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THE NEWS Intoxicating Study Page 2

THE INSIDE Could this bill break the Internet? Page 4


Dub poet brings powah! to stage

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the newspaper The University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly

Since 1978

VOL XXXIV Issue 13 • December 1, 2011

Waging the war on cyber terror

Canada Centre for Global Security Studies explores the future of crime Andrew Walt “The future is already here - it’s just not evenly distributed,” once claimed cyber prophet and preeminent science fiction author William Gibson years ago. Marc Goodman, Global thinker and founder of the Future Crimes Institute, frequently returned to this idea throughout his November 30 discussion on The Future of Crime. Indeed the future is here, and it’s evidently in nefarious hands. Goodman, now Senior Fellow at the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Munk School of Global Affairs, has spent 20 years building expertise and familiarity in next generation security threats, including cyber terror-

ism and information warfare. Having worked with organizations including the UN, NATO, and Interpol, Goodman has not only been a witness to the future of crime, but also a force in counteracting the criminal activities many would dismiss as science fiction. For two hours on Wednesday, November 30, Goodman discussed the future of crime with a captivated audience at the George Ignatieff Theatre in Trinity College. Far from dealing exclusively with such trite topics as hacking, phishing schemes, and digital media piracy, Goodman brought forth “a message from the future,” examining the threats of tomorrow we’re beginning to face today. Crimes involving robotics and nanotech-

Marc Goodman speaking on future crimes at the George Ignatieff Theatre

nology, biological crime (including the exploitation of the human genome), and cyber terrorism were just some of the subjects discussed. “Technology has gotten way beyond law enforcement policy,” said Goodman. “There may be no law they [police and government agencies] can act upon. And even if there is a law, they have very limited resources, limited training, and limited budgets.” The future of crime, according to Goodman, is one where “ubiquitous computing” has rendered nearly every aspect of our world vulnerable to cyber crime. “In the future, we will have devices connected to the Internet that we’ve never imagined,” he said. “Everything from pace-

see page 2

Millions in clean water down the drain Robby Müff Ontario loses a quarter of its clean water due to leaky pipes each year, according to a report by engineering professors at the University of Toronto. The independent study, funded by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO), found that $700 million goes down the drain annually. Pipes crack and fissure with time, which leads to unfathomable amounts of wasted water. Minor leaks can trickle for a long time undetected, while larger ones immediately cause huge volumes of water waste. There are many reasons for the leaks, most critically the change of

temperature between seasons. How much water is wasted in Toronto? According to the 2007 RCCAO report, 14 per cent of the City’s total water production goes into the ground. Toronto spends approximately $2 million per month to operate its extensive water distribution system. A City official, Cheryl San Juan, said the municipal government is aware of the RCCAO study and is looking for ways to reduce waste. “We recently completed our own study on water loss reduction and it is estimated that Toronto’s water loss is around 8 to 10 per cent,” she said.

see page 3


Leaky pipes waste $700 million in drinking water each year



December 1, 2011

The social life of disinhibition Study reveals links party trifecta: drunkenness, social power and anonymity


Talia Gordon

the newspaper the newspaper is the University of Toronto’s independent weekly paper, published since 1978. VOL XXXIV No. 13

Editor-in-Chief Cara Sabatini

Design Editor Samantha Chiusolo

News Editor Geoff Vendeville

Copy Editor Talia Gordon

Associate News Editor Yukon Damov

Arts Editor Vanessa Purdy

Photo Editor Bodi Bold


Associate Photo Editor Nana Arbova

Web Editor Andrew Walt the newspaper 1 Spadina Crescent Suite 245 Toronto, ON M5S 1A1

Nana Arbova, Paul Trzaski, Bodi Bold, Samantha Chiusolo, Dan Christensen, Yukon Damov, Talia Gordon, Robby Müff, Vanessa Purdy, Nick Ragetli, Andrew Walt .

Editorial: 416-593-1552

the newspaper is published by Planet Publications Inc., a nonprofit corporation. All U of T community members, including students, staff and faculty, are encouraged to contribute to the newspaper.

