Hugs not drugs! Page 3
THE ARTS Former editor gives us reasons to live Page 7
Evany Rosan, Canada-famous
the newspaper The University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
VOL XXXIV Issue 9 • November 3, 2011
U of T honours LGBT activists
David Naylor gives speaks in commemoration of the University of Toronto Homophile Åssociation Hubley is a timely reminder honour the UTHA. by Andrew Walt “On 14 October 2011, 15-yearold Jamie Hubley, an openly gay young man, committed suicide after being bullied at school,” said Charles Hill, the first president of the University of Toronto Homophile Association (UTHA), visibly holding back tears. The tragedy of Jamie
of the challenges members of LGBT communities have faced and continue to face to this day. This saddening reality surely weighed heavily on the minds of many of the attendees and distinguished speakers who gathered in the East Hall of UC on Wednesday for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to
Dedicated by the Ontario Heritage Trust, this provincial plaque is the first of its kind to honour LGBT activism. “I believe this plaque is something that we should be proud of,” said Rosario Marchese, guest speaker and Trinity-Spadina MPP. “It’s a symbolic way of acknowledging and honouring the sexual
MATTHEW D.H. GRAY
Province celebrates architects of gay liberation movement
diversity activism that exists in our community, and I believe that we will eventually receive the full equality the LGBT community deserves.” Gay activist and architect of the gay liberation movement Jerald Moldenhauer established the UTHA in October 1969. His move to found the associa-
see page 2
the briefs Toronto Bans Shark Fin Soup
No soup for you--shark soup, that is. The new ban on the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin soup will be in effect September 1 of next year thanks to an overwhelming majority vote by Toronto city councillors to make the city shark fin free. Toronto is now a part of a global solution aimed to help protect sharks from extinction. With this bylaw, there’s a $100,000 fine for a third and any subsequent offence, thereby putting caviar in its place.
U of T Prof’s Million Dollar Business
Need a nose job? There’s an app for that. ModiFace, a $30 million virtual makeover business, owned by University of Toronto professor Parham Aarabi, is the new app that allows users to try out cosmetics, wedding gowns and plastic surgery for free online. Aarabi was able to take a 2D image, like a Facebook profile pic, and Continued on page show a 3D effect, like3 a face lift or lip filler. His intense eight months of research, in which he met over 100 More on page 3
Profs report equity in sport needs improvement U of T Centre for Sport Policy Studies analyzes equal opportunies for university students, gender based
Last week, University of Toronto professors released the first report to provide a comprehensive gender equity analysis of Canadian interuniversity athletics. Professors and students at the University of Toronto Centre for Sport Policy Studies collected and analyzed data from the 2010-2011 academic year in an attempt to produce an unbiased gender ratio on Varsity and interuniversity teams. “From an independent perspective this is what it looked
like,” said one of the project leaders, University of Toronto Faculty of Education Professor Peter Donnelly, of the male to female ratio in university athletics. While the initiative has been on the docket for years, the centre finally found the right group of students—and the right amount of funding—to conduct a nationwide analysis on all sports at a competitive level. “Equity efforts peaked in the late ‘90s,” said acting warden at Hart House and the study’s other leader, Professor Bruce Kidd,
“and it’s an elusive problem that we need to bring back people’s attention to.” The good news is that there are nearly as many Varsity teams for women (425) as there are for men (431) at Canadian universities. The bad news is that there are disturbingly few women in leadership positions in Canadian university sports, with women holding only 19 per cent of the head coach positions, and only 17 per cent of the athletic director positions. Canadian Interuniversity Varsity striker Ellish McConville steals ball from Gee-Gees defender in Ontario see page 2 Sport, the official governing University Athletics quarter finals
by Cara Sabatini
from “needs improvement”
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the newspaper the newspaper is the University of Toronto’s independent weekly paper, published since 1978. VOL XXXIV No. 9 Circulation: 17,000
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Contributors Liisa Aaltio, Aberdeen Berry, Bodi Bold, Dan Christensen, Talia Gordon, Robby Muff, Ashton Osmak, Vanessa Purdy, Cara Sabatini, David Stokes, Paul Trzaski, Andrew Walt.
