Ilustration by Mikie Jae
LET TER FROM THE EDITOR Here it is. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided to pick up the sixth issue of Ryerson Folio. Thank you. Yes, you, holding this magazine right now. You may not know this, but by taking and reading our magazine you’re not just supporting good journalism. You’re supporting the cross-collaboration of faculties at Ryerson, the creativity and talent of all our students and everything we do. So, hey, you’re pretty cool. This issue marks the sixth year Ryerson Folio has been in operation and we just keep growing and evolving. Last year was my first year with Folio as one of the heads of photography. That year we fully established our presence on campus and made ourselves known. When people asked what Folio was, the response wasn’t, “What are you talking about?” It was, “Oh, you mean that awesome magazine that has all that great content and stunning art?” This year, we’ve continued to spread our name by creating the engaging pieces we’re known for. But as we continue to move forward, we also want to look back, bringing along all the good things we’ve learned while acknowledging our mistakes and making changes—because let’s face it, nobody’s perfect. The theme of this issue is transparency. You may be asking yourself, “What exactly does that mean?” Well, dear reader, we’ve chosen to interpret the term openly. Transparency can show itself in many ways, such as tackling our own lack of diversity in previous issues’ fashion spreads. In “Under Watchful Eyes” (pg.30), Ethan Craft explores the most secretive country in the world. We examine our experiences at Ryerson in Alexander Stephen and Emma McIntosh’s “Arts Students: This is What You Paid For” (pg.16), and look into our city with Masumi Rodriguez’s “Chinatown” (pg.47) and our entertainment industry with Jordan Currie’s “The B-Word” (pg.24). To say the past year has been challenging is an understatement. There were times when it seemed easiest to just give up. But when it got tough, our team didn’t quit. We kept on working through the hard times, and I couldn’t be more honoured and proud to be a part of this wonderful group of human beings. Speaking of which, this magazine would not be possible without the tireless efforts of Hanna Lee, Sabrina Bertsch, our masthead and all our contributors who worked day and night to make sure everything in this issue is perfect. Someone once told me, “Hey buddy, print is dying.” I’m glad I chose to ignore them with optimistic ignorance, because this past year has been incredible. You’re holding in your hands living proof that print isn’t dead. We hope you enjoy it. Augustine Ng Editor-in-Chief
Art by the masthead.
TABLE OF CONT
Photo: Sabrina Bertsch
2016-2017 IN MEMES
MIX, MATCH, SUCCESS
OUT OF THE THEATRE AND INTO THE CLASSROOM
OUR MANY SELVES
WHAT IS A CITY?
ART STUDENTS, THIS IS WHAT YOU PAID FOR
A MIXED BAG
UNDER WATCHFUL EYES: A GLIMPSE INSIDE NORTH KOREA
PITCH IS COMPELLING BUT PURE FANTASY
MEETING IN THE MIDDLE
RYERSON SOBERS UP
THE BEST FOUR YEARS
SCENES FROM THE SUBWAY
HAIRSPRAY LIVE!: IMPERFECT BUT RELEVANT
GOULD ST. DRAWING CLUB
ICE AND GLASS
Augustine Ng, Journalism ‘18
MANAGING & PRINT EDITOR Hanna Lee, Journalism ‘18
Sabrina Bertsch, Media Production ‘18
// SECTION EDITORS
Mikie Jae, Creative Industries ‘18 Alicia Siow, Graphic Communications Management ‘18
Celina Gallardo, Journalism ‘19
Business & Technology
Emma McIntosh, Journalism ‘18
Fashion & Lifestyle
Emily Skublics, Creative Industries ‘17
Lisa Cumming, Journalism ‘18 Mitchell Thompson, Journalism ‘18
Ethan Craft, Journalism ‘20 Shantia Cross, Journalism ‘18 Connor Garel, Journalism ‘19 Andrea Josic, Journalism ‘20 Juliana Kedzior Kaminski, Journalism ‘19 Patricia Karounos, Journalism ‘17 Matthew Kennedy, Nursing ‘17 Swikar Oli, Journalism ‘18 Masumi Rodriguez, Graphic Communications Management ‘19 Matthew Sauder, Architecture ‘19 Michelle Song, Journalism ‘18 Alexander Stephen, Politics and Governance ‘18 André Varty, Journalism ‘17 Designers & Illustrators Jake Benaim, Media Production ‘20 Helen Mak, Creative Industries ‘18 Vicky Wang, Creative Industries ‘20 Photographers Alysha Barrett, Image Arts ‘18 Research & Copy Cherileigh Co, Journalism ‘17 André Varty, Journalism ‘17 Zoe Melnyk, Journalism ‘18 Cover by Alicia Siow
Morgan Bocknek, Journalism ‘18
Quinton Bradshaw, Media Production ‘19 Kemeisha McDonald, Journalism ‘17
HEAD OF COPY
CONNECT WITH US
Website: http://ryersonfolio.com Instagram: @ryersonfolio Twitter: @ryersonfolio Facebook: @ryersonfolio
Victoria Shariati, Journalism ‘19
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
// EXECUTIVES OF FINANCE & EVENTS
Karen Chan, Journalism ‘17
Head of Finance Lucy Yin, Business Management ‘18 Heads of Marketing & Events David Lao, Journalism ‘18 Seta Manukyan, Business Management ‘18
01 / RYERSON FOLIO · ISSUE 6 · YEAR 2016-2017
Ryerson Folio is brought to you by RCDS & SIF.
Here are the Folio team’s favourite songs, in order of the masthead: 1) Japanese Denim - Daniel Caesar 2) Every Single Thing - Homeshake 3) We Don’t Know - The Strumbellas 4) Honey - Trace 5) Hold (Mr. FijiWiji Remix) - Dabin ft. Daniela Andrade 6) Shoegaze - Alabama Shakes 7) You Can Have It All - Yo La Tengo 8) Vienna - Bil y Joel 9) Legend Has It - Run The Jewels 10) Greetings to the New Brunette - Bil y Bragg 11) This Must Be the Place - Talking Heads 12) Prayer for Ruby Elm - John K. Samson 13) Redbone - Childish Gambino 14) Guantanamera - The Fugees 15) Love Again - Carly Rae Jepsen 16) 3am - HONNE 17) No Heart - 21 Savage ft. Metro Boomin 18) Come Through and Chil - Salaam Remi & Miguel Scan the code with your phone to give the playlist a listen!
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LE P EN
Through the ups a past year, the one stayed constant w Here are some of
Artwork by Mikie Jae, Au 03 / RYERSON FOLIO
DA M N DA N I E L
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and downs of the e thing that has was the memes. f our favourites.
ugustine Ng & Alicia Siow RYERSON FOLIO / 04
Mix, Match, Success How Yazmin Butcher went from fashion communication to creative agency co-founder. By Emily Skublics Photo from Bianca Scarlato
“In second year, I knew I didn’t want to do fashion,” says Yazmin Butcher, a 2014 fashion communication graduate. She looks totally at ease as she says this, sipping her Balzac’s coffee next to her best friend, roommate and business partner Sandra Daranikone. “I just switched all my projects to focus on production and graphic design.” Though not a move every student would dare try, it worked for Butcher. Shortly after graduating, she landed a job at production company HangLoose Media while maintaining freelance graphic design work on the side. In January 2016, Butcher decided to take on yet another job—this time, as her own boss.
at all hours, texting or shouting through the walls of their downtown apartment, showing each other what they’re working on. Butcher says it works because they were colleagues first. “We weren’t that close as friends,” Daranikone agrees. Though they may have begun as colleagues, the two have clearly bonded into sisters. They are a living cliché—finishing each other’s sentences, praising one another at every turn and even reciting their life motto in unison: “Take chances, make mistakes and get messy” (which they laugh at, because it’s taken from Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus).
“I saw how difficult it was to find work in the creative industries,” she explains, with Daranikone nodding in agreement. “Why not create jobs for ourselves?”
Humour is also an integral aspect of Butcher’s character. When asked about her plans for the future, she initially says, “I want to be on Saturday Night Live. That’s ‘making it.’” But after she’s finished laughing, she lists several serious and well thought-out plans, including writing a GXXRLS web series and taking GXXRLS global.
With that in mind, Butcher and Daranikone founded GXXRLS Creative Agency to “promote women in the creative industries through collaboration and community.” Currently, the collective is made up of eight women of varying creative talents, including web design, styling and photography. Last November, they successfully held their first event, a breast cancer awareness art show called “BXXBS.”
Butcher’s full-speed-ahead ambition is inspired by her mother. “My mom’s an artist, too, and has four kids and just kills it,” she says. “I want, like, five children. And I want to continue with GXXRLS—I see myself anywhere in the world doing that.”
“We want to give a platform to people that aren’t [social media] influencers,” Butcher says. She’s immensely proud of GXXRLS Tour, an online series promoting creative females in Toronto. She maintains her freelance graphic design business, where she has worked for locally-born businesses like Mary Young, a lingerie brand, and Elxr Juice Lab.
Plans for the future of GXXRLS also includes running workshops to give young women the chance to try coding, design and photography. Butcher firmly believes in the importance of trying new things. During her time at Ryerson, she undertook as many internships as possible to figure out what she liked. “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it,” she says. “And if you like it, try it twice!”
In July, Butcher left the comfort of her graphic design job at HangLoose Media to pursue GXXRLS full-time. “I decided I didn’t want to work for someone, I want to work for myself. So I quit,” she says matter-of-factly. Though she seems confident and collected, Butcher admits she “was terrified and cried all the time” at first. But she said students should just do it. “It worked out; we’re surviving. Believe in yourself!”
She also brings that mindset to her team. “People on our team still don’t know what they want to do,” she says. “[GXXRLS] is a good way for them to have their foot in everything.” This is echoed in her ultimate words of wisdom to current students: “Don’t be afraid to be unsure. It’s okay to be unsure and to not know what you want to do, even if you’ve spent the last four years doing it.”
Much of the success of GXXRLS is owed to Butcher and Daranikone’s unusual relationship and its powerful dynamic. They describe being awake 05 / RYERSON FOLIO
Out of the Theatre and Into the Classroom How Kamal Al-Solaylee brings his real-world experience to his students. By Michelle Song Photo by Augustine Ng
The 2007 vampire thriller Rise: Blood Hunter was the final trigger that led Kamal Al-Solaylee to begin teaching. After the former Globe and Mail theatre critic was put on the film beat and told to review the violent movie, he walked out of the theatre determined to be a professor at Ryerson’s School of Journalism. Although his 10-year career as a journalist, editor and theatre critic has helped solidify his position as a journalism professor, his kindness and dedication is what makes him inspiring to his students. For Al-Solaylee, being an approachable and gentle professor to his students is important because he doesn't like “the hierarchy of being seen as a professor.” He makes sure that he embodies these qualities through his mannerisms and even in the way he writes his emails. He prepares his students for the current journalism industry as he is still involved in it himself—he still freelances for publications like the Globe and The Walrus. He teaches students real-life skills, such as how to pitch a story, how to make a living from freelancing and how to tell intricate stories in a fast-paced industry. As a result, he has helped mould numerous successful journalists today, like BuzzFeed senior writer Scaachi Koul, who even reviewed one of Al-Solaylee’s books for the Globe and Mail. Al-Solaylee says “there are very few rewards in teaching,” but seeing students succeed outside of the classroom is “the reward that [he waits] for.” Beyond those rewards, memories of his students that Al-Solaylee keeps near to his heart are more sentimental. He still keeps the “best professor” certificate that was made for him by one of his students. He treasures the time a student
brought him a cake with icing spelling out “thank you.” He immortalizes these memories as photos on his iPhone. Al-Solaylee’s fond memories of his students are what continue to motivate him to teach his students essential journalism skills, but he also hopes to expose them to the larger issues happening in the world. In one of his classes, “Journalism and Ideas,” he sparks group discussions about specific sociopolitical issues such as global migration, modern slavery and race relations. He wants students to grasp the realities of the world and be curious about them. “I really want [students] to understand difference, and not just to understand it, but to really come to know what it's like to be different,” he says. Through his writing, Al-Solaylee wants to use the privilege he has as an academic to talk about difficult subjects. In the past five years, he has written two award-winning non-fiction books. His first book, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, recounts his experiences of being gay while living in the Middle East. Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone), his second book, takes a different approach, mixing personal accounts with other experience from people who are various shades of brown. Al-Solaylee continues to teach and freelance; he is also planning to start writing his third book in 2018. Over the course of the last decade, there have been no signs of him losing his passion to shape the journalists of tomorrow. As difficult as teaching may be, for Al-Solaylee, it is a reward worth waiting for.
