STRAND VICTORIA UNIVERSITY’S STUDENT NEWSPAPER VOLUME 60, ISSUE 4 | 17 OCTOBER 2017
our editorial assistants reflect upon the importance of putting yourself first page 5
A round-up of the Nobel Prize Laureates of 2017 SCIENCE | PATRICK FRASER
“Neutrality” is never apolitical, and oppression is not a political opinion OPINIONS | TANUJ ASHWIN KUMAR
In conversation with Toronto’s Feminist Art Conference ARTS AND CULTURE | MAIA KACHAN
EDITOR | AINSLEY DOELL NEWS@THESTRAND.CA
Study concludes Charles Street becoming two-way is feasible ainsley doell news editor
A study conducted by the city of Toronto earlier this year has determined that it would be feasible to convert Charles Street West to two-way traffic flow between Queen’s Park Crescent and Yonge Street. The Victoria College community reports concerns with how this change could affect student safety and pedestrian traffic within the college. The Acting Director of Transportation Services, Toronto and East York District, recommends that the report be moved forward for consideration by the Toronto and East York Community Council, and that they “authorize all-way compulsory stop control at the intersection of Balmuto Street and Charles Street West.” The report further states that there would be no financial impact as a result. Potential concerns outlined in the City of Toronto Report include the “loss of onstreet parking, increased traffic volumes, introduc[tion] of new potential traffic conflicts” as well as necessary modifications to the roadway. However, the conclusion of the report states that the adjustment “will enhance the connectivity of the area road network and will promote slower operating speeds.” This issue has been purportedly discussed by many of the Victoria College’s Board of Regents’ committees. Alexa Breininger, student representative on the Board of Regents, explains that all that has happened up to now is that the study has concluded that the change in traffic flow would be feasible, and that “President Robbins, Ray DeSouza (the bursar) and others from the board are meeting with our city councillor to communicate how this would affect the safety of students.” This meeting took place on October 12th. Kristyn Wong-Tam is the councillor for Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale. WongTam has a record of pushing strongly for road safety initiatives. Wong-Tam put forward a motion earlier this month to accelerate the city’s “Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.” According to the motion, this is essential “in light of the recent and tragic pedestrian causalities in Scarborough and across the City.” The initiative was originally scheduled to unfold over the course of five years. A similar study was conducted in 2011, determining the feasibility of adjusting the traffic flow on Charles Street West to allow condo residents an additional access point to their driveways. It requested that the one-way westbound regulation be lifted between Bay Street and the driveway access to Premises No. 1, St. Thomas Street, and some success from that was seen. The part of the street near the university, west of Bay, as of now, remains one way. The consideration of the issue of Charles Street transitioning to two-way traffic flow has been deferred by the Toronto and East York Community Council until their meeting on November 14th. photo
| hana nikcevic
Victoria College introduces app The Office of the Dean of Students seeks to better serve students ainsley doell news editor
This semester, Victoria College has launched a “Vic” app, with the goal of enhancing the connectivity that students experience with the resources and information around the Victoria College community. The app looks to build upon the current clubs information through crowd-sourcing. Any student can submit an event affiliated with Victoria College and open to all Vic students to the page through the website: vic.utoronto. ca/students/campuslife/Add_Events_to_the_Victoria_College_App.htm Scott Johnston, Assistant Dean of Student Life, says the app’s “underlying goal is to better serve students.” The Office of the Dean of Students, in conjunction with VUSAC, ran a series of focus groups in January and February of 2017. They reached out via e-mail to over 1,500 students, expressing a desire to “[hear] about your student experience with the hopes of improving the services and resources we offer.” These focus groups led to the inception of the app. Johnston says, “at these focus groups, it was mentioned that students wanted to connect to resources through their phones and thus were interested in some form of event system that was better able to serve this.” Over the summer, the Dean’s office began looking into developers that have worked on similar projects.
