Volume 101, Issue 22
November 21, 2011 mcgilldaily.com
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The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Indigenous Studies conference calls for McGill program Inaugural KANATA conference hopes to provide “greater understanding of indigenous realities” Esther Lee
The McGill Daily
espite the presence of an active Indigenous Studies community on campus, McGill has yet to implement an official Indigenous Studies program – something that KANATA, a group representing the indigenous community at McGill, is working to change. On November 24 and 25, KANATA will be hosting its first annual “Peer-toPeer Indigenous Studies Conference,” which will include academic presentations, panel discussions, and opportunities that will allow “peers to come together to gain broader perspective and greater understanding of indigenous realities.” KANATA’s first annual conference will host 16 presenters from five universities, with discussions on a wide variety of topics, including First Nation resource development in southern Alberta and the commodification of the Mayan culture. According to Jocelyn Dockerty, the executive president of KANATA, “[We] also hope it will demonstrate to McGill’s administration that students are highly interested in a field that the University is choosing not to support, or support poorly.” Dockerty explained that currently, “There is not a full-time professor at McGill who would be willing to instruct a necessary introductory Indigenous Studies [course].”
She added that, although many professors in a number of departments and faculties are willing to confront indigenous issues in their classrooms, they are preoccupied with other projects on campus. Paige Issac, the interim coordinator for McGill’s First Peoples’ House, explained that while there are not many opinions opposing the development of an Indigenous Studies program, some are perplexed as to why McGill must compete for a program that already exists at Concordia. Issac added that developing a new program will take time. “I haven’t heard many opinions that were strongly opposed [to the program]; however, I have heard that it’s going to take a while – Concordia’s First Peoples’ Studies program took 10 years,” Issac said. “I think these are all comments that are only delaying action, and we need to strategize on how to move forward.” In the winter of 2010, McGill’s Aboriginal Affairs Working Group submitted a proposal to the Principal’s Task Force on Diversity, Excellence and Community Engagement for the approval of a “minor concentration in Indigenous Studies and an Aboriginal Field Course...[that] is in an advanced planning stage and needs to be expedited through a collaborative and timely approval process.” Despite these recommendations, no program has been created. McGill graduate in Anthropology and KANATA co-founder Pamela
Fillion stated that, although the idea of indigenous studies at McGill has not been rejected, “As a student, I was not privy to step beyond the red tape and see why it is that previous program proposals were dismissed. There are different issues that I heard may be stopping development in this area, but this has always been secondhand or speculative.” In 1860, it was discovered that McGill sits on land that used to be Hochelaga, an Iroquoian village. In order to commemorate this settlement, Parks Canada established the Hochelaga Rock, which stands left of the Roddick Gates. Dockerty explained that despite the physical closeness of the University with indigenous history, most students are unaware of this cultural attachment. “Obviously, this represents a hole in our education system at all levels… A minor program in Indigenous Studies can offer one more world view and knowledge system that is particularly useful and important in a university, especially one that rests on Mohawk territory, but also within the nation of Canada,” she said. According to Issac, “Creating a platform where students can think critically about the different processes and policies that exist today and how this has an impact on peoples’ lives, would do tremendous work in bridging this gap between the indigenous and non-
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
Children at McGill’s tenth annual lower field Pow Wow. indigenous worlds.” Issac added that “the Aboriginal population in Canada is growing, and it’s growing fast, and we are not going anywhere. We are highly resilient people.” Will Straw, director of McGill’s Institute for the Study of Canada, explained that, “At this point, the ideas for a program in Indigenous Studies are still in their early stages. It is likely that [Indigenous Studies] would be a minor at present, growing as interest and resources allowed.” McGill has an estimated 300 Aboriginal students enrolled – 1 per cent of the student body – and employs two full-time Aboriginal professors. In an email to The Daily, Dean
of Students Jane Everett stated that she does not have “sufficient information on these matters to provide useful answers.” Concordia’s First Peoples Studies is open to native and non-native students, and includes aboriginal history, health, and educational practices, native folktales, and contemporary aboriginal politics and social concerns. However, Fillion explained that McGill may not necessarily model their program after Concordia’s. “Since students from Concordia and McGill can so easily take courses from each university…it is in McGill’s interest to create links between Concordia’s program and what would be [the] McGill Indigenous Studies program,” she said.
War of the websites Government spends $50,000 on Google keywords; students respond with their own website Annie Shiel
The McGill Daily
n November 11, a day after thousands of students took to the streets to protest impending tuition hikes, the Quebec Ministry of Education launched a new website advertising the merits of the increases. Within 24 hours, a group of anonymous students created their own site, arguing against the increases, which will levy an extra $325 a year extra for five years – amounting to $1,625 by 2017 – starting in September. The government’s website, quebectuitionfees.com, argues, “[A tuition fee] increase is necessary to continue to ensure the quality of teaching and guarantee the value of a university degree.” The website includes graphs breaking down personal costs for students, promotional videos, and a section on keeping education accessible through loans, financial aid, and other programs.
The ministry reportedly spent $50,000 on Google keywords to ensure that the website appears first in results of Google searches. Some of the keywords purchased include the acronyms of anti-tuition hike student organizations such as FEUQ (Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec) and FECQ (Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec), as well as words like “strike” and “manifestation.” Martine Desjardins, president of FEUQ, confirmed that the organization knew that the website was being planned. “The worst thing was actually the key words that they bought,” she said. “It’s not ethical. We think it’s the wrong way to send a message to the population, instead of having a debate with students and the population about whether or not it’s right to raise tuition fees.” SSMU VP External Joël Pedneault said, “[The fact that] the government has been spending tens of thousands of dollars on a PR cam-
paign…really insults people who have to work a job and study and take care of other commitments.” The address of the students’ anti-tuition hike website, quebectuitionfees.ca, is nearly identical to that of the government. Responding to the statements on the government’s website, the site claims, “The $1,625 tuition increase has nothing to do with the quality of teaching or the value of a university degree.” It goes on to state, “this website has been made available on-line in response to the disinformation campaign led by the Quebec Ministry of Education – who, by the way, just spent $50,000 of taxpayer money buying Google keywords to push propaganda.” Pedneault said, “It’s really important for people to counter the information that the government has been putting out.” However, he had doubts about its influence on the tuition hikes themselves. “I don’t think it will be
enough to really tip the balance and get the government to back down,” he said. “The government is rolling out a PR campaign,” Pedneault contin-
Tuition and mandatory school fees in Canada 1997-2007
ued. “The tuition hikes battle is far from over.” The Ministry of Education could not be reached for comment at press time.
Nova Scotia $6,739 Ontario $6,139 British Columbia $5,475
Canadian average $5,229
Manitoba $3,895 Newfoundland and Labrador $3,109 Quebec $2,783
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Alyssa Favreau | The McGill Daily
Source: Statistics Canada, 2008.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
TAs to vote on new contract Details unavailable until Thursday Michael Lee-Murphy The McGill Daily
his Thursday, TAs will vote on a new contract proposal hammered out between union and administration negotiators. The vote will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Leacock 132. “A large turn-out of members is expected,” said a statement on the union’s website. The union – the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) – has been at the bargaining table since March. TAs have been working without a contract since then. Saying that they don’t want membership to read the administration’s proposals for the first time in the press, union officials are not giving any details about the new proposal. The proposal is the administration’s second; AGSEM rejected the first last month. “It’s going to be their second answer to our initial proposal, and really our position hasn’t changed,” the chair of the bargaining committee, Renaud Roussel, said last Wednesday, before he had seen the offer.
The union is seeking a 3 per cent pay increase, increased TA-ships, limits on class sizes, paid training, and mandatory meetings with course supervisors. According to AGSEM negotiators, McGill has thus far offered the province-mandated 1.2 per cent pay raise, and no increase in payable hours offered. The administration has consistently declined to comment on AGSEM contract negotiations. TAs currently make about $4,500 per TA-ship per term. A TA-ship is defined as 180 hours a semester. AGSEM leaders are not yet saying whether or not they will be recommending ratification to the membership on Thursday. Last Wednesday, AGSEM hosted a “Pep Rally” event at the Roddick gates, with popcorn, cotton candy, and bubbles. The idea was to cheer on their bargaining team, who were in negotiations at the time. Roussel said the event was designed to increase AGSEM’s visibility on campus. “It’s getting cold, it’s getting a little bit grey, and a little bit of colour is not bad,” he said.
Hera Chan for The McGill Daily
AGSEM held a pep rally last week in support of their TA bargaining team. Invigilators Somewhat lost in the shuffle are McGill’s invigilators, who have also been at the bargaining table since March, negotiating their first contract with the University. Invigilators form a separate bargaining committee from TAs and course lecturers, and are seeking an increase from $10 an hour to $15.25. The union is also seeking recognition of seniority, and the establishment of a standardized pay scheme.
Invigilators number about 500, according to Kazem Fayabakhsh, a member of the invigilators bargaining committee. Invigilators voted overwhelmingly to join AGSEM last school year. Fayabakhsh wrote in an email to The Daily that the union “believe[s] that McGill is capable of meeting our monetary demands.” According to Fayabakhsh, McGill has so far offered a 12-cent raise, or
1.2 per cent. Lerona Lewis, the president of AGSEM, said that the 12-cent raise offer was “ludicrious.” “They might think invigilators aren’t important… Imagine if all the invigilators were sick on one day, there would be no exams,” she said. The bargaining committee for invigilators next sits down with McGill administration on December 1, and again on December 5.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
McGill Principal discusses November 10 O
n Monday, November 14 – four days after the events of November 10 – Principal Heather MunroeBlum sat down for an interview with reporters from The Daily, the McGill Tribune, and Le Délit. While the conversation was intended to broach a variety of subjects, November 10 dominated the interview. When asked for a response to a recent petition calling for her resignation, Munroe-Blum stated she was not aware of it, though she was asked the same question in an interview two hours earlier on CBC Daybreak. A full transcription of The Daily’s interview is available on mcgilldaily.com.
The McGill Daily: Why was Dean of Law Daniel Jutras chosen to do the investigation, and why was it decided to be an internal investigation? Heather Munroe-Blum: My interest as principal is that we learn from what happened to do the best that we can to not have that happen again… In that regard, I wanted someone who has deep loyalty and concern for the University and the well-being of everyone in it, and yet who is known for impartiality, independence. He is a highly distinguished, member-trained lawyer, [who] has worked at the Supreme Court. He is a guy who’s beyond reproach in his character. In a university, we do a lot of things
that depend on internal judgments, you know, the whole peer-review system is us, judging ourselves as a community. We have a very selfgoverned approach to our operations, and so choosing someone of the highest distinction, whose integrity is so highly regarded, who has training to look at facts, and make judgments, and who is willing to undertake to do this. He was the first person I thought of to do it who would be able to conduct it. MD: You made this decision unilaterally? HMB: Yes. It was my decision. It was my judgment that this was the way to proceed. The McGill Tribune: It was reported that activating the [emer-
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
Munroe-Blum sits among students at “We Are All McGill” last week.
gency alert] system [on November 10] could have increased the amount of students in the area. Why did the University act with mistrust of students, thinking that they would automatically incite violence? HMB: What actually happened I think is a big question. One of the issues of course with demonstrations that are called for the University is that with social media everybody knows about them and anybody can come… Then the issue is not a question of distrust of students, it is a question of the mix of protesters you get in…a climate of activism. So any demonstration can become a bit of lightning rod for activists across the city with a range of issues. That’s one of the things that has to be dealt with. Le Délit: Are you concerned in terms of what happened in your office pertaining to students’ relationship with the security agents? HMB: I’m very concerned with what happened, but I’m concerned in both directions. There are colleagues who feel they were hurt, there were people who were pushed aside by masked intruders who wouldn’t identify themselves. LD: So you feel we can wait [for the Jutras Investigation to conclude on December 15]? HMB: I think if anyone wants to file a disciplinary complaint or press legal charges, this does not get in the way of them doing that. MD: If there is some kind of dispute over the process which Professor Jutras goes through for his investigation, who would people go to in a situation like that? HMB: Well, it’s all going to be public, so what won’t be public will be the names of people, and no person will be identified by name. MD: So if one of these anonymous people have an issue, what can they do? HMB: That’s what I’m saying. They can be using the disciplinary process, they can be filing a complaint, they can be taking legal action. And they don’t need to be waiting until the report comes out to do that… This is not an investigation for people that are looking at perpetrators and victims, this is not an investigation to do that. This is an investigation to understand: Did processes fail? How did processes work? Were there groups that could have done things differently? In general, is there a sense of responsibility in one direction or another to do things differently, should a similar situation be on the horizon? LD: Have you read the McGill Security Services’ report? HMB: I have only seen some video footage, and as I said, I wasn’t here, so Friday I had a briefing. Thursday, I was off-campus and had a briefing in real time on it, both while the occupation was going on, and while the riot police were here.
