Volume 102, Issue 20
November 12, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
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NEWS COMMENTARY FEATURES CULTURE SCI+TECH HEALTH & ED SPORTS PHOTOS ILLUSTRATIONS
The McGill Daily Monday, November 12, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Examining the state of animal rights in Montreal
Leaked document questions university underfunding PGSS to host education summit
City seeks to strengthen animal protection laws
Stop the cuts to refugee health SSMU holds summit consultations Mac grad students pass referendum to separate from undergrads
06 COMMENTARY Considering solitary confinement
Marriage is not equality
Letters to The Daily On interviewing HMB
THE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
09 SCIENCE+TECH Environmental inaction is our fault, too Controversy at the grad fair
11 SPORTS Racially coded descriptors in sports
Student theatre: an overview Review: Timon of Athens DESTA, the Black Youth Network
15 EDITORIAL Beyond the prison system
The Anarchist Dean
Carla Green The McGill Daily
bout 200 abandoned pets found new homes the last weekend of October at the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). The SPCA called the weekend “Operation Adoption,” a project in collaboration with the City of Montreal to encourage new pet owners to adopt animals from shelters rather than pet stores. “We look forward to the day when it is no longer necessary to have large animal shelters caring for homeless and neglected animals,” read a press release from Montreal SPCA Executive Director Nicholas Gilman. However, it is unclear whether the weekend-long adoption campaign will significantly address problems of overpopulation and mistreatment of domestic animals. Quebec was singled out as “the best province to be an animal abuser” in a study published by the Animal Legal Defense Fund this year, based on a number of criteria including standards of basic care for domestic animals and punishment for animal abuse. In April 2011, an investigation by Radio-Canada’s program Enquête did an exposé on Berger Blanc, Montreal’s largest for-profit animal shelter. Reporters uncovered widespread mistreatment of animals and euthanization by non-veterinarians, which can lead to unnecessarily slow and painful deaths. The Montreal SPCA runs a nonprofit animal shelter. Director of Development Anthony Johnson claimed that Berger Blanc’s for-profit status was the root of its problems. “We believe that for-profit pounds have a negative impact because they rely on overpopulation to continue to profit, and so are not part of the solution to animal care and control,” Johnson told The Daily. In the aftermath of the exposé on Berger Blanc, the municipal government made a concerted effort to change the city’s reputation regarding animal welfare. Currently, animal protection laws vary among the 19 neighbourhoods of Montreal. The mayor’s office has proposed a standardized bylaw for all of the neighbourhoods, which they have not yet approved. According to Martine Painchaud, the press officer for the mayor’s office, “Each borough
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
is responsible for animal control. They each have their own bylaw, some with the best practices, some not. The city of Montreal worked with the experts and the boroughs to harmonize the bylaw so that we offer the opportunity to every borough to adopt this bylaw, which is based on the best practices, some of which are already in place.” “Our goal is to harmonize the bylaws so that every borough will have the same bylaw in terms of animal control,” she continued. The city has also commissioned a new animal refuge, scheduled to open in 2014. Painchaud believes that the existence of a government-run shelter will do much to resolve Montreal’s problems with domestic animal overpopulation and abandonment. “We have a big problem in Montreal: all the animal shelters are full. We want to create a municipal animal shelter managed by the city because we want to respond to the needs of Montreal in terms of the control and well-being of animals,” she explained in French. “It will be an integrated centre where all
services will be provided: animal control, veterinary services, and a service for animal well-being.” Johnson praised the city’s initiative in planning a municipal animal shelter and standardizing the city’s bylaws on animal protection. “The city has got to take the lead in animal care and control,” he said. “I think there are a lot of really good side effects that occur because the city is taking the lead. I don’t believe that the city taking a step forward and creating a best-practices and humane approach to animal care and control will be a negative for those of us who every day are working to make the city better for animals.” Julie Desgagnés, the communications representative at the Animal Rescue Network (ARN), argued that the city might more effectively accomplish its goal by funding smaller animal shelters like the ARN and helping them expand. The ARN is entirely volunteerrun. According to its website, it is “the largest no-kill shelter in Montreal.’ “We are glad they want to build [the government-run animal shelter],” said Desgagnés. “It’s important that a city like
Montreal takes care of that problem, because there is a problem of overpopulation of animals. But there are existing solutions that need money, and with that money you could really help [an association like the ARN].” However, even if the city of Montreal’s planned changes solve the problem of domestic animal abandonment, there still remains the fact that most Canadian animal protection laws – and those in Quebec in particular – are restricted to the protection of domestic animals. Leiba Feldman, president of McGill’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, attributed the lack of legislation protecting nondomestic animals to a general ignorance about the well-being of animals that people don’t encounter on a regular basis. “In general, there’s a focus in legislation on what people hear about and what they know,” she told The Daily. “We know our domestic animals, but sometimes people disconnect themselves from other kinds of animals. Because of this disconnect, there are less laws to protect them.”
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 12, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Leaked 2011 study questions university underfunding McGill administration claims methodology is flawed Laurent Bastien Corbeil The McGill Daily
he Liberal government of Jean Charest neglected to divulge a 2011 study questioning the existence of university underfunding in Quebec. The study, which was leaked last week by the Parti Québécois (PQ) government, said that Quebec universities received 2 per cent more in tuition per student than the Canadian average. In an email to The Daily, VicePrincipal (External Relations) Olivier Marcil claimed that the report’s methodology was flawed. “[The report] does not focus on the activities most directly affecting students and their learning experience,” Marcil wrote. “Quebec universities have lower per-student funding and spending on operations, which funds the things that students and professors are asking for.” Between 2008 and 2009, the Quebec government spent $29,242 per student compared to $26,383 in Ontario, according to the report. With a lower cost of living and a different teaching system, Quebec universities invest 4 per cent more than institutions elsewhere in Canada. “The total funding per stu-
dent (revenue), however, is lower, and funding is a better measure of underfunding than spending,” wrote Marcil. A previous study in 2010 reported that revenues for Quebec universities were $27,628 per student, compared with the Canadian average of $28,282 – a difference of around 2 per cent. Marcil added that the Council of Ontario Universities and a 2010 study by the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux du Québec (CREPUQ) showed that Quebec universities were “indeed underfunded.” Martine Desjardins, the president of the Fédération étudiante du universitaire Québec (FEUQ), told The Daily that the leaked 2011 study discredited the notion of university underfunding. “It confirms what we’ve been denouncing for a while, and that [the government] must redo its calculations,” she said in French. As for the CREPUQ study, Desjardins claimed that the study was flawed, and that the former principal of the Université de Montréal had denounced the document for its “lack of rigour.” “In fact, we pay far more by student [in Quebec], and they have more money than in the rest of Canada,” said Desjardins. In an email to The Daily, SSMU VP External Robin Reid-Fraser
Vice-Principal (External Relations) Olivier Marcil. said that the study’s results were not a surprise. “I find it interesting that this is coming out now as a new thing, when some of this information was already available during the strike,” wrote Reid-Fraser. “However, it certainly does bring in to question what the motivation was behind the tuition hike from
the Liberals all along, if their own commissioned study was telling them these things.” The leak came days after Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and Minister of Higher Education Pierre Duchesne called into question the notion of university underfunding in Quebec. Last Thursday, Marois released another document
Photo Hera Chan | The McGill Daily
that emphasized the government’s financial contribution to the university system. CREPUQ Director General Daniel Zizian told Le Devoir that he was disappointed by the announcement and that it was not true that university underfunding had “suddenly disappeared by magic.”
PGSS prepares for education summit Dean’s appointment discussed Lola Duffort The McGill Daily
he University’s PostGraduate Students’ Society (PGSS) held their monthly council meeting at the Macdonald campus last Wednesday, which discussed the appointment of a new Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning), the local education summit the Society will be hosting in early December, and the Society’s relationship to the Legal Information Clinic (LIC) at McGill. Council entered into a Committee of the Whole to discuss, along with three representatives sent from the LIC, the status of graduate students at the Clinic. Graduate students pay a $2 fee every semester to the Clinic – undergraduates pay a $3.50 fee – and are entitled to all of their services,
including information and advocacy. PGSS Secretary-General Jonathan Mooney told The Daily, “[PGSS’] real question to them was to what extent, and in what ways can graduate students participate in the governance of the Legal Information Clinic,” he said. “Can we go to your general meetings? Can we vote? Can we see a copy of your financial statements? Can we get a copy of your bylaws?” According to Mooney, the Clinic has agreed to address the questions of the PGSS executive and appears to be making good faith efforts toward better delineating the relationship between the two organizations. Council also approved the Executive Committee’s proposal for the McGill education summit that PGSS committed to hosting at their council session in September. According to PGSS External Affairs Officer Errol Salamon, the
summit is meant as a preparation for the provincial summit slated for the spring, but it is also meant as “an alternative summit,” where issues germane to McGill will be tackled. The proposal outlined the five themes that the summit will revolve around, which include the question of underfunding, international and out-of-province students, tuition, public-private partnerships, and the role of teaching, research, and support staff at the University. Salamon cited the public-private partnership theme as being of particular importance in the McGill context. “There has been a lot of unrest on campus at least in the past year or so concerning public-private partnership with regard to food services, securitization on campus, particularly following last year’s events on November 10,” he said. The first part of the two-day summit – which will most likely take
place in the first week of December – will be dedicated to public panels, according to Mooney. “So you have these studies that come from various different groups saying that universities are underfunded, that they aren’t. We want to actually get those groups together […] explain why they think they are or aren’t, and then let students and faculty members question them. Ask them: why are you making these assumptions?” he explained. Confirmed participants include members of the administration, representatives from the Fédération étudiante du universitaire Québec, as well as representatives from l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante. Council entered into a Committee of the Whole to discuss the position of the Deputy Provost following a motion brought forward by Members Services Officer
Elizabeth Cawley, who is also one of the two students sitting on the advisory committee choosing the candidates considered for the position. “This is such an important administrator for student views, I really wanted to get the PGSS’ opinions about what qualities and characteristics they felt should be taken into consideration,” she said. Discussion lingered on the personality of the ideal candidate, rather than on background, and in a phone interview with The Daily, Cawley spoke to the difficulty in gauging something such as personal characteristics, but nonetheless underlined the importance of soliciting as many student perspectives as possible. “I think everybody thinks it’s a difficult position, and there’s a general anxiety about who this new person is going to be but I haven’t heard enough people’s opinions about it,” she said.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 12, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Panel addresses cuts to refugee healthcare Bill C-31 eliminates coverage for certain refugee categories Cem Ertekin News Writer
he Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at McGill organized a panel last Thursday entitled “Stop the Cuts!” regarding budget cuts and changes to the Conservative government’s Interim Federal Health Programme (IFHP), which provides temporary healthcare coverage for refugees. According to the IFHP website, the program applies to those who “are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance plans and where a claim cannot be made under private health insurance,” including “resettled refugees, refugee claimants, certain persons detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and other specified groups.” However, the program saw significant changes with Bill C-31, “Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act” – called by some the “punishing refugees act” – which was passed in June and eliminated health coverage for certain refugees. Under the new IFHP changes,
the Federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has the right to deem some countries “safe.” Asylumseekers and refugees coming from those countries designated as safe do not have access to the program’s health coverage – even if urgent. This can only be overridden in the case of a medical condition that poses a threat to the public health of Canada. Those from “non-designated countries of origin” will have access to medical care – provided it is urgent – but will not have any access to medication and vaccination unless the medical condition poses a public health danger. No dental, vision, or psychological medical care will be provided to any refugees. Thursday’s panel included presentations by members of organizations such as the Health Justice Collective, Doctors of the World, and Solidarity Across Borders, all of whom have been involved in actions against the federal cuts. For Degane Sougal, QPIRG Internal Coordinator and panel presenter, the main aim of the panel was to address the question, “How
do these cuts affect migrant communities?” – a question which, according to Sougal, “many believe has been neglected from mainstream media and Minister Kenney.” In an email to The Daily, Sougal explained, “the government has justified these cuts by saying it will save taxpayers money and that refugees will still be getting the ‘same care’ as Canadians, even with the cuts to the IFHP.” The panel questioned these claims, engaging panellists with expertise in the field such as healthcare workers, community organizers, and those who are from migrant communities or work directly with them. According to speaker Samir Shaheen-Hussain of the Health Justice Collective, the Conservative government is pandering to a certain group of people in their electorate that have rigid positions on immigration. He also called Bill C-31 “hypocritical,” saying that it would actually contribute to the conditions that cause many people to migrate in the first place. In defence of Bill C-31, the government has claimed that most claimant
Photo Hera Chan | The McGill Daily
refugees present invalid cases. Janet Cleveland, a researcher at McGill and speaker at the panel, admitted that some could be abusing the system, but said that the government was inaccurately attempting to portray all refugee claimants to be illegal. According to Naheed Dosani and Ritika Goel, who wrote an article on the cuts for the website Healthy Debate, the program changes will
worsen health outcomes for refugees and could even cause threats for Canadians – as in the case of tuberculosis, which is not considered a public threat until after diagnosis. Cleveland supported this with another example, citing cases where suicidal people are unable to get medication until their tendencies become homicidal, endangering not only their own lives but those of others as well.
