ISSUE 5 - OCT 29, 2012 obiter-dicta.ca
This week, inside: Halloween features,
Submissions are due at 5 p.m. on November 3, 2012.
US Presidential election,
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Oxford commas, and more!
The Definitive Source for Osgoode News
The four horsemen of the intellectual apocalypse HAROLD CAMPING Contributor
Cyber-vigilantism: a new form of justice in the wake of Amanda Todd’s suicide JIHEE (MARIE) PARK Staff Writer Even the youngest of the Osgoode student body recalls the days when the internet and communications technology first exploded in our society, pervading every aspect of everyday life from the fundamental to the mundane. Since the 90s we have seen radical changes in the world’s approaches to human relationships, the way we do business, and how we entertain ourselves. Today, technology is the fifth limb of contemporary culture that most have come to depend upon. Our growing dependency on technology can be evidenced in our classrooms – in every classroom, there is bound to be an unceasing cascade of the sound of keys tapping, as students diligently record verbatim what comes to pass between the professor’s lips. Much like the student, society witnesses more and more “face time” given to the screen. With the advent of social networking and continuing developments in computer technology, some of the more stigmatized and frowned-upon acts have found their ease of expression through such media. Amanda Todd’s suicide has been the focus of such attention in recent days. The unfortunate
case of the teenager brought to light again the detrimental results of bullying, especially today when bullies can find safety in anonymity and the distal removal that internet media offers. Individuals today, especially youth, are increasingly vulnerable to the filters of social media, where liability or moral responsibility is not as apparent as it would be if the action were carried out in “real life.” Another cautionary realm of the virtual social reality is that of the recent phenomena of cybervigilantism, where ordinary people pursue justice for real-life offences with the aid of communications technology. Shortly after Amanda Todd’s death became news, outraged individuals sought to avenge her treatment by using hacked information to find and bring justice to the people responsible for her bullying. The publication of this private information turned the tables, as the man suspected to be involved is now being harassed by hundreds of upset online users with threats and verbal abuse.
We are in the end times of intellectualism. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that only 144,000 people will be raptured during the Christian end times. In this, the end times of intellectualism, far fewer will be saved. The rest will be burned and marginalized by the horde of human ignorance. The end times are here. I have seen the signs! 1. Populism (embodied by our far from fit mayor and the tea party in the US): This horseman represents the battle against intellectualism with anti-intellectualism. It wears a bridle of emotionally charged language and wears armour made of faith and hope. Its greatest weapon is the spear of simplicity which reduces all complex matters to semantically impoverished epigrams. It taps into human laziness by giving the lazy a reason to not research anything lest they become some know it all egghead. 2. Polarization (Liberals vs. Conservatives or Democrats vs. Republicans): This horseman determines the scope of debate and discourse. It presents us with false dichotomies and forces us to choose between one lie or semantically impoverished epigram or another. It has the head of an elephant and the body of an ass. It is coloured red and blue and denies the existence of all other colours.
There are other famous documented cases of cyber-vigilantism. For example, there’s the Canadian case of Chris Forcand versus Anonymous.
3. Religious slave morality masquerading as moral truth (perhaps the horseman who has always been around): This horseman is heeled with conviction and all things it says are the truth according to God. It is all of the Gods at the same time and since everything it says comes from one of them, it is all truth. It tells
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The Definitive Source for Osgoode News Osgoode Hall Law School, 0014G York University 4700 Keele Street Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 E-mail. ObiterDicta@osgoode.yorku.ca Website. www.obiter-dicta.ca Twitter. @obiterdictaoz “To hold a pen is to be at war.” - François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) Senior Editor-in-Chief: Nancy Situ Editors-in-Chief: Thomas Mastoras, Travis Weagant Business Manager: Adam Cepler Features Editor: Cass Da Re News Editor: Nadia Guo Opinions Editor: Karolina Wisniewski Arts & Culture Editor: Max Paterson Sports Editor: Andrew Cyr Staff Writers: Citlally Maciel, Jihee (Marie) Park, Daniel Styler, Angie Sheep Crossword: Emily Gray Contributors: Jeffery Hernaez, Michael Capitano Layout Editors: Julia Vizzaccaro, Harjot Atwal, Devin Santos, Patricia Wood, Wendy Sun Website Editor: Ricardo Golec Articles are due at 5 p.m. on November 3, 2012. The maximum length for articles is 1200 words. Please submit articles in Microsoft Word format to obiterdicta@ osgoode.yorku.ca. Please attach photographs separately; do not include them in your Word document. The Obiter Dicta is the official student newspaper of Osgoode Hall Law School. The opinions expressed in the articles contained herein are not necessarily those of the Obiter staff. The Obiter reserves the right to refuse any submission that is judged to be libelous or defamatory, contains personal attacks, or is discriminatory on the basis of sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Submissions may be edited for length and/or content. The Obiter Dicta is published biweekly during the school year, and is printed by Weller Publishing Co. Ltd.
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An enjoyable and politically correct Halloween for all An elementary school in Seattle recently reported that students were prohibited from dressing up for Halloween this year. The decision was implemented as a preventative measure out of fear that Halloween costumes could offend or upset students of different cultures, which came as somewhat of a surprise to me. As someone who doesn’t belong to a Judeo-Christian faith, Halloween was probably the only holiday that didn’t make me feel excluded growing up. My friend, who is currently attending teacher’s college, confirmed that the Seattle school wasn’t just an anomaly. She said that her curriculum also taught that Halloween is not inclusive of all religions. The cultural roots of Halloween are mostly attributed to Celtic and Christian influences. Many believe that Halloween has pagan roots originating from Samhain, a Gaelic celebration held on October 31st to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Samhain is also likened to a festival of the dead, being set at a time when the door to the Otherworld (the realm of the dead) is opened enough to allow spirits and other beings to come into our world. Feasts were held to appease souls of the dead and people dressed up in costumes to disguise themselves to harmful spirits. Others think that the holiday developed independently of Samhain. Instead, those who recognize the Christian origins of Halloween believe that the holiday came from All Hallows’ Day and All Souls’ Day. All Hallows’ (or All Saints’ Day) is a solemnity celebrated on November 1st in honour of all the saints. Similarly, All Souls’ Day is a day to honour all the good Christians who have departed this world. The word “Halloween” itself reflects its Christian roots, coming from “All Hallows’ Eve”. However, the holiday is far from unanimously accepted by all Christian denominations. Some feel that Halloween’s pagan influences are incompatible with the Christian faith. In fact, the Vatican condemned Halloween as anti-Christian three years ago. To assert that Halloween excludes everyone who isn’t Celtic or the right denomination of Christian is a bit ludicrous. Many cultures have day of the dead festivals. Mexico celebrates el Día de los Muertos, which dates back hundreds of years to an Aztec festival. Korea has Chuseok, a threeday harvest and ancestral worship holiday held around the Autumn equinox. China has a few – the Chung Yeung Festival, Qingming Festival, and Yu Lan – all to pay respect to the dead.
There’s no doubt that Halloween can be offensive. But I’m thinking of the costumes that make light of child abuse or mental illness or racism or the ones that make you cringe and say “too soon.” I’m thinking of that “foreclosure mill” firm whose employees dressed up as homeless people. This is usually not a problem for children in elementary schools so long as their parents have some common sense. Don’t dress up your child like a Native American or a saucy French chambermaid or a pimp and things will be fine. Halloween, especially for children, is a time to be creative. The same friend who was learning that Halloween isn’t inclusive said that she really enjoyed the holiday as a kid because she could participate even though her family didn’t have a lot of money. I feel the same way. Unlike most other mainstream holidays, which necessitate Christianity and an extravagant dinner or gifts, Halloween was, at least in my mind, for everyone. There’s no doubt that the best costumes are homemade. I still have my Nightmare Before Christmas Sally Wobbles costume that I sewed from old t-shirts in 9th grade. Despite what the Ontario College of Teachers says, I think Halloween can be multicultural. For instance, I was delighted one year when my friend dressed up as Sun Wukong (“the Monkey King”), the protagonist of the classic Chinese epic I grew up with, Journey to the West. And unlike with most Hollywood movies, no one cares when Poison Ivy is Asian or when Spock is Black during Halloween. Being culturally sensitive doesn’t mean we have to take things away. It just means we have to pay attention.
