the plant SINCE 1969 VOL 53 NO 3
NOVEMBER @THEPLANTNEWS THEPLANTNEWS.COM
2 THE PLANT
Letter from the Editor Why is it so dark at 6 p.m.? I look out my window, thinking it’s already midnight—time to start my homework (which is due tomorrow)—only to find that it’s still the evening. Early pitch black skies are telltale signs that winter is on its way. As a spring child myself, it’s so hard to enter these next months knowing that the sun will no longer warm my skin or make the plants grow. As a bear enters hibernation, I too enter the next phase of my life. School will be ending soon– I’m working in permanent crunch time, helped only by my daily 7 cups of tea. My body is heavy and lethargic. I, like the bear, could sleep the season away. I bundle up more and more as I venture from bed to desk, hoping the winter cold won’t be worse than previous years. Still, there are things to look forward to. I’m excited to capture the first snow on my film camera, as well as hopefully spending time with loved ones (if Ms. Rona allows it). The semester will soon be over, and I’ll be able to pick up extra shifts at work for that sweet, holiday money. Not to mention, I get to go back to my 11 hours-a-night sleep schedule! And most importantly, I can finally spend all my free time knitting like the grandparent I truly am. Things are rough at the moment, no doubt. I share these feelings so you may feel less alone. Through these circumstances, we are all doing our best, and soon our work will pay off. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue with your favourite tea blend– I know I’ll be lining up at Starbucks for a holiday drink as I read my horoscope for the month. May these next few weeks be as gentle to you as the smooth transition from fall to winter. DAYLEN CONSERVE Editor-in-Chief
Index NEWS 3 ARTS & CULTURE 10 PLAYLIST 13 VISUAL ARTS 14 VOICES 16 CREATIVE WRITING 21 SPORTS 24 SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 25 CURIOSITIES 26
The Plant is an editorially autonomous student paper. All opinions expressed in The Plant do not necessarily belong to The Plant, but are those of individuals. All content submitted to The Plant or its staff belongs to the paper. We reserve the right to reject or edit all submissions for brevity, taste and legality. The Plant welcomes typed and signed letters to the editor under 400 words. Copyright 2020
The 2020 Presidential Race: The Canadian Perspective on a Historic Election JESSICA GEAREY News Editor Our southern neighbours have elected a new president. The 2020 election has certainly left a lasting mark, and Canadians are astonished by the current political climate in the United States. As of November 15, 2020, the Associated Press reports a Joe Biden win at 290 electoral votes compared to Donald Trump’s 232. Even without decisive results from Georgia, which boasts 16 electoral votes, this makes Biden the 2020 president-elect. However, in some states the margin of Biden’s win is slim enough to require a recount, and President Trump is contesting the results in many of the states he lost. With Trump already having made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud before the election, Zachary Fortier, a third semester Arts and Culture student, “expects nothing less.” Our interview took place before election night, and Fortier predicted that Trump would take an early lead in most states, seeing as the majority of Trump’s supporters would be voting in person. “Many states will begin calling Republican early in the evening, but because not all the votes have been counted or not all the mail in ballots have been received yet, there will be challenges,” he said. Fortier’s prediction was in line with what most left-leaning media outlets were anticipating, and they were right. On the evening of November 3, Trump was winning, but over the next four days, as mail-in ballots were counted, Biden built a steady (albeit small) lead in key swing states such as Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Even though the outcome doesn’t have a direct impact on Canadians, we’re all still inclined to watch it unfold. Jaden Bougie-Hull, third semester Law, Society and Justice student, finds it particularly interesting to watch as an outsider. He explains that Canadian politics simply aren’t the same as American; Canada doesn’t have a two-party and electoral college system. “Right wing-left wing
Photo VIA THE BOSTON GLOBE
ideology is not something we’re accustomed to,” he says, “it’s a very flawed system. But something flawed is more interesting to watch.” Brian Redekopp, a Philosophy teacher at Dawson, seems to agree with Bougie-Hull and adds that American news “is entertainment in disguise.” The American election really is treated as a reality TV show by some, Bougie-Hull going so far as saying that their politics are a joke. He adds that he thinks Canadian viewers tuned in to the presidential debate “to laugh at it. People watched so that they could make memes about it.” It seems commonplace, amongst Canadians, to write off the seriousness of American politics. What exactly is so different about Canadian and American politics? “History wise, the way Canada has been governed has been less, I feel, capitalist than America,” Fortier says. He argues that a shared sense of community seems to have allowed Canadians to better understand community needs. The first example he brought up was Canada’s health care system. Although he feels that it’s hardly perfect, it is still better than America’s system. Fortier admits that like the United States, Canada has its fair share of controversial race issues, specifically citing the situation of Indigenous peoples. Redekopp and his wife, an American citizen, often talk between themselves about the disparity between Canadian
and American politics. Like Fortier, he says that Canadians have “more of a widespread understanding that individual rights need to be balanced with the greater good.” The outcome is “a more practical and less ideological approach.” The final results of this contentious election left people flooding the streets of major American cities. People were seen playing music, dancing, and reveling in Biden’s win. On our side of the border there was quite a bit of euphoria as well. “I was quite shocked,” says Fortier. “I really thought Trump would win by suppressing the vote in key battleground states, but voter turnout was astounding.” Biden is currently the leader of the popular vote with over 77 million votes; the most for a presidential candidate ever. 72 million people turned out for Trump. The nature of this election is best understood looking at the difference in those numbers: a close call. “The conditions that occasioned Trump’s rise remain, and I’m worried about how much damage he may continue inflicting,” Redekopp says, but he prefers to focus on Biden’s victory for now. Bougie-Hull is relieved, but remains realistic about what’s to come. “These next 4 years will prove Biden’s worth,” he says, “I’m curious to see how he handles his power and authority.” p p
4 THE PLANT
DSU Introductions and the First General Assembly ALESSANDRO MORTELLARO Staff Writer
In this unique school year, I’m sure we are all wondering who makes up our DSU committee and what they have planned. The following introductions give a sense of the passionate team representing our student body. Chairperson Kevin ContantHolowatyj enthusiastically informed The Plant that he “wanted to be able to help our students on our campus.” He advises Dawson students to “stay tuned for the unveiling of the Executive Committee’s plans for the year!” In the first General Assembly of the 2020-2021 school year, we finally saw Contant-Holowatyj and his team in action. Treasurer Noah Lemaire says that he decided to pursue his position because of his interests in finance and management. His main goal is “to improve the accountability of the Union’s finances,” increasing transparency between the DSU and its constituents. At the Fall 2020 GA, Lemaire presented the DSU’s budget, as well as his plans for improving student life, keeping students informed, and looking out for Dawson’s clubs. Contant-Holowatjy mentioned that the DSU hopes to collaborate with the school to fix damaged club spaces so that they can be ready by the time the pandemic ends. Director of Clubs and Services Amélie Chornet believes that “club life can make any student’s college experience better and in order to do so, the Student Union must acknowledge the clubs’ needs and guide them at all times.” She emphasizes the importance of an adaptable club life accessible to all Dawson students. The new DSU plans to require only 50 petition signatories to form a club, instead of the previous threshold of 250. Approved clubs enter an interim period of 1 semester, and once that semester is over, they are eligible for official status. Sustainability Director Sarah Bensemana says she is “looking
Photo VIA THE DSU INSTAGRAM PAGE
forward to making Dawson greener!” Her priority will be to “promote a sustainable lifestyle by hosting monthly seminars and [creating] an Instagram page.” She is also expected to be involved in the Green Earth Club’s fight against Quebec’s Gazoduc/GNL project. Towards the end of the GA meeting, the club took the floor and presented their strong opposition to the project. Several Dawson students presented their arguments against the pipeline that would stretch from Ontario to Saguenay, threatening marine life and potentially causing an increase in geenhouse gases; the assembled students voted almost unanimously to formalize the student body’s opposition to the project.
channeled into services which are beneficial to the student body.
Director of Student Life Nicole Vega Rivas says that “student governance has always interested me, and when one of my friends told me about the DSU elections I decided to give it a try!” Rivas hopes to make the best of this year and plans to do everything possible to reach Dawson’s full potential.
Valeria Sygal, Director of External Affairs, is a second-year Health Science student who is looking forward to making “every Dawson Student’s year one to remember!”