summits open to the entire University community in the upcoming weeks. Reid-Fraser has also been in talks with the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) about the upcoming summit they will be hosting in early December. The provincial government has released few details regarding its summit’s program. At the last SSMU Council meeting, councillors outlined the themes they hoped would be addressed in their internal consultations, as well as at the summit itself. These themes include tuition fees and alternatives, research, financial aid and student debt, university governance, the role of university in society, out-of-province and international student needs, anglophone students in Quebec, quality of education, and structural barriers to postsecondary education. “After last year, it seemed like people were pretty divided around
the strike and the hike, or there were people that didn’t seem to engage with that particular issue,” said Reid-Fraser. “So I’m hoping this will be a broad enough range of issues that there will be people that haven’t participated in the past.” Following the consultation process, recommendations will be brought to Council and sent out to faculty associations for feedback. Reid-Fraser plans to submit a preliminary reflection document to the Table de concertation étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ) – the provincial student federation that represents SSMU members – by December. “Relating to quality of education, classroom sizes seem to be of particular concern,” added Reid-Fraser. “I’ve already heard back from a couple of faculties that this is something they would like to see brought up.” —Lola Duffort
News Briefs Mac campus grads pass referendum
On Friday, the Macdonald Campus Graduate Student Society (MCGSS) voted to separate from the Macdonald campus’ undergraduate society and remain only a member of the downtown Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS). The referendum passed with 176 in favour, four against, and four abstaining. 184 out of 563 Macdonald campus graduate students voted, representing a turnout of 32.7 per cent. As a result of the referendum, the Macdonald Campus Students’ Society (MCSS) will contact the Deputy Provost’s office and ask them not to collect fees from graduate students at the Macdonald campus for the Winter 2013 semester and future semesters, according to PGSS Secretary-General Jonathan Mooney. Next semester, MCGSS students will pay $60.91 in fees, the same
amount as all other graduate students downtown, according to MCGSS President Lucy Lu. This represents a decrease of $51.75 for full-time students, $44.25 for part-time students, $51.75 for half-time students, and $36.75 for additional session students. “We expect it to go through with no problems,” Mooney told The Daily. “We have a pretty clear contract with MCSS about what the obligations of MCGSS and MCSS are given this outcome.” “Theirs are to go forward and contact the Deputy Provost to cancel the fees and to announce that they no longer consider graduate students to be part of MCSS. Our obligation is to work with [MCSS] to finalize the contract for services that MCSS will continue to provide to graduate students so that the situation at Mac campus won’t change,” he added. Mooney said that the negotia-
tions for the contract with MCSS are still in progress, but that both parties will be meeting this evening to continue work. They expect to have the contract finalized by the Winter 2013 semester. “I really appreciate how cooperative MCSS has been through this whole process,” Lu told The Daily. “I look forward to working with them and PGSS to finalize an agreement regarding the terms of separation.” —Annie Shiel
SSMU consultations on higher education summit
SSMU has begun a campus-wide consultation process in preparation of the upcoming summit on higher education, planned by the provincial government for the spring. SSMU VP External Robin ReidFraser has been meeting informally with faculty association executives, and plans to hold a series of strategic
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The McGill Daily Monday, November 12, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Locked up Reimagining the way we treat prisoners Molly Korab Commentary Writer
magine locking yourself in your bathroom and staying there 23 hours a day, with little to no human contact. Nothing but the sound of your own heartbeat, the workings of your imagination, and perhaps some entertainment – a few books to pass the time, perhaps some photos to look at during the interminable hours. This is a reality faced by thousands across North America, sometimes for years, or even decades at a time. While the numbers are notoriously difficult to determine precisely, in the U.S. approximately 80,000 prisoners are put in solitary confinement each year. In Canada, that number is around 7,600. It’s an inhumane practice that is overused and unreasonably allocated. In the States, solitary is often prescribed via an internal hearing, with the verdict decided by a minimal number of prison bureaucrats, without a lawyer present. It can be prescribed for the most arbitrary of offenses. Prisoners in possession of writings by Malcolm X, anything on prisoners’ rights, or even Machiavelli’s The Prince have been thrown into solitary under pretense of ‘gang membership’ supposedly proven by possession of these innocuous items. Once in, a prisoner can remain there for years. Solitary – so clearly meant to break a person, rather than rehabilitate – is endemic in our prisons. The Unied Nations Special Rapporteur on torture wants it banned. And yet,
as with most prison issues, change lingers far in the distance, and public attention remains insignificant. By ignoring the legions of prisoners in solitary, and, on a larger scale, the huge number of men and women that enter into prison every year, we do ourselves a great disservice. By ignoring the abuse and blatant mistreatment of some of the most marginalized people in our society, we participate in the creation of a dangerous power dynamic, one that takes punishment beyond ethical limits. But why is this? How can we so blissfully ignore such a huge swath of people and the abuse of their rights? Why is this okay, on any level? Some of the most flagrant systemic abuses happen within our prisons, and we don’t particularly care. When I talk about the punishment of prisoners, a common refrain I hear goes something like this: “Well, they committed a crime, and they deserve to be punished.” It is, in my personal experience, the most widespread perception about prisoners. We see them as bad people, those who deserve to be punished. And yet, it also serves to note that this is somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction: crime and punishment are so closely wedded in our minds that to even question the assumptions that link them is unthinkable. Part of the reason for this can be found in the constant images of prisons, crime, and criminals that we are subjected to. Be it crime novels, prison shows, detective shows, movies involving gangs, the mafia, or murder-
ers, exposés, and documentaries, and so on, we are used to seeing crime all over the media. Prison films even constitute their own genre. These images and narratives of prison, and, by extension criminals that occupy them, completely normalize the idea of the prison as the place we must send our ‘evildoers’ to. Aside from fictional narratives of crime and prisons, the media itself also devotes a great deal of time to crime coverage. According to Mother Jones and The Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., during the 1990s crime was the number-one element of coverage on nightly news: while homicide rates dropped by half over a period of eight years, homicide stories on the three major networks rose three-fold. Surrounded by such exploitative images, it is no wonder that the public feels it needs to be protected, and support tough-on-crime measures no matter the ethical, financial, and social costs to society. Only once we begin to question our underlying assumptions about the prison system can we begin to have a real discussion about inhumane prison practices like solitary confinement. If we continue to support ideas dictating that the only thing criminals are worthy of is punishment, then marginal reforms might be possible, but are more likely to fall short of anything meaningful. We must question the power dynamics that underlie our prison system, for if we automatically assume that all crime is worthy of harsh punishment, then we allow
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
room for those in power to abuse – with our consent. Remember that a society will always be judged based upon how it treats its weakest members. Prisoners are no exception.
Molly Korab is a U2 International Development and Political Science student. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A love affair with the state Why last week’s marriage ‘wins’ might not be so progressive after all Mona Luxion The McGill Daily
he second most-commented-on outcome of the U.S. elections last week was probably the legalization of samesex marriage in several U.S. states. Successful ballot initiatives added Maine, Maryland, and Washington to the roster of states that recognize marriages between people of the same legal gender. Meanwhile, the French cabinet was also approving a bill that would give samegender couples rights currently reserved for hetero couples, including marriage and the right to adopt children. The bill now goes to the legislature, where it is likely to be highly contested. For Canadians, of course, this is old hat: same-sex marriages have been recognized by the Canadian state since 2005, a fact which is often trotted out to dem-
onstrate how progressive Canada is. State recognition of marriages between people of the same legal gender is almost always described by its proponents in terms of progressivism and equality. In fact, the branding has been so effective that in some circles the word “equality” has come to mean same-sex marriage legalization – to the exclusion of any other, more substantive, meaning. Now, I absolutely think anyone should be able to solemnize their relationship(s) in whatever way they see fit. I was honoured this past weekend to celebrate the love shared by two of my good friends; I am equally proud to belong to a religious community that has on various occasions crafted ceremonies for the celebration of poly families, queer partnerships, and even newfound single-hood. And this is where the rhetoric of equality and inclusion used to justify same-sex marriage campaigns breaks down. Fundamentally, marriage as an institution is not about equality. It serves, in its legal form, to confer
rights on certain kinds of families that are not conferred on others. In this sense, those who advocate for including same-sex partners in the grand old club of legally-condoned serial monogamy are basically saying “sure, we may be gay, but for god’s sake we’re not perverts!” In demanding that sexual orientation be no obstacle to the enjoyment of the government benefits marriage provides, gay marriage activists are breaking from their more marginalized allies in the fight against oppressive gender and sexual norms. There is no compelling reason for why society should reward monogamous sexual relationships over other relationships between consenting adults, such as other forms of sexual relationships, as well as friendships, mentorships, and the like. The modern institution of marriage has grown out of a system developed to distribute women as property and to legally establish heredity for the purpose of inheritance. It
has, I should hope, long outlived its relevance. Moreover, in order to benefit from marriage – beyond warm fuzzy feelings, at least – one must already hold certain privileges in society. Leaving aside the fact that serial monogamy is not for everyone, same-sex marriage leaves behind the undocumented and trans* folks for whom hospital visitation rights are not even an issue because they are unlikely to even be allowed to access hospital services, to name just one example. The immigration benefits of samesex marriage only accrue to people who are lucky enough to have met and married someone with citizenship – while queer asylum seekers are turned away because their grievances are not considered threatening enough. If the goal is assimilation for some, same-sex marriage campaigns have been wildly successful. If the goal is, instead, ensuring that people aren’t denied rights they should
have, then the strategy must be to break down the barriers that restrict those rights to a few people, not to demand inclusion within that enclosure. Marriage will have become queerfriendly only when the state is no longer invested in regulating and judging who we’re sleeping with (which is to say, when it no longer exists). Queers and our allies who are truly committed to equality for all families would do better to band with others who are also hurt by exclusive definitions of ‘proper’ family structure: immigrant families, families affected by incarceration and detention, Native families living through colonialist violence, and families targeted for intervention by ‘child welfare’ systems. But I suppose that work won’t make the headlines.