“We worked with the Victoria IT department to vet these companies to ensure feasibility,” says Johnston. VUSAC was consulted during the process to ensure that the app is something that students would want to use, upon completion. The Orientation Executive also expressed interest in the project. Ali Kehl, member of the Orientation Exec, says that they “hoped it would help with the transition into university by being an easy resource for first years to use in order to stay in touch with the Vic community.” Kehl says that the introduction of the app during frosh week “provide[d] a service that [made] staying involved after orientation week as manageable as possible.” Victoria College is also continuing to improve their sustainable practices. As Johnston points out, “The creation of an app allowed the Dean’s Office to reduce our carbon footprint and better access students.” At the VUSAC Fall Elections Town Hall on September 28th, an issue that many candidates brought up was the excessive amount of postering that happens around campus leading up to events. They seemed optimistic that the app could be used to increase community engagement. The “Vic” app can be downloaded from the Apple and Android app stores, and any suggestions or corrections can be submitted through vic.utoronto.ca/students/ campuslife/Victoria_College_App_Feedback.htm
| molly kay
@STRANDPAPER THE STRAND | 17 OCTOBER 2017
Introduction of Gender Neutral washroom signage at Goldring Student Centre maia kachan associate arts and culture editor
This past week, new signs were put up in the Goldring Student Centre marking washrooms as gender neutral. This came after a push from the University to make campus a more accessible space for queer, trans* and gender nonconforming students. Equity focused advocacy organizations at the University of Toronto work hard to create resources and opportunities for marginalized students. The VUSAC Equity Commission, under leadership of elected VUSAC Equity commissioner, Shailee Koranne and appointed Equity co-chair, Apefa Adjivon, is one of the many student groups focused on this. At the first Equity Commission meeting, Koranne described getting gender neutral washroom signage at Goldring Student Centre as the first major project for the commission. The structure of events will come from commission members, which represent a broad cross section of Victoria College’s population. The agency given to commission members means that, throughout the year, we will see events developed and put into practice by multiple parties. In terms of already planned events, the commission has been running bi-weekly Doc N’ Talk’ sessions. This programming includes a documentary film showing in the Cat’s Eye, and a facilitated discussion about the content at its conclusion. One aim of the Equity Commission is to partner with other organizations on campus to create a network of communication between equity minded students. The
first Doc & Talk event was focused on human trafficking in the Middle East, and was jointly run with the Muslim Students Association at the University of Toronto. On October 4th, the Equity Commission also organized a Moon Festival celebration with tea, mooncakes, and resources for education on the festival. Moving into October, the commission will be facilitating events throughout the month as part of an Anti-Cultural Appropriation Campaign. This includes staggered screenings of Netflix’s Dear White People, which focuses on a group of students of colour in a predominately white University. The aim of this campaign, as stated by Koranne, is to “create dialogue about why cultural appropriation is harmful and violent.” Another focus for the upcoming year is providing equity training for student leaders at Victoria College. In the upcoming months, an external equity educator will be conducting multiple sessions for members of VUSAC, and executive members of Victoria College clubs and levies. The aim of this programming is to foster critical thinking on the way that Vic, as a whole, can create a more welcoming environment for marginalized students. More information on the Equity Commission can be found at the VUSAC Equity Commission Facebook page. In addition to the ones located in Goldring Student Centre, a map of gender neutral washrooms on campus can be found on the Centre for Women and Trans People on the University of Toronto website.
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What’s happening around Vic this month? Out-of-Office Office Hours: Meet your VPs! October 17, 10AM-2PM Wendy Cecil Atrium VUSAC is hosting a meet and greet with their VP team, recently completed in the fall election period. The Vice President External, Vice President Internal, and Vice President of Student Organizations will be available to talk about campus life and the student government. Snacks and coffee will be provided. Adventure to World Press Photo Exhibit & Social October 17, 5-7:30 PM Cumberland House The Center for International Experience is hosting an “evening of exploration and conversation” at the World Press Photo Exhibit. Participants will meet at 5PM at 33 St. George St. (Cumberland House), and depart together for the Allen Lambert Galleria via TTC. The tour will be followed by a social in which participants are encouraged to discuss their reactions to the exhibit. The event is free, aside from the cost of TTC fare. Space is limited, but the sign up can be found at goo.gl/qkPt5D. Q21: A Conversation Café-–Queer Representation in Media October 19, 3-4:30 PM Sussex Lounge, Room 421 The Sexual and Gender Diversity Office hosts “Q21” every Thursday, featuring a new theme and guest facilitator every week. On October 19th, come to the Sussex Lounge to connect with students and facilitators in a discussion of queer representation in media. Evergreen Brickworks Photowalk October 20, 1-6 PM VicXposure and the commuter dons are hosting a photowalk to capture the fall colours of Evergreen Brickworks. Participants will be departing from the Wendy Cecil Atrium, and will TTC over together. A form to have your one-way fare covered (as long as you are a Vic student) can be found on the event’s Facebook page—coverage is on a first come, first serve basis. Equipment is available for loan through VicXposure. 2017 Indigenous Education Week October 30 to November 3 The First Nations House has been at UofT as an indigenous presence on campus for 25 years, and they are hosting a series of events to celebrate. The events include readings, talks, and teaching—a full list for which can be found on the Facebook event page: “2017 Indigenous Education Week.” For these initiatives, The First Nations House has partnered with Elders’ Circle, the Multi-Faith Centre, Hart House, the Indigenous Education Network, Ciimaan/Kahuwe’yá/Qajaq, and S.A.G.E. All of the events are free and open to everyone.