Then I had a pre-set meeting with a group of professors first thing in the morning on Friday, so I met with them then, in full. I had asked Thursday night for all the people that I [wanted] to come in to give a full briefing so I could hear their point of view. LD: If you thought that there were claims against employees, would you wait for the “victim” to come forward or would you be able to bring it up yourself? HMB: I have not seen anything that would make me take action before December 15. I was very concerned about hooded, masked people, breaking their way in, pushing staff, and not identifying themselves, nor even saying what their purpose of being there was. That’s very concerning to me. If there was any abuse in any direction I expect that will come out in the report, and that will form the basis of judgments of what to do next. MD: So even though staff members have said they were pushed or felt scared, there is not evidence to lay disciplinary charges? HMB: No, I’m saying that it’s up to them, if they’re going to do that, if someone feels they were hurt, and the only evidence I saw was a video clip. So do I believe that there were people who were masked and hooded in my office? Yes, because I saw a video of it, and some who weren’t. LD: What about the allegations of assault on the fifth floor during the occupation? HMB: I’ve actually seen no evidence that that happened. I’ve received no complaint, and I’ve received no evidence that happened, and I’ve asked Professor Jutras to investigate for me. There are a lot of allegations out there, they’re very general allegations. LD: They’re actually pretty specific. I don’t know if you’ve seen the coverage of The Daily? HMB: I’ve certainly seen the coverage of The Daily, and I see no evidence presented in support of them. We do have due process here, and no one has filed a complaint through the normal channels for due process. The Daily is not a vehicle for due process. LD: On November 10 – this is from eyewitness account – I saw seven security managers who were standing by while people were crying, they offered no help. How do you react to this? HMB: You say you experienced this, I know a lot of people felt upset and felt isolated on Thursday evening, and I feel terrible about it. If that’s what happened, I feel terrible about it. And then that raises a question of qualifications to do that and that’s something we’ve got to look at. —Compiled by Erin Hudson
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
AUS now mandated to help promote their cause Juan Camilo Velásquez The McGill Daily
he Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) will now begin to actively lobby to restore the African Studies program’s introductory course, and support the program in general, following a motion that passed during the AUS General Assembly on November 9. The motion mandates the AUS to, specifically, lobby to hire a fulltime faculty member to teach the introductory course AFRI 200. According to Kathleen Fallon, chair of the African Studies program, the Faculty of Arts is required to have an introductory course for all interdisciplinary programs – in this case AFRI 200 – and a higherlevel seminar to allow for cohesiveness within these programs. However, the course was not offered this year because of financial constraints. “It seems counterintuitive to require it, and then take it away,” said Fallon.
John Galaty, former chair of the African Studies program, used to teach the course, but was unable to continue due to other responsibilities in the Anthropology Department. According to Galaty, efforts were made to receive more funding to hire a new faculty member to teach the course. “Despite our complaints and pleads, they weren’t able to provide the funds. I then proposed that we teach it on an alternate basis, every other year, but at least until now they haven’t responded positively,” said Galaty. Noteh Krauss, president of the African Studies Student’s Association (ASSA), said the course is fundamental for giving foundational knowledge to students who wish to pursue the African Studies program. “Without AFRI 200, except for a 500-level seminar at the end of the program, there is no class that gives students a foundation to what they are going to study. Without this class, it’s just a mix of random courses, and that’s not a proper education
in African Studies,” said Krauss. The ASSA is also seeking to gain more respect and recognition from the Faculty of Arts, as it feels it has been overlooked because of the smaller size of the program. “We are talking about not just one specific class that we are fighting for – in fact, the most important class of the program that we are fighting for – but also it’s just a general lack of funding for the program. It’s generally been a program that has been disregarded,” said Krauss. Galaty said that the lack of funding might reflect reduced confidence from the Faculty of Arts towards interdisciplinary programs. “The argument, of course, is financial, because the faculty has gone through a budget cut, but it may also represent a larger lack of confidence in interdisciplinary programs...which is strange in some sense because the University has made [interdisciplinary practices] – whether in teaching or research – one of its priority areas,” said Galaty. Yusra Khan, AUS VP Academic, wrote in an email to The Daily that
the AUS is ready to “put its full support” behind the ASSA. “I will be bringing this issue up in the AUS Academic Council, where we will decide on the appropriate way in which to help the ASSA in its endeavors,” wrote Khan. Khan also stated that the faculty has put in place several committees to review the needs and highlight the importance of smaller programs, although the Committee on African Studies is not scheduled to meet until the winter semester. “There has not been active discrimination or negligence against smaller programs in the Faculty of Arts,” said Khan. The ASSA is also concerned about the future of the African Studies program if the course is not restored. “A lot of first years and second years will take an introductory class to African Studies because they are curious, and that’s exactly how students get involved in the program. Without that spark of curiosity, students aren’t going to keep getting involved in the program, and it’s going to die off,” said Krauss.
Stop the Violence calls for regulation of marijuana Bill cracks down on drug trafficking Pedro Marzano News Writer
new British Columbiabased coalition is calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, claiming that illegal trafficking of the drug is fuelling gang violence, despite the best efforts of law enforcement. The coalition – named Stop the Violence – includes high-profile groups and institutions such as the University of British Columbia, Centre for Addictions Research BC, Providence Health Care, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, as well as former BC Supreme Court justice Ross Lander and chief coroner Vince Cain. The group claims the drug is more available to school children than tobacco and alcohol, and that gang wars within the industry causes dozens of deaths every year. According to Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) statistics, the percentage of BC gang-related homicides has risen from 21 in 1997
to 34 in 2009. Stop the Violence, however, said there were 43 such deaths in 2009. Furthermore, they pointed out 276 gang-related drive-by shootings that year, which present a more immediate threat to public safety. Jodie Emery – wife of BC marijuana policy reform advocate Marc Emery, who is currently serving a five-year sentence in an American prison for the sale of cannabis seeds – is director-at-large of the BC Green Party, and has been campaigning for the legalization of the drug for years. “The message is very important,” Emery said. “We need to point out violence is caused by the policies surrounding the drug and not the drug itself. Keeping it illegal keeps it under the control of gangs.” Donald Skogstad, a prominent criminal lawyer in BC, told The Daily that the war on drugs diverts resources and prevents law enforcement agencies from dealing with other more serious issues. “Gangs in BC are highly developed and control what’s become a multi-billion dollar industry,” he said.
“The situation we’re in at this moment regarding marijuana legislation is the worst possible. It’s prohibition.” At the federal level, an omnibus crime bill was reintroduced in September after being voted down before last May’s national election. The bill seeks to mandate provinces to crack down on illegal drug trafficking across the country. The majority Conservative government has promised to pass the bill – called the “Safe Streets and Communities Act” – within 100 sitting days of the next Parliament session, which starts June 6. Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson said in a press release that the bill was introduced “on a promise to get tough on child sexual offenders, crack down on illegal drug trafficking, and improve the overall efficiency of our judicial system.” The portion of the legislation dedicated to drug consumption and trafficking, Bill C-10, extends the maximum sentences for any marijuana-related crime from 7 to 14 years, and contains manda-
tory minimum prison sentences for growing cannabis. The Conservative government has estimated that the implementation of the bill would cost $78.5 million, a figure contested by the opposition. Provinces have also criticized the Conservative government for not detailing how much provincial governments would have to pay, should the bill pass. Both Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty have said they would be unwilling to foot the bill for the federal initiative. Skogstad said the bill would use resources from all provinces in a useless effort to reduce crime. Emery explained that cracking down on marijuana trafficking will do the opposite of what it claims to, saying it could cost taxpayers billions of dollars through consequences like increased prison populations, and serve to make the drug market more violent than it already is. “The only parties who benefit from this are the police, the politicians and the gangsters,” Emery said.
What’s the haps
African Studies fights to restore introductory course
SSMU Service Town Hall: The impact of the strike Wednesday, November 23, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Lev Bukhman, second floor of the Shatner building There will be a Service Town Hall next week to discuss the general impact of the strike on all student services. If you would like to know the hours of Student Health, Counseling, or First Year Office, come hear from the Service staff directly. Contact SSMU VP University Affairs Emily Clare with any questions. Psych of Memory – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Thursday, November 24, 7:00 p.m. 3475 Peel St. McGill Mental Health Promotions Zenity Squad and the Film Society present “Psych of Memory” – a screening of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Dr. Hardt from Karim Nader’s lab on the science of forgetting will provide an introduction and lead a post-movie discussion. There will only be sixty seats, so get there early! Light refreshments will be provided. Communication and vision bed-in Monday, November 22, 9 p.m. Shatner Building Come to SSMU at 9 p.m. on Monday to take part in a bed-in to draft a report for Tuesday’s GA on the structure of Mob Squad and the McGill Community Project. Dinner will be served at 9 p.m. and breakfast at 7 p.m., both courtesy of Midnight Kitchen. Discussions will include Mobilization 101 for student activists, and proposals for how GAs are structured. If you don’t have a sleeping bag, check the Facebook event to find out how to get one. SSMU GA reform Town Halls Tuesday, November 22, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday, November 23, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Lev Bukhman, second floor of the Shatner building SSMU Council will be voting on how to change the General Assembly December 1. Possible changes could include moving the final vote online, allowing “motions from the floor,” and involving faculty associations more. Propose suggestions at the Town Halls, or by emailing president@ ssmu.mcgill.ca.
Too much poetry / Visit The McGill Daily / online for more news
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Our board of governors How a fortress of solitude runs our University Jacqueline Brandon and Jaime MacLean Hyde Park
ver the past several years, the relationship between the McGill administration and the students, faculty, and staff of McGill has become increasingly hostile, punctuated by certain events this semester. The most visible of these include labour disputes and student activism surrounding tuition increases. However, this is only the very tip of the ever-expanding iceberg floating just below the surface of our community. Students should be curious about the identity of this administration, and how exactly it wields its power: our education is in their hands. The Board of Governors is entrusted with the maintenance of all University property and the administration of the University. It is officially incorporated as “The Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning” and operates its oligarchical power over the University in both practice and attitude, which trickles down to each department. Sitting at the top of McGill’s complicated and bureaucratic hierarchy, the BoG has “final authority over the management of the University.” 12 of the 25 voting members are mysteriously appointed “Members at Large” and nearly
all of them come from the upper echelons of the corporate sector. There is no feasible way for these individuals to be in touch with the interests of students, staff, faculty, and the McGill community at large. Students are represented by only two voting members (the presidents of SSMU and PGSS), while staff and faculty have a combined total of only six. Although meetings of the Board of Governors do have brief open sessions, the dates and minutes from these are not accessible ,and the majority of decisions are made during the private sessions. Our one undergraduate student representative is required to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to attend BoG meetings. This opacity is one of the most pressing problems with the current structure. The outside associations of each Member at Large are another concern. Why is the Chair of the Board of Governors also the Director of Citibank Canada? Why are other members the CEOs and executives of RBC, Telus, HSBC, and Bell Canada? And what would a real estate tycoon or the president of Hydro-Quebec know about the well-being of undergraduate students and McGill as a whole? The integrity of our community rests in the hands of a farremoved, unaccountable group of individuals with special corporate interests.
Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
“Corporatization” and “privatization” are two words that have been thrown around in regards to both our University and post secondary education in North America. To us, these objectives illustrate a systematic disappearance of social responsibilities; an example being student run cafes making way for a monopoly of unethically-produced food with a veneer of sustainability. We unknowingly sustain a structure where the University can invest our funds with little regard for consultation or ethics.
In the wake of the events of November 10, a group of concerned students has formed the Governance Reform Project, which aims to work towards a long-term democratization of the governance structure of McGill beginning with a community assembly. As it stands, the BoG and general administrative structure of the University alienates the majority of the community – students, faculty, and staff who deserve the strongest voice. Now is the time for us to break this oppressive and selfperpetuating stronghold.
Jacueline Brandon is a U1 History student. She can be reached at jacqueline.brandon@ mail.mcgill.ca. Jaime MacLean is a U2 English Literature student. She can be reached at jaime.maclean@ mail.mcgill.ca. The McGill Governance Reform Project will hold a Communal Assembly on November 24th at 5:30 p.m. at 3720 Parc. All staff, students, faculty, and members of the McGill community are encouraged to attend. For more information visit mcgillgovernancereform. wordpress.com.
AGSEM TAs clarify Provost Senate statements An open letter to Anthony Masi
ear Professor Masi, We would like to raise concerns regarding your response to Professor John Galaty’s “Question Regarding the Implications of TA Reductions” during the September 22 McGill Senate meeting. Professor Galaty asked whether the “effects of the reduction in TA-ships on graduate financial support” were considered, in light of McGill’s stated priority of “increasing graduate enrolments.” He further enquired if it was “anticipated that the TA
budget [would] be increased such that the same level of support for courses will be restored as was the case in 2010-11.” The statistics cited in your response to Professor Galaty’s question lacked context. You stated that there was an increase in TA expenditures from $6.1 million in 20078 to $7.1 million in 2010; AGSEM’s dues lists confirm that TA expenditures were $6.1 million for the 2008 calendar year. It is important to note that TAs were on strike for eleven weeks in 2008. Therefore,
McGill’s total expenditures for TAs that year were abnormally low and are a poor baseline for comparison. One need only look to the expenditures of 2007, where the gross amount paid to TAs was $6.8 million, to see that the 2008 figure is exceptionally low. We believe that the relevant metric to consider when discussing the issue raised by Galaty is not TA expenditures, but rather the number of TA hours per University year. This measure corrects for salary variability across the period discussed, and
is more meaningful with respect to the quality of education provided at McGill. Over the last four years, the number of hours worked by TAs has actually declined. TAs worked 305,114 hours overall in 2007. In 2010, TAs worked 302,523 hours, a decrease of 2,500 hours over four years. During this same period, degreeseeking undergraduate enrolment increased 8 per cent and graduate student enrolment increased 13 per cent. At the very least, TA hours should increase proportionally
with undergraduate enrolment, so as to maintain the quality level of education provided at this university. We cordially request that in the future you will take these concerns into consideration when providing information regarding TAs to the McGill Community.
