XXXIII N0. 2
April 12, 2011
Rally storms Simcoe Hall NOAM CHOMSKY SPEAKSTO UOFT One student alleges assualt by campus police; tuition fees increase passes While Noam Chomsky spoke to a capacity crowd inside Hart House on the State-Corporate Complex, a rally against corporate influence at U of T gathered outside on the UTSU front lawn. The protest started sedately enough, soon marching to Simcoe Hall, where Governing Council was scheduled to vote on a tuition increase. After some opening rally cries by protest organizers - mainly members of the UTSU executive and U of T General Assembly - Noam Chomsky walked up to the mic and spoke to the concerns of the protesters, includ-
ing tuition increases and corporate influence on academic freedom. “The idea is partly to create a two-tiered society - education for the rich and not much for everyone else - and also to trap students. If you come out of school with a huge debt, you’re trapped. You’re not going to be a public interest lawyer or a political activist. This is indoctrination techniques.” “As for outside corporate funding,” Dr. Chomsky said, referring to donations from Barrick Gold founder Peter Munk, “if there isn’t going to be any public support, it has to come Continued on page 2
Noam Chomsky came to Hart House on April 7 to speak on the State-Corporate Complex. Visit thenewspaper.com for more on Chomsky’s UofT visit.
To conserve and protect
U of T researchers identify skull as Tom Thomson’s
Inaugural Goodall scholarship awarded, Goodall and Zommers discuss challenges facing conservation community Dr. Jane Goodall only had time to answer one more question from the audience before presenting the inaugural Jane Goodall scholarship to undergraduate Claire-Helene HeeseBoutin at the Earth Sciences Centre. A scruffy looking student wearing a string necklace approached the mic and asked Goodall excitedly if she would “do her famous chimp call.” Goodall turned to joint speaker Dr. Zinta Zommers, a researcher from Oxford University, Rhode Scholar, and graduate of Trinity College, and said, “Will you join me?” In unison, they began oooo-ooing, softly at first, rising to a crescendo until their voices filled the amphitheatre.
The seminar on April 1, hosted by the Centre for Environment and the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, featured a presentation by Zommers on her research in the Budongo rainforest in central Uganda, home to at least 500 chimps. Based on her study of 16 chimpanzee communities in Budongo, Zommers concluded that more research ought to be done into the ecological impact of conservation expeditions, and into factors other than hunting (such as inbreeding) afflicting chimpanzee populations. After Zommers’ talk, Goodall delivered her remarks and awarded the scholarship to Heese-Boutin. Zommers, showing slides of her travels, introduced the auContinued on page 2
The mystery surrounding the death of the renowned early twentieth-century Canadian artist, Tom Thomson, may finally be coming to a close, thanks to the efforts of three
Since she had injured her arm falling down a ﬂight of stairs earlier that month, Jane Goodall could not sign books after her talk, but ﬁngerprinted it instead.
researchers in the anthropology department at U of T. Mid-day on July 8, 1917, Thomson set out fishing on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. Hours later, his canoe was found empty, without any trace of Thomson. His body Continued on page 2
April 12, 2011
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dience to friends she had made in Budongo: Gashum, “a very thoughtful chimpanzee, almost always seen on the ground with his head in his hands;” Richard, a staff member at the Budungo field station; and Dominic, the director of a conservation station in eastern Congo. Research in Budungo, Zommers said, “taught [her] about loss” and obstacles to conservation efforts. Over the course of her study, Gashum died of unknown causes; Richard succumbed to HIV, leaving three wives and seven children; and Dominic was attacked by roaming bands of militia. “These stories,” Zommers said, “highlight the ethical responsibilities we have toward people we work with…if we work together, we can overcome the challenges to conservation.”