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Our Many Selves How today’s students are fragmenting themselves on social media. By Emily Skublics Artwork By Mikie Jae
To-do list: charm client at work, Instagram flat-lay matching aesthetic, retweet industry-related article, have dinner with parents, go out with friends. Sometimes the number of social realms we must navigate on a daily basis threatens to tear us apart, and having to act differently in each situation according to its social rules doesn’t make it any easier. But somehow, Ryerson students are using this daily soul-splitting to thrive instead.
fans, frenemies and industry-eyes alike. For some students, this is where the soul-splitting starts. “Sometimes I feel like I’m the ultimate catfish because I’m curating photos that make me look more interesting or cool, or photos where I look really good and they are edited,” says fourth-year photography student Emmett Charuk. He runs five Instagram accounts, “each with a specific audience” but still representing a slice of his true self.
Do our social media profiles even count as versions as ourselves?
Sociologists have theorized about the concept of multiple selves for decades, starting notably with George Herbert Mead’s theory of the social self in 1913. He proposed we learn to be sociable based on the communities we interact with: our parents teach us their culture and beliefs, peer groups influence our personalities and behaviours, organizations socialize us to act in our professional roles. You play a different role as a sibling than you do as a co-worker, friend or lover, but this is expected: they are each a different version of yourself.
Except that in the digital age, you are expected to have more selves than just the number of roles you fill. To keep up with the norm, you must also have digital selves that integrate several roles. Your Facebook profile has to project a version of yourself for your family, friends and coworkers all at once, and your Instagram has to attract 07 / RYERSON FOLIO
“In a way, they’re all more polished versions of myself, because I can control the content,” he explains. Charuk has often felt nervous to meet people in person if their first interactions were on social media. He once followed a photographer on Instagram, then met him at a party months later. “It was awkward,” he recalls, laughing.
Despite his inner stress, Charuk has had success portraying multiple selves. On his “business” account, Charuk posts professional images. He treats this account as a “mini gallery” for industry members to consistently see his work without having to visit his external website, thereby increasing his reach. For Fiona Kenney, using multiple social media platforms and accounts has only been a source of opportunity. The third-year creative industries student maintains five
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social media accounts across Instagram and Facebook. She uses Facebook to express her humour and personal opinions about school and social issues, while Instagram allows her to express her design interests and show what she is working on professionally to the art community. “Neither [platform] is fully me on its own,” Kenney says. “But together, they do a really good job of representing who I am 100 per cent.” Unlike Charuk, Kenney has no qualms about having multiple digital selves. Yet they both refer to their social media account maintenance as “curation,” suggesting it is an art form or creative exercise. If this is true, do our social media profiles even count as versions of ourselves, or are they merely artistic expressions? Our digital selves are unlike our private selves due to the amount of control we have over them. But that’s not the only difference: they are also permanent. Like horcruxes, our social media presences allow us to live on forever, held in tiny spaces—but on the Internet. We finally have a taste of what it’s like to live as a celebrity or politician, where everything we say and do is recorded and can be used against us. But that doesn’t scare young, driven students. “If it’s permanent for me, it’s permanent for everyone,” says fourth-year creative industries student Tavia Bakowski. “I think once I was older than 16, I finally understood that and have been very careful since.”
“In the digital age, you are expected to have more selves than just the number of roles you fill.”
Bakowski uses Twitter liberally to express her thoughts on everything, from quoting professors to raving over the newest Pokemon games. She says the realization of her actions’ permanence didn’t change the way she used social media; it simply allowed her to be conscious of it. For some, social media can be a tool to overcome personal hurdles from timidness to mental illness. Gabby Scheyen has over 100,000 followers on her only Instagram account, where she focuses on personal growth through fitness. “I’m very open [on Instagram] with my past and what I’m going through,” said the fourth-year creative industries student. “I come across as much more outgoing on social media, when in real life I’m very, very shy and self-conscious.” We are living in a time where your social media self can even get its own job. Scheyen is now paid a monthly salary as a brand ambassador for Women’s Best fitness and beauty products, specifically due to her Instagram’s reach. “People trust my opinion and respect my honesty, so that’s why Women’s Best wanted me on their team,” she says. What would George Herbert Mead have to say about the social self a century later? Whether we use social media as an artistic exercise, a portfolio, an extension of ourselves, or an entirely different self, as long as we remain grounded in our real selves, it is perfectly natural to have more than one.
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The buildings of old Toronto tell the story of our beginnings, bringing life to the little side streets of the city. Written and illustrated by Matthew Sauder “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody,” wrote journalist, author and urban activist Jane Jacobs in her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Cities are public spaces and they should be designed from a human perspective for the people inhabiting them.
campus, an 80-storey glass high rise was designed to be placed right on top of the 8 Elm St. heritage building. The plan calls for the original structure to be destroyed, and only the façade would be reconstructed. The developer also proposed to build right up against the property line, crowding in next to other heritage buildings.
But the city planners and architects trying to build in Toronto right now struggle with the problem of space. At Ryerson’s architecture school, we have a specific class on site and context, and explore ways to incorporate new architecture into the old. This, to me, was probably one of the biggest challenges in design. Even so, it doesn’t make sense for firms all over Toronto to shove glass rectangles in between heritage buildings.
Density is good within cities because it reduces the overall environmental impact, but this proposal completely disregards the heritage and character of Elm Street. We need citizens to express their concerns about future city development because a successful city is only achieved when both
One example of a proposal that any regard to heritage and life of the city is Elm St. proposal. Right beside the Ryerson
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b u i l d i n g hasn’t paid the context, pedestrian the 8
citizens and planners work together. Because of Elm Street’s close proximity to Ryerson, the proposal has come to the attention of people like third-year urban planning student Eli Aaron, who put together a petition against the construction of the building. Aaron has been speaking up and bringing his concerns to the city about how the building would impact the Ryerson campus. He also believes it would cast a shadow over campus and cause congestion on Yonge and Elm streets. The positive side to the proposal is the fact that it creates high-density housing close to transportation, which is exactly what the city is trying to accomplish. “Intensification is good, but when it outpaces infrastructure it can have negative effects,” says Aaron. For a city to succeed, it needs to discuss its changes with the people living in it—it needs to connect with both its citizens and its planners. We, as citizens, need to make ourselves heard, and the people making decisions about the city we live in need to listen.
Ryerson students experience the increasing density of Toronto every day from the subway to the street. Without participating in the growth of our city we will end up with a city that doesn’t work. City planners should be designing from a human perspective, take citizens’ concerns into account and respect the laws that previous generations have put in place to preserve our history. That’s what a city should be.
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Arts students, this is what you paid for In the year since its creation, the Ryerson Arts Society has faced embezzlement allegations, resignations and the loss of three presidents. Often, it happened behind closed doors. By Alexander Stephen and Emma McIntosh Artwork by Alicia Siow 11 / RYERSON FOLIO
Without leadership the people perish.
In the time since the Ryerson Arts Society was voted into existence, the organization has been plagued by controversy and resignations that didn’t stop with the impeachment of president Nikita Jariwala. In total, the society lost three presidents in three months. While this may, in some ways, serve as an example of failures in student governance, it also exposes just how indifferent young people can be towards their own political systems—and how that indifference can lead to chaos.
spots were filled by application. Summer passed, with the RAS execs heading off on team-building adventures at a luxury ziplining resort. But all of those bonding exercises aside, tensions began to surface inside the RAS.
The RAS was quietly created in September 2015. That November, about 15 per cent of students in the Faculty of Arts voted in the referendum that allowed the society to take $30 per semester from each one to fund its operations. It passed by a slim margin of three votes.
One conflict arose during a Halloween pub night event. Following the event, allegations surfaced that now-former vice-president of events Tajdeep Brar made homophobic comments about partygoers, The Eyeopener reported. Brar, for his part, has said he did not make the comments. He resigned after the incident, the first of several to leave the RAS.
The presidency was one of the few traditionally elected positions in the spring 2016 elections—most races had only one candidate, while other
Tensions within the team reached a boiling point on Dec. 1. After nearly five hours of meetings, Jariwala was impeached.
The discussion is documented in minutes published on the RAS Facebook page. They’re not a complete transcript—dialogue in them has been summarized, so the sections quoted here are not necessarily verbatim. The catalyst of the controversy appeared to be questions regarding Jariwala’s attempted approval of funds for a course trip to Pennsylvania State University, the details of which are unclear. Axel Smith Schon, the vice-president of finance at the time, began to build an argument for the president's’ impeachment, calling Jariwala’s actions “embezzlement,” according to the minutes.
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A later statement from the RAS said there had been “suspicious activity brought up to the [vice-president of finance] involving funding an event on campus from an external party that led to concerns of potential embezzlement.”
In the statement, the RAS also said the word “embezzlement” turned out to be “misleading,” and that Jariwala’s actions weren’t actually condemned as such. The RAS did not explain what exactly the allegations were referencing. Regardless, the executives and directors in attendance began discussing impeachment as those not present at the meeting started streaming in via Skype.
For the RAS to impeach an executive, someone must motion to request a resignation. Even if it passes, the member may refuse to step down. The board may then motion for impeachment with a one-meeting notice. English director Sabrina Sgandurra pointed out a loophole in this process—since the RAS constitution didn’t specify a time frame between meetings, Jariwala could technically be impeached today should a second meeting be held, say, a few minutes later. And so, on the suggestion of vice-president of external affairs Daniel Lis, the board decided an impeachment meeting would occur two minutes after the conclusion of the current one. The minutes read like notes from an ad-hoc trial, with Jariwala even referred to as “the accused.” The RAS defended its choice to Ryerson Folio, saying it believes it had the best interests of arts students in mind, and there had been enough discussion to make an informed decision.
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The lone non-RAS student in the room—identified only as “general member” in the minutes—spoke up before the board decided to close the impeachment meeting and kick him out of the room.
“When RAS started I was skeptical, but went into it with an open mind,” he said. “My optimism is gone. I have concerns that my tuition money isn’t being managed well.” Others were also unsettled. Director of Philosophy Yulian Starchenko said he was concerned the impeachment was a power grab by Smith Schon. Smith Schon denied this, saying Jariwala violated the spirit of the RAS’ constitution with lies, unexcused absences, non-performance of duties and unbecoming behaviour, among other things. “I am not the emperor trying to collapse the republic, I just want the board to come together to make an informed decision,” Smith Schon said.