In a recently published paper, U of T professor Jason Hirsh links drunkenness, social power, and anonymity to a single underlying psychological mechanism. “In any given situation, there is a huge range of potential behaviours,” he explained. “Our nervous system is always trying to figure out what we should be doing.” This decision-making process and its attendant social consequences are influenced by varying levels of disinhibition. Put simply, disinhibition refers to the state in which behavioural decision-making is compromised. Hirsh explained that when the part of the brain that detects and receives “conflicting information” from your surroundings--known as the “Behavioural Inhibition System” (BIS)--is activated, it produces feelings of anxiety, which act as a regulating mechanism that helps a person choose between competing responses. Hirsh offered a helpful example: “Let’s say you have a big test to study for, but then a friend calls and invites you to a party. Now you have two competing motives pushing you in different directions. If you didn’t have a BIS, you’d immediately go hang out with your friend.” In the absence of a properly functioning BIS, individuals act impulsively in choosing the most apparently desirable option or exhibiting exaggeratedly prosocial, or anti-social behavior. Enter power, alcohol and anonymity. Hirsh explained, “We chose these three factors

from “cyber terror” makers to automobiles to children to prisoners to pets.” With ubiquitous computing, Goodman predicts an omnipresence of wired devices and Internet connectivity. Of course in the smartphoneusing modern world, it may seem like we’re already there. But in the future, even innocuous items such as refrigerators, milk cartons, and garbage bags will be equipped with such functionality. Goodman envisions a not too distant future where your milk can tell the grocer whether it’s in the fridge or in the trash, and inform you to buy a fresh quart via Twitter. “There’s a large unawareness of the problems, particu-

because on the surface they appear to have nothing to do with one another.” However, in the context of disinhibition, each of these factors has a powerful and often polarizing effect on human behavior. Social power can present individuals with opportunities for great wealth, achievement or control over others, while alcohol intoxication reduces social anxieties and can produce heightened compassion and affection, or elevated levels of aggression and volatility. Anonymity can similarly ease social anxieties by removing the element of accountability and dampening concerns about social desirability. This too, has doubleedged social consequences, particularly in the context of chat rooms and cyberbullying. Hirsh described disinhibition as having two formative roles. “One of the things that happens in a disinhibited state is that it increases the effects of socialization. Disinhibition both shapes and reveals a person.” While personality traits and cultural values interact with and influence behavior, in a disinhibited state, strong social norms prevail. “What ever is the most normative response in any situation becomes the most salient,” explained Hirsh. What is the usefulness of the disinhibition model? Hirsh described the recent financial crisis as a potent example of when power can create anti-social behavior with hugely negative outcomes. “Looking at power and disinhibition can tell us more about what kind of cog-

nitive biases are leading these people towards risk,” said Hirsh. “Awareness of these biases is a big step in restricting financial organizations,” he added. The online world is also a site of increased disinhibition through the use of chat-rooms and unregulated social networking. “[The Internet] is a new development that is rapidly changing opportunities for social engagement,” remarked Hirsh. “Online there is no reason to inhibit certain responses, and concerns about social evaluation are diminished.” This can produce remarkably positive opportunities for social support, as well as hostility and aggression through anonymous posting on public sites. And, of course, alcohol is notorious for its effects as a “social lubricant.” Hirsh cautioned, “Alcohol does decrease social anxiety in the short term, but the downside is that you might not get what you’re hoping for, and there may be negative consequences.” While this may be obvious, the misuse of alcohol as self-medication and the deleterious effects of alcoholism remain a common problem. The underlying goals of Hirsh’s research are to better understand the effects of anxiety and uncertainty on human behavior, and to “harness the good while constraining the bad” when it comes to disinhibition. Hirsh concluded, “It’s important to educate people and structure the environment so that the most desired responses are the most salient. We need to make it easy for people to do naturally what is most pro-social.”

larly of the emerging threats,” said Goodman. “Of course people know about the standard cyber crime of today, but what it looks like in their future will be very different.” The threats of cyber crime are especially troubling in part because criminals can use and exploit new technologies far more quickly than law enforcement agencies. Authorities are only permitted to act within the boundaries of the law, while criminals obey no such restrictions. “They [criminals] don’t have to worry about national sovereignty, and they’re free to act as they will,” added Goodman. As technology advances at an exponential rate, governments face increased difficulty keeping up.