Signed by AGSEM – McGill’s Teaching Union. Cosigned by the Post Graduate Student Society (PGSS) and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
We, too, are McGill A letter from staff members of the Offices of the Principal and Provost
e are seven staff members who were working in the fifth-floor offices of the James Administration Building on Thursday, November 10 when 14 protesters broke in and forcibly occupied our work spaces. We would like to add our voices and experiences as staff members to the public record in order to provide a fuller picture of what happened on that day. We would also like to make it known that we take issue with the account presented in the letter authored by the 14 occupiers of our offices, published in The McGill Daily on November 13. This was not a peaceful occupation – this was trespassing, intimidation, and the restriction of our freedom.
In the student media and on the banner hung by protesters from a window in our office, this event has been referred to as “Occupons McGill.” The fact that the aggressive occupation of our work spaces is being associated with a peaceful international movement does not sit well with us. We are not oil barons nor Wall Street bankers. We do our jobs because we believe in McGill and because we value higher education. We work to support the McGill community – students, faculty, and administration – and we are proud to do so. The occupiers of our offices did not act like members of the McGill community as we know it. They were not peaceful. They seized and blocked the entry and exit of the doors leading to
our common reception area and then overpowered a staff member to break through a locked door leading into the Principal’s and Provost’s private offices. They stormed into our offices and attempted to use furniture to blockade themselves inside spaces containing confidential documents. They refused to identify themselves and several were hooded and had masked their faces with bandanas. They refused to discuss their concerns or explain the purpose of their occupation when asked. They forced their way past another staff member and into the Principal’s private office. When Security arrived and asked them to leave that office, some of them refused.
They shouted insults and profanity at Security staff, including calling them “[expletive] pigs.” We were threatened and intimidated on the night of November 10 in the very spaces we thought were safe. When Security attempted to escort us out of the building, we were prevented from leaving by a large group of protesters who had surrounded our building and were blocking the exits. As we watched the clash of protesters and police from the windows of our offices, we understood how many of the non-violent protesters and bystanders outside must have felt. The rage and unreason of the few had hijacked a day of well-planned protests. The safety of those inside and outside the James Building was endangered by the actions of the few. One might even call them the
1 per cent. The spaces that were forcibly occupied on November 10 are the spaces in which we do our work every day. Even though the protesters may not have stopped to consider us, we, too, are McGill. The 14 individuals who occupied our offices have published accounts of their so-called heroism. They did not, however, sign their names to their accounts published in The Daily and Le Délit. We, too, are McGill, and by signing our names to this letter, we hope to remind them of what that means. Signed by Susan Aberman, Liisa Stephenson, Caroline Baril, Deidre McCabe, Laura D’Angelo, Katherine Wong, and Djénane Andre.
In which the author opens up a gigantic can of worms We can’t let pro-Israel rhetoric obscure local discourse on discrimination Niko Block Readers’ Advocate email@example.com
he Gate David of Bobov congregation in Mile End has been trying to refurbish its synagogue since at least 2004, and last January a borough council meeting approved the synagogue’s ten-foot expansion into its own back yard. But the project faced such fierce opposition from a group of neighbours led by a former journalist named Pierre Lacerte that the minor renovation was brought to a local referendum. Lacerte mounted an aggressive campaign against the synagogue, and ultimately won the battle, with a ‘no’ vote of 53 per cent. A few times last spring, his propaganda made its way to my own doorstep, which is just around the corner from the synagogue and directly next to the very same YMCA that famously ignited the “reasonable accommodation” debate in 2007. I can only hope that my neigh-
bourhood will one day move beyond these petty spats. But if that is to happen, we’re going to need journalism that depicts religious communities not as “special interests” or zealots attempting to impose a religious system of governance upon Canada, but simply voters, citizens and members of their own neighbourhood. Though Christina Colizza’s recent feature on the whole debacle (“The secularist and the synagogue” November 3, Page 8) did convey the latter perspective, it also failed to chide people like Lacerte who subscribe to the former. Instead, the author chose to emphasize Lacerte’s “faultlessly good manners,” the fact that he smelled like French cologne, and claimed to speak six languages. “The writing on [Lacerte’s] blog is red hot with secularist fervour,” writes Colizza to preface Lacerte’s pronouncement that “For more than half a century, the Satmar sect has sacrificed thousands of children on the altar of religious ultraorthodoxy in Quebec.” Yet the historical tradition with which I would associate that particular quote is not secularism, but
rather anti-Semitism. That’s not an accusation I make lightly. For the past several years I have dismissed the vast majority of such accusations out of hand. At times my response to people who are prone to making them – and who are equally prone to justifying the ongoing atrocities of the Israeli state on the basis of what they call widespread contemporary anti-Semitism – has been rude and abrasive. Jewish identity has been so deliberately and powerfully conflated with the narrative of the Holocaust and the triumphant birth of Israel that these conversations are usually doomed to failure and hurt feelings. The problem is that the Israel camp has ruthlessly exploited the history of Jewish oppression to tarnish its critics. Lacerte, whose rhetoric often smacks of Jewish conspiracy theory, is in turn exploiting the extent to which we have now been inured to such flippant accusations of anti-Semitism. “That’s the easiest thing to say,” has been his retort to those who have called him anti-Semitic.
Another of Colizza’s interviewees is sympathetic: “This guy is not anti-Semitic; that word is thrown around way too easily.” In other words, it’s a tragic instance of a boy who cried wolf. I’ll admit here that at times I have experienced a certain visceral fear of a potential rise in widespread anti-Semitism, ridiculous though that may be. Having grown up with so little of the fear-mongering Holocaust obsession that characterizes many Jews’ upbringing, these moments can be dizzying. What triggers them, however, is not people like Lacerte as much as mentions of an Israeli massacre or settlement expansion drifting across the bottom of a TV screen. That Israel itself has galvanized, and in many ways benefited from, anti-Semitism in recent years is natural; the logic of Zionism is deeply rooted in the assumption that people everywhere will always hate Jews. The dividends the state has reaped for at once provoking anti-Semitism and then sensationalizing it have come in the form of increas-
ing Jewish immigration to Israel. Lately, I’ve tended to steer clear of news about Israel, lest I sink into a stupor of anger and depression such as I did during Operation Cast Lead in early 2009. It becomes more difficult to ignore when the issue begins to impact my own neighbourhood. Still, the conversation surrounding Israel/Palestine inevitably puts us in a difficult position with a case such as the Gate David synagogue. Frivolous accusations of anti-Semitism obviously play into pro-Israel rhetoric, yet stopping short of accusing someone such as Lacerte of anti-Semitism can have an equally damaging effect. Coming out of last summer’s dispute, an entire congregation of Jews might understandably feel considerably less welcome in Montreal.
The readers’ advocate is a twice-monthly column written by Niko Block addressing the performance, relevance, and quality of The Daily. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
among the vodouisants four portraits of haitian voodoo
by I aphny has been serving the spirits all her life. The spirits are in her blood. She is the latest voodoo priestess – or mambo – in a long line, stretching back for generations. In June, I contacted La Belle Deesse, a voodoo temple and ecclesiastical organization based in Pierrefonds, Quebec. Raphny is the daughter of the temple’s founding priestess, La Belle Deesse Sr. I spoke to Raphny on the phone, and told her I was interested in meeting people who practice voodoo. Raphny told me that if I was interested in going to a ceremony, she could arrange it. She asked me if I would be free on June 24, Saint Jean-Baptiste Day. I told her yes.
Practioners of Haitian voodoo celebrate a spirit called Tijean Dantor on June 24, I soon found out. Tijean is a playful spirit who loves fire. Raphny’s only directions were, “Be ready for 8 p.m., and bring someone with you who speaks French, because there will be a lot of French.” Saint Jean-Baptiste Day fell on a Saturday night and, as the day wore on, with no word from Raphny and my calls going to voicemail, I started to figure that I wouldn’t be going to the ceremony after all. But at 7:45 p.m., just as I was showering, I got a call. It was Raphny. She explained that she couldn’t make it, but that Mimose, her “spiritual sister,” would be taking me to the ceremony, adding that I needed to be at Henri Bourassa metro as soon as possible.
Still soapy, I ran madly around my apartment, gathering reporting gear – notebook, pens, and voice recorder – before rushing out the door. The items would never make it out my bag – Mimose advised me not to take notes or record anything. I would return home at 4:30 a.m. the next morning with nothing but the memories of what I had seen. At the station, Mimose and her mother were sitting in the front seat of their van wearing large white dresses and yellow headscarves. I sat in the back as we drove through Montreal Nord. Our first stop was to pick up Mimose’s brother, King, from his apartment. King was also dressed all in white, with a white fedora to complete the ensemble. Mimose and her family spoke a mix of
Creole and French; I understood barely a word. I was uncertain what my presence meant for the others in the car. Asking questions as we drove through Montreal Nord, I tried to find out where we were going, how the voodoo community gathers together, and who attends these ceremonies. But it was clear that no one really wanted to give me explanations. Unsure of how far we were going, who was who, and what was waiting at our destination, I accepted my role as a passenger, an observer. I was simply along for the ride. Soon we began driving through side streets in a neighbourhood I did not recognize. When we stopped outside a white, clapboard townhouse, people poured out of it holding half-finished drinks, and coalesced around the van. Men and women, all dressed in white, spoke to
The Literary Supplement
2 Literary Supplement Uncertain.
Accidental Traffic Signals
Ian Gerald King
The train has stopped. The rain still pouring, down Like canals across the window, dull. Town: Unknown – twilight hangs like a silent stone. Relent. Reflect. Embrace what time has grown.
I’m still around, breathing Although facts should argue against this. Those goddamn traffic lights let me live, an accident, I’m sure. They blinked and let me pass
A brief hiatus – a moment passing As a void of thought in dormant repose. His eyes are closed. Memories amassing As tears collect, visions emerge. He knows.
It was a fucking fatal night, Careless and young, bloody and drunk We were just kids.
Knowing, yet understanding not the cause; Like a face recalled and a name forgotten. Humble contrition; submission to laws Unseen. Arrogance, wise soul, let not in.
I stopped wanting death as soon as I had one foot in the door. One foot in the road in-front of that taxi cab.
Such faith, misplaced, in the power of self; Such ego, such pride, such ambition – wrong. But a page, in a book, upon a shelf Is a man. A note on a sheet of song.
It was a green light for go, it was an ex-lover grabbing the back of my shirt to pull me onto the sidewalk. I could have died, but instead I lived, I fell in love, I broke a heart, I broke my own.
••••••• The ev’ning sings; light grows dimly all around – Within, a light dimly grows. Five days pass’d. Among cobblestone paths – smoke, thoughts, and sound – Acceptance of self has freed the outcast.
Transit Max Karpinski Toddlers scream dialect in sleeping cars putputting through countryside tunnels. Villas and vineyards flit past like hairs on film reels. Concavernous hillsides and railroads: the city’s convergence. Circling Piazza della Repubblica as pigeons or scribbles on creased maps manufactured for tourists, miniature reproductions, Ponte Vecchio in pencil crayon drawn by a fifth grader. Or circling, of course, as the merry-go-round where riffs float from cafés and you feel underwater. On the train “Sorrow” begins with the patter of raindrops, speckle and run the length of our windows. The grass and the palm trees melt into flatness. The green a planed canvas, floating rectangles, flushed vague shades bleeding out to the edges. We mingle in the galleries, loiter and stare, talk about drunkenness, numbers, and rhythm. Noting progressions, space manicurated, looking for patterns in movement and chords. We saved fourty Euros by taking the local, slept among composers and children and nuns. A QWERTY keyboard tapping out piano sonatas, quietly played back so as not to disturb us, he hums sharps and flats under his breath. “Parla italiano
Joyful grief engulfs sorrowful pleasures In the abyss of blind hearing, deaf sight. Though betrayal may darken the treasures Of lords, vain malice taints not inner light.
con me” the sister said smiling, the little girl impish and hiding in skirts. ...
The trees sway sweetly to the voice of wind: Bodiless, yet felt like bodies entwined. Thus sages, the desires of the world rescind To embrace a life so simple – refined.
It always seems we’re sleeping, budget hotels, the glowing computer singing goodnight. Jet lagged watching traffic at the Finnish border, static and headlights via grainy green webcam. Vacations without wanting, random dots in a McNally atlas. When you were young and deciding where you’d live, spinning Replogle globes with raised reliefs like brailled texts, a place to rest your fingertips, the smalls of backs. Or sitting in the rynek with grandparents and coffees you might have finished. A sideways smile like from blistered grey photographs, grandma whispers blessings frozen in monochrome, rosaries clutched and dangling from wrists. Fingering prints around kitchen tables–quinoa tabouli, grains not quite like sand–we try not to dirty them, wipe hands on our pantlegs, imagine our lives transplanted or not. Rest in the garden among withering dahlias, keystrokes cross continents your moth floats international–or, how can we come to be together again.