“I decided to run for Internal Affairs and Advocacy because I want students to feel like they can count on the Dawson Student Union when problems arise,” Leana Ramirez, Director of Internal Affairs and Advocacy, says. Her mentality is that if students are paying a fee every semester, she wants the investment justified and the money
Deputy Chairperson Alexandrah Cardona is an involved Dawson citizen, already having participated in the Blue Ring Society, the CLL, and as a college tour guide. “I am passionate about representing students on various college entities such as the senate and policy committees, because that is where the most crucial work takes place in terms of protecting and advancing the needs of students at Dawson College,” she says. She adds that she’s “committed to supporting the executive team in bringing forward some of DSU’s most ambitious plans and reforms in recent years.”
Director of Mobilization and Communication Danahé Orduña Martínez is a student in Child Studies. She decided to run for Director of Mobilization and Communication to become more involved in the Dawson community. More information on the Dawson Student Union team and their plans can be found on their website, dawsonstudentunion.com p p
All Eyes on Mi’kma’ki ARWEN LOW Contributor This November 1, hundreds of people gathered in Tio’tià:ke to march for the rights of Mi’kmaq fishers in southwestern Nova Scotia as part of the All Eyes on Mi’kma’ki movement. September 17, October 1, and November 4 of 2020 are the opening dates of three First Nation fisheries in Nova Scotia: the Sipekne’katik, Potlotek, and Pictou First Nation fisheries, respectively. This rapid succession of openings has been long in the making– 21 years ago, on September 17 1999, the Supreme Court ruled Mi’kmaq were allowed to fish, hunt, and gather in pursuit of a “moderate livelihood.” These rights were originally promised to the Mi’kmaq people in the 1752 Peace and Friendship treaty, but commercial fishermen have since pushed against them. Complex tensions between Mi’kmaq and commercial fishermen are explained in two parts. First, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has yet to define a “moderate livelihood.” As expressed by Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sacks, “the average Nova Scotia income should be at least the starting point.” Discussions between DFO and Sipekne'katik offi-
These rights were originally promised to the Mi’kmaq people in the 1752 Peace and Friendship treaty, but commercial fishermen have since pushed against them. cials left parties unable to find common ground over the definition of a “moderate livelihood” in September. Gord MacDonald, president of the Richmond County Inshore Fishermen’s Association, wanted Potlotek people to remove their traps until the term was clearly defined.
Mi’kmaq First Nations have waited for clarity on this definition for 21 years, and Potlotek Chief Wilbert Marshall comments that First Nations “have the right to self-govern our fisheries, separate from commercial fisheries.” Moreover, commercial fishermen maintain that Mi’kmaq fishermen should abide by the same rules they do, which includes respect for the commercial fishing season. Commercial fishermen claim Mi’kmaq fishermen will harm lobster stocks by fishing off season, when lobsters may molt. However, lobster season is notoriously ill-defined: different types of lobsters will molt at different periods and frequencies, some molting as infrequently as every two years. Chief Sacks says that concerns about out of season fishing “are all just grasping at straws.” He does however see conservation as a valid concern, and affirms that the Sipekne’katik Nation committed to taking under five percent of the lobster in the region. A professor in Marine Affairs at Dalhousie University, Megan Bailey, states that there is no science supporting claims that current Mi’kmaq fishing operations harm lobster stocks, and maintains that their traps would have “a negligible impact.” Aaron MacNeil, the Canada Research Chair in Fisheries Ecology, echoes this sentiment. It is also important to note that the commercial giant Clearwater Seafoods has DFO approval to fish year-round. They secured $4.7 million worth of government loans from 2014-2018, and refused to release research reports on their ecological impact. It was revealed in January 2019 that they'd been leaving their traps in the water for illegal amounts of time, something scientifically proven to harm lobster stocks. Protestors walked not only in support of the Mi'kmaq First Nations’ right to fish, but also to condemn the reaction of non-Indigenous fishermen to the opening of
the Sipekne’katik fishery. Fishermen allegedly circled Mi’kmaw boats, reportedly intimidating them by threatening to destroy equipment. Two facilities used by Mi’kmaq fishermen to store catches were raided by commercial fishermen in October, damaging facilities and killing hundreds of lobsters. Another incident involved Jason Marr, a Sipekne’katik fisherman, who was barricaded in a facility as 1500 kg of lobster, along with his van, were destroyed by a mob. Chief Sack was also assaulted, pushing him to declare that the Sipekne’katik would refrain from fishing in the next lobster season due to safety concerns. Non-Indigenous fishermen and their supporters shouted racial slurs towards Mi’kmaq fishermen with an audience of tens of thousands. Social media has given this situation widespread attention. The inaction of the DFO and RCMP has been widely criticized, leading to protests such as the aforementioned march in Tio’tia:ke. President of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, Colin Sproul, says he and Chief Sack “have agreed that [their] issues are not Indigenous versus non-Indigenous.” He instead cites “the minister and her lack of action” as the problem. November 9 saw a coalition of Mi’kmaq First Nations purchasing $1B worth of shares in Clearwater Seafoods, rendering them primary shareholders of the biggest seafood company in the Canadian Atlantic. While the future of Clearwater Seafood remains unknown, one can assume that there may be a turn within the company towards conservation, something which Mi’kmaq First Nations fight for. However, Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou First Nations says that they are “still very incredibly committed to our other fisheries and to our communities on moderate livelihood,” emphasizing that the deal will not impact discussions made in other areas of the fishery. p p
6 THE PLANT
Editorials, Epitaphs, and the End of Days: History through the Plant Archives BENJAMIN WEXLER Copy Editor
There are two lies on our cover page. The first is the year; the oldest issues of The Plant date to 1971. The second is the name; for a number of those years, it was not The Plant, but The Planet. Why the change? Perhaps someone miscopied the title and was too ashamed to admit their mistake. We don’t know for sure. But we hope to find that out, and so much more, when the Plant’s history is finally archived online. Our executive team met at Dawson’s metro entrance on October 15 — our Editor-In-Chief Daylen, our Managing Editor Julie, and myself. The Plant space was a mess, as always. In the corner of the room were our archives, a flimsy, open white shelf about as tall as I am. Stacked horizontally within were issues from every year since our founding. We carried them out, piled them up in the hall, and began the arduous process of sorting. We arrived at 3 p.m.; it was 9 p.m. when we finally swept up the confetti of fifty years of paper and carted our boxes out of the building. Along the way, I tried to collect notes and photos of the most notable articles and covers. This was not systematic — that will come later, hopefully — but this essay is just a taste of what the archives have to offer. ◊ “Almost three years ago Dawson was created. Built on the slender shoulders of a community philosophy, it survived, flowered, and now, as summer comes too late to warm the frozen shadow, it dies. "Who killed Dawson?” So begins a column titled Epitaph, in one of the earliest issues of the “Planet” we have. It drops us into the uncertainty of the newly created institutions of Dawson and the CEGEP system as a whole. Student Pat Capponi lists off names — “All self-serving faculty ‘representatives' who sold out a college for the greater glory of their egos and their white liberal pseudo-worker marxist blustering bullshit. The ADE [Association of Dawson Educators] has a distinctly foul odour, a carrion odour.” I did some research, curious to contact any involved parties. Pat Capponi only recently passed –- she was the author of seven books, a mental health advocate, and 2015 recipient of the Order of Canada. The archive, as well as a few outside sources, help us piece together the years leading up to what Capponi believed would be Dawson’s end. Dawson teacher Steve