Zommers argued that further research was necessary to improve conservation missions. Comparing a graph of trends in the decline of animal populations subject to conservation efforts, and a graph of these trends in unprotected species, Zommers showed that “conservation efforts had little impact in amphibian species, and appear to have a relatively small impact on mammal and bird decline.” Nineteen percent of vertebrate species remain threatened with extinction. The conservation community ought to ask themselves, she said, “What can we do better? Are we having a positive impact, or are we conning ourselves?” Conservation experts “need to focus on evidence-based conservation. Our programs are often ineffec-
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tive because they are inappropriate for the specific context.” Zommers ended her talk on a hopeful note. “While I’ve learned about loss, I’ve also learned about laughter,” she said, showing slides of the young chimp Night “discovering water and learning how to play in it.” To improve conservation efforts, Zommers suggested paying local people to monitor wildlife and establishing diploma programs, as her own research group has, for students in developing countries to take courses at leading universities. Goodall agreed with Zommers that research ought to be done into the difficulty and complexity of conservation. Speaking from her own experiences in Gombe, however, Goodall said that if she and her team had not been there, the chimpanzee community may have disappeared entirely. “When I arrived in Gombe in 1960,” she said, “you could go all the way along Lake Tanganyika, and it was chimpanzee habitat rolling down to the water, beautiful forest, you could climb up the peaks of the escarpment there and you would see chimp
habitat stretch.” Flying over the region in the early 90s, Goodall said “the picture was shockingly different…De-forestation was total. There were bare hills. There were more people living there than the land could possibly support” due to an inflow of refugees from the neighbouring countries of Burundi and what was then Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). “How could we try to protect the famous Gombe chimp,” Goodall said, “if the people were having such a grim time?” This led to the development of the TACARE (pronounced “take care”) program, which is designed to protect endangered species and to improve the lot of people in the developing world by providing food, access to clean water and to education. Since she had injured her arm falling down a flight of stairs earlier that month, Jane Goodall could not sign books after her talk, but fingerprinted it instead. For information about collaboration between U of T and the Jane Goodall Institute, search “Centre for Environment JGI.”
was found eight days later, but the circumstances of his death remain unclear. It was rumoured that he was buried in Leith, ON. However, research by professor Ron Williamson and Susan Pfeiffer, and recent doctoral graduate Andrew Riddle indicate that Thomson was actually buried near Canoe Lake. In 1956, a skeleton was found at the lake. Journalist Roy MacGregor, author of a book about the Group of Seven, sent a picture of the skeleton’s skull to Professor Williamson to see if he could identify it as belonging to Thomson. Williamson determined that it was probably the skull of a Caucasian, and sent the photos to his colleague Professor Pfeiffer for a second opinion. She concluded that the skull belonged to a middle-aged man of northern European descent who died within the last century. Riddle compared photos of the skull to those of Thomson, finding that they matched. CASE CLOSED.
EXCELLENT WORK & REASONABLE RATES
the newspaper Rally storms Simcoe Hall Continued from page 1
Editor-in-Chief Helene Goderis
Associate Arts Editor Evanna Folkenfolk
Milan Ceho, Dan Miller, Bill Stuart, Andrew Walt, Kate Wakely-Mulroney, Mike Winters
Business Manager Taylor Ramsay firstname.lastname@example.org
the newspaper 1 Spadina Crescent, Suite 245 Toronto, ON M5S 1A1 Editorial: 416-593-1552 email@example.com www.thenewspaper.ca the newspaper is U of T’s independent weekly paper, published by Planet Publications Inc., a non-profit corporation. All U of T community members, including students, staff and faculty, are encouraged to contribute to the newspaper.
from somewhere, and then you have to be extremely vigilant that it doesn’t influence the kind of programs that are carried out.” The gold mining company has been investigated by NGOs for human rights violations and environmental degradation. The Munk Out of UofT group also equates Munk’s libel action against publications critical of his company as suppression of academic freedom. President Naylor said in a recent speech that “claims made in the case of the Munk School about real and potential threats to academic priority-setting and academic freedom are false.” In April 2010, Peter Munk donated $35 million to U of T, the university’s largest single gift, to expand the Munk Centre for International Studies into the Munk School of Global Affairs. Munk has promised another $15 million pending his approval of the school’s direction. Mr. Chomsky advocated for scrutiny and activism against Barrick Gold’s funding of the School of Global Affairs. “There’s a lot of options, and you have to find which ones are the right ones.” Chomsky left after making his remarks, and an energized
crowd turned their attention to gaining access into Simcoe Hall. While Governing Council meetings hold 33 seats open to the public, two police officers blocked any protesters from entering the front doors. A side door was shimmied open, and protesters strode into Simcoe Hall, marching up the stairs to the hallway outside the Governing Council chambers. Six officers were on hand to bar entry to the chambers, and protesters settled into the hallway, shouting slogans, and trying to negotiate the inclusion of a few delegates into the GC meeting. Elected student governors that were to speak on tuition increases were also denied entry to the chambers. Student Andrew Agnew-Iler alleged assault by Dan Hutt, head of campus police. Mr. Hutt had no comment on the incident at the time. Inside the chamber, governors claimed that the noise from the hallway protest made discussion inaudible. “It was tense,” says student governor Joeita Gupta, who was one of the elected student governors initially barred by police from entering the council meeting. “They created this climate
where it was made to seem like governors were under hostage by a hostile crowd of unruly students; the whole thing could have been avoided if the governors had done what they were supposed to do, which is respect the fact that this was an open and public meeting,” Gupta said. “So many important changes have come about on campus because of protesting at Simcoe Hall,” listing childcare on campus, undergraduate access to the Robart’s stacks, and more recently, graduate student funding packages as the outcome of student-organized protests. The motion to increase tuition passed without any discussion, marking the first time that tuition and other fees surpass the amount received from public funding sources toward the U of T operating budget. “They voted our tuition increase in a matter of minutes, without any student input or discussion,” said Gupta. “And all the while students were outside in the hall, banging on the door and on the walls, because that was the only way for them to get their voices heard.” Visit thenewspaper.com for photogallery and video footage of the April 7 protest at Simcoe Hall.
