Volume 102, Issue 4
September 13, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Unworthy of a high school paper since 1911
Published by The Daily Publications Society, a student society of McGill University.
The Great Frosh Debate
NEWS 02 NEWS
The Daily talks to prospective Liberal candidate David Bertschi
Letters from our readers
Lives lost on the US-Mexico border
10 HEALTH&ED The harms of a tanning addiction
A local watering hole
14 COMPENDIUM! 15 EDITORIAL
Members call for student striker amnesty
A guide to local fall festivals: part two
Jessica Lukawiecki The McGill Daily
Perspectives on a controversial Frosh theme
Thursday, September 13, 2012
PGSS talks provincial elections, strike, and academic year
Students affected by Canada-Iran relations
The McGill Daily
he Post Graduate Studentsâ€™ Society (PGSS) met for the third time this academic year to discuss a number of issues relating to the Society, including the recent provincial elections, the approval of the Executive Workplan, and strike bylaws. Regarding the election of the Parti QuĂŠbĂŠcois (PQ) to a minority provincial government on September 4, council members entered a Committee of the Whole for ten minutes to discuss the impact of a new provincial government for PGSS. After the discussion, a motion was amended and approved to mandate that PGSS â€œdevelop a local education summit here at McGill,â€? and â€œadvocate for amnesty for students who were charged with disciplinary offences by their university related to non-violent political activ-
ity during the student movement.â€? PGSS Secretary-General Jonathan Mooney later brought forward an emergency motion, which was passed to mandate for PGSS to support the FĂŠdĂŠration ĂŠtudiante universitaire du QuĂŠbec (FEUQ) in pursuing a policy of cooperation, rather than antagonization, toward other student federations. Mooney explained that as a member of FEUQ, PGSS has to advocate the direction of policies it would like to see the Federation take. Council members also voted unanimously to approve a motion regarding Law 12, which stated that â€œPGSS draw attention to the undermining of civil liberty and the subversion of the principle of civil liability inherent in Law 12.â€? Law 12, previously known as Bill 78, was passed as an emergency law on May 18 by the National Assembly of Quebec. The Law restricted protest activities on or near university
grounds, and further required that organized protests of fifty or more people in a public space anywhere in Quebec submit their routes to the police for approval. Speaking in favour of the motion, Mooney explained that although Law 12 was likely to be repealed by the current provincial government, â€œit is not okay that it was made in the first place.â€? Hasan Nikopour Deilami of the Faculty of Engineering also brought forward a motion for the PGSS to create an electronic referendum in which all members can vote online whether to declare a strike. The motion was voted down. In March, PGSS voted in overwhelming favour of a three-day strike in support of the Quebec student movement against tuition hikes. The strike, which took place from March 20 to 22, was voted on in a General Assembly (GA) on March 7. Alexandra Turnball of the Department of Art History and
Communication Studies spoke against the motion, stating, â€œIf we have something like the highest authority of PGSS being the GA, and in the process of the GA we have the right to strike votes, then it should be the GAâ€Ś that has the right to decide how we are going to do that voteâ€Ś I think itâ€™s unfair to the GA and the democratic principles built up in this organization to take this away from the GA.â€? Council members also voted to approve the Executive Workplan for the upcoming academic year. Some of the highlights of this yearâ€™s executive plan include addressing and researching the quality of graduate supervision, researching the effects of University-industry and Universitycommunity partnerships, improving the quality of representation on the PGSSâ€™ committees and governance, participating in the reform of the Student Code of Conduct set to take place over the next few years, and increasing the sustainability of the Thomson House and PGSS practices.
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The McGill Daily | Thursday, September 13, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Canada-Iran tensions boil over McGill students hit by embassy closure Hera Chan The McGill Daily
wo hundred and sixty-two Iranian students at McGill are facing difficulties following the federal government’s decision to close its embassy in Iran. The closure has also made it difficult – and for some, impossible – to return to study at McGill. Last Friday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird declared the immediate closing of the Canadian embassy in Iran and all Iranian diplomats in Canada as personae non gratae. According to Baird, Iranian diplomats were informed that they had five days to leave. “Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to world peace and security in the world today,” he said. Of the 262 Iranian students currently enrolled at McGill, 232 are graduate students, 26 are undergraduates, two are post-doctorates, and two are in continuing studies. There are approximately 4,000 Iranian students in Canada as a whole, many of whom currently face challenges posed by the closing of Canadian consular service in Iran. The services that will no longer be directly available in Iran include the ability to apply for a study permit and to receive letters exempting or postponing mandatory military
service for male Iranian citizens aged 18-34. Of the 54 newly admitted students to McGill, 29 do not have their documents in order due to the embassy’s closure. This includes students who sent in their official documents and passports and can no longer retrieve them. Ali Salmi, VP External of the McGill Iranian Students Association (MISA) and an Iranian student at McGill, told The Daily, “If I lose my passport, there is no organization I can prove my identity to. I cannot stay here. I cannot even go to Iran.” According to MISA President Maiid Sheikholeslami, newly admitted students who are still in Iran must now apply for study permits through the Canadian embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Sheikholeslami also said that applicants must submit their CV, a list of professors, research interests, and past publications. This was not the case in previous years. With the increased paperwork and the subsequent backlog, many students have missed the deadline to defer their classes. Pauline L’Ecuyer, Director of International Student Services at McGill, said that the University is going to be flexible in granting deferral permission to students who did not make the class deferral deadline of August 31. “This does not solve the problem of deferral of funds,” she said. “Scholarships and grants that have
Iranian students are aided by International Student Services
Photo Hera Chan | The McGill Daily
been promised to Iranian students this semester are much more difficult to defer as they come from a variety of sources.” The sanction imposed on Iranian banks on July 26, 2010 by the Canadian government has also made money transfers more complicated for Iranian students at McGill, who must now transfer money through more expensive alternatives like foreign exchange offices. “The sanctions put against Iran
doesn’t [so much] put the government under pressure as it puts the people under pressure,” said Salmi. Last Tuesday, L’Ecuyer organized a meeting to provide Iranian students at McGill with information and assistance. “The purpose of the meeting was to know what students expectations are from [McGill], what it is we can do to make their access to McGill now – [as well as] those who are still in Iran – easier,” said L’Ecuyer.
Of the 262 Iranian students invited, 32 were present at the meeting. L’Ecuyer, in partnership with her counterparts at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta, plans to lobby the government of Canada on behalf of students. Emails were sent out to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Citizenship and Immigration Canada on September 10. So far, there has been no response.