“As more and more things get connected to the Internet, whoever controls the Internet has access to those things,” added Goodman. Whether criminals or cops, such technologies are already being used by both sides. Sensing the slight atmosphere of despair his seminar may have instilled after extolling the cleverness of tech savvy criminals and the relative impotence of law enforcement in dealing with them, Goodman ended with an appeal to communal solidarity. “We need to bring human beings back into the fold,” concluded Goodman. “We need to bring that into the fight against computer crime and cyber terrorism.”

from “down the drain” San Juan added, “The city [has] undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce water loss in our system.” One of these projects is the 2012 watermain renewal plan to repair or replace damaged watermains. San Juan also mentioned the City’s ongoing campaign to replace or install new smart meters in every business and home in Toronto. Once installed, these meters will help locate leaks in the system. Not only do broken pipes spew hundreds of thousands of litres of clean water--and, therefore, millions of tax dollars--into the ground annually, but the

repair costs are staggering. The costs associated with leaks also fall on homeowners, who must deal with flooded basements. Finding the money to fix these leaky pipes isn’t easy. However, U of T Engineering Professor Bryan Karney said it is important not to skimp on repairs, lest the price be paid later in wasted water as poorly fixed pipes spring leaks again. “If [cities] don’t have any money ... they’re forced to do Band-Aids rather than proper solutions,” he told CBC. Karney said Torontonians take their water for granted. He compared his water bill to his internet bill, which is only one-third of the charge.


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Bridging the Bering Strait 1,500 year old artifact found in Alaska: Asian or Alien? Paul Trzaski A team of researchers, including U of T Anthropology Professor Max Friesen, has recently discovered a 1500 year-old bronze clasp that may shed new light on ancient transcontinental trading patterns. Led by the University of Colorado, the bronze clasp was discovered over the course of the Cape Espenberg Project, a U.S National Science Foundation initiative looking at the origins of the Thule Inuit, the ancestors of all Inuit living in Alaska, Canada and Greenland. “It is an exciting find because it demonstrates the presence of large-scale interaction networks connecting Eurasia and Arctic North America,” commented Max Friesen, one of the excavators working on the site. The project’s objective is to analyze the effects of climate and environmental changes on ancient hunting economies, house formations and artifact styles during the Medieval Warm Period. In a press release, researcher Owen Mason (CU-Boulder) said that this period is thought to be analogous to the present process of climate change, and so they are also studying ancient practices of adaptation through subsistence activities. The object is thought to have been part of a harness, but its origin is still a mystery. “The piece itself would probably have been traded far beyond a region where its original function could be understood, and was likely used as an ornament by these early Thule ancestors in Alaska, perhaps as a status symbol,” said Friesen. This find follows the discovery of an artifact originating in Asia this past summer, where archaeologists

found a 17th century Chinese coin northwest of Carmacks, Yukon. While not responsible for the immediate discovery of the artifact, Friesen was part of the U of T team present in the 2011 field season, along with PhD students Lauren Norman and Michael O’Rourke. Friesen interpreted the Inuit architecture at the site, directing the excavation

of a particularly well-preserved driftwood framed house. The actual discovery of the object can be accredited to Jeremy Foin, PhD student of Archaeology at the University of California, who noticed it while sifting three feet of sediment in the entryway into the house. Because bronze metallurgy has not been found historically in Alaska, the researchers think

Archaeologists or Grant Wood painting? that the artifact was made in East Asia, which would reflect long-distance trade from production centres in Korea, China, Manchuria, or southern Siberia. Currently, the artifact is under study by H. Kory Cooper, prehistoric metallurgical expert and Assistant Professor at Purdue University. In the meantime the

archaeologists hope to be back on the site again next summer, building off of their successful session this year. However the artifact arrived in Alaska, its discovery offers interesting insights into ancient history in northwestern America and the interactions between East and West.



December 1, 2011

The bill that could break the Internet Yukon Damov

like the defenseless old woman, and similarly laws need to be enacted to protect them from lost revenue, lost jobs and lost compensation for artists. Internet piracy does not have to be piracy, or illegal, which is perhaps the counterargument. The ethics of piracy is messy. But at some point the balance between the consumer and the producer has fallen too far in the consumer’s favour, to the detriment of businesses and individuals.