April 12, 2011
Should we really fear a coalition government? The pro
Bill STUaRT It’s one of Stephen Harper’s favourite disses, a jab he’s delivered yet again during this sadly unwanted federal election. A coalition government led by Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and other opposition parties would be “illegitimate” – politically illegal. Just plain wrong. Harper laid out his argument minutes after he met with the Governor General to formally dissolve Parliament and send Canadians to the polls. “You don’t try and form a government if you lost the election. That is not legitimate. If Canadians elect the other party, even by a minority, you respect that judgment.” Problem is, Harper’s “illegitimate” claim holds no constitutional water. A party (or parties) governs with the support of a majority of MPs, not ballots; a party can “lose” an election but still run the country. At worst it’s an outright lie, one used to mislead Canadians on how their democracy works by a prime minister who doesn’t mind throwing key civic truths under the parliamentary-contempt campaign bus. Yet Harper’s coalition rhetoric plays to more than just public ignorance. It taps into another factor Conservatives rely on to win votes: Fear. Fear of what Harper says would be a “socialist-separatist,” “unstable” and “reckless” coalition. One that will do a number on our “strong” economy which paradoxically remains “fragile” during the endless economic recovery. Such fear is unwarranted. Instead, we should welcome the idea of a coalition government which would better represent Canadian voters. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario result-
ing in another coalition try. If a new Harper minority falls shortly after Parliament resumes, Gov-Gen David Johnston might refuse to grant another election and instead give the opposition a shot at governing. That would require Ignatieff backtracking on his no-coalition pledge. And he would be entirely justified in doing so, regardless of the inevitable “flip-flop” slights. During an age of minority governments, coalition should not be a dirty word. In fact, a governing coalition of parties representing the majority of voters would be democratic, not illegitimate. In our flawed first-past-the-post electoral system, a coalition is as close as this country will get to having government reflect voters’ intentions. And a Canadian coalition government would fit right in among other Westminster parliamentary democracies. That’s because Westminster systems and coalitions can get along just fine. Britain is currently governed by a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which was not agreed to – let alone seriously discussed – until after an election last year. And that coalition hasn’t shied from taking the axe to social spending – and tripling the university tuition cap – recommended by “strong economic recovery” advocates. In Labour-minority-governed Australia, coalitions are frequent at the state government level. And proportional-government New Zealand has seen minority federal governments for 13 of the last 15 years. So why, then, should Canadians fear a coalition government? With four national votes in seven years and no clear majority in sight, Canada could hardly be less election prone under a coalition government. A coalition would be democratic and constitutionally above board. After five years of Harper, wouldn’t that be nice for a change?
Dan MilleR Let’s dispel the myth right away that a coalition government is inherently evil; it is not. And it’s also false that a coalition government has no precedent in Canada; it does (Robert Borden’s Union Government of 1917-20). Having said that, a coalition government in 2011 would still be undesirable. A Liberal-NDP-Bloc Quebecois and possibly Green Party coalition government is clearly wrong for Canada, for one reason: the inclusion of the Bloc. The likely result of this election will be another Conservative minority government. Stephen Harper may then try again to pass the Conservative budget. It would probably get voted down, in which case Leader of the Opposition Michael Ignatieff will go to Governor General David Johnston and ask him for the opportunity to form a government. This Liberal minority government would have far fewer seats than the Conservatives and would have to rely on the voting support of the NDP and Bloc in order to maintain the confidence of parliament. Barring a large seat swing, the Bloc will have more seats than the NDP, and for all intents and purposes will be the number two in this coalition. So why is it problematic to include the separatist Bloc in a governing coalition? The Liberals will need the support of the NDP and the Bloc to stay in power, and will have to make concessions to their junior partners. In addition to the difficulty of assuring regional equality in a government including the Bloc Quebecois, there is also a deeper, more philosophical issue at stake here. The Bloc’s goal - a sovereign Quebec - runs contrary to the basic constitutional principles of all the other major parties. Despite their differences, the Greens, Liberals,
Conservatives, and the NDP all believe in a united Canada. The Bloc doesn’t. Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc promote the interests of Quebec over those of Canada, and Quebec sovereignty over Canadian unity. The inclusion of a regional interest party or separatist party (the Bloc has elements of both) is not uncommon in other countries’ governing coalitions, the Italian Northern League, for example. But that doesn’t mean it is right for Canada. By aligning themselves with the Bloc, Igantieff and Layton imply that toppling a Tory government is more important than governing Canada fairly. The argument that a coalition would be more representative doesn’t hold water. In a recent Globe and Mail-CTV poll, 49 percent of Canadians opposed a coalition, while 40 percent favoured one (the rest were undecided). Just because someone isn’t voting for the Conservatives doesn’t mean they’re voting for the Liberals-NDP-Bloc and maybe the Greens. If so, then the Liberal-NDPBloc-maybe-Greens should run together as a coalition or a single party. Until then, they cannot pretend that a vote for a party other than the Tories is a vote for a coalition government. That this coalition cannot exist without a party that prioritizes the interests of a single province over those of the country as a whole demonstrates that there will be a serious disconnect between what the nonConservative voters from 12 out of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories vote for and what they elect. If this coalition is to include a party that does not represent the interests of a majority of 34 million Canadians, then this coalition government is undesirable. It was wrong when the idea was brought up by the Conservatives in 2004 and remains so today.