duty to warn What happened in Etobicoke-Centre? Dean Sossin speaks on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a disputed result from the last federal election.Wednesday Oct 31 at 1:30PM in Room 1003. JCR Halloween Pub Night Hats, masks, and pumpkins galore! Wednesday the 31st at 5PM in the JCR. Upper-Year Fall Reading Week This year’s upper-year fall reading week runs from Monday, November 5 to Friday, November 9. Obiter Dicta disclaims any responsibility if you show up for your classes. the OBITERdicta
We the people JEFFERY HERNAEZ Contributor As stated by Chief Justice Marshall in the famous US case Marbury v Madison, “the people have an original right to establish, for their future government, such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce their own happiness, [which] is the basis on which the whole American fabric has been erected.” Similarly, Student Caucus’ job is to represent the student voice on Osgoode’s Faculty Council, and its role and mandate is governed by its constitution. The principles established in Marbury are especially apparent in this context, as Student Caucus may only propose amendments to its own constitution and must obtain approval by at least twothirds of votes cast by a minimum of thirty percent of students to ratify any such changes. As such, the student body at large has a huge role to play in setting the parameters of how Caucus functions. Introducing myself, my name is Jeffrey Hernaez and I am the first year Student Caucus representative from Section B. This year, I am lucky enough to be chairing the Select Committee on Constitutional Reform, which has been meeting with the goal of suggesting changes to the Student Caucus constitution over the past two weeks. As any proposed changes require a super-majority for ratification, I would like to introduce you to the changes that will likely be coming your way for approval. Quorum at Student Caucus Meetings Currently, quorum is met when there are at least two members of the executive, one first year representative and three other members of student caucus in attendance. This means that minimally, only six out of seventeen members need to be present for a meeting to proceed. To put this into perspective, as per article V, subsection B, section 4 of the constitution, “student members voting at meetings of the Faculty Council shall take into consideration the outcome of meetings of the Student Caucus.” As such, it is of concern that Student Caucus can pass resolutions and take stances on issues with significantly less than half of its membership in attendance. As such, this committee is proposing that the definition of quorum be amended to read as follows: i) Attendance of at least 50% of the current membership of Student Caucus; AND
ii) The attendance of at least: a. two (2) members composing the Executive Committee of the Student Caucus;
b. one (1) First Year Representative (this only applies after the first year represen tatives have been elected);
c. one (1) Second Year Representative;
d. one (1) Third Year Representative;
Note that this change would also ensure that a representative from every year be present at every meeting. Electoral Procedures There are two main issues regarding how Student Caucus elects its membership: the type of ballot used and how ties are resolved. Currently, the executive is elected by and from all new incoming members. Per article III, subsection B of the constitution, members of the executive shall be elected by a majority of ballots cast. In current practice, if a candidate in the first ballot does not obtain a majority, a second vote is held between the top two finishers, ensuring a majority in the final ballot. The change being proposed by this committee is that Student Caucus use a single preferential ballot. This would allow members to express their votes on just one ballot and a second round of voting would not be needed. In an attempt to illustrate how this would work, imagine that there are four candidates running for the Chair position. Each vote would rank each candidate on the ballot, with “1” indicating their most preferred candidate. If no candidate receives more than fifty percent of the first preference votes, the candidate with the lowest member of votes would be eliminated. That candidate’s votes would then be re-distributed based on the second preferences indicated. This process would continue until one candidate has a majority of the votes cast. Regarding tie situations, the constitution states that, “in the event that this constitutes an even number of voters the outgoing Chair shall have one vote. If the outgoing Chair is also a newlyelected member of the Student Caucus then the Chief Returning Officer has the discretion to find an equitable alternative.” Not only is the situation in which an outgoing Chair votes rare,
but also, now that there are seventeen members of Student Caucus, there will be an odd number of votes until the organization’s composition is changed in the future. It is also important to note that the provision’s goal is to avoid ties by giving the outgoing Chair a vote when there is an even number of voters (as opposed to voting to break a tie after it occurs). With this in mind, the committee agreed that giving the Chief Returning Officer discretion here is of concern. In response, the proposed change is that the outgoing Caucus Chair will receive a vote to break a tie in the case that it cannot be resolved by each candidate’s first choice votes. First year representatives are elected in the same fashion as the executive and the change to a preferential ballot is also suggested here, with the current Student Caucus Chair breaking a tie if needed. Student Caucus Senate Lastly, the committee looked at an intriguing body known as the Student Caucus Senate. The constitution indicates that the Student Caucus Senate’s membership is composed of former members of Student Caucus who are to be inducted after graduation, and that it is to serve as an “advisory and collegial” body with the goal of “forging links between current students and alumni.” After much discussion, the committee learned that this body has never really been utilized. The three options discussed were to remove the provisions in the constitution, leave it alone or bring it to life. The committee has decided to try to accomplish the last option by creating a database of members of the Student Caucus Senate, which would be maintained by the Communications Director. While this body may not be utilized on a day-to-day basis, having a list of former members of Student Caucus will be helpful if future members need any advice or insight in regards to issues that have affected Osgoode Students over the years. While all of the above changes are incremental, this Select Committee on Constitutional Reform believes that they will move the method in which Student Caucus governs itself in a positive direction. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact any one of your Student Caucus representatives. Jeffery Hernaez is a First Year Representative on Student Caucus.
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The death of hope and change THOMAS MASTORAS Editor-in-Chief That Mitt Romney fellow, a felon, is he not? A tax cheat? A tool of the rich? A corporate raider, antithetical to all that is American? The foregoing is the substance of President Obama’s re-election campaign. Hardly hopeful. Hardly impelling change. Quite apart from a unifying message, a coherent narrative, or a constructive plan to redress America’s economic malaise, hope and change is dead. The President’s re-election campaign is arguably one of the lowest, smallest campaigns ever seen. Whereas 2008 represented a watershed moment in American politics, the 2012 campaign for the Democrats is, quite simply, petty. Devoid of new ideas or a meaningful plan to restore economic prosperity, the crux of the President’s campaign is attack and division. Blame everything on the President’s predecessor, or the “millionaires and billionaires” on Wall Street. While the Republicans offer a serious, if controversial, plan to restore growth in the economy, the President trumpets cuts to Big Bird and mocks Mitt Romney’s inelegant reference to “binders of women.” In a serious time, this is both unpresidential and unserious. The reason for this strategy, however, is basic. The President’s record on the economy is appalling. He refuses to run on his record. Instead of championing his accomplishments – some of which are rightly laudable – the strategy is to demonize Mitt Romney. But this strategy cannot obfuscate the economic reality in the United States and the President’s economic failure. Fifteen percent of Americans live in poverty. More collect food stamps or are unemployed or
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THE ELEPHANT AND THE ASS
underemployed after four years under this President. The size of the American work force has shrunk, as people exit the labour market dejected and jobless. Growth is anemic—worse in 2012 than 2011, and worse still in 2011 than 2010. Economic uncertainty is restraining growth in the private sector. Concurrently, the President continues to propound divisive rhetoric against those who have succeeded, nonchalantly pitting groups of Americans against one another. The President’s bold re-election idea is a tax increase for the wealthy, something that would do very little to address the deficit while retarding economic growth. Ignoring the fact that this policy is inconsistent with Keynesian economics (the
economic ideology to which the President and his advisors subscribe), it is, on its face, inimical to growth and jobs. To make matters worse, all of this is from a President whose own budget was unanimously rejected in Congress, including by his own party. To be fair, the inherited a very difficult economic situation. The American economy was shedding 800,000 jobs per month. But the President was also elected with unified control of all branches of government and a wealth of political capital. Four years down the road, with persistent trillion dollar deficits, this is his economy. Unfortunately, the policies he has put into effect have, by just about any economic metric, failed the American people. Cynicism has replaced hope; attack and divide has replaced change. While this sort of campaign may yield a second term, one thing is certain: the era of hope and change is over.
No hockey, no problem
DANIEL STYLER Staff Writer
In 2004, I was significantly younger than I am now. I was at that stage where sports probably mean a little bit too much, and whether my favourite teams won or lost felt like the end of the world. And I can honestly say that when the NHL lockout began in that year, lasted an entire season, and cost my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs the chance to torment me and the rest of their profoundly loyal fan base by losing in excruciating fashion, I was upset. I cared because the Maple Leafs had been relatively successful in the years leading up to the lockout. They didn’t win a Stanley Cup, but they tried. They made the Conference Finals in 199899 and in 2001-02. They were a well-run organization with what seemed like the perfect mix of star players and role players, and they never lost an important game to the Ottawa Senators. They had one of the best hockey players that I have had the fortune of watching in my twentysomething years as a hockey fan; that’s right, Don Cherry, Mats Sundin was really good.