In Through the Looking Glass, Mona Luxion reflects on activism, current events, and looking beyond identity politics. Email Mona at email@example.com.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 12, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Letters Wikipedia was down.... Dear Daily, I read in your (very thorough – props!) Education Pullout (October 29) that the United Kingdom is not a member of the European Union. I find this very interesting. The reason I find this so interesting is that it’s actually no longer true. Oh, Daily, you’re usually so well-informed but this time you’re just a tiny bit out of date. 39 years and 11 months out of date, to be precise. The UK joined the EU, along with Ireland and Denmark, on January 1, 1973. (We can quibble about what “European Union” meant before the Maastricht Treaty’s ratification in 1993, but in any case that was twenty years ago so the point stands.) What I find interesting is how widespread the misconception is. I’m assuming it’s because we Britons don’t use the euro as our currency (non-EU-ites often conflate the two). But that said, Danes and Swedes don’t use the euro either, and you don’t hear people doubting their membership. You could ask why this even matters. Who cares if The Daily misprinted something? I can understand that to Canadians the EU is largely irrelevant. So all I’ll say is that to me, personally, it matters a great deal: if the UK hadn’t been an EU member then British citizens wouldn’t have been allowed into the EU civil service, so my parents would never have been colleagues at the European Court of Justice in 1992 and I would not be here typing these words. Anyway, Daily, I won’t press the point. Rest assured, I love you really. But do be careful in future: if you print inaccuracies, hordes of annoying know-it-alls will just write to you to point them out, so it’s in your best interest really. —Sam Baker U3 Honours Economics
Say what you like Dear Daily,
Detergent needed Dear Daily,
The ‘Halloween Blackface Incident’ has unsurprisingly caused quite a commotion on our campus, but as with any discussion surrounding an emotionally-loaded topic, it’s important to be mindful of the particular language one chooses to employ. One such word conjured up in the controversy is “discrimination.” Discrimination is a very real thing and it comes in many forms, all to the detriment of the marginalized group. But discrimination requires action; it implies different treatment for different groups. So when The Daily’s editorial reads, “It is their [SSMU] responsibility, however, to call out such discrimination...and this absolutely necessitates banning blackface,” I can’t help but feel that the true act of discrimination in that instance would be in actively barring entry for people donning costumes that were ‘disapproved of.’ The costume was without a doubt insensitive and inflammatory. It is ignorant more than anything else, for the blackface wearer to somehow fail to predict that people would be offended (clearly he doesn’t read The Daily). But I can’t avoid feeling that it is somewhat hypocritical to consider oneself tolerant while at the same time failing to accept the perceived intolerance of others. Freedom of speech only makes sense if it is extended to all views. I’m coming from the perspective of a member of the “white male hegemony,” so obviously I can’t claim to understand the shock and insult felt by a person of colour witnessing a drunk 4Floorer seemingly patronizing their race. But I am Jewish, and did see an Asian guy dressed in a caricature Hassidic Orthodox Jewish outfit on Halloween, and I did have a knee-jerk reaction to be offended. But I would honestly be more offended if he were banned from campus simply because his sense of humour differed from mine.
I’m often reminded that the Compendium! section of The Daily is done in “good fun,” and I’m often a fan of its SSMUniverse-relevant humour, but as a female student (full disclosure, though: in Arts), I take offense to your sarcastic piece, “Physics named most misogynistic department” (Compendium, October 18, page 16). Not only does it make a tasteless joke of misogyny – a real, serious, and violent fact of society – but it also just simply doesn’t help: If those who care so passionately about these issues are ever to change the existing systemic sexism, there’s nothing that helps less than deriding already-defensive perceived perpetrators. It’s long past time to start an actual conversation with those in these often-picked-on departments instead of consistently pointing elitist Arts student fingers at them (e.g., “Hey POWE [Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering], what do you think about this? How can we work together?”). Further, although certain fields have well-known systemic sexist cultures, it would be interesting to look more into how these issues manifest outside McConnell and Rutherford, perhaps in more subtle but just as damaging ways. The fact that Commentary writers such as the author of the famous “Ro-dee-no” (Commentary, September 6, page 11) piece make some solid points about the damaging effects of sexism done in “good fun” while your own (presumably) staff writers do exactly that is shocking. This blatantly defies your “anti-oppressive” statement of principles, alienates a probable majority of the student body (who could otherwise be allies), and could even be triggering to many women who actually live these realities. Seriously, guys? Please clean up your act. —Allison Cooper SSMU VP Clubs & Services
What he said... Dear Daily, “Weinstein talks Campaign McGill” (News, October 15, page 6) should be seen from a perspective of two main achievements that can be used for further PR promotion of the University. The first success concerns “the University’s five-year, $750-million fundraising campaign” that can be easily portrayed as the best in the art of begging in Canada and Quebec. This questionable ‘education’ starts in our public primary schools, where pupils are asked to collect single dollars among close neighbours or family members. It is continued in high schools with the teenagers collecting many times more dollars in shopping centres. At McGill, students learn that the art of begging for education can reach unlimited levels of top millions with a proud conclusion that the best achievers are supposed to represent the best university or vice versa. The second success is that such competitive fundraising on all levels can be strictly correlated with the salaries of the principals on the all mentioned above and gradually raising levels. The point is that after accepting this perspective we should feel proud that our principal Heather Munroe-Blum has the biggest salary and even demand a raise for her. —Slawomir Poplawski Former McGill staff member
Errata-city up here Dear Daily, I wish to draw your attention to a number of errors and gaps in your partial graphic depiction of McGill’s Board of Governors contained in the edition of Monday, October 29 (Education pullout, page 7). Your presentation of the Board neglected to include the ten representatives of students, faculty, and administrative and support staff at McGill – all of whom make an invaluable contribution to the Board and have their own interesting profiles. They are: Kenneth Hastings and Amir Raz, representing Academic Staff; Ron Critchley and David Kalant, representing Administrative and Support Staff; Gary Pekeles and David Harpp, representing Senate; Josh Redel, representing SSMU; Jonathan Mooney, representing PGSS; and two student observers, Nadia Houri, representing MACES; and Eric Brulé-Champagne, representing MCSS. In addition, the graphic contained the following errors: Neither the Principal nor the Chancellor is a member-at-large or an alumni rep. At the moment we have ten members-at-large; the two vacancies are to be filled effective January 1. Principal Heather MunroeBlum is not a member of Yellow Media’s Board of Directors. The profile of Board member Peter Coughlin appears twice and the second time his info is attributed to Martine Turcotte. There is no profile on Mme. Turcotte elsewhere in the item. Gerald Butts is no longer president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, having resigned recently to pursue other activities. If you have further questions, please contact me. —Stephen Strople Secretary-General McGill University
—Eitan Blander U4 Psychology
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The McGill Daily | Monday, November 12, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Words of the (un)wise Empty dialogue with the admin
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Photo Hera Chan | The McGill Daily
Hera Chan The McGill Daily
principal is changing. Principals no longer represent the interests of the students but those of the University as a corporation. As the threat of tuition hikes has increased, the quality of education has not. When asked by The Daily about whether or not the University perpetuated inequality due to the reality that not all students could afford McGill, Munroe-Blum essentially answered that it wasn’t that bad here and that access to education shouldn’t necessarily correlate to cost. She discussed general philanthropy and “a campaign over the last seven to eight years where building support for students [has] been one of the three major pillars.” Students cannot afford tuition, yet administrative salaries have consistently increased over the last three years, not including yearly bonuses. Munroe-Blum received a $120,481 bonus for the 2010-11 academic year, a $131,379 bonus for 2009-10, and a $229,307 bonus for 2008-09. Currently, there exists no conversation between the administration and the students they govern. The channels of communication offered by the administration include the email MRO system and public Twitter feeds, all
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Hera Chan was present at the November 2 interview with Heather Munroe-Blum as a photographer for The Daily. The opinions expressed here are her own. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIND YOUR NICHE WITH A POSTGRAD IN BUSINESS
eather Munroe-Blum is wearing a red suit and a string of silver pearls. To her right sits Olivier Marcil, VicePrincipal (External Relations), and Doug Sweet, Director of Internal Communications. Principal and Vice-Chancellor Munroe-Blum assumed her position in 2003 and the University website claims that her achievements since are “leading to measures and improvements [that] enhance the university experience for McGill’s 35,000 students.” Yet, she doesn’t even talk to these students whose education she is drastically improving. This is the once-a-semester press conference the Principal holds with McGill’s student press. The ‘interview’ consisted of a one-way dialogue where editors from The Daily, Le Délit, and the Tribune asked questions regarding asbestos research, accessibility to education, and underfunding, among other concerns. Munroe-Blum answered in the familiar bureaucratic tactic of repeating the same explanation that in actuality explains nothing. The role of the university
of which serve to talk at students and not with them. When asked by The Daily whether McGill would listen to and respond to SSMU’s recent motion to encourage the University to divest from Tar Sands investments, MunroeBlum responded by explaining that there is a committee for that at the Board where, “you know, a motion could come to if there is an interest in bringing the motion forward.” Vague and dismissive. It has been a year since MunroeBlum was in silent attendance at the rally following the events of November 10 called “We are all McGill.” This rally publicly declared how students, professors, union leaders, and community members envisioned their university, symbolically renaming James Square as “Community Square.” However, as I sit in this meeting, I see that not much has changed. The vision our Principal has of the University is irreconcilably different with that of the students. The Principal our University deserves is one that will, at the very least, speak with students.
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The Literary Supplement
EDITOR’S NOTE The reader will find, in this issue of The Daily, the results of the 2012 Daily Literary Supplement. We hope that you will like the winning entries. We were very delighted at the huge number of entries submitted. Out of a student body of around 35,000 we received 61 poems, 26 pieces of prose, and no essays. On the whole, however, the quality of the entries was good — especially so in the poetry section. We would like to thank very sincerely our committee: Christina Colizza, Hera Chan, Jacqueline Brandon, Evan Dent, Victoria Lessard, and Rebecca Katzman. Finally we would like to congratulate our winners — in particular, all who contributed.
Poetry. It’s what catches winter in the sparrows’ carved nostrils, as Leonard Cohen wrote in The Daily’s pages in 1954. Poetry. “It’s either revealing the world to you, or it’s not,” said poet Peter Gizzi in a 2008 interview with The Daily. Poetry. It’s in The Daily’s history, and in today’s issue of the annual literary supplement. The editors of this year’s literary supplement would like to thank everyone who contributed their beautiful words, thoughts, and impressions. Thank you for revealing your world to us.
In the spirit of the old, here are some of The Daily’s more contemporary Canadian lit favourites: Christina Colizza: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt Hera Chan: The Blue Hour of the Day by Lorna Crozier Jacqueline Brandon: Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje Evan Dent: Eunoia by Christian Bök Victoria Lessard: Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King Rebecca Katzman: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro. (To be honest, Rebecca has only seen the movie version).
November 12 | The McGill Daily
Edited to Add
Gabrielle Thompson [1993-1995]   when I was small I wished my mother were plump a cushion for me to burrow into and sleep and though she received me with joy into her soft arms, we were equally delicate and I feared flattening her her birdlike bones would crunch and she was no chesterfield, no cushion I knew I wanted to be as comfortable as furniture when I grew up but now I surround myself with images of the lithe, the lanky, the bony Beauty in the emaciated, wispy, the almost-not-there to be so light light light light could shine through i would be almost not there and there is a beauty in this metaphor for the ephemeral
2012: and it is totally fucked up.
Sclerotization Elizabeth Waring
A batch of eggs laid in an orb of sap & insects hatched in coils of honey. Knowing no else from the first, they Lived normally, insensible to their premature embalmment. These minute minds now discount The difficulty of breathing & disunderstand the enormous effort With which they lift up head and limbs. The oldest one knows. He strains Gasping syrup in his throat and nostrils Feels heavy when he lifts a toffee-coated limb. Encased in gold, every orifice now clogged too Rich even to swallow, his last gasp will not Come. We insects slowly gather, wide-eyed, to Observe his very first Non-gasp, as it collapses into Vacuum sucking off. In empty, a soft sac preserves him. He bloats gently in the flaxen gel, dreaming He can climb to the top of the orb & gulp all the air away till the seam of his underbelly strains & cracks open, spilling seeds of amber in the wind.