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body of sport in Canadian universities, has conducted similar research to determine the degree of equity in athletic participation opportunities. In an effort to promote equity, defined by CIS as “treatment that is just and fair,” CIS mandates that its member universities must have an equal male to female ratio in interuniversity sport opportunities. The issue with this policy, however, is that most universities do not have equal enrollment numbers between genders. The U of T full-time student body is comprised of 46 per cent male students, but men enjoy 56 per cent of Varsity roster positions. While the numbers published by CIS are nearly at their target, Donnelly said, “They have kind of massaged it in the general direction.” He cited that CIS only includes football players on the tournament roster, rather than every player on the university team funded by university athletics fees. “The big issue is that every woman student is paying for athletic fees each year,” said Donnelly, who suggested female students ought to insist on paying only the percentage of fees allocated for female Varsity sports in the hopes of putting pressure on universities to progress their equity policies in athletics. The 50/50 target may not be
November 3, 2011 too far from reach, but the low ratio of women occupying leadership positions in university sports is cause for concern. CIS holds certain policies for their member universities to promote equal participation for male and female students on teams, but the governing body cannot mandate whom universities choose to hire. CIS CEO Marg McGregor said, “What was not referenced in the report is that CIS does have industry leading practices to encourage leadership policies.” McGregor cited that CIS requires half the board of directors to be female. A motion to remove this mandate was recently made, but later rejected. The report recommends that CIS and university athletic departments determine ways leadership positions may be made more available for women. It also suggests implementing repercussions for failing to adhere to any prospective equity policies. As it stands, CIS has investigative procedures to ensure policy adherence but trusts universities to self-disclose their own transgressions. McGregor affirmed, “We [CIS] welcome the research because it will inform our ongoing work in the gender area.” CIS is anticipating the results of a transgender policy currently in development by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which aims
to address issues of a two-gender approach to sport. “CIS will be adapting that [policy] as appropriate,” said McGregor. Kidd terms the current plateau in equity progress a “remasculinization of sport,” and calls the recently published research a report card, meant to encourage every member of the university community to consider the ways to reinstate this progress effectively. However, the unequal distribution of women in Varsity athletics pales in comparison to other university departments such as engineering, in which female students accounted for just below 22 per cent of the total enrollment in 2009. Additionally, while gender ratios remain unequal in many university domains, the athletic arena has yet to see comparable research in racial equity. No official project has been affirmed, but the Centre for Sport Policy Studies recognizes the need for such research. The centre plans to make this the first in a series of biannual reports to assess gender equity data in university athletics. Though public for barely one week, the first has already sparked debate. “The good news is that we’ve already got a slew of emails,” said Kidd, “And most of all we wanted to put this issue on the agenda.”
20 years.” Despite these vast improvements, many of which are tied directly to the work both accomplished and inspired by the UTHA, recent events demonstrate that, for the LGBT community, the fight for equality and acceptance is far from over. This past October not only saw the tragic suicide of Jamie Hubley, but also the regressive antics of BC politician Marc Dalton, who promoted an anti-gay church in the province’s legislature on October 18. Even the very day on which the commemorative plaque in honour of the UTHA was unveiled was not free of LGBT-related controversy, as U of T President David Naylor related the news of Shorter University in Georgia threatening to fire employees who refuse to declare that they are not gay. “Often universities are the first refuge where young people can
embrace and express their sexual identities,” said Naylor. “[Universities are] privileged places in that regard, but far from perfect. Outside of these walls, it is still not a sanctuary for many people who have sexual identities in the minority in our society. This is a fantastic commemoration and the impressive turnout certainly speaks to its own success, but it’s also a sign of the work still to be done.” Naylor’s sentiment was echoed by every speaker who took to the podium to offer their own words on what the Provincial Plaque celebrates and symbolizes. “This is the first LGBT related Provincial Plaque in Ontario, and it acknowledges that sexual minorities are an important part of this province’s history,” concluded Rayside. “What I hope it doesn’t do is suggest that these struggles are purely historical.”