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Smith Schon then referenced “piss-poor” money management, while director of history Jason Marlatt talked about an outstanding debt. In a statement to Folio, the RAS said it isn’t currently in debt; rather, it’s actually in good financial standing. “Misunderstanding may have arose due to the nature of RAS’ first year of operations; all societies receive their levy in October,” the statement read. “To run a successful orientation RAS had to borrow money from other parties in the university.”
Jariwala asked the board for another chance, but Marlatt dismissed the idea. “I don’t deal with hypotheticals,” Marlatt said. “Without leadership the people perish.”
And so, on the suggestion of vice-president of external affairs Daniel Lis, the board decided an impeachment meeting would occur two minutes after the conclusion of the current one.
Arts and contemporary studies director Serena Mola defended Jariwala, calling the entire impeachment process “shady.” Lis dismissed the idea, saying the process fit within the constitution. In the end, 11 board members voted to oust Jariwala. Two voted against it, while three abstained. A breakdown of how the board members voted was not included in the minutes, and a complete list of who’s on the RAS was only provided at the request of Folio.
“Don’t think this is a plot where I walk in like Lenin and take over,” said Dittburner, the new interim president, after the vote. “I just wanted to come here and give my voice.”
When the RAS announced the impeachment on Facebook a day later, students were angry. Some said it demonstrated a lack of transparency, while others joked about petitioning to dissolve the society entirely.
times, but any insinuation that RAS’ 2016-17 year has been plagued or defined by such errors is untrue,” a statement from the RAS read.
“With the hiring of the society manager, RAS has made a substantial effort to resolve any grievances or errors made and now stands stronger than ever in its history.”
That manager, Stephen Kassim, would later find that Smith Schon wasn’t technically a Faculty of Arts student, and remove him from office at a meeting on Feb. 15. Smith Schon was taking only online courses for the winter semester, and therefore paid a levy to the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) instead of the RAS.
The RAS constitution also came under fire at that meeting as it was never formally sent to the Board of Governors as required. Copies distributed at the meeting were also substantially different than the version posted on the RAS website, The Eyeopener reported.
That, of course, didn’t happen. Dittburner resigned from the RAS in January, leaving Smith Schon—a major driving force behind Jariwala’s impeachment—as acting president. At the society’s annual general meeting on Jan. 26, it voted to tighten up its rules for impeachment, effectively preventing a situation like Jariwala’s from happening again. “As with any new team without any guidance there may be errors in judgement made at
As it resolves those controversies, the RAS will be led by another interim president. The newly-appointed vice-president of finance, Bahoz Dara Aziz, will take on the role, Kassim said. As large as the failings of governance and transparency at the RAS this year may have been, the failings of the general membership in not voting or calling their officials to account have been just as colossal. Some may laugh at how low the
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stakes can seem in student government. However, it’s important to remember that hard-earned student money is at stake, and as such, we need to ask certain questions. Those questions weren’t part of the discussion during the admittedly chaotic 2017-18 RSU elections, where several RAS board members were candidates. Lis, an instrumental force in the ousting of Jariwala, was elected as the 2017-18 vice-president of education. “It’s our job to hold our president accountable,” Lis told The Eyeopener after Jariwala’s impeachment. “It’s why we run for office—to hold each other accountable for the best standard for our students.”
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By Shantia Cross Artwork by Vicky Wang Take a seat at the table Come with an open mind. Let me teach you what I know, About the people with hair like twine How our curls tell a story, That my ancestors couldn’t live to tell. How a society was so curious, About how their hair fell. Their hair was called “curly.” From their roots to their tips Just like mine, Our hair was a natural way of showing our fight, without our fists. It was our way of feeling free, To express ourselves, to show ourselves some love, A rebirth that we need. From the age of four, My hair flowed like the rivers my ancestors followed for freedom. Falling down my back, my coils intact, like waterfalls. At eight years old my hair was still in braids But during Christmas time I wore my hair down, I looked like my Barbie, except I was brown. My background and heritage showed through my skin. How the cane crops and plantain fields acts as my roots within. How coconut oils quench the thirst my curls need. To let my ringlets and my coils, and my hair grow free. So don’t touch my hair without permission to learn my history, Or how I keep it, or style it and let me do me. I will teach you how to “touch” my hair, it starts by asking, and I’ll seat you at the table and tell you about the history of natural hair that set me free.
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Possession Obsession Why do we spend money we don’t really have? By Connor Garel Artwork by Mikie Jae
As students, we’ve immortalized these four words in proverbial history. We’ve defaulted them as an automatic response to a plethora of everyday social questions.
A massive discrepancy exists between the struggling financial status of students and their justification for “needing” new clothes. Although our bank accounts tread water desperately, half drowning and half swimming, we often feel this strange compulsion to replace things that aren’t broken. To acquire things we already have.
“Want to go out to eat?”
To buy what we don’t need.
“I can’t. I’m broke.”
Edward Bernays, father of propaganda and public relations, wrote an essay outlining a response to this phenomenon 70 years ago. Despite its age, the prevailing theory from his essay “The Engineering of Consent” is as prevalent now as it was in 1947.
“I can’t. I’m broke,” whispers every student on the planet in beautiful and terrible unison.
Being broke is a shared reality—a harmonic experience of tears and empathy. It is so reachable, so understandable. A student’s wallet is neglected as an unwatered flower. “Let’s go out tonight. There’s this bar I’ve been meaning to go to.” “I can’t. I’m broke.” Like broken records, we throw the same four words at every proposition that comes our way. There’s no need to think twice, no need to reload or consider the fluidity of the proverb. It’s become universally accepted. “Want to go shopping? “I can’t. I’m—you know what? Sure. I need a new sweater.”
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Engineering consent refers to the scientific principle of manipulating whole populations to buy things they don’t need. Bernays believed brands are able to control consumers by linking products and ideas to their subconscious desires. “I relate it to being insecure,” says Maxine McCarthy. McCarthy is a second-year creative industries student taking both the fashion and journalism modules. “When you’re in fashion, everyone kind of wears
their heart on their sleeve. I always feel the need to be presentable just to go to class.” Bernays came up with the idea of third-party endorsements. It was his theory that if a company could get endorsements from an expert or other credible figure, the product would sell itself. Today, celebrities endorse everything from clothing to water to cereal. Brands and corporations have completely modernized Bernays’ concept of public manipulation to make us want things we don’t need. Rihanna has designed for River Island and Puma. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are in Balmain advertisements. Lady Gaga for Versace. Celebrity endorsement is down to a science at this point. “Celebrities definitely set trends and styles. Especially if you’re a well-respected figure in the fashion industry,” says Leban Osman, a third-year supply chain management student at Humber College. “People are always on the look out on what to wear next. Would bombers be cool without Kanye? Would slip dresses be ‘in’ if Rihanna wasn’t in the picture? What about oversized outerwear and Kim Kardashian?”
increasingly important device for advertising. People are able to establish themselves as a brand through their Internet profiles. They can show you their personality, their outfits, what they’re eating and who they’re with. We can now literally “follow” a person’s life. The more followers a person has, the more powerful they are and the more credible they seem. This is why companies now contact popular Instagram users to be “brand ambassadors” on social media. “I definitely spend frivolously,” says Donté Colley, a second-year media communications student at Humber College. “[The] majority of the time, I’ll see something I like in a store that I think I need right in that moment. Realistically, it’s just an item that will stay hung in my closet. But it’s that mentality of, ‘I’m waiting for the right day to stunt [on Instagram] in it.’ That leads me to maxing out my credit card every month.”
“ Brands are no longer staying true to their vision.”
Star power is an integral tool in marketing. Audrey Hepburn made the little black dress famous back in 1961. Hunter boots are popular now because Kate Moss wore them back in 2005 to Glastonbury Festival. In 2016, Rihanna turned the off-the-shoulder button-down trend into a style reproduced on retail store mannequins and on the bodies of Instagram fashionistas. “It’s crazy because Puma is supposed to be a company that makes athletic wear. But somehow, Kylie Jenner has become their star,” says McCarthy. “And it’s all because of her 80 million followers on Instagram—every time they do a photoshoot, she shares it on social media and those 80 million people see that. Brands are no longer staying true to their vision. They’re just trying to generate the most traffic online as they can.” Social media connects us with people we otherwise might not be connected to—which makes it an
Bernays said that the public is composed of “fundamentally irrational people…who could not be trusted” in his 1947 essay. He maintained that entire populations are easily directed and controlled. All brands have to do to make people buy their things is slap the face of a celebrity on their packaging.
The familiar sound accompanying a tapped credit card at your favourite retail store can be undoubtedly pleasing. But, it can also do the opposite, producing a burning disappointment turned inwards. While buying a slip dress might make you feel that much closer to Rihanna, it also widens the canyon between your bank accounts. Closets shrink as they fill up, and the relationship between this and your wallet is irrevocable. This isn’t to say don’t buy anything—we all love a good coat. It’s just to say that as consumers, it’s important to be critical of the advertisements. It is important to acknowledge the purpose of these celebrity endorsements. Maybe the proverb “would Rihanna wear this?” might not always be the most appropriate phrase to live by.
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J A K E
A R T W O R K B E N A I M
The debut episode of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black wastes no time introducing the audience to then-main character Piper Chapman’s vague and unaddressed sexuality. “You were a lesbian?” her mother asks in the first episode, referring to Piper’s ex-girlfriend Alex Vause, for whom Piper helped smuggle drug money overseas ten years prior. “At the time. No, I’m not still a lesbian,” Piper replies. Piper deals with adjusting to her life in prison and rekindling her attraction to her former girlfriend upon learning they’re in the same facility—all while being engaged to a man for the entirety of the first season. Later in the season, during a flashback sequence of Piper and Alex as a couple, Alex shouts, “Rule number one: don’t ever fall in love with a straight girl,” during an argument. “I like hot girls. I like hot guys. I like hot people. What can I say? I’m shallow,” Piper states in another episode, blatantly proclaiming her attractions to the audience but without ever using the word “bisexual,” as though the word never occurred to her as an option.
There are endless complicated reasons as to why the word itself is so evaded. “I think it really goes to the word ‘sexual’ and the fact that coming out as gay or lesbian, those words don’t have the word ‘sexual’ within the word,” says queer media instructor and Toronto journalist Andrea Houston. She also notes ignorance on bisexuality from television executives and writers.
I’m bisexual. Did that not even occur to either of you?
OITNB was acclaimed in its earlier seasons for its diverse cast of women and its comedic and dramatic writing, but not even LGBTQ-oriented television shows like it are exempt from bisexual erasure. Although Piper briefly references the Kinsey scale once, a prominent research scale used to measure sexual fluidity, it was ultimately one small moment in an otherwise biphobic show. Bisexual erasure is the propensity to ignore and dismiss bisexual people and their narratives, even sometimes denying that bisexuality is a valid sexual orientation. On television, this is most notable in the resistance to label a character as bisexual, despite the implication being clear. Take Fox’s Glee as another example. The character Brittany dates both men and women throughout the entire series, but the writers dance around the word “bisexual” in ridiculous ways, even going as outlandish as to call her “mostly lesbian” at one point. After Brittany’s relationship with fan-favourite lesbian
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character Santana ends, another lesbian character notes that it would be good for Santana to try dating a “100 per cent Sapphic goddess,” because she wouldn’t have to worry about a lesbian girlfriend “straying for penis.” This language around bisexuality suggests Santana’s relationship with Brittany wasn’t valid because it was with a bisexual woman, and that bi people are more susceptible to infidelity.