The answer to this is straightforward. Since the last lockout, the Maple Leafs have had seven seasons to make the playoffs. They have failed each time, and have often done so in spectacular fashion. Mats Sundin retired. They have shown little to no progress over these seven years, and the most recognizable figure within the organization, general manager Brian Burke, hasn’t exactly lived up to his aspiration to build the team as one filled with “truculence” and “belligerence.” In fact, they often seem like they are the easiest team in the league to play against; they take stupid penalties, cannot kill penalties and back down in the face of physical contact. They’re a team that consists of an inconsistent star (Phil Kessel), a couple of significantly overpaid players (Dion Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek), underperforming former prospects (Nikolai Kulemin and Tyler Bozak) and a shitty goalie (James Reimer). That all adds up to a relatively anonymous group of players who are not particularly likeable or memorable. Even worse, as the league’s most
I think what is most striking about the incompetency on display for all to see from everyone involved in the NHL labour negotiations currently taking place is how differently I feel this time around. My frustration and disappointment has been replaced with one of the worst of all human emotions: complete apathy. When Gary Bettman and his militia of idiots put an offer on the table earlier this week that experts saw as a step towards the possibility of starting the season on time, I just didn’t care. I also didn’t care when Donald Fehr and his militia of idiots rejected that same offer and proposed a new offer that was seen as a step back by Gary Bettman. Why?
profitable franchise in the apparent “mecca” of hockey, they have become irrelevant. And as they’ve become irrelevant, I’ve become increasingly more apathetic to their failures. It’s not that they lose (in fact, I’ve recently adopted a really terrible basketball team to cheer for in light of the fact that I don’t anticipate to watch hockey this year: the New Orleans Hornets), it’s how they lose. I could handle a team that is self-aware enough to recognize that it is time to break down and rebuild and in doing so attempt to achieve success in the right way: shrewd trades and drafting, and the occasional game-changing free agent. Instead, the Leafs have consistently hovered at the level of mediocrity, and the only year that they’ve been truly terrible and warranting of a number one or two overall draft pick, that draft pick had already been traded (and it turned into Tyler Seguin, who is now an upcoming star for the Boston Bruins).
MAKES THE RUN IN MORE THAN 12 PARSECS
Just like I’m apathetic to their failures, I’m also apathetic to the fact that they may not play this season. The eight hours per week that I would usually spend watching their games can be spent doing more or equally unproductive
things: studying, browsing Reddit, throwing a ball against a wall or training to run a marathon. Continuing to watch the Leafs during their seven years of futility and poor decision-making was masochistic. I just didn’t know how to quit them (the whole situation was very Brokeback Mountain, minus the forbidden cowboy love). Now, I’ve been forced to quit them. And, for now at least, I’m happy with it.
Cyber-vigilantism » continued from cover Hacktivist group Anonymous gained wide notoriety for its DDoS attacks against companies like PayPal, VISA, and Mastercard for cutting off service to Wikileaks in light of the latter party’s public release of confidential diplomatic cables. In their pursuit of Forcand, who was said to have been for soliciting sex from minors over the Internet, Anonymous posted evidence of incriminating conversations, as well as Forcand’s contact information. Following this, the police were able to arrest Forcand, which would become the first time an arrest took place as a result of Internet vigilantism. Another Canadian case involved British Columbian teenagers who, in the online guise of an underage girl, contacted several adults who were intent on sexual relations with underage persons in the city of Chilliwack. The teens, having arranged a meeting time and place, went to meet the said individuals dressed in superhero costumes with video cameras recording evidence to be used for conviction. Commentators have warned that though the outcomes may have had its benefits, the teens were risking their own selves in their quest for justice. It is plain to see that with the advent of new social media, the boundaries of acceptable social conduct are not as clear. Should civilians be granted the powers of investigation through previously unrecognized methods? Are members of the public justified in taking matters into their own hands, or could what they are doing be defined as a form of entrapment? Additionally, there are several questions to be asked in regards to the government: Is the justice system falling behind in the midst of innovative new approaches to justice? Is there reluctance to deviate from the norms and practices that have held for decades? Where is, or is there, a dividing line of civilian involvement in investigation? These questions are difficult to answer, and will continue to be so as we proceed onwards into the information age. monday - oct 29 - 2012
The prodigal son CITALLY MACIEL Staff Writer The story of the Prodigal Son is one of Jesus’ parables which tells the story of a son who asks his father for his inheritance and then leaves and wastes it all. He then returns home and repents. The father holds a feast to celebrate his return, but his older son is not pleased that his brother is welcomed in such an extravagant manner. He tells his father that he has been a model son while his younger brother abandoned him. The father reminds the older son that everything the father has is his, but that they should still celebrate the return of the younger son as he has come back to them. The father says: “But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:32). Interesting story, but why exactly am I talking about this? Well, the story is supposed to be about the tension between love and forgiveness; justice and merit. Let’s see, justice, homecoming, forgiveness, second chances… why does that sound germane to the news I have heard this past week? Oh! Of course: Omar Khadr. The news about Omar Khadr’s release from Guantanamo and his homecoming were everywhere. Discussions regarding what his fate would be abounded. CBC radio had a brief segment in which two people talked about why one of them thought it was about time Khadr was brought home, while the other expressed her disapproval of the Canadian Government bringing Khadr back and about her concerns. Certainly, the debate regarding Omar Khadr’s repatriation has been one that has polarized Canadian society for the past decade. On one hand, we have those who hold that Khadr has been a victim of serious human rights violations and that it was
OMAR KHADR THEN AND NOW
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the Canadian Government’s obligation to have him returned to Canada. For example, Amnesty International Canada, an organization “committed to defending those who are denied justice or freedom”, holds this very same view. According to Amnesty, “[t]his case has always been about the fundamental injustice of Guantanamo Bay and the decision to repeatedly interrogate and subject a child combatant to an unfair trial by military commission that failed to meet international standards for fair trials.” Accordingly, Amnesty is hopeful that Khadr’s homecoming is the beginning of a long-overdue process by which the Canadian government will have to mend its mistakes. Indeed, the violations took place. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the Federal Government violated his Charter rights when CSIS officials were sent to Guantanamo to question Khadr and then divulged that information to the American authorities. To this effect, a $10-million lawsuit was filed against the federal government, one which will probably be generously settled out of court. On the other hand, we have those who think that Khadr, as a convicted criminal, deserved to be in Guantanamo and that, by bringing him back to Canada, the Canadian government would potentially put Canadians at risk from terrorist activities. A survey reported by the Toronto Sun, indicated that 60% of Canadians do not support Khadr’s return to Canada. Of course, there is plenty of evidence that points to the fact that perhaps we should not trust that Khadr’s repentance is genuine. In a 2010 article published by Maclean’s, it was reported that in 1995 Khadr’s father had been taken into custody by the authorities in Pakistan. He pleaded to the Canadian Government to be rescued and brought back to Canada. However, not long after his return, Khadr’s father went back to Pakistan taking his family along with him, to be at the service of alQaeda. Khadr’s mother and sister have openly praised Khadr for his terrorist activities. Finally, we also have those homemade videos that show a happy Khadr making bombs and talking proudly about jihadist ideas. He describes the day
when he killed the American soldier as his most proud moment and continues to idolize his father and what he represented. After knowing all this about Khadr, Canadians are right to be concerned, since there is no guarantee that, once released, Khadr will not join a radical Muslim movement and become a real threat to Canadian society and the world. It is difficult to make an accurate assessment of who Khadr is. He could really be the radical Muslim that has been depicted by the media, proud of having done what he did and willing and eager to do it again. On the other hand, he could be the innocent child that was brainwashed and manipulated to commit those regrettable acts. The pride that is shown on his face when he is building a bomb could have been due to the fact that he, like any other normal child, was seeking his father’s approval and was happy to know that his efforts would make his father proud. It could be argued that the mind of someone at such a young age is so malleable and prone to manipulation that the feelings in his heart and the ideas in his head were not his, but those of the people taking care of him. It is also difficult to say whether Khadr, once released from prison, will successfully reintegrate into Canadian society. However, is this not a question that is asked for every single person who, after serving a sentence, is finally released back into society? A question about whether this person has repented, reformed and is ready to be set free? There is no doubt that the Canadian government, as late as it did, made the right decision to bring back Khadr, not only for his sake, but because it was the right thing to do. Canada is a nation that prides itself on respecting human rights and procuring the respect of human rights in the global context. Had Canada not brought him back, it would have been in dissonance with its own ideologies and values. Nonetheless, it is yet unclear what the consequences will be of setting Khadr free. It has been reported by the media that he has been educating himself throughout the time he was in Guantanamo, corresponding with university professors here in Canada, and overall, making an effort to cultivate himself. With any luck, Khadr could finish his education, get employed, build a career and live a normal life in Canada. Yet, we do not that this will happen for sure. All that there is left to do is to offer Khadr what is fair. Give him a fair sentence, and the opportunity to rehabilitate and serve his time free of torture, just like any other Canadian inmate would. The prodigal son shall be forgiven and given a second chance. The rest is up to him and his conscience. the OBITERdicta
Happiness Project: Halloween CASS DA RE Features Editor Law school doesn’t leave much time for fun and childish endeavors. Law students don’t need werewolves, witches and warlocks to induce fears, trembling, and sweaty palms. Just ask the first years who just went through their first set of midterms. A constant and healthy dose of anxiety, nervousness, and general chills are de rigueur in the haunted halls of Osgoode. Historically, Halloween fell the night before All Saints Day. On Hallows’ Eve, Celts and Europeans feared that evil spirits of the dead would roam the Earth in search of living beings to harm. To protect themselves, the village people would dress like ghosts, goblins, and the undead to ward off the evil spirits. Over the years, this religious holiday has evolved into a fun night for children to dress up in costumes and go door to door asking strangers for candy. What can uber-rational, intellectually oriented, and modern law students learn from Halloween? Moreover, how can a holiday of horror improve our happiness? 1. Show Your Teeth What do werewolves, vampires and happy people have in common? They all show their teeth. Smiling with exposed teeth creates sends a boost of dopamine and endorphins to your brain. Even people who fake a smile, and have no genuine, positive source for exhibiting such facial expression will benefit from the physical act of smiling.