gun registry – Quebec has won a significant legal victory in its quest to maintain its provincial registry. Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc-André Blanchard ruled on Monday that because the federal government had developed the registry in partnership with individual provinces, it could not unilaterally destroy the data. In the 42-page document detailing his decision, Blanchard wrote that Bill C-19 “impinges in a very substantial way, even exorbitantly, on provincial powers, and there is no rational or functional justification or any necessity to do so.” Blanchard’s ruling granted a permanent injunction against the destruction of the data and gave the federal government thirty days to relinquish all of the data on Quebec long-gun ownership to the provincial government. He also ordered that Canada’s attorney general and the federal director of the registry continue to maintain and update the registry so
as not to create a gap in the data, according to the Montreal Gazette. Public Safety Minister and supporter of Bill C-19 Vic Toews said in a statement that he was disappointed with the ruling, and “will thoroughly review the decision.” According to the CBC, federal ministers are in the process of studying the ruling to decide whether to bring the case to Quebec’s Court of Appeal or even to the Supreme Court of Canada. —Annie Shiel
since April 6, and was declared in response to the Liberal government’s proposed tuition hike. The motion cited the election of the Parti Québécois to a minority government and the promises made by its leader Pauline Marois to abolish the hike and overturn Law 12 as the reason for the decision. With this motion, the AHCSGSA also decided to mobilize for the September 22 demonstration to “celebrate the strike’s conclusion and to maintain pressure on the newly elected government to keep [its] promises and push for a national summit on education in Quebec.” The AHCS-GSA plans to pressure the McGill administration to revoke disciplinary charges brought against student strikers, and to reimburse fees already levied for tuition hikes. The motion credited “the longest and largest student strike in Canadian history” for the Liberal party losing its majority. —Juan Camilo Velásquez
News Briefs McGill considers tuition reimbursement McGill University announced yesterday that it would not reimburse any change in tuition fees until it receives an official directive from the new government. The Parti Québécois (PQ) won a plurality of seats in the National Assembly on September 4. Last week, PQ leader Pauline Marois promised to abolish the $1,625 increase in tuition proposed by the Liberal government of Jean Charest. The University said that students could leave the credit on their account for the winter or request a refund through Minerva. On Friday, Provost Anthony Masi told The Daily that he expected a loss in revenue of $90 million by 2018. McGill’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year – which took into account the tuition hikes – projected a cumulative deficit of $281.9 million for 2013. Both the Fédération étudiante
universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) and the Fédération collégiale du Québec (FECQ) hailed the PQ’s decision as a victory for the student movement. The Coalition Large de l’association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE), however, has vowed to remain “vigilant” until the hike is abolished. “We ask for a meeting with the new government to discuss the current situation and to demand that the [Liberal government’s] promise to increase student loans and bursaries is kept,” a statement on its website read in French. Under the tuition hike proposed by the previous government, bursaries and student loans were set to expand. —Laurent Bastien Corbeil
Gun control advocates celebrate legal victory After a summer-long battle against federal Bill C-19 – a federal bill that would destroy Canada’s national long-
AHCS-GSA votes to end strike A motion to end the Art History and Communications Studies Graduate Student Association (AHCS-GSA) strike passed unanimously last Tuesday at a General Assembly held in the basement of the Arts building. There were 19 members present. The strike had been ongoing
The McGill Daily | Thursday, September 13, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
The Daily talks with prospective LPC leadership candidate
avid Bertschi is a Quebecborn and Ontario-based insurance lawyer and prospective Liberal Party of Canada leadership candidate. He ran unsuccessfully in the 2011 federal election as the Liberal party’s candidate in the Ottawa-Orléans riding. In May of 2012, Bertschi established a ‘grassroots exploratory committee’ to gauge public support for a potential Liberal leadership bid.
The McGill Daily (MD): You’ve said you’re “strongly considering” running to be the leader of the Liberal party. The leadership race is several months away and there are only a couple officially declared candidates and few prospective candidates. Why are you getting such an early start? David Bertschi (DB): Because I believe in being prepared [...] As a trial layer who’s been practicing for over 28 years it’s all about preparation, reorganization, and it’s also all about dedication. You need a clear approach to matters… for the past several months I’ve been traveling across the country, coast to coast to coast, and meeting with Canadians and discussing with Canadians of all political stripes about what they believe is important and what the federal government needs to do to properly address their concerns. And from there once I’ve finished traveling, then I will sit down with my family and the people who frankly approached me to consider running, and then I’ll make my decision. MD: Was it after the federal election in 2011 that people approached you and asked if you’d think about running? DB: Yes…I was approached within a span of about a month[...] And you know, we’ve got lots of talented people in the Liberal party of Canada, in Quebec, in
Ontario, and across the country. They’re Canadians who believe in a balanced approach to politics, who believe that you have to encourage and have an economic environment that’s healthy, that you encourage entrepreneurship because small businesses really are the backbone of our country. But at the same time you have to take care of the vulnerable. You’ve got to support, care for, and help those who are less fortunate or do no not have the wherewithal to succeed, and that’s the true sign of a healthy society. And frankly the Harper government has failed miserably at looking after First Nations. And I [mean] looking after the issues that everyone is facing. If they’re the First Nations, they’re not addressing them, if they’re the provinces, they don’t speak to them. The Harper government and Mr. Mulcair’s NDP are ideologically driven. Canadians want a reasonable alternative to the Harper government. MD: And what would your specific alternative be? DB: My view is that a federation is made up of constituent points. The federal government, the provincial governments, the municipal governments, they all have their respective jurisdictions and at the same time you have to work together as Canadians. There’s no monopoly on good ideas. And I find that the Harper government dismisses any good idea if it’s not from their ideology, as does Mr. Mulcair. If it’s not dealing with a certain stance on an issue they discount it, and that’s wrong. Canada is a very large, very complex country and we have to listen to people and work with them to solve the problems. MD: With this all in mind, what are your thoughts on the recent results of the Quebec election? DB: You know, Quebec politics are fascinating. The citizens
of Quebec are extremely wellinformed and engaged. And as many have written recently, Quebec people have spoken by the way they have voted. It’s been a very unique approach to the governance. Obviously they were disenchanted by certain parties and obviously they weren’t enchanted with anyone to give them a sufficiently large number of seats. I think the Quebec election also bodes well for the Liberal party… Mr. Charest and his government certainly defied the pollsters by getting fifty seats. MD: You ran in 2011, but you’ve never held office. Without a voting record or something that people can refer to in the way of political experience, how are you going to convince people, say you are to run, that you’d be experienced enough for the job? DB: […] I’ve run a number of successful multi-million dollar businesses and I’ve created successful businesses [...] Plus, as someone who was born in raised initially in Sainte Adèle, Quebec, who was educated in French, I also understand the diversity of our country when it comes to the importance of bilingualism and French culture in the fibre of our country. MD: I found there was a huge disconnect between students in other provinces and those here. Did you try to help students from opposite ends of the country understand each other? DB: [...] I certainly established and discussed with others across the country the challenges that the students were facing in Quebec. And a lot of those challenges, students were facing elsewhere as well. We have to keep striving to do a better job and to make sure that the economy grows, that there are jobs for students, that education is always not only affordable but very accessible to all. Because that’s one
Photo Hera Chan | The McGill Daily
of the primary ways to get people out of circumstances that they find themselves in, into a better situation. Education is critical and I could relate to the concerns of the students across the country when they worry about the debt load they’re facing. The fact that when they graduate they still can’t get a job, let alone a job in their own chosen field. The fact that they’re burdened with debt. The fact that
they cannot only not pay them off, but they’re burdened with the thought, “when will I ever be able to afford a house or start a family?” because they want something like I wanted and something better for their children. —Compiled by Madeleine Cummings This interview has been edited for space and clarity.
The McGill Daily Thursday, September 13, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
The great Frosh debate
Illustration Edna Chan with Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
Don’t make excuses for rape culture Adrian Turcato The McGill Daily
o all those beleaguered rape apologists and intransigent party-goers, to all those who have not come to terms with the implications of feminism and other gender theory, and to everyone else who has criticized the article “Ro-dee-NO” (Commentary, September 6, Page 6), this article is for you. Rape culture and frosh are things. They exist, they coexist. Rape culture: the collection of cultural institutions which enforce ideas that naturalize or legitimize rape. This means the crass and arrogant attitude that a woman is only something to fuck. The idea that you should try to coerce, through alcohol, peer pressure, or otherwise, a woman into fucking at just about any cost, including your own self respect, human dignity, et cetera. Frosh: a period of about a week at the beginning of school when new students are put in a high-pressure environment that emphasizes intoxication and sexual activity. People want to meet new friends when they first come to university.