from “LGBT activists”
tion was influenced in part by amendments to the Canadian Criminal Code in that same year which decriminalized certain homosexual acts between consenting adults. It was not only the first gay organization at U of T, but one of the first of its kind in Canada. “What the UTHA started was an almost continuous history of activism on this campus,” said David Rayside, Director of the Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at U of T. “There are very few – if any – institutions in this country than can claim as long a history of advocacy for LGBT issues. 1969 was an extraordinarily oppressive time for sexual minorities, so any organization of this type that was formed and had any kind of public face was an extraordinary achievement.” Since the creation of UTHA, the U of T community continues to be a place where the recognition of gender minorities and sexual diversity is acknowledged and celebrated. From the earliest days of UTHA to what is now the LGBTOUT, the group has always been exceptionally vocal in their demands for social, legal, and political change. “There’s been huge change; absolutely enormous,” reflected Rayside. “There’s been a tremendously positive shift in public attitudes, certainly from the 60s and 70s, and even over the last
Oil sands: profitable but who pays? Ecology Prof addresses costs of Canada’s oil sands developments
by Paul Trzaski Canada’s oil sands developments are one of the world’s largest industrial projects. Currently, the expansive projects are estimated to occupy an area about the size of Greece, and development in the area continues to grow. While on the surface, these industrial development projects may seem economically beneficial, there are growing concerns about the associated costs. David Schindler, Killam Memorial Chair and Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta, set out to address these concerns in a talk he gave at University College last Tuesday. He pointed to the arguably less visible, and more long-term effects of the oil sands projects. “The rapid rate at which this development is occurring means more environmental impacts without proper assessment,” Schindler stated. For Schindler, there are a number of costs associated with the oil sands developments which he feels have typically been downplayed in promo-
tional advertising by the oil industry. “None of it is true,” he said, referring to the advertising campaigns which promote the oil sands projects as having only positive outcomes and implications. According to Schindler, environmental impacts have continued to be misrepresented or ignored altogether. For example, the tailing ponds that store industrial by-products and waste are of primary concern due to their proximity to waterways. As Schindler explained, “Runoff from disturbed watersheds contaminates receiving rivers.” As a result, industrial runoff and other toxins then continue to seep into open waterways. Through their research, Schindler and his team have demonstrated the environmental effects of the presence of runoff in the water systems. Increased instances of mercury, thallium, chromium, beryllium, cooper and other toxins were identified in the Athabasca. These findings have contradicted assertions by the Albertan government that toxins in the water system were natu-
rally occurring. Further, there are worrisome environmental implications for species exposed to these toxins. Instances of fish deformities have become more common; fish are more likely now to be caught having tumors, two tails, abnormal eye sizes and other disfigurements. “Although not highly contaminated, if you saw that fish on a shelf in Safeway you wouldn’t buy it,” commented Schindler. In Fort Chipewyan, a village just downstream from the oil sands, dozens of cases of rare forms of cancers have emerged in recent years, creating great social unease and unrest. However, Schindler admitted, “these findings were based on a small number of cases and could be due to chance.” Regardless, Schindler’s findings present new environmental concerns and offer evidence which contradicts the information currently in official Albertan government documentation, which has led Schindler to suggest that the current monitoring system is inadequate. “We don’t see any protections in place,” elaborated Professor
Emily Gilbert, head of the Canadian Studies Department at the University of Toronto. Many experts agree that there are simply not enough mechanisms in place to provide proper supervision and monitoring of the oil sands operations. Government organizations at both the provincial and federal level are not adequately funded, and are thus ill-equipped to successfully monitor development and keep companies in check. Despite these cautions from scientists and scholars, the oil industry and government officials have repeatedly refused to acknowledge the environmental implications, identifying the oil sands as an economic marvel and a solution for North America’s future energy crisis. Thus, this issue has become polarized - either protect the environment or continue to promote economic growth. So far economic prosperity has dominated, but as environmental concerns continues to increase, perhaps there will be a shifting priorities. Only time can tell.
U of T psych prof doubts ADHD children need medication
A recent review conducted by U of T psychiatry professor Dr. Alice Charach suggests that for hyperactive (read: normal) children under six years old, behavioral interventions are more effective and, more importantly, much safer than pharmacological treatment. Charach, who is the head of neuropsychiatry at Sick Kids Hospital, examined the effectiveness of various approaches to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The aim of the review was to provide information that will lead to improvements in approaches to treatment of the disorder in children. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, known on the playground as ADHD, is characterized by “inattention, overactivity, and impulsivity” has been classified, re-labeled, and ultimately recognized as a treatable disorder by the medical community. In recent decades, the disorder has become increasingly common among elementary school children. However it remains unclear whether it
is the prevalence of the condition or simply the rate of diagnosis that has truly increased. While this question invites some epidemiological truthseeking, more immediately pertinent is the effectiveness and safety of existing treatments. Charach noted that, “the rate of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs to treat ADHD has been going up steadily since the early 1990s.” This trend has continued, despite the lack of knowledge regarding the long-term effects of medication. Although there are a number of behavioural approaches, interventions and treatment for ADHD have been overwhelmingly pharmacological. “In children under six, diagnosis and rates of medication have increased from about one per cent to nearly three per cent in recent years,” Charach explained. This has raised concerns because the majority of medications prescribed are not yet approved for use among this age group. In general, there is a paucity of what can be considered
surgeons, allows companies like Botox and Hearst Magazines to keep clientele connected with their products.