You decide which argument smoked the other. Visit thenewspaper.ca and vote in the poll at the bottom of this article!
The open letter To Jack Phelan and Alex Heuton (outgoing and incoming Presidents, respectively, of the Innis College Student Society), Given that, as the outgoing President of the Cinema Studies Student Union, I have rather peacefully shared office space with both the ICSS and the Innis Herald for the past year, the sudden and drastic threat to the Innis Herald's funding has come as quite a shock to me. The referendum that was held in the waning days of the school calendar seems, to this observer, both unnecessarily extreme and extremely unfair, especially considering that Karam El Masri and Juan Llamas, the current Editors-inChief of the Herald, were informed of the referendum merely hours before it occurred, leaving them unable to wage a campaign of their
own to fight against the threat to their funding. The referendum was on a decision to amend the ICSS constitution in order to revoke the Herald of their guaranteed funding on a per-student basis. The disclaimer on this referendum ballot that this amendment would in no way prevent the Herald from receiving funding seems like a cruel misleading joke, especially in light of the memo that you, Jack, sent to ICSS members last summer advocating a revocation of all funding towards the Herald. In that memo you demonstrated a deep misunderstanding of the concept of editorial autonomy and compared the content of the Herald to pornography, but at least this memo was given to then-Editorin-Chief Katrina Lagace in time for her to come to bring her case to the ICSS regarding the future of the Herald. At the end of last summer, I was under the impression that the ICSS and the Herald had come to an understanding and that this threat to its funding was over, but
apparently I was mistaken. In that memo, you lamented about the transition of the Herald from a current events-based paper to an arts-based paper. Considering the plethora of similarly current events-based papers on the University of Toronto campus (the newspaper, The Varsity, The Strand, The Mike, The Howl, The Window), one might expect the ICSS to consider the transition of the Herald a good thing, seeing as it feeds a niche, is obviously of interest to a good number of students, and avoids competition with other more prominent papers. It makes sense, also, that this paper would come from Innis College, home of both the Cinema Studies and Writing and Rhetoric programs. You also lamented about current lack of Innis College-centric content in the paper. But one wonders what you really expect by revoking their guaranteed funding. The Gargoyle is a good example of a college-based newspaper that
includes content about its home college (University College), but maintains a toxic relationship with the student government that provides its funding, and often fills its pages with satirical accounts of UCLit meetings and criticisms of various student politicians. This type of paper would seem to fulfill your ad hoc mandate of a paper that deals with current events and Innis College, but it is unlikely that the individual members of the ICSS would vote, on a yearly basis, to provide funding for such a paper without a constitutional guarantee. Thus, the only option open to the the Innis Herald, it would seem, in order to secure its funding in upcoming years, is to become an ICSS friendly newsletter and avoid angering the student politicians that allow it to exist. This amendment (as both of you should, but obviously do not, realize) is an affront to the concept of editorial autonomy and the principle of freedom of expression that should drive the relationships
between student government and student newspapers. The referendum from which this amendment came is an affront to the democratic principles that should guide the decision-making process of a student government in general. I have enclosed in this letter a photograph of a copy of the latest issue of the Innis Herald being used as a doormat to the ICSS office. I would like to think otherwise, but the evidence at hand suggests this photograph represents the ICSS' attitude towards the Herald, towards freedom of expression, and towards democracy. To you, Alex, incoming President of the ICSS, I offer only the suggestion that you find a way to reverse this gravely problematic decision and allow the Innis Herald to exist peacefully without fear of bankruptcy. After all, it's only fair. Sincerely, Alan Jones Outgoing President, Cinema Studies Student Union
April 12, 2011
New exhibit displays the healing power of art OISE Professor culminates project on eﬀects of violence and war on women with therapeutic showcase continue to actively resist oppressive regimes.” Since the coming to power of the Islamic regime in Iran in 1988 and the massacres that followed it, thousands of innocents have been imprisoned, tortured and executed, a number that has grown exponentially following the rebellion caused by what is rumored to be a fraudulent 2009 election. According to Mojab and Osborne, this “continuum of state violence has been surrounded in an official culture of silence.” In Mojab’s project statement, she writes: “When atrocities are committed, it becomes essential to document both their occurrence and the journeys of those who have experienced the violence in order to prevent history from repeating