Legit. But not everyone is sexually active or likes to drink a lot when straight out of high school. Those Frosh names scrawled on the back of your tee-shirt are probably the most vulgar you are ever going to be in public in your life: Ejacualiting Ethan, Jizzing James, Anal Amy. Not to mention the chants. Three cheers for fucking, McGill, McGill, McGill! Can you imagine why this might be uncomfortable for an Engineering student who sees this as a chance to meet people? As a former Engineering student, I know that it is important to have a strong group of friends to work on assignments with. But maybe the Engineering faculty has fewer nonmale students because it is actually less accessible for them. That is, because it’s more systematically and structurally misogynist. Can you imagine working with a group of people who made you feel extremely uncomfortable in ways that everyone else normalizes? Can you see how this might be applicable to women and Frosh? Engineering is a different environment than the Faculty of Arts, where Women’s Studies, which actually addresses the brutal legacy
of misogyny, is seen as more than just “victim studies.” Do you know why women are historically underrepresented in Engineering? It’s not because women aren’t interested in mathematics or science, it is because they used to be expressly forbidden to study those subjects. Currently, there are fewer than twenty per cent of women in engineering across Canada. Maybe Engineering students need to be more open to critiques that relate to misogyny on campus, because the legacy of these beliefs are still kicking around. The arguments people are using to defend Engineering Frosh aren’t very substantive. The gist of the rebukes I have seen so far kind of go: “Arts students are uptight and problematize everything; besides, critical theory is mostly bullshit, even if it has applications, it is used to the point of meaninglessness.” Sure, sometimes critical theory isn’t very convincing, especially if you haven’t had the chance to study it more intensely. But mostly my question is: what kind of institutions are you trying to defend? Great, socialize…but it’s not like Frosh isn’t just another excuse to get really
drunk and wander around annoying people in Milton-Parc. I’m not attacking you for drinking, I’m attacking you on political and historical grounds, as well as for the unquestioned over-consumption that takes place at Frosh; who can be loudest, who can get the drunkest, who can get laid the quickest, who can be the most belligerent, which lemming will jump of the cliff first? As well, one popular reply to “Ro-dee-NO” on The Daily website says “Lighten up, McGill Daily. Will you not be happy until games of dress-up and sexual innuendos are absent from campus? Let the people have some fun. Why do you have to be so negative all the time? You read too much into things.” This is a notoriously bad argument. What the fuck does fun have anything to do with it? Fun can be selfish and egregious, and hurt people. Take an article published in The Daily last year called “Drinks, Dresses, and Misogyny” (Commentary, February 2), in which the author describes her experiences with some good ol’ rugby boys’ fun: “Not surprisingly, every chant is sexual, which is not inherently a bad thing. But the chants are not just sex-
ual. ‘I wish that all the ladies / were like the statue of Venus / because then they wouldn’t have any arms… to shove away my penis.’” Joking about raping women is not okay. It might be fun for you, but I can’t imagine it would be for the one in four North American women who will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, or the one in ten that will receive physical injuries from their assault. No, certainly not. Nor is it okay to make excuses for people who get pressured into sexual activity that they don’t fully and joyfully reciprocate. I have heard a lot of male voices condemning this critical analysis of Engineering Frosh, but what the fuck is a male voice good for anyway? Have you even talked to the women who work and study around you about this issue? I want to hear the opinions and personal experiences of female Engineering students, not just another full-of-himself dude.
Full disclosure – Adrian Turcato is a white male. He studied Engineering at UBC for two years before he transferred to Arts. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Grow a thicker cowhide Sean Coleman Hyde Park
he return to school is evidence that the summer months are coming to a close, but the hot air from Natalie Church’s article (“Ro-dee-NO,” Commentary, September 6, Page 6) is sure to keep us warm for many more. An analysis of her piece could begin with the horrendous historical inaccuracies that undermine her credibility. Or, it might look at the triple jump linking cowboys to sexual objectification to rape that’s so large it would win gold in London. But addressing those inac-
curacies would detract from the true matter at hand, a reality that is worsening at an alarming rate: society is becoming oversensitive. Prior to Church’s piece, I wasn’t aware cowboys were rape-enabling murderers who society should have buried in the never examined part of history. Today I know not to trust the wide grins of bloodthirsty Yosemite Sam and Toy Story’s Woody. For a moment, let’s follow Church’s advice and believe that the cowboy theme is inappropriate. What should replace it? Arts decided to use the nineties classic TV show Fresh Price of Bel-Air as their backdrop. Will Smith taught many family-wholesome les-
sons in the show’s six seasons, such as being honest and abstaining from drugs. However, he also served as an agent in the hyper-sexualization of America, instilling lewd behavior into the minds of formative teenagers. Science picked the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: a harmless children’s cartoon? Or a seductive temptation to the minds of youth, glamourizing violence, encouraging unhealthy eating practices, and dumbing down of English language? Management Frosh went old school with Monopoly, a game that I played on many rainy days at the cottage when I was young. It’s a good thing I didn’t understand the game’s sinister under-
tones – the domination of the market by a single entity whose objective is to deprive other players of their income and force them into bankruptcy. Do I believe any of that garbage? Hell no. In politics, there’s a saying that if you dig deep enough in anyone’s closet you’ll find skeletons. Any idea can be interpreted as either a shining example of good morals, or the degradation of society. Nevertheless, finding meaning where there is none isn’t the goal of Frosh. Cheerful, boisterous partying and making new friends is what Frosh is about – themes serve only to add flavour to the experience. We’ve become a society that’s nearly asking to be offended. Instead of
taking everything as a personal attack, let’s just chill out and take it all in stride. If you want to revere cowboys or the Ninja Turtles or Will Smith, go right ahead and enjoy them for what they are – facilitators of fun. The Daily’s decision to publish such buffoonery makes me question the competence of the paper’s editorial board. What will next week’s insanity hold? Marxists upset about Monopoly Frosh or Parents Against Media Violence writing in about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Sean Coleman is a U2 Political Science student. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The McGill Daily | Thursday, September 13, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
A personal attack from behind a screen A reponse to Compendium Morton Mendelson Hyde Park
he start of an academic year is a time for optimism and a time to welcome new students. This year, orientation week highlighted inclusivity and community – two values that characterized not only the program, but also the planning. Months of collaboration and cooperation among McGill’s student associations and groups and the University’s academic and service units resulted in a week marked by vigorous school spirit, warmth, and good will. Admittedly there were some problems, but so much worked well. As one example, a worldrecord fruit salad was prepared at an orientation week event, ably planned and organized by Food and Dining Services to promote the values of inclusivity and community as well as to highlight healthful food choices and sustainability. The event was an unparalleled success in terms of fun and community participation – to say nothing about putting McGill in the Guinness Book of World Records. The McGill Daily could have served students well by constructively covering orientation week. It sadly missed the mark in its first edition of 2012-13.
I was particularly struck by the Compendium section, which featured a piece by Euan EK: “The Sound and the Fury: Fendelson [sic] ‘viscerally sick’ at worldrecord fruit salad” (Compendium, August 30, Page 28). In case the reader failed to connect Mortono Joaquin Fendelson to Morton J. Mendelson, the piece was accompanied by a see-no-evil-hear-noevil-speak-no-evil set of drawings of me covered by fruit. The only viscerally sickening thing was Euan EK’s fictitious portrayal of the event – a puerile and unfunny attempt at satire, unworthy of a high-school newspaper. The name-calling, as it happens, was not reserved just for me, but was also directed at two other members of the administration, and has been used in similarly mean-spirited “satirical” pieces by Euan EK in previous editions of The Daily. Regardless, the namecalling formula is reminiscent of what we have all experienced, heard, or engaged in when we were in elementary school. It was tiresome then; it is no better now. The author is not even willing to take responsibility – either credit or blame – for the content of the piece, because, as it happens, Euan EK is a pseudonym. The name-calling is done from behind a screen. Ironically, the same issue of The Daily included a statement of
principles on the editorial page. I wonder how Euan EK’s piece contributes to The Daily serving “as a critical and constructive forum for the exchange of ideas and information about McGill University…” (article 2.1) or how it “depict[s] and analyze[s] power relations accurately” (article 2.2) or how it reflects “an ethic of fairness” (article 2.4). Although I think Euan EK and The Daily have done McGill students and the community a disservice by slamming an upbeat, positive, community-building event, a diversity of opinions is welcome, necessary, and celebrated on a university campus. But personal attacks are not welcome; words and civility do matter. In the McGill I would like to see, the following tenets would hold: “McGill University is committed to … fostering a community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all of its members. … each member of the University community shares responsibility for respecting the dignity of, and giving fair treatment to all members of the University community.” These principles come, by the way, from McGill’s Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Discrimination Prohibited by Law. But I remain optimistic about the coming year. Because I trust, in the end, that the student press will collectively serve its reader-
this year were also incredibly offensive to many groups. Management’s “Froshopoly” is hugely distasteful as it made light of the economic hardships many people are going through right now, while simultaneously glorifying the fat cats that are living off of the pain and toil of the 99 per cent. “The Frosh Prince of Bel Arts” reinforces hackneyed racial stereotypes, especially with their irritatingly archetypal character Carlton. Science’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Frosh” is immensely insensitive to the victims of radioactive mutation. Finally, the common practice of cutting sleeves off of Frosh t-shirts is harmful to the skinny or tan challenged among us. We have come a long way in terms of perfect equality and not ever offending anyone, but we have so much further to go. —Jonathan Carson U2 History and Political Science
at McGill University was rodeo themed. I’ll pause while you recover from the shock. The issue was first brought to my attention by the article “Ro-deeNO” (Commentary, September 6, Page 6) published in last week’s issue of The McGill Daily, wherein I learned a rodeo themed Frosh “glorifies” people who “committed innumerable atrocities.” Previously, I had been under the impression that a rodeo-themed Frosh was about having fun. We should stop chasing controversy like crack, and just recognize that these events are in fact not motivated by evil, even if it’s really easy to make them seem as such. Take the undergraduate Arts Frosh: it was titled “The Frosh Prince of Bel Arts,” and was a spoof of that Will Smith show that everyone pretends to have liked. The opening credits of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air have Will Smith doing petty crime, playing basketball, and getting into a fight. Should we now boycott the Arts faculty for having propagated
Illustration J. B. Cool J. | The McGill Daily
The illustration published in Compendium, August 30, page 28. ship in a positive fashion, asking tough, pertinent questions and delivering the answers in a fair and balanced manner.