Muszynski’s short history of the Dawson Teachers’ Union was written for The Unofficial Dawson Retrospective, and is naturally far more diplomatic and sanitary than Capponi’s article. I acquired the text through the Dawson Library. According to Muszynski, the ADE was formed in 1970, and successfully achieved accreditation in 1971. Accreditation gave Dawson teachers the right to negotiate and sign agreements collectively, much like a union, without official union designation. By 1972, the Confédération des syndicate nationaux (CSN), usually referred to in the Planet by its English name of the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CNTU), was at the head of the Common Front Strikes of public-sector unions against the provincial government. Many Dawson teachers wanted to be affiliated with the trade union group, as teachers at Francophone schools already were. Two clear wedge issues appear in our archives; the ADE itself, and the job security of teachers. Capponi’s “community philosophy” was often brought up by those opposed to the union. They appealed to the idea of Dawson as a community project of both students and teachers, and argued that a strong union would allow teachers undue influence and independence. The Planet and its contributors clearly took this stance, and there were frequent accusations of power overreach on the part of teachers. A 1972 article “Faculty Follies” cynically describes an ADE meeting as a “faculty play” packed with drama and deception, starring “an idealistic and dedicated young teacher (movingly portrayed by Steve Muszynski)”. Both the article and Muszynski’s account of the events include a matching dialogue: one staff member says: “You’re out of order!” Another responds: “You’re out of your mind!” Gary Campbell, first Vice-President of the ADE and subject of many attack-articles, published a long “ADE Position” to address student concerns. “A very important point, that many people (students and faculty alike) seem to have forgotten— or never quite realized— is that the employer of the teachers is not the students, nor any branch of Dawson college, but the province of Quebec. No amount of talking about the Dawson spirit is going to change this simple fact.” Gary Campbell wanted to protect teacher job security, in the form of ‘permanency’. This was exactly what Pat Capponi was worried about. Capponi claimed there were “faculty in the [English] department either academically or emotionally unqualified to teach.” The response from English department faculty was fierce. Teacher Jim Strahs sent in several Letters to the Editor on the topic. One letter addresses student-editors: “Good to see you’re into some heavy gossip and slander. Next time how about some stuff on who’s screwing whoch and where and with what and withcetera.” He gets
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Muszynski, Campbell eventually resigned from the executive because of the abuse he endured while chairing for the ADE. His successors were elected on a firm anti-affiliation stance, and were then unable to defend the rights of teachers. A wage crisis and cross-CEGEP teacher strikes followed. Finally, in the 1973-74 academic year, the ADE voted to affiliate with the CNTU with 79% in favour. ◊
Caption: Selby students puff away the time before smoking is banned in halls and the lobby
increasingly aggressive: “You ain’t myths, kids, you’re assholes.” He jokingly suggests they commission articles on several enumerated topics, including “9. Teacher/student sex: someone is getting screwed.” Below, the Plant responds with two photos of nude women, captioned “OK Steve, can I join the Union?,” and “What do I have to do for my other credit, Harry?.” It is not clear whether there were ongoing allegations of sexual misconduct, or simply a fear among students that a strong union would protect teachers who misbehaved in such a way. There are other, mostly unstated reasons certain students and teachers were opposed to affiliation. According to Campbell, “they do not like working class unions, and they do not like the idea of joining a mainly French organization.” The former claim is apparent; there are traces of late Cold War anti-communism in the writing of the anti-affiliation camp. The latter claim is more implicit, but fits neatly with the divided situation of language and culture politics in Quebec in the early 70s. For reference, the October Crisis occurred in 1970. Vitriolic letters and articles continued to be exchanged. One student wrote in simply to say that “F**k**g p**s like Gary Campbell have no place among the dignified people of Dawson College.” According to
Reading through those early archives, it seems almost shocking that Dawson survived. But we did, and the Plant has receipts to prove it. One 1985 issue includes a large colour ad for export A cigarettes. Only a year later, an article titled “GET IT WHILE YOU CAN” warns Selby students that a new Westmount bylaw prohibits smoking on campus. An image features five students, mouths stuffed with cigarettes. One offers a smoke to the camera. Honestly, from their black leather boots to their mouthfuls of cigarettes, they don’t look all that different from the modern Dawson student. An exciting spread from 1985 introduces Dawson’s new “Mother House.” It includes teacher and student concerns about the building and move, and gives descriptions and a brief history of the site that our second-years know so well. The article is wonderfully complimented with photos; the rose window from inside and out, large bare rooms which are familiar but difficult to identify, and architectural plans. Another notable disruption to student routine is published in Vol. 35, issue 4, October 5, 2006 - less than a month after the Dawson school shooting. A look at just one page presents a school struggling to process the event. One article advertises student-led gun control protests, another outlines a speech by a victim, and a third is titled “Victims may be eligible for compensation.” ◊ Widen our lens a little. Dawson isn’t floating in nothingness, and the Plant has long been chronicling students’ reactions to the world around them. One article from 1973 dips its toes into the waters of the sexual revolution. “It gives freedom…freedom to get lost? There is nothing wrong with sex being in revolution. There is nothing wrong with substituting truth for myth.” It goes on, “It is not merely sex in revolution. It is people in revolution. Your human sexuality deserves exploration to give you an honest comprehendable image of yourself.” There’s no indication of the author, but it ends with an ad for a school program, “Sex Episode, Feb 20-23 Inclusively, at Viger.” Often, the form of a report is as instructive as the article’s content. In the early 80s, articles on apartheid in South Africa trickled in as boycotts against the state grew in profile. A 1985 supplement is titled APARTHEID, in big red letters, with a black and white photo of protestors carrying a “Freedom for South Africa” sign. In 1993, the Plant published an outraged Letter to the Editor written on behalf of the Croatian Democratic Union Youth. The letter, titled “Blame should not be
8 THE PLANT
Whether they listened on vinyl, CD, MP3, iPods, iPhones, or vinyl again, our writers never lost their love for music. A photo of Aretha Franklin from the early 70s — “Young, Gifted and Black”-- graces one issue. A 1974 article speculates about the Beatles: “Are there any chances of them getting back together?” After attending Elliot Smith’s Montreal concert, one student caught him at a bar and got an impromptu interview, only a few years before the artist’s suicide. Finally, a 1993 issue advertises an exclusive interview - “yo, chill y’all, it’s ICE-T.” ◊ Students would move into the Mother House in 1988
placed on all sides in Yugoslavian conflict,” responds to a previous article detailing an interview with a Dawson teacher who, according to the letter, claimed that “the Serbs are not the only guilty party and that that blame should be put on all sides.” “Let me ask him, who is laying to waste in Sarajevo? Who is raping Muslim and Croatian women? Who is preventing humanitarian aid from reaching Muslims in eastern Bosnia? Who has threatened the US if they were to intervene in Bosnia? All those questions have a common answer: Serbs.” As in the case of the union disputes of the 70s, we must be careful with such heated, partisan texts, but I think some hindsight is warranted here. The Yugoslavian conflict would go on to be one of the bloodiest events on European soil since WWII. Two years after the letter’s publication, Bosnian Serb forces killed 8000 Bosnian Muslims in the Srebrenica massacre. In 2001, an international tribunal judged that the massacre constituted genocide. Perhaps most striking of all is the issue published September 14, 2001 — three days after 9/11. I can only imagine the scramble that must have been necessary to produce the paper in the immediate wake of such a tragedy, and the issue captures the shock and horror of the student body. “I don’t feel safe anymore,” reads the cover story, overlaying a photo of the Twin Towers from when they were still standing. A teacher reflects on when Kennedy was killed, councillors begin plans to deal with student trauma, and interviewees fear nuclear war. There is a noticeable increase in articles about Muslim student clubs in the years following, with attitudes ranging from sympathy to paranoid distrust. Trends of malaise are generally fascinating to track through the decades. Attitudes towards technology as documented in the Plant certainly deserve more thorough coverage. An article in the early 70s speculates that cable TV might be a useful tool for spies. We see reruns in the 90s, with an article titled “Big Brother is Watching You” above the glowing display of a clunky computer. Technological angst ramps up through the decade. In 1999, the paper explores the full range of apocalypses that might follow the turn of the millennium — Y2K. On a lighter note, an article from 1999 has maybe the best title in the history of the Plant. “‘SEX?’ not anymore. ‘MP3’ is now the most common search term on the Internet.”