Good parenting, better than drugs by Talia Gordon
‘good quality’ studies examining the effectiveness and effects of commonly prescribed medication. However limited, existing studies on pharmacological intervention for ADHD clearly show there are adverse effects in children under six. According to Charach, younger children are more susceptible to the side-effects of the medication, often becoming more irritable and illtempered. Of greater concern perhaps, are indications that pharmacological intervention in younger children may inhibit height and weight gain, and slow down overall growth. “The rate of diagnosis and treatment rises dramatically after kids hit school, from about age 7 or 8 until age 12, then it drops off.” Charach noted, emphasizing that “[ADHD] is a neurobiological difficulty,” which is present in some children, relative to their same age peers. However, Charach underlined the correlation between ADHD diagnosis and age group. In younger children, it is more challenging to recog-
nize the distractibility, overactivity, impulsiveness and oppositional behaviour that are associated with ADHD. Thus, in children under six, it is difficult to arrive at a diagnosis. Unfortunately for some parents, handling an overactive child can prove to be its own challenge and there is an increasing tendency to pathologize and treat children’s behaviour with pharmacological interventions. The most significant piece of evidence discovered through Charach’s review was that Parent Behavior Training (PBT) is the most effective method of treatment in improving a child’s behaviour. The evaluative measures looked at the levels of generalized disruptive behaviour in the children, and the effects of PBT on other ADHD symptoms. Charach explained that PBT focuses on “explaining child development and behaviour to parents, and really helping them figure out how to be more patient and less easily frustrated by their kids.” This type of interven-
We sometimes say that stress kills us at times, but this is no hyperbole for dragonflies. Biologists at the University of Toronto found that the simple presence of predators can cause enough stress to kill dragonflies. The findings could apply to all organisms facing any amount of stress; the research could be used as a model for future studies on the lethal effects of stress.
Western Universities: the New Intellectual Epicentre Universities in western Canada are becoming the new hub for post-secondary education, according to a Toronto-based firm specializing in research on Canadian higher education. The past two decades have seen the University of Victoria, the University of Alberta, UBC and the University of Saskatchewan win over prestigious Ontario schools such as Queen’s, McMaster, Waterloo and Western for academic talent as well as funding. One of the reasons is politics; in Ontario, not one of the leading parties are promising any increases to post-secondary funding as the province finds itself in a $15 billion deficit. - Robby Müff tion not only involves parents, but invests them with primary responsibility when it comes to the treatment of ADHD for their children. “Improving the warmth and caring of the parents is an important basic,” said Charach. Her findings recommend PBT as the most effective and certainly the safest immediate and long-term treatment. The only downside to PBT is that it is not always easy for parents to access and complete training programs. However, Charach’s findings demonstrate that even when medication appears necessary, PBT is an important complement and that improvements in ADHD are greatest when the interventions accompany one another. “I hope that our systems of care will make it much more easy for parents to access these training programs,” Charach said with regard to the future of ADHD treatment. Indeed, her review sheds light on efficacious alternatives to medication, for children of all ages.
November 3, 2011
11th IDFF explores the global developments of the past year by Talia Gordon The International Diaspora Film Festival (IDFF) opened in Toronto this Tuesday, November 1st for a jam-packed one week run. Founded and directed by Shahram Tabe, the festival, now in its 11th year, has grown to attract the work of filmmakers from across the globe. For Canadian audiences, the festival showcases the scope and value of cultural diversity, both at home and abroad. Although the term “diaspora” has historically been associated with the experience of various groups who have been displaced or scattered from their home, Tabe explained that here in Canada, “We are all part of some form of diaspora.” The festival provides an opportunity for film-goers to participate in an exploration into different aspects of the diaspora experience through film, regardless of ethnic or cultural background. For Tabe, the notion and experience of diaspora encompasses “migration, the integration into a new society, cultural interface, cultural translation and diver-
sity.” The festival explores the complicated ideas of transnationality and multiculturalism, and contends with assumptions and tensions about and between different groups of people. “This is the only diaspora festival in the world that deals with all, rather than just one community or population” said Tabe. Many of the films deal directly with the relationship between cultures, while some focus on the particular experience of a group or country. The notion and experience of “diaspora” connotes a deeper meaning in the context of the festival, which makes the films relevant for any audience. Tabe explained that this year’s festival theme, “Wave of Change,” is intended to reflect the many cultural, social and political changes that the world has witnessed over the past 12 months. “Cinema is a very effective and important means of communicating ideas and getting people together,” said Tabe. He talks about the role of social media, especially in the Middle East last year. “We realize the power
of mass media and social media and try to use it as a powerful tool towards creating an atmosphere of dialogue between different ethnicities and communities, even if they are not friendly in the political arena,” he explained. The 27 films are as diverse as their subject matter, and Tabe emphasized that there is no limitation in terms of genre, content or length, as long as the film somehow speaks to the subject and theme of the festival. The films are collected either by invitation or through submissions and are chosen based on their relation and approach to the subject of diaspora. While reluctant to choose favourites (each film is like one of his children, he explains), Tabe is very excited about the Gaza Women Film Festival, which represents one of the eight main themes. Tabe explains that he has worked hard and long to bring the works of these women to the festival since learning about their project. The Gaza Women Film Festival was started by Palestinian women about 2 years ago, and