••••••• Alone he sits on peaceful steps – above, Yet within a public stage. Puppets pull At their strings to no avail – only love Can cut such chains. Together with her – full. Effortless progression; mutual trust Beyond petty worries of yesterday. Truly the world gives you what it must For you to discover your rightful way. ••••••• The train in motion; valleys of verdure Blur into streams – streams of thought collide. Her Voice lingers now, always and forever, Within his heart. Two souls beat together.
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Kill the Ghost Mark Iyengar There’s a ghost leering at me from the corner of the room. “Errol, look at me when I’m talking to you.” But there’s a fucking ghost in the room. How can I look at you when there’s a ghost in the room? “I’m listening to you.” “But look at me.” I glance at him then look back into the dark corner of the attic. There’s a leering ghost in it. “Fuck, fine. All I’m saying is you need to stop being so...emotional.” I’m not being emotional. I know I’m not. He just thinks I’m being emotional because I’m looking at the ghost and not him. Self-important asshole. “I’m not being emotional,” I state. I stated it. That’s how unemotional I’m being. I should point that out. “I stated that, in case you didn’t notice,” I point out. “What are you talking about?” “You never fucking know what I’m talking about,” I yell emotionlessly, “there’s a fucking ghost leering at me from the corner in case you haven’t noticed, asshole.” “Why are you letting your emotions get the better of you?” he asks, despite my calm demeanour. “Why are you constantly asking me questions like that despite my calm
demeanour?” I shoot back loudly and emotionlessly. “Errol, this isn’t my fault, don’t be angry at me.” “For the last time, I’m not angry. Why do you think I’m angry? There’s no reason to think I’m angry.” “You’re ye—” “For God’s sake, shut up. I’m not angry or sad or joyous or in bloody fucking loooove,” I interjected calmly, “I’m not being emotional, Casper just won’t stop fucking leering at me from the corner.” So he left, and Casper stayed. I named Casper for the same reason everyone else names everything, from children named Conor to turtles named Sheldon and bongs named Mystique (R.I.P.), I named Casper so he would have a sense of Identity. Identity that reaches up from beneath the soil, sprouting leaves and blooming red, white and pink flowers all inevitably connected to a system of roots beneath the earth shaped like his name, Casper. I named Casper so that he would have this beautiful and unique Identity attached to his beautiful and unique ghost name, because I know that there are only a select few things you can name a ghost, and that Casper is one of them. Casper is no longer leering at me from the corner of the attic. Now I can look wherever I want.
4 Literary Supplement Sung By A Fool Marcello Ferrara For whatever it is worth, I’ve tried to remember what happened. To me, my memory of those venerable years in my youth only comes up fractured and distorted, like the frames on silent film reels. Vaguely I can remember how I felt or imagine what I thought given what I think I know of myself back then. I’ve pieced this confession together, using what primary sources I could. I was seven years old when my grandfather died. He came from Italy during the 1950’s to escape the mass poverty after the Second World War. As a child, he worked on a farm with his father and was not allowed to go to school until Mussolini made it mandatory to attend classes. After the war he worked to bring over his wife and, after, his entire family to their new life in Canada. He worked as a technician for trains, fixing the engines and sucking in the fumes of the railroad, which combined with his cigarette use eventually lead to his death from emphysema. I visited him the day before he died. He held my hand and smiled at me. I don’t remember what he said; I wish I could. Growing up he did everything he could for me to be happy when I visited him. He forced my mother to teach him how to properly work a VCR so that he could show me the great children’s television programming at the time. He used to sit next to me and watch them, even if he could barely understand the language. I remember him smiling, his thin white hair, his broken nose, his crooked smile, and his serious but caring demeanour. At his funeral I saw my father cry for the first time. This came as I shock to me. I had always looked up to my father. He watched at the casket being stored in the gray wall, sealed shut, with a picture and an engraving to mark it. He closed his eyes for a moment and when he opened them water swelled in the ridges of his pupils and started to drip slowly down his face. He looked at me with a forced smile and said it was okay to cry. I remember that. In the school playground my friends and I were daring each other to eat a leaf from a tree. Ancient history was the topic in the classrooms and the only information we seemed interested in was how the human tribes would have to hunt in the wild for meat and gather in the woods for greens. My friend picked up the leaf and showed to me. I remember his smile. “Eat it,” he said. I grabbed it with curiosity, examining the lines that ran out from the middle stem, and ate it. It tasted dry and awful, like nothing I had ever eaten before. I spat it all out near them. They laughed and cringed at the same time. “Now your turn,” I said, still recovering from the ordeal. My friends all shook their head smiling. When it was time to go back to class, all the children were lining up on the asphalt drive next to the entrance back to the school. I was in the middle of the line waiting to go back to class when the girl behind me called me a nickname. All the time the girls would tease me with this name and I would run off and be alone, ashamed, and angry. Whenever anyone tells me what I did next I always remember for some reason the casket sealed away, the picture of my grandfather, and my father with tears and smile saying “it’s okay to cry”. Everything became more significant for me. The stretch of asphalt in front of me became longer. My classmates’ faces looking at me became distorted. Everything was slower and quiet. The name was the only thing I heard. I turned around slowly in the quiet. I saw the girl who, with a smug look, continually called the name as if to never make me forget it. I haven’t forgotten. I curled my fists and hit her. Everyone moved back and turned as she screamed. I pushed her and she fell to the ground, hitting the pavement hard. My hand was shaking; I felt nothing. I lifted my leg and stomped on her nose before she could scream again. Then there was blood. I stomped again. Something pulled me back. A forceful grasp held me by the chest and pulled me away from her. She began screaming and crying. Suddenly, everything was normal: the asphalt drive was maudlin, the stunned faces of my classmates were clear, and the noisiness of the world returned to my ears – everything – was the same again. People didn’t look at the bleeding, screaming, crying girl; they looked at me with a frightful awe and weird curiosity. I remember the silence. There was sort of silence even when she was screaming; there was silence even when the teacher was yelling for help. They took me to the principal’s office. I sat in a chair looking at a light blue wall. The principal bent his knees and got down to my level and looked in my eyes. “Son, we’ve called your parents and they’re on their way.” I wanted to cry. I didn’t know why but I was in trouble. My mom would be mad and I didn’t want that. I don’t remember anything. There is this feeling, a memory that perhaps I invented: I’m staring at this light blue wall and feeling for the first time in my life, that I am alone. I wanted to cry. I don’t know if I did. I want to remember, but I don’t remember anything. I remember my hand shaking. I remember the faces of children, scared, excited, and curious. I remember feeling alone. I remember eating the leaf like an ancient caveman and it tasted awful. I remember my father crying. I remember my grandfather smiling but I don’t remember what he said. I remember seeing him the casket. “It’s okay to cry”. “Eat it”. “Your parents are on way.” I remember my social worker asking me why I hit that girl. “I don’t know” I said, and tears finally fell from my innocent eyes.
Rabid Song James Farr The sky is black like sickness tonight From the eroding cliff-tops you can see An ocean that stirs like a fretful child Will you foam at the mouth for me? Carried away by this current gloom To the heart of some black brackish river From quiver to bowstring I’m shot into the dark With the decaying sound of the bowstring’s quiver Hemorrhaging black I soak the page With a pen that’s barbed as the tongue it’s from But now I write in octopus ink To divert you, to disguise what I’ve become Like initials carved in a table-top This was once an innocent effigy If these words are all that’s left for you Will you foam at the mouth for me? Another man would have buried these shadows In the backyard next to the childhood dog But they’re bleeding bear-trapped in my brain I’ve gone bloodlust blind in this nauseous fog If you become a witch to burn at a stake Or a lady to tie to a railroad track Or a goat to gut for a primeval god Remember my magic was not always black And if I never land on ground again If I remain until I’m taken out to sea And if my lungs are lost to choke-black waves Will you foam at the mouth for me?
Meso Nikolay Shargorodsky The tools that built themselves inside my arm created outlines of a simple town and mapped the irrigation all throughout the earthy flesh that came unfounded, but by petites Berbers here and there, those bullets and bacteria I love to kill. My arm’s a maniac of God. It doesn’t know the veins it gloves. It doesn’t know what makes it up. It eats the channels of my blood and gives it back to feed my heart. “God in Sheba made these tools,” the doctor-friend, a fool, told me. This doctor didn’t see the towns, the simple ones that came to be from all this war outside. I’m a little more than scared to be a patient of this man, but I’m healing and it feels to me like nothing all again. I’m an excavated amputee. I lost a war. Two wars, in fact. It’s seeming more and more like I will never know myself inside and out.
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When you, polar bears Max Karpinski
You in smoked air and the couch. Gary Busey on Youtube saving grizzly bears with white dye. David Attenborough and polar bears still, still-hunting. The Trials of Life marathon, we own the boxset, twelve VHSes and only one double (“Fighting”). Value Village or Village des Valeurs in italics, want to say it only cost 7$ but honestly can’t. Seven tapes in and time passes like faucets on full. Smushing together, don’t understand or remember where “Fighting” turned into “Courting” and eventually “Continuing the Line.” “When you” you begin, full pause. “Polar bears.” Smushing together, like sandwiches: American cheese, mustard, pickle, white bread, don’t question it. This apartment on edge, even the chairs are comical. Pouring glass on glass of cold tap water, holding glass on face smushing condensation, perspiration, some drool. This sandwich is disgusting. “When you,” you begin, again pause. “How is it?” Still, chewing. “This sandwich is disgusting. But the pickle. The pickle is crisp and cool.”
Avanti is Dead Amelia Cardiff I think about my father And the loss of his And the horse I’ve know my whole life laying dead in the pasture. And I think things like, “What a terrible fucking year” I worry. He’s crying on the phone His crying at the funeral parlor Him crying with a shotgun in the field
I think about him packing up that house Singing Elvis songs into tack boxes With the ribbons What a terrible fucking year. I wonder what he’d hoped for When he was a hockey star When he was a millionaire When he was the king of that town.
6 Literary Supplement Exposed Julia Edelman “Hola Signorita!” “Hay-low Allen!” she said, smiling that familiar smile of overcrowded teeth. Her heavy accent vibrated within the elevator. The two other people in the elevator, the tall, lanky teenager and the wrinkled old woman, stood silently and stared at us. “¿Cómo estás?” I asked her dumbly in my embarrassing American accent. She laughed sweetly like she always does. “Estoy bien, Allen! You has learned spaneesh?” Yes, sadly, and all for her. All for these elevator rides every morning. I imagined the strong smell of turpentine and the sound of scraping palette knives as we drew closer. “Si signora!” I said. “Verrry good, Allen,” she said, rolling her R’s with distinction, something I could not seem to master. Since the first day she had started modeling for his painting class, I had fallen in love with her. I was in love with the contours of her body, the shadows that fell across her thighs, the way she parted her lips and held her pose for eternity. “You has spoken spaneesh for long time?” The worst part was that I shared her with the rest of the class. There were ten other people in the class, and they all saw her, naked and exposed to the world, only not as I saw her. “Si, muchos años.” I didn’t even know if what I was saying made sense to her but I spoke to her and that’s what mattered. My hands began to sweat and I wiped them on my pants. There was a sudden jolt and the elevator stopped climbing. We all looked around at each other, wondering what to do. For the first time,
the old woman spoke. “This happens all the time with these elevators. You just have to wait it out.” We all nodded and waited. I turned my attention back to Maria. I could feel the man behind me snickering under his breath, thinking what a fool I was to be trying so damn hard. I was too old for such a gorgeous creature. “Allen, fo-err how long you paint?” I wanted to take her to dinner, go for a walk, go dancing and then after a while I would finally be able to see her naked, my ultimate reward. And yet, the whole order was reversed and it was fucking everything up. “Ten years.” The worst part is how dehumanizing it is. Here was this beautiful woman exposing her sacred body to complete strangers. They all look at her with a cursory glance, sometimes studying her in detail for the lights and darks as if she were an apple, lying blankly on a table like an empty still life. “It eez a long time, ten years, yes?” “Yes, it is a long time. But I love it.” And then, it is humanizing as well. Although paradoxical, her naked and innocent body forces you to appreciate beauty in simplicity. She is simply there, sitting, waiting, and yet it is intoxicating. “You paint so great when you paint me,” she said, her eyes shining. The elevator began to move again, and we continued to climb onward. I laughed nervously. We reached our floor, and everyone piled out of the elevator. I walked with Maria, side by side, to class. A man and woman both trying to be something they’re not, in languages they cannot comprehend. We entered the studio, and everyone greeted her warmly, some asking why she was late. I took my seat and set up my paints.
The Canadian Maidens Gillian Massel O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies May stalwart sons and gentle maidens rise; To keep thee steadfast thro’ the years From East to Western Sea Our Fatherland, our Motherland, Our True North strong and free – forgotten verse of the national anthem found in the 1967 Canadian Centennial edition of the Gideon Bible The Canadian maidens are singing in the pine trees. combing their hair with a beaver’s claw. Backpackers hear them; lured from their trails. The maidens skittering from birch to spruce giggling like jays. You can’t photograph a Canadian maiden because they are made of sunlight reflected from snow. Most of the time they are mistaken for flashes of silver tossed in the air by the scales of migrating salmon. A lucky grizzly could catch one (feed her cubs) but we fished all day and caught only minnows melt water artic char. Once we saw the Canadian maidens dancing; sparks from bushfire and birch-bark strip-teased from trunks.