The Plant itself goes through noticeable trends. Two of our favourites: the Plant as a message board, and the Plant as a smut rag. The Dawson Christian Federation is one of the more common clubs mentioned in Letters to the Editor. “I find it regrettable that the DCF chose to recently run a program that seemed to encourage Jews join its messianic faith”, writes one student, going on to delineate elements of Jewish faith that make the suggestion absurd. For good or for ill, robust student life drove an intense engagement with the newspaper as different student groups advanced their interests in editorials, news articles, and letters to the editor. Some smoulder with rage, others are ice-cold. Editors weren’t above taking their own shots. One student wrote a pointed letter in 1990. “Dear Plant Editor, I think you’ve gone too far. I’m sick and tired of picking up the Plant to get up-to-date on
Caption: Dawson students watching the events unfold on CNN in Oliver's (11 Sept. 2001)
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school issues and having to first plow through the filth. I’m really not interested in seeing two students advertising their sexual preferences in an unnecessary photo [page 5 of last week] and I don’t consider a tasteless sketch of male genitals [page 7] art either.” Immediately above the letter is a photo of two fully clothed male students pretending to have sex, captioned “Just look at what we could have published last week.” The author of the letter in question is now writer and illustrator of multiple Christian devotional books. Plant readers would become well-acquainted with its more obscene side in the years that followed. It seems like a combination of free-press advocates pushing boundaries, as we see in the letter above, and good ol’ teenage horniness. In the mid-90s, one cover features a censored penis. At least two issues have covers with photos of topless women facing away from the camera in what looks like the club space. Designing a cover that incorporates both upcoming St. Patrick’s day and Pride celebrations may seem difficult to you, but it was almost obvious back then; two hairy leprechauns having anal sex (rainbows streaking through the frame, of course). The smut slows down by the late 2000s. It probably lost its edge for the internet generation, and shifting sexual politics may have inspired a reevaluation of the sheer number of scantily clad women on the covers, but these are just educated guesses. Perhaps a future article should answer the question of What happened to the porn? ◊ For most of its history, the Plant was an English credit course. Many of the archived issues are even marked up by teachers’ comments. Changes in form and even drops in quality are a natural result of it becoming a club, and it would be unfair for me to blame changing circumstances on myself or my hardworking peers. There are also some overall improvements — technology has made my job as Copy Editor far easier, and our graphic designer turned Editor-In-Chief was genuinely offended by some of the designs they saw. But if I could bring back one thing about those early issues, it would be news images. Original Plant photos were some of our best archival finds. In our club format, writers and graphic designers are relatively segregated. For my first time as a Plant writer, I find myself working with our graphic designer, Pipa, to unite the format and content of this essay. But cameras are more accessible than ever; we could be filling every page with photos to make our issues better documents of news and of history. Retrospection is important. My intention with this piece, and the usefulness of our archive, is not simply to gawk at the past. That was my first instinct. “Look at how funny this is! Look at how wrong they were! Look at how right they were! Look at how relevant this is today!” And I admit that many of the examples I chose, I chose as curiosities to the modern reader. Our main goal was to sort our issues, not to report on them, and I do not currently have access to them. What we have photos of are those items so famous or so striking that they caught our eyes during the
Published December 10, 1999, less than a month before the new millenium
process. But I also did my best to go beyond a facsimile of history, either by allowing the reader to make their own anachronistic judgments, or, in a few cases, attempting to put newspaper clippings in their proper historic context. Once our records are digitized, projects like my history of the union disputes will become much, much easier. Personally, I hope that in-depth analyses of archived issues become a semi-regular column. However, I also hope that future journalists-turned-historians are even more careful than I was. You may not understand an article. It may seem wrong, or plain insignificant, but your task is to reach back to that moment during which for at least one person it was right and necessary. Newspapers document history, but they are also documents of history. Understanding them outside of their time and place is very difficult —that’s why we publish monthly. I mean this issue as well, and the last issue, and the next. Maybe fifty years from now, some Copy Editor will be reading and rolling his eyes. Racial justice, climate change — who knows what those words will mean? They may be redefined, forgotten, or developed into something far greater than we ever imagined. Of course, there’s also the socially-isolated elephant in the room, which is so absolutely crucial to understanding anything written right now… I’m not going to explain that one, he can work it out. Without the context of our moment, every word he reads will seem naïve, or opaque, or just plain wrong. But his readers deserve better than that. Hell, I think I deserve better. I might still be stupid and wrong, but I hope he at least gives me a fair shot. p p
10 THE PLANT
Teen-Targeted Advertising via Social Media MAIJA BARONI Staff Writer New Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, directed by Jeff Orlowski, caused quite a stir online after its premiere in early September. Besides being entertaining and insightful, the film warns of the effects of networking on the human psyche, making a rather grim point on social media's dangerous impact. The documentary outlines the ways companies manipulate and take advantage of social media users. The most affected victims are teenagers; our every move monitored and logged, unconsciously divulging information to eager advertisers. The desire to fit in with trends and pop culture is perhaps strongest in Generation Z, making us highly impressionable and vulnerable to those seeking to exploit new information systems. As avid cultural consumers, we are an incredibly profitable demographic for brands and influencers. Teens, now mostly confined to our households during lockdowns, are glued to our screens more than ever. Our social interactions are almost exclusively virtual. Companies know exactly where to reach us. For example, Instagram started off as a creative platform but has since turned commercial, with as many as one in four posts on our feeds being ads. Tik Tok has also begun incorporating ads
Photo VIA SPROUTSOCIAL
into its For You Page, on top of the sponsored content of the app’s celebrity content creators. Ads have shifted from billboards and television to sponsored content and social media posts, allowing them to become personalized to each individual’s profile as a consumer. In addition, influencers post so often that we develop a sense of trust in them, leading us to feel like their promotions are genuine advice rather than endorsements. These blurred lines between influencers and PR allow brands to advertise in a more subtle way than ever before.
Ads have shifted from billboards and television to sponsored content and social media posts. Such advertising's ethical implications are already muggy and controversial, and worsen when organizations with political motives are involved. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as "AOC," is one of these cases. In recent months, her progressive, feminist ideas have drawn overwhelming social media praise, much of it from teenagers, which has led her to have an established online presence. The American Democratic politician live-streamed a game of Among
Us on Twitch that attracted more than 400,000 viewers on October 20, 2020. In contrast, President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden's Twitch streams generally draw between 1,000 and 15,000 viewers. Though the stream did have the positive effects of humanizing her and communicating how normal she is, which many politicians struggle to do, it had a motivation beyond leisure. She used the event to encourage viewers to vote, leading them to a Democratic party website with voting information IWillVote.com. Whatever her intentions, the online event's success at reaching nearly half a million teenagers, with political motives, brings up pretty confusing ethical implications. If we view social media as something we do for pleasure, is it harmful to us to be targeted in that context when our guard is down? And even worse— when it comes to politics? Ultimately, advertisement has become unavoidable, especially for those addicted to their phones. We must be conscious that we are, unquestionably, a prime target of the marketing industry. Consequently, even when scrolling mindlessly until 3 a.m., we should think critically about all content to remain in control of our own opinions and decisions. p p
ARTS & CULTURE 11
The Past and Present of el Día de los Muertos: How the Living Commemorate the Dead MIA KENNEDY Contributor
When October approaches its end, some families prepare buckets full of candy, dip apples in caramel, and place plastic gravestones on their front lawn. Others bake pan de muerto, mold sugar candies into skulls, arrange ofrendas, and celebrate el Día de los Muertos. The roots of el Día de los Muertos go back to rituals practiced by Aztec and Nahua people living on land now known as Central Mexico. These pre-Columbian Mesoamerican practices lie on the idea that the universe is cyclical, and that death is a fundamental part of life. In this North American indigenous culture, it was believed that when a person dies, their soul travels to the Land of the Dead, called Chicunamictlán. For the spirit to reach the final resting place, Mictlán, a challenging journey must be undertaken. The Nahua people would offer food, drink, and tools to these spirits to help them along their journey. This practice has transcended time and become an important aspect of el Día de los Muertos celebrations, along with certain elements of Catholicism. Indeed, it is still a holiday to honour and celebrate the dead. On November 2, spirits become honoured guests when the border between worlds dissolves, and they return to the land of the living. To entertain and celebrate these spiritual visitors, there is music in cemeteries and homes, graves are cleaned and decorated, and families commemorate the deceased’s life by dancing, drinking, and feasting. An important part of el Día de los Muertos are the ofrendas. Family members use altars to display a photograph of the deceased among offerings. Offerings can include the deceased’s favourite food and drink, candles, fresh flowers, and a glass of water. The candles and flowers are
Photo VIA KJRH NEWS
believed to help guide the spirit to the altar and the water is to quench the spirit’s thirst after the long journey to the land of the living. This holiday has many important recurring symbols. For instance, skulls (calaveras) and skeletons (calacas) are used as the shape for decorations, masks, candies, and even bread. The shape of pan de muerto, a sweet bread typically baked for this holiday, is inspired by the form of human skulls. Orange and yellow marigolds, or campasúchil, are also an iconic element of the holiday. Finally, with skull-shaped cookies, sugar candies, sweet breads, traditional chicken-based dishes, and copious amounts of tequila and aguardiente, there is no question that when it comes to food, this holiday goes all out. They all help in the revelry during the Day of the Dead, to celebrate life and honour the dead. Usually, Day of the Dead celebrations are an opportunity for communities to come together. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all public events related to this holiday have been cancelled. This year’s pandemic has caused people to lose more loved ones than ever, and gives the day special significance. To commemorate the importance of this year’s holiday, Martín
Rodríguez, Mariza Rosales Argonza, and Francisco Fonseca have come together to present their joint creation “Your Guardian Angel” at the Instituto Cultural de México in Montreal. The large-scale installation honours all the people who lost their lives to COVID-19 and presents an opportunity for individuals to provide their own testimonies. Anyone is invited to share the life and legacy of a COVID-19 victim through the submission of an audio recording. It respectfully honours victims and gives the family and friends an opportunity to share their story. The installation uses ofrendas, projected videos, and audio testimonies to create a touching homage to the dead. It invites the viewer into a dark room lit by candles. Voices sharing legends, myths, and stories are layered over nature sounds, the chirping of exotic birds, the rustling of leaves and the gentle crashing of ocean waves. The poetic and emotional audio submissions can be in English, French, and Spanish. Enveloped in echoing testimonies and projected videos, it dives into the significance of this holiday. New media techniques highlight the importance of family, love, and unity in the unique exhibition. This participatory event is a beautiful way for the community to remember that, despite the isolation, they are not alone. p p
12 THE PLANT
ARTS & CULTURE 12
Backxwash Wins Polaris the point where I'm very comfortable in the music that I'm making and expressing myself." Backxwash relates her experience of the intersections between faith, identity and queerness. The album explores themes of forgiveness and critiques religious institutions. She grew up in Lusaka, Zambia, and had a religious upbringing. In Montreal she found herself and her music. "I fell in love with the city, and just, it was a perfect city to express myself," she said. Her journey is compellingly expressed on the album. God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It sounds like that exciting moment in an artist's career when they find their path.