American lawmakers have the right idea. Even if this piece of legislation, SOPA, is not the ideal approach, legislation is necessary. Internet piracy is a menace and the best way to combat it is through the justice of the law. In practical terms, the viability of various industries has been undermined by Internet piracy. The sales of more accessible intellectual property, such as films, books, software, music, and games, is in what seems like an uncontrollable downward spiral. The decline of the recording industry, for example, has led to many lost jobs and loss of revenue. Although their numbers should be treated sceptically (as they do not cite a source), the Recording Industry Association of America says music sales in the U.S. have plummeted 47 per cent in the decade since the creation of Napster, from $14.6 billion in 1999 to $7.7 billion in 2009. Piracy has created opportunities for shared music and a platform for independent labels, but it has also made for fewer jobs at record compan i e s a n d less

compensation for artists (I’m thinking here of small acts, not U2). Consider, closer to home, how many record stores in Toronto, including Sam the Record Man, have gone out of business. These closings have been due in large part to downloading, legal and illegal. Opponents of legislation like SOPA will argue that these industries and their content producers should adapt their business models to Internet downloading, as if they are merely behind the curve. But that’s a strange suggestion. When an old lady has her purse stolen, society does not ask her to adapt, to get her act together so that it doesn’t happen again; it works through the law to make the robber criminally responsible. Somehow these corporations have become


Motion: Be it resolved that SOPA is an effective way to combat piracy and protect intellectual property.

Introduced to U.S. Congress on October 26, 2011, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.

Andrew Walt

^ ^

Despite having endless power and resources, the great titans of commerce at the head of multi-billion dollar corporations have thrown up their arms in surrender against the great “series of tubes” that is the Internet. These tycoons find that marching lobbyists into U.S. Congress in support of a fundamentally broken bill is easier than addressing the failures of their busi-


ness models, which g r o w increasingly antiquated in our ever accelerating world. Their solution? Censorship in the form of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which aims to end piracy by ending the Internet as we know it. What SOPA and other such bills represent is not a protection of intellectual property, but instead an admission of weakness, defeat, and failure. Rather than reinvigorating

the intrepid entrepreneurial spirit with fresh opportunities and a renewed commitment to service and satisfaction, SOPA aims to cripple (or better yet, to crush) the emerging market trends with which it can no longer compete. Ultimately, piracy is a problem of service. Why should the consumer be punished for preferring novel methods of acquisition, disingenuous though they may be? If what consumers value is a convenient transaction better provided by pirates than by traditional methods, shouldn’t the producers be criticized for failing to serve the customer? The pirates ought to be praised in being the “necessary evil,” delivering their product for them and exposing their flawed business models. Piracy is the cancer insofar as SOPA is the cure. Instead of drafting counterintuitive and counterproductive legislation in a conceited effort to mask their inability or unwillingness to evolve with the times, supporters of SOPA should either embrace their obsolescence in a quiet, cushy retirement, or seriously reevaluate their business models and practices. Centuries ago, navies didn’t seek to end piracy at sea by draining the oceans; it’s just as foolish to seek an end to online piracy by shutting down the Internet.



Sexophones and tromboners have no place at Queen’s Queen’s University marching band suspended for distributing lewd pamphlet to members Vanessa Purdy Earlier this month, Queen’s University gave its marching band, the oldest and largest university band in Canada, a semester-long suspension for distributing a salacious pamphlet. The marching band was also barred from performing in the Toronto and Montreal St. Patrick’s Day parades. The pamphlet, which was not intended for the public and given by an anonymous source to the Queen’s administration, has been criticized as demeaning to women. It contains photos of genitalia, lewd jokes, and smutty phrases like “mouthraping your little sister.” Moreover, the band’s songbook features chants with dirty lyrics of the sort that any U of T froshie is surely familiar with. As their website has been temporarily taken down, the Queen’s Bands’ association with the university and each musician’s role in the pamphlet is not clear. Elizabeth Gould, Associate Professor of Music at U of T, said that there is a place for (tasteful) humour in music. “I think there is a role for humour. I don’t think there’s a role for making fun of any group, particularly those who are already marginal-

ized in society,” said Gould. Other Canadian university bands have tried to find a balance between funny and offensive. Humour is essential to the traditions of the Waterloo Warriors Band, who describe themselves as “One of the Bands in Canada.” In 1969, the Warriors’ band leader sent a letter to Playboy asking why they hadn’t been listed in the magazine’s annual Jazz Poll with the likes of Dave Brubeck and The Adderly Quartet. “In spite of this severe setback,” the letter said, “we shall continue with our cause to promote tone-deafness and stamp out rhythm methods, until all have been converted.” The Warriors also sent Princess Diana and Prince Charles a formal invitation to play with the band. In response to issues that arose from the Queen’s Bands’ suspension, Nancy Soontiens, the Warriors’ Chief Centurion, said, “I have never noticed any gender or racial issues in my time as a musician. In fact, the Warriors Band is one of the more diverse and accepting clubs that I’ve been a part of.” Trix Sharma, a York University student who plays in three of York’s instrumental ensembles, and is the tuba player from the busking band Turbo Street Funk (whom you may