Deprivation is a guaranteed way to negatively affect your mood. It is fundamentally important to your well being to treat yourself every once in a while. If not, you will likely feel irritable, depleted, and resentful. Make time for treats. During the Halloween season, a “treat” automatically conjures the image of candy, chocolate bars, individually packaged chips, toffee, Rockets, and caramel candy corn. However, a treat can be any thing or activity that brings you enjoyment, such as skating, swimming, reading trashy gossip magazines, baking a cake, eating a cake, doing nothing, watching bad reality TV, getting a manicure, playing basketball, ice cream, people-watching, playing video games or having a nap in the middle of a weekday. You’re busy; I can appreciate that. Yet making time in your schedule to indulge in something that brings you pleasure will keep you energized, optimistic, and balanced. Being in a healthy state of mind will consequently increase your productivity in other areas of your life. 3. Treat Others The Happiness Project may seem like a selfish undertaking. After all, it is a personal venture and an introspective practice of analyzing and advancing one’s mental health. Humans, by their
Halloween has evolved to include a gratuitous spirit of giving. While many of us do not live in the suburbs of the Greater Toronto Area, and will not have costumed children knocking at our doors, law students can embrace the treating essence of Halloween in other ways. For example, send someone a candy-gram. It is a small action that will immediately make someone’s day. Similarly, buy a bag of lollipops to hand out. Better yet and sugar-free, be generous with your time and efforts. Hand out compliments, praise, and well wishes. Treat the people around you that deserve to be treated. When we are happy, we tend to treat others with more sensitivity, kindness, and awareness. Like smiling, the reverse is true. Engaging in selfless acts of volunteerism and compassion will increase one’s perspective and feelings about oneself. Put simply: if you do good, you feel good; if you feel good, you’ll do more good. It’s very difficult to maintain a strong sense of self and healthy selfesteem when one treats others badly or maliciously.
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Stronger roots lead to greater growth
A famous 1988 German study asked participants to hold a pencil either with their teeth or with their lips to create a frown or a smile. The researchers then exposed the participants to good-natured cartoons. The participants who mimicked a smile found the programming funnier and ultimately demonstrated a better, more positive mood.
Are you looking for a challenging and stimulating environment where you can roll up your sleeves and dig in to the business of law? Come and put down roots with Lerners. With over 80 years of experience, we’ve grown to be one of Ontario’s leading law firms. We’ve nurtured the professional and personal growth of hundreds of students. Let us help you maximize your talents and energies so you can become the best lawyer you can be!
Charles Darwin made similar propositions. He posited that there is a strong link between the mechanics of facial expression and the resulting emotions. While it is well established that people universally smile when they are happy, the reverse is also true. Smiling can, in turn, ameliorate one’s demeanour.
To get the whole picture, visit www.lerners.ca. London Tel. 519.672.4510 Fax. 519.672.2044 80 Dufferin Avenue, P.O. Box 2335 London, ON N6A 4G4
The take-away here is that costumes such as werewolf, vampire, the Joker, Austin Powers, clown, or teeth model at a dentist’s office, may just make you a happier trick-or-treater. 2. Treat Yourself
nature, are relational. Therefore, to fulfill one’s sense of self, one cannot be selfish. This is one of the many paradoxes of happiness. In order to be better yourself, you must better the lives of others.
Toronto Tel. 416.867.3076 Fax. 416.867.9192 2400-130 Adelaide Street West Toronto, ON M5H 3P5 www.lerners.ca
L AW Y E R S
Speaking of trick-or-treating, treat yourself.
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Corporate governance beyond borders MICHAEL CAPITANO Contributor On October 3, 2012, the Osgoode Society for Corporate Governance (OSCG) held its inaugural event, “Corporate Governance Beyond Borders”, a panel discussion on corporate governance in emerging markets with two internationally-renowned experts on corporate governance: Philip Armstrong (Head of the Global Corporate Governance Forum, International Finance Corporation) and Peter Dey (Chairman of the Private Sector Advisory Group). The panel was moderated by Osgoode’s own Professor Peer Zumbansen. Philip Armstrong and his colleague, Alexey Volynets, who are both based in Washington, D.C., flew to Toronto especially for this event. Their attendance represents a milestone for the OSCG as it has crystallized our partnership with the Global Corporate Governance Forum. The OSCG will provide support to the Forum in their work that supports the development of good corporate governance practices across the world. In case you wanted to attend this event but missed it, it has been recorded and will be posted on our YouTube channel: OsgoodeSocCorpGovern. A copy of the visual presentation used at the event by Philip Armstrong will be available once our website is up and running at www.oscg.ca. For more information about the Forum and our speakers, check out www.gcgf. org. But first, before I get into the details, if you haven’t a clue what corporate governance even is, don’t fret. Because, as Professor Zumbansen pointed out at the event, as long as we’re asking questions, we can all be experts. So, instead of asking “What is corporate governance?”, it is more informative to ask substantive questions like: “How should corporations be governed? What is at stake? To whom are corporations
responsible and what are they responsible for?” Questions like these get us thinking. If any of us were to answer that initial question, the answer would be something like: “Corporate governance is a set of rules, regulations, laws and guidelines that direct corporations to engage in best practices to maximize return on investment for their shareholders.” It doesn’t really generate any discussion. I merely stated a fact. But it does raise the question: “Is that all there is to it?” To that question my answer is an emphatic “no.” And really, why would it be that simple? When it comes to deciding what those best practices should be, context matters and we should not take a onesize-fits-all approach to different economies. Philip Armstrong started the presentation, titled “Better Companies, Better Societies,” with a case study on the Fukushima disaster, arguing that failure to understand risk, a lack of preparation against forces of nature to prevent meltdown, and poor management and relations to the public made this tragedy much worse. But why should corporate governance be concerned about a horrible socio-economic disaster, if the main purpose is to maximize investment for shareholders? It’s because corporate governance is shifting, moving away from shareholder value towards embracing a view of wider stakeholders: shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, communities; basically any party that depends on that corporation. If we look to the corporation in charge of the Fukushima plant, it’s easy to see why. The board of directors (the key actors in corporate governance) failed. There was no risk committee, minimal disclosure of board activities, and only 2 of 20 board members were independent from the company, which all translates to a lack of accountability. To make matters worse, technical data about the company submitted to regulators had been falsified! If Fukushima had made better decisions through the implementation of better governance practices, they could have drastically reduced the damage to the power plant and the surrounding communities caused by the unavoidable tsunami.