Morton Mendelson is Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning). He can be reached at email@example.com.
racial stereotypes? After all, their Frosh website does list language like “yo yo yo.” And what about the Science frosh? Its theme was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Does this mean the Science faculty is now encouraging its members to pour radioactive waste down their toilet bowls in a bid to create super awesome reptilian crime fighters? That kind of behaviour could cause irreparable damage to our environment! Having an educated conversation about how to improve Frosh? Sounds good to me. An inflammatory article about the Engineering Frosh’s theme? That’s just beating a dead horse. —Michael Oberman U1 History and Political Science
10, Page 6), I like art. I studied art, and I appreciate art. However, I think your view on tagging and graffiti is completely out of bounds, and brings forth a whole other slew of issues, personal property being one of them. I am sure that you would not be thrilled to have “public art” on your house or car. I know my father’s office door used to get tagged all of the time. He had to pay to have it painted, out of his own pocket. I think you need to stop looking at everything from the perspective of the so-called “ruling class” and start thinking about the average joe. —Michaela Hirsh U2 Finance and Accounting
Letters Equality for turtles! While I applaud Natalie Church for starting the year off right with her scathing criticisms of Engineering Frosh (“Ro-dee-NO,” Commentary, September 6, Page 6), I feel like many problems were left untouched. The author was right to point out some of the big negative points of Frosh, such as how we are celebrating the morally bankrupt James McGill or showing undue pride in our school and respective faculties. However, I don’t think she went far enough in identifying the issues with Engineering Frosh or the various Froshes organized by the other faculties. To begin with, not all the people of the Old West identify with the hetero-normative, binary gender roles used in the article. Therefore, referring to them as “cowboys and cowgirls” is hugely disrespectful. They may prefer to be called cow people, cow folk, or bovine Canadians. I am glad that someone took the Engineers to task for their callousness, but I felt it was an incomplete critique. Beyond the follies of the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), the other themes
Beating the horse For those who may not have heard about the controversy, the Engineering Frosh this year
Average Joes, more than a dodgeball team Dear Seamus (“A Diversity of Tagtics,” Commentary, September
To publish a letter in The Daily, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include your name, year, and field of study. Letters must be 300 words or less and contain no racist, sexist, homophobic, or other offensive language.
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ith one general food store, one gas station, one bar, a community garden, and a population of 1,090, the
southwest town of Arivaca, Arizona hardly seems, on the surface, to be a part of a â€œlow-intensity war zone.â€? Situated 11 miles north of a four-foot wire cattle-gate that divides the Sonoran desert between the United States and Mexico, the small town is, in fact, swarming with guns.
A Death A Day
Lives lost and saved on the US-Mexico border by
features The tension at the border between the United States and Mexico can best be described as an escalation. The budget of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – which includes several sub-divisions such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Border Patrol – has grown from $31.2 billion in 2003 to $50.5 billion in 2009. Since 2005 alone, the number of ICE agents has increased sixfold. Out of Washington and on the desert ground, these numbers manifest themselves in the number of green-striped Border Patrol SUV cruisers, surveillance helicopters, soaring Air Force drones, walls, fences, and agents. And for those on the other side? There has been an unprecedented increase in jail and detention facilities for apprehended migrants, and deaths. However you quantify “it,” there’s more of “it” now than there has ever been. While all these escalations are interconnected, it’s the last one that brought me to Arivaca. For two weeks in June this past summer, I volunteered for Tucson-based No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes, a nonprofit organization which strives to offer humanitarian aid to migrants who endure severe dehydration and hunger hiking through the desert. On our “water drops,” we strategically place gallons of water and food packets throughout the Sonoran desert, while carefully documenting specific areas that migrants pass through. Even now, weeks later, I find myself thinking about the term “low-intensity war zone,” as a No More Deaths organizer referred to it on our first day of orientation. It is a provocative phrase, yet unfortunately apt at describing the reality of between 300 and 400 migrant deaths on the border each year. In the area where I worked with No More Deaths, works in, the average is one death every other day.
photos Emily Olson
fter a day of water drops, we came upon two women emerging from the desert near camp. One woman was in her thirties and the other was a good amount younger, maybe in her early twenties or even late teens. They were both in terrible shape. Dehydrated, exhausted, confused, and scared. I internally panicked, as one does the first few times they come across people in the desert – be it migrants, ranchers, Border Patrol, or other government agents. No More Deaths volunteers have been brought to court for crossing the delicate line between attempting to provide help for people in emergency medical situations and aiding a person’s illegal entry into the United States. In all cases, No More Deaths has won. However, the Border Patrol monitors all emergency phone calls, and agents often show up when they suspect the emergency call involves an undocumented migrant. Undocumented persons are taken into the Border Patrol’s custody immediately, where their medical treatment is at the Patrol’s discretion. Seemingly out of embarrassment, the young woman did not immediately tell anyone that she was pregnant. She later told us she had not felt the baby kick in 48 hours. The two women had only found each other coincidentally. They were not traveling with the same group. Abandoned by their “coyote” – often a lower-level member of a drug cartel who guides migrants from Mexico to the U.S. – because they could not keep up with the pace of their respective groups, they were left to die. Dehydration and hunger aside, women face even greater danger, considering “as many as 70 per cent of women crossing the border face sexual assault,” according to journalist Tim Vanderpool of the Tuscon Weekly. Long-term No More Deaths volunteers give similar estimates based on conversations with migrants in the desert, and those recently deported from migrant resource centers in the Mexican border towns of Nogales and Agua Prieta. After an arduous three-week process in which I attempted to interview a Tucson sector Border Patrol agent, I finally received an email statement from Agent Brent Cagen after it had been cleared with the agency’s branch chief of external communications. When asked about the Border Patrol’s response to medical emergencies and sexual assault, he replied, “All individuals apprehended by the Tucson Sector Border Patrol are evaluated at the time of apprehension. Tucson Sector has more than 200 Border Patrol agents certified as emergency medical technicians and all agents are trained as first responders to render aid to anyone in need of medical assistance. Agents in the field take all necessary precautions and make the proper notifications for anyone requesting and/or requiring medical treatment.” Like many of their answers, the response seemed dry and devoid of any human compassion, while almost completely skirting around certain issues. Extensive and systemic abuse of migrants by Border Patrol has been documented in No More Deaths’ “Culture of Cruelty” report, which was published last year. Compared to the photos I
The McGill Daily | Thursday, September 13, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
had seen of the broken knee of a migrant who had been refused medical attention, and other countless examples of untreated physical impairment in “Culture of Cruelty,” the Border Patrol’s words felt hollow.