Alexandra Joy Meyer You said hi my name is “shelter.” i never really put myself out there, but these walls don’t let all wanderers in. I said, “hi my name is history.” I am what was no longer is, and I’m here to turn into a better version of myself. I know how deep the clouds get on stormy days and I’m tired of the frost. If you keep me warm through the storm, I’ll give you all the heat you’ll need to last a lifetime. After introductions, you took me into your home, said “i’ll hold you here until you’re warm and dry.” This is where we can keep you safe until the thunder gods hush But you didn’t tuck me away; you opened me up like a tool shed and began dissection. You knew what was getting rusty and found instruments that needed be let go. You showed me that i was storing weapons, sometimes aimed at my own self Days later we started fixing things. On stormy nights, we’d tinker, we doodle, and then build mansions out of wood chucks and
architect visions of future project. I felt you getting warmer from the heat of my promise, and knew the foundation of this home was built on the stable side of a rocky ground. Just then, I lost sight of what it felt like to be huddled in the rain; you made me forget why i had ever been alone Our newest fixation became time. You and I finally agreed to stop clocks with our new tools and realize that the only time we needed to tell was measured in heart beats, in breaststrokes, in palpitations of a kiss. The world forgot about us for a long while; the only thing this sanctuary needed was tools to keep it steady, and together that is what we did. What feels like ages later, I’ve become this storyteller, remembering how lonely hearts and fragile hands can be held in a storm. That day you took me in, we merged calamity with calm and found a way to umbrella our separated worlds; a way to design beauty; a way only love can be described.
The Literary Supplement
Standing Among Strangers Julia Edelman
“So, this is your first time, huh?” I nodded, trying to feel comfortable on the wooden stool next to her, although I knew I wouldn’t. “Charlie, he’s a real good guy. He pays you a fair amount.” “He seems nice,” I said, trying my best to form what should have been a smile. We sat there for several minutes in silence, listening to rambling conversation and the scraping of chairs against the dusty oak floor. She looked over at me, and her eyes became gentle when she realized my knees were shaking. “Hey, there’s no need to be so nervous,” she soothed, her voice not nearly as hard as before. “Thanks, I just—” “We’re ready for you,” Charlie called from behind the thin curtain. The girl stood up and walked away, silently mouthing a ‘good luck’ to me before disappearing. For those few seconds, I was alone. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes as I lifted my shirt over my head, and winced slightly as my jeans fell with a loud thud to the floor. I pushed the curtain aside and stepped into the room, already feeling transformed under the bright studio lights. Like a snake shedding old skin, I left my former body on the other side of the curtain. As I climbed onto the stool, I tried to stop shaking. The strong smell of turpentine and linseed oil surrounded
me, almost thick enough to cover my naked body. Charlie walked over to me, resting his hand on my bare shoulder. “My dear, if you begin to feel anxious, just try to think of something else but please, remember to always keep still.” He walked away, returning to the back of the room where I could no longer see him beyond the blinding lights. I looked around at the strangers before me, sitting behind their easels and canvases, while I had nothing to hide behind. I tried to imagine how nice it would be to finally paint in the studio, now that Charlie would let me work here. It was all worth it. I scanned the room, looking around at all the strangers staring back at me. They would soon have these exposing paintings of me in their homes, maybe even in an art show or two. They saw me as an object, a vision, deconstructed to determine where shadows and lights belonged or which brush to use. I saw myself become less human the longer I sat there and clenched the bottom of the seat with my nails, the slowness of the ticking clock gradually crawling up my spine. Then their eyes softened and they gazed upon my body with an interest I had never felt before. They accepted my flaws. They allowed my body to transform their art. I took another deep breath to steady myself, and began to feel comfortable on my wooden stool.
Eat or be eaten Simone Vieco
He seemed an unlikely candidate: too content, maybe, too vain, definitely to start picking out of the garbage. And you – the damp, neglected, startled thing he found staring back at him. I never thought he would, I thought who knew if you’d kiss or bite? Now I can imagine his moment of clarity, seeing two desperate creatures, and finally saying to himself: “Eat or be eaten” (then shoving you under his tattered coat, and starting to drool). I’ve got to tell you – the implausibility did strike me at first, but a fantastical surprise like that could really be something for the silver screen. The chiaroscuro of his black grit, your snowy skin; the feverish creak of his frame as he devoured his discount, king-sized prize. I know, I know — this was a private matter, but the audience will probably appreciate a close-up of those fast-food teeth on your throat (everybody’s rooting for you two, you know; we all love a good romance). I think it will be quite a show. The critics applauding the way in which it all draws to a most circular and tidy close: you finally below him, as he hammers his pelvis into your delicate face. And you may blush when you read in the papers that the crowd goes crazy for this, that they always end up on their feet, chanting to their two-dimensional heroine: “Eat!” “Eat!” “Eat!” (it may delight you especially to know that I will be among them).
November 12 | The McGill Daily
whittling down her words until they are raw knuckles bruised on brick
Knee-Caps and Dirty Fingernails Anne Preston
We lay beneath the single sheets and called it sex But what it really was, was your left hand on my knee-cap You told your best friend Alex, and I remember going to school on Thursday And finding W H O R E spelled out across my locker It took two hours to get it clean again. And one time with your left hand on my knee-cap You told me that you loved me But what I think it really was Was wanting to belong to someone when you cannot belong to yourself anymore I washed my hands 15 times after to get you off my skin. And one other time — perhaps the last — with your left hand on my knee-cap You asked me if I had ever known anything to die And while I was shaking my head You told me about the dead bird outside your window —that you had wanted to touch it —that it had broken your heart And so I held you hand on top of my hand on top of my left knee-cap
Time to Lead, or Put this Knowledge to Full Use Joseph Henry
I’m acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally preparing intellectually for mature life. I’m filtering through the right links to find the vague combinations that could or could not be the person I dragged myself to in the middle of nowhere, then from who I dragged myself away. This takes skill. I’m struggling to see complex problems from a variety of angles. I’m going on needlessly aestheticized portrait blogs to force attachments back together, and they circle back onto the doe-eyed creatures, that find a sense of self in nice apartment views, and are prepared to fuck when the time comes. I’m filling the needs of the real world. I’m looking through pictures — in the bath, in bed, posing as a small child, all in the name of fucking. And soon it may be a competitive necessity. I’ve pulled my fingers out of that slimy border between anger and intrigue, and I’m
now pressing them into the squalid dough of arousal. It’s a little bit of a training in citizenship. It’s entering mature life, it’s finding the silver living, the glass half full when it used to be shaking and smashing. I’m exploring fields outside my comfort zones. That one time, I waited on a street corner I’ll never find again, and followed an aging, but aspiring, actor into his room. There was a view then too, but just an ugly Brooklyn street. When light came through the window the next morning, and the actor sung the songs he had been writing for me to listen, there was nothing more to do than jump out and smash my skull into the pavement. But not in Canada. Those who try to expand broad-based learning here face stiff obstacles. At least they know where to go; the view is very beautiful. I’m keeping some long-term goals in mind, because, time’s a healer. Why the lack of growth?
The Literary Supplement
Night Terror Caroline Neel
How many of your nightmares have I slept through? I want to know every time my eyes stayed shut While yours were pulled open As you sat up with a gasp And tried to calm your speeding heart. In the dark your eyes turn shadows into monsters The ones you found out were real after all. I want to know every time you didn’t wake me When the creaks in the floorboard became footsteps And you were ten, or fourteen, and terrified Praying to a God you’d long since given up on Your pressed hands a prayer that this time the lock would hold. I want to know in the mornings When you wake to find age-old bruises have healed But you can still feel the faintest outline of his hand And my body is momentarily the body of another I want to know when you have to dig fingers in your ribs To make sure they haven’t been broken again, When you crush screams in your teeth like ice cubes and they freeze my lips as you kiss me in the early morning light.
Afternoon on Sunny Sidewalk Terrace Dylan Moran
It’s a riot for me to see the horses, shields, batons, bandanas, hoods, studded jackets. Montréal is a romantic city. In my building there’s a café with a sidewalk terrace. Beautiful breasted French women suck on cigarettes and tiny cups of coffee reading Le Devoir or maybe folios of the Canadian neo-Dadaist poets and I do too except I prefer bottled orange juice and the post-postmodern poetics of Ke$ha. This is a city of expression: a Mecca of free love, art, the exchange and flow of ideas under the benevolence of Cartier’s cross — the best symbol for progressive thought. We party here, too. Like Christ, my blood is often made of wine and though I may not quite rise from the dead, I know how to get higher, find heaven I can buy and swallow.
And so I see this scene before me (sitting on my terrace, sipping on OJ) as some kinky artist sex party: There’s smoke, explosions of bass, costumed people engaging in bondage with some heavy S&M. Handsome young men and women scream words of love, brought to tears by what must be the gasses of spiritual ecstasy kindly shared by ritualistic dancers beating clear plastic drums with oversized drum sticks, and as I watch the cute bloodied boy in front of me get dragged away by his lovers I can’t help but appreciate such a place of art.
November 12 | The McGill Daily
Five years later we would be in my apartment in Montreal. We had painted my bedroom wall together that day, an orange-y yellow color named semolina. We smeared and smudged with unsteady hands. I could feel remnants of the paint on his fingers as they later slid and pushed inside me. It was summer then. We were covered in sweat and droplets of paint. We had nothing else to do but tangle ourselves in pleasure before morning tucked its head through the window, like a peeping tom.
A double yellow line Our polar bodies If not attractive Then at any rate, convincing The way you breathe Is greed itself Your nostrils widening THIS is the main mistake Everyone makes: Confusing imagination For intellect, And collectively failing To exhale
is the ordinary end: carving still lakes with dull insults, wearing the ghostskins of displaced memories, trying to again fill holes/graves by being very very small.
Immigrant Song Ralph Haddad
Words from the Ancients Dominique Glassman
Of him who experienced everything, I will teach the whole He searched lands everywhere He who experienced the whole gained complete wisdom To gain a place higher than the stars, Dance like a raging one in the mountains Learn to fight by doing mighty deeds And not stand, shield in hand apart from the missile Remember, plan harm for another and harm yourself most, The evil we hatch always comes home to roost Lacking proper ballast, ships roll and rock among the waves — unbalanced The winds that, from colliding clouds, breed lighting And thunder, which would terrify the human mind Eventually, dawn flings out her golden robe across the sea To find out what was secret and uncover what was hidden Each of us, then, is a matching half of a human whole.
I left my heart in between acid washed paper, in between the lines, the swerves of the letters, across the page in dim lighting, the swerves of the road snaking up the mountain, the snow the white snow stained red with the blood of those long lost and gone. I left my heart in the land of many, and yet so many a few. It can still be heard, my heart, still beating, still pumping some form of idealistic patriotism. Still beating. Still. Beating to the sound of a drum, a far away drum buried in the recesses of old brick houses and history books and dirty abandoned alleyways and cars and the 1940s when it all changed and thirty years after that, when it all changed. And then gunfire. and it all changed. I chose to leave my heart behind, I chose the planes I chose the frost I chose the starry night, the clear bright constellations amidst the heat of a summer’s haze, a boy’s abstract romance.
