is dead and gone
the newspaper University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
Vol. XXXIII N0. 12
December 2, 2010
Students paint the campus red for AIDS/HIV awareness
Student groups across campus, such as the UofT Millennium Project Committee, have been showing their support for World AIDS Day 2010 by hosting unique events in the effort to raise funds and awareness throughout the university community about the growing epidemic. Participating students were asked to come to King’s College Circle at 3 p.m. wearing red to help the Millennium Project Committee attempt the record for largest human red ribbon. “What we really wanted to focus on this year is moving beyond passive awareness and encouraging an ‘active’ and more tangible awareness program,” says Millennium Project co-director Nymisha Chilukuri.
“The formation of the ribbon is simple in idea but it is powerful because by being part of the ribbon, the student is also now taking an active role in generating awareness and spirit in the issue rather than just...attending to an awareness event,” says Chilukuri. The project also aimed to encourage students to challenge policymakers to keep their promises to foster more services for prevention strategies, proper treatment, expulsion of stigma and most of all education. “Students are such an important part in society because of their active participation in events such as these,” says Mona Younis, Logistics Coordinator for the Millennium Project. To emotionally affect students in issues such as HIV/ AIDS is an attempt to get them
more involved in stopping of the spread, whether through other committees, talking to their friends or pursuing a career in global health and awareness. “This was our way of uniting U of T and show that it’s alright to talk about HIV/AIDS and a good way to get involved in its awareness,” states Younis. Chestnut Residence participated by holding a Silent Auction and their own Red Ribbon event. Students painted 800 newspapers red and displayed it on the south side of 89 Chestnut Residence. Both the Silent Auction and the Red Ribbon event were held in accordance to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. This year they have surpassed their goal of $1,500 by raising $2,200 not only from the Silent Auction, but from rib-
must defend his or her ideas against an opponent whose goal is to take them apart. Af-
ter another introduction from moderator Rudyard Grifﬁths, the two debaters ﬁnally took to
the stage and quickly got underway, with Hitchens presenting Continued on page 3
SANDRA DE GRANDIS
Continued on page 2
MARTÍN WALDMAN A sold out Roy Thompson Hall hosted the latest edition of the Munk Debates last Friday. With the two debaters being none other than world-renowned skeptic, author and journalist Christopher Hitchens on one side, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the other, demand for tickets was unprecedented. In addition to the 2,700 or so people at Roy Thomson, a live screening of the debate was
held at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library, in addition to the massive audience watching the event on an online stream and through the BBC World Service. The evening began with a meandering address by Munk Debates founder, and chairman of Barrick Gold, Peter Munk, in which he applauded the bravery of any person willing to participate in a debate – a situation where one is not merely delivering a prepared statement, but
Munk Debates bring Tony Blair, Christopher Hitchens to Toronto
2 The opinion
December 2, 2010
Fantino finds new job <Slow clap.>
MARTÍN WALDMAN The federal Conservative government now has the ideal ﬁgurehead for its ongoing “tough on crime” policy. In a very close race, former OPP Commissioner and Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino won Monday’s by-election in the federal riding of Vaughan. Running for the Conservative Party of Canada, Fantino won with 49.1% of the vote, just under 1,000 votes clear of Liberal candidate Tony Genco.