veryone who makes the journey through the Sonoran desert, which covers most of the border between Mexico and the states of Arizona and and California, suffers somewhere on the spectrum of dehydration. The body needs a gallon of water a day at the absolute minimum to avoid dehydration, but often more because of the physical and emotional exertion that crossing through the border entails. The journey through the desert can take three to five days, or even several more as the Border Patrol utilizes tactics to separate travelers and push them to the more dangerous edges of the desert. Besides increased surveillance at the least rugged points of entry, helicopters “dust” migrants. By attempting to land close to a group of migrants, the helicopter’s propellers lift the desert sand off the ground, and often dogs are sent chasing after the disoriented and scattering migrants. As a tactic of border enforcement, it’s neither a good deterrent nor helpful at bringing migrants into custody. As a means of making the border more dangerous – and migrants more prone to isolation and death – it is highly successful. Furthermore, a gallon of water is very heavy. It is nearly impossible to carry enough water to even maintain a semblance of hydration, let alone the amount of food needed. No More Deaths focuses on leaving water, food packs, buckets of blankets and socks in highly trafficked areas for migrants. We write messages and draw hearts on the water jugs to demonstrate that they are not traps. We try to humanize a dehumanizing experience. Empty jugs let us know that the migrants are receiving our aid, and they always express gratitude when we run into them. Abandoned clothes, backpacks, and food wrappers are simple signs of life in the beautiful but miserable Sonoran desert. Yet, the cynic in me just had to ask: Does the border patrol ever dump our water or use it? One of the facilitator’s responded bluntly: Yes, they do. In fact, long-term volunteers have told me that their water has been getting slashed for years, but that last summer was potentially the worst since the organization’s start in 2004. They commented that about half of all water left last summer was getting slashed, and at some drop points, all of it. When asked what the Border Patrol’s relationship was with humanitarian aid groups prior to incidents of water slashing, Cagen responded, “The Tucson sector appreciates the additional eyes and ears that humanitarian groups provide for our operations. Unfortunately, too often, smugglers will disregard the safety and security of those they are guiding and use the water stations for their own consumptions.” Yet their response evades explanation of the slashed jugs No More Deaths continuously find. We keep extensive and detailed logs of each stop, each day. The logs enable us to know how much water is “moving,” so we know how much to leave next time, which is usually two or three days later. It is unlikely that the coyotes drink all the water, considering we leave anywhere between four gallons and twenty-gallons or sometimes more at each spot. The second reason such logs are kept is to document Border Patrol abuse. Every interaction with Border Patrol is logged, including, when possible, video, audio, and photos.
o understand the current status of the U.S.-Mexico border today, one must look back to the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Operation Gatekeeper in 1994. The former legally freed the movement of capital from the burdens of borders, while the latter severely restricted the legal movement of people between these same borders. Poverty increased drastically in Mexico because large American agriculture firms could sell at much lower prices, driving millions of Mexican farmers off their land and into the hands of those same American farms. With this surge of migration, border enforcement increased significantly and strategically shifted migrants to the most dangerous parts of the border, As a result, border-related deaths increased as well, with nine reported deaths in 1990 to over 300 a year for the past five years. All the while, apprehensions (arrests) have dramatically decreased every year since 2007. This means that the ratio of deaths to apprehensions has actually increased, so while less people are captured crossing the border, more of them are dying. At No More Deaths, we are primarily concerned with migrants while they are in the desert, and their subsequent court cases are not directly part of our work. However, we discuss, and lay witness to, the life of migrants outside the
desert. Since 2001, the number of immigration prosecutions has tripled. More migrants than ever are being put through the criminal justice system. In fact, there have been over one million deportations – averaging 40,000 a year – during the first three years of Barack Obama’s term, which is more deportations than George W. Bush oversaw during the entire eight years he was in office. This massive spike in prosecutions is neither nameless nor without a financial incentive. Created under George Bush’s Department of Homeland Security, Operation Streamline is highly profitable for those in the business of immigration and criminal detention and imprisonment. It removes discretion from prosecutors for cases involving undocumented migrants, the vast majority for illegal entry or low-level offenses such as traffic violations. This means nearly all those who are apprehended are brought through the criminal justice system and charged with either first time unauthorized entry, a misdemeanor, or repeated unauthorized entry, or a felony.
n my last day with No More Deaths, a long-time volunteer and a few first-time volunteers, including myself, went to the courthouse in Tucson. Every week day at 1:30 p.m., up to seventy undocumented migrants plead guiltyto either illegal entry, or illegal re-entry (the most commonly filed federal charge), and then are sent to jail for between thirty and 180 days. We walk through metal detectors, up an elevator, and then wait outside the courtroom until the doors open and they let us in. All the migrants wear the same clothes they were wearing when they were apprehended. They also wear handcuffs, ankle cuffs, and earphones that translate the court proceedings from English into Spanish. The judge calls up the first group of six defendants, as all migrants in Tucson are charged in groups of six (or up to eighty at a time in Del Rio, Texas). Each of the six defendants has a lawyer that stands with them. Each lawyer in Tucson, as a part of Operation Streamline, can only represent six defendants a day. This is not the case outside of Tucson, where there are much looser restrictions. The migrants meet with their lawyer for the first time for about a half hour before the trial begins, wherein the lawyer must explain to them what they are being charged with. The lawyers advise migrants to take the plea offered by the United States government whereby the felony charge is dropped for re-entry and instead they plea guilty to the misdemeanor charge of illegal entry. Simply put: less jail time. Although Spanish translations are available, many of the defendants only speak indigenous languages that are not accommodated by the legal system. I watched a man from Guatemala, who spoke neither English nor Spanish, nod his head when asked questions until it became apparent to the judge that he did not understand what he was being asked. The lawyer pulled him aside, found the means to communicate that he should say “si” and the judge was satisfied this constituted adequate comprehension on part of the defendant. The six defendants in each group were all asked the same questions at the same time, which was found to be unconstitutional in Arizona. However, the Constitution tends to slip when “it’s been a long week,” as a frustrated public defender said with a sigh. This process repeats itself a few more times, and after about 45 minutes (some judges in Operation Streamline pride themselves in how quickly they can bring court proceedings to an end) the trial is over. All of the migrants that day came from immigration detention facilities, half of which are owned by private prison corporations, such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group. After their sentencing, they are then sent to prisons, an increasing number of which are run by said corporations. Since 1999, migrants have been targeted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a body to which prison corporations contribute large sums. While I don’t have the ability to draw a direct correlation between prisons companies and ALEC, it certainly seems suspicious. After this legally sanctioned spectacle, I left the courthouse perhaps never having felt more furious and hopeless. Operation Streamline seems like an unstoppable force, running on racial hostility and private prison profits.
here is no white-savior mentality at the No More Deaths camp in Arivaca. Everyone there knows that hiking through the desert and leaving water on the most heavily trafficked migrant trails is not directly addressing the systemic issues that cause these border deaths. It does seek, with much success, to address the most immedi-
ate needs of the migrants. The volunteers and migrants, when possible, talk. Sometimes we talk about how the slashing of water by Border Patrol is most certainly responsible for the devastation for dehydrated migrants who come across them, and death for those who needed them. We often talk about strategies, from immediate harm reduction to long-term systemic change. Matthew Johnson, a long-time volunteer for No More Deaths, recently told me in an email that “there are all kinds of policy changes that, if implemented, could vastly improve the situation,” such as putting an end to Operation Streamline and immigration detention, and legislating the “full regularization of status for those living in the U.S. without documentation.” However, he concedes that “certain sectors of the economic elite” profit from this system of prevention, detention, incarceration, and deportation. For Johnson, the key is “growing community power and strategizing creatively so that we might one day tip the scales in favor of those of us who believe in humanity over profit.” I met a few migrants that I think about quite often. One in particular told me about his wife and daughter, and how much he missed them. His story is not unlike many others I have heard before. He spent many years living the U.S., went back home to visit his sick mother and is now returning to the U.S. Others have said they hardly know anyone in their home country, and deportation would make them a total stranger. He asked what Montreal was like and if I thought he could get a job there. I think about him a lot – what I would do if I saw him and how afraid I am for him and the millions of others living without documentation. Despite their fear of deportation and the vitriolic and hateful rhetoric of both the powerful and the weak in North America, many of the migrants I interacted with spoke with courage and humility. The world migrants face is hostile and violent, and it is painful to see it legislated, enforced, prosecuted and pushed into the invisible terrain of the Sonoran desert, where millions have passed and thousands have died.