But when you called to them they drove us away with pinecones, porcupine quills, manic like a dog with burs.
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The first boy I ever saw cry In the chapel, with hands folded over in prayer. I remember thinking his cheekbones were scripture poetry. I watched the salt solidify on his face through my peripheral gaze, Side-longed stares The way his eyelashes were being weighed down by the sorrows of the Lord. I bit my fingernails so I wouldnâ€™t cry too, Thereâ€™s enough loss already, and The thin winter light sliding in through the stain-glass windows Made my insides ache, I love you so.
Joan of Arc was on my doorstep in the rain asking me to climb the cross. She had whiskey on her lips and her eyes glowed like amethyst. Through some sanctity I refused (Come inside, warm sheets wet windows Her dress white as clouds, ribs of plowed soil) We looked toward the mirror and Her hair turned to brass. Seeds sprouted from my skin: rose-apple rashes. Geranium vines grew through the doorway. I knew then that when I kissed her, I would burst into heavenly light.
Your poetic cheekbones, your salty skin, Your empty grasping hands, Your,
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Keep spitting Sean Lamb The girls in their one-tone dresses shirts extended to the bunion, (one-line) And my voice floating on yellow helium dip Their heels dribbling fluorescent dye on the grain of the asphalt And their voices thin fogs dropping to the height of little distant hay bails (in my head) Their lips melting encaustic napthol, some pure tone.
Lost gone lost gone somewhere else someone else walk by long fingers walk by again & wait again. They spit! those girls young enough to be indistinct, all straight-leg some in teal some seafoam cushioned bras deep relief & shorts frayed in the same places
Breathe deep when I find that they cut their hair & grew old & are always two-thirds covered in flower petal-prime rose bush licking the edge of their half-rim glasses when they are hot-faced, and now predictably hot-faced, twice a month. Their little buttons propped up, and the curve in her nose shallow opened line, she shows the thing that used to be frayed â€“ freckled I used to think of your chest as a scoop, curved stretcher of eggshell, & now you have confirmed it. Thank you.
I used to think of your chin as greatly exaggerated, parabola nose & that shimmying exponential forehead, little dips of helium, red hair make-up, mannequin strong-bone, not yet confirmed, but, Thank you. You wear a muzzle now, black-on-black striped metallic thing, hasnâ€™t seen the sun in days. His hair is stapled hourglass wood More or so, sign off, Thank you. stippled dot, spit and spit, girls spit and spit and walk on by me again and keep spitting.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Mimose’s mother through her open car window. Mimose’s mom introduced me as “the student.” One woman with long braided hair peered into the back of the van and called out to me: “A student? Bonjour! Bonjour!” Soon after, we left as part of a convoy heading towards the ceremony. We picked up speed on the highway and crossed the bridge heading off the Island of Montreal. After about an hour we arrived at our destination: a sleepy town, which, from what I could see, consisted only of one-story houses with sprawling green lawns. (I later found out it was the Montreal suburb Repetigny). We pulled up to the curb on a dark street. The people slowly got out of their cars. Feeling conspicuously tall and white, I followed Mimose and King. A hushed discussion between Mimose’s mom and others was taking place. Confused, I turned to King. “We don’t know which house it is,” he said, shrugging. “I’ve been here once before, but it was dark.” No lights were on in any of the houses, but someone began leading the group toward one house. We entered one-by-one through a side door that led into a renovated garage. This was the Temple des Mystères. As we were heading in, a question occurred to me. “Does everyone know each other?” I asked King. He smiled at me: “Everyone in voodoo is friends.”
For show hroughout the night, a cameramen and a photographer appeared to be documenting the ceremony. They identified themselves as being with Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Civilization. Mimose told me that there is a voodoo exhibit planned for 2013 at the museum. “It will be the first time there will be an exposee of voodoo in Canada for awareness and learning,” Mimose had said in the van. When I reached the Exhibition Planning Officer for the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Nicolas Gauvin, on the phone, he explained that he had been visiting the voodoo exhibit that was moving through European cities like Berlin, Stockholm, and Amsterdam. He has also been working closely the Fondation pour la preservation, la valorisation et la production d’oevres culturelles haitiennes (FPVPOCH), based in Petionville, Haiti. Though the Ottawa exhibit will include some feedback from the Montreal community of voodoo practitioners, the main exhibit will consist of artifacts from the Fondation’s collection. Fondation employee, and voodoo priestess, Rachel Beauvoir-Dominique explained how the exhibit first began. “It started in Geneva – the Museum of Ethnography in Geneva – and they were the ones responsible, who came to Haiti, and noticed this extraordinary collection that we’ve been working on since 1987,” she explained, when I spoke to her on the phone from Haiti. The collection is a site to behold. One piece displayed on the organization’s website is a sculpture of a human figure covered in pink, red, and gold glitter,
wrapped in what looks like a snake. The list of materials beneath the photo reads, “Matérial: Os (crâne humain), textile, paillettes, cotton” – bone (human skull), fabric, glitter, cotton. The Fondation serves as a cultural hub that addresses increasing globalization and the corresponding dispersion of the Haitian patrimony through emigration. It also teaches children in Haiti about their heritage. One aspect of that heritage is voodoo. “I think that most of the Haitian people have voodoo in their hearts, in their souls, and in their way of being,” she told me. “It’s very simple. You know, it’s the way you dream, it’s the way you think, it’s the way you act. Like the old people used to always, before drinking their coffee in the morning, pour a few drops on the earth just to drink with their ancestors, and there’s a lot of stuff like that.” Beauvoir-Dominique explained that Westerners have long held mistaken notions about voodoo. “Voodoo has absolutely nothing to do with witchcraft. Nothing,” she said. “Really all of those stories about the pins and needles and the dolls and sorcery were imagined out of North American and European fantasies that came out of their own heritage but have nothing to do with the actual practice of the Haitian people.”
II n the middle of the room in the Temple des Mystères was a pillar embedded with divots, from which candles and flowers hung, and on which a brightly painted snake wound its way down from the ceiling. About forty people sat on chairs around the perimeter of the rectangular room. In one corner, an altar was laden with bejeweled bottles and jugs covered in fabric. A four-man drum circle struck up a rhythm. Then a priestess, alternating between sitting and circling the pillar, led the group in singing. After what felt like a long time, the ceremony seemed to end. I looked to King and Mimose – was that it? King laughed. That, he said, was only the introduction. Mimose motioned to me to come and sit by her so she could explain what was going on. Soon, Mimose and her mother were on their feet, swaying to the music, moving to the rhythm of the drums. The priestess was wearing loose pants and a large, turban-like headdress. She led the ceremony in a call and response, in which the crowd replied to her prompts by calling out “Ayibobo.” Mimose translated the phrase as “God bless” or “Amen.” Soon, the first ceremony of the night took place – the offerings to the twin spirits. Mimose explained that practitioners offer candies, chocolate and bread, since those are the foods that kids like, and the twin spirits are children. Throughout the ceremonies, Mimose told me when to stand up. For the offerings to the sea god, I felt the rhythm of drums change, seeming to indicate that everyone should stand, but Mimose and her mother were nowhere in sight. When I stood – trusting my instinct – I
Continued on page 12
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Continued From page 11 saw that Mimose and her mother were performing the ceremony. The priestess touched a gourd to the central pillar, crossed herself, and kissed the pillar. Mimose held a candle. As the ceremonies continued, it seemed clear that Mimose and her mother were not simply voodoo practitioners or vodouisants. I asked Mimose if her mother was a priestess, to which Mimose answered yes. When I asked her if she was one herself, she smiled and replied humbly, “I am on my way.”
Friend of voodoo ean-François Chalut is a Montreal filmmaker. Recently, he put out his opus, a documentary about Saint-Jacques Ogou, a voodoo warrior spirit. “I felt attracted to that on a symbolic level…it touched me on a level where I felt like the warrior myself, or a conqueror,” Chalut tells me. He lived in Haiti between 1979 and 2008, and compiled the footage that would make up his film. But, like me, Chalut came to voodoo as an outsider. Growing up in Francophone Outremont, his parents had a Haitian woman who worked for them around the house. Chalut feels that, from a young age, her presence created an “ambiance.” “We didn’t understand, but often she would be in almost like a trance. We would often find her on the ground because she was rooted to her country. There is always the question of roots in Haiti you see. It’s very important. That is what voodoo is – they are the roots,” he says. I meet Chalut in a bakery near his home in Rosemont. He is tall and slim. When he speaks, he gestures restlessly with his hands, and bobs his head forward to emphasize his points. He tells me that, after coming to a “crossroads” in his life, he looked to his mother for advice. She recommended going to Haiti, having been to the country once before, and having loved it. So, when he was in his mid-twenties, Chalut visited Haiti. He liked it so much he went again the following year. Eventually, he moved to New York, where he discovered voodoo. “I discovered voodoo in New York because I fell in love with a New Yorker – a French woman,” he tells me with a sigh. He recounted sharing his love of Haiti with Chantal, the French woman, and encouraging her to go discover the country. Chantal heeded his advice. She was a skilled photographer, much better than him, and, when she returned from Haiti, she showed Chalut some pictures. “I saw her photos in New York, and I had a flash. I absolutely have to see that. I don’t know why I had that attraction. I don’t know why,” he said. Inspired, Chalut went on his own photographic trip. “I went and took my photos and when I came back and showed Chantal my
photos, she said ‘Shit, you saw my photos and went and did the same thing!’” Chalut laughed. “‘You have stolen my subject.’ And I said, ‘look it’s not my fault. I am inspired, you were inspired and so am I.’” They broke up over the dispute. Still, Chalut maintains that he didn’t mean to copy Chantal – they were just inspired by the same Haiti. “There was something that brought it to her and that brought it to me. It’s a public place. It’s not something hidden. And so that’s how I discovered it – thanks to her, and then I brought it to my film.” After taking the photos, Chalut knew he had to make a movie about Haiti. When he moved the Plain-du-Nord region of the country, he married a “true vodouisant” as he calls her, and lived with his wife, mother, and fatherin-law – all of whom practice voodoo. (Despite that, Chalut does not identify himself as one.) His film relies heavily on archival footage of men and women being manifested by spirits like Saint-Jacques Ogou. Many of them lose control of their bodies when the spirit enters them. In one scene, a man flails in a shallow, muddy pond, violently bumping up against its banks. A scholar knowledgeable about Ogou explains to the camera that the passion the spirit inspired led to riots on more than one occasion.
Iii he first instance of a manifested spirit that night at the Temple des Mystères occurred to the priestess. Vodouisants believe that spirits can enter your body at any time. Spasms and convulsions shook the priestess’s body. People surrounded her, helping her reach the ground gently, cushioning her fall. After the spirit had left the priestess, someone nearby drank from a bottle of rum and sprayed the priestess’s face with it. As the night went on, spirits manifested themselves in more people, and the cycle of convulsions, a cushioned fall, a shot of rum, and a spray in the face happened each time. People stood on their chairs dancing. Individual voices could be heard rising above the collective din as they joined in the chanting. Sweat streaming down his face, one man stood up and exclaimed “Yai bobo” in a strong, loud voice rich with warmth and happiness. He wore a black full-length robe with a matching black hat. I saw one man begin to convulse, his head swinging back and forth, his neck muscles contorting with exertion, his body launching into spasms in all directions. The area around him cleared immediately, and, slowly, a few of those nearby began to embrace his body. People rocked and swayed as those possessed by the spirit careened into crowded sections of the room. I asked Mimose if a spirit could come to more
than one person at a time. She smiled with anticipation and nodded. Sometimes there were breaks in the ceremony to air out the room. The drummers would take a rest, and the soft hum of voices would replace the rhythm of the drums. During breaks, soft drinks and beer were passed around. One man was pouring generous shots of rum. When the ceremony started up again, Mimose gestured for me to stand up, as she had done many times throughout the night. “They are honouring my mother,” she explained. Mimose’s mother stood at the front of the room in a new yellow dress with ruffles and silver sparkles and a sparkly silver headdress, which she had changed into moments before. The priestess handed her a certificate with a dark wooden frame. “For honour, merit, and generosity,” the certificate read. I later found out that Mimose’s mother was La Belle Deesse Sr. herself, the founding priestess of La Belle Deesse voodoo temple. The temple’s website says she was identified as “the chosen one,” when a spirit entered her at the age of seven. Mimose and Raphny, it turns out, are not only spiritual sisters, but blood sisters. Only minutes later, as La Belle danced nearby me, she suddenly began to sway. Convulsing periodically, her head dropped to her chest; Mimose moved to her side. Suddenly, La Belle began pulling at her clothes, taking off the top half of her dress. She threw off her headdress and donned a baseball cap taken from a nearby boy’s head. Wearing sunglasses, she took swigs from a large jug, and smoked two cigarettes at once. The spirit had come. I later read a description of Tijean Dantor, the spirit being honored by the ceremony that night. Tijean likes to wear caps, drink from jugs, and smoke two cigarettes at a time.