Photo VIA THE LINK NEWSPAPER BEATRIZ NEVES Arts & Culture Editor
The Zambian-Canadian rapper known as Backxwash is the winner of the Polaris Music Prize with her album God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It. The Montreal-based rapper, composer, and producer released her album in May. The prize recognizes any recently released Canadian album, and the cash attached has increased over the years, sitting today at $50,000. There are no submissions; all nominees are chosen by a jury of more than 200 Canadian music journalists, bloggers, and broadcasters. Their selection is based on artistic merit, irrespective of genre, sales, or record label. She is the sixth artist from Quebec and the first transgender woman to win the Polaris; her win as a black transgender immigrant woman reflects a widening and inclusive scope of the prize’s attitude towards noteworthy Canadian music. The album, a short twenty-two minutes distributed between ten tracks, is a looming mix of horrorcore, industrial hip-hop, gothrock, punk, and noise. She flirts with metal music in the opening and title track. It is a perfect introduction;
she repeats Ozzy Osbourne's iconic "Oh no, no, please, God, help me!" from Black Sabbath's song “Black Sabbath”. The guitar riff of that same song also makes a later appearance. Backxwash maintains an electrifying tone by constantly pushing her music’s boundaries. “I’m very innovative and I try to keep my pieces as experimental as possible,” she says. “So, a lot of the beats have weird samples to them.” God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It was immediately celebrated for its frank anger and exploration of her most personal self.
I'm at the point where I'm very comfortable in the music that I'm making and expressing myself. Xtra Magazine’s Jesse Locke writes that on the album, "Backxwash exorcises a lifetime of demons." In an interview for The Link newspaper, Backxwash said that "This is the first tape where I feel very, very comfortable, but I feel very, very angry at the same time. I'm at
Her album is unafraid to delve into the political and controversial. While accepting her prize, Backxwash said that "My existence itself is political, my livelihood is political, and the livelihood of my sisters is political." She continues to gain a profile in the music industry, and has a fast-growing fanbase. Her exponential rise also got the attention of other well-known musicians. HuntHendrix was one of these people. The leader of experimental black metal band Liturgy tweeted at Backxwash, saying: "I checked out your stuff. I like it :)". It was enough for the fans to speculate about a potential collaboration. I encourage anyone new to Backxwash to listen to this album as well as some of her old works, such as her debut F.R.E.A.K.S, and the follow-up, Black Sailor Moon. Backxwash's career is blossoming, and we can’t wait to hear more from her. p p
PLAYLIST 13 13
Playlist by FRÉDÉRIC GUILLETTE Visual Arts Editor
14 THE PLANT
Photo by ALEXANDRE BEAUCHEMIN @ABEAUCHE
Photo by SOPHIA DOLGIN @_PHI_A
Photo by EMMA MOONEY @OVRTHEMOONN
VISUAL ARTS 15
Visual Arts by FRÉDÉRIC GUILLETTE Visual Arts Editor
Photo by ADOLF ROSILLA @KAITO.EXE
Photo by CHRISTIAN KADNIKOV
16 THE PLANT
Ask The Plant JULIA QUYNH Staff Writer
Dear The Plant, Online school has been really tough on me. How do I get out of a funk? Sincerely, No one Haven’t gone crazy from lockdown yet? From the editorial staff here at The Plant: Congratulations! This year has been pretty tough for everybody, given that we are in the middle of a horrible pandemic, stuck at home with nothing much to do. So carry on; you’re doing great! I’m sure that the transition to online school has especially been taxing for students, since we are stuck inside all day, staring at a computer screen for hours on end, and, somehow, have an even bigger workload of assignments to do. With too much work and a lack of motivation comes a funk. I, too, would be lying if I said I am coping well. I’m no therapist, but here’s some things I do when I’m in a funk myself: 1. Take a break – I can’t emphasize this enough! Take a day or two to wallow in your self-despair, do your self-care routine, go on a walk or whatever you need to unwind. Give yourself a breather to get yourself in the right state of mind, and get back to work once you’re ready. 2. Go on a Zoom call with your friends – Get together, organize a Zoom call with everyone! Have a Netflix Party, or coordinate your Zoom backgrounds; it could be a photograph in Japan, or even a staycation inside Spongebob’s pineapple. Hopefully, while you’re enjoying talking to your friends, time will pass and you’ll forget about whatever’s stressing you out. Have fun on your self-made holiday! 3. Manage your time – I usually take time out of my ‘self-care’ day to thoroughly plan out the coming weeks, dedicating periods of time in the future to finishing my assignments, meeting deadlines, and attending hangouts with my friends. Planning my time carefully before getting back to work gives me peace of mind, so maybe it will for you too! 4. Fight funk with funk – Have a main character moment in your life, and jam to funky music in your room! Music makes everything better. I know it’s been really hard to adjust to what’s been going on the past couple of months, with the world’s social climate, but I hope that you know you’re not alone. Remember that somewhere out there in the world, there’s someone understanding how you feel all too well. Ça va bien aller! Sending you love from Singapore, Julia Quynh
What's the biggest lie you've ever told? “My friend and I were the only two Brazilians attending our school, so naturally we convinced everyone we were sisters.”
“I once convinced someone that the minions actually spoke antiquated Spanish and proceeded to 'translate.'”
“I told a girl I didn’t have feelings for her because I felt too short.”
“One time at a friend's birthday party, I pretended to spill tea on myself to cover up the fact that I peed my pants.”
“In the third grade, I pretended to have a metal rod in my leg. Sometimes, it would get stuck, so I’d go around limping, due to the metal rod—which is definitely in my leg—definitely being stuck.”
“My parents think that the first time I ever got drunk was when I was 17...which is technically true. I was 17 minus 3 :).”
“I told Daylen I was a qualified cover artist.”
“I told my mom that I wanted to be a woman.”
“I told a guy I had to go to a friend’s birthday party so that I could leave the boring, boring date.”
“I pretended not to have a concussion so that the school would let me write an English exam.”
Photo by DINU MAHAPATUNA
“I convinced this girl in my elementary school that I threw her out of a window in daycare, because I thought having a connection to someone would help me make friends at school. I’m pretty sure she still believes it, but if she were to look at pictures from daycare she wouldn’t see me.” “I’m happy. JK. Or am I? Too many lies to keep track of.”