The McGill Daily Thursday, September 13, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
The dark side of getting bronzed text Veronica Winslow illustration Amina Batyreva
espite the well-known risks of indoor tanning, the question remains: why do thirty million Americans, such as the infamous “Tanning Mom,” keep visiting tanning salons each year? The answers go beyond aesthetics, and, according to
some researchers, are rooted in an addiction to the endorphins released while tanning. The story of Patricia Krentcil, (“Tanning Mom”) broke in May of this year. Krentcil was charged with second-degree child endangerment when her daughter Anna’s school nurse noticed a
rash on the young girl’s skin. When questioned by the nurse, Anna apparently replied, “I went tanning with mommy,” prompting the nurse to call child services. Krentcil denied the charges, stating that she felt she’d suddenly become a murderer. With this increased fasci-
nation in her case, the magnitude of her tanning habits were soon revealed. It was found that she pays a flat fee of $100 per month to use tanning booths around five times a week at the maximum 12 minutes per session. According to Dr. Byron Adinoff, professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, some people can become addicted to ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB rays). To test this hypothesis, Dr. Adinoff studied a
small group of people who tanned indoors at least three times per week. He injected this test group with a radioisotope that allowed researchers to monitor the subjects’ brain activity. During some sessions, Dr. Adinoff filtered out the UV rays in the booth without telling the subjects, while during others he gave the participants their regular dose of UV light. The resultant brain images showed that during regular tanning sessions, areas of the subjects’ brains which are linked to addiction lit up, whereas during UV-depraved sessions, these areas were much less
The McGill Daily | Thursday, September 13, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
active. The participants even remarked after irregular sessions that their desire to tan had not been satisfied, as opposed to the feeling of satisfaction after a regular session. Because UV light produces endorphins, many tanning buffs become addicted to the rush of euphoria they feel when tanning, either in the sunlight or in a booth. “They all liked the session where they got the real UV light,” said Dr. Adinoff in an inerview with the New York Times. “There was
some way people were able to tell when they were getting the real UV light and when they were not.” In another study at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, researchers gave frequent tanners endorphin blockers before tanning sessions and recorded withdrawal symptoms, namely nausea, dizziness, and shakiness. Even celebrities such as Michael Kors admit to having been major tanners. “I’ve cooked my whole life at the beach, but I’ve learned my lesson,” he said
after finding basal cell carcinoma on his face. The implications of indoor tanning are especially prescient for teens and young adults. According to dermatologist Dr. Jody A. Levine tanning lamps give off four times more damaging UVA rays than the sun. Moreover, the risk of melanoma increases 75 per cent in indoor tanners under the age of 35. In the case of Hannah Norman, a teenager from the United Kingdom, tanning addic-
tion took on a form separate from indoor tanning. This 17-year-old was so obsessed with self-tanners – particularly because she wanted desperately to look like Snooki of Jersey Shore – that she would spend four hours daily to get made up, applying layer upon layer of tanning products. Unfortunately, it has been found that even the “safe alternative” to indoor tanning – namely creams and sprays – come with their own slew of risks. Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which
researchers believe can alter or damage the DNA, is among the dangerous chemicals found in fake tanning products. Others include skin irritants and allergens. Norman was forced to quit her habit once her skin’s condition deteriorated into an “awful mess.” Questions of tanning addiction and cancer risk give a deeper level of meaning to a phrase I’ve heard exclaimed many times growing up in Florida: “If you can’t tone it, tan it!” It just makes you wonder… what’s next?
What you need to know about skin cancer
kin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed in North Americans. Type “skin cancer” into Google and you’ll get 39 million results. Open any magazine in summertime and you’re bound to find an article on skin cancer. Summer news broadcasts warn about it daily. Ads for sunscreen urge you to buy their product because it’s best at protecting you
from skin cancer. The list is endless, and it’s only getting longer. There are three main forms of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Melanoma is widely considered to be the most dangerous form of skin cancer; it is the leading cause of death from skin disease. You are most at risk for melanoma if you are fair-skinned, have blue or green eyes, red or blond hair, live in sunny climates or high altitudes, spend a lot of time in the sun, have had blistering sun burns, or use tanning devices. A mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin can be a sign of melanoma. Symptoms of melanoma
can be remembered easily with the acronym “ABCDE,” or: Asymmetry (half of the mole, sore, or growth is different from the other) Borders (the edges of the mole are irregular) Color (color changes from one spot to the other, from a variety of browns and tans to white, red or blue) Diameter (the spot is larger than 6mm) Evolution (the mole continually changes in appearance). Melanoma spreads quickly to other areas of the body, which is part of what makes it so dangerous. Thankfully, it can be treated easily when caught early.
Yearly examinations by a dermatologist and monthly self-examinations are recommended. BCC and SCC are non-melanoma skin cancers, which means they are much less likely to result in death. BCC starts in the epidermis and occurs on skin exposed regularly to sunlight. BCC generally grows slowly and painlessly and manifests as a bump or growth that is pearly or waxy, white, light pink, or brown. It may be slightly raised or f lat. In some cases, you may develop a sore that bleeds easily, does not heal, oozes or crusts, or a sore that is scar-like or sunken. There may also be irregular blood vessels on and around the area. BCC very rarely spreads to other parts of the body and is easily treatable when caught early, and small BCC is unlikely
to return. SCC is similar to BCC, but is also caused by frequent x-rays and chemical exposure. It usually occurs on the hands, neck, arms, and face, and the main symptom is a growing bump that may be scaly, rough, f lat, and reddish in patches. SCC grows and spreads more quickly than BCC and may reach even the internal organs. Like BCC, it is best treated early. All skin cancers are best prevented by avoiding sunlight, especially between 10 a.m and 4 p.m., when it is most intense. Sunscreen should be applied thirty minutes before exposure and reapplied frequently, especially after swimming. The sunscreen you use should protect from UVA and UVB rays. Most importantly, tanning salons, tanning beds, and sun lamps are best avoided.
The McGill Daily Thursday, September 13, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Autumn activities to illuminate your semester Kaj Huddart and Victoria Lessard
Illustration Rosie Dobson and Amina Batyreva
idn’t manage to attend Cannes this year? Adding to the city’s rich filmfestival lineup, Cinemania showcases the best francophone films from the past year. Hosted at the majestic Imperial Theatre, this is the most convenient way for anglophones to check out French cinema, with the entire lineup of films conveniently subtitled in English. Sponsored by Air France, it is solely devoted to North
American, Canadian, and Quebec premieres of French films. Past years have screened masterpieces including The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, A Prophet, and Poliss. Cinemania takes place at the Imperial Cinema (1430 Bleury) from November 3 to 13. Listings for the 2012 edition will be published in late October.
he most contemporary of Montreal’s big film festivals, the FNC has a broad focus with an emphasis on fresh ideas. Impeccable taste and a serious admiration for maverick filmmaking shape the festival’s lineups each year. Among many other great films, last year’s FNC presented Pina, Wim Wenders’ 3D tribute to the late choreographer Pina Bausch; The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodovar’s brilliant exploration of plastic surgery; as well as Monsieur Lazhar, an insightful Quebecois drama that was nominated for Best Foreign
Gardens of Light: The Magic of Lanterns and Aki
o one is too jaded to enjoy the Magic of Lanterns, a hugely popular autumn tradition. Hundreds of lanterns, many of them traditionally produced in Shanghai and painstakingly arranged at the magnificent Chinese Garden, illuminate the evenings at the Botanical Gardens next to the Olympic Stadium. If you haven’t been yet, this is an excellent excuse to see the sprawling and meticulously kept Botanical Gardens. This year’s
festival theme is “The Celestial Banquet.” The Magic of Lanterns is held concurrently with Aki, a display of “the interplay of light and shadow” in the adjacent Japanese Garden. Gardens of Light is open until November 4. The Botanical Gardens will remain open daily until 9 p.m. The student admission rate is $13.50. The Gardens are located at the corner of Pie-IX and Sherbrooke.
Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal (RIDM)
he Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal (RIDM) festival focuses solely on documentary film. The vision of the event aims to promote Canadian and foreign films. This year, the festival’s fifteenth, is shaping up to be particularly exciting. Organizers are producing a special portion of programming titled “15 Years for 15 Films.” 15 special guests have been invited to the festival to pick a documentary that “changed their lives,” each of which
will be screened at the festival. One by one, the special guests are being revealed on the festival website. So far, Gael Garcia Bernal, Lou Reed, and Alanis Obomsawin are among those slated to appear, with five more still to be revealed.
The RIDM runs from November 7 to 18. They are in the process of announcing their 2012 program and ticket prices.
Festival du nouveau cinema
Film at the Academy Awards. The festival features several sections, with one devoted entirely to Quebecois and Canadian cinema, one for risqué cinema and another for children’s films, as well as a prestigious short-film series.
The Festival du Nouveau Cinema will run from October 10 to 21 at Excentris on St. Laurent. This year’s program and ticket prices have yet to be announced.
M for Montréal
he other big indie music event in the fall is M for Montréal, Pop’s smaller, more francophone cousin. M generally featuress acts better known in Quebec and Canada than the rest of the world. It is used as a scouting service by the world’s largest festivals, including Glastonbury, Coachella, SXSW, and
Les Inrockuptibles. Last year’s fest included Karkwa, Bran Van 3000, Arianne Moffatt, and Peter Peter. M for Montreal happens from November 14 to 17. More information about lineup, ticket prices, and location will be released in October.
Black and Blue Festival
aving run for 21 years, B and B is a queer institution. This dance party/festival raises money for the BBCM foundation, which supports the fight against HIV/AIDS. Black and Blue will be hosting parties around town, from the “Jock Ball” and the “Leather Ball” to the main event, a huge rave at Palais des Congrès. Most days of the festival start with a long brunch that evolves into an evening of relentless partying at several locations. Black and Blue prides itself on its inclusive nature, and explicitly incorporates heterosexual
participants and DJs. Electronic fans would do well to check out the list of performers. Whether you want to support the cause, celebrate being queer, or just party hard, Black and Blue has a place on the dance floor for you.
Black and Blue takes place in the Village and around town from October 3 to 9. Tickets come in various packages; the main event on October 6 is a $120 for general admission. Other nights offer less expensive parties.
The McGill Daily | Thursday, September 13, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Death by a thousand words Literary Death Match puts local talent in the ring Nathalie O'Neill The McGill Daily
hilst many may think of live readings as dry affairs, attended solely by stuffy literati, the Literary Death Match series spins this conception on its head, focusing on the essence of fun central to literature. The upcoming Literary Death Match promises a hilarious and enthralling evening that will leave you enamored with the written (and spoken) word. The Literary Death Match was first created in 2006 by Todd Zuniga in New York City, and now runs in 43 cities throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. The Literary Death Match consists of four readers, three judges, two rounds, and one finale. The first two rounds feature the readings themselves, each no more than seven minutes. The winners of each round are then pitted against each other in a final round, often a ludicrous finale involving a competition such as a spelling bee or a game of “pin the mustache on Ernest Hemingway.” Readers are then to be judged on literary merit, performance, and “intangibles.” In an interview with The Daily, Zuniga explained that organizers aim to select no more than one poet for each match, as they want to steer the Literary Death Match
series away from traditional poetry slams. Readers can range from journalists and fiction writers to graphic novelists. The selection process focuses on exciting and representative members of the city’s community. One of Zuniga’s “favourite cities to visit,” Montreal’s cultural diversity offers great pickings for such a competition. Readers this year include Taylor Tower (featured on CBC program WireTap), Banka Petrovic (a poet featured in several journals, including The New Quarterly and Arc), Jonah Campbell (author of Food and Trembling: An Entertainment) and Gabe Foreman (author of A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Kinds of People.) Judges include Natalia Yanchak, a singer/keyboardist for The Dears, Joel Yanofsky, an author/book reviewer and George Hamilton Braithwaite, a comedian. Each judge is assigned to a category relevant to their career. Yanchak evaluates performance, Yanofsky, literary merit and Braithwaite, the intangibles. Zuniga points out that authors have traditionally not always been the best readers of their own work. Matches can feature stellar performances as well as clumsy ones, as readers are selected as participants primarily on the quality of their written work. Witnessing talent on the page come to life on stage is a
crucial and fascinating part of the Literary Death Match. The quality of the reading can lend wellknown written work a surprising new twist. Zuniga warns that “weird and strange things will take place” and people will find themselves lured into avid listening along the way. Although the competitive side of the Literary Death Match is light-hearted, Zuniga points out that audience members often find themselves rooting for a certain reader. The time limit of seven minutes serves mainly to present the readings as a taste of the writer’s work. The relative brevity of the readings, as well as the emphasis on the comedic, make the Literary Death Match series appealing to people outside the immediate literary community. Zuniga stresses that literature “can be serious and funny at once,” offering a way to engage people with literature through fun and spectacle. The Literary Death Match attracts more than just the most devoted readers and writers, serving to bring a greater cultural variety to the literary world.
The Montreal edition of the Literary Death Match will take place Tuesday, September 18 at La Sala Rossa. Doors at 7 p.m. show at 8:15 p.m., followed by afterdrinks. Tickets are $7 preorder and $10 at the door.
Illustration Alexander Chepesiuk | The McGill Daily
Bernard brewery offers a good time, okay beers Emma Overton Culture Writer
y first experience at HELM Brasseur Gourmand was in early May for an end-ofthe-year celebration for a student publication. Located at Parc and Bernard, I lived just around the corner of the Mile-End bar for two years, but in classic out-of-towner fashion, had always dismissed it as “that super-French bar.” On any given weeknight, there are clusters of young Montrealers partaking in a boisterous 5 à 7 after work. On Thursday and Friday evenings, the place is always packed. I arrived late on a Wednesday night the first time I drank at HELM. The place was empty, but SSMU was footing the tab, so I got luxuriously tanked on pint after
pint of their Snake Bite (cider, blonde beer, and a swirl of cassis on top). This, by the way, is a perfect drink to order if you can’t take heavy beers and you want to look like a sassy lady. Just try saying, “I’ll have the snake bite” out loud right now. See what I mean? Maybe it was the sugar-coated haze of the Snake Bite looming in the background, but my second visit to the brewery did not exactly improve upon the first. My friend and I began by ordering 14-centilitre (cL) glasses of each of their micro-brewed beers: blonde, blanche, rousse, cream ale, noir, and IPA. The 14-cL glasses are $2.75 a piece, a nice option for taste testing. After a thorough tasting and an attempt to discuss the beers intelligently using phrases like “I’m tasting hints of coriander with a slightly gamey finish,” we
deduced that the HELM Brewery is a great place to come for a drink after work, but it sure ain’t no Dieu du Ciel, the classic Montreal brewery on Laurier. The sampling of beers we tasted was fairly generic in flavour, with the blonde as the favourite by a slight margin. The micro-brewed beers at HELM almost seem like an afterthought when compared to the unique and varied flavours offered at other microbreweries like Dieu du Ciel or Réservoir. A stout at HELM is just a stout, whereas the coffee-infused stout at Dieu will leave you cross-eyed for a good two hours. The food at HELM measured up similarly. We ordered a Montreal staple, salmon gravlax served with crème fraiche and salad. Other than a surprisingly tasty and tangy mustard dressing on the salad,
we were equally underwhelmed. Again, I couldn’t help but compare it to Réservoir, where I once had gravlax that brought me back into the world of the living the morning after a rough St. Patty’s Day. HELM is a great, low-key place for drinks after work. It’s a big space, so unlike DDC, you won’t have any trouble getting a table. And if you value anonymity, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see any familiar McGill faces. There’s ping-pong on Sunday and Monday for any table tennis aficionados. However, as a microbrewery, HELM definitely falls short of heavyweights like DDC and Reservoir. HELM Brasseur Gourmand is at 273 Bernard West. Dieu du Ciel is at 29 Laurier West. Réservoir is at 9 Duluth East.