M AGA Z I N E
SUBMIT YOUR: ARTICLES AND PERSONAL ESSAYS (500-2500 WORDS) PHOTO ESSAYS ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY POETRY AND PROSE
Dominion of the North: Literary & Print Culture in Canada On now until December 12 E.J. Pratt Library To celebrate Canada 150, E.J. Pratt Library has launched an online and physical exhibition about Canadian Literature. The exhibition features eight collections comprised of 100 monographs, celebrating prominent poets, authors, and historians. The collection is arranged in the front foyer and reading room of E.J. Pratt Library, and can be found online at omeka.vicu.utoronto.ca/ dominion.
EDITOR | AINSLEY DOELL NEWS@THESTRAND.CA
Following nine-month suspension, St. Mike’s Student Union holds elections Re-imagining faith in SMCSU julia balm contributor
Over the past few years, considerable political turmoil has plagued students at St. Michael’s College; hopes for resolving this disorder lie in the election of a revised student union. The re-creation of St. Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU) is underway with the conclusion of their elections—the voting period took place from Wednesday, October 11th to Sunday, October 15th. Following a nine-month suspension of the student union, the St. Michael’s College administration is planning to internally reconstruct the union with a focus on reduced independence and alterations to the structure of union funds. The controversy of the previous SMCSU involved a 2016 incident of Islamophobic content in a Snapchat video. This controversy incited the resignations of SMCSU Vice President Kevin Vando and President Zachary Nixon, despite the latter not appearing in the video. In addition to this controversial video, financial corruption surfaced after an audit in July 2016 exposed forged invoices, bribes, and extraneous expenses. These events provoked the administration to initiate restructuring and to eradicate misconduct in the union. To resolve apparent corruption in SMCSU, a “reimagining committee” was appointed by the administration. This committee, comprised of six students, contributed suggestions and drafted a new Student Society Leadership Policy demanding that leaders “accept their ethical obligation to act in accordance to USMC’s mission as a Catholic university.” SMC President David Mulroney’s attempts at reform include a reestablishment of Catholic identity and a careful dissection of student finances. Mulroney announced plans to retire in June 2018, one year earlier than scheduled. Before ending his term, he hopes to conclude his work with the reimagining committee and
to see through the student union elections. Because of the rapid dissolution of SMCSU, the process of remodeling the union has been predominantly operated by the St. Michael’s College administration. Efforts to include student representatives, such as the re-imagining committee, have faced retaliation from students who feel that their attendance matters more to the administration than their voices. Some have raised concerns about administrative infringement on the student union’s independence. Damian Dibiase, former UTSU Representative to SMCSU, expressed advice for the future of the student union: “A healthy relationship between the union and administration will only result in strengthening the union’s ability to achieve its purpose—to serve the SMC student population.” Structural changes to the student union were outlined by the re-imagining committee in April. Past SMCSU voting members consisted of a President, Vice President, and eight commissions led by Commissioners. These eight commissions were: Double Blue Commission (event management), Athletics Commission, Communications Commission, Education & Government Commission, Community Life Commission, Arts Commission, and Finance Commission. In the outline for the new SMCSU, nine voting members will structure the union; this includes the President, Vice President, VP Academic Affairs, VP Arts, VP Athletics, VP Communications, VP Community Life, VP Finance, and VP Religious and Community Affairs. Former President of the St. Mike’s Residence Council, Erin McTague, will take on the task of structuring the union as Chief Returning Officer. This structure of the new union also invites the University of St. Michael’s College Administrative Advisor to sit in on scheduled meetings without voting rights. The results of this election and the future of SMCSU will impact the 5,000 students that it represents.