have seen playing funky covers around campus), echoes a similar sentiment. “I don’t really see much in the way of gender dynamics when in ensembles I’ve played in,” he said. Recent U of T music grad Olivia Shortt, who was one of the few female students in her program, noted, “Although there are many females in the music industry, it’s still quite competitive and sometimes you have to come across a little differently as a female musician in order to be equal to male counterparts.” “I think [the suspension] sends a strong message that the marching band needs to realize how important it is to be respectful of all it’s members and how much of a role model they are to others,” she added. Soontiens has a bit more sympathy for the Queen’s Band. “While I do think that

some of their publication was very inappropriate . . . I think suspending the entire band was too much,” she said. Every member of the university bands I interviewed stressed the importance of representing their schools well at practices and concerts. Ashley Capon, VP of Promotions for the McMaster University Band, says, “When we practice, when we wear our uniforms and perform, our responsibility is to represent McMaster University at its finest.” The inner dynamics of any musical group may differ from the norms of the institution it represents. Casual jokes acceptable among friends may seem offensive to the wider public. Sharma sees the importance of keeping band relations informal. “The problem at Queens

may be being blown a little out of proportion,” he said, “but the band should understand that if they’re saying things in a forum, or in a medium that could easily become available to the public, then they need to be careful with what they say.” Professor Gould said the Queen’s Band should learn from their suspension. “I think when you just say, now you’re suspended and you go to training—that sort of shuts it all down, and we don’t learn anything from it,” said Gould. “This is a really great opportunity to have the hard discussion about why these values still persist, why this is still funny to some people…this is a chance for the entire university community-for universities across the country--to engage in these issues and have this discussion.” “This one time, at band camp...”

the mixtape Here's what the staff has on rotation at the newspaper office this week. Visit to listen. Dan – Memoryhouse, “Quiet America” Bodi – Odonis Odonis, “Ledged Up” “Good Intentions Paving Company” Sam – Peter Tosh, “I Am That I Am” Vanessa – 4 Non Blondes, “What’s Up” Yukon – Blackalicious, “Make You Feel That Way” Suzanne -- Cut Chemist ft. Hymnal, “What’s the Altitude”


Andrew – Dean Martin, “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”



December 1st, 2011

Dub poet puts powah! on the Tarragon stage be intuitive understandings of fundamental human-ness, she runs the risk of alienating some of her audience members: much of her work assumes a certain level of social, historical and spiritual knowledge among her viewers. But Young is also an educator, as she demonstrates through her deep commitment to the role of storyteller, and her ability to connect to those around her. d’bi Young’s last performance at the Tarragon Theatre is December 4. Following her album launch at Lula Lounge on December 5, Young will embark on a 15-month world tour to promote her new dub poetry album, 333.

d’bi Young in her many roles of award-winning playwright, actor and educator


ent, effortless transitions and physical fluidity, the story is not just told, but heard. Part of this success comes from the methodological magic of dub-poetry. Characteristics of the poetic form include politics, performance, morality and language. Music often accompanies each poem, though is not an essential element. At the end of each performance, Young sits down and leads a “TalkBack” ses-

sion with her audience. Feedback from these informal yet insightful discussions have helped her create the final product of powah! Young possesses an ability to relate to those who are angry and unheard, and harnesses those feelings in order to move to a place of hope. During the November 24 session, Young explained how she can do so: “I know we are actually all able to move through those moments because we are all stardust.” In her unique way of articulating commonly shared thoughts and beliefs, Young locates the humanity within all of us. However, in her keenness to express what appear to