Biphobic stereotypes are a huge contributing factor, such as the belief that bisexuality is a phase only experienced by women. “I think a lot of people still assume being bisexual is done for the male gaze,” she says, “or it’s something that woman only dabble in, as though it’s not an identity.”
Houston also mentions the tired trope of titillating threesomes that bi characters are written to engage in. MTV’s Faking It, a show with cheesy forced dialogue (but nonetheless a guilty pleasure), manages to use the word sparsely but the portrayal is sloppy. Short-lived bisexual character Wade tells gay character Shane and (supposedly) straight character Karma, “I’m bisexual. Did that not even occur to either of you?” It seems progressive for the character to bring this up, and yet in the next few episodes, Wade can’t decide who he wants more as a prom date, so he chooses both Shane and Karma and agrees to a threesome (note: this is the second time the show depicts sixteen-year-olds attempting a threesome). “You know, just 'cause I'm bisexual doesn't mean I want to have sex with both genders at once,” Wade says, “but in this case, you're both insanely hot, so yeah, let's do that.” The show completely contradicts itself with this line. Showing sexual liberation on television is important, but when bi characters are constantly put into the same
scenarios with no variety, it only reinforces clichés. Labelling the characters isn’t necessarily a positive move if the representation is portrayed poorly and without dimension.
Bring in the voices of bisexual people,” says Houston. “Bring bisexual trans people, pansexual people, queer people and non-white people to the table, even if just as a consultant so their experiences are reflected in the writing.
“Bisexuality is nuanced,” says Syd Lazarus, filmmaker and film studies graduate, “and that terrifies people.” Lazarus strives to properly represent misrepresented and underrepresented groups in her work. “If I were to make a bisexual character, something I understand that is lacking right now is the word,” she says. “What I look for in television is an accurate and believable representation.” Television and society’s adherence to monosexuality—attraction to one gender—is another reason why Lazarus believes bisexual representation is so poor, drawing upon Buffy The Vampire Slayer as just one example. “When Willow comes out, she comes out as a lesbian. Which I think is interesting and also poor writing because throughout the series she falls in love with two men,” she says. “They shame bisexual people with oversimplification. ‘Well, you’ve fallen in love with one woman, therefore, sorry, all those other relationships are fake.’” While it’s obvious television is still struggling with the word itself, not all hope is lost. Houston cites Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” as a good depiction of an openly bisexual woman in a relationship with a lesbian, as well as Netflix’s Sense8, a show whose characters experience sexual fluidity without shame or fetishization. Lazarus also references Schitt’s Creek, a show where the son of the main character comes out as pansexual and is met with acceptance.
Away With Murder and Tyrell from Mr. Robot. “I also think the stigma around bisexual men is so high, so I’m not sure if it’s very helpful if it’s saying bisexual men are evil, but I do think he’s well-written and I love evil characters.” There’s still plenty of work to do to ensure quality bisexual characters on television, which always starts at the writers’ table. One of the main criticisms of OITNB’s fourth season was that the white writers of the show weren’t properly and fully equipped to write about racism, a leading theme for that season. Though the characters may be multi-dimensional and well-written, people writing about issues they haven’t experienced themselves and without guidance from those who have can lead to a lack of depth and downright ignorance. Topics like race and sexuality often intersect, and the same problem can be applied to heterosexual or cisgendered writers who aren’t equipped to write nuanced LGBTQ storylines. “Bring in the voices of bisexual people,” says Houston. “Bring bisexual trans people, pansexual people, queer people and non-white people to the table, even if just as a consultant so their experiences are reflected in the writing.” J.K. Rowling once wrote, “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” Perhaps if more television writers began to pair the word “bisexual” with characters who so obviously are; perhaps if the word was stated proudly and not as a shameful fad; perhaps if all types of people were shown flourishing in their sexuality, then the negative narrative of bisexuality could be changed into one of validity and normality.
“My controversial pick is when queer characters play villains, but when they’re well done villains,” Lazarus adds, “like Annalise from How To Get
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How some multiracial students find their identity in the in-between. By Hanna Lee
Madonna Dennis, a fourth-year journalism student, grew up eating Filipino food. She particularly remembers her mother’s chocolate rice. It’s called champorado, and it’s a porridge-like dessert. But to Dennis, it’s always just been “chocolate rice.” It’s how most of her mother’s dishes were to her for most of her life—the familiar outlines of her childhood, but with impromptu English names attached to them. Despite being half-Filipino, Dennis was never taught Tagalog. Her family only speaks English at home. As a biracial person, she’s experienced one of the perks of being mixed: several different cultures within an arm’s reach. But it’s also one of the difficulties—while it means getting a handful of each culture, it can also mean never really getting much more than that. Many mono-racial immigrant families can attest to this juxtaposition of Western and homeland
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elements (and the confusion that comes from it), but it’s especially evident when those multiple cultures are living together inside one home. Mixed people often report feeling exoticized and fetishized by their peers and even strangers for their appearance. At the surface, this fascination may appear innocuous—often excused as just curiosity or “just being nice,” in the case of fetishization—but it’s exhausting for mixed people to constantly have to justify their existence. Leanne Taylor, associate professor at Brock University, says that being mixed is seen as “a problem to be solved,” an “exotic and beautiful” indication of the future or simply dismissed entirely. She says all these approaches are harmful because they don’t “allow for much movement...in how an individual experiences
life and understands themselves in a racialized world.” She also argues that these perspectives ignore the still-pervasive racism today—that mixed people are not a product of a post-racial future. And when entering university, often seen as a period where people change the most, this discussion can make it even more difficult for mixed people to figure out who they really are. In an effort to connect with her culture, Dennis joined the Filipino-Canadian Association of Ryerson (FCAR) in her first year of university and is now president of the group. She doesn’t always understand the Filipino jokes the other members make. After everyone’s done laughing, she has to ask someone to clarify the meaning. She feels like she is a very “in-the-middle” type of person. She knows most people can’t go through the same experience as her. In times of extreme change, such as entering university, people turn to what’s familiar. For many,
racial boundaries. At times this can get quite ugly.” Dennis agrees, saying, “It’s definitely a little lonely, a little isolating to be a mixed person. Sometimes people look at [me] and they’re like, ‘Well, how can you be both?’ like that’s not a possibility to them, even though to me, that’s my life. That’s what I live.” She enjoys being mixed for the most part, but at times it’s hard to navigate the “in-between” identity. At times it seems easier to “just pick a side.” Jaclyn Tansil, a fourth-year journalism student, also lives in the “in-between.” Her light complexion and almond-shaped brown eyes—which are always outlined with jet black winged liner—have led strangers to approach her to ask “what she is.” She describes the stares she and her family receive from others in public as concentrated, almost as if mentally solving an equation—“when you mix that and that, you get this!” However, Tansil says she doesn’t experience isolation very often. After switching programs from biology to journalism in 2014, she found a close
“It’s exhausting for mixed people to constantly have to justify their existence.” that’s their cultural identity. It’s why Ryerson has student groups like FCAR, and VSAR (Vietnamese), and ASA (Afghan) and the other ASA (African)—to name a few. A shared cultural identity usually means a similar upbringing, and with that comes a shared sense of community. It’s comforting to find like-minded people in daunting situations. But it’s different for mixed-race students who don’t feel connected to one particular group and who don’t have a group for themselves. Camille Hernández-Ramdwar, associate sociology professor and Caribbean studies academic coordinator, says life can be isolating for mixed-race people. She also notes the increased importance of racial belonging in North American society, especially with the rise of social movements such as Black Lives Matter. She says that mixed-race people such as herself are “forced to align with these prescribed categories—and we run the risk of being rejected by others who may be steeped in ideas about racial purity and policing of
group of friends and discovered her true passions. She embraces herself in her difference. She says, “I feel like I’ve developed my identity to the point where I’ve accepted myself more—it’s cool to be different; my friends are different, too.” Ultimately, for Dennis, FCAR was the biggest thing that helped her find herself in university. She credits the club for helping her find friends in different programs and giving her confidence to get involved in student politics—in addition to being FCAR’s president, she’s also the journalism director on the Ryerson Communication & Design Society. She says being around other Filipino students has helped her learn more about the culture—when she sees words in Tagalog she can ask them what they mean, or when one of them visits the Philippines, she can ask them about what it was like. She may not understand every joke, but she’s found her own sense of belonging.
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Under Watchful Eyes: A Glimpse Inside North Korea The story of one of the youngest Americans to ever visit the worldâ€™s most secretive country. Written and photographed by Ethan Craft
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Disclaimer: I travelled to North Korea as a tourist for several days in the winter of 2016 in order to gain first-hand access to the world’s most secretive country which, with rare exception, never gives travel visas to journalists. Under North Korean law, publishing this account of my journey is a crime. All names have been changed.
As an aspiring journalist and American citizen, I’m not exactly welcome in North Korea. I spent months negotiating with the government’s tourism affiliates via email until they eventually agreed to let me apply for a tourism visa, which mostly involved signing dozens of complex legal documents and waivers. After my paperwork was completed, I wired an obscene amount of money to an anonymous Chinese bank account and within weeks, I found myself in Beijing with little more than a change of clothes and a one-way ticket to Pyongyang. North Korea is not a typical travel destination. It’s a place where almost anything can qualify as tourist-friendly entertainment and where all visitors are required to adhere to a down-to-the-minute itinerary pre-planned by the government. But, because North Korean bureaucrats have little knowledge of the concept of “fun,” tourists end up being forcibly taken on guided tours of fertilizer factories and hydroelectric dams. In any other country, this would be considered an outrage; travellers would demand a refund for their wasted time. Yet, in North Korea, this is normal. No one ever bats an eye or says, “Hey, maybe going to a nightclub would be more fun than visiting a state-owned water bottling plant.” No, because challenging the itinerary could be misconstrued as speaking out against the government. And that is, of course, against the rules. It is the rules that form the very foundation of North Korea’s fledgling tourism industry. All visitors to the secluded country must sign a document agreeing to a list of demands that dictate what they can and cannot do while in North Korea. These are the rules. Among them, you must never say "North Korea," as it offends the locals—only say Korea or the DPRK, an initialism for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which is Kim Jong-un's preferred term. Never take a photo without permission from your minders, who must never leave your site outside the hotel. Never disrespect the Great General, Dear Leader or Party Marshal, and for God’s sake, never mix up their titles! Every traveller must be prepared to walk where they’re told to walk, bow when they’re told to bow and eat what they’re told to eat (on at least one occasion, that means dog meat 27 / RYERSON FOLIO
soup). Don’t import any art, music, Bibles, pornography or DVDs of The Interview. Oh, and don’t mention the Korean War. I followed these rules to the letter during my time in the DPRK, and because I did, I encountered no trouble other than being sternly told to put my camera away a handful of times. But if I didn’t follow the rules, well, my story might have a different ending. Breaking the rules is a serious offense in Kim Jong-un’s kingdom and the North Korean government has been known to severely punish rule breakers with everything from a small fine to decades of hard labour in modern-day concentration camps. In fact, two days into my trip, the North Korean Supreme Court charged American student Otto Warmbier with attempting to overthrow the government and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. His crime? Trying to steal a poster from his hotel. But Warmbier should’ve known he could never get away with such a thing, because in North Korea, you are always being watched. Whether you're within view of your omnipresent minders or under the watchful eyes of the Leaders' ubiquitous state-commissioned portraits hung in nearly every room in the country, you are never alone. Security cameras are common and travellers to the DPRK have even spoken of bugged hotel rooms complete with hidden microphones. While those are just rumours, it’s known that for visitors and citizens alike, surveillance is just a part of everyday life. North Korea is a paranoid country, and that paranoia is put on full display for tourists. The North Korean government desperately tries to present the country as a socialist utopia of normalcy, though they often do a poor job, failing to cover up the shortcomings and failures of the nation as a whole. The DPRK is notorious for the lies that it presents as fact, and it has no issue with lying straight to visitors’ faces. At an elementary school in Pyongsong, a mountain town about an hour away from the capital, I was taken to a computer lab where children sat in front of aging laptops they clearly didn’t know how to use; some stared blankly at their screensavers while others typed the word “welcome” over and over on a Word document. There
In North Korea, you are always being watched.