It has been shown convincingly that companies with good corporate governance practices see robust growth, good return on investment, and resilience to crisis. And that’s what we at OSCG and the experts at the Forum are concerned about. We don’t want a metaphorical Fukushima on our hands. Instead, we wish for both the corporations and the communities to gain from better corporate governance systems. If we want an example closer to home, we only need to look down south as the American economy continues to struggle in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the housing market collapse. So where do we start when it comes to implementing best practices in developing markets? The real takeaway I got from the event is that it comes down to understanding the specific structure of the economy and needs of the society where the corporation is located. It’s not good enough to be satisfied with international standards, since they’re not context-specific. Following corporate governance guidelines cannot merely be an act of compliance, but interpreted as optimizing business practice, focusing on increasing quality of life for the community in which the corporation operates, and, in » continued on page 10
last week`s crossword 1
C O F
N E 6W Y I
O R K
S N A G
O B E
T O L
S K I
5) The Big Apple [NEWYORK] 8) Angel Farrah [FAWCETT] 9) Chanel perfume number [FIVE] 11) The only month in which the War Measures Act was invoked [OCTOBER] 13) A wrinkle in the plan [SNAG] 15) Break-up, casually [SPLIT]
V E X P
S N E
“SPEECH, SPEECH, SPEECH!”
B R A E
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O C T
A A W C E
1) Starbucks' commodity [COFFEE] 2) Ti-Cats hometown [HAMILTON] 3) Seventy-one percent of the Earth's surface [WATER] 4) Footwear made for walking [BOOTS] 6) SNL Alum Kristen [WIIG] 7) Flower part [PETAL]
JCR opens again... finally NADIA GUO News Editor Photography by RONALD MONTES
The JCR bar opened again last Wednesday much to the delight of the overworked and sleepdeprived everywhere in Osgoode. “Another great reason to procrastinate” was the general consensus of people I spoke to, and don’t we all need those from time to time to retain our precarious sanities. As one fellow classmate eloquently put it, “It’s great being able to saunter over to the common room from the library for a pint. State and Citizen readings make me feel like I need a drink.” Another student quipped, “It definitely makes evening classes like Land Use Planning go better.” Personally, I had no qualms about trying one of their cocktail specials – the Soss Boss, named after our very own Dean Sossin – after another long day keeping up with the daily grind. The Soss Boss is actually just a mojito, except Dean Sossin personally chants a magical incantation in the general direction of each of the ingredients before it is served to the broader Osgoode public. That’s what I heard, anyway. On tap are Mill Street Organic and Tankhouse, both running $5 for a pint, and the liquor selection is the usual, with highballs at $4 and cocktails only $5. Bartenders on duty for the night included Legal and Lit’s president, Elena Iosef, social convener Alex Wilkins, and Zorn Pink, the JCR Bar Manager, who also goes by Creator and Deliverer of My Fairly Stiff Alcoholic Beverage, which is something of which I’m very appreciative. Despite how tired I was, the JCR opening night was overall a great chance to chat with some classmates I didn’t usually get to talk to, and allowed everyone to loosen up a bit. As I mingled, I found myself part of a few engaging conversations, ranging from musings on honour killings against a societal background steeped in unnoticed sexism to reactions to MP Scott Reid’s views on the Charter. Once again, Osgoode confronted me with the fact that I am among a group of incredibly bright, forwardthinking individuals, and, while a little intimidating, it is also reassuring to know that these people, with their refreshing ideas, are going to be my colleagues in the near future. I am certhe OBITERdicta
tainly anticipating the privilege of working with some of them in hopefully precipitating muchneeded societal change. And, of course, to getting smashed with them as well. The JCR is normally open Wednesdays beginning at 5PM. Next Wednesday is Halloween, and you may acquire a few neat additions to your costume just for showing up. The next week, the JCR will open on Tuesday instead to show US Election results. The following Wednesdays, in order, will be 80s and 90s trivia night, open mic, and Movember pub, with Wednesday, December 5 capping off the semester with a holidaythemed evening. The Obiter will be there; so should you. Cheers! BAR MANAGER ZORN PINK SHAKES ME A SOSS BOSS
LEGAL AND LIT AT THE BAR, AS USUAL
1LS GET TING THEIR EDUCATION AT THE JCR
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osgoode news Corporate governance » continued from page 8 exchange, increasing the quality of return on investment. The Forum thus far has focused on capacitybuilding, in order to transform the private sector into an engine of communal growth, reduce vulnerability to financial crisis in developing and emerging markets, and provide incentives for corporations to invest and perform efficiently in a transparent, sustainable, and socially responsible manner. This has involved identifying corporate governance risks and opportunities, nominating board members for selected clients, developing and promoting corporate governance methodology, improving director training organizations, and promoting codes and regulations to help raise standards and drive reform. Even though this sounds nice, driving change in corporate governance practice is a work in progress. Our speakers concluded the event by voicing their worries to us. Peter Dey expressed his concern about how reform needs to occur, reiterating that the private sector needs to understand that embracing corporate governance creates shareholder value and that the market itself needs to lead the reform. Philip Armstrong noted, however, that more rules will not fix the problem, citing that in 70% of cases, there are failures enforcing regulation structures. He suggested that we should first ask what mischief we’re seeking to prevent and see if we have the capacity to enforce prevention, while at the same time understanding the market incentives that can persuade us from one practice to the next and the best ways to adjust for it. The situation gets increasingly complicated when it comes to emerging markets because they are desperate for development. They don’t have the courage to reject bad investments, since a good one may never come along. There’s a complex trade-off in the economic climate between model principles, fostering growth, and maintaining profits for one’s company; it’s a challenge balancing the competiveness of investment and the good and bad risks that come with it. If you were left with more questions than answers after reading this article, you’re not alone. I still have multiple of questions left unanswered after attending the event. But if corporate governance interests you, feel free to contact us at OSCG@ osgoode.yorku.ca to join our mailing list. Thank you to those who came to our event and stay tuned for more events and opportunities ahead! Michael Capitano is Communications Director for OSCG. monday - oct 29 - 2012
The Unreasonable Man hates Halloween TRAVIS WEAGANT Editor-in-Chief I am a Hallowe’en Grinch. I don’t know when it happened, but I suspect it was when I stopped getting a bag full of free candy every year. With the material profitability of the day eliminated, I could see no other way to derive a net benefit from dressing strangely. Yes, I’ve turned participation in a supposedly enjoyable tradition into a business decision. This makes me a colossal party pooper, but that’s what Grinches are. You may now commence your psychoanalysis of my Grinchiness. Perhaps I feel above putting on a costume. Perhaps I subconsciously fear losing my identity and don’t like pretending to be something else. Or maybe the unrelenting taunts from a motley crew of miniature zombies, mimes, and Darth Vaders over my insufficiently lifelike Harry Potter costume in Grade 7 have left me scarred. It could be, perhaps, that my shoes are too tight; it could be my head isn’t screwed on just right. Truth be told, I haven’t a clue which it is, nor do I care, since these are simply reasons to dismiss my Grinchy tendencies as irrational or pitiable. I’m not going to try to convince you to hate Hallowe’en with me. I would never try to convince an Android user to buy an iPhone, an Irishman to drink scotch, or a Republican to re-elect the President. I’d sooner dig a hole to China. And I promise not to come down from Mount Crumpet and steal everyone’s lewd costumes. However, in the faint hope that there’s some of you out there who see things as unreasonably as I do, here’s two things to do this month that aren’t so distasteful. 1. La Toussaint (November 1) Thanksgiving, like the common law, is exclusively Anglophone in origin, since those who invented it came from Great Britain. However, a similar tradition with Catholic roots exists on the European continent that made its way to those colonies of a more Latin persuasion, coloured, of course, by pre-existing local cultures. The French “Toussaint” means “All Saints,” the Christian feast honouring – you guessed it – all of the saints. Though the feast is religious in origin, there are many traditions connected to All Saints’ Day that go far beyond formal worship. In France, for example, extended families traditionally gather for a large meal at midday, much like the North American Thanksgiving. Afterward,