their story quickly became a sensation worldwide. However, this will be the first time that films are screened outside of Palestine. Their films deal with a range of subjects, but according to Tabe, they explore the different ways Palestinian women are struggling for their rights in a society dominated by poverty and politics. “These films are less political than the conventional things we see from Palestine,” says Tabe. “They have their own politics, very independent from male politics.” Unfortunately, due to the limited resources of the festival, they were unable to bring the women to Toronto to attend the screenings. Tabe hopes that next year, with more exposure and audience interest, they will receive a sponsorship or donor funding to invite and pay for the filmmakers to attend. The festival relies heavily on this type of funding, and on the generous time and energy invested by the many volunteers who help organize and run the festival. For Tabe himself, this is a personal and unpaid endeavour. Outside of his involvement
with this project, Tabe is an environmental research scientist affiliated with the University of Windsor and the University of Ottawa. Although diaspora studies are not his field of academic interest, Tabe has created a space for cultural exchange and creative knowledge production through the festival. In order to support this constructive space, discussions with either filmmakers or experts in the respective fields accompany many of the films. A number of screenings are free, and the others are student discounted in order to increase access and encourage attendance at the festival. “Many people visit and join the festival every year, younger generations come to watch, which hopefully will continue,” says Tabe. All of the films will be shown either at Carlton Cinemas, or at Innis Town Hall on U of T’s St. George campus. For more information on schedules, the films, location, and any other information, please visit www. diasporafilmfest.com.
Picnicface puts eggs in every basket Evany Rosen talks Picnicface and what it’s like to be Canada-famous For Halifax comedy sensation Picnicface, the past year has been far from a walk in the park, but hugely successful. In addition to launching an obscenely funny, self-titled TV show on the Comedy Network, the group has also put out a book and produced a featurelength film. Picnicface member and Toronto-native Evany Rosen offered her take on the group’s recent success, increasingly diverse media repertoire and her own role in the 6-man, 2-woman troupe. Picnicface is notorious for their use of special effects in their popular YouTube videos. While the troupe got their start doing live stand-up, they began incorporating the tricks of digital editing into their work early on. Rosen explained that with their foray into television media, the group was able to take their use of special effects to the next level. Equipped with a bigger budget and more time, Rosen enthusiastically pointed out that the show affords them the luxury of being able, “to shoot things that we couldn’t normally shoot.” However, outside of her love for special effects, pace and time are key concepts for this comedic artist. Rosen described how much she appreciates the fun and spontaneity of executing a fast skit and figuring out jokes on the fly. Yet, Rosen admitted how much she enjoyed working on the book project (“it was my favourite”), and welcomed the opportunity it gave her to slow down. “With a book you really have to think through your ideas and spend some time on them.” Rosen traced her love of writing back to the time she spent working for her high school newspaper. Like any good writer, Rosen was decidedly vague regarding her opinions on the editing process, which she described as “fun and exhausting and horrifying.” Despite being raised in Toronto, Rosen identifies less with her birthplace than with her adopted hometown, and exclaimed that these days she feels like “a Maritimer in Toronto.” Rosen said that she still loves the cultural vibrancy here, but finds she misses the laidback Maritime vibe when she comes back for shows or to visit her family. The gender question is a sore spot for Rosen, who complained
by Ashton Osmak
that she is asked endlessly about love. catching Rosen and the rest of her val, running November 8th-13th. what it’s like to be a female coIf you love what Picnicface does, troupe November 11th as part of Or, if you don’t, enjoy waiting for median. “[So and so and I] long you can help pay their bills by the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festi- the Hangover 3. for the day when it’s a question that doesn’t need to be asked.” She brought up the controversial 2007 Vanity Fair article, Why Women Aren’t Funny, to highlight the ongoing debate. “The Hitchens piece ruffled a lot of feathers a few years ago,” said Rosen, but insisted that for her, being a woman in the comedy world is simply “not a major issue.” In fact, Rosen said she’ll likely explore writing and editing outside of Picnicface at some point down the road. In the meantime, she’d really like to lay the gender issue to rest. She challenged audiences to watch The Hangover 2 and watch Bridesmaids and decide which one they think is funnier. “If you said The Hangover 2, you’re an idiot,” Rosen asserted. With Haligonian humility, Rosen downplayed the group’s recent success as merely “Canadian fame.” Life hasn’t changed drastically (yet) for the troupe. “It feels like the culmination of what we’ve been working on for so long…We’ve been working together every day for years.” The biggest difference, she said, is that they are finally paying the bills while doing what they Canadian comedy troupe, Picnicface (above) has been all over the map this year
November 3, 2011
the mixtape Who killed David Lynch? Enigmatic director releases first album“Crazy Clown Here's what the staff has on rotation at the newspaper office this week. Visit thenewspaper.ca to listen.