itself.” It is exactly the functional power of art that attracts Mojab to the nature of her research, and that spawned the project and Lines of Resistance. Art, its creation and its communication, has both a healing power and a political power that is unrivaled by many more traditional approaches to both, such as therapy for victims of trauma or more informational approaches to political action. The type of art that Mojab’s project enables, in which former political prisoners meet bi-monthly and create multi-media art, facilitates the “realization of the importance of political autobiography writing as a process of resistance and conscious healing.” When asked what she was most moved by in her experience with the project, Osborne’s answers repeatedly intimated the hope with which the art was created and through which it was expressed. From a picture of a woman knitting a sweater onto her body, adorned with a giant ball of yarn as her head, to a plant sprouting from an empty shell, it is the message of hope and resistance to trauma that resonates. “Some of the images are about horrible events – torture and execution, the loss of family and friends – and yet often, in a small corner, there is a shaft of light or a piece of a green plant. And it is always described as hope.” Lines of Resistance: Prison Art from the Middle East, runs at Beit Zatoun Gallery, 612 Markham St., from April 9 to 17.
eVanna FolKenFolK Art as therapy, healing through art – it seems so simple. And yet, despite abundant psychological and social evidence in support of this fact, and contrary to what many societies before us have instinctually known, there is a great deal of skepticism in the West as to the functional role of art. Blame it on our fanatical adherence to scientific analysis and its behaviorist principles, but the notion of art serving a practical function apart from aesthetic appreciation –whether it is psychological, social or political – is one that leaves many ill at ease. This cynicism, of course, filters its way to funding, at which level it affects the prevalence, quality and even the very existence of artistic endeavors in our society, and consequently its quality and that of its inhabitants. It was therefore not only refreshing but a great reassurance to all believers in the power of art to hear of Beit Zatoun Gallery’s latest exhibit, a mixed-media work produced by former political prisoners and titled Lines of Resistance: Prison Art from the Middle East. Created by Dr. Shahrzad Mojab, professor of Women’s Studies at UofT’s OISE, Lines of Resistance marks the cumulative efforts of a five-year project studying the effects of violence and war on women and learning. Part of a larger project led by Mojab called Words, Colour, Movement: Remembering and Learning Through the Arts, the Lines of Resistance exhibit unites former political refugees from Iran and Turkey who, through the workshops and the ultimate exhibit, visualize their individual and collective resistance against the atrocities committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and other oppressive Middle Eastern states. As an Iranian that fled the repressive regimes in the 1980s, Mojab had always been active in its resistance. “Her work with former political prisoners is very personal – it is part of her history,” says Bethany Osborne, who worked on the project with Mojab as a PhD student. “She is incredibly invested in seeing people affected by state violence receive healing so that they can
U of T grad self-publishes Toronto waterfront-inspired novel Hanlan’s Point misses the boat SUZie BalaBUCh The end of the school year is upon us, and with it comes the somewhat shaky promise of actual meaningful employment for graduates. This precarious, yet hopeful situation, is the mindset with which this editor set out to read Hanlan’s Point, a new novel by recent U of T grad Jake Babad. Much like the employment situation, the novel starts out in a promising way. Babad sets the novel partly on the Toronto Islands, the harbourfront, and a bit of the actual mainland itself. This geographical choice proves to be an intriguing one, as not a lot of people know the ins and outs of Toronto’s waterfront. The actual descriptions of the setting are vivid, blending neighbourhoods like
the Annex with the the islands, and Hanlan’s Point itself, which is actually a nudist beach. Where Hanlan’s Point strays is unfortunately in the character development and plot. It’s not that Babad does not provide enough information about his three characters, Sam, Tuesday, and Isaac. For instance, why exactly is it that Sam can afford to loaf around on Ward Island without working, in a house that has already been paid for? He provides too little background information to satisfy the ceaseless questions surrounding these three complicated people. The novel’s main female character, Tuesday, makes her debut as the girl who completely entrances the perennially unimpressed Sam. She is the only character
who gives the reader a real mental image: a red-haired beauty who favours red cowboy shirts and dreams of making it big in music. Regrettably, her spirited character becomes lost in the melee of non-traditional chapters that differ based on characters’ perspectives. To be fair, the author himself mentioned the somewhat choppy nature of his novel in an interview with the newspaper. “It’s almost kind of a story where you get lost in it, and you’re not even sure where you are. If anything, it was a collection of short stories rather than a traditional novel.” The drawbacks of the novel are somewhat lessened when one takes the actual production of the novel into account. Babad dove headfirst into the self-publishing