was no writing on the board, no instruction from the teacher—it was painfully, obviously staged. Odd social scenes are often fabricated for tourists’ benefit, but more than that, the paranoia is most obvious in the militaristic nature of the country. For example, the optimistically-named Reunification Highway is lined with enormous, dynamite-filled monuments which, in the event of an invasion from the south, are rigged to explode, thereby blocking the road and acting as makeshift tank barriers. The Pyongyang Metro, too, was built with militaristic paranoia in mind; it’s the deepest subway system on the planet, constructed at a depth of over 100 metres so that its stations and tunnels can easily be utilized as public fallout shelters if an atomic bomb is ever dropped on the city. In fact, Pyongyang has an entire network of “satellite cities” surrounding it that are populated by over one million combined loyal citizens, all of whom are legally obligated to defend the capital with their lives. With one of the largest standing armies in the world and an active hatred for the US, it’s as if the DPRK is still entrenched in the Korean War, which ended over 50 years ago. However, technically, the United States and North Korea are still at war. The conflict that ravaged the Korean Peninsula in the 1950s only came to an end with an armistice, and due to the growing feud between communism and capitalism during the Cold War era, the two belligerent nations never bothered to draft a proper peace treaty. While the three-year fight is nicknamed “the Forgotten War” in America, in North Korea, it’s a different story. The Korean War is a point of pride in the DPRK, and they want you to know it; North Koreans genuinely refer to the conflict as the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War, and its timeline is one of the biggest lies perpetrated by the government. In the DPRK, citizens are told the war was instigated by “American imperialist aggressors” who, after a bloody fight, were single-handedly defeated by “every-victorious, ironwilled brilliant commander Kim Il-sung.” Yes, I’m serious.
Bold, easily disprovable lies are commonplace in North Korea. Other than hearing a falsified version of the Korean War, tourists are also told that North Koreans invented, among other things, the printing press, the spoon and the hamburger, the last of which was invented by Kim Il-sung himself. His son, naturally, was a sportsman, achieving a perfect 300 game the first time he ever tried bowling and a world-record-setting 38-under par the first time he ever played golf. He invented “the perfect writing desk,” too, but that’s not all. In 2015, the DPRK claimed its scientists had found a cure for both cancer and ebola; a few years before that, official government news sources announced the discovery of an ancient unicorn lair. Again, I’m completely serious. And not surprisingly, when your country bans the Internet, it’s pretty easy to get away with such ludicrous lies. Facts are rewritten at the government’s whim to become “alternative facts,” as if the truth is impermanent and open to interpretation. The ruling Worker’s Party of Korea has a narrative, and any ideas that don’t conform must be squashed. The fact that the Dear Leader took a train everywhere because he was afraid of flying? Erased. Kim Jong-un’s brothers who both fell out of favour with the ruling family? Scrubbed from history. However, as much as tourists might want to, challenging these notions is suicide in North Korea, because suggesting any of the Leaders are frauds is on par with treason (see: the rules). The Leaders’ cult of personality has been carefully crafted over the decades through fictionalizing life events, creating the quasi-religious philosophy of Juche, and arbitrarily renaming random stuff in their honour (in the DPRK, orchids are called Kimilsungias). Lies are accepted and, for ordinary North Koreans, just become the new truth. In fact, there have been instances of entire life histories being fabricated. For example, according to his official biography, Dear Leader Kim Jong-il was born beneath a double rainbow before earning the title "Our Dear Leader, who is a perfect incarnation of
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” the appearance that a leader should have." He spent his life battling the evils of American imperialism before dying peacefully in his sleep, though it should be noted that some experts think that he died of a heart attack in a fit rage upon hearing the news that a major construction project was behind schedule. This fabricated story seems idealistic and almost plausible, though bits and pieces have been glossed over. As is the case with all three Leaders, there are gaping holes in their respective life stories—and I’m not talking about minor discrepancies like where they went to school, I’m talking about crucial life details like when the three men were born, because no one really knows. Best guesses for Kim Jong-un put his birth in sometime between 1980 and 1984, though no reliable source exists, and because no one knows where he lives, it’s basically impossible to find out. There is a veritable information blackout surrounding the Leaders, who are presented to the people of North Korea as immaculate deities and are worshipped like Gods—every citizen is required to wear a red pin over their heart depicting the faces of the two men to show their loyalty. Brainwashed is a strong word, but I certainly can’t think of a better one. When I asked one of my minders about religious freedom in North Korea, she simply said, “There is no God, he’s not real,” and refused to discuss the matter further. According to the Juche Idea, which is the de facto state religion of the otherwise-atheistic DPRK, the only Gods are the Leaders. The DPRK acts as an independent, stand-alone universe designed to keep citizens in, and foreigners out. Perhaps the most telling example of the North’s isolation came in the form of watching a Korean People’s Army soldier pick up a 29 / RYERSON FOLIO
condom, examine the object he’d clearly never encountered before, sniff it, lick it and then throw it in the trash as if it was a weapon. Things that I thought everyone on Earth at least had some concept of are alien ideas to the people of North Korea, and that’s just the way Kim Jong-un wants it. However, with each tourist that wades through the red tape and visits the so-called “Hermit Kingdom,” more and more knowledge of the outside world can be brought in, and for that reason alone, I think it’s worth visiting the DPRK. Sure, the only nightlife is singing karaoke with your minders in the hotel bar, the food scene is nothing to write home about and I had to shower in blood-tinted water more than once, but I’ll still always look back on my six days in North Korea as the most worthwhile trip I’ve ever taken.
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BOTTLED UP A different kind of drinking problem. By Sabrina Bertsch Artwork by Augustine Ng
It’s New Year’s Eve. I’m sitting on a second-hand couch in a basement apartment somewhere in Little Italy. I’m hanging out with friends from high school that I probably haven’t seen since our last New Year’s party. We’re catching up in the way that old friends do, by bringing up every stupid thing we did in high school and laughing about it. But then the question comes. Well, it’s more of a casual observation, really. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you drunk, Sabrina.” And they probably never will. At one point, my greatest fear was becoming like my parents. I love them more than anything, but the thought of being like them used to make me sick to my stomach. It was seeing my dad slowly lose parts of his life and himself as he relied more and more heavily on alcohol than his family. It was seeing my mom grow more and more weary as she struggled to raise two children essentially on her own. It’s heartbreaking and it taints your memories. In between tea parties and movie nights, you remember finding him passed out on the couch with a bottle on the floor. It’s hard to separate the good from the bad and as more time passes, the more things start to blur. I want to say that I’m over it and that I didn’t let it affect me, but that’s a lie. I didn’t take my first drink until I was 17, and even then it was a sip of a cider. Not exactly hardcore. I spent years dodging questions about why I don’t drink because drinking is such an ingrained part of growing up in our culture. It starts in high school with cheap beer and late night house parties and it snowballs into the norm as we grow older. Going out for drinks becomes a default for hanging out. I refused to explore this side of myself out of fear. Not just the fear of becoming that person, but the fear of knowing that it was already inside me. The fear that a little too much booze would bring out something that couldn’t be shoved back inside. It still holds true today. I’m not like a lot of my friends and classmates. I stay vigilant and cautious, never drinking
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more than I can handle. Not even sure what’s too much for me to handle. It’s a sobering reality knowing how much you can lose and how easily it can happen. I remember my parents sitting across from me and my sister in our dining room. I couldn’t have been older than seven. My mom, calmly and cooly, told us that they were separating; my dad was moving out. And then my dad started to cry. It’s hard to watch someone that you love and look up to look so frail. When you see a pillar of strength break, you break with it. But it’s what you do after the break that’s important. It’s how you pick up the pieces of yourself and those around you. My mom became my everything. She worked hard and diligently to ensure that my sister and I had everything we wanted and more than we asked for. I didn’t need anyone but her and, for a long time, it felt like I didn’t have anyone but her. My mom was Superwoman. It took a little longer for my dad, but he had more pieces to pick up. He got better, but it wasn’t easy for either of us. I had to learn how to forget in order to forgive and it’s something that still weighs on me. It’s hard to remember my dad surprising me with Archie comics or watching episodes of Jeopardy! because darkness tends to block out the light. It’s hard to forgive something like this, even when you want to. I like to think that my parents are better off apart, that they’re stronger apart. My mom has remarried and my dad lives with his girlfriend. When they get together, my parents are civil towards each other, which is more than I can say for some other divorced couples I know. They keep each other in the loop about me and my sister. They’re happy and that’s all I’ve ever wanted for them. Today, I am so proud of my parents; my greatest hope is to be like them. But being proud doesn’t mean my own issues have been solved. I need to learn to trust myself and see past the faults of my parents, to stop letting their issues dictate my own. At the end of the day, I need to grow up and move on. When that happens, I’ll be the first to raise a glass to myself.
Pitch is compelling but pure fantasy The buzzy TV show frustrates with its refusal to acknowledge reality. By Patricia Karounos Artwork by Mikie Jae
On paper, Fox’s Pitch sounds like a gimmick: a TV show, in partnership with Major League Baseball, about the first woman to play professionally in the MLB. And by launching it during a time when discussions of representation and diversity are necessarily ubiquitous, it would be easy to give the show little more than an eyeroll. Starring Canadian-born Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker, the San Diego Padres’ new pitcher, Pitch is frustrating as often as it is captivating. The use of CGI ruins any chance at authenticity during baseball scenes, and the writers frequently make questionable choices. The show doesn’t know the meaning of “slow burn,” either: from trade rumours, to in-team fighting to a potentially career-ending injury, there’s enough drama and story crammed into the 10-episode first season to last years. Add in the looming threat of Ginny getting romantically involved with one of her teammates and Pitch should be a mess. It’s not, though—at least not always. Ginny Baker is a star-making role for Bunbury, who’s resilient and vulnerable. Mark-Paul Gosselaar gives a career-best performance as Mike Lawson, the Padres’ veteran catcher and Ginny’s mentor. Mo McRae rounds out the core trio as Blip Sanders, an outfielder and old friend of Ginny’s. The chemistry between the three leads is dynamic and effortless (Bunbury and Gosselaar, in particular, have some of the best currently on TV); they are the reason to watch the show. But it’s the vibrant utopia Pitch hides behind that creates a layer of superficiality the show can’t escape. We are, of course, still very far removed from a woman landing a key role on any male sports team in any professional league—Pitch may be a drama, but its premise is pure fantasy.
tension in the locker room, Ginny’s transition into the MLB is smoother than one would expect. The fictionalized Padres fandom wholly embraces Ginny, never showing her anything but love and support. This leads to beautiful, emotionally-charged moments: the sound of a huge crowd chanting her name; little girls watching Ginny pitch in awe, feeling empowered and inspired; Ginny struggling with the pressure of her role, when all she wants to do is play baseball. But we don’t live in Ginny Baker’s world. Last April, our own Toronto Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons, expressed his anger over a loss thanks to a new rule change by suggesting his manly players come out wearing dresses the next day (because the rule is for sissies, see). In 2015, Jessica Mendoza struggled against a barrage of sexist hate from male fans simply for being the first woman to call an MLB game as an analyst for ESPN. As a woman of colour, Ginny would be subject to endless racist and sexist slurs. She isn’t. It’s not even hinted at. Race does not exist in Pitch; gender only when it’s convenient for the plot. Pitch’s intentions are genuine, aiming to reduce the stigma and normalize women in professional sports. Pitch is about baseball. It doesn’t have to be the show that single-handedly dismantles the patriarchy in professional sports. But to pretend these issues don’t exist is ridiculous. The people behind the show are lying to us—and themselves—about the reality we live in. When it works, Pitch is an ambitious and enchanting show. The first season has already wrapped up and, as of print, a second season has yet to be confirmed. With such a strong cast and plenty of unfulfilled potential, Pitch is still a worthwhile watch—as long as you don’t mind yelling at your TV in frustration every once in a while.