by David Stokes David Lynch is the man without qualities – almost. Yes, his movies and other works are distinctive, but imagine trying to explain one of them without introducing –like some asshole film student – stacks of hackneyed academic notions like Freudianism or liminal desire. It’s impossible; these cliched ideas are essential to explaining Lynch’s work. And yet his art is not cliched; there is something else happening here, something difficult to isolate. This is his aim. Lynch is really in the business of creating the spooky feeling that one is sitting atop a terrifyingly important mystery which, though we haven’t yet even realized it was affecting us, he has long since solved. David Lynch’s debut music album, “Crazy Clown Music,” remains entirely truthful to
his method. However, when Lynch moves away from film he can no longer simply show us his characters, but must tell us about his own encounters with them. It is 14 tracks of vapid lyrics (like that voiced by Lynch in the guise of a southern high school quarterback, saying “I went down / to the football game”) set to house-style music but – and here is the crucial twist – voiced with the most overwhelmingly excruciating honesty. Initially this juxtaposition of two seemingly disparate cultures of goth-rave music and Friday Night Lights is confusing. But it’s just clever. He starts by finding two genres or styles of living that are very real to some people but, to others, they are almost something you’d imagine as a joke. Then, it’s as if he says to the practitioners of these ways of life: “Look guys, I’ve
looked at your style and, unlike most, I have taken it very. Seriously.” The album is entirely built on these strange alliances. Disappointingly, that means he locates the most viral, concise expression of their behavior, and their style threatens to become nothing more than a new species of butterfly pinned to a board, dissected and understood. Like his films though, we cannot shake the sense that for all the wonder and novelty of his juxtapositions, Lynch has failed to completely unite these elements into something meaningful, let alone make an album of musical merit. Or maybe that’s the point. Interested listeners will be happy to learn that his album currently streams for free via NPR, thanks to the sponsorship of the American Drilling Association’s website.
Andrew – Donald Fagen, “Green Flower Stree Bodi – Silly Kissers, “You Could Even Like Me Cara – The Left, “The Melody” Dan – The Move, “When Alice Comes Back to the Farm” Suzie – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, “You’re All I Need to Get By Talia – Tom Waits, “Shiver me Timbers Vanessa – Maylee Todd, “Aerobics in Space” Yukon – Scott Walker, “Mathilde”
No rush for In Time
If time is money, you’ll end up paying twice to see this film by Dan Christensen
The premise that drives “In Time” is perfectly conceived. In a world where everyone’s body stops aging at twentyfive years old, time itself becomes currency, letting the rich live forever while the poor die young. First of all, the genius of this idea in the world of the film is the Midas touch for 20th Century Fox. Just as everyone would love to look twenty-five forever (according to studio and marketing logic), everyone would want to buy a ticket to a movie that isn’t infected with those icky old people. And, of course, the simultaneous simplicity and richness of the premise allows it to start from a single point and expand out in all directions. How can you tell the age of a person? Is that even important to anyone? What effects are there on the world of finance or government? Is there such thing as an acceptance of death, or is this simply considered a shameful bankruptcy? So generous is the concept that it seems very difficult to
fumble the ball in its execution, and yet writer-director Andrew Niccol manages just this. Our focus is trained on Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a factory worker from the ghetto, who comes into an unexpected time flow after a chance meeting with jaded millionaire Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) for whom life has grown all too long. Believed to have robbed and killed Henry, Will kidnaps Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), daughter of wealthy time loan shark magnate Phillip Weis (Vincent Kartheiser), to avoid arrest by Timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), a law-enforcer with an icy personality and a firm ethical sense. The pair of fugitive Robin Hoods proceed to fight for time equality for all, eroding the poor’s youthful death sentence at the hands of the rich’s vice grip on immortality. While there’s no doubt that with the advent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the use of the film’s premise to emphasize the trag-