Photo by DINU MAHAPATUNA
18 THE PLANT
University Websites: Just Give Me What I Want JULIE JACQUES Managing Editor
neighboring Cornucopia, don’t even offer many of the same options.
Entering Dawson, many moons ago, it was clear to me that I would be going to university after graduation. What I didn’t know then, was that researching universities now was going to be like hell on earth. My suffering is reduced only in the knowledge that it is universal.
Maybe you’ve done your research and are cautiously interested in a joint honours program. Awesome! English literature is posted underneath the joint honours tag– you click to explore it in more depth. It tells you the requirements, the R score cut-off, different careers it could lead you to, the kind of course work you can expect, as well as possible minors for the program and related majors. These are all useful pieces of information, but you’re interested in a joint honours program. Is there any mention of which program it could be paired with? Nope!
Take... “McGrill” University’s website. At first glance, it seems well organized. Its front page invites you to choose a program, redirecting you to over 300 programs you can research (and that’s just for undergraduate studies)! If that seems intimidating, it’s because it is. You’ve made it to the categories– would you like to study Engineering, or perhaps Humanities and Social Science? By now, you probably have an idea of which field you want to pursue, so this part is easy. Pick your preference and you’re redirected to a long list of related programs. Never fear, two advanced search options should help you narrow things down. First, location! If you didn’t know, McGrill has two campuses. The Uptown campus and the Taco Bell campus are your options. For some, the specification doesn’t change much. For example, out of eighty-three programs in the Humanities and Social Science field, only three are offered on the Taco Bell campus… so either you’ve narrowed your choices down incredibly, or not at all. Moving on, you can now filter by program type! You have the two obvious choices, major and minor, but also less obvious options like joint honours, liberal program, professional program, and specialization. You take a detour to research what all of these mean, although it is very possible you never reach a valid conclusion, seeing as each university offers a different definition. Some, like McGrill’s
After traversing the depths of the internet, jumping from McGrill’s English department, to the meaning of life, stumbling across strange underwater creatures on the way, you find the page about joint honours. Here, you learn that you don’t apply to a joint honours program at the same time as applying to your undergrad. You must first complete at least 9 credits, but no more than 18, in one discipline. Simple, right? Sure, they give some vague guidelines– you can do joint honours with two different programs that fall under the Bachelor of Arts. This is helpful, but you spent 25 minutes searching for this information. Do you even want to do joint honours anymore? Either way, I hope you’re writing all this down, because this sanctified path may never again be found.
Photo BY RESTLESS JOURNEYMAN
There’s also the possibility you will only be allowed to declare a major after your first year. This information, of course, is conveniently placed under a tab titled “you’ve been admitted!” It seems as though only those who have already promised McGrill their youth and firstborn child may have ready access to knowledge. The rest of us are left traversing the Cloud, reduced to beggars. Please sir, I just want to know… It seems the only clear part of any of these websites is the page explaining how much it would cost to attend– go figure, right? They break your spirit before all else. Even pages which have no reason to be unclear– those detailing offered classes, for example, use terminology unknown to those without the newest brand of brain-microchip, or experience in a university setting. They might be useful to students researching graduate programs who’ve been through the ringer once before, but us dispensable CEGEP students have no such frame of reference. My list of complaints goes on for miles, but the word count cuts me short. I’ll leave you with this: at the end of the day, it pays to research. A measly application will put you out of $100, so you better know what you’re getting yourself into. Don’t leave it to the last minute because trust me, the Higher Education Overlords do not make things easy for you. p p
VOICES 19 19
Archaic CYRIELLE OUEDRAOGO Contributor
You know when you open up a dictionary and stumble upon a word that has, tacked onto the end of its phonetic spelling, a small italicized scribble that says “archaic”? Words like “atwarth,” or “cutpurse,” that linger between the pages of Shakespeare plays and haunt the waking hours of college students as they feverishly half-read academic articles. In one way, the word “cutpurse” is a time capsule to Elizabethan England, a time when pockets (i.e. purses) hung from waistbands and were thus easily cut by thieves. It is a factoid that can fade to the back of public consciousness without causing much harm. Of course, no one called for cessation of the usage of the word “cutpurse.” Fashion changed, as fashion does, and we stopped hanging our pockets from our waists. There were no more purses to be cut. The word faded away. But certain words simply won’t fade. The word of interest here, is “nigger,” along with all its possible variations. Your eyes may widen a little at my usage of it, they might even glide to the top of the page and try to assess if my name is “black sounding.” Internally, you have already come to the conclusion that I am so painstakingly working up to: you know who is allowed to use this word. But I digress. In late September of this year at the University of Ottawa a professor uttered the n-word during a lecture. It left students shocked that a white woman could throw around slurs under the guise of academic freedom. The element of this story I am more interested in comes at a later point, after it made headlines and lodged itself in our news cycle. The question that I am trying to answer was brought to my attention by a French professor at 8 o’clock on a Monday morning: “But what about literature?”
Photo BY JOVIKE
It left me stunned. Her question was followed by an explanation, “A lot of old classics employ the n-word. Classics should be taught to children, as should history, and in the scope of teaching we should allow people to utter the word. Do you propose we censor them? Should we alter masterpieces to make them fit for current consumption?” I could think of two answers. As a black child born in North America, I was born divided. Half of me is the daughter of West African immigrants, the offspring of Yennenga, princess of legend that rode across the desert on a horse whose name was gifted to my clan. That part of me is “ethnic.” It bears my broad nose and darkened skin, and a gifted name that sounds unmistakably black. This part of me believes that centering this debate on the issue of censorship is equating the oppression of the censored to the oppression of black peoples across America. In effect, letting white individuals decide that they should have the right to vocalize slurs in academic settings as they please is returning them the whip and chains. Some have come forward, feeling censured by this (might I add ongoing) outcry against the word’s usage. To these individuals I ask why they feel wronged. I have seldom seen people proposing that we alter classical works to reflect current thought processes (except in cases where the
title contained a slur, see here Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers); we simply ask the word not be uttered aloud. It is possible to teach its effects and repercussions on history by calling it “the n-word.” I promise we will know what you mean. The second half of me is a child born and raised in Quebec, a girl that is concerned with freedom of speech and the ways in which we preserve history. This part of me believes we should not remove old-timey racist books from the curriculums of schools across the country. In fact, I think these books are instrumental in showing children and young adults alike a part of what we used to be. The issue comes with that fact that racism is a problem we are still facing, not one we are trying to erase from the past. To me, racism is to the n-word what Elizabethan pockets were to the word cutpurse. Only when the former disappears will we see a cessation of usage of the latter. In the n-word there are millions of black people being shipped across seas and worked to the marrow of their shackled bones. In the n-word there are ancestors, folk songs, popular foods, slang words, and history in proportions too gargantuan to erase. But if I could have one wish, one teeny-tiny thing whispered into the ink-dark night, it would be to one day open a dictionary to see it marked as archaic. p p