Hannah Murphy You are finally a woman. You are 62, single, and a beautiful, real woman. And you have no idea how the club scene works. But, damn, do you want to! You just spent three hours on the phone with your 19-year-old niece who constantly refers to her “gay friend” in almost all conversation (but getting mad at you when you distinguish him that way. “His name is Matt, Jesus! We’re living in a different time now, okay?”). You figured she would have a pretty good grasp on deciphering the scene you are about to enter. You spent two of those gruelling hours trying to decide on the outrageous outfit you were going to wear—she insisted that costumes and gaudiness were the only respectable attire if you were going to be taken seriously at a gay bar. You doubted it. You decide a cowgirl would be more comfortable than taking her suggestions of Lady Gaga or Marilyn Monroe. You already had the shirt for it. Walking into the bar (called The Manhole or The Manhandler or something like that, you just did a Google search and gave a cab driver the address) you now realize that you didn’t quite get the “sexy” part right. Skin is everywhere; you might as well be donning granny panties and a fleece blanket. Your cowgirl shirt already has three blaring sweat stains. Your hair feels matted under your cowgirl hat and, even though you know you will feel better if you take it off, your hair will be atrocious. Your jeans are feeling tighter with
I left my heart in no man’s land near the sea near that damned rock near the age old buildings and the flocks of pigeons that run away, that fly free near the libraries, the coffee shops, near the houses, the red roof shingles, and the thought that the grass is always greener on the other side. Seemingly.
the dampness of a bar so active and crowded sweat has vaporized from dancing bodies and become a part of the air. You notice that you are grasping your breasts. You spring your hands outward and try to make it look like you’re dancing, your lipsticked mouth spreads into a uncomfortable, maniacal smile. You’re so “happy” to be here! You sway, concentrating on keeping your hands in the air and a smile on your face. You have been taking female hormones to grow these puppies and, disappointed in the measly A-cup they became, decided to treat yourself to some implants and give yourself a set of boobs you can be proud of. You decided to debut them tonight, but, since they have healed, you have been hanging on to them at every opportunity you can get. They are just so goddamn perfect. Buoyant. Soft. Comforting. You thought you could control yourself out of the house, but grabbing a handful of boob has become a tick. You’ve started to notice how insane you probably look and, without giving up your smile and concentration on your hands being off your breasts, you shuffle your feet. You can’t really find the beat of the song playing, so you just step back and forth. You decide you will give this 30 more seconds (long ones, adding “alligator” to each number as you count) and leave. Totally worth it, you think, and you go home for leftover pot roast and an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
But fear catches up like a spectre, It wraps its dirty claws and clutches my shoulder it says: But wait. But what are you doing! These are your mountains, and your coffee shops, and your abandoned alleyways, and libraries and pigeons and seas. I yell. But fear, you wear many masks. How can I trust such an ugly thing, with even uglier superimposed layers, your many faces and facets. I choose freedom, or do I? Even so, unhand me at once! I thought you were as extinct as second thoughts, as extinct as the taste of pennies in my mouth. It is as if I have said nothing, but everything at once. Oh time, will you not spare a poor wretch with no choice and no conscience. Will you not be kind to those who need you the most, That unbearable tick tock tick tock tick tock Those wretched sands inside the wretched hour glass. Spare me. But none of this seems real. But all of this is me It is inside me. and so I breathe.
The Literary Supplement
On the hill
what a curious feeling
The blood of the lamb was on the hill As if someone has left it there, neglectfully, It ran through the grass, slowly As wrinkles develop on hands over time.
“whoa, woe? when?” as if puns could keep me aﬂoat I laugh because I want others to and also because words after words amuse me you couldn’t ever quantify how much Just try! “Bring me the largest database!” I will still tell you, “It’s too small”
i drove down to the old neighbourhood, past the sidewalks where we grew up the houses with new cars in their driveways the community pool with a hole in its fence and many unbearable august afternoons hushed giggling on their tiles
Maybe the work of a farmer, in his mackintosh, Or of his baying dog. The scent of it confused The April air. It was too pungent. It was edible. Wild animals hid in their holes, recognizing something. As the days wore on, the hill took to the blood, As roommates innately do at college. Uneasy at first, the one learned the other’s moves Until the abomination was simply adopted.
these places have grown small the forests we traversed have shrunk back into parks our castles fell apart, yielding up play structures chalk murals on the pavement and all the centuries collapsed into stolen minutes before the recess bell
A fox greeted the entente by dying in relief. In the time in took, the lilacs had gone brown.
the no-man’s land of snow forts where we hunched shoulders and dug our knees into the trenches waging schoolyard warfare bears no monuments and it’s a late revelation like monday sleeping in oh, what a small goodbye we had dear Alice
Votre Visage Zachary Rosen
i could sleep for a thousand years with your hair draped around me in swaths a black frame for the pale pictured skin like a set stage for the theatre in your eyes i could stare for a thousand years into the sea were it not for your smile to distract me the waves, lapping and rolling in the mist hold nothing to your tongue, tenderly slipping between your lips red velvet curtains for the cinema in your smile i would pray for a thousand years and prostrate myself in the house of the lord if i believed that god had made you mine instead i pray to the temples behind your hair bookends for the library in your mind
Roast Beef and Artichokes Julia Edelman
I take an artichoke apart while on LSD Speak to Otto von Bismarck in Budapest But he doesn’t like me very much I’m in fourth grade and I watch my mother Cry as she prepares meatballs for dinner In that single moment She is one of the greatest sculptors of our time I am the only one at the table Who swallows her sadness I fall in love with someone new everyday This is the destined path of existence My father once told me “L’amour est un mensonge” I try not to listen to my father often The more I listen, the less I hear They serve me roast beef and artichokes On lonely tectonic plates Suddenly Juju is fighting to keep her words on the page Her particles pervade the lithosphere This will be the end I fall out of love with someone new everyday “Well, at least now I know he isn’t gay”
The artichoke perpetually unfolds Leaves of time Fall to the floor Until we are faced with its centre
The McGill Daily Monday, November 12, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
A climate of apathy How we allow – and encourage – political inaction Lucile Smith The McGill Daily
hen Sandy stormed through the East Coast, it almost seemed to be in retaliation against the current political climate. For the first time since 1988, environmental issues were not mentioned in any of the American presidential debates. As New York metamorphosed into Venice, water flooded the metro systems, and homes and livelihoods were utterly destroyed, reactions were somewhat predictable. We tweet, we look at pictures of roller coasters floating in the ocean, we post articles from angry columnists urging more discussion of the environment. But after a couple of days, unless you have been physically affected by the hurricane, no one discusses anything. We’ve moved on to the next problem. And I don’t blame you. The ongoing destruction of the environment by humans remains one of the most undecided, wishy-washy areas of contention. When I say contention, I’m not talking about the debate over its actual existence. At this point, that debate isn’t even worth having. Nor am I talking about whether it is human-induced or the natural cycle of the earth – it’s both. The area of contention is: what to do about it? You can of course turn the tap off when you brush your teeth, turn the light off when you leave the room, take public transport rather than your car, or recycle. But all these are pretty miniscule compared to the big picture, and the crippling freerider problem: those who reap the benefits of others’ sacrifice. Though I know these are all actions I should take, the reality is I don’t want to compost because it only takes one banana peel for my kitchen to undergo a fruit fly version of Hurricane Sandy. I don’t drive, but there is a chance I will reach a point in my life when I might actually need a car, and I can’t say the environment will necessarily stop me from doing so. And even if we mass market electric cars, we are still paving roads and still living in a car-centric culture. And I really want to give up meat. But the fact that it will still be produced whether or not I consume it refrains me from running the risk of further exacerbating my anemia. Harriet Kim, co-president of McGill’s Environment Student’s Society (MESS), believes that all these little steps (such as wearing hand me down clothes, re-using containers and having a vegetarian diet) are important. She explains: “I do think it’s silly when people choose not to pursue any of these things. There are big environmental prob-
lems out there.” Even though we need leaders to get passionate about environmental policy, Kim stressed “that doesn’t mean you don’t do anything at all.” Meanwhile, Aaron Eger, a U2 Water Environments and Ecosystems student, and co-president of MESS, paints the deeper problem perfectly: “Through our studies we contribute to our consumptive society. We do research on our laptops, we go to class in heated and air conditioned buildings, Burnside is kept alight all night for the sake of the five weary science students in its basement studying, we fly home for Christmas.” He concluded, “Our very existence in the system helps fuel the very problem many of us are working to solve.” So there we have it. My livelihood is destroying the earth. Worst of all, ‘taking action’ is not only pretty abstract, it’s also deceiving. I walk into my hot yoga studio and there is a massive placard on the wall: “GREEN BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD.” Green Business of the year? Hot yoga? You mean to tell me that selling organic products and glass bottles is meant to make up for the fact that you heat up two massive studios at forty degrees between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.? Asked who is doing the assessing of ‘greenness,’ McGill Management professor Dror Etzion explained: “Anybody can say whatever they want. There are no legal requirements, no oversight or consensus within the community or any other stakeholder group as to what this means.” Commentators have coined the term ‘greenwashing’ to describe this tactic. For consumers, it is very difficult to assess who is genuinely environmentally friendly, or who is simply marketing themselves that way. There is usually very little difference between them. “Most major companies and corporations aren’t manufacturing at home anyway,” explained Etzion. “If you look at Nike or even HP computers, how much of their environmental footprint actually occurs within their organizational boundary? It’s miniscule,” he said. So you might be using an “environmentally friendly” product that is actually only environmentally friendly based on 4 or 5 per cent of the entire supply chain. But how is it that the American presidential debates – arguably the biggest political event of the year – did not even discuss environmental issues? The two candidates, who are supposed to address their country’s most pertinent issues, managed to campaign throughout the hottest month in U.S. history, last July, and across the heartland during an epic drought, without even
Illustration Maya Richman
bringing up the subject. As they spoke, the Arctic was melting at a speed that astonished even the most pessimistic climatologists. Yet, it was almost predictable. Congress would have to go through some kind of psychotic episode if it were to break its twenty-year bipartisan record of accomplishing absolutely nothing on the topic. Canada isn’t much better. Stephen Harper doesn’t believe in carbon taxes, because he doesn’t really believe in taxes. The government pulled out of the Kyoto agreement – in fact, in 2002, Stephen Harper referred to Kyoto as a “socialist scheme” in a fundraising newsletter to the now-defunct Canadian Alliance party – and is instead focusing on the creation of one of the world’s biggest oil pipelines. Furthermore, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Environment Canada, Bob Hamilton, when asked what causes climate change in October, was incapable of answering the question. It’s a truly pathetic performance. In July, scientists marched through Ottawa in retaliation against Stephen Harper’s cuts toward research labs, accusing the government of pushing through policies that are weakening or even abolishing environmental protections and monitoring.