Remarkably, the Liberal and Conservative candidates combined for nearly 96% of total votes cast, with the NDP and Green Party both falling well below the 1,000 vote threshold. Almost as remarkable is the fact that voter turnout was 30% in a riding with a population of over 154,000. Since announcing in mid-October that he would challenge for the seat vacated by Vaughan’s new mayor and former Liberal MP Maurizio Bevilacqua, Fantino had been conspicuously
absent from various campaign activities, attended only one taped debate, and skipped out on any live debates, including an all-candidates debate days before the election. Fantino did, however, manage to gain the support of national hockey guru Don Cherry, and secure an appearance from Prime Minister Stephen Harper at his campaign launch, both important endorsements considering how close the election results were. The presence of other bigname federal Conservatives, such as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, at Fantino’s victory reception Monday night points to the perceived strategic importance of taking the riding of Vaughan, a Liberal stronghold for the past 22 years. The Conservatives have so far struggled to make major inroads in the GTA, and the city remains the largest and arguably most important Liberal stronghold in the country. While Fantino’s election does not necessarily indicate that any more ridings will switch from red to blue in
the next election, Liberal strategists may well worry that the momentum gained from leader Michael Ignatieff’s cross-country bus tour has petered out. In the weeks leading up to the by-election, there was much speculation over whether Fantino’s election would catapault him straight into cabinet. The suggestion does not seem at all far-fetched, considering the federal government’s continued focus on “tough on crime” policies. Fantino has made a career out of being a tough, authoritative, old-fashioned law enforcement ﬁgure, with little support for criminal rehabilitation programs and expressing his distaste for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on more than one occasion, most notably in his autobiography, Duty: The Life of a Cop. During his time as OPP Commissioner and Toronto Police Chief, Fantino was already expressing his support for mandatory minimum sentences, and has already reiterated that commitment in the few days since his election.
the newspaper WORLD AIDS DAY cont’d from page 1
Editor-in-Chief Helene Goderis
Contributing Editor Diana Wilson
bon donations and snack and candy sales. “The Chestnut community has responded well to the HIV/ AIDS awareness projects,” claims Chestnut Residence don Jemy Joseph. “The HIV/AIDS Awareness team has been pleasantly surprised by the support students, dons and staff have
offered to the cause, in terms of time, money and positive energy!” About 33.3 million people are living with HIV around the world. Of the roughly 33.3 million, about 22.5 million of them reside in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 2009 report from UNAIDS estimates that 2.5 million chil-
Fantino has not been a stranger to controversy during his law enforcement career, being the subject of corruption investigations on at least three occasions during his time as Chief of Police in Toronto, London and York Region. He has also been accused of illegally inﬂuencing elected ofﬁcials in Caledonia, Ontario, allegedly sending emails to the town’s mayor and city councillors advising them not to attend rallies that were part of the region’s ongoing aboriginal occupation. These episodes are of little consequence now however, with Fantino set to take his seat at Parliament Hill, a key contender for a cabinet post and bringing with him a perspective on law enforcement that ﬁts into the current government’s ideology like a glove. The voters of Vaughan (or at least, 15% of them) have made their choice, and Julian Fantino may well play a major role in Canadian policy in coming years.
dren under the age of 15 are HIV positive. In order to bring awareness to the growing problem of HIV/AIDS, World AIDS Day is held every year on the ﬁrst of December. Though World AIDS Day has passed, there are other events happening throughout hte month. Information on further upcoming events can be found at the University of Toronto Centre for International Health website at http://cih.utoronto. ca.
Photo Editor Bodi Bold
Suzie Balubuch, Dave Bell, Dan Christensen, Sandra De Grandis, Evanna Folkenfolk, Alysha Gjos, Andrew Gyorkos, Jess Stokes, Amy Stupavsky, Kate Wakely-Mulroney
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December 2, 2010
BLAIR VS. HITCHENS cont’d from page 1
his opening argument in opposition to the night’s resolution: “be it resolved religion is a force for good in the world.” Hitchens’ opening statements were a direct and concise explanation of his view that the world needs far more secularism and far less religion. His penchant for ruthless, dry, observational wit and highly quotable turns of phrase had the audience applauding and bursting into laughter throughout the night. Dividing his argument into an analysis of the philosophical basis of religion, and an analysis of its consequences in the world, he began by quoting a religious text written by Cardinal Newman, and used it to illustrate his claim that religion leads people to believe “we are created sick, and ordered to be well.” Supervising this process is a “celestial dictatorship, a sort of divine North Korea” that demands praise and is ready to punish any who sin. According to Hitchens, the cure for humans in this context - salvation - “is promised at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties.” In contrast, Tony Blair’s own opening statements and sub-
sequent rebuttals focused less on the inherent positive qualities of religion, but rather on the acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion that it has helped to bring about. While conceding throughout the debate that religion is capable of causing cruel and vicious acts, Blair pointed to religious-based relief organizations, international aid groups, and even local community organizations such as Covenant House. Blair went on to say that these altruistic acts are not done out of fear of punishment in the af-
terlife, but rather from a belief that one’s love for God is best expressed through caring for one’s neighbour. In addition, a look at the major tenets of all major religions would reveal similar ideals of compassion, generosity, and doing to others what one would like done to themself. Finally, Blair pointed to historical examples of regimes in which religion was deliberately cast aside only to result in tyranny and suffering, such as the cases of Russia under Stalin, or Cambodia under Pol Pot.