20 THE PLANT
Recipe Ramble: Pumpkin Spice DINU MAHAPATUNA Voices Editor
It was all too dark at the edge of the woods, where the creek whistled thinly and stunned crickets into silence. Only the hollow light of the sickle moon broke through the dense shrubbery, speckling the earth like pockmarks on a wicked doctor’s experiment. She ran past the pale glow, pulling in air with whisper-shrieks. When she finally threw herself behind a sinewy trunk, she smelled the proximity of the beast. How? How could it have found her? When she thought she’d finally“Aeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!” The fanatic screams tore through the flesh of the day. “It’s finally here!!!” She clawed at the dirt to no avail. There was no escape. “Please!” She begged as she clambered away from the shrill noise, the stench of Bath and Bodyworks following close behind. “No more!” A green apron and a surprisingly flexible mutant mermaid met her vision. She felt the bile rise in her throat. “Try our new pumpkin spice flavoured-” “Nooooooooooooooooo!!!” And scene. Okay, so maybe my memory of pumpkin spice season is a little more intense than the reality of the flavour blend. The truth is that while the shock value of pumpkin spice has really simmered down in recent years, reduced to a scandalized name and a tacky taste, my own experience with the flavour profile continues to be nothing short of haunting. At night I toss and turn thinking about the holiday cups, the uggs, the sick fetish that was ordering anything pumpkin spice in 2016. I am plagued by the fact that Starbucks sold “fall in a cup” like it was nectar of the gods. I wonder whether the marketing magic
of the infamous “PSL” (or Pumpkin Spice Latte, for the simpletons) is an eternal curse, set to ruin an otherwise harmless spice blend forever. Perhaps true love’s dispelling kiss would in this case be the facts of the matter: Pumpkin spice has no pumpkin in it, and the spice blend itself is possibly the most mundane combination of flavours one can imagine. As I write this article I realize just how much my hatred for pumpkin spice has grown. There was once a time that I could imagine myself with a PSL in hand. Now, I’m physically repulsed by the notion of giving into the fad. Honestly, pumpkin spice tastes fine, though not good. Morally, it’s unpalatable. The name is an actual lie; it implies some sort of autumnal elixir when the reality is a bootleg version of five spice. Don’t even get
A scandalized name and a tacky taste me started on the allspice dilemma (if allspice tastes like a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, why bother adding them as well?). But, in the interest of maintaining the meagre slice of integrity this column may or may not hold, let’s redeem the supposedly irredeemable. Let’s make pumpkin spice great again (too soon?). I’ll push aside politics to pose the question that people ask only on the edge of starvation, “How do you make something boring taste good? How do you make the one-trick pony compete in a triathlon?” Well, I’m glad I asked! The easy answer is you distance your boring ingredient from the very combination that makes it snooze-worthy. In the case of pumpkin spice the problem is two-fold. So don’t even think about pumpkin pies or lattes. Instead, do the one thing that you should always do: take your sweet, sweet pumpkin spice and... dump it into a trash can. Then let rest
until garbage day tumbles into view. In all seriousness, if tossing your precious spices does not appeal to you, I can suggest a more viable alternative. Do the other thing that you should always do: take your sweet, sweet pumpkin spice and... make jerk chicken marinade. Seriously, it works (the spices in pumpkin spice are all used in jerk chicken marinade). The beauty of recipes like jerk chicken, which incorporate flavour unashamedly, is that the balance is not superficial. My issue with traditional uses of pumpkin spices is how horrifically mundane the final product tastes while trying to put up a pretense of gustatory harmony. The truth is that balance does not equal blandness, as pumpkin-spice-flavored items would suggest. Balance is when flavour highlights another flavour in perfect symphony, when notes compliment each other without struggling against each other. The end result of balance shouldn’t be the chalky sweetness of a PSL that suggests one uninteresting flavour rules supreme. Rather, balance is the smoky, sweet heat of jerk chicken with shining hints of lime and ginger. So, if you’re running from pumpkin-spice, screaming as the ventis and grandes of the world try to consume you, maybe all hope isn’t lost. Chicken out from the race and make some marinade instead. Jerk Chicken Recipe (replace allspice with pumpkin-spice powder or blend): https://www.saveur.com/article/ Recipes/jamaican-jerk-chicken/ p p
CREATIVE WRITING 21
Present Passed Future When I came up with this month’s prompt, I expected to hear about at least one spaceship. Sci-Fi may have gone out the window, but talent sure didn’t follow it. Instead of the future, contributors delved into the present (and the past) to paint a close-up portrait of a moment that was, and, through their poetry, still is. Peace and Love Always, MAYAN GODMAIRE Creative Writing Editor
Dear Children MORGANA FOLLMANN Contributor To children we say: Be yourself Be creative Express your thoughts Be one with nature We encourage them to fly Soar high up in the clouds, in the sky Reach the stars and far beyond But don’t forget to come back home To children we give All of our love All of our pretence Telling them stories of lands that never end Sprinkling magic off our fingers into their hair Combing and combing, so no dreams tear Grow, we do, and the singing slowly halts Metamorphosing into orders Rules and rules shoved at you Telling you what you can or cannot do Creeping up to the vault Of our shooting star wishes They gave you a prescription of how to be You took it and turned it into routine They told you what was and wasn’t possible And you believed it, you complied The world showed you a rainbow then made you colour blind Unwillingly, unknowingly, you’ve made yourself small You’ve shut that child down, cut their wings Now it knows only the fall I, for one, was a fool I listened to them all Instead of my own heart of flowers Therefore, I beg you! Give hope to these young hearts of truth But most importantly, learn to love the child in you
22 THE PLANT
Falling Asleep PATRICK POULIN Contributor Where’s up and where is down? As I climb methodically up into the abyss And fall, desperately clutching, into growth and peace What life is linear? I’m so tired of being asleep My life and feelings fragmented by cracks of emptiness and black Falling into a void to avoid the world I’m so afraid of Falling, up and down My tears rising and falling Standing at the precipice of love and war I ask myself, which one will I choose to fall into? As my new life stretches out before me And I clamour, so excited to indulge in it Am I finally ready to free myself ? Am I finally ready to fall in? Am I finally ready to be awake?
Untitled 8 MAYAN GODMAIRE Creative Writing Editor Someone’s come knocking. Is it Bluebeard back to take his wife? From under your sheets? Pull her closer. Eyes close. Eye her. Is she sleeping? Dreaming, away in wild warmth? Hollow-reverb dog sound, Sounds thrice. One, Two, Am I dreaming? (knock) Twoday the priests come from uptown dressed in rags and roses with pins in their hair. (Something knocks hard on the door) Who’s in there? -- Everyone is home On a round fertile earth, So close to the body of a woman, Close to birth, Everyone is home. Hi, mother. Am I? Sensual supple flesh against his flesh says yes. She opens her basking eyes. Does she look at him? Her nipples are hard, goose-bumps on her skin. She’s cold. He holds her & longs to taste partial rebirth. Please.
CREATIVE WRITING 23
The Moth BETH FECTEAU Contributor A flitting, white thing, Brushes its wing-dust across my cheek Only to take flight again Who else could spot the faintest glowing From half a mile away? Could find such beauty in a dusty porch-light? Every time it gets too close Every time it burns itself on all its naïve attractions – It leaves, searches once more For another point of light
A Magpie to a Flame TINA BARBUSCI Contributor The glass rests on the teetering table, the rim smudged by the imprint of your lips. The table sways, the kneeling unbearable, listening to the gulp of yet another sip. My tears refract against your beaming smile. Salt seeps into the cracks, I’m tired I’m tired. You shuck me with greed, completely beguiled. With one final swoop, I dim, husk on a pyre. The angel’s trumpets blare in the distance, isn’t it beautiful? How fond you are of song. Why, your voice is trembling, need assistance? A dirge I am due, hurry now, don’t have long. I smirk as you crash to my feet when I stand, I saunter toward the glass, pitcher in hand.