In this fantasy world, however, sexism doesn’t exist. Aside from a few throwaway comments from dumb male pundits and brief moments of RYERSON FOLIO / 32
MEETING IN THE MIDDLE In university, it’s just as important to hold faculty accountable for their actions. By Matthew Kennedy Artwork by Alicia Siow
Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here—yeah, that’s how I feel about the university life. My frustrations stem from a lack of consideration, or respect, for students. So what’s up? I have an idealistic vision of school, where it is more about learning and less about making the grade. Schools use a deficit model, which views students as lacking skills and abilities. At its core, it is punitive and not set up for empowering relationships between students and faculty. It serves to punish students who make mistakes rather than to give them the opportunity to learn from them. In nursing, my major, some of the best learning experiences can come from making a mistake. As nurses, we are a link to the outcome of a person’s health. If we make a mistake, it could have lasting effects. If the education system were designed to treat both students and faculty fairly, course outlines would describe punishment for mistakes made by both groups. When faculty members don’t respond to an email or finish marking on time, there are unions, employment standards acts and even health and safety legislation that can provide security—not to mention tenure, which basically means a professor can never be fired. Students don’t have the same backing.
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Education is a social determinant of health. The United Nations describes the social determinants of health as the places we live, grow and work, as well as the systems that shape daily life—including schools and universities. Punishing a student for making a mistake, and withholding their education as a result, can have serious consequences on their health. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development recommends students receive additional support rather than grade repetition. This is related to increased rates of dropping out with repeating a grade or a course. University graduates on average can earn $1.4 million more than those without. Their earnings are 70 per cent higher than high school grads and they also enjoy higher employment rates. According to The Hamilton Spectator, people living in low-income areas lived 21 fewer years compared to their high-income counterparts. The article found that individuals earning around $35,000 lived five years five years longer than the Canadian average of 81 years. Areas of Hamilton earning below the poverty line ranked 140th in the world in terms of life expectancy, doing worse off than Pakistan and India with life expectancies of 66 and 68, according to the United Nations.
The old deficit model isn’t made to consider the social determinants of health; in fact, it uses an approach that blames the student for their weaknesses rather than looking at the larger systems that affect a student’s performance in school. For example, students whose parents didn’t go to university or college will have lower grades in comparison to students whose parents did go. In the Ted Rogers School of Business alone, there are 9500 students that are the first in their family to attend university. Fewer hours sleeping can decrease a student’s GPA by 0.19 points and stress can decrease it by 0.11 points, according to a study conducted at the University of Minnesota. Other studies have demonstrated a link where “well-groomed” students appear to get grade bonuses, whereas “poorly-groomed” ones receive grade penalties. Attractive students also appear to do better in-class rather than online (where looks are not a factor). All of a sudden grades seem like an unreliable tool: are they measuring whether your parents went to school, how much you sleep, your stress levels or your good looks? The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers advocates for safe working conditions for the public and describes the constant threat of layoff as a mental health hazard. Most
students can relate to this, as constantly worrying about grades and standing can be exhausting. This system reinforces the power of faculty over students. A recent report by the ombudsperson at Ryerson University concluded that faculty have a lack of empathy for students’ situations. Students demonstrate empathy when we strive to understand each other's perspective. But faculty are not empathetic because the deficit model says it is the student’s fault, it doesn’t take into account their individual circumstances. Universities have a responsibility to ensure that the social determinants of health are taken care of. Universities must take care of their students, and not neglect them. This means setting up an environment where students are likely to be successful. Unfortunately, the current system can lead to students withdrawing from learning by being labelled as failures. They can also encounter systemic barriers to completing their education in the form of formal examinations and number/letter grades. The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo believe formal examinations and grades ought to be abandoned by 2030. It looks like my idealistic vision of learning isn’t so unrealistic after all—and 2030 doesn’t seem so far off.
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Ryerson Sobers Up This is what happened to our fraternities. By Swikar Oli Artwork by Mikie Jae
In an 18-man drinking competition at the Theta Kappa Chi house in January 1965, Thomas Dasovich of Tau Epsilon Nu drank 24 bottles of beer in three hours. Having missed the last few Tau affairs, the 26-year-old journalism student said he had owed it to show up for his house. With his obligation completed, he told roommate Derek Shanks he was driving home to their 17-room clubhouse on Broadview Avenue. Five Theta brothers struggled to restrain Dasovich. The six-foot-two, 325-pound former lineman liberated from the red-brick house on Homewood Avenue. Dasovich found a fraternity brother inside his car struggling to pry off its ignition cell. But the brother was too late. Dasovich forced the ignition to turn over without a key. Shanks protested. The car was boxed in. Dasovich rammed the car into the Theta house a few times and once into the neighbour’s as he tried backing out. Shanks reached for but could not lock the ignition switch. That was when Ross Patterson, president at the Theta house, got in Dasovich’s car and parked it on the street to let other cars leave. Dasovich pushed him out and took the wheel.
The following Monday, news that a brewery had sponsored the drinking competition took centre stage in the Globe and Mail’s coverage of the death. The executive of Theta Kappa Chi had told a fraternity member that an unnamed brewery would award the competition’s trophy. A coroner’s inquest would be held in a month. The same day, Ryerson’s director of student affairs D.B. Sutherland met with student representatives due to “severe allegations made in the press.” All fraternity functions were to be cancelled.
Dasovich died before reaching the hospital.
Shanks, who had skipped the competition, followed Dasovich in his car that snow-settled night. Dasovich ran a stop sign and swung down Carlton Street, where both cars turned left into a pedestrian pathway that pierced Allan Gardens. Shanks parked and ran to the end of the park road, and found his friend’s car smashed on the street. The 19-year-old ordained church minister Dasovich hit saw the car tear left out of the park road at over 60 kilometres per hour, revising it later to “quite quickly.” Dasovich’s small car was hit and thrown to the opposite lane, where it was struck by another car. Shanks found his
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friend slumped in his seat with blood on his head. Shanks heard police cars pulling up, soon to cast the scene in a flutter of red lights. Dasovich died before reaching the hospital.
Course directors agreed to ban all fraternities from campus. The Student Administrative Council (SAC)—similar in power to today’s Ryerson Students’ Union—president Jerome McGroarty said he would meet with Principal H.H. Kerr soon to “discuss the frat problem.” But Kerr did not intend to grant SAC any disciplinary powers. The meeting would lead to the SAC’s nullification. The day students read about the school’s decisions, the Globe took on the issue of fraternity drinking. O’Keefe’s spokesperson told the paper it was a normal part of a salesman’s responsibilities to contact fraternities. A sales manager for Carling Breweries said beer was “bought and resold” in at least 28 Toronto fraternity houses. “This incident brings home the problem of student drinking in a tragic and shocking way,” Sutherland said the following week. But drinking had helped define Ryerson’s budding social culture. The same month, he had written in The Ryersonian, “Drinking to excess is a sign of virility,
sophistication and good fellowship.” In the ‘50s, when it was banned, drinking in Ryerson’s fraternities persisted secretly as “boat races.” In the ‘60s, all five Ryerson fraternities sold liquor at one point, some through vending machines. People complained about the sordid news the two Globe articles spilled. Outcry in the press presented two countervailing ideas held about students at the time—parents saw teachers as guardian figures, and, as one student noticed, students were meant to be “kept out of adult affairs” like the Dasovich case. Yet, Globe editors noticed that Ontario took a general “boys-will-be-boys” approach to the situation. The editorial board saw a drinking student as “the portrait of camaraderie.” Columnist Richard Needham used the Dasovich case to mock the contradiction, saying, “This 26-year-old man was a [student]…which from the Ontario viewpoint made him not 26 but 16 or maybe six.” He added, “students are seen as sweet, pure, innocent, and made from Dresden China.” But the press cast Dasovich as a symbol of a young guzzler failed, an image that Dasovich the person didn’t fit. “He was probably the best known sport personality from the Lakehead, out west to Flin Flon, Manitoba and east to Timmins,” a high school friend told The Ryersonian. He coached a junior softball team and reached the Ontario finals for the last two summers. Dasovich’s brothers knew him to be a rare drinker.
“I was ready to kill the police,” he said. On February 23, 1965, the coroner’s inquest called over two dozen witnesses and was covered by both of Toronto’s major newspapers. The small room packed 70 people, most of them journalism students. Though some details and newspaper reports differed, revealing matters were clear—Conn Harris, an O’Keefe salesman, planned the competition and presented the endurance trophy. He said he had met with members in the Theta house several times before arranging a party with all five of Ryerson’s fraternities, of which three attended. Patterson had bought 750 beers from Harris for $154, but he said not all of them were for the contest. The Ryersonian reported the competition’s bar manager had realized Dasovich was drunk. O’Keefe’s executive assistant to the president told the jury salesmen often went to fraternity houses. He said the trophies, which were shaped like a beer barrel, were only meant to be awarded for sporting events. Harris said his manager signed off on the trophy, and another tweaked the wording. Dasovich’s parents left before the verdict was read.
But drinking had helped define Ryerson’s budding social culture.
The following weeks SAC learned it lacked disciplinary powers after Ryerson was converted to a polytechnical institute a year earlier. One SAC member complained, “We are given a dance committee to amuse us.” After learning they could not overturn the motion, SAC members voted to disband. A business student in his final year mourned the cancellation of Winter carnival activities to the school paper, such as the Blue and Gold Ball and the Graduation dance ”due to a fit of childish rage.” But frats and SAC shared an ingrained hostility.
Since the ‘60s, Toronto police raided fraternities with “regularity,” Paul Sloca wrote in the ‘80s for the Rambler, Ryerson’s alumni magazine. SAC complained the raids tarnished school image. That year, SAC passed a motion taking charge of all Ryerson clubs—except frats. Principal Kerr supported fraternities from the beginning, but the school did not officially recognize them. Less than six months before Dasovich’s death, Toronto police’s morality department raided the Tau house and brought two members to the police station for selling liquor. Sutherland, who was there, said they were told “horror stories” about drugs.