3 While both debaters were predictably impassioned and articulate, the overall clarity and directness of Hitchens’ argument compared to the speciﬁc examples and subtlety of Blair’s is what ultimately made the former’s position more convincing - at least according to the audience vote that followed the debate. One of the highlights of the event was Hitchens’ powerful response to Blair’s comments on the importance of religious organizations in alleviating poverty: he argued that the ﬁrst step in ending poverty is the empowerment of women, something that religion has prevented for ages. Furthermore, many aid organizations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres or Oxfam have no religious afﬁliation, and go about their activities for the
“sense of pleasure to be had in helping a fellow creature.” Perhaps the most contentious issue of all, and one that was left for the audience to ponder in Blair’s closing argument, is whether nefarious actions are done “in the name of religion” or, as Hitchens argued, as a direct result of religion and its scriptures. Blair did acknowledge that separating these two issues is an ongoing discussion and challenge for religions and their followers, but there was, understandably, little common ground to be found between the two on the matter. What was agreed upon, however, was the fact that religion is a force that will not go away any time soon. It’s role in modern societies remains the focus of debates such as this one, and certainly many others to come.
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December 2, 2010
Stillepost no longer The truly Canadian web music forum powers down permanently After ﬁve years, nearly 12,000 registered members, hundreds of concert listings and countless insidejokes, Stillepost, the Canadian concert-listing site and web forum, is closing its doors. According to reports from the site’s founders, the website was simply not sustainable, relying heavily on volunteers and not generating enough cash-ﬂow, owing to the fact that the site never gave in to posting ads as a way of generating income. the newspaper got to speak with Ryan Mills, who launched the webpage 20hz, which was later sold and changed to Stillepost. “At the end of the 20hz era, I was offering to give the community away to anyone who wanted the responsibility of managing it,” says Mills. “The amount of time, energy and money I was putting into the site was starting to conﬂict with my other projects,” continued Mills in reference to his touring and recording. The only person who showed any interest was an employee of El Mocambo with “a great personality [and] superb web skills,” Mills notes, along with some experience organizing a similar site for London, Ontario. Mills offered to give the site away, free of charge, “but the owner insisted on paying for it. It was a big hairy mess that ﬁnanced my tiny recording studio and lit a ﬁre under the community itself, so I think everything worked out in the end.” The sell-off has been called controversial in the past, mostly because Mills sold it to Abbas Jahangiri, who attempted to turn El Mocambo, a legendary Toronto club, into a dance studio. Some of Toronto’s music community was not thrilled with the sell, and the resulting transformation into Stillepost, but Mills feels that the project was a success, saying, “They were much better suited to manage the site and odd-
ly enough that employee from El Mocambo ended up being a big contributor to Stillepost over the years... so I think it all worked out great.” Dylan Reibling, former moderator of the Toronto board from 2005-2007 and occasional contributor, wanted to make sure that tribute would be paid to the site, and especially the interactions and relationships created thanks to Stillepost. “When I heard that the board was coming to an end of the year, I wanted to make sure that we commemorated it in a substantial way rather than let it just blink off and disappear.”
watched the site grow.” Despite the sadness that surrounds the unfortunate demise of a truly interactive, autonomous and blessedly ad-free place for the Canadian music community to connect, there is satisfaction in what Stillepost managed to attain. “I’m very happy to see that Stillepost is going out with the same mentality it had when it started,” resolves Mills, “Nobody sold out nobody gave in - no bad creative decisions. Every ﬁve years is a rock and roll generation and I guess it’s time for this one to move on to different projects.”