Illustrations by MAYAN GODMAIRE Creative Writing Editor
24 THE PLANT
How the NBA dealt with COVID-19
Photo VIA JOE MURPHEY, NBC NEWS DONTÉ KYDD-RICHMOND Sports Editor
With the 2019-2020 NBA season complete, we finally have a chance to reflect on the league’s response to the virus that has sent the entire world reeling. After a long hiatus, which left everyone tuned into the basketball world anxiously anticipating word of its status, the NBA came back with a plan; “the bubble”. The NBA bubble was an isolated zone for the players, coaches and personnel to reside in, allowing them to safely participate in a condensed set of games to end the season, followed by a full playoffs. Twenty-two of the thirty total NBA teams were invited and housed in separate Disney World hotels, and the games were held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. Despite difficulties adjusting, the bubble proved to be the perfect solution to the question of how sports could continue with COVID-19. The NBA bubble proved adaptable to the issues that arose. It was leaked and widely reported that the food players received was not of the best quality; the NBA heeded these concerns and brought in ten dedicated chefs, who were said to
have cooked around four-thousand meals a week to ensure the players and staff were properly fed during their stay. Despite incidents such as Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams having to miss games due to spending time outside of the zone, the bubble did what it needed to do; zero positive tests were recorded for the bubble's duration. The implementation of the bubble came amidst a time of turmoil. Coinciding with a surge in protest and unrest following the death of George Floyd, many players objected to the continuation of play, seeing it as a distraction from the larger fight against police brutality and institutional racism. Most notable among these was Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving. While several players did ul-
The bubble proved to be the perfect solution to the question of how sports could continue with COVID-19. timately decide not to attend the remainder of the season (some not for reasons related to the social issues prominent at the time), the NBA was able to both show its support for the
Black Lives Matter movement and encourage people to vote, through various advertising campaigns, multiple options for socially aware messages to be put on the back of players’ jerseys, and having “Black Lives Matter” painted across the court. The NBA bubble, while of course not perfect, was evidently the best possible course of action the NBA could’ve taken; allowing for healthy players and staff, and a relatively smooth resumption of a widely missed form of entertainment. While the necessary adherence to strict regulations made for slightly less riveting playoff basketball, the league did the best it could with the options available. In doing so, the league set an example for other sports associations. With several NCAA football teams going down following their players being affected by COVID-19, the NBA bubble’s success is impressive and laudable. With the start of the 2020-2021 NBA season confirmed to start in late December, it is hoped that the NBA can match the care taken with the 2019-2020 season, to ensure a safe and smooth run of games unaffected by the virus. For basketball fans across the globe, the next few months are sure to be exciting. p p
SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 25
Water on the Moon LAURA GERVAIS Science & Environment Editor
At the end of October, two new studies were published about the presence of water on the moon. It was discovered by NASA’s SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) that there is more water than originally thought — not only is it frozen in permanently shadowed areas, but also within lunar soil in sunny areas. How were scientists able to discover this? How is water even created on the moon? And what does this discovery mean for future space exploration? Thanks to SOFIA, we know there is indeed water on the sunny lunar surface. According to NASA’s article “NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon,” the jetliner used its FORCAST (Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope) and was “able to pick up the specific wavelength unique to water molecules, at 6.1 microns, and discovered a relatively surprising concentration on sunny Clavius Crater”. So, we know with certainty that our good old friend H2O resides on the moon. Beforehand, experts could not be sure if it was actually water being detected or its close cousin, hydroxyl (OH). The interesting question about how water forms on the moon now arises. Dr. Casey Honnibal, the lunar
Photo VIA NASA
scientist who, according to her bio, “originated the project to use SOFIA” to search for water on the moon, remarked: “Something is generating the water, and something must be trapping it there.” There are a couple of interesting theories. One states that when micrometeorites collide with the moon, they release the water that they
Having a significant reserve of drinkable water on the moon increases the likelihood of, in the words of NASA, “establishing a sustainable human presence there by the end of the decade.” contain into the lunar soil. Another more complex cause could be that “the Sun’s solar wind delivers hydrogen to the lunar surface and causes a chemical reaction to create hydroxyl, and radiation from the bombardment of micrometeorites could be transforming that hydroxyl into water.” These are two plausible theories, and who knows how many more could emerge. As for how much water exists on the moon, there is no clear answer. In Sid Perkins’s article “The Moon may hold much more water than we think,” he reports that “each kilogram
of lunar soil [studied by Honnibal and her team] contains between 100 milligrams and 400 milligrams of water”. Why is this significant, you may ask? These quantities of H2O (equivalent to about 7 - 27 sips, FYI) would most likely be “trapped in glassy materials, so it would be relatively easy to melt the glassy materials and, in essence, ‘mine’ the water,” said planetary scientist Paul Hayne. Finally, what does this all mean for the future? There are a multitude of good things to come from the discovery of water on the lunar surface. Firstly, trips to the moon would cost less - the transportation of water is a phenomenal expenditure. Get this: on the International Space Station, a water bottle can cost nearly $10 000 USD. Imagine having to bring water all the way to the moon! Furthermore, more equipment could be hauled to the moon as a result of not having to carry water. Having a significant reserve of drinkable water on the moon increases the likelihood of, in the words of NASA, “establishing a sustainable human presence there by the end of the decade.” With some questions answered, even more surface. Could there be even more water than we think? What does the water cycle look like on the moon? Could there be some form of life within that water? p p
26 THE PLANT
QUIZ: WHICH COMEDY SPECIAL SHOULD YOU WATCH THIS WEEKEND? 1. Who are you watching with? a) Your pet b) Friends on Netflix party c) Alone in your room with ice cream d) The people you’re stuck quaran tining with
4. Choose a TV comedy a) Saturday Night Live b) Family Guy c) The Office d) Brooklyn Nine-Nine
2. Which topic makes you laugh the most? a) Current affairs b) Relationships c) Work / school d) Family gatherings
5. Which of these things makes you laugh the most? a) Awkward situations b) Children swearing c) Fart noises d) Someone falling
3. What type of humour do you have? a) Witty wordplay or observational b) Dark c) Self deprecating d) Physical or slapstick
6. Choose a comedy movie a) The 40 Year Old Virgin b) The Hangover c) 21 Jump Street d) White Chicks
If you got… Mostly As: John Mulaney’s Kid Gorgeous at Radio City Mulaney tackles topics like religion, relationships, and growing up with his signature electric good-humor and charm. This animating comedy special is silly, relatable, and completely original. Mostly Bs: Dave Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones Chappelle is fearless in this comedy special. He provides commentary on today’s social climate and reveals his frustration with cancel culture, all while keeping his famous edgy style. Mostly Cs: Taylor Tomlinson’s Quarter-Life Crisis This comedy special is the perfect watch for a night in. Through cutting comments and personal stories, Tomlinson makes coming-of-age comforting. Entertainment guaranteed. Mostly Ds: Sebastian Maniscalco’s What’s Wrong with People? Maniscalco’s stories are engaging and hilarious. He points out the weirdness of the modern world and people in general. He pokes fun at our world today and compares it to his time growing up.
HOROSCOPES Winter is officially here, and we have three weeks of school left. Doesn’t that sound amazing? This month is all about working hard and keeping warm! I hope you enjoy our November issue with a beverage of your choice - mine is hot chocolate.
CANCER (june 21 - july 22): Do not allow other people's opinion to affect your life. This month, Cancers, take control and define your life. Pleasing others is not the key to happiness.
BIRTHDAY: If you were born November 19th, happy happy happy birthday! Also, if you were born May 21st, happy happy happy half birthday!
LEO (july 23 - aug. 22): Pace yourself this month, Leos. Life is a marathon.While you might experience random bursts of energy, it is important not to overwork yourself.
ARIES (mar. 20 - apr. 18): Aries, allow yourself to embrace mistakes. Dealing with disappointment is hard, but learning to grow from it is the best reward.
VIRGO (aug. 23 - sept. 22): Your “I get shit done” attitude is key this month, Virgos. With that mentality, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.
TAURUS (apr. 19 - may 20): Let the beginning of this new month bring you Tauruses joy and positivity. You might be fed up with your current daily routine, so remember this month not to settle for anything that does not make you happy!
LIBRA (sept.23 - oct. 22): This month, Libras, let go of the past. While it might seem hard at first, accept your life now and have confidence in what is to come.
GEMINI (may 21 - june 20): You cannot help other people if you do not also help yourself. Geminis, this month remember that it is sometimes necessary to put yourself first.
SAGITTARIUS (nov. 22 - dec. 21) : You have survived a lot and you will survive whatever is coming next. Never forget that. CAPRICORN (dec.22 - jan. 19): If you find free time, Capricorns, work on something creative. Inspiration can be found anywhere, remember that this month. AQUARIUS (jan. 20 - feb. 18): Embrace the unexpected. Every person will experience unplanned detours at some point. This does not make you powerless, it only gives you the opportunity to choose where you want to go. PISCES (feb. 19 - mar. 19) : Pisces, things might not always go as planned, which is normal. Remind yourself why you are working so hard and keep going despite the struggles.
SCORPIO (oct. 23 - nov. 21): Disorganization may be holding you back, huh, Scorpios? This month, take time to clean your room, plan your week, and practice self care.
ADELA PIRILLO Curiosities Editor
Daylen Conserve Editor-in-Chief
Tomas Oyarzun Cover Artist
Benjamin Wexler Copy Editor
Alessandro Mortellaro Staff Writer
Julie Jacques Managing Editor
Maija Baroni Staff Writer
Pipa Jones Graphic Designer
Julia Quynh Staff Writer
Arwen Low Mia Kennedy Adolf Rosilla Alexandre Beauchemin Christian Kadnikov Emma Mooney Sophia Dolgin Cyrielle Ouedraogo Tina Barbusci Beth Fecteau Morgana Follmann Patrick Poulin
Jessica Gearey News Editor Beatriz Neves Arts & Culture Editor Frédéric Guillette Visual Arts Editor Laura Gervais Sciences Editor Donté Kydd-Richmond Sports Editor Mayan Godmaire Creative Writing Editor Dinu Mahapatuna Voices Editor Adela Pirillo Curiosities Editor
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The Plant newspaper November issue