On Monday, November 6, the Midnight Kitchen Collective at McGill formed a workshop aimed at highlighting how capitalism is destroying the planet. These kinds of conversations deserve attention, particularly because for politicians, the economy always comes first. One clear example of this is Quebec’s Plan Nord, introduced under the Liberal government of Jean Charest. Plan Nord is an economic development initiative aimed at increasing Quebec’s natural resource exports that will ostensibly create 200,000 jobs. The environmental issues came at the bottom of the agenda. The Quebec government claims it will create a “50 per cent protection area” by 2035, but such vague assertions have little substance, especially in the context of such environmentally destructive actions as mining, foresting, and constructing hydroelectric dams. I originally began this article with the assumption that the solution had to be top-down; we in our everyday lives cannot make the dramatic changes necessary to help the environment. I retain that view. However, the lack of environmental issues on the political agenda is not solely the fault of the government; we are also to blame. Politicians cater to what the people want. Today, peo-
ple want jobs, security, and a good lifestyle. A spokeswoman for the federal government’s Minister of State for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, highlighted this desire in her statement, issued in response to the protest held by Canadian scientists in July: “The government has made historic investments in science, technology, and research, to create jobs, grow our economy, and improve the quality of life for Canadians.” Yet Canada already has one the highest standards of living in the world! What more do we actually need? This is where the shift must occur. Instead of whining about politicians’ lack of action over the subject, we need to use the political system, rather than simply radically try and overturn it. Politicians cater to our needs, and the priorities we present to them have to change. I know there are millions of practical problems that get in the way, like the fact that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein had no chance on earth of winning the presidential election. But let’s stop being realists. Realists are a waste of time; realists explain things, they don’t improve things. If your priorities change, the government’s priorities will change with you. Global warming isn’t the future, it’s now.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 12, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Photo Hera Chan | The McGill Daily
Alternative medicine stirs up controversy Naturopathic institutions represented at SUS Grad Fair Anqi Zhang The McGill Daily
n November 7, the Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) hosted the seventh annual Graduate and Professional Schools Fair. With the goal of acquainting students with their options for postgraduate opportunities, the fair hosted over 30 academic institutions. From medical schools to the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences, a range of institutions were given the opportunity to promote their programs to science undergraduates. Notably, and to the surprise of some students, two naturopathic medicine institutions were represented at this year’s graduate school fair. When asked for a distinction between a naturopathic doctor (ND) and a medical doctor (MD), Stephanie Ogura, the representative for the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), explained in an interview with The Daily that naturopaths “assess the whole person, not the organ system.” Among the modalities of naturopathic medicine taught at the CCNM are botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, and homeopathy. Homeopathy is the focus of the other naturopathic institution represented at the fair, the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine (OCHM). Homeopathy is perhaps the
branch of naturopathy most commonly disparaged and criticized in mainstream media. According to the Ontario Homeopathic Association’s website, homeopathy is based, at its core, on a principle of “like cures like”; that is, a disease with a certain set of symptoms will be cured by a remedy that will, in a healthy person, produce a similar set of symptoms. This belief – and its relative lack of scientific support – draws much skepticism from the conventional medical and scientific communities. The James Randi Educational Foundation, a self-described “educational resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific, and the supernatural,” issued a press release in March stating the foundation’s stance that naturopathy should not become accredited, referring to it as “a hodgepodge of beliefs and health treatments.” The foundation conceded that some of these treatments can be beneficial, but called others “pseudoscientific nonsense” that has been repeatedly disproven by clinical trials. Prevailing opinions among conventional medical practitioners add to the lack of perceived legitimacy for homeopathy and naturopathy. Ogura stated that while naturopathic doctors often wish to collaborate with MDs, the feeling isn’t mutual: “Medical doctors don’t extend the same respect, in general.” Such controversy may be the reason for the sparse accredita-
tion and regulation of naturopathy and homeopathy as medical practices. Currently, Ontario is the only province in Canada that has designated homeopathy a regulated health profession. That is, outside of Ontario, no legal recognition exists for homeopaths in Canada; even Ontario’s recognition was itself recent, conferred by the Homeopathy Act of 2007. In Quebec, however, while naturopathic medicine is not actually illegal, it exists in a limbo state of ‘a-legality.’ Ogura explained, “[In places] where naturopathic doctors have the endorsement from the government [to] practice as primary care physicians, they’re really on an even ground with the MDs. [However], in jurisdictions such as Quebec, [...] the government hasn’t said that naturopathic doctors are primary care physicians.” Some who practice naturopathic medicine seek collaboration with conventional doctors; both Paula Guilbeault-Roballo, the representative for OCHM at the graduate fair, and Ogura characterized such collaboration as ideal. However, there are also those who view conventional medicine to be more harmful than homeopathy. Andre Saine, a homeopathic doctor, stated in 2005 at the Baltimore Homeopathic Study Group that “there is not a single report showing the superiority of [conventional medicine] over genuine homeopathy.” He went
on to compare statistics of deaths resulting from each branch of medicine over the course of history, and also cited anecdotal evidence. Such anecdotes, along with a slowly growing body of scientific research, have formed the basis of naturopathy’s attempts to legitimize itself. Guilbeault-Roballo stated, “There is a great need for funding of more research. The anecdotal evidence is abundant and irrefutable but we definitely need more studies.” Still other supporters of alternative medicine view it as an improvement over the problems encountered within conventional medicine – problems such as ageism, a situation in which the elderly are not treated as though they deserve the same level of care as younger individuals, which Dr. Nathan Stall wrote about in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in May. While the social failings of conventional medicine certainly do not confer scientific legitimacy to naturopathic medicine, for supporters of naturopathy such issues in the existing medical system highlight the value of having an alternative system. While the debate over the legitimacy of homeopathy – as well as our ability to properly define and determine its legitimacy with an inherently limited scientific process – rages on, the more pressing question is this: given that homeopathy enjoys limited accreditation, should the SUS promote these institutions,
albeit indirectly, by giving them space in this fair? Leif Ásgeirsson, a U3 Physiology student asserted that such inclusion is “inappropriate.” In an interview with The Daily, he stated, “It’s shocking to me that this event organized by science students is bringing representatives from the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine and having them recruit students alongside the [McGill] Faculty of Medicine as though they’re equally legitimate.” But this is not the first year these institutions have set up booths in the SSMU ballroom – Ogura herself has personally represented CCNM for the past five or six years – and it is unlikely to be the last. Kate Zhang, VP Academic for SUS, told The Daily that the SUS does not select the institutions that set up displays; rather, they invite as many schools as possible. When asked about the inclusion of controversial medical programs like homeopathy and naturopathy, Zhang stated that “We do not want to restrict the scope of programs. We’re just displaying the options and [undergraduates] can explore whatever they want.” Such impartiality is admirable, but one wonders: even if the controversy surrounding homeopathy should not be enough to bar these institutions from the fair, should the limited reach of homeopathic medicine and its related professions be a factor?
The McGill Daily Monday, November 12, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
‘Natural athletes’ vs ‘hard workers’ What we talk about when we describe athletes Evan Dent The McGill Daily
n November 4, during a halftime highlights segment on Fox, commentator Terry Bradshaw said that Reggie Bush, a black running back for the Miami Dolphins, was running so fast it looked like he was “chasing a bucket of fried chicken.” In 2009, play-by-play man Gus Johnson described Chris Johnson, a black running back for the Tennessee Titans, as having “getting-awayfrom-the-cops speed!” Both announcers later gave pseudo apologies – Bradshaw’s comment was apparently an inside joke with another commentator, and Johnson claimed that it was other peoples’ interpretations that made his statement racist, because “people of all races have run from the law.” So there’s a fair bit of overt racism within sports – what’s new? While much of this overt racism is called out by mainstream media, there’s an undercurrent of subtle racism that goes unchecked. Simply put, players in many sports are put into certain categories based on their race, and the media uses code words to differentiate these players. ‘Athleticism’ is the base word for most of this. Black players are seen as more ‘athletic,’ while non-
black athletes are said to succeed with some combination of ‘grittiness’ and ‘awareness.’ These words make the assertion that black athletes are more athletically gifted than their non-black peers, and get by on sheer talent. Non-black players are assumed to make up for their athletic deficiencies through the celebrated practices of hard work and intelligence. It diminishes the achievement of black athletes by not crediting the hard work that all athletes do to become professional athletes. All this adds up to the idea that black athletes have some inherent advantage over non-blacks; and, to even the playing field, these non-blacks work harder. It’s ridiculous to say that the 1 per cent of the population who become professional athletes is racially divided in terms of athleticism, but, lo and behold, this belief is widespread among sports leagues. I’ll focus on the National Football League (NFL) for the purposes of brevity, but it stretches across most professional sports. In the NFL, some positions have become defined by race. Running backs and wide receivers are ‘black positions’; the white players who succeed at these positions are seen as outliers. Wes Welker, a white wide receiver for the New England Patriots, has been statistically one of
the best players in the league; but commentators continually praise his ‘grittiness’ and ‘work ethic’ over his athleticism. Quarterbacks, the most visible players in the NFL, are judged completely differently based on their race. Black quarterbacks are expected to be ‘scramblers,’ running the ball as often as they pass, while white quarterbacks are more often described now as ‘pocket passers,’ big, slow guys who throw the ball only. In this year’s draft, this stereotype was particularly reinforced. The top two picks were both quarterbacks: Andrew Luck, a white quarterback from Stanford University, and Robert Griffin III, a black quarterback from Baylor University. Griffin was labelled as the better running quarterback, even though Luck had averaged more yards per rush during his college career. While it’s true that Griffin’s running ability is a major part of his playing style, this style is grafted onto all black quarterbacks. Laughably, the media takes these assumed racial roles to heart; black quarterbacks are almost always compared to other black quarterbacks, no matter how different their style of play. Warren Moon, a black quarterback from the eighties and nineties, when conditions for black quarterbacks were even worse, told Yahoo! Sports that “[i]t’s the same old crap – it’s always a comparison of one
black to another black.” He further clarified his statements to ESPN. com, saying that “[i]f we’re in a day and age when all quarterbacks are supposed to be equal, why can’t we start comparing quarterback to quarterback, not just black to black and white to white?” These assumed ‘scrambling’ quarterbacks are still distrusted by many NFL player scouts, as there is some doubt as to whether the assumed scrambler can be a championship quarterback. Due to this assumption, white quarterbacks have been historically favoured in the NFL – their common descriptor being ‘pro-ready’ coming out of college. And it was no surprise that Luck was taken ahead of Griffin in this year’s draft – the white Luck was seen as the ‘safer’ pick. The prevailing notion was that Luck would be the franchise, hall-of-fame, Super Bowl -winning quarterback – Griffin, the more exciting, but ultimately less successful quarterback. The example of Cam Newton is another good indicator of the problem. Newton, a black quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, has been frequently criticized for pouting and showing too much negative emotion when his team is struggling. Meanwhile, Tom Brady, the white, golden-boy quarterback for the New England Patriots, is either
ignored or praised when he is caught angrily yelling at his team on the sidelines. Newton is construed by the media as a pouty diva; Brady, an angry leader of men. No matter what, players are increasingly pigeonholed into a predefined racial role. The way we judge and define players has been tied to their race – each player now enters with a preconceived narrative set out for them. In professional leagues, where the best athletes in the world come together, there is somehow a belief in tiers of ability based on race. Fans begin to cast roles based on race, and, when someone subverts these roles, they become outliers, something to be studied closely and celebrated when they succeed. American sports have been racially integrated for decades now, and with that has come a rise in the prominence of black athletes. The media and fans can’t be overtly racist anymore and go unchecked, and thus we have a whole new language of coded words, ones that create an underdog narrative for nonblacks to triumph against a sea of more naturally talented black people. What’s to do about that? Can we derail this media narrative? The only answer is simple: stop buying into it, and call it out when it happens.