The jury found beer salesmen dealt with undue pressure to sell. O’Keefe was fined $2,000 for unauthorized advertising due to Dasovich’s death. Beer advertising and drinking were banned on campus. In the following weeks, Ontario limited the number of salesmen each brewery could employ to 60, ending 100 jobs. Shortly after the inquest, another fraternity house was raided during a University of Toronto party where 70 students leapt out windows. Police had come to check whether the vending machines inside were coin-operated. On the face of it, “the real issue of fraternity drinking and even Dasovich’s death was eventually overshadowed by politics,” Sloca said. Over the course the following months, SAC set up a police force for campus events. Student complaints were typical in their level of scorn. The committee drafted a new constitution under common law and was eventually legitimized. The administration said it doled out its punishment for the death, but kept its details secret. In 1980, two years after he retired, Sutherland told Sloca that Dasovich’s death “eventually put a lid on all fraternities in Toronto.” In 1966, Ryerson planned for a $28-million-dollar expansion, and bought the neighbouring O’Keefe brewing house (near the current Image Arts Centre)—at last lifting the beer smell that pervaded the campus.
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THE BEST FOUR YEARS
University is expected to be effortless but for some students, the transition is not like the movies. By Andrea Josic
Some students' expectations are crushed when faced with the harsh reality of university. By Andrea Josic Artwork by Alicia Siow
Towards the end of senior year, I was extremely tired of public school and it felt amazing to graduate. Although I had a lot of fun in high school, it was never as exciting as the media made it seem to be. I knew university was going to be a different story. Everyone called it “the best four years of your life,” and I couldn’t wait to experience it. I excitedly walked into university on the first day of frosh, ready to put everything behind me. I acted like myself and quickly met a lot of people, making every new day of the week exciting. Once the excessive partying ended, I walked into my classes and was unable to recognize anyone. I saw many first-year students around me hanging out with their friend groups and having a good time. I became envious of the friendships that had formed so quickly over the first few weeks of school and I compared them to the couple of acquaintances I had made. That was when social media became an over-the-top obsession for me. It seemed so easy for everyone. Despite joining as many clubs as possible, going to parties regularly and making an effort to learn people’s names, none of my friendships clicked. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong—throughout my 12 years of school, my circle of friends was ideal and easy to acquire. I missed how effortlessly the routine of six hours a day, five days a week created bonds that seemed inseparable.
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A feeling I was able to hold on to for a while was my pride. My high school was very business and STEM-focused, so most of my friends went to university to study subjects they felt pressured into. My talent and hard work landed me into one of the most prestigious journalism programs in the country. I took a lot pride in being one of the few people going into a field that I truly loved. However, after meeting the other students in my program, I learned more about their accomplishments. From students who had their own segments on TV shows to those who had had their fair share of internships with the CBC and the likes, I immediately felt discouraged. I compared myself to the other first-year students in my program and I felt angry at myself for not working as hard as them. I was angry because my satisfaction felt stripped away from me. I became worried. I was scared I wouldn’t find a job after I graduated. I was scared that I would come off as ungrateful to all the people who had helped me get to where I was. I was scared about how it always seemed like there was somebody I had to beat. All of these fears led to a first semester that was a cyclic, toxic roller-coaster of trying to feel reassured and then falling back into the same “what-am-I-even-doing-with-my-life” mentality. I had struggled with depression before, but this was an intensity I had never experienced.
“ I started seeing the school therapist on a regular basis. My therapist, Dr. Laura Girz, says that everyone has a part of themselves with expectations that are hard to live up to. She says, “These are things everyone feels, but nobody really talks about. Everyone feels alone, and a part of being an adult is that friendships take a lot longer to solidify. It also takes a long time to find yourself, and we never really stop growing.” I appreciated the support, but I was stubborn. I was tired of hearing people say, “You are not alone.” It took me a while to realize that I am alone, but I also realized that that isn’t a bad thing. At end of the day, it is just me, starting over and working out the pieces of my own life. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I set so many expectations for myself and when they weren’t met, I was crushed with disappointment and loneliness. I was so caught up in how the media romanticizes university—plenty of parties; instant, life-long friends and a sense of community.
I have learned that in life that you either grow with others or you grow apart.
don’t mention the fact that the world is such a big, and often scary, place. I realized that real friendships take a lot of time. Now, in a much better position than I once was in, I wonder if it was my depression that pushed all my old friends away and stopped me from attracting new ones. The truth is, we are all changing. I have learned that in life that you either grow with others or you grow apart. My depression has stopped lingering over my shoulders because I’ve been able to accept a certain reality. This isn’t just what university taught me; it’s what life taught me—don’t compare yourself to anyone. I know I’m going to be happy as long as I strive to be a better me.
Note: If you are feeling depressed, please contact the Centre for Student Development and Counselling (JOR-07C) for help.
What the movies don’t mention is growing apart from your old friends and the difficulty in making bonds as strong as the ones you had in high school. They don’t mention the stress of financial instability, the workload that is too easy to fall behind on and the fear of wasting your money if your dream program stops being what you think it is. They also
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F AS H I O N
Creative direction by Emily Skublics Photographs by Alysha Barrett With assistance from Morgan Bocknek and Mikie Jae
From Iris Apfel an ice-cream parlour ion-forward corner have lacked diversit the future that we a
Our favourite fashion trend this year is self-expressive style.
Raven Lam Age: 21
How would you describe your style in three words? Dark, old and cozy. Or big, tired layers. What's one interesting story behind something in your outfit? The only interesting thing I have on my body at all times is my necklace. It's one of the only things consistent about me and my look. My grandmother gave it to me before I went on my year-eight grad trip. I actually thought I lost it on that trip and cried forever. Then about six months later, I found it in the lining of this little bag I had and it has rarely left my neck or sight since. Literally everything else is from Value Village, which is slightly less sentimental.
nd her bold, bright accessories to Alyssa Garrison and her pastels, rule-free styling is being celebrated in every fashr—including on Ryerson’s own students. While in past issues we ty in both models and designers, we hope that in this issue and accurately represent our students on our pages. —Emily Skublics
How is your style an expression of yourself? Style is almost a direct reflection of how I feel, if not all the time then at least on some days. This is probably my most consistent look. I am constantly tired, cold, determined, anxious, excited, worried and loyal. My clothes have to be ready for that. They need to be ready to be worn for three days if someone needs me. There are always a ton of layers so I can mix and match if necessary. My outfits have to be versatile and flexible because I have to be.
Program: RTA Media Production
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Lorelei Jayne Hoffman Age: 21
How would you describe your style in three words? Nerdy, thrifty, punk. What's one interesting story behind something in your outfit? My dad chose these Docs for me when I was 16, and I think they're my favourite present that I've ever received. My dad has worn Doc Martens almost every day since he was young and I have always admired them. I tried to buy a pair of my own once, and Dad stopped me because he wanted to be the one to buy me my first pair. The staples in my style are definitely inspired by him, now that I think about it. It's silly, but I feel close to him when I wear them. I'm never getting rid of them, even when they're worn through. How is your style an expression of yourself? I rarely choose an outfit before the morning I'm supposed to be putting it on. I just go with what I feel. This results in lots of mixing up and improvising. When I look mixed up, I probably feel a bit mixed up too. I try to remember that all of me is goodâ€”even the mixed up bits. I express the good and the bad emotions through my clothing, and it helps so much.
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Alex Verman Age: 21
How would you describe your style in three words? Futch gay dad. What's one interesting story behind something in your outfit? The shoes came from a Bunz trade. There was another pair that I got at the same timeâ€”a pink pair with big lacesâ€”but I gave those to a friend of mine in NYC. You can get amazing things from Bunz. How is this outfit (or your style in general, if you prefer) an expression of yourself? I think it's really important and exciting to be able to look ridiculous without it looking bad. You can look like something totally different from what people might expect of you, but everything can still be super flattering.
Program: I graduated from political science last year. Now I'm a writer. RYERSON FOLIO / 44
By Victoria Shariati Artwork by Mikie Jae and Alicia Siow
Giving local Ryerson artists a spotlight. Armed with a keyboard and her computer, Tiffany Williams has been developing her musical prowess since the age of 10. The second-year business management student sings anything from Italian folk songs to classical Irish ballads to Sam Smith covers. Her YouTube account boasts a bevy of videos that showcase her powerful and sweet pipes (her cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love”), but also her skill and passion for music (a tutorial on how to recover from performance slip-ups). “Moonlight Bay” is one of her two original compositions and can be found her YouTube and SoundCloud. Listen to: On The Ridges
For a change of pace, listen to Nick Jamkhou’s elegant and moving classical arrangements to get a peek inside the mind of a musical wunderkind. Jamkhou, a third-year chemistry student, has learned to play the clarinet, saxophone, flute, piano and violin. In 2015, he released Introductions, his second album (available on iTunes), which is a collection of his own intense and instrumental compositions. If that’s not enough, he’s also helped with the score for a film called Last Hustle in Kensington. Listen to: China China
Beige Shelter is here to make you feel something. This indie/alternative rock band was founded in 2014, and vocalist Adi Aman is a Ryerson mechanical engineering alumnus. The band’s sound is happy-go-lucky meets wild cowboy. This March, Beige Shelter held an album release party that doubled as a fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association. The band’s website proudly states that the album, called Rumours We Make, Paths We Take, has one message: celebrate your weirdness. Listen to: Dark Horse
Love Wagon’s rock/jazz fusion tunes have echoed in the halls of esteemed Toronto venues such as The Horseshoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace and The Silver Dollar Room (RIP). The band is made up of Max Swiderski, third-year English, John Abou Chacra, third-year economics, Michael Osztertag, third-year business, David Matta, second-year RTA, and Sam Ehsaei, who is currently not in school. Each member has his own stage name, proving that the band is just as eclectic as their music. With buttery electric guitar solos and funky keyboard harmonies, Love Wagon is a pastiche of the big bands of the classic rock era while still being uniquely cool and exciting. These are the guys you secretly wish you were friends with. Listen to: Captain Jerry Mellow
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$TUDENT $ECRET$ Being a student is hard. Saving money is even harder. Here are some unconventional ways that students in Toronto have come up with to save money. By André Varty Artwork by Augustine Ng
BMV Bills Christine Skowron, a third-year media production student, used to live in the Annex over the summer and would spend her days picking up old used books left on lawns and curb sides and selling them to her local BMV Books. She says, “Sometimes [the books] were signed, too, and it was just a total jackpot.” It was an easy $30 on her way to school or work.
ISO: Couscous Alena Ng, a fourth-year nutritional science student at the University of Toronto, picks up leftovers from campus events and brings them home. She says, “I'm in various unofficial and official Bunz food zones [on Facebook], so I tend to grab free food from there, too.” Among other things, she’s gotten a bag of couscous and two large butternut squash.
DIY Hairdo Emily Theodore, a fourth-year journalism student, was tired of paying upwards of $60 to get her hair done regularly, so she learned how to cut and dye it herself using YouTube tutorials. When adding highlights to her hair, she’ll often use a $8 hair lightener from Walmart. She says, “It’s crazy, when I dyed my hair for $300 it didn’t even include the cut.”
AirBNB Roommates Lolly Luck, a University of Toronto English literature graduate, counteracts her high monthly rent by occasionally advertising her bedroom on AirBNB and renting it out to tourists—while she sleeps on her couch or at a friend’s place. “I do it maybe a few times a month, when I get a request on the room, and then I use my judgement if it's a smart idea based on my schedule that week,” she says. “I can make up to $150 just for letting someone sleep there.”