The privacy of her home he next time I went to a voodoo ceremony was the night of Halloween. I met Monique Dufain, a vodouisant, in her Montreal Nord apartment. Dufain immigrated to Canada when she was 22 to work as a domestic for a family in Montreal. Dufain now holds information sessions about voodoo in her apartment, mostly for curious university students. She takes donations for her lessons but doesn’t demand a fee. I gave her five dollars. I also arrived with red flowers in hand – Dufain had asked the night’s pupils to bring items that could contribute to the evening. That night, a UQAM student named Florine and I were the only two there. Dufain ushered us past her son and into a spare room. A piano was pushed up against one wall and was stacked with bottles.
The room was strewn with candles, and pillows to sit on. She began our evening by saying that, in voodoo, the truth depends on the person. “You have your truth,” she said nodding to Florine, “you have your truth” – looking to me – “and I have my truth.” She lit candles around the room and opened a door that led to a balcony before pouring a shot of Bacardi rum outside. Her long, braided hair tied behind her head, she set a handful of sage alight in the centre of the room. While pouring mentholated oil onto our hands, she told us to do whatever we liked with it. I rubbed the oil onto my arms and neck. Dufain’s practice of voodoo involves small rituals like this every day. She does them first thing in the morning and when she gets home from work. She explained why she practices voodoo in the privacy of her own home and not in large groups. She feels that the reference to Catholic saints like Saint Jean-Baptiste, so prevalent in mainstream voodoo ceremonies, is an unnecessary relic of the French colonialism Haitians threw off in a slave revolt in 1791, which culminated in their independence in 1804. “I had never done it in Haiti,” she explained, “so why would I do it here?” Voodoo, though the roots, soul and culture of the Haitian people, has not been in a position of power since the slave revolt against France, Dufain contested. She attributed some of the greatest prejudices against voodoo to other Haitians, Catholics, or Protestant evangelicals who look down on the religion. “People will say you’re crazy,” she explained. “It is hard to be a vodouisant.”
IV It’s a lot to take in, Mimose said to me, when the ceremony had broken up. We sat parked outside a Tim Horton’s somewhere on the outskirts of Montreal, waiting for Mimose’s husband to bring back coffees. The next time it will be easier, and you will understand what is going on. This time was just to see. I nodded in agreement. Dropping off King and La Belle, I thought about how surreal our night would have seemed to someone on the outside. La Belle was bad ass in a way that no other older woman living in Angou could possibly imagine. As she climbed the steps to her townhouse, she lifted the layers of her yellow skirt from around her feet. Here was a woman who had just been honoured by the voodoo community, had drank large amounts of rum, and had been possessed by a spirit in a single night. And now she was walking back to a reality in which she would be surrounded by people who have no way of understanding the world she had just come from.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
The death of amateurism in college sports How the Penn State scandal let everyone down A Fan’s Notes Evan Dent
or years, the facade of amateurism in college football has been crumbling. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hides behind the sentiment that college football programs exist in order to foster a spirit of amateur competition, creating well-rounded individuals (some of whom may go onto the professional leagues). In other words, they claim to foster an innocent, ideal sports environment. That might’ve been realistic in the 1950s, when college football wasn’t such a business: today’s landscape is very different. These days, the dollar is more important than anything else, and greed has destroyed the spirit of college football. The football programs today make tons of money from football, and having a good football team
is critical to creating revenue for most major conference schools. With the rise in the game’s profitability, the idea that the players are amateur student athletes has become a joke. This has never been more apparent than with the recent developments in the case of Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator at Penn State. Sandusky has been charged with forty counts of sexual crimes against underage boys, most of whom he met while running a youth-welfare program called “The Second Mile.” Sandusky used his position at the charity to gain access to young boys, and then sexually abuse them. Only slightly less horrifying than these charges was the effort by Penn State administrators to hide the incidents, choosing to put the football program over everything, including basic morality. The cover up is shameful: in 2002, a Penn State graduate assistant came into the football facilities late one night and witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the showers. Soon after, the assistant informed the head coach,
Joe Paterno. Paterno was the coach at Penn State for 46 years before his recent firing; he had morphed into the face of the football team, and, by extension, the university. He was revered by his adherence for doing things “the right way”– he made sure his players got an education, he recruited cleanly, and acted as a father figure to many players and the school as a whole. His actions in this scandal, though, proved his fallibility. After receiving a report from the graduate assistant, Paterno sat on the revelation for ten days before telling what he knew to his athletic director, Tim Curley. Curley and the Senior Vice President of Business and Finance, Bill Schultz, later met with the graduate assistant and told him that they would look into the matter. Curley also notified the President of the university, Graham Spanier, of the report. As the story moved up the chain of command, up through every administrative level of the university, the police were never notified. Sandusky had his access to the locker rooms taken away. That was all.
Every person who knew of the crimes decided that protecting the Penn State football program was more important than protecting Sandusky’s victims. The lucrative business of the program disrupted their morality. All these men, under Pennsylvania law, did the bare minimum of what they had to do in this situation (in reporting it to a superior), but this was a crime where the bare minimum was nowhere close to enough. If there was any doubt before, well, now we know: whatever amateur spirit college football had left is now dead. Almost every major program in the NCAA has been caught for recruiting or program infractions, in which schools (or their wealthy alumni boosters) give money or gifts to players and their families in order to lure them to their school. Despite the fact that this practice has become the norm, Penn State is one of the two teams to have never been caught for recruiting or program infractions. However, the current Penn State scandal shows that even this model program has deep
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flaws, making the case all the more discouraging. It goes far beyond pure greed – it is an elimination of humanity by the program in order to safeguard their cash cow. If it could happen at Penn State – a school that was revered for never having committed any recruiting violations – we can only ask, where does it end? The spirit of amateurism in the NCAA has been dying for quite some time; with this breakdown of moral decency, the final nail can be hammered into the coffin. We can stop pretending that the NCAA is anything more than a cold, emotionless business. It’s not about the players, or school pride, or any other naive ideal. These schools are in it for the money, which they hold above anything else. Evan Dent is a sports columnist for The McGill Daily. His column is from the fan’s perspective. You can see him at Champs every Sunday watching the Buffalo Bills play. He can be reached at afansnotes@ mcgilldaily.com.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Confessions of an injured athlete What I lost, what I hated, and how I healed Madeleine Cummings The McGill Daily
have always divided the world into two types of people: athletes and non-athletes. I now know there are three: athletes, non-athletes, and injured athletes. The last category is by far the most neurotic. I would know. For the past year, I have been batting patella femoral syndrome in both knees. First, some background: I run on McGill’s varsity cross-country and track and field teams. I live with other runners, and we chose our apartment because it is exactly 400 metres away from the outdoor track. Approximately one third of the clothes I own are made of spandex, and, come winter, I attach rubber picks to my shoes so I can continue running on the snow and ice. I’m no stranger to injuries. I’ve had many, from a strained a calf muscle I got doing steeplechasing, blisters whose size would shock most medical professionals, bad ankle sprains, and even a few bruised ribs after tripping over a sidewalk crack (I’m also graceful). I won’t bore you with the details of my current injury, but let’s just say that it was stubborn and persistent. At this time last year, I was limping everywhere and going down stairs backwards so as to avoid bending my knee in a certain way.
Needless to say, I couldn’t run. After moving through the stages of denial, blame, and finally acceptance, I approached the rehabilitative process with a relentless drive that I wish could be channeled towards my GPA or summer job search. X-rays, bone scans, MRIs, sports doctors, and physiotherapists were just the beginning. I bought a road bike and spent hours riding it. Not knowing how to change the tube tires, I would walk like a duck in my plastic clip-in shoes all the way home if I got a flat mid-ride. I swallowed bottles of various anti-inflammatory pills, spread special gel on my knees, and shivered through ice baths. I even had a previous coach of mine videotape and analyze my gait to search for asymmetries. The people at Moksha yoga have likely never seen such aggressive use of a membership card. “Weren’t you here this morning?” they would ask as I arrived for pilates in the afternoon. I swam laps, and learned to flip turn. In front of the TV, I did strengthening exercises with thermabands, foam rollers, and other toys. Then I added a weight-lifting regimen. By the summer, I was doing three forms of exercise a day (cardio, weights, and yoga), working at my job in between sessions, and going to bed at 10 every night. Every few weeks, I would try to run again, but the knee pain always returned. At the height of
my lunacy, I wrote a letter to my left knee demanding that it heal itself. It was while aqua-jogging in McGill’s Memorial Pool one day that I instantly understood why millions of people hate exercising. I hated it too! I hated pools. I hated being inside. I hated every activity because it wasn’t running. Aqua-jogging, or “pool running” as it’s informally called, is a particularly awful form of cross training. It’s also the most recommended, because it’s so low-impact. A pool runner straps a belt to his or her body and runs through the water at a pace that feels like slow-motion. That day, I fought desperation in the deep end. I pumped my arms faster and faster. Was I crying or were my eyes just stinging from the chlorine? Then, I just stopped moving and unclipped my belt, which floated to the surface as I began to sink. My dignity had been reduced to this diaper, this strip of floatation foam that was – like me – fraying at the ends and stuck in the deep end. I’d had enough. Walking home, I resented each casual jogger that passed by me. I couldn’t help but think, “Why hadn’t their knees given up on them? Why did I have to suffer and not them?” Once home, I went into my bedroom and shut the door. I then noticed there was something shiny on my bed. It was a new journal with the first few pages already filled in. “Dear Madeleine,” the first entry began.
“It’s me. Your left knee...” I approached my injury with the conventional formula of rest, crosstraining, and strengthening. But the missing ingredient to my rehab – to getting well and moving on – was something I had all along, but often failed to see: the people around me. The knee-letter and journal was a gift from the one roommate I have who is not on the track team. You don’t need to be an athlete to know how hard it is to be kept from doing something you love. A few weekends later, I stood on the sidelines of a cross-country course in the pouring rain and cheered for my teammates. I saw the pain on their faces as their spikes sunk into the sodden golf course. Their faces were shiny with sweat and rain. Their jerseys were soaked and mud-covered, and they grimaced as they tried to work through the pain.
Andra Cernavskis | The McGill Daily Being injured for a long period of time forced me to learn how to work through a similar pain. Much like runners do in a race, I began to push the self-pity aside in order to keep going. In the end, it was my friends who helped me do this best. They were the ones who laughed the hardest at my trials and tribulations, and who eventually convinced me to try running again this October. On November 12, I ran at the national cross-country championship in a blizzard on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. The race went well, and my season ended in relief and pride. I had my happy ending. Now my roommates have injuries of their own, and I can see the frustration in their eyes. What I say to them, like they said to me, and what I would say to anyone battling a persistent injury is this: keep on trying. Others do understand. You will heal.
cantly altered the nature of sports fandom. Before fantasy sports became popular, fans would typically root for their favourite team. Now, fantasy participants root for many different teams based on athletes rather than geography. Dave Richard, a senior fantasy writer at CBSsports.com, explained this phenomenon to Goldin: “Fantasy sports have reinvented sports fans. Before these games became popular, most people
were fans of one or two teams in every sport... Suddenly, a fan watching in Detroit has an interest in a game between Los Angeles and San Diego.” Fantasy sports, once the niche of Harvard sociologists and a small segment of the most passionate fans, are now a hobby and obsession to millions of people and a major revenue source for sports media. With this trend, fantasy sports are only poised to become more and more popular.