however, these families proceed to local cemeteries to clean and care for the tombstones and graves of their deceased relatives. Honouring one’s ancestors on All Saints’ Day is also a Spanish tradition, and travelled to the New World during the colonial era. I have been told that in Mexico, that on el Día de los Muertos (also November 1), families bring the deceased’s favourite food and drink to cemeteries and consume it there to celebrate the ancestor’s life. I also understand that many a dead relative was a tequila aficionado, and that these rituals tend to involve Mexican families getting proper sloshed, dancing, and generally making all of our wildest stereotypes come true. This year, try that. 2. The Presidential Election (November 6) I watched about 5 minutes of the Presidential debates. I saw two accomplished, respectable, and intelligent men stoop far beneath their level. I saw the media (mainstream and otherwise) latch onto supposed “gaffes” and try to make something of them, to ends not entirely known. I saw an entire country forget that it has a legislative branch. I saw a lot of Canadians that think they know what’s best for the United States of America. Some of them probably do, but that’s not the point. The point is that following this campaign involves being attacked 24 hours a day, from all directions, with balls-to-the-wall bullshit. I don’t listen to the candidates because I don’t trust that anything written by a wide-eyed twenty-something staffer working on his resumé in his spare time will somehow become the official position of the President of the United States if his boss is elected. I don’t listen to the Twitter and Facebook chatter because it’s mind numbing. On November 6, the entire world, candidates and all, will shut up for a few blissful hours while the Constitution’s wheels turn, just like they have since 1789. Then, the next morning, Republicans will either declare that the communists have finally won, or Democrats will declare that women should forthwith kiss their constitutional rights goodbye. Of course, neither will be true. It’s just the smell of bullshit in the morning; smells like… sour grapes. Americans have a fascinating and complex way of electing their government. So take the few blessed hours of peace and watch it in happen, maybe at the JCR. This year, try that. » continued on next page the OBITERdicta
features news The Unreasonable Man » continued from last page
3. The Unreasonable Man’s Alternative Hallowe’en (November 14) On Wednesdays at 5PM, something incredible happens. Legal and Lit rolls a magical cart off of the elevator and into the Junior Common Room. It’s called a beer machine. Standing before this tap, thirsty Ozzies can enjoy a brief pause from learning the law and learn beer instead. Beer is the most difficult of subjects, but, with enough practice, it can be mastered in three years. On November 14, I propose that instead of putting on costumes, seeking out free candy, partying downtown, or doing anything spooky at all, you all join me for an alternative Hallowe’en where we don’t do any of those things and learn beer instead. Bring your drink tickets (they’re blue and have a picture of a balding French Canadian on them) and good conversation, and we’ll have ourselves a grand old time. Or, since it seems that Legal and Lit has rejected the alternative Hallowe’en theme (full disclosure: I never actually submitted the idea) and substituted a Trivia Night (which actually sounds a lot cooler), you could, you know, just come for that. See you there.
Happiness Project » continued from page 7
4. Being a Law Student is Frightening, but not a Good Costume Lastly, law students tend to take themselves a little too seriously. Law school can be serious, formal and a highly competitive environment. This is all the more reason to leave the books behind, and step into an entirely different world far removed from your current reality. Get creative, get dressed up, be silly, be spontaneous, and get out of the library. There are no psychological studies that undeniably demonstrate that Halloween costumes have a scientifically measurable effect on one’s happiness. On the other hand, having fun is a critical component to a healthy, happy, and balanced life style. In conclusion, on a balance of probabilities, I deem Halloween to be imperative to your happiness. As you happiness guru, I ask that all you goblins and ghouls get out and have fun, for the sake of your own psychological well-being. the OBITERdicta
“The Education Premier” leaves behind a legacy of higher enrolment and higher tuition KATHERINE DECLERQ CUP Ontario Bureau Chief OTTAWA (CUP) — On Oct. 15, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced some shocking news — he was resigning. For many, it seemed unbelievable. McGuinty had been premier for the last nine years and had just won the election in 2011. After a reign unseen by the Ontario Liberal Party in over 125 years, few expected this. Regardless of why he resigned, no one can deny he had a good run. The self-styled “Education Premier,” McGuinty has gained a reputation as being a friend to students and a supporter of accessible education. He invested money into financial aid while creating more space for students on campus. At the same time, critics of the McGuinty government say that these policies have stagnated the quality of education at universities and colleges. Tuition has risen substantially since 2006, and his latest project — the 30 per cent Off Tuition Grant — is only accessible to certain students, leaving others out of luck. Born and raised in Ottawa, McGuinty had his fill of post-secondary education during his climb into politics. He attended both McMaster University and the University of Ottawa where he studied law, and, after graduating, he guest-lectured at Carleton University in business law. When he became Premier in 2003, he promised to make education a centerpiece of his agenda, and many believe that he followed through on that promise. “I think his legacy really supports education as a centerpiece of a path to prosperity in Ontario,” said Bonnie Patterson, president of the Council of Ontario Universities. “In the post-secondary education sector particularly he has made significant investments within his government improving access to post-secondary education, and affordability for students.” In terms of investments, McGuinty enacted a twoyear tuition freeze at the beginning of his service as Premier. While he couldn’t maintain the freeze, he did work hard to ensure the Liberal government made university more accessible. He promised to invest $6.2 billion into Ontario post-secondary education in 2006, including $358 million in financial assistance. McGuinty also proposed a goal of a 70 per cent attainment rate for universities and colleges — a goal that he came close to achieving with 62 per cent as of 2010. In addition to providing increased financial assistance, the Liberal government also focused on
increasing enrollment. “We have, since [McGuinty] came to power, created over 100,000 new spaces for students in universities,” said Patterson. “That is the single largest investment in the university sector generally in decades. He not only created those spaces at the undergraduate level, but we also had the first funded spaces … over 15,000 spaces in graduate programs in the province. That is an enormous contribution to the future.” But not everyone believes he is leaving behind a strong legacy in post-secondary education. Sarah Jayne King, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students’ Ontario branch, is looking forward to working with new Liberal leadership and hopes that they are on board with making education more affordable. “I think for someone who has been called the Education Premier, the Liberals have a pretty poor record on education,” she said. “Since 2006, tuition has risen 71 per cent, and with the Liberal Party’s most recent project, the 30 per cent Off Ontario Tuition Grant, we saw them not fulfill an important promise to reduce tuition fees.” Rob Leone, Conservative MPP for Cambridge and critic for the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, gives credit to the Liberal government for increasing the number of spaces in Ontario universities and colleges and for greater financial investments into government aid for students. However he also believes that the result of these policies is a decrease in quality of post-secondary education. “As much as I respect his 22 years in public service, its not all perfect. One of the things we have seen in the last number of years is the decline in quality of education,” Leonne said. Another black spot on McGuinty’s legacy may be his decision to prorogue the Ontario Legislature and the influence this may have on the discussion paper “Strengthening Ontario’s Centres of Creativity, Innovation, and Knowledge.” Patterson is adamant that the proroguing of legislature won’t have any effect on the document because it is still in its ministerial process and more consultation is required before it is officially presented. At the same time, Leone believes that it may influence the speed at which the paper goes forward, making it difficult to continue on the same fall timeline.
The Ontario Liberals will hold a leadership convention on January 26, 2013 to determine McGuinty’s successor.