Reibling has organized a funeral for the webpage, in “an attempt to pay tribute to the spirit of the boards - and especially the kinds of interactions that it made possible: spontaneous, participatory, and fun.” Fans and friends of Stillepost have been asked to attend the event on January 8th at the Garrison, where Reibling plans on handing out “eulogy booklet/ illustration by Kate Wakely-Mulroney zines with contributions from community members and the local press who have
by Suzie Balabuch
December 2, 2010
the newspaper sits down with Professor Christian Campbell, following his poetry prize
AMY STUPAVSKY The weather might be growing colder, but Caribbean literature is enjoying its day in the sun. U of T English professor Christian Campbell joins the Caribbean literati as winner of the 2010 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for his poetry collection, Running the Dusk. Established in 1989, the Aldeburgh Prize is the oldest national award in the UK for a ﬁrst poetry collection. Campbell’s work beat out a record 95 entries for the prize, which includes a monetary award equivalent to $4,800 CDN, a week-long writing retreat on the East Suffolk coast, and an invitation to read at the 23rd Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in November 2011. “My ﬁrst reaction was to throw my hands up in the air and make noise!” laughed Campbell, remembering the moment when he received news of his win in early November. “It’s wonderful. A prize like this really allows me to share my work with a much wider audience.” Born and raised in the Bahamas, Campbell describes himself as a “fortunate traveller,” in the words of St. Lucian Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. He has enjoyed a peripatetic life, studying at Duke University in the U.S. and as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He was also an editorial consultant in the Bahamas, engaging with Caribbean artists, culminating in an interview with Sidney Poitier. In 2008 he took up a post as professor of Caribbean Literature at U of T. Campbell is currently working on an interdisciplinary study of Sidney Poitier and a second poetry collection about the intersections between competitive swimming and writing. Written over a nine year period, Running the Dusk is ﬁrmly entrenched in the culture of diaspora, a transnational affair that hones in on the arrivals and departures that constitute our lives. Campbell maintains that that movement was key for
the creation of his poetry. “Geographically and geopolitically, it reﬂects the nomadic movement of my life,” he explained. Dusk is the spiritual centre of the collection. The title was inspired by an ordinary experience of the Caribbean everyday: running along the beach at dusk. Running at the beach became a ritual for Campbell after returning to the Bahamas from America before he left for his stint at Oxford. “It was an act of reconnecting with the self and my own landscape,” he said. “I kept going back to the beach, and it became less and less about the exercise and more about the experience. The poems are very much about that beach space and that dusk moment. There’s a metaphorical richness to what dusk means. It’s a liminal state: neither light nor dark. I’m very interested in the texture of light at dusk.” Campbell notes the importance of landscape as a part of Caribbean culture and its intimate relationship to the beach. He explains that the landscape imbues music and literature. The overarching, multifaceted role of landscape helps to explain his attraction to poetry. “I am an audiophile,” he said. “I’m obsessed with sound and language. Poetry, more than any other literary genre, allows me to explore that. For me, poetry is a listening presence, fully present to the air and the heart. The compression of time and space and the idea that you can travel so far in such little space on a page is very powerful for me.” Christian Campbell’s poetry collection Running the Dusk is available at A Different Book List, 746 Bathurst
illustration by Kate Wakely-Mulroney
6 The rap
December 2, 2010
Have a Minaj à trois Stoked about hip hop’s new IT girl
the crew is no less remarkable. In a recent performance with Kanye West and Jay-Z in NYC, reviews claimed she not only measured up to these hip-hop titans but out-rhymed them. These rumors are deﬁnitely conﬁrmed on the track “Monster” (MBTDF), where her alter