Naomi Braude Sports Writer
ntire websites, hours of ESPN coverage, and segments of Sports Radio talk shows are devoted to them, many people participate in them, and yet they do not involve real scores or affect standings. Becoming increasingly popular in the last five years, fantasy sports participants pick and manage a virtual team of real athletes. Just as professional managers must be quick thinking and constantly aware of what players might be injury-prone, so too must fantasy players. These players, with 24 hour access to news, develop these same skills. Prior to the beginning of the professional season, approximately eight to twelve people form a fantasy league. Players often know each other, but websites, such as Rotowire.com, Comissioner.com, and Yahoosports. com, can also organize leagues. Next, players participate in a draft. Each player, managing his own team, is responsible for filling his roster with virtual athletes. Modeled after real-life drafts, participants are subject to a time limit for their picks, and therefore must be as fast-thinking and knowledgable as real managers. Once the professional season begins, participants select their lineups for the given week. Again, this is
modeled after the way real sports are conducted; fantasy football players chose their rosters on Sunday, while fantasy hockey players chose theirs on Saturday. When the game gets going, the athletes perform according to their statistics and rankings from real games. Unlike in professional leagues, in which roles are split up, fantasy players act as owner, manager, and coach all at once. As Danny Goldin, a former writer for Rotowire.com, explains, fantasy sports were first played in 1960 in the context of an experimental study in a Harvard University seminar led by the sociologist William Gamson. Participants were instructed to form MLB rosters prior to the start of the season, and their players “value” was then calculated upon conclusion of the real season the players’ statistics. While Gamson’s model did not permit players to make roster changes during the actual season, participants in fantasy sports now actively manage their team throughout the season, requiring them to pay close attention at all times to the status of their players. With the advent of the internet, fantasy sports experienced large developments. In 1997, Commissioner.com – which is now the fantasy engine of CBS Sports – and Rotowire.com were launched. These are fantasy sports websites that provide the average sports fan with detailed statistics and analysis on players so that they can
micro-manage their fantasy teams. In addition to allowing sports enthusiasts an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of real players through the management of their fantasy team, fantasy players often place bets with the other members of their fantasy league. If they win, they get the money and, perhaps more importantly, bragging rights among friends. There are a variety of reasons why individuals choose to participate in fantasy sports. Scott Rathwell, a McGill masters student in Sports Psychology, explains that he plays fantasy hockey sports primarily because it offers a means of keeping in contact with friends, many of whom he previously played on actual teams with. Lawrence Greenberg, a Concordia History student who plays both fantasy hockey and football, points to the competitive aspect of the activity, he says it “makes watching the games more intense.” In addition, being able to “show other people that you can pick and manage a better team” is a strong incentive for him. Both Rathwell and Greenberg agree that they now have a heightened level of interest in the actual games. “I definitely watch the games more closely. I constantly have to see who gets injured to try and pick up his replacement before someone else does,” says Greenberg Fantasy sports have also signifi-
Julia Boshyk | The McGill Daily
Fantasy sports for dummies
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Ideas worth spreading? A critical look at TEDxMcGill’s attempt to “redefine reality” Anqi Zhang
The McGill Daily
ED is a non-profit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading”. It has grown vastly since its first conference in 1986, and continues to bring together the “world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).” The success of TED has given birth to TEDx – a series of locally held and independently organized events – to deliver the inspiration and innovation that character-
izes TED to communities around the world. Although TEDxMcGill is still a relatively new event – it was first created in 2009 – the show on Sunday, November 13 did not fail to inspire. The atmosphere at Bain Mathieu, where this year’s event was held, was one of excitement, anticipation, and free intellectual thought and discussion. Bain Mathieu is not the typical venue for many events associated with McGill. After all, the converted pool is a far cry from Leacock 132 or Adams Auditorium. And for a conference with the theme of “Redefining Reality”, it was perfect. With an art
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display and photo shoot at one end, and a live painted visual representation of the event at the other, this location was no conference hall. Many of the speakers were McGill students: Christian Elliot, Tabia Lau, Joshua Kyle, and Alex Pritz, just to name a few. These students were joined by others, including: worldrenowned neuroscientist Dr. Brenda Milner and Ubisoft co-founder Alain Tascan. Though all speakers were diverse – both in their experiences and in their passions – they shared a common connection. June Lam, the curator of TEDxMcGill, who, along with the Speakers Team, carefully selected and coordinated the talks, shares that connection: “I wanted people I had a personal connection to,” Lam told The Daily. He asserted that it was “more important to get people who wanted to work with [them] than big names.” One of the speakers, Marc Rowland, an improvisational drama teacher, concurred: “Louise (a member of the Speakers Team) sent me an email, and then we just talked about what was possible.” It was this developmental process, Rowland said, that “shaped the talks.” According to Lam, the theme of “Redefining Reality” sprang from this same process. “It’s about turning passion into action,” he explained. “We thought a lot about where the fifteen speakers fit into the arc of the story.” This arc manifested itself in three acts. First, the inspiration of new ideas; then the importance of connecting ideas; and finally, converting ideas into action. Redefining an audience’s reality is a lofty goal. Though the speakers brought interesting ideas to the table, none of them were extremely original or hard-hitting. The goal of redefin-
ing our realities ultimately gave fruit to reaffirming a reality most of us in the audience were already aware of. Although the event may not have brought up any revolutionary ideas, there is still value in a reminder of what we already know, but may not always apply in our lives. The intricately organized event provoked thought and conversation between audience members who spoke as peers, even if they had never met before. While the theme of the event was not fully realized onstage, it was still borne out of a holistic interaction between members of the audience. New ideas were born, connections were made, and steps were taken towards making those ideas a reality. While the speakers may not have redefined our realities immediately, their talks provided us with the tools to redefine them ourselves. It is unlikely that these connections could have been forged if TEDxMcGill had been your typical run-of-the-mill McGill event. Though TEDxMcGill’s ties to the University were evident in many regards, it was also distinct from other McGill talks and conferences: the venue, the atmosphere, and the speakers set TEDxMcGill apart. But one thing that did not set TEDxMcGill apart from the plethora of other McGill events was its Anglocentricity. The entire event was delivered in English, the website has only an English version, and videos of past and recent talks are also all in English. While, the cost of having live interpretation is likely too expensive, relatively feasible solutions, such as subtitling videos with French, had not been implemented. As an event that “needed to be relevant to Montreal”, according to Lam, this unilingual approach is a huge oversight.
The most notable thing about TEDxMcGill that isn’t usually seen at McGill talks was the focus on young speakers, students (almost all of whom were undergraduates), and people who do not hold some sort of prestigious credentials. However, the inclusion of students in an event, such as this, can be a double edged sword. On one hand, it creates a sense of comfort and connection because the speakers seem to be part of your world. Their accomplishments could be yours. On the other hand, this similarity can also work against them. When you listen to a TED talk you want to come away with a feeling of awe, inspiration, and the knowledge of having learned something new. However, because of our deep rooted and inherent similarities, as students, it is difficult to feel that your reality can be redefined by principles that you already know. Though it is commendable that the event chose so many relatable speakers, this might be a case of too much of a good thing. Indeed, the majority of speakers were students and, in fact, three of them worked on the same project. Ultimately, the onus of redefining our realities is on us and we shouldn’t expect any event to take that step for us. “Thinking outside the box” or “walking off the beaten path” often requires an almost jarring and forcible removal from our comfort zones. This feeling is disagreeable, and, for that reason, many of us choose not to engage with it. Simply going into an event doesn’t necessarily challenge our comfort in a meaningful way. At the end of the day, though my reality was far from redefined, the event provided me with the chance to interact with interesting people, and listen to what were ultimately “ideas worth spreading”.
Jenny Lu | The McGill Daily
Improv coach Marc Rowland and his partner tell the story of an astronaut, on the spot.
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Our better halves Montreal’s Steven Pinker illustrates how relative rates of violence have declined over time Andrew Komar
The McGill Daily
Edna Chan | The McGill Daily
n our modern world, riddled with police brutality, assault, murder, genocide, and war that
stretch for decades, the mere suggestion that violence is declining may be met with incredulity. Yet, that is the thesis of Steven Pinker’s latest book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined. It is an extensive look into violence
as it has been practiced throughout human history, from our existence in hunter-gatherer tribes to us presently in the 21st century. This undertaking is no easy task, but Steven Pinker is uniquely suited to tackling such a broad subject. Pinker, a Montreal-born McGill graduate who is now a professor of Psychology at Harvard, has built a considerable career by understanding the nature of human cognition. His previous books include The Stuff of Thought, an illumination of human language use, and The Blank Slate, an incredible exploration of the scientific understanding of human nature. Violence, as Pinker reveals, is wired into our brains – an intrinsic part of the human condition, shaping the fabric of society. With excruciating detail, The Better Angels of Our Nature delves into the cruel and unusual ways humans have devised to torture and kill each other. However, the chances that the average person will act on this universal feeling of violence have gradually declined over time. Pinker outlines six main factors that can potentially explain this decline: first, the pacification process, whereby warring tribes are brought under a centralizing authority, giving rise to the first civilizations. The second is the civilizing process, where this centralized authority begins to extract resources
through work (albeit slave labour) and taxes as opposed to plundering or looting. The third is the humanitarian revolution where the communication of ideas begins to radically raise the collective consciousness, The fourth is a long peace, the post WWII era which is remarkably free of nuclear carnage despite nations’ nuclear capabilities. Finally, there are the various human rights revolutions, where increasing numbers of people are protected by rightful access to certain basic rights. It seems more feasible to highlight small aspects of Pinker’s observations, rather than attempt to summarize the behemoth that is The Better Angels of Our Nature. Honour appears as a small, but interesting factor, given that it is intangible. There is no quantifying measure of honour, nor is there some sort of “honour particle.” It is a social construct that only exists because we all agree that it does. In the past, people would be quick to act violently towards those who had threatened or hurt their honour. Today, people still die for honour, but to a much smaller extent. One factor contributing to the decline of honour killings may be the creation of a legal system. In a society with a legal system, the power to wield violence is given to one – ideally uninvolved – third party. This third party, or leviathan, as Pinker calls it, reduces violence caused by
individuals, so long as the legitimacy of this third party is accepted. According to Pinker, this has allowed for the rise of such things as manners, holding your tongue, and other general niceties we even extend to our enemies. Another important change Pinker outlines seems to be an increase in literacy, made possible by relatively recent technological advancements such as the printing press and the Internet, both of which allow the brain to temporarily inhabit the viewpoint of another brain. While this observation may appear rather banal to our modern sensibilities, the value of formalized education, and the general increase in intelligence that follows, cannot be measured. Anecdotal evidence from WWII left a much larger impact on a population that was able to access and understand it, than that from WWI. Literacy and education gave us the ability to learn, not only in school, but also from our own mistakes in life. Though The Better Angels of our Nature was, at times, depressing to read as it gives insight into the machinations of serial killers, rapists, and perpetrators of other unspeakable atrocities, it nonetheless left me feeling cautiously optimistic about the future of our species. In an age defined by our seemingly inexhaustible cynicism, this is certainly a welcome development.
of the fact that evolution is not a viewpoint nor a series of products, but an observed mechanism. One might as well say: “Photosynthesis is becoming more conscious of itself.” Much as I abhorred the faux-science, I am even more indignant at The Daily for presenting these two theories as though they represent a balanced view of evolutionary biology. I am infuriated to think that
people may be led to believe that there is room for nonsense about the “subtle battle...between our own consciousness and the epigene” or “holistic consciousness” in discussing Darwinism. Perhaps, next time The Daily publishes an “exploration” of scientific theory, they may find it pertinent to consult scientists in the field, rather than letting it be bastardized and passed off as well-reasoned.
Evolution shall not be sensationalized A response to “The Conversation: Evolution” Edna Chan
The McGill Daily
n the November 14 issue of the Sci+Tech section of The Daily, a segment called “The Conversation” (pages 16 and 17) painted a tale of two theories of evolution supposedly at odds: progressive Darwinism, and integrationalism. As an evolutionary biology student, and the illustrator for the progressive Darwinist article, I had been both looking forward to, and slightly wary of reading, the final publications. Much to my dismay, I found both flawed – each brimming with their own, distinct brands of nonsense. First, the seemingly innocuous progressive Darwinism, which parades itself as “neo-Darwinism plus,” compounds a well-established theory with the implications of the emerging field of epigenetics. Epigenetics, in essence, studies heritable changes in gene expression (turning genes “on and off”) that are not caused by the DNA sequence itself. However, the author David Benrimoh makes several straw men arguments and
leaps of logic in his attempts to apply the concept, and forgets one important thing: epigenes are subject to natural selection. Neo-Darwinism, the theory that phenotypic or, expressed, change is affected over time by the inheritance of genetic mutations, is already capable of accepting that changes in gene regulation can also be inherited. The effects both of and on the epigene are blown out of proportion by Benrimoh, who doesn’t understand that the adaptive “fine tuning” during a single animal’s lifetime is accounted for by phenotypic plasticity – an introductory level evolutionary concept suggesting that all organisms have some individual adaptability. Benrimoh also draws shaky connections between epigenes and the “problems” of altruism and consciousness, overlooking the fact that answers to these “problems” are already being sought by neo-Darwinists, and have nothing to do with epigenetics, regardless. Similarly, Nirali Tanna, the author of the Integrationalism article seems to view those silly neo-Darwinists as arrogant know-it-alls and postulates “more nuanced schools of thought.”