Dibiase stresses that “given the past events concerning SMCSU, I would wish for the future to not be a replication of the past. I hope that the new student union reflects on the mistakes made by past unions, learns from them, and takes the proper steps to ensure no duplicate offences.” Election results will be posted on October 17th.
| hana nikcevic
#InternetForAll: why wifi is a necessity, not a luxury uma kalkar associate news editor
The internet is integral to society—in 2016, the United Nations classified access to the internet as a human right, and cutting or censoring the internet by states is illegal. Yet, according to the World Economic Forum, 3.9 billion people (52 percent of the world’s population) are denied access to it. #InternetForAll is a movement to provide everyone with home internet. This is not only a phenomenon that occurs in developing countries; Statistics Canada shows that 42 percent of families in the lowest Canadian income quartile do
| hana nikcevic
not have internet at home. In fact, Canada is the only G7 nation without a national broadband plan, making it harder for lower-income Canadians to utilize the full resources of our 21st century society. Headed by ACORN Canada (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), #InternetForAll rallies the support of everyday Canadians to fight for affordable internet access through member demonstration and a campaign pressuring major telecommunication companies and the CRTC to provide affordable internet. Telecommunications companies in Canada such as Bell, Rogers, and Telus hold a monopoly on internet and cellphone plans. In July 2015, the CRTC told Bell they could not monopolize fibre-optic infrastructure and would have to sell access to other providers. Bell lobbied federal and local governments to overturn the CRTC, but the Liberal government rejected its appeal. This was a first step to control the current privately controlled oligarchy that dominates Canadian telecommunications. Large companies have the ability to raise prices and prevent smaller internet carrier companies from entering the market. This makes it difficult for lower-income families to afford internet access, thus barring them from doing schoolwork, applying to jobs, and furthering the “digital divide” between the poorest in our community. As access and usage of the internet is so ingrained in our lives, ACORN Canada has garnered a lot of attention and support, with over 70,000 members across Canada. Currently, they are circulating a petition demanding $10 per month high speed internet and subsidized computers for families that fall under the Low Income Measure by 2020. In this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to exist without a virtual device. The ability to get news alerts, ask Google a question about schoolwork, or search online for job applications is quintessential to daily life. To sign the petition and provide all Canadians with accessible and affordable internet, sign here: http://www.internetforall.ca/petition.
EDITORS-IN-CHIEF | MOLLY KAY AND ELENA SENECHAL-BECKER EDITOR@THESTRAND.CA
How do you take care of yourself?
The Strand’s EAs talk creativity, self-reflection, and recognizing when it’s time to take a break into rants or meaningless ruminations. Writing is my version of meditation; but whatever works for you, embrace it—and be a little selfish every once in a while. — Anna Stabb, “Indulging in creative self-care”
various editorial assistants
| yilin zhu
Amidst the stress of essay deadlines, eating properly, and wondering why that guy hasn’t texted back, it is difficult to find time for self-care. Although I try to stay organized, I continuously leave assignments until the last minute and prioritize caffeine over a good meal. Clearly, it will be a while before I can comfortably call myself an adult. While many people emphasize meditation and healthy eating as the most effective forms of self-care, I don’t find that listening to whale noises or munching on salads works for me. Instead, the moments I feel like I am taking care of myself are when I am writing at my desk. This may be the same place that I experience the most stress, but in spending time writing creatively here, it feels like I am taking the space back. Whether it’s a journal entry, poem, or terrible dad joke, by indulging in my desire to write creatively, I am doing something solely for myself. I look at creative writing as my chance to step outside of my social obligations and focus on how I am feeling, rather than on other people. This may sound harsh, but I find that self-care means being a little selfish sometimes. I often have to remind myself that it’s alright to stay home and write instead of going out, even if my thoughts turn
Until recently, I had relatively poor self-care habits for several years. I cannot sit down and meditate because of the anxiety that likes to flit across my mind; I cannot breathe incense and feel tranquil because the aroma is too strong. The biggest self-care achievement I could boast about was no longer biting my nails, but I often forget that practice the closer exams approach. I have never been able to buy into “mindfulness” because oftentimes I can only be mindful of my worries. For me, self-care is understanding that it cannot always be accomplished and growing from those attempts. Some days, self-care is eating two meals and catching up on readings from the week before. Other days, it is buying bubble tea with a friend and discussing poetry. Most days, self-care is reminding myself that a support system exists at university and beyond for academic or personal stressors. I enjoy using daily schedules and to-do lists to plan my day, and although I usually don’t complete everything, I can reflect on what’s left and how