Unfit to Print Season 4, Episode 1 Frosh Stories September 17 11:00 a.m. CKUT 90.3 FM Unfit to Print has its season premiere on Monday, September 17 at 11 a.m. Tune into CKUT radio to hear “Frosh Stories.” Kate McGillivray ventures into the world of beer, chants, and cut-up t-shirts to get the lowdown on the Frosh experience from the perspective of new students to McGill.
Bea September 12 to 15 8:00 p.m. Théâtre Rouge 4570 Henri-Julien General $20, Student $12 Double-Space Theatre presents Mick Gordon’s play about assisted suicide. Bea is a bed-ridden, paralyzed 25 -year- old girl who wants to die. The play treats a relevant subject with poignancy and humour.
The McGill Daily Thursday, September 13, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
lies, half-truths, and name calling from behind a screen
Illustration Amino Acid and E.K. EK | The McGill Daily
Experiencing Mortono Joaquin Fendelson’s transcendence into the sublime...
Fendelson cures cancer Humble administrator refuses to accept Nobel prize Euan EK The Twice-a-Weekly
his weekend, the Deputy Provost of Student Purchases and Receipts Mortono Joaquin Fendelson cured cancer. In what people around the world are calling “a fucking big deal,” cancer has been thrown from our small planet and into outer space, after a long and spectacular duel with Sir Fendy. Fendelson, a silver fox with a chiseled jaw-line and biceps that make Michael Phelps look like a small goldfish, says his actions
were for “everyone,” echoing the sentiments of Sir Tim BernersLee, inventor of the internet. Fendelson also stated that he would not be enforcing the patent on this new development. “I just don’t feel it would be right of me to accept praise for this,” he said. “Have you ever read any Marx? Value is produced by the collective work of mankind. I’m just the same as everyone else; it’s only right to ensure that the people will benefit from the success of the people’s work. Maybe I can’t bring about the revolution, but I can do my bit to give back.”
Offered the Nobel Prize one month in advance of the typical October announcement, Fendelson declined the award and its attendant $1 million prize, stating he does not wish to have a large public profile. “I’m more of the quiet type really,” said the soft-spoken, genteel Fendelson. “Apart from my research I spend my time amongst the poesie of the great John Keats.” Fendelson also sings in a local church choir, and his voice has been described by some as reminiscent of Keats’ own nightingale.
“Resplendent,” said one fan. “His voice, his command of pitch and tone...resplendent.” One of Fendelson’s closest associates, Baroness Heather Mama Boom, said that she “couldn’t be more proud of lilFendy-woo,” and called him “something like a Ghandian Martin Luther King, but with Princess Diana’s eyes.” Asked what his plans for the future are, Fendelson says he doesn’t want to think too far into the future, but that he really wants to go home and bake his grandma “a nice cupcake or two.”
“I don’t feel we respect our elders enough in this society,” said the former Rhodes Scholar, “so I try to go out of my way to involve them in my day to day life. I’m not saying my life is that interesting, but that people learn from open discourse. That’s what I build my life around, encouraging community involvement and the extension of the public sphere, citizenship, if you will.”
Euan EK is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist noted for a clarity of argument and swagger of style.
Fendelson saves biosphere Climate change “a total fucking wimp,” says Fendy Euan EK The Twice-a-Weekly
ast night, the dreamboat of James, Mortono Joaquin Fendelson, saved the Earth from climate change. Citizens of the world are rejoicing after learning they had been saved from what scientists had called “the burning up of everyone and everything you ever cared about in a giant inferno of terrible terrible pain.” “I’m, like, relieved,” said Juan Deyerection, a U1 Frosh Student. “The sun is hot.” Fendelson told The Twice-aWeekly that he is “not undelighted” with the achievement. “Global warming, climate change, the hole in the ozone, it’s
all over, it’s done. I fucking ended that shit. Boom city. Boom fucking city,” Fendelson said. “It wasn’t much of a fight really,” Fendelson said. “Climate change has been getting cocky for a few years now, sticking his head above the parapet. It was alright when he was pushing up the temperature by small degrees, I mean, like, no one gives a fuck about Australia and those small islands out there, but shit was getting warm, nahmean? I had to step in.” Onlooker Francesca Peekabia remarked that Fendelson dispatched climate change with the consumate ease of “Muhammed Ali, but like if Muhammed Ali was on that shit that Lance Armstrong was taking.” “Climate change is a piece of shit
wimp,” said Fendelson, who works out his muscular physique by lifting three children out of poverty each day, “I only had to look at him and he screamed like Michael Jackson, but like if he was a porpoise.” Despite ending everyone’s certain doom, Fendelson has come in for criticism from some quarters for refusing to hold back in his interviews. “I just think he’s a bit too open with the press,” said Public Relations expert Al Wayslie. “He opens the cupboard and just chucks dozens and dozens of bones out at them. He hides nothing. It’s not the best way to approach this problem.” When The Twice-a-Weekly put it to Fendelson that with his power comes great responsibility, and that he should be more of a
role model for the future rulers of the world, he responded that “those who critique me are those I have saved. Yet I do not cast the first stone. Will I turn the other cheek? Yes. Will I stand in the stocks and take the apples and tomatoes of the baying crowd in my open mouth? Yes. But will I kneel before the gospel of the PR gods and corporate strategists? No. No I will not. Life is for living free. I hope by ending climate change we can all, at last, live the liberty we deserve.” With that Fendelson kissed this reporter on each cheek, and allowed us all to breathe a cleaner, freer air. Euan EK has faced prosecution in countries that don’t even exist anymore. It will survive.
“We are all Euan EK now.” Dalai Lama
volume 102 number 4
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Tom Acker le délit
The #ggi is dead; long live the #ggi Quebec students took to the streets for seven months to protest a false solution to the chronic underfunding of higher education in the province. Amidst arguments that tuition hikes would address underfunding – rather than looking at the misallocation of budgets at provincial and institutional levels – students persisted in their activism against a short-term solution to a long-term problem. When the Parti Québécois (PQ) announced last week that the planned tuition hikes would be reversed, many proclaimed a victory for the student movement. While a tuition freeze is a step in the right direction, the student movement is far from finished with its fight. To begin, Premier-elect Pauline Marois’ track record on education is neither blemish-free nor consistent. In 1996, as Quebec’s education minister, Marois attempted to raise tuition by about thirty per cent, reneging on her attempts only after thousands of students protested. Earlier this year, Marois ended her short stint of wearing the carré rouge for reasons of political expediency, though months later her party’s candidates included former Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) president Léo Bureau-Blouin. When the PQ announced its plan to abolish the Liberals’ tuition hikes, Marois also said she would index tuition to the rate of inflation. And there have been no guarantees as to how long this tuition freeze would last – nor has Marois indicated that she will find alternative solutions. (According to the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS), a socio-economic think tank, if the corporate capital gains tax rate were raised from zero per cent to 2.4 per cent, and taxes on the top-bracket income tax rate by 1.4 per cent, university education could be made free in Quebec.) McGill recently estimated that the reversal of Liberal hikes would result in $90 million in budget shortfalls over the next five years. Marois’ government has not announced solutions that would sufficiently fund postsecondary education or compensate for budgets that were planned with Liberal hikes in mind. In an education system as chronically underfunded as Quebec’s, institutions like McGill all too often turn to funding from the private sector to maintain and expand programming. Thus, we end up with medical scholars financed by pharmaceutical companies, the expansion soley of profitable programs like Mining Engineering, private sector CEOs on our Board of Governors, and an increasingly corporatized campus. Abolishing tuition hikes was certainly a goal of the student movement. But the movement was never just about tuition. It’s about the accessibility, prioritization, and social value of postsecondary education. It’s about the future of Quebec’s system of education, and the slippery slope of increasingly burdening students with financing a broken system. All of these issues are still pressing, and the student movement should continue to fight for the right solutions. If the PQ, Marois, and Quebec are serious about addressing students, it’s going to take a lot more. Tuition hikes were never going to magically solve our problems, and reversing them isn’t going to, either.
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