Tanna suggests that questions like “What is life? Why has life happened? Or, even, what is consciousness?” are beyond the scope of science, requiring some form of ineffable transcendence to comprehend. Philosophical pondering is completely valid outside empiricism, but it is not a basis for scientific discussion. Tanna writes that “evolution is becoming more conscious of itself,” apparently ignorant
Esma Balkir | The McGill Daily
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
The pros of propaganda Cinema Verite
John Watson email@example.com
ike many of my friends and peers, I’m finding it hard to move on with day to day duties and hobbies in light of the larger events that have been shaking our campus lately. The recent Daily editorial’s use of the idiom “Changed, changed utterly” in the November 12 issue reflects the way that many feel about the current state of affairs based on events that have taken place, not only on our campus over the past week, but also across the globe. To say that it feels as though we, as McGill students, are on the cusp of a revolution may be snarled at by some as grossly idealistic, but a feeling of unrest and anxiety strongly lingers in the campus air. Many are already moving forward to instigate change. At times like these, we should look at the links between art and activism, paying particular attention to how artists – alongside politicians, protestors, and police – contribute to change. Cinema is often believed to be mere entertainment – a simple distraction from the hard realities of everyday life. In its early history, however, film was often not developed for entertainment purposes, but rather as a revolutionary tool. Many would identify German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and her collaboration with the Nazi Party as a prime
CULTURE BRIEFS M for Montreal I’ve never had older siblings. Growing up, it’s strange having no guide to follow – you have to figure things out for yourself all the time. I’m not saying that I’m an ideal person to look up to, but at least when it came to things like getting caught by my parents with drugs or applying to University, my younger siblings had it easier. Or, at the very least, they knew what not to do. M for Montreal is a relatively young festival in comparison to the institution that is POP Montreal. People have a hard time figuring out exactly what it is, and how it differs from POP. Truth be told, this festival is still finding it’s own voice in one of North America’s musichubs. The fertile hips of Montreal have given POP a little brother, and now, it’s his turn to make friends.
example of propaganda filmmaking, but her style is rooted in earlier work from the Soviet Union. Following the new state’s formation in 1922, leaders saw a potential in film to gestate a revolutionary consciousness among its geographically-detached population. Lenin is said to have declared it the best means by which to educate and mobilize the masses in the ways of Communism. The government produced a number of short propaganda films known as agitki – films intended to agitate – and brought them to the USSR’s numerous towns and villages, creating a veritable Communism Travelling Fair (bring the kids). The soviet grandfathers of cinema, at this time, made massive gains in filmmaking techniques, and many of the films of the era continue to be considered some of history’s greatest, such as Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin and Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera. A number of filmmakers have since adopted some of these foundational techniques in order to make their films explicitly political and provocative. French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is often cited as being revolutionary in his approach and content, imbuing much of his work with Marxist and Maoist ideologies. The 1950s and 1960s also saw the increasing prominence of documentaries, which, in many ways similar to propaganda films, were aimed at raising awareness for certain social conditions and concerns. Night and Fog, a short documentary that revisits the abandoned concentration camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek, stands
M for Montreal, as always, focuses almost exclusively on local talent, giving it the kind of edge that a local beer will have over a Heineken. It really is a who’s who of the up-and-coming Mile Enders. This year’s line up even has exclusive hype-performances that are restricted to “gold or bronze members” such as Phil Collins-wave D’Eon or the ethereally grungy Doldrums. Where POP has a secret love affair with Arbutus Records, M for Montreal has space for artists such as Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon, or the established francophone darling Philémon Chante. A quick look at the M for Montreal line up prompts a response of “I don’t know any of these bands,” and that’s exactly this festival’s charm. Take the time to discover well established acts like Tornstartsbandht, Peter Peter, or Active Child. They will probably be in your iTunes a year from now, after they follow the classical College Music Journal music marathon >South by Southwest>European Festivals flowchart of fame. It’s always better to be able to
Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
A historical look at cinema’s dealings with social uprising
out as a particularly chilling example of the power and resonance of the documentary form. Today, examples abound of films that deal with movements and revolution – some revisiting historical moments (such as Che), and others looking at contemporary problems and challenges (for example, documentaries made by Michael Moore).
Many of these films provoke thought and emotions in their audiences, but these are too often left behind among the theatre’s sticky aisles. Our consumption of art should not be easily dismissed as passive and unengaged. The fear, anger, passion, and inspiration that many films lead us to should be viewed as useful resources that ought to be applied
say, “I saw them a long time ago, they were pretty good, I guess” than “I really want to see so and so!”
ety. “Canada is wonderful, but there’s always room for growth and improvement,” Trottier told The Daily in an interview. “There is a lot of room for improvement, [migrant workers] have to go to work somewhere and their [workers’ rights are] taken away. Children aren’t supposed to work, but they do, and they enrol in schools and then are forced to leave in October and spend all this time getting back to Mexico. This is tough on adults, but it’s really tough on children too.” The narrative follows a young girl, Anna, and explores, with artful subtlety, the woes of being a child in this kind of situation. Anna explores feelings of impermanence and seclusion in a country where she doesn’t understand the language or the customs. Why Anna’s story is jarring, she acts as a strikingly relatable character for any child that has felt alienated in their environment. In one encounter with a student (Trottier was a teacher for 31 years), a student asked her, “Why do you
— Guillermo Martinz de Velasco
Children’s book, adult issue Migrant workers in North America have often faced marginalization. This issue rarely gets the attention it deserves, however, particularly in Canada – a country that prides itself on equal and fair treatment of citizens, and strong human rights policies. In her own way, writer Maxine Trottier has addressed this issue in the most unlikely of mediums: a children’s picture book. Migrant was a finalist for the Governor General’s award, and critically acclaimed in the New York Times one of top ten illustrated books of 2011. Migrant focuses on a very particular population: the Mennonite Mexican population who travel to Canada each year to harvest vegetation. While in Canada, these people live in terrible conditions, and are shunned by Canadian soci-
more often to our real-life activities and concerns. Viewers today are arguably more cynical towards, and immune to, propagandist content than ever, but that doesn’t mean that the revolutionary sentiment found in propaganda is invalid. So, in light of the myriad of issues facing us recently, comrades, let us unite... and share some popcorn.
always write about horrible things?” Trottier’s response: “If I don’t tell those stories, who will know the truth of these things? So the awful things don’t keep happening.” The afterword, which includes a description of the marginalization facing Mexican Mennonite migrants along with a call to action for Canadians, brings the story’s social imperative sharply into focus. The effect of this striking narrative isn’t only reserved for children. “You will read a book [like Migrant] to children and they’ll enjoy it on one level, and adults take it in on a completely different level,” explained Trottier. Through Migrant, Trottier proves that picture books are not simple fare. The narrative that Trottier created in Migrant, and in the case of many of her other socio-political books for children and adolescents, is not unlike that of a journalist: to inform the world of the horrors that exist, so that they might no longer exist in times to come. —Meagan Potier
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Lies, half-truths, and young money pseudonyms!!!
Chemical weapons used again on campus Gas mask donation fund created Jung Money
The McGill Daily
n an unprecedented series of events, violence was again wit nessed on campus this week, as the “We Are All McGill” rally in James Square was forcefully dispersed, this time by both the Montreal Police and NATO. In a combined effort, the
SPVM and NATO used both tear and mustard gases to disperse the crowd, temporarily irritating the noses and eyes of some, and inflicting large fluidfilled chemical burn blisters on others. The urgent medical needs of those affected quickly took precedence over attempts to continue the rally. Students present at James Square were, again, appalled to witness the use of chemical weapons
on campus. “I can’t believe they resorted to these tactics again,” said U3 Protests & Occupations student Mary Solidarity. “This was even worse than last Thursday.” “Isn’t there some sort of convention against the use of chemical weapons?” asked another student, to no one in particular. While neither the SPVM nor NATO agreed to comment directly,
sources close to both organizations say that there was a decision “to step it up a bit” with regards to the normal chemical agents used for riot control. A police officer on the scene was heard exclaiming about the effectiveness of the mustard gas, yelling “Wow, this really works!” It is still unclear how many were affected by both the mustard and tear gases. When Principal Haywire
Moneymaker-Broom was asked to comment, she replied “Even though I was there this time, I really don’t know and can’t say what happened – but I’m sure the police dispersed the crowd using their usual means.” Another “We Are All McGill” rally is planned for later in the week. A gas-mask donation initiative is currently being organized to prepare for the event.
Fuck the mass media
F Fuck everything
uck protests. Fuck strikes. Fuck riot police. Fuck occupations. Fuck tear gas in James Square. Fuck all four different sources telling me different things about what happened last week. Now I can’t trust anyone anymore. Not to mention information broadcast about the MUNACA strike. How will I ever sustain a relationship now? If I was hypothetically in one, I can imagine it hypothetically falling apart due to an erosion of my hypothetical capacity for trust in my hypothetical partner (the fall is soooo cold). And fuck trying to digest it all. What am I supposed to think about the things happening on my campus and what my place is in this institution? Fuck alienation from my university. There isn’t any tear gas being thrown at the University of Toronto. There isn’t police brutality at the University of Guelph. At McMaster, they’re just studying biology. Waterloo is quietly working on Euler equations. At Western, they’re just chilling at that one bar in London and antisocially playing with their blackberries. Fuck wanting to go back to Ontario to get out of hyperpolitifucked Quebec (but it always was that way). Alas, poor Ontario apathy, I hardly knew ye. I suppose their tuition isn’t being increased by hundreds of dollars. Oh wait, they already pay three times as much as Quebec tuition. Actually, fuck apathy too. Just fuck everything.
uck the mass media misappropriation of anarchy as a signifier of chaos and violence. Anarchy is a legitimate political philosophy that has provided systematic alternatives to dogmatic socialism and capitalism on small scale bases, but has systematically been reviled through the misuse of the term by propagandistic governments. I’m not a fucking black bloc, but your use of this term in such a manner isolates its significance to a group of individuals who are thus solely limited to forging their identity on violence. Anarchy encompass personal acts of violence as legitimate expression of political discontent, but it is by no means different than institutionalized violence of our contemporary democracy (read pepper spraying students). People forget that cultural icons such as Picasso were anarchists. [Antliff, Mark, and Patricia Dee Leighten, “Pasted Paper and Revolution” in Cubism and Culture (York: Thames & Hudson, 2001), 159-196. ] And that organizations such as the French confédération générale du travail an anarcho-syndicalist labour group had 600,000 members in 1912. [Antliff, Leighten, 178] So maybe before the next time you profane these individuals by associating them with wonton violence you should thank them for their contribution free speech, women’s liberation, and labour rights issues including the popular eight hour working day and minimum wage. Not to mention the antiwar movements, which, ironically, are largely ignored as a facet of armistice day. Read a book, learn something, I suggest “Living My Life” by Emma Goldmann. Among other things, she was a devote anarchist.
It's officially cold now The Crossword Fairies The McGill Daily
1. Fa___, brazilian slum 5. Navy or pinto, e.g. 10. Commanded 14. Bad to the bone 15. Capital of Jordan 16. Arabic for “commander” 17. Film unit 18. Goddess of the hunt 19. Public assemblies 20. Winter vegetables 23. Sheets 24. Mount 25. Sharpshooter skill 28. Old Chinese money 30. Alliance 31. Un mec en novembre 33. Bud 36. Football front 40. Himalayan bovine 41. Adhesive 42. Flamboyance 43. Chap 44. The Doors song “___ on the Storm” 46. Use elbow grease 49. Asterix et ___x 51. Be cray-cray
57. Burden 58. Cousin of a raccoon 59. Garbage 60. Dump 61. Follow, as a tip 62. Telephoned 63. Bad day for Caesar 64. Infinity has 65. Plateau bar founder
1. Not a noun or an adjective 2. Never have I ___ 3. Location 4. Holiday spice 5. Veruca Salt, e.g. 6. Author Zola 7. Accumulate 8. Grandmas 9. Lose it 10. Bamboozle 11. French romance 12. Humus and loam, e.g. 13. Demagnetize, as a tape 21. Gabriel, for one 22. Mucus 25. Competently 26. Hip bones 27. Brother 28. Bad thing to blow 29. “Aladdin” prince 31. Library attention-getter 32. Halloween mo.
33. Blanched 34. Biology lab supply 35. Contact, e.g. 37. “La Bohème,” e.g. 38. Buff 39. Average 43. Hosted ones 44. Back up 45. In a bad way 46. Japanese screens 47. Fox or wolf 48. Fertilization site 49. Speechify 50. Take a chance on 52. Diagnostic test 53. Chanel of fashion 54. Face-to-face exam 55. Stars 56. Cutting part
The McGill Daily | Monday, November 21, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
volume 101 number 22
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Support your TAs Students may not realize it, but there’s another labour dispute brewing at McGill – one that has nothing to do with MUNACA. McGill’s teaching union, AGSEM, has been in negotiations with the administration over a new contract for TAs since March. Last Friday, after months of stonewalling, the administration presented them with a new offer. While the union’s lips are sealed until TAs vote on Thursday, The Daily hopes that they met the TAs demands, which include more TA hours, the limiting of conference and lab sizes, paid training, mandatory meetings with course supervisors, and a 3 per cent wage increase. The administration should give the TAs what they are asking for. Many of AGSEM’s demands would benefit students academically. TAs are indispensable to an undergraduate education at McGill. Longer hours and paid training for TAs would make them more capable and available to students. That would mean more effectively run conferences, more helpful office hours, and more thoroughly graded papers. Faculty should also hope to see the TAs’ demands met; more TA hours means a reduced marking burden on professors. Further, better trained TAs would mean the prepared course material would be more effectively taught to students. And, of course, meeting the TAs demands would be good for the 2,000 or so TAs at McGill. TAs are graduate students, many of whom are in difficult financial circumstances, and may be incurring steep student debts. Given the difficulty of their jobs, and how well-qualified most of them are, the $24.99 an hour they make is hardly just compensation. Fully-appointed TAs are currently mandated to work 180 hours per term, and so make only about $4,500 per TA-ship. This is barely a living wage, and certainly is not reflective of the incredibly important role they play at McGill. Indeed, TAs are an essential part of the academic structure at McGill, and, without them, the University would hardly be able to function. This was made clear in the spring of 2008 when AGSEM went on strike for over two months. As a result, grades were delayed and professors were overworked during exam time. If the administration’s conduct during the MUNACA strike is any indication, a TA strike this year would be more bitter and drawn-out than the last one. The fact that the administration has flatly rejected the TAs demands so far, despite the obvious benefits that meeting those demands would produce, is yet another example of how out of touch the administration is with the desires of the campus community. Their callous response to the presence of violent riot police on campus, their continual support of tuition hikes, their attempts to silence MUNACA, their stripping away of student’s rights to the McGill name: these are all signs of an administration that has no interest in listening to what its students, faculty, and support staff want or need. But last Monday’s thousand-strong teach-in in front of James Administration (in the newly christened Community Square) was a sign that the McGill community is increasingly determined to be heard. And if the administration wants to show that it is finally listening, it should begin by acceding to the modest demands of our TAs.
Published on Nov 21, 2011