edy of financial inequality is topical (though it was more likely conceived around bailout time), the commentary doesn’t penetrate too deeply. Furthermore, such a focus on the economic angle feels more like a missed opportunity to investigate the concept’s more loaded consequences with regard to questions of aging, mortality, and social conventions, which seemed to be taken for granted or employed as subtle jokes rather than mined for their dramatic potential. Not even the Coen Bros’ stalwart Roger Deakins could save the visuals here, with stylized use of colour in the shooting being let down by flaccid art direction, which mistakes bare, unadorned settings for a futuristic feel. Though he made an impression in last year’s “The Social Network,” it becomes clear that role was a case of Mr. Timberlake playing to his strengths. His charm struggles here to carry the film on its shoulders in a character who seems to have been written more dark and brooding than Timberlake is capable
of. Still, despite its shortcomings, the unique sci-fi element plays so strongly in the film that it has an undeniably memorable quality, and will doubtlessly make appearances in high school English and Philosophy classes for years to come. Most of all, the film, in
style and substance if not in quality, recalls Niccol’s excellent debut feature “Gattaca,” which leads me to suggest that perhaps you might pick it up on DVD instead, as you may leave “In Time” feeling as if its two hours are time on your life you’d like to get back.
Why Not? Read it
Author Ray Robertson dares to give life meaning by Vanessa Purdy The title of Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live, explains Ray Robertson’s collection of personal essays, as well as the reason to read it. Why not take the time to tackle a tough question: Why live? Robertson, who mostly writes fiction, tackled Why Not with a sense of urgency. “I stopped halfway through the novel I was working on to write this book, I’ve never done that before”, he explained. The book is not as unusual in its largely philosophical content, as it is in the remarkable circumstances surrounding its creation. Robertson was inspired by his experiences with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and depression, putting both on the table in the prelude and thus lending his voice to people often shamed into silence. Robertson was one of five nominees for this year’s Hilary Weston Writers' Trust
Prize for Nonfiction; a coveted $60,000 reward. But pretentious he certainly is not. In explaining how, when one has depression, it’s difficult to live in and appreciate the moment, Robertson paints a picture— with vomit. “When you’re sick, all you can think is, I wish I wasn’t sick. But you never think to yourself, when you’re well, I’m so glad I’m not throwing up right now.” The importance of slowing down and taking stock of life is a lot of what Why Not is about. “I wanted to stop and say, it’s good to have [the fifteen reasons]…we get so used to things; that’s why true art is pulling away all the crap and seeing things.” At most, you’ll find a kindred spirit in this book; at least, you’ll add a few shiny new quotations to your collection. A University of Toronto grad (and a former editor-in-chief of the newspaper), Robertson read his share of Kant and Hume. He found a large part of the heavily analytic philoso-
phy program to be “not enough about what life is really about”, and turned his talents to writing. It came to be that “novels were a sort of philosophy coop program” for him. Why Not is, in a sense, a practical application of philosophy, but that’s not to say he made any sacrifices stylistically. Straightforward and never shy, the reader feels welcome and respected as Robertson plays the role of earnest life professor. He remains true to his literary tone in real life. “All the writers I like have voices. Language and the way they sound was always important to me,” Robertson said. “I think of myself as a sort of highbrow lowbrow. My needs are simple, but with that comes an honesty.” Perhaps surprisingly, one of the fifteen reasons is the antithesis of life. “I didn’t realize until about three quarters of the way through the book there was going to be a chapter called Death. That kind of snuck up on me, but it seemed
appropriate, because no matter how wonderful things are you’re still going to die.” It’s that sort of off-the-cuff realism that makes Why Not an entertaining and insightful read. So if you’ve ever grappled with existential angst, cried for no good reason or howled
by Andrew Walt 21. Obtain 22. Circle segment 23. Negative word 25. Ovum 26. Uncle’s mate 28. Type of exam 30. Could be long or short sleeved 32. First world 37. Suspend 38. “Who do you think you ___?” 39. Don, as a piece of clothing 40. Necessary 43. Fruit from a bush 44. Accomplishes 45. Tepid 46. Still (adv.) 49. Path 50. Socially apprehensive 51. Weapon 54. Third rock from the sun 56. Young man 57. Niether... ___... 58. Look at intensely 59. That girl 60. Objects 62. Wound reminder 63. Paddle 64. Roster; ___-up 65. Storm centre 66. Attempt 67. Tennis retry Down
Across 1. Chart of territory 4. Plus 7. Feline
10. Skin imperfection 11. Little piggy 12. Old 14. Defect 15. Massive weight, to an Ameri-
can 16. Ocean gem 18. Motel 19. Oxygen 20. Problem
at the moon, Why Not will remind you that you’re not crazy. If you haven’t, I hear Hilary Duff just released her second memoir. And, if you find yourself contemplating jumping from a bridge, here’s an alternative spine worth cracking.