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arts & culture
A half-assed review of Flight Facilities at The Hoxton, and a full review how much more I want to sleep with Cat Power after seeing her at Kool Haus NADIA GUO News Editor
Following a fairly decadent Friday night out at the Hoxton to catch the Flight Facilities’ set, I was glad I had something more low-key planned for Saturday: I had a ticket to see Chan Marshall, better known by her stage name, Cat Power. My experience of going to the Flight Facilities party can be briefly summed up by what few memories I still carry within my brain which hasn’t been decimated by the wine, pumpkin ale, scotch, and beer I consumed that night. The dancing was good. I vaguely recall making out with a person in a striped sweater in the middle of the dance floor for long periods of time while my friends watched on in jealousy, or most likely, amusement. The music was probably good, considering it was Aussie duo Flight Facilities who were headlining, and everyone who’s anyone knows that these dudes are producing some of the freshest sounds in disco house these days. Sounds that were apparently wholly and unapologetically obliterated from my drunken brain. We got more beers, peed, danced; I made out with Striped Shirt Guy some more, probably peed a few more times. I’m almost positive the bathroom walls were red. Then I was waking up in bed, totally naked, totally ready to drink an entire gallon of any liquid I could readily get my hands on, or totally puke my guts out. Or both. I didn’t end up puking, but I did take note of the half-eaten Middle Eastern take-out on my kitchen table before going back the fuck to bed for another two hours. When I woke up again, I had a brief flashback of standing in front of the take-out counter at Ghazale’s at Church and Wellesley at some point after the show, pointing enthusiastically to the roasted eggplant through the glass. Ghazale’s is, by the way, the yummiest spot for some late night grub. I’m not exactly sure if this place is open 24/7, but they’re always open and ready to serve whenever I come by, in whatever state I happen to be in, which is good enough for me. Thinking about all this the next morning, I silently congratulated myself for even being able to handle the complexities of a monetary transaction in such a state of blackout drunkenness. Needless to say, seeing Southern-born, ex-alcoholic folk singer-songwriter super-goddess Cat Power was a good alternative to going out and abusing my body again. I’d bought a ticket to see her ahead of time, and I was going alone because none of my friends were really interested in her monday - oct 29 - 2012
music, save my old roommate who had recently exiled himself to rural Northern Ontario to do webcam porn. But that’s a different story. Anyway, Cat Power’s been a staple of my music collection since I was 15. Her stripped-down, acoustic sound was a good backdrop for cultivating teenaged angst in the suburbs. She was here to tour her latest album, Sun, which marks a strong departure from the melancholic quality of her earlier stuff, and is her most upbeat album to date. I was wary of it at first listen. I found some of the self-produced songs much too overprocessed and poppy for the Cat Power I was used to, who, as far as I was concerned, didn’t need much beyond a piano, a guitar, and her own rich-as-table-cream, bearing-the-wisdom-andsouls-of-entire-dynasties voice. By the night of the concert, though, I was warming up to songs like “Cherokee,” and “Human Being;” both were performed over the course of the night. Putting away Criminal Law readings with that strong sense of guilt I always get now when I choose to do anything non-school-related like eat or sleep (a feeling I’m sure isn’t going to go away anytime soon), I got my shit together and biked down to Kool Haus. Commuting up to York all the time means I hardly have a chance to ride my bike anymore, so it’s always nice, especially meandering through Toronto at night down a mostly quiet Queen’s Quay. Some guy in a cape and sunglasses was opening, singing the blues alone with two mannequins and an old cassette player decorating the stage. I didn’t catch his name, but he wasn’t bad. At some point I retreated to the bar in the back to drink pineapple vodkas and iMessage my friend in 2L about mooting tips for the upcoming Lerners Cup. I guess it’s hard to leave school behind even when you try to. There was a long pause between sets, but then finally Cat Power came onto the stage. You could already smell the pot burning in the air, coming from somewhere in the middle of the crowd. Security seemed nonplussed. She’d grown her hair out into a blonde mohawk since the album cover was taken, and she was wearing this leather jacket that completed the whole sleepy cowgirl thing she’s got going. She reminded me of Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry with that deep Southern warmth she carries in her notes, or this woman who I volunteered for all last year, whose subtle beauty humbled me the way Marshall’s stage presence did. For someone who’s mostly straight, and, you know,
maybe it was the pineapple vodkas, but man, this woman was able to convey the sultriness of the whole Georgian summer in just a few bars. I kind of wanted to touch her face. If only for those pesky security guards. Performing mostly from Sun, she did break from the new stuff to sing her cover of Pedro Infante’s “Angelitos Negros,” which was released on her covers album Jukebox (2008). This is a song tailored to the low octave of Cat Power’s voice, and the fact that it’s in Spanish doesn’t hurt either. Sometimes words always seem doubly more powerful when you don’t understand them and there’re rolls in the Rs. I felt like I was hearing her sing through a forgotten tunnel somewhere in Mexico. I definitely swayed a bit. At one point, she took a break to chat to the crowd, her speaking voice quick-paced, a little whispery. She was telling a story about opening doors in her underwear and riding trains, and it was hard to make out, but it didn’t matter because I was already completely enamoured. She was lighting sticks of incense and candles around the foot of her mic stand, and the stage was surely her home. Before starting “Peace and Love,” she dedicated the song to that “G-damn election coming up in my cohn-try,” and gave a sarcastic wink. Yes, I’m totally with you Cat, fuck that whole theatrical shitshow! She starts throwing white roses out into the crowd. What a romantic. She made punk look pretty, in all the best senses of that word; free as a tumbleweed rolling across the parking lot of a near-empty saloon. This is the music you listen to when you’re having slow and lazy midday sex with someone you trust. She’s swinging the roses by their thorny stems at her hips before launching them out into the crowd, one by one. Then she started tearing up her set list and throwing the pieces out to eagerly awaiting hands. Towards the end of the show, she complemented this guy in the crowd on his Charlie Chaplin t-shirt, and he literally took the shirt off his back and gave it to her. She tucked the shirt into the back of her jeans, and got the crowd to hand him a backstage pass, raising her eyebrows at him. The whole crowd felt a collective pang of envy as we cheered on this incredibly lucky, now shirtless guy. Leaving the concert hall, a girl stumbled by in front of me with her boyfriend in tow, murmuring: “That was so good, I wanted to fuck her.” I guess I wasn’t the only one. the OBITERdicta
arts & culture
Halloween movie guide: SPOOKTACULAR! MAX PATERSON Arts & Culture Editor It’s that time of year again, the time we dust off those “sexy” [fill in anything here] costumes, call up all of our ‘non-law’ friends, and go out for one last big night before the realities of assignments, papers and pre-exam note compiling begins. For those of you who are going to ‘rage’ on Halloween, I wish you the best and hope you find comfort in the arms of someone dressed as a superhero. For everyone else, if you are looking to spend the spookiest night of the year in the comfort of your own home, below is a collection of films that can keep you company while you sit by the door and hand out caramels to teenagers who want free candy. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) I have actually never watched this Halloween special, but if ABC has run it consistently every Halloween for the past 40 years, then it should at least be mentioned.
rorize a town after being dormant for 300 years. It’s basically like a female Three Stooges set during Halloween. It features an over-sexed Sarah Jessica Parker, and a really cool scene where the witches revive a corpse in a cemetery. Next to the First Wives Club and Big Business, it’s the only Bette Midler movie I watch. The Scream Series (1996 - 2011) If you are looking for an actual scare this Halloween, allow me to suggest the classic film series, Scream. These four movies feature tons of suspense, twists, turns, scary masks, and divorced celebrity powerhouse couple Courtney Cox and David Arquette. If you really want to pass the time this Halloween, have a Scream marathon and eat gummy worms and candy corns until you puke rainbows. Blair Witch Project (1999) I wonder if this movie still holds up? Army of Darkness (1992)
After an employee of ‘S-Mart’ gets transported back to the 1300’s he has to find his way home with only his shotgun and Oldsmobile Delta Royale to aid him. This movie is very silly and very entertaining. If you find yourself downing Fuzzy Peaches and Swedish Berries by the handful, then this movie is the right choice to take you through the sugar rush.
Idle Hands (1999)
Fueled by an all-star cast (Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Jessica Alba), this movie is a delight from beginning to end. The basic plot follows a high school stoner whose hand becomes possessed and starts killing people around town. The first part of the movie is pretty simple, but once you throw in a couple of zombies and Vivica A. Fox as a demon-hunter, this film turns into a Halloween classic.
Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, and Michael Keaton, what else do you need? An impromptu dinner table dance routine?! Well, this movie has that too!