egos, with insanely engaging accents, could entrance even a hip-hop hater. Not all the credit can go to Minaj though. As a protégé of Lil’ Wayne for the past three years, she learned from the best. She also wasn’t always the empowered, conﬁdent, and outspoken
bombshell she is now. Previously, Minaj strived to be more of a Lil’ Kim, using her sex appeal to get representation rather than her intellect and talent. Her evolution has been a gift to aspiring female rappers, who want to maintain their values and femininity while still being
Nicki Minaj is the new IT girl. She’s on the cover of this week’s NOW magazine described as the “most hyped new MC in Hip-Hop history.” Her ﬁrst album, Pink Friday, was released November 19th, ranking second behind Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by selling 370, 000 records in its ﬁrst week. Reviews so far are stellar, conﬁrming that the seven-time billboard top 100 emcee (a record for female rap artists) has delivered under pressure. She’s beautiful, voluptuous and screams sex appeal like most female MCs in the hip hop history (except maybe Missy Elliot) but Nicki is in a league of her own when it comes to rhyming and public image. The Young Money Entertainment crew has been blowing up in recent years. Between Drake’s highly successful Thank Me Later and Lil’ Wayne’s impressive career, the female addition to
taken seriously. Minaj credits her alter egos for inspiring the strength, resilience and creativity to become who she is now. One of the best aspects of Minaj’s talent, other than the fact that she’s a freaking badass emcee, is that she has the ability to draw in fans from an incredible variety of audiences. She’s toting herself as the new face of girl power and homosexual rights. Listeners that may be turned off or lost by offensive lyrics from most rappers are drawn in by her intense emotion, energy and insanity. She exudes power and strength through her lyrics, and publicly encourages gay rights and female empowerment. And let’s be honest, many of us girls can relate to the crazy. Even more, everyone can relate to the feeling of being multiple people pent up inside an external persona. She’s a badass bitch with pick hair that raps with the best of them, and she’s urging us to let our inner freak out. I for one cannot resist.
Across 1.Play divisions 5.Swiss peak 8.Evaluate 14. Coin receptacle 15. Nothing 16. Looks at intensely 17. Dispense drinks 18. Pants, bags, and accessories brand 19. Exclusive evening party 20. Vacation 22. Movie network 24. Chalkboard acronym 25. Classics course indicator 27. Between “Ready” and “Fire” 29. Sins 31. Frigid months 34. Attempt 35. Tina Turner’s Ex 36. Trafﬁc ligth colour 38. ___ Martin (British carmaker) 41. Recent 42. Elderly 43. Satellite alternative 45. Has concern 48. Canadian province 49. Hawaiian instrument, informally 50. Three month period 52. ___ Punk (electronic music duo) 54. Homer’s neighbour on “The Simpsons” 55. Expert 56. Ad ___; freely 58. Chest bone 60. Streetcar 63. Cheese shredder 66. Car park 68. 1982 Jeff Bridges ﬁlm 70. Fruity frozen dessert 71. Aural organ 72. ___ Flux (2005 ﬁlm) 73. Bird calls 74. ___ Lanka
75. Mentally sound Down 1. Venemous Snake 2. Thrombus 3. Sightseeing expedition 4. Not lenient 5. Industrious insect 6. Pocket ﬂuff 7. Satisfy 8. Donkey 9. Octagonal red street sign 10. Men at sea 11. Mistake 12. Behold! 13. Opposite of NNW 21. Magic word 23. Reﬂective surface 26. Upper Limb 28. Possessive pronoun 30. “___ ___ the Clowns” (musical number from “A Little Night Music”) 31. Recoiled slightly 32. Swedish furniture store 33. Inexperienced web user, slangly 37. Argue childishly 38. Take a stand 39. Spinning toys 40. Margarine alternative 44. Beatles album 46. Ancient Roman magistrates 47. Clairevoyance 49. International council 51. Critical arteries 57. Red root vegetable 59. Pig 61. Length times width 62. Earth only natural satellite 63. 5% tax 64. Horizontal column 65. Tactical video game genre 67. Preﬁx for “angle” 69. Opposite of SSW
December 2, 2010
Here’s looking at you, Eyeball FASU hosts annual undergraduate visual arts showcase EVANNA FOLKENFOLK