This past month, the Tarragon Theatre has been home to the many stories and voices of Dora-award winning playwright and educator d’bi Young’s dub poetry performance, the Sankofa Trilogy. The third installment, word!sound!powah! follows blood.claat and benu. Each of the tales follows the “herstory” of a different Sankofa woman, spanning the lives of three generations in one family. What began as a retrospective play about the turbulent 1980 Jamaican general election, during which an estimated 1000 people died, has turned into a trilogy about the cycle of human violence--a pattern not unique to a singular political system or cultural reality. The trilogy is united by a theme of “transcending the boundaries of inheritance,” said Young. Powah! itself transcends the constraints of

chronology in its telling, but never sacrifices the story or the sacred aspects of learning from one’s ancestors in favour of stylistic elements. The simplistic yet striking set, and subtle lighting in word!sound!powah! make the characters’ stories come to life. The importance of family history plays a role in both the narrative and real life of the artist. Young’s mother, Anita Stewart, is credited with helping to found the dub-poetry style. Young incorporates mythological aspects from her Jamaican heritage into her story-telling. Within the three works, the thematic element of each generation of women with the Sankofa name is significant not only for its narrative continuity, but for its semantic value: sankofa means “return and get the knowledge” in the Akan language, which is still used by descendants of escaped slaves in Jamaica. Thanks to Young’s vocal tal-


Vanessa Purdy


d’bi Young’s three-part performance explores humankind’s struggles to overcome self constraints

alphabet 14. Dried, as with a towel 15. Masculine pronoun 16. Flanks 18. Ontario museum 20. Fighter pilot 21. September’s original position on the

Across 1. It could be paper or plastic 4. Exile 7. Terrified 10. Make safe 13. Character of the 1 7




4 9


























23 28











53 57



61 62

40 45

52 55









calendar 23. Knight’s title 24. Touch or taste 26. Conclusion 27. By oneself 29. Quality of being 31. Powerful 33. Possessive neuter pronoun 34. None in particular


35. “Long time listener, first time ___” 38. Hurling weapons 41. Intermission 42. Every 44. Had a nap 46. Motel 47. Impromptu places for dancing or fighting 50. It’s better than a bike 51. Enjoy a meal 52. One who uses a motorcycle 53. Here, en francais 54. Hear 57. Swashbuckler 60. Using eyes 61. On a chair 62. Marry 63. Coloured stain

17. Living room 19. Raw mineral 21. Comes to an agreement 22. Manipulate, as energy 25. Canvas, as on ships 28. Trusty 30. Application 32. Access a keg 35. Man-made water channels 36. Uncle’s mate, affectionately 37. Full of enthusiasm;

___ to go 38. Goes to bed 39. Perform a song or poem 40. Divided 41. Cake alternative 43. Guided 45. Prefix meaning three 48. Current fashion 49. Made an attempt 55. Mend a garment 56. Stalemate 58. Beam of sunshine 59. Had food

The Puzzle Andrew Walt

Down 1. Nocturnal mammal 2. Craft 3. Canadian flock 4. Pack mule; ___ of burden 5. Play division 6. Hard shelled fruit 7. Serves, as ham or roast beef 8. Concrete mixture 9. What one does with 50 across 10. Uses money 11. Rationale 12. Perimeter trim 15. Is in possession of

Here is a Muppet Newsflash


The Crossword Andrew Walt





There’s no news. While no longer on the A-list, the classic puppet ensemble delivers a smart and entertaining performance in tune with its original form.

Dan Christensen It’s clear that in 2011, five decades since their debut, 20 years since the sudden death of their visionary creator, Jim Henson, and 10 years since their last theatrical release (the 1999 flop, Muppets From Space), the Muppets aren’t exactly at the height of relevance. Instead of shying away from obsolescence, The Muppets embraces it as a starting point. Co-written by and starring Jason Segel, its champion in the press for the last two years, the film begins with Kermit and the gang estranged from one another, having moved on and accepted their has-been status. Our hero Walter is the troupe’s biggest fan, and his puppet status goes charmingly unacknowledged, as is par for the course. The fact that the human characters rarely notice that the Muppets are puppets (and more-

over, talking animals) has served as a running source of humour for the ensemble. Walter and his ridiculously implausible human brother Gary (Segel) visit the dilapidated Muppet studios with Gary’s lady friend Mary (Amy Adams). Walter overhears Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), an oil tycoon literally incapable of laughter, discussing a secret scheme to demolish the property and drill for oil beneath, while he publicly promises to turn it into a Muppet museum. The trio bring their harrowing news to Kermit the Frog, who agrees to take the reigns in coordinating a Muppet reunion, with his trademark awkward reluctance. They proceed to pick up Fozzie Bear, now performing with a Muppet tribute band known as the Moopets (featuring Dave Grohl as Animool); then Gonzo the Great, now CEO of a toilet business; and even Miss