Hocus Pocus (1993)
HOCUS POCUS CAST
This movie follows three witch sisters who terthe OBITERdicta
Bill Pullman and a young Christina Ricci move into a haunted house and attempt to get rid of the ghostly squatters. With one of the ghosts being friendly (Casper) and three of the ghosts » continued on page 15
The four horsemen of the intellectual apocalypse » continued from cover us we cannot be moral without religion and it prescribes for us how we must live our lives. It tells us to stone a woman to death one day, and the next tells us to be kind to the same woman. It tells us to show kindness to the poor, but we must give all of our money to its tax exempt temples. It makes us feel enriched with falsehoods and turns us against one another to create stronger bonds for each of its limbs (all legs of the same ass I might add). It makes us feel like we are part of something only because it creates an “other” out of everything else. We thus cannot be part of the form of humanity and the form of the religion simultaneously. Religion represents the rejection of humanism, the latter which is necessary for the species to evolve, the former which has laboured to ensure that it does not. 4. The extinguishing of the 4th estate (bad mainstream journalism): This horseman is content with lies and advertising to feed its existence. It tells us nothing and gives us no real insight into anything. It is the proxy for the ignorant horde and the mouthpiece for our oppressors. It is shod with nothing because it never goes to work and thus does not need shoes. It marginalizes real journalism and ensures that such journalism is relegated to the garbage bin of “conspiracy theory” – the throw away zone for any idea which we are too lazy to investigate properly due to its complexity. Semantic significance has become a relic in the pseudo-intellectual punditry of modern media and human interaction. When rhetoric and populism rule the day and Piggy’s glasses are smashed, the eschatologists of intellectualism quietly wimper on the deck of the ship, unshielded against the elements. The words we use to marginalize people’s opinions are becoming increasingly common in day to day rhetoric (sometimes between people who are supposed to be intelligent). Communist, terrorist, conspiracy theorist, ivory tower egghead, fundamentalist etc. These words are used to ensure that our real social issues stay simple, within the scope of what is acceptable and engaged with a false sense of self-righteousness that does not require any real insight into the itinerant idea’s abject intellectual poverty.
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A Little Sheep Told Me: Let your crazy out for Halloween ANGIE SHEEP Staff Writer One of the most celebrated occasions of the year has finally crept up: Happy Halloween! With only a few days remaining to prepare for what I think should be a legitimate holiday, I hope your costumes are all ready to go. Though realistically, your answer is probably no and I totally understand; Osgoode students simply do not have the time to aimlessly peruse around Toronto to discover their inspiration. Those readings are not going to do themselves! In light of our busy and sometimes just downright scary lives, I have devised a list of costume ideas and costume stores for you to consider. Even though this is one more article to add your reading list, it will be worth the trouble. On the other hand you could go as a law student, better known as a drone/zombie who idly walks down Queen Street. Costume Ideas: US election: What better way to celebrate this year than to compose your very own “binder full of women”? Mitt Romney’s famous words have popped up in every type of social media and will surely be an inspiration for a Halloween costume this year. This idea is also fairly simple: all you need is a sharp suit and a binder. Most of you already own both! But you may not want to carry around a binder all night, so I suggest taking the actual 3-ring binding out and attaching it to your suit by means of tape, string, or any other method you can think of. Making the binder itself a wearable accessory will also bring it to everyone’s attention, making sure no one is left confused about who you are. Lastly, don’t forget to fill those rings with all the women you’d like to hire!
BE A “BINDER FULL OF WOMEN”
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Join the superhero family: The box office this year was undoubtedly characterized by tightsclad and dreamy heroes. Batman will surely be one of the top selections this year, and if you have not seen the trilogy, you must do so! It is not only one of the most thrilling experiences in cinema, but it also provides you with a good grasp of how every piece of the costume is assembled. Other dreamy lifesavers of the year include Captain America and Iron Man. Catwoman is also a classic, particularly because the movie has been remade about nine times. Whether you prefer Anne Hathaway, Michelle Pfeiffer, or Halle Berry, you are bound to be leathered up, sexy, and ready to rule. Whatever superhero you choose to be, wear your costume with confidence and always be prepared to save the world at a moment’s notice. Leave the more cliché costumes to the less extraordinary.
BE A HERO!
you know what I am talking about. This video has become a sensation across the globe and the look is quite easy to put together. Just make sure you fully commit and do the Gangnam on the dance floor! A poster board: This is definitely for the lazy and last, last, last minute. You basically show up to the party with a plain shirt, tape/stapler, and scissors. Throughout the night, you cut pieces off other people’s costumes and stick it to yourself. A great benefit of this idea is that it will allow you to meet many people and take a bit of them with you as souvenir. Translation: great way to pick up.
Join the villains instead: What is a superhero without its counterpart? Nobody. The villains are arguably the best part of the dynamic, and it is certain that Bane will march the streets of Toronto on the last day of the month. Begin the countdown! Compared to Batman, Bane’s costume is a lot easier to put together; the integral part BE THE VILLAIN is the mask. Other elements include a white ribbed tank top, grey trousers (though you can probably get away with just Partly cloudy: This is the most memorable cosdark jeans), and some sort of tume I’ve ever encountered. It body/arm armor. All of these is very rudimentary and easy key components can be found but quite clever. You need at the costume stores found a blue shirt or sweater (any below. shade will do), white paper, scissors, and tape. Do you get Pregnant Snooki: I think this the idea? Clue: the paper is would be a hilarious characfor the clouds! ter to take on for the night, especially if you plan to get Where to Buy: extremely drunk and obnoxious. The pregnant Snooki is Queen St. West, between amore current and even more University and Spadina: If ridiculous evolution of the you have time to visit sevclassy lady. All you have to eral stores, this is one of the do is tie a pillow around your best areas to go. There are waist with a belt, dress up in many vintage, costume, and outrageous fabrics, and coif a consignment stores for you “poof ” as tall as the CN Tower. PREGNANT SNOOKI to browse and they are all of If you want to commit even reasonable price. I found my more, spray-tan yourself orange. Didn’t you costume essentials here for under $20! They also hear? That’s the new natural! Which gives me had the superhero masks and costumes. another costume idea: Oompa Loompa! Gangnam Style: If you are into pop culture,
Value Village: This is a personal favorite among » continued on next page the OBITERdicta
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many for Halloween. VV carries both entire costumes themselves and individual pieces of what you need (e.g. stockings, gloves, wigs, and accessories) for cheap. Go here for one-stopshop and variety. The downtown store is located at 924 Queen St. East. American Apparel: AA is not only a great place to shop period, but also incredible for people who need bright and/or leather pieces. One of their signature items is leggings that come in many different fabrics, styles, and colours. It is a bit more expensive than the above stores, but every piece I’ve purchased at AA for Halloweenspecific motives, I have also been able to wear on a regular basis. So it definitely does not have to be a waste, just bear in mind whether you will still use the item after that day. If so, totally worth it! Reflections Vintage and Antiques: For people living uptown, this store might be more feasible to get to: 676 Yonge St. (between Bloor and Wellesley). Its philosophy is to: (1) not sell anything over $100 and (2) be a one-stop-shop for all your costume needs. The store itself can be a bit hectic and over-shelved, but do not hesitate to take advantage of the storekeepers, who are happy to help transform your vision into reality. I hope these pointers will save you a lot of time in this year’s Halloween hunt and awaken some ideas that have been pushed to the back of your minds to make room for law. Winter is coming, which means exams are imminent, so go out and be your fantasy for the day; it’ll be a refreshing release from midterms and OCIs and a way to get the party bug out before you really have to settle down. Happy Halloween!
ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
“ THE KISS” IN CASPER
scene, then it’s possible you have no soul.
Any Episode of: Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1991 - 1996) or Goosebumps (1995 - 1998)
Frasier: “Halloween” Episode (1997) During an amazing Halloween soiree hosted by Niles, Ros gets a pregnancy scare, which turns out to be a grand mixup of Frasier-esque proportions. Many big words are used in this episode so be sure to watch it with a dictionary close at hand. Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) A true Halloween classic! Nothing celebrates this ghoulish holiday like watching Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon dance and sing in their underwear. I’d attempt to describe the plot, but this movie is so outrageous that it would be better if you just saw it. If you want the real Rocky Horror experience, check out one of the live shadow casts happening at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.
As I did research for this article I was flooded by dark memories of the phone police and the shiny red bicycle. If you really want to be terrified, check out any episode from these two series. If you really really want to scare yourself, then hold your own meeting of the Midnight Society around a campfire and tell your own ghost stories. ULTIMATE HALLOWEEN MOVIE: Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) Widely considered as one of the worst Ernest movies, this film follows Ernest as he tries to save the world from a Troll who turns kids into wooden dolls. Basically, Ernest messes everything up and says “Yah-know-what-I-mean” a lot. It’s a masterpiece!
Halloween movie guide » continued from page 13 being mischievous (Stretch, Stinkie, and Fatso), you can imagine the hijinks that ensue. Also, if you don’t shed a tear during the final dance
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FRASIER‘S “HALLOWEEN” EPISODE
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