know, a Google search yields nothing but an uninformative FASU blog. Given the caliber of work that passes through the Eyeball each year, its oblivion in the general arts community is a shame. “It is not advertised enough all over campus…I would like to see more because our arts program is strong and we have many talented artists who deserve to be showcased,” says Shayna. Talent seems to be of no concern. In fact, and contrary to popular belief about visual arts coming out of such a notoriously academic university, UofT students and professors alike
assure me that the interaction between academia and art is a recipe for success. Kurysh expresses the necessity for this interface between art and education: “Instead of only teaching you to draw, paint, take photographs or make installations, it teaches you to think, to critically analyze and take apart the world around you. These are KEY artistic skills.” Kurysh asserts that the theoretical emphasis of a university such as UofT “not only creates good artists, but intelligent, well-informed artists who aren’t afraid to push boundaries.” Though greatly overshadowed
by the neighboring OCAD’s Undergraduate Open House, The Eyeball is holding down the fort for UofT’s visual arts and has been since the mid ‘80s. In recent years, with the insurgence of independent art galleries popping up throughout the downtown, many of them with a focus on conceptual art (such as the conceptually-driven Whippersnapper), it is likely that the contributors of The Eyeball will have many more opportunities to share their works. If only those who didn’t frequent the mysterious building in the middle of Spadina knew where to look.
The visual arts headquarters at 1 Spadina Crescent will house this year’s Eyeball. The annual Undergraduate Visual Arts Showcase is hosted by UofT’s Fine Arts Student Union. Chances are, unless you are a part of the small but robust visual arts community at UofT, you’ve never heard of this event, and never will. Suffering from a
lack of publicity so severe, one of its very own, a second-year Visual Arts Specialist named Shayna, had never heard of the affair prior to this year. One of The Eyeball’s chief student coordinators, Courtney Kurysh, admits it is mostly through word of mouth at the downtown campus and social networking via Facebook that The Eyeball ensures its attendance. But for those not in the
Visual arts students prepare for the upcoming Eyeball at 1 Spadina. Left to right: May Arida and Cailleah Scott-Grimes hang collage pieces, while Vanessa Dumais cranks out prints in the print-making studio.
Tyler Clark Burke’s unREAL exhibit Leave exam reality behind, and go see art for free EVANNA FOLKENFOLK If you like art, you will like Harbourfront Centre’s unREAL visual arts exhibit. If you are broke and cannot afford to like art, you can afford this because it costs nothing. And if you are a penniless art student, then you really have no excuse. So put down your pen, pencil or paintbrush and go to the York Quay Centre to see this remarkable display. When you step in front of artist Tyler Clark Burke’s glass
sculpture at the unREAL exhibit, you disappear. Or rather you transcend, simultaneously feeling more and less, at once quieted and entirely unnerved. Stand in front of the rotating sculpture – made of color-morphing laser-etched glass and the size of a Rubik’s Cube – and Burke’s cryptic description of her piece invoking a sense of “ﬂeeting energy locked into glass” begins to make a lot more sense. Locked in a glass display case at the end of a long and unglamorous hallway at the Harbourfront Centre, Burke’s sculpture
contains the proﬁle images of a man and bear spliced together, locked in glass. It is captivating; its slow rotation, its gradual shifts through deep neons, the way in which the lights reﬂect off the glass and surrounds itself in a multi-color laser beam kaleidoscope. Not even the cafeteria-style tables alongside the artwork or the tired staff closing up the snack bar can break the trance that this piece elicits. It is what I imagine meditation would be if I were any good at it. Burke’s sculpture is ancient
and familiar, yet utterly extraterrestrial. Reading her description of the piece, it is exactly the feeling she envisioned for her audience. In Burke’s words, it is “nostalgia for nostalgia”, the cozy feeling of discomfort that wraps around you in ease. To Burke, ‘nostalgia’ is the “manufacturing of memories both true and false” and as such is inherently unreal. It is our mind’s futile attempt to preserve those memories we hold dear, to exalt them to the status of nostalgic longing, giving them the warm fuzziness of selective memory.