The McGill Daily Monday, November 12, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Illustration Bracha Stettin | The McGill Daily
Struttin’ ‘n’ frettin’ Student-run theatre at McGill Nathalie O’Neill The McGill Daily
cGill’s student-run theatre — comprised principally of Players’ Theatre, Tuesday Night Cafe Theatre (TNC), the Arts Undergraduate Theatre Society (AUTS), and the Savoy Society — is one of the untapped cultural gems of the university. Each of these societies stresses openness and outreach toward the McGill community, encouraging participation from and attendance by students from any faculty, with no requirement for previous theatrical experience. Together, these societies’ passionate teams offer diverse programming replete with both theatrical classics and innovative new works. Players’ Theatre is arguably the pillar of the McGill student-run theatre scene. Players’ was established in 1910, making it the oldest English-language theatre in the city. Executive Director Fiona Penny describes Players’ 2012-2013 programming as a “season of classics,” featuring five iconic plays. Along with these canonical works, Players’ also puts on the McGill Drama Festival each April, featuring five to seven plays written and directed by students. Officially a student service, the theatre receives most of its funding from SSMU, supplemented with revenue from ticket sales. Although Players’ remains creatively autonomous, its affiliation with SSMU encourages the group to pro-
vide a welcoming space for students both to participate in and attend productions. Outreach to the McGill community is one of Players’ primary goals, as Penny describes “getting new people involved in the theatre” as one of the groups’ “favourite things.” In line with attracting new theatrical devotees, Players’ also has an important educational component to it, organizing regular technical/technological workshops. The theatre hopes to extend this educational component with stage managing workshops, an avenue the group has previously explored with Theatre Frosh. TNC, dating back to the mid1970s, is closely related to Players’ Theatre. They plan their production dates to ensure there is no overlap, as well as borrow members from each other’s teams for various productions. TNC’s season, consisting of five productions, has a slightly more avant-garde bent to it than Players’ programming: upcoming productions include one-woman clown show In Denial. Penny describes how this lean toward more obscure works often makes TNC the victim of the Players’ friendly teasing. The two groups hold an annual end-ofseason ceremony for their Freddie awards, in which TNC and Players’ both playfully parody each other’s seasons. Executive Director Jordan Sugarman explains that TNC often aims to choose lesser-known plays in order to give students “an opportunity to make new discoveries in the theatre world.” Along with their regular season, TNC also hosts an
ARTifact evening the Tuesday after every show finishes. These festivals feature students’ music, theatrical performances, and visual art. Although officially under the umbrella of the English Department, TNC operates largely autonomously, mainly relying on a sizeable anonymous donation for its funding made about three years ago. The AUTS presents a different classic Broadway musical every year. As producer Hannah Wood explains, “everyone loves musicals,” so the yearly productions always attract a large and varied audience, ranging from “children, students, business men and women, seniors, arts enthusiasts, and those new to theatre.” This year, AUTS is taking on perennial favourite West Side Story. Although previously associated with the Arts Undergraduate Society, the AUTS currently has no official institutional affiliations as a result of logistical problems arising from last year’s MUNACA strike. As an independent group, AUTS has significant trouble finding the necessary funding for producing a musical, which can involve a budget of up to $30,000. The Society currently relies on ticket revenue as well as private and corporate sponsors, yet continuously struggles to raise a sufficient budget, and often, the cast and crew must pay out of their own pockets. The Savoy Society, founded in 1964, is the oldest studentrun Gilbert and Sullivan group in
Canada. Each year, in mid-February, they put on one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s twelve operettas. As President Sophie Krahnke explains, operettas are basically operas that are “lighter on the voice,” drawing them closer to the realm of musical theatre. Operettas, like musicals, also include short scenes with dialogue, yet they maintain a more classical, plot-driven musical style. This year, the Savoy is putting on Iolanthe, an operetta revolving around fairies’ takeover of Parliament. Krahnke describes this as a typical Gilbert and Sullivan plot: “ridiculous, with endings inevitably involving everyone getting married.” She describes the shows as “really fun, funny and cheery, full of dry British humour.” Like Players’, the Savoy is affiliated with and funded by SSMU, making it a student service. Their annual Certainly Not Sullivan Cabaret, which Sophie describes as “the opposite of Gilbert and Sullivan,” introduces more people to the Savoy, including first-time performers. One of the most interesting collaborations for the Savoy is its close links to the two other Gilbert and Sullivan groups in Montreal, both consisting of older amateur performers based out of Westmount. The three societies exchange costumes and sets as well as musical scores, and hold an annual collective concert. Not all students involved with the Savoy are part of the music faculty, but most do have some musical background, especially due to the Savoy’s full-pit
orchestra. This trend ties in with Krahnke’s description of the music as the primary focus of the production. Although shows are attended by a lot of people outside the McGill community, Krahnke insists that once students attend a Gilbert and Sullivan performance, they will be hooked, pleasantly surprised at the accessibility of the operetta style, and eager to attend more. Along with their distinct programming, the venues each society uses also allow them to stand apart. The AUTS and the Savoy both perform in Moyse Hall, a large traditional theatre that can seat over three hundred people. Players’ performances tend to have a cozier feel as the audience is nestled in their 114-seat, low-ceilinged theatre, located in the SSMU building. TNC has the most adaptable space; their productions take place in Morrice Hall, in a perfectly octagonal theatre that can seat over fifty people. Their seating space can be completely rearranged, allowing directors great flexibility in the staging of productions. The reciprocal support between the societies speaks to the heartfelt commitment members have to theatre. The most appealing aspect of McGill student theatre consistently boils down to the enthusiasm that participants feel for the productions they put on. The camaraderie built through the cooperative development of a production shines through in performances and communicates successfully to the growing student audience.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 12, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Troublesome Timon TNC makes lemonade out of Shakespeare’s problem play Lindsey Kendrick-Koch Culture Writer
ringing to life one of Shakespeare’s less revered works, Tuesday Night Cafe Theatre’s (TNC) current production, directed by Michael Ruderman, is an adapted version of The Life of Timon of Athens. An exploration of the underlying animal nature of humanity, the play recounts the tale of an affluent Athenian gentlewoman, Timon, played by Emily Murphy, who squanders her riches on gifts for her superficial “friends,” only to find herself left penniless and in a state of social ruin. The play consists of two parts instead of the traditional Shakespearean five acts, making it somewhat more bearable to sit through as a spectator, despite its flaws. The first part demonstrates the hedonistic lifestyle of a self-absorbed Athenian noble who loves lavish feasts and the attention she obtains from her charitable gifts. It was refreshing to see a woman take the traditionally male lead role, and this portion of the play was highly animated, with the characters playing on a wide range of emotions, exploding with bouts of indignation, joy, sadness, and envy. Despite the director’s best efforts, during the second half, the play became a tragic bore for the audience. In the second part the play nearly devolves into a one-woman show, with a complete breakdown of the cheerful dialogue witnessed in the first half of the play. Timon becomes a dismal wretch; the façade of her previous narcissism decaying into intense fear, paranoia, and crazed behaviour. Her degradation quickly becomes overwhelming, after which point the play is no longer enjoyable. Despite this maudlin turn of events, Shakespeare presents the opportunity for viewers’ self-identification through the devastated char-
The cast of The Life of Timon of Athens. acter of Timon, the everywoman, whose foolish materialism led her to financial and social poverty. She foolishly rejects humanity altogether, seeing humans as no better than beasts, and retreats to a cave in the wilderness, determined to isolate herself from all others. According to Ruderman, Athenian captain Alcibiades is Timon’s foil, as he is “perfectly comfortable in accepting the animal in the human” that Timon struggles against. Alcibiades’ military profession is inherently violent, and he also pursues sex with abandon, both supposedly “animal” qualities. Ruderman notes that Timon, in contrast, either endeavours to be superior to these
fundamental aspects of humanity, as seen in her initial “absurd altruism,” or else she rejects humanity and materialism altogether. Though we may not like to identify ourselves with Timon’s misanthropy, it is paradoxically an intrinsic human quality. In an effort to draw meaning from her despondency, we may take away another social warning. In today’s era when spendthrift people feel the squeeze of financial worries, Timon is evocative of “what an alteration of honour want [has] made”; in other words, how deeply detrimental excessive materialism is to social relations in society. You cannot genuinely buy friends. Ruderman inserted many humor-
Photo Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
ous notes into his creation – the chorus member played by Christian Morey was a ‘bag of tricks,’ with his articulate transformations of character, his sarcasm, and his comical accents. As for Timon, it is difficult to separate the quality of Murphy’s portrayal from the fact that she plays one of Shakespeare’s least appealing lead roles. While Shakespeare gave Timon an inordinate amount of stage time, the auxiliary characters often commanded more attention. Sometimes, Murphy appeared too complacent in her role, and I found myself overlooking her presence onstage. Overall, thanks to the enthusiasm of the supporting roles, and Ruderman’s modernizing nuances,
the audience was able to endure the dreary plot. The play without doubt represents one of Shakespeare’s more difficult works, in that the viewer is left utterly depressed by the unrelentingly negative underlying moral. Timon evolves into such a bitter, spiteful shell of a woman that in the end it seems the audience can no longer empathize with her. Ruderman remarks that, in the face of critical views that the play is one of Shakespeare’s worst artistic creations, he views Timon of Athens more charitably as “unfinished experimentation.” The show runs from November 14 to 17. For more information, visit www.tuesdaynightcafe.com.
Unfit to print The McGill Daily radio show, episode 5: Masculinity On the next Unfit to Print... We’re opening a conversation about masculinity. It’s a broad topic, and one fraught with problems and pitfalls. This Monday, we ask some big questions. Tune in to hear about: A special report on da club (where gender anxiety meets overpriced mixed drinks). How the people around us, here at McGill, conceive of and experience masculinity in their everyday lives. The connection between machismo, cooking, and excess. How drag kings perform masculinity on stage. And much, much more ... Airs Monday, November 12 on CKUT 90.3 at 11 a.m. | Available for streaming on mcgilldaily. com and download on iTunes
Illustration Anna Foran | The McGill Daily
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 12, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
DESTA, Montreal’s Black Youth Network
A place to belong
Germany in Autumn November 12 Le Cagibi 5490 St. Laurent Free Germany in Autumn chronicles the violent insurrection of the Red Army Faction against the West German government in 1977. With “anti-colonial, anti-fascist and anti-Vietnam War” convictions, this faction received a relatively high degree of support from the population, despite the violent nature of their activities. The film, produced in 1978, was a collaborative project undertaken by 11 German directors.
Money Clinic Financial Wellness Week November 12 to 16 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Brown Building Room 3001 3600 McTavish Street Free
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
Catherine Gao Culture Writer
ust outside of GeorgesVanier Metro Station, DESTA is hidden on the corner of the block next to a small convenience store, and youth are casually smoking cigarettes on the front steps. It’s a Saturday morning, the street is quiet, and the wind is brisk along the streets of Little Burgundy. I knock and am immediately greeted by Frances Waithe, DESTA’s executive director, co-founder, and youth counsellor. Trailing her obediently are two young children who both peer up at me inquisitively, though they make no motion to say anything, hands grasping their toys. Waithe shakes my hand and ushers me into the building. Desta, as it turns out, is also the name of a six-year-old girl, clinging onto her mom’s arm as she takes me to the basement, the recreation room, newly renovated courtesy of local shoe company Aldo. The walls are covered with murals painted by the participants, with the word “DestaCafé” written in bubble letters. The cafe is an entrepreneurial incentive for the youth participants, as a part of their employability program. The organization also runs many workshops, such as their upcoming “Affordable Housing Workshop” on November 15. The two chil-
dren, Desta and Elias, shoot hoops from across the room after politely requesting that Waithe and I move off the makeshift court. The organization’s acronym stands for “Dare Every Soul to Achieve” and started as a sixmonth pilot project from a grant provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Once known as the Padua Center, it was a modest one-room employmentfocused initiative that involved twelve youth participants. After sitting down, Waithe described it as an “outreach program […] that developed into a holistic program that addresses all their needs.” Five years later, DESTA now includes a church, a meditation room, an alternative school called Lion Wolf School, and a recreation room that focuses on the three pillars of the DESTA mission: continued learning, health and personal development, and employability. After years of efforts, the building has been renovated and reinvented to provide a safe, open space for underprivileged black youth in the greater Montreal area. Being a young organization isn’t always easy. DESTA is oftentimes understaffed or underfunded and many of their participants are volunteers. The demographic of the involved youth range from 18 years old to 32. However, DESTA isn’t without its success stories. Waithe fondly recalls memories of a few youth whom she
considers to have embodied the mission of DESTA. “I’ve watched a young man we started working with become a member of our team… I hired him as our fundraiser,” she says to me. “No experience, but just – charming.” Today, that young man has launched his own small business, and above all, is happy. “Which,” Waithe mentions, “is what’s truly important.” At this time, Desta runs into the room and whispers something into Waithe’s ear. Her relaxed expression turns tense for a moment. “Okay,” she whispers under her breath sternly. “Tell him, don’t say those things.” When Desta rushes to tell off her brother, it’s clear to me why Waithe is in this position. A mother of eight and a foster mother, she has the air of someone dedicated, strong, and selfless. “My mother was a caregiver,” she explains, “so I guess this is my calling.” This trait, along with the relentless passion and love she has given to the organization, is what keeps DESTA running. She understands the problems these youth face: unaffordable housing, employment and school. Through their Individual Support Services DESTA has helped many of its participants in seeking employment, and have aided students in reaching CEGEP. Once they reach their goals, DESTA helps them maintain the track they are on and follows up to improve their situation. “We
push them to the next level, we prepare them before they go, and they are representing DESTA. We put accountability on them.” DESTA is a safe place, an open environment, and a place to call home. A little glassy-eyed, Waithe looks back on the youth who have made themselves a part of this world. “There are a lot of family vibes here.” She says to me, “I’ve heard youth say that ‘this is my home,’ and I have them go to the meditation room just to cry. Sometimes my youth counsellor is bothered by it,” she adds, “But I always tell her it’s good.” She smiles to herself. “It’s a good thing they can come here and cry.” For students who wish to get involved, DESTA is always looking for staff volunteers, such as tutors, administration, and participants. It opens up doors and opportunities for those who may not otherwise have access. After the interview, Waithe takes me upstairs to the classroom where Elias and Desta are playing on computers. The room is beautifully furnished, with a balcony overlooking the street under the sun. A chalkboard is wiped clean and in the middle is a table set for eight. As I admire the room, she explains the ultimate purpose of DESTA. “A big chunk is advocacy. It’s being a voice for our youth.” And that’s what small nonprofit organizations do: they are the voices for those who don’t have one themselves.
Concerts, wine, and American Apparel circle scarves taking a toll on your wallet? Cure your financial hangover by attending the McGill Scholarships and Student Aid Office’s Financial Wellness Week from November 12 to 16. The Money Clinic, which will teach budgeting basics, is one of a variety of workshops offered.