world with this first novel, Hollywood North, and hasn’t looked back. He does everything from cover design, printing, and binding (using recycled paper and soy ink all in his own home, and on an old printer he fixed himself.) Very intent on working with Canadian material, and producing for the Canadian market, Babad knew he had to adapt to a very harsh reality, like any graduate has to in this day and age. “The traditional model wouldn’t work. There are not yet enough people willing to buy into that kind of Canadian literature, if you’re not already established in some other way.” Hanlan’s point is mired in problematic glitches that unfortunately take away from the early promise of the book. Had
Babad been financially able to hire a professional editor, some clarity could have been brought to some really great ideas. That being said, Hanlan’s Point is a valiant attempt at breaking away from the norm, even though its downfall is the lack of regularity in many aspects.
April 12, 2011
Marshall and Douglas The fascinating thing about the Extraordinary Canadians series is that each book twines the promise of an extraordinary subject with an equally extraordinary biographer. Marshall McLuhan by Douglas Coupland makes good on this promise, with one important upgrade: Coupland is an agent of that future which Marshall McLuhan so precisely foretold.
McLuhan, an academia super star who settled here at U of T, taught Renaissance rhetoric, yet anticipated the manifestations of internet culture. Therein lies another delight of this biography: the irreconcilability of the what McLuhan held dear and the realization of his theories (Coupland is the first to admit that McLuhan would have been horrified). Coupland is an astute biographer, parsing McLuhan’s experiences and how they would
influence his theories. And, true to Coupland’s own work as both artist and author, he weaves leet speak, psychological tests, and Wikipedia entries into the fabric of this prismatic biography. Reading Marshall McLuhan is a perfectly entertaining way for students looking to transition out of the rigors of exams into the academic lull of summer.
The McLuhan Legacy GeoFF VenDeVille In the early 60s, when posting to someone’s wall required a thumbtack and only birds tweeted – before the invention of the earliest form of the Internet - Marshall McLuhan predicted that we’d someday be living in an electronically inter-connected world “as wide as the planet and as small as a little town,” the Global Village. Professor at the University of Toronto from 1946 until his death in 1980, McLuhan, the author of Understanding Media and the Medium is the Massage [sic] (a typographic mistake that McLuhan, a punster, chose to keep), would have been a hundred years old this July. This year, McLuhan 100, representing U of T’s McLuhan Program for Culture and Technology, the City of Toronto, and Mozilla, is organizing audio-walking tours led by CBC radio host Nora Young, open houses, seminars, and other (free) events celebrating McLu-
han’s centenary, his life and ideas. The week of McLuhan’s birthday (July 18-25), the McLuhan Legacy Network, a group of over 200 professors and students from all four Toronto universities, will be hosting panel discussions on themes such as McLuhan’s views of society and education. Professor of Physics at U of T and founder of the MLN Robert Logan says McLuhan was even more prophetic than is widely assumed. Not only did McLuhan anticipate the Internet, he may have also foreseen the invention of the videocassette (McLuhan in 1964: “soon… film will go into its portable, accessible printed-book phase”) and Wikipedia (In 1962: “a computer as a research instrument [that] could retrieve individual encyclopedic function”). Logan, who worked with McLuhan at U of T from 1974 to 1980 and co-authored a paper with him which was the basis of Logan’s book The Alphabet Effect (1987), described McLuhan as a “trickster and a humourist. He liked
to play jokes and things, he was a lot of fun to be with.” If someone disagreed with his views, McLuhan would often joke, “You don’t like those ideas? I’ve got others.” This was characteristic of McLuhan’s scholarly approach, Logan says. “He believed play was essential to developing new ideas.” Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology, where McLuhan gave his Monday night seminars, Dominique Scheffel-Dunand says McLuhan’s “undisciplined” approach is what truly set him apart from other scholars of his day. He was very well read and had a fascination for the Renaissance. Inspired by Nashe and Ezra Pound, he re-popularized the literary genre of the essay, developed by the French writer Michel de Montaigne in the sixteenth century, and applied it to new fields, such as communication studies. “For McLuhan, as for Montaigne, what is involved in the essay is the testing of the judgment and to an extension of the whole being.” For McLuhan, design was