to proceed. A self-care act I’ve found to be successful is exploring the UofT campus, as the search for libraries and shortcuts through the masses of buildings is a strangely relaxing activity. In addition, self-care is ensuring I have surrounded myself with kind, caring people who encourage me to pursue my passions, and knowing that I will undoubtedly do the same for them. It is to be flexible—mapping out lofty, grandiose dreams one day, and finishing hour-by-hour chores the next. Healthy self-care is recognizing that some days, the most you can do is to take deep breaths, and remember that the joys of your life will counteract the pains. — Georgia Lin, “No mind for mindfulness” Self-care is impossible to define simply; everyone can find a different meaning for it and a different method for enacting it. For me, self-care is about focusing on what is truly important to me. Of course, school work and jobs are most important, but they can be taxing on your body and mind. When I think of self-care, I think about sitting with my family, talking about our days, sharing stories, and laughing together. I think about sleeping in, forgetting about make-up and catching the latest train possible to get to school. I think about making sure, if I’m in pain, to address it and not ignore it. To spend as much time as possible with my girlfriend, and to make sure she knows that she is loved. Self-care isn’t always about what you can do for yourself, but
spending time with the people you care about. My family is massive, loud, complicated, and ridiculous at times. But there has never been a time in my life that I couldn’t go to my brother or sisters with a problem that they couldn’t help me solve. I understand that I have been absolutely blessed with a family that cares so much for me as I do them, and that not everyone has these people to rely on. Another way I find helps me, since I have chronic pain, is taking the time to meditate. In a library, in my room, outside on a bench somewhere—to just close your eyes and focus on absolutely nothing. It does take practice, but I find tutorials and reading articles on the subject help. Self-care is recognizing that you’re only human, and doing whatever you can to help yourself as well as those you care for. — Renna Keriazes, “You’re only human: self-care isn’t just about treating yourself ”
v o l u m e
molly kay elena senechal-becker
tanuj ashwin kumar nadine ramadan
arts and culture
email@example.com copy editing
When I think about self-care, I don’t think about the easy moments. If it were, every bubble bath, “turn the volume all the way up” session, or nap wouldn’t be an act that needs prioritizing, but rather simply an act we would do. It seems self-care is a topic constantly on our minds, but often one that is rarely practiced—especially when essays, midterms, and readings march to the forefront. However, what I’ve found helpful as I’ve grown is remembering how neglecting taking care of myself makes me feel, because in my experience, almost failing one school related task has barely felt a sliver as bad as emotionally overeating or refusing sleep. So, in a broad sense, taking care of me is quite forcefully fueled by remembering all those times I forgot to. Taking care of me is blasting an album I haven’t listened to in a while and letting the words take me to another world. It’s writing about my day and letting any pent-up emotion flow from my pen to create that poem. It’s running until my lungs seem to have left my chest and sweat rains down the sides of my face. And while the stress of university and maintaining a social life almost always turns plans on their head and makes it seem impossible to balance everything at once, the key to self-care seems to be making time. Whether it’s a night, an hour, or one minute, taking care of yourself will only be a reality if a conscious effort is made to do so. At least, that’s what I like to remind myself for motivation. So eat that cookie or take that walk underneath trees, because at the end of the day, self-care isn’t just about you, it’s about not losing yourself or forgetting who you are. — Maddie Corradi, “What I’m choosing to prioritize in the midst of midterms”
tyler biswurm amr sharaf
annika hocieniec sonya roma
carol eugene park
firstname.lastname@example.org editorial assistants
maddie corradi renna keriazes georgia lin anna stabb contributors
julia balm, william dao, julia dasilva, patrick fraser,
ted fraser, nicholas freer, maia kachan, uma
kalkar, leo morgenstern, leora nash, jasmine ng,
max nisbeth, naomi stuleanu, guhar ullah, harrison wade, meg zhang copy editors alyssa dibattista, lauren lacey, mariah ricciuto, julia wyganowski design team amy jiao, molly kay, jill lee illustrations mia carnevale, emily fu, patricia huang, nobelprize.
org, yilin zhu photos
sydney bradshaw (courtesy of tcds), michael cooper
of canadian opera company), ifc films,
molly kay, hana nikcevic, toronto international film festival (tiff) cover photo hana nikcevic
The Strand has been the newspaper of record for Victoria University since 1953. It is published 12 times a year with a circulation of 1200 and is distributed in Victoria University buildings and across the University of Toronto’s St. George campus. The Strand flagrantly enjoys its editorial autonomy and is committed to acting as an agent of constructive social change. As such, we will not publish material deemed to exhibit racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, or other oppressive language. The Strand is a proud member of the Canadian University Press (CUP). Our offices are located at 150 Charles St. W., Toronto, ON, M5S 1K9. Please direct enquiries by email to email@example.com. Submissions are welcome and may be edited for taste, brevity, and legality.