The Luyas November 13 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Cabaret du Mile End 5240 Parc $15 The Luyas hail from Montreal and are well-situated in the city’s post-2000 indie pop tradition. One of the best local acts around these days, the Luyas are launching their new album on Tuesday, Animator, which, based on “Fifty Fifty,” the lead single, promises to be darker and more mature than their last effort.
Hip Hop Karaoke Montreal November 15 10:00 p.m. Le Belmont 4483 St. Laurent $10 after 11 p.m. If you’ve ever sat wearily through a lecture and contemplated leaving academia behind for a rapping career, then here’s your chance to test the waters. Hip Hop Karaoke is coming back to Montreal after a hiatus, kicking off the monthly event on November 15. Pick your favourite badass song, gather your courage (may I suggest a shot or two?) and rap in front of a live audience.
volume 102 number 20
A distorted up vision of justice
editorial board 3480 McTavish St., Rm. B-24 Montreal, QC H3A 1X9 phone 514.398.6784 fax 514.398.8318 mcgilldaily.com coordinating editor
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Tom Acker le délit
cover design Hera Chan contributors S. Azam Mahmood, Sam Baker, Eitan Blander, Allison Cooper, Cem Ertekin, Catherine Gao, Carla Green, Lindsey Kendrick-Koch, Molly Korab, Mona Luxion, Nathalie O’Neill, Slawomir Poplawski, Maya Richman, Joanna Schacter, Lucile Smith, Bracha Stettin, Stephen Strople
Three weeks ago, a man charged with a drug-related offence was given a reduced sentence by Quebec Judge Isabelle Rheault. The justification used by the judge was not related to the facts of the case, nor the prisoner’s behaviour. Instead, she argued, the conditions at the inmate’s detention center – Bordeaux Prison in northwest Montreal – were so bad that time spent there should be considered as more punishing than the norm. Rheault cited an infestation of “rats and vermin,” the prevalence of gangs, and a high rate of drug consumption in her reasoning. Stephane Lemaire, head of the union of correctional officers in Quebec, commented that, due to the conditions in the jail, “at Bordeaux, we can’t [rehabilitate].” The idea that prisons should primarily serve as rehabilitation centres is a liberal idea that dates to the nineteenth century. While Canada’s prison system has never fully succeeded in this goal, the very concept of rehabilitation is increasingly ignored, while already appalling conditions in prisons are worsening. The Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10), passed by Parliament last March, is a deliberate effort to move Canada’s justice system toward the more punitive model long used in the United States. Some of the most detrimental stipulations in the bill are the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences, tougher penalties for drug-related penalties, serious limitations on government-issued criminal pardons, and longer sentences for young offenders. Canada’s prison population has reached an all-time high, and has seen huge growth in the prairie provinces and among Aboriginal peoples, who are already overrepresented among inmates by a ratio of nearly seven to one. Judge Rheault’s decision was one of the more recent in a series of events that demonstrate just how quickly the Canadian prison system is deteriorating. Conditions in Canadian prisons are undeniably overcrowded. While Bill C-10 promises to increase the prison population, the federal government is actually closing two of its penitentiaries, while adding additional beds to cells in certain prisons. This measure, called “double-bunking,” is often cited by prison guards in association with prisoner-on-prisoner violence. Addressing the risk double-bunking poses to prison guards and inmates, a spokesman representing the Union of Canadian Correctional Service Officers referred to the practice as “extremely dangerous.” When passed, Bill C-10 was derided not only by provincial governments, but by a group of conservative legislators from Texas, led by Jerry Madden, the head of the state’s House Committee on Corrections. Madden argued against Bill C-10 because he believes that longer sentences will lead to a higher prisoner population, something that hasn’t helped his state deal with the problem of crime. Unfortunately, this year has also seen a serious reduction in some of the creative solutions that were previously offered to prisoners. Across Canada, all non-Christian prison chaplains are being laid off, ending faith services for religious minorities. The LifeLine program, one of Corrections Canada’s only methods of rehabilitating with long-term offenders, was cut despite the fact that its success has spawned an imitation in the United States. Other rehabilitation programs, including an awardwinning one in Ottawa that reintegrates inmates into communities, are also facing cuts. While the government makes the argument of fiscal necessity, eliminating programs that prevent re-offence and promote employment among ex-offenders may prove more socially and economically damaging over the long term. The odd spectacle of Canada adopting a discredited punitive system, while Americans look north for solutions to their massive and untenable prison population, makes sense in light of the Conservative government’s populist bent. Canadians have expressed support for the government’s ‘tough on crime’ approach, despite the fact that crime is at an historic low. While most social scientists, the Canadian Bar Association, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, and the nation’s largest provinces oppose Bill C-10, the legislation is deliberately designed to make voters feel more safe, no matter the reality of its effect. Unfortunately, aside from demonstrating a callous disregard for the well-being of incarcerated citizens, the bill promises to exacerbate rather than prevent crime. Canada is sliding deeper into a system that fulfills a vengeful, inhumane, and ultimately detrimental vision of justice. Rather than focusing on punitive measures, we should direct our energies to rehabilitation and healing. Beyond the prison system, if crime is to be honestly dealt with, then root social issues must be addressed. This can only be done by embracing individuals as people worthy of change, not objects to be cast into abusive and static institutions.
In regard to the article entitled “SSMU Council does nothing” (Compendium, November 8, page 15), The Daily apologizes for using a direct quotation and attaching it to an insulting name.
Errata In the editorial “SSMU Council: Illogical and misguided” (Editorial, November 8, page 19), former Arts representative to SSMU Isabelle Bi was quoted as saying “telling to our 7,000 students that we favour one side.” In fact, the quotation was from an AUS GA, and was an incomplete quote. The Daily regrets the error. 3480 McTavish St., Rm. B-26 Montreal, QC H3A 1X9 phone 514.398.6790 fax 514.398.8318 advertising & general manager Boris
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lies, half-truths, and still alive
Anarcho-syndicalist Dean clamps down on unions Kostapolice’s ascent of career ladder described as “ruthless” Euan EK The Twice-a-Weekly
ndres Kostapolice, the new Dean of Students at the Royal Institute for the Propagation of Bourgeois Science, has told campus unions MUNACA and SSMU they must refrain from all political agitation in the future. The move is Kostapolice’s first since Campus Communist rag The McGill Daily announced his promotion last Thursday. Kostapolice, a famed grassroots organizer who goes by his initials AK (“because I’m like a bullet to the system”), announced the clampdown at a press-conference on Friday. “As an anarcho-syndicalist, it is my responsibility to ensure workers are remunerated at a fair and nonexploitative rate – which is the market rate,” said Kostapolice. “We are already situated within the collapse of civilization. It is within this reality that we must choose sides, and I think workers need to realize that they’re being a tad too demanding.” Kostapolice was quick to point out that “the market always clears,” and that, therefore, he needed to not pay people as much. “Like the society to which it has played the faithful servant, the
University is bankrupt. This bankruptcy is not only financial, but it is also financial,” said Kostapolice. “Very financial indeed.” Some have remarked at the swiftness of Kostapolice’s ascendency to the position of Dean. Local Autonomist and Principal of the Royal Institute, Heatha Mama Boom, said Kostapolice’s rapid rise was due to his “bloodcurdling ruthlessness.” “He’s a person you just cannot trust at all,” said HMB. “So he seemed like the perfect fit for the role of Dean.” “I want you to remember that divine violence, which is the sign and seal but never the means of sacred execution, may be called sovereign violence,” said HMB. “I am the sovereign of this campus, and I was very, very impressed with his backstabbing suppression of democratic revolt in Seattle a few years ago.” “These days, not only Cultural Studies in particular, but the whole of the liberal humanities in general, are engaged in the suppression of social revolt, and I wanted Kostapolice to be a part of that,” said HMB. The global economy has basically tanked; the gleaming technofuture of American capitalism was long ago packed up and sold to China for a few more years of borrowed junk. A university diploma is
now worth no more than a share in General Motors. As a result, administrators are under pressure to make something they do worth something to someone soon, and Kostpolice was hired with a view to squeezing a few more pennies from the vulnerable before utter collapse devastates everything. Understandably, therefore, Kostapolice remained defensive when asked about his grassroots activism, and was quick to affirm that while he remained an anarchist, he would propagate only “anarchism without adjectives, otherwise known as the rules.” “The idea that there is something called ‘the market’ is not so very different from my understanding of anarchism,” said Kostapolice. “Economists will often admit this, if you ask them in the right way. Markets aren’t real. They are mathematical models, created by imagining a self-contained world where everyone has exactly the same motivation and the same knowledge and is engaging in the same self-interested calculating exchange. I see my anarchism as basically the same thing.” “I believe that people who have lost the habit of striking for themselves as individuals, who have submitted to every injustice while waiting for the majority to grow, are
French Situationist appointed Dean of Discipline and Irony Radical infiltrator part of admin “fifth column” Laurent Berlant The Twice-a-Weekly
“Life on Campus is representation. The commoditization of McGill is the decline of being into having, and having into appearing.” Twice-a-Weekly editorial? Nope. Student Trotskyite? No way. It’s a statement straight out of the mouth of the new Dean.
he Twice-a-Weekly learned last week that the administration hired a French Situationist and cognitive disso-
nance aficionado as the new Dean of Discipline and Irony to amuse/ distract/subdue actual radicals. The choice is not so surprising, considering it contradicts everything ever and is hilarious. “What I’m doing is in fact, détournement.” The Dean told The-Twicea-Weekly. “I’m just turning expressions of the capitalist system against itself. Also, I’m pretty sure my salary like doubled. Literally. Check out those sweet digits.” The Dean said he hoped to “smash” the system and “hang” the bourgeoisies from within by banning or expelling ruffians and students from campus. “I like to frame the issue in terms of
rights,” he said. “Not your rights, but the right of others – i.e.: me to send campus security after you.” “Just because I don’t believe in hierarchy doesn’t mean I can’t take part in it and reinforce it,” he added. “You know how everybody pretends to like looking at baby pictures when they actually don’t? Well, it’s just like that, except destructive.” “Also, life is a spectacle, et cetera,” he added. Upon learning of the Dean’s appointment, anarcha-feminist militant and legit radical Judith Sedgwick told the Twice-aWeekly, “Get the fuck out. Is this a joke?”
Illustration Balls to the Wall | The Twice-a-Weekly
going to become metamorphosed into human high-explosives by a process of packing,” said Kostapolice. “Therefore, I will pack them all together very tightly by taking all of their money and stripping them of their right to collective bargaining. That will start the revolution.”
When asked by The Twice-aWeekly how the increasing strength and depth of capitalist crises affected his understanding of anarchism, Kostapolice retreated into the hulk of the James Administration building, repeatedly muttering “Say’s law, Say’s law,” to himself.
Goodcopolous bans students from campus after rager Titus Andron-gee-us The Twice-a-Weekly
espite insisting that he was “down, man” and “totally not a narc,” new Dean of Students Andres Goodcopolous was once again turned away from a student’s house party in the Mile End on Thursday. It was the fourth time this month that he had tried unsuccessfully to “get [his] rage on” with McGill students in the popular Montreal neighbourhood. Citing his “gnarly” goatee, the huge red anarchist “A” on his t-shirt, and his general radness, Goodcopolous denounced the decision and complained of a severely harshed mellow, before banning every student in attendance at the St. Viateur get-togeth-
er from campus for two weeks. As Metallica blared from a boombox in his office Friday, Goodcopolous explained that the students had violated his right to free association, and were not real anarchists like him. “Homies need to learn that unanimity can only be secured by sweet, nourishing hierarchy,” Goodcopolous said, while staring fondly at the framed portrait of Principal Heatha Lower-theBoom that sits on desk. Students expressed bafflement at the Dean’s disciplinary measure. “I just don’t get it,” said Telephore Sansouci, U3 BasketWeaving, who was at the party. “This bearded guy just kept trying to strike up conversations about Bakunin, and offered me some ‘totally primo ganja.’ I didn’t know he was Dean of Students.”
Volume 102, Issue 20