to juxtapose visual images and audio images, trying to make sense of elements that you would not really see, that you would not juxtapose. He was a pioneer of this methodology to understand the effects of any technology on society and culture.” McLuhan’s innovative approach was highly controversial in his time. “When he was publishing his explorations, it was really counter-current to established design for scholarly dissemination.” The chapters of his 1962 book the Gutenberg Galaxy, for example, (the centennial edition of which will soon be published by U of T press) resemble what we would recognize as “Tweets or blog posts,” ScheffelDunand says. “They’re not chapters in the way a book was designed in the 1960s. That’s why his publications were not considered as scholarly work.” His unique methodology, his “probing approach,” however, is one of the reasons McLuhan remains relevant today. “It’s about connecting the visible with the in-
visible. It’s a very strong approach,” Scheffel-Dunand says. “I’m encouraging any scholar today to adopt it to make sense of the effects of the digital technologies on the life of the mind.” At 6 pm on Tuesday at Ryerson’s Eaton Lecture Theatre, Professor Logan will be giving a lecture called McLuhan Misunderstood: Setting the Record Straight. This week the Faculty of Information is awarding five Marshall McLuhan Centenary Visiting Fellowships in the field of culture and technology to international scholars. Starting next month with Jane’s Walk and the Contact Photography Festival, McLuhan100 is putting on a variety of events, an international conference McLuhan100 THEN NOW NEXT (November 7-10 2011), and legacy projects. A full calendar of events is available online at mcluhan100.ca. McLuhan 100 is seeking volunteers to help out with the events (information available at www.mcluhan100.ca).
April 12, 2011
New AGO exhibit explores the social and cultural issues of the Canadian Arctic through an artistic lens Milan Ceho With the recent celebration of Nunavut’s twelve-year anniversary, Canadians’ attention was momentarily focused on the youngest of Canada’s territories. Despite initial hopes for a new dawn in the history of Canada’s troubled First Nations, Nunavut has been experiencing much social unrest since it’s recognition as a territory in 1999. High unemployment, suicide, housing shortages and overcrowded jails are just a few of the issues hampering the growth and development of Nunavut. Many of the pieces in the AGO’s new collection, Inuit Modern, address the alienation that many Inuit feel. Boasting that the Inuit Modern collection highlights “the evolution of Inuit modern art over several decades,” the AGO has been lucky enough to secure artistic highlights from the Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection, among the most comprehensive collections of Inuit art in the world. The appeal of this exhibit lays in its frank representations of Inuit lifestyle, their lore, and how
through the decades the collective creative output has evolved in its representational methods and subject matter. A lot of the pieces in this collection must be valued for the way they interpret sweeping social and cultural issues and changes in the Arctic region of Canada. The Inuit Modern exhibit is rife with Inuit lore and representations of their archetypal figures. Augustin Aanittuq’s bone sculpture of the muskox, from 1990, is composed of abstract and purely representational elements. This blend of approaches is evidence of an Inuit style which utilizes modern techniques to represent traditional subject matter. Tim Pitsiuliak’s Composition (Whalers) is another example of Inuit art that blends abstract and realist elements in its depiction of a traditional subject. There are many provocative works in this exhibit which detail the transformation of the Inuit people’s society and culture. Pudlo Pudlat is one such featured artist who exposes these issues in his work. In Pudlat’s drawings for a print entitled Modern Settlement, Traditional Camp, the vertical jux-
taposition of modern versus traditional settlements creates a subtle tension that complements the contrastive commentary of the respective lifestyles present in the work. Shuvinai Ashoona’s work entitled Cape Dorset From Above was the first piece in the collection that dispensed with the “flat”
representation of figures, instead, presenting an aerial perspective of Cape Dorset, one that is rife with man-made structures and contains no apparent traditional symbolism. Ashoona’s Sewage Truck also incorporates this aerial perspective, depicting workers dumping fecal matter into an arctic landfill. Sew-
age Truck also has anti-corporate themes that linger on the edge of the paper, creating multiple focal points and widening the issues at hand in Inuit life. The transformation of the Inuit lifestyle is also apparent in the art of Annie Pootoogook, who makes the viewer aware of the similarities between modern Inuit domesticity and modern domesticity in general. The drawings appear simple and depict mundane situations, but in doing so demonstrates the extent to which external cultural influences have affected Inuit life. The collection also features many sculptures which are valuable simply for the elegance in which they were crafted. The Inuit Modern exhibit is worth seeing for those interested in witnessing the genealogy of modern Inuit art, as well as getting a taste of one of the most comprehensive Native art collections in the world. General admission to the AGO is free every Wednesday after 6 pm. Inuit Modern will be on display until mid-October 2011.