But these delightfully censored memories are always “overtly fantastical in their presentation”, and how Burke describes her sculptures. Her creation is a powerful meditation on our compulsion to nostalgia and our romanticizing of the past, of the murky waters in our minds and our hearts between the real and the unreal. But before the faint glow of the pivoting sculpture, it hardly matters which memory or sensation or image is real – the only thing that matters is that it feels that way.
December 2, 2010
the campus comment
the newspaper asked: what are your New Year’s Resolutions?
Mike, Campus Parking Police “I never make resolutions. I know I’m not going to keep it.”
Ayo, Medical Student
Gus, Campus Control Technician
Sargis, Economics, 1st year “I’m going to start doing my math homework. Wait, my dad’s not going to see this, is he?”
Paris, Physical and Mathematical Studies “Six pack abs.”
“Raise a million dollars for HIV/AIDS awareness.”
You won’t need Viagara for Gyllenhaal to grow on you DAN CHRISTENSEN Pop tarts! Nintendo 64! Spin Doctors! Pagers! And, most importantly, Viagara. Love and Other Drugs doubtlessly welcomes us back to the mid-nineties with these and other signs of the times. Meanwhile the ﬁlm looks at the success of vitamin V, the curse of Parkinson’s disease, life as a drug representative, the transition away from a sex-based relationship, and the plight of American doctors. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jamie, a born salesman who takes on a job for Pﬁzer promoting Zoloft to doctors, and makes the transition to selling the Blue Pill while falling in love with Maggie (Anne Hathaway), an intelligent struggling artist with stage 1 Parkinson’s disease and a fear of commitment. However, this description doesn’t begin to address the ambition of this ﬁlm, and the countless emotional, social, and even political issues it attempts to address. It quite simply doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. We start out with the story of Jamie’s career as a salesman - both of his products and himself - and the sexual conquest that accompanies it. This is then nicely balanced with his and Maggie’s budding relationship and their cautious romantic backand-forth, as Jamie achieves the position repping Viagara. Here, though, this ﬁne balance disappears, as we are rushed through hoops of the story, one at a time.
Jamie begins to learn how to love, Maggie begins to accept her illness, Jamie becomes obsessed with ﬁnding a cure - all singularly, in neat succession. Although Jamie is portrayed at turns a well-rounded, multifaceted character with many interesting traits, we have trouble seeing him as a uniﬁed person, for these traits never appear simultaneously. This difﬁculty in dealing with different aspects of the movie comprehensively and throughout the picture appears also for its seemingly endless supporting cast. Each of these characters, while being convincingly brought to life by the superlatively talented likes of Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, and relative newcomer Josh Gad, have their stories left loose-ended. Despite some woodenness in the story however, Hathaway delivers a performance full of vitality and immediacy. In addition to Gyllenhaal’s documented charisma and honesty as an actor, both coming to full fruition here, he presents himself also as a talented physical comedian. Although I was hoping for a little more depth into the story of pharmaceuticals in the ‘90s and the rise of Viagara (pun intended) than romantic comedy, I must say that the ﬁlm deﬁnitely had me laughing, and Edward Zwick’s direction kept the ﬁlm moving and interesting. If you’re thinking of going to see Love and Other Drugs, you can expect a creation of more talent and interest than your average romcom, though not too much more.
Gargy, too many years to count “Keep truckin’.”