See? There are many other ways for you to save your money and keep the spending to a minimum. Go ahead and try these out for yourself. You can thank us later. RYERSON FOLIO / 46
Looking beneath the surface reveals a rich history. Written and photographed by Masumi Rodriguez Artwork by Alicia Siow
Canada alone has 14 Chinatowns located in highly populated cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. One of Toronto’s Chinatowns—a landmark rich in history—is located in a very accessible and visible area beside Kensington Market. However, Chinatown is often stereotyped as being grimy and doesn’t carry the same glamour as other areas such as West Queen West or the Financial District. This is something I’ve noticed as a first-generation Canadian: in theory, we’re proud of our cultural diversity, but in practice, we overlook areas that aren’t named “trendiest neighbourhood” by Vogue.
often asked, “Oh… what’s that?” or, “What’s that weird smell from your lunch?” Of course, it wasn’t necessarily intentional discrimination, but more of an uncomfortable situation. I sometimes even waited until school ended to eat so that my mom wouldn’t find out that I hadn’t eaten her home-cooked lunch.
As a new Canadian attending a French immersion program—which was mainly full of white kids—I went through mild teasing. I spoke broken English and brought bento boxes (Japanese homemade meals) for lunch. It was “weird” and I was
The education system and its curriculum has taught us that Canada is a diverse and multicultural country. But these topics are mainly skimmed through, and Eurocentric history is usually the main focus. Outside of school, however, I’ve come
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to realize that China—one of the oldest civilized countries in the world—has its own communities located worldwide in what we know as “Chinatown.” In the late 1800s, waves of Chinese immigrants came to Canada to work in mining and railway construction for very low wages. However, they were welcomed with discrimination instead of open arms by locals. This made it difficult for them to start their new lives in Canada. Because of their low wages and the eventual head tax that was imposed on Chinese immigrants, workers’ families could only afford properties in lower-income areas of the city.
The Chinese fought for their rights and finally had the Exclusion Act lifted in 1947. This ended the ban on Chinese immigrants that the Canadian government placed after railroad construction had finished. During the ‘70s, they rallied support from the community and residents when they faced threats of property development on Spadina Avenue. They would work hard to stop construction proposed by the government from destroying their neighbourhood. Today, Canada has a diverse population who, like myself, are getting the education our parents wished for us. We grew up watching the sacrifices our parents made to give us a simple life.
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Samantha Chung and her family moved to Canada in the mid ‘70s in the midst of many riots and protests occurring in Hong Kong due to British colonization. Like many other cases, her grandparents moved to Canada to better their children’s opportunities and futures. Her grandfather managed to get a steady job as a mechanic with General Motors; her grandmother picked up a job at a small bookstore in Chinatown. For the most part, she grew up in east Scarborough, but would come down to Chinatown every once in a while with her grandparents. “It’s hard to find genuine food unless it's cooked by someone's grandma, but I’d say Chinatown would be the best for genuine food. It has some of the most traditional dishes, but it’s hard to know and find unless you know someone who lives in Toronto and has experience,” she says. Down Spadina Avenue, my eyes only acknowledge the surface of what that stands in front of me. Most of these structures have existed for more than half a century. Architecture in older civilized countries always attract the public’s attention, but most people seem to ignore historic buildings here in Toronto. Chinatown was once a block over Spadina, but has since moved to a new location while the growing Jewish, Polish and Italian communities have located to the more established West College and Roncesvalles areas. Out of all the knick-knacks—lanterns, buddha statues, pottery bowls—found in Chinatown, I found the true colours of
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Chinese culture in its food. There is a great source of raw and authentic ingredients found in Chinatown that you’d never find in Loblaws or Metro’s international section, like dried kelp, shrimp and fish for soup bases. The various options of noodles (glass noodles, rice noodles, buckwheat noodles), dumpling wrappers and even some produce like daikon radish are a great introduction to Asian cuisine. There is also always a group of elderly people handing out pamphlets in Chinatown. The portrait of the man was taken while he was handing out a pamphlet about meditation at Spadina and Dundas, the corner of the area’s core. It consisted of information on how to meditate and connect to Buddhism and one’s inner self. It also educated people on the systematic organ harvesting done by the Chinese government. Even though Canada is their new home, elderly people are preserving their culture and protecting their beliefs by raising awareness to help the people from
their old home. The man spoke very little English, but we were able to converse. He told me about Chinese traditional shows that were coming up in Toronto. Little interactions like these help to widen our perspective and see current global issues, allowing us to give back to their community.
gap between our cultures. And even though Chinatown is not the most high-end district in the city, it’s still one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Students striving to travel the world and are constantly searching for a change, but we’re busy and finding the opportunity to travel can be difficult. Living in a metropolitan multicultural city, going to the Chinatown and seeing a glimpse of the culture, architecture, and even grocery stores can be a step forward in learning about China and other foreign countries. As Canadians who pride ourselves on our tolerance and diversity, learning about each other’s pasts helps bridge the
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SCENES FROM THE SUBWAY
A look into the lives of passersby. By Juliana Kedzior Kaminski Artwork by Vicky Wang
Chicken noodle soup. Chicken noodle soup. Chicken noodle soup covers the subway train floors, dampening the garbage that decorates the aisle. A mother looks at her three sons with such a piercing gaze, even my eyes are punctured just sitting seats away. For three seconds, their wide-eyed stares and shaking empty Tim’s bowls in hand stop. But soon enough the young boys with curly locks are jumping over seats and strangers’ legs as the train bounces along the tracks. Their mother looks completely exhausted, weariness painted across her face as she manages to compete with the boys’ energy.
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Saliva drips from her mouth, creating a small pool on her hand. She seems unfazed, casually staring at the chubby cheeks of a baby girl. “Hello, pretty baby,” she coos. The hunched woman moves closer to the child but somehow the child is moving further away. Once again, the woman is unfazed. As she makes her way through the train, she plops down right next to me.
“Pretty nails,” she comments at the silver colour. She seems to love the obvious beauty in things. Her cell phone diverts her attention, although the no service symbol gets not even a glance. “Mama” flashes across the screen and she desperately tries to call her back, dialing random numbers, but yet we’re still in the darkness of the tunnel. No service. “The next station is Kipling, Kipling Station.” I look behind me as I leave the train; saliva is still pouring from her mouth.
I saw a young couple holding hands once, at the back of the train. That seat right next to the conductor’s door. It was late at night but most of the riders were sleeping with their heads against the window. My eyes were drawn to her hair and how you twisted the strands through your fingers. I don’t know much about it. Love, to be exact. I thought I felt it once but it was such a fleeting
moment that I was soon left with toxicity. For months, I felt nothing at all. Until I saw how your eyes followed the shape of her nose as she laid her head to rest on your shoulder. I don’t know much about love, but I could tell that was love.
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Hairspray Live!: Imperfect but relevant You can’t stop the beat, but NBC could have given Jennifer Hudson more screen time. Written and illustrated by Celina Gallardo
Hairspray Live! is a television adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray, which, after Grease, is probably one of the most popular contemporary musicals performed at high school plays. It aired live on NBC early December 2016 and had a cast filled with familiar faces. The screenplay was written by John Waters, who wrote and directed the original 1988 film. Set in the ‘60s, the plump, infectiously peppy Tracy Turnblad’s (Maddie Baillio) dreams come true when she becomes part of The Corny Collins Show, Baltimore’s primetime live television show. During her rise to fame, Tracy contends with Amber Von Tussle (Dove Cameron) for the title of Miss Hairspray. Amber and her operatic mother, Velma Von Tussle (Kristin Chenoweth) go out of their ways to keep American television white and skinny. The broadcast itself isn’t perfect. Darren Criss, the show’s host, would intervene from time to time, checking in with the live studio audience and viewing parties from different states. This, along with a poorly integrated Oreo product placement, made awkward breaks between the show’s flow. There were also minor audio problems, cutting off some of the actors as they sang. Let’s not even mention how “Good Morning Baltimore” was performed at night.
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However, my biggest complaint is that they made the audience wait too long to see Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, Seaweed’s mom and the host of Negro Day. Although this stays true to the original musical script, the 2007 film did introduce Motormouth Maybelle earlier, which made a smoother transition into the racial disparities within The Corny Collins Show. Hudson’s rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been” was a showstopper, with her powerful and soulful voice that resonated beyond the questionable audio quality. Hairspray Live! had several other fantastic numbers, such as Tracy’s declaration of love for Link Larkin (Garrett Clayton) in “I Can Hear the Bells” and the show’s big finale, “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” The role of Tracy has always been given to someone found through a nationwide scouting, with Baillio being this production’s new girl in town. Her performance is hesitant at first, but she warms up after she dances with the groovy Seaweed J. Stubbs (Ephraim Sykes), who, despite his above-average grades, is put in special education. Tracy’s clumsy and airheaded best friend Penny Pingleton (Ariana Grande) supports her through her road to stardom and falls for Seaweed. Although Grande’s acting is impeccable, her smooth and breathy pop vocals do not blend well with the rest of the cast’s rich and clear musical theatre voices.
One of the main themes of Hairspray Live! is the complexity of mother-daughter relationships. Edna Turnblad, played by Harvey Fierstein from the original Broadway cast, is protective of her daughter, Tracy, fearing that she’ll be harassed for her size if she goes on television. But Edna has a change of heart once Tracy shows her that the time has come for marginalized people to take the spotlight in “Welcome to the ‘60s.” Cameron and Chenoweth, who previously worked together in Disney’s Descendants, return on television as an evil mother-and-daughter duo, with the veteran pageant winner Velma Von Tussle playing dirty to ensure that Amber wins the title of Miss Teenage Hairspray. Penny is constantly in fear of her conservative Christian mother killing her for perspiring and for falling in love with Seaweed. Tracy’s first and foremost duty as the new biggest star of Baltimore is to make the monthly Negro Day happen daily on The Corny Collins Show, which goes against racial segregation laws. Tracy's activism mirrors today's continuing fight for social and political change, such as how white allies stand in solidarity with the black liberation movement. Similarly, Tracy marches to Baltimore's WYZT station with the cast of Negro Day to protest segre-
gation in television, even if it puts her career as an entertainer at risk. There are punchy and satirical lines that double as social commentary, such as when Penny says that her mother will kill her for being in an interracial relationship with Seaweed, but Seaweed’s younger sister, Little Inez (Shahadi Wright Joseph) corrects her and says, “No she won’t; she’ll kill [Seaweed].” Or when Little Inez asks if all white people were as racist as Velma and Amber Von Tussle, to which Tracy’s father, Wilbur (Martin Short), replies, “No, no, just most.” Whether you’ve loved Hairspray ever since you heard Zac Efron say “Kiss my ass” in the 2007 movie-musical adaptation or if you have yet to greet Baltimore good morning, Hairspray Live! will be a groovy and funky treat, especially with Jennifer Hudson, Harvey Fierstein, Kristin Chenoweth and the promising Maddie Baillio. But if you’re not a fan of Ariana Grande and random Oreo ads, maybe stick to the movie-musical.
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Gould St. Drawing Club This is Ryerson’s campus through Augustine Ng’s eyes—everything from the strange to the quirky to the mundane. By Augustine Ng
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ICE AND GLASS By Helen Mak
Using low opacity and layering techniques to explore the transparency of colour. The blue hues of the piece are inspired by the colours of ice and glass, the purest form of a transparent medium. This piece is an homage to Ren Hang.
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Ilustration by Mikie Jae and Alicia Siow
In the masthead, we misspelled Patricia Karounos and Cherileigh Co. In “Out of the Theatre and Into the Classroom,” we misspelled Kamal Al-Solaylee’s name. In “Arts Students, This is what You Paid For,” we mistakenly referred to Yulian Starchenko as “she” instead of “he” and we did not include Jason Marlatt’s last name. In “Homegrown Mixtape,” we mispelled Captain Jerry Mellow. Ryerson Folio apologizes and regrets these errors.
Ryerson Folio, Issue 6, 2016-2017