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April 12, 2011
This ain’t no Hannah Montana movie
Joe Wright’s action-thriller Hanna leaves Hollywood heroines in the dust SUZIE BALABUCH Hollywood has a new heroine, and it’s not Miley Cyrus switching lives by switching wigs. It’s a blond, blue-eyed teenage girl named Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), who possesses killer instincts yet knows next to nothing about her past. Hanna is not like other girls, that much is evident from her unusual upbringing in a wintry forest to her abnormal stamina and strength. Within the first scene, director Joe Wright’s newest offering Hanna manages to thrill, terrify, and amuse the audience, a rare feat for a movie that is partly based on that old chestnut, girl power. Yet this particular brand of girl power is undeniably rough and tumble. The breakneck speed of the many action sequences contribute this quality, propelled by a palpitating and spellbinding score by the Chemical Brothers. One particular scene in which the score drives the film is in an unforgettable fight scene taking place in a ship container yard, where Hanna takes on three of her assailants. Not only is the setting inspired, the scene’s music is one of the movie’s most memorable, a sometimes quiet, sometimes pounding, always terrifying medley of pure musical danger. The casting is also ideal for this new incarnation of the anti-damsel in distress movie. Hanna is played brilliantly by Saoirse Ronan, who appeared in Joe Wright’s Atonement in an unforgettable role. Ronan brings the same quiet intensity to this role, with seemingly instantaneous switches to instinctual fighter mode. Having earned rave reviews in Atonement, it is clear that there is a creative understanding between the film’s star and its director. In the role of a girl who is remarkably swift and strong, yet knows barely nothing of her beginnings, Ronan is convincingly lethal as well as innocent. Cate Blanchett, with whom Ronan shares the same intense blue eyes and quiet fire, is well cast as the film’s villain, the cold and calculating CIA agent Marissa Weigler. Intent on capturing and killing both Hannah and her former agent father Erich (played effectively by Eric Bana), Blanchett brings the same chilling fervour to both her character’s compulsive teeth-cleaning (drawing blood at one point) that she does to taking out the obstacles in the way of her morbid goal. Another standout performance comes from the bleach-haired, white tracksuit sporting henchman Isaacs, hired by Weigler to perform certain tasks that she cannot legally do. Played superbly by Tom Hollander, Isaacs is just the right amount of absurd and unnerving, constantly whistling a creepy, childlike tune written by the Chemical Brothers. Wright’s exceptionally seamless blending of action-genre film and arthouse classic furthers the film’s undercurrent of curious anomaly. The audience witnesses
Hanna’s vulnerability as well as her ruthlessness, and the film’s style blends an arty fairytale essence anchored in the fact that the main character is still a child, with more grown-up blockbuster-worthy action scenes. With its fairytale influences and killer girl power motif, Hanna harks back to that particular bedtime story that would scare the life out of you, but always left you wanting more.
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April 12, 2011
1. Philharmonic band 5. Employs 10. Undomesticated nature 11. Peace pact 13. Deceptions 14. Near to 17. Atlantic and Pacific 18. Injury 21. Piano key substance 22. Beginning 25. Augmented 26. Basic piece 29. International 30. Boundary 31. Sprint 32. Make significant
2. Eased 3. Grasp 4. Gently 6. Easels 7. Speaks 8. Consumed without chewing 9. Inmates 12. Pester 15. Omnipresent 16. Tables and chairs 19. Lament 20. CIA, AAA, etc. 23. Delights in 24. Look for 27. Grew old 28. Singles
the campus comment
the newspaper asked: What is your way of being environmentally friendly?
ALESSANDRA, 2nd year Human Bio
GREG, 3rd year Genetics “BIKE EVERYWHERE!”
KARIMA, 2nd year Architecture “I only drink organic beer”
KRIS, front porter at Woodsworth Rez “I approach it the same way I approach religion. I don’t explicitly practice it, I don’t push it, but I try to just be conscious of it.”
YASMIN & MARIJANNA, 3rd year Poli Sci “Not stepping on grass and not using a lot of paper except when taking notes.”
YOKO, 1st year, Urban studies “I’m really diligent about making my boyfriend recycle.”
““I love compost.”