1. Alps or the Himalayas 2. Each and every one 3. Domestic animal 4. Upper storage room
5. Entry portal 6. Living room 7. Ottawa to Canada 8. Eras 9. Mock or ridicule 10. Lion’s pride 13. Narcotic 14. Fruit of a ficus 17. Lower appendage 19. Craft 22. Industrious insect 23. Inventive 24. Raw mineral 27. Encouraged 29. Further below 30. Female pronoun 31. Possesses 32. What a dead person pushes up 33. Epoch 34. Enduring 35. Aural organ 36. Arid 41. Lost; in the middle of ___ 42. English breakfast or orange pekoe 43. Toronto’s Wall St. 45. Inquisitive word 46. Word of agreement 47. Dines 48. Vestige 50. Apologetic word 52. Italian capital 53. Married woman’s address 55. Fast food conveyance 56. Carry 59. Not cold 60. Sick 61. Bind
November 3, 2011
Metaphors in mechanics
In a shocking turn of events, Tim discovers his princess is in another castle. cess becomes a metaphor for the lengths to which one goes in order to repair what’s been damaged, for how learning from a mistake never comes without the sting of the fault. Unifying Braid is an aesthetically lush and beautiful style, with vivid brushwork art and soothing acoustic melodies. The feeling of being lulled to
sleep permeates the entire experience, which compliments the dreamscape design exploring fresh perspectives on a familiar tale. From beginning to end, Braid never ceases to charm, and its fascinating narrative makes it all the more attractive. And yet even after three years, Braid remains as allur-
the campus comment
Three years ago, independent software developer Jonathan Blow released Braid, a game which at the time was something of a champion for the artistic merits of video game design. Lauded for its striking artistic direction, inventive time manipulation mechanics, and poignant narrative, few games before or since have been met with as much adulation. Braid tells the story of Tim, a man searching for a princess snatched away by an evil monster. Although the events framing the action remain deliberately vague, occasional text preambles nevertheless indicate that Tim is hoping to reconcile – or better yet erase – a mistake he has made. Tim’s adventure is an exploration of themes, which sets it apart from other trite “save the princess” affairs. Braid deftly uses a single game play me-
chanic to express ideas of forgiveness, decision, and place. The pragmatic end of saving the princess isn’t the goal; it’s the emotional discoveries made along the way as perspectives gradually shift and come into focus. As a game, Braid is a fairly straightforward puzzle-platform affair across six areas, each with its own variation on time manipulation. One world lets you rewind time at will, another has time advance and rewind as the player moves forwards or backwards, etc. Each variation is alluded to in the area’s introductory text, which is the only kink in an otherwise immaculate interweaving of narrative and game play. It’s fitting, then, that Braid’s overarching narrative is as sophisticated as its core game play mechanic. The paragraphs framing the narrative are out of sequence, reminiscent of the film Memento but with a more human touch. Saving the prin-
ing as ever, perhaps in part due to its closure (or lack thereof). Like the relationship between Tim and the princess – indeed like the relationships of anyone - Braid may come to an end, but it never resolves. What conclusion could be more appropriate than that? Braid is available on PC, Mac, Linux, PSN, and XBLA for $10.
by Andrew Walt
Braid offers a masterful blend of inventive gameplay and novel narrative execution
Rob Ford was named ‘worst person in the world’ by American talk show host, Keith Olbermann. the newspaper asked: Who’s the worst person in the world?
Peter English & Poli Sci, 3rd year “Off the top of my head - Stalin. He chose his own ego, kind of a weird guy.”
Aaron Criminlogy & Sociology, 4th year “Collectively the people within governments involved in corruption, especially in impoverished countries.”
zach English, 3rd year “My girlfriend’s dad - he gives me hell.”
arisa Poli Sci & Equity studies, 3rd year “Paul Bernardo, evil incarnate.”
howard Dentistry, 1st year “People who don’t recycle.”
Juliana School of Continuing Studies, 1st year “More than any one person, I believe the lack of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans has a rippling effect on US Congress, and the losers are the American public.”
Issue 9 of the newspaper, U of T's independent weekly, published November 3 2011