Piggy, presently a fashionista at Vogue in Paris. Together again, the gang convince TV exec Veronica (Rashida Jones) to air a Muppet telethon, and must scramble to pull a show together in time to stave off Tex’s greedy plan. Despite the recent public misgivings of one Frank Oz, a Muppet mainstay as a film director and lead puppeteer since almost the beginning, the filmmakers have managed to capture the essence of the Muppet legacy with charm and grace. Throughout the picture, original song and dance numbers, along with renditions of classic songs like “Rainbow Connection” and “Mah Na Mah Na,” make for a bona fide musical. The catchy tunes recall the innocent, all-ages joy captured in the Muppets’ first feature, and even in the original Muppet Show. They also help secure Adams’ triple-threat

status, after her first Disneymusical starring role in the 2007 picture Enchanted. Thanks in large part to Sesame Street’s child-focused mandate, most will forget that the Muppets’ original prime-time slot in the midseventies spawned from appearances on the first season of Saturday Night Live. They were a vaudeville comedy act first, and second as family-friendly entertainment. This is not to suggest that the racy or tasteless lurks beneath the surface. The Mup-

pets stay true to their penchant for light-hearted irony and meta-fictional humour. In a single stroke, the film appeals to your sense of humour, intelligence, and humanity. The bountiful cameos (Jack Black, Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, and Feist, to name only a few) along with a delightful Toy Story short that prefaces the picture as the icing on the cake leave

The Muppets journey back to stardom.


Customer Appreciation Week Dec. 5 til Dec. 9, 2011

Dear Suzie

Standing in the way of control: How not to lose it during exam period Hey Suzie, I think I’m losing it. In my alone time I talk to myself, and my self-destructive tendencies have increased--for example, I’ve begun work for an assignment due at 9AM at 2:30AM. End of terms are historically terrible for me, but in my last year I would like to finish strong. How can I keep myself together and get my work done well and on time?

Scratch* & Save

20 to 50

Sincerely, A mess of a man


%Off! *Scratch & Save applies to in store purchases of regularly priced CLOTHING, GIFTS & STATIONERY. Excludes all gift cards, course materials, trade books, food and beverages, Medical Department, Cell Phones and Computer Shop. Card will be presented to customer at time of purchase. At time of purchase customer will receive a Scratch Card with savings of 20, 30, 40 or 50% on the total eligible purchase before taxes. The U of T Bookstore reserves the right to end promotions at any time.

For full Scratch & Save details please go to : Available at: St George Campus Bookstore UTSC Bookstore UTM Bookstore Campus Xpress at Innis Campus Xpress at UTSC Varsity Sports Store

December 1, 2011

Dear A mess, You’re not losing it. You’re giving in to self-destructive tendencies to see how far you can push things to the brink before you actually do lose something. In this case, you stand to lose your academic standing. This type of behaviour can probably be attributed to a subconscious rush that you get when you let things slide out of control. Once you recognize this in yourself, it’s time to take action and be your own parent to your reckless teenager of a brain: make a general list of the assignments that need to get done in the coming week. Using the list, make a detailed schedule for each day outlining what absolutely must be done before you go to bed at midnight. No more late nights for you mister, and you can forget about that party too. Next, quit social networking for the duration of the exam period. For real. Study breaks are a must as well in this draconian study life of yours; make them frequent, but short. With all this said, there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help if you feel really overwhelmed. CAPS (Counselling And Psychological Services) is U of T’s mental health service, and has a bevy of options for students needing to take care of their mental well-being. Mess, you can and will get your shit together. History will not repeat itself if you don’t let it. Sincerely, Suzie


For more information about mental health services offered to students, visit

Go to for store hours and locations.

Got a question for Suzie? Submit it anonymously at the in the blue box

the campus comment

‘Tis the season for exams the newspaper asked: Which subject would you ACE on an exam right now?



RASHIYA “Eating”

MATTHEW “Gin rhetoric”


“OISE” ZACK “Jersey Shore Fist-Pumping”


“Where to find the best brunch in Toronto”

JEFF “Procrastinating”

“Winning over Ladies Hearts 101”

Issue 13 - December 1 2011  

Issue 13 of the newspaper, the University of Toronto's independent weekly, published December 1, 2011.

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