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EDITOR | KATHLEEN CHEN OPINIONS@THESTRAND.CA
My time in the South: beyond bubbles and stereotypes How do we connect with people who do not share our political beliefs?
| mia carnevale
meg zhang contributor
I had never really thought about my own perception of “outsiders” until I visited Atlanta, Georgia. It was my first time in the Southern United States. My knowledge of the South had mainly consisted of the scraps of colloquialisms I picked up from books (namely, Huck Finn). It was only upon travelling to Atlanta that two revelations dawned on me. First, that I knew next to nothing about the history and culture of the modern-day South and second, that I could identify as an educated and progressive person and still hold very damaging opinions about other people. It is so easy for city-dwelling Canadians to cultivate a one-dimensional and scrutinizing opinion of Southerners. An unwillingness to budge from this type of mentality can be dangerous, especially within the parameters of our highly politicized world. There’s certainly no dispute over the importance of voicing our political concerns, but it’s when we build walls around those with different beliefs that issues of polarization emerge. In Atlanta I became friends with a woman named Susanne. She is 20 years old and comes from a town just outside of Dallas. She serves in the army. She is a fervent nondenominational Christian with a tattooed cross on her left wrist. She is married. She is a registered Republican, but a proud Libertarian. She is unwaveringly pro-life. She dismisses ethical and environmental reasons behind vegetarianism and veganism. She’s a firm believer in gender-based chivalry. In her Facebook profile picture, she stares defiantly ahead with a gun in her hand, wearing a T-shirt that reads, “I don’t trust the government.” In fact, she owns several handguns. Susanne is a major proponent of the Second Amendment. She told me a lot of gun-related stories. For example, one time, she and her friends played a game called “Firework or Gunshot?” on the Fourth of July. Another time, after a firecracker prank gone wrong, she pulled a gun on her next-door neighbour and his two-year-old infant. Her neighbour drew his own gun in response. When they realized what had happened, they had a good laugh about it.
Many of you may find this information incredibly distasteful. I know I was initially caught off guard and turned off by what she told me. I could not fathom why her values were so radically different from my own. I caught myself thinking: She must be one of those redneck millennials who voted for Trump. I bet she’s a racist and a homophobe. Guess it’s true what they say after all. And I almost left it at that. Most of me wanted to shake my head and call her a dumb Southerner, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I wanted to get to know her better. I wish I could tell you that Susanne had some unusual upbringing or that she had experienced a traumatic event that forever changed her outlook in life (she hadn’t). I wish I could say that after I explained why I disagreed with her opinions that she had some major realization and sought to correct all of her ways (she didn’t). The only interesting point I can offer is that she’s never left the United States. In fact, rarely has she left the South. Susanne had a sheltered upbringing. She grew up surrounded by people who looked the same, dressed the same, and perpetuated the same ideas. I knew firsthand what that was like. I grew up in communities where the majority of people were socially conservative Chinese immigrants. My family was pretty close-minded and condescending when it came to matters of race, sex, and religion. I can count the number of Black kids who went to my elementary school on one hand. I didn’t meet a Jewish person until I was in high school. It was only after I began to travel that my mindset changed course. While I don’t consider myself to be as politically active as I should be, I would place myself somewhere on the left side of the political spectrum. It is disgusting how prejudiced I was at first, even if I did not express it out loud. I allowed myself to be blinded by pretentious and ignorant presumptions. I let myself give up on a human being from the get go. Truth be told, I don’t think I’m the only “educated” and “progressive” liberal who has almost given up on someone with different views. In “Song of Myself ”, Walt Whitman expresses the challenges of conveying what it means to be American in one poem. I finally understand what he means. It is impossible for me to depict a complete representation of my friend in
this piece of writing. Whitman’s famous line, “I contain multitudes”, rings true. It was only when I really listened to Susanne that I realized she was more than a stereotype. During the worst moments of Hurricane Harvey, my friend volunteered day and night to transport people to areas of refuge and to distribute food and water. She was a paralegal specialist with the U.S. Army JAG Corps. She is proudly married to a Mexican man. She enthusiastically endorses the “Taking a Knee” movement in the NFL. Her favourite characters on Modern Family are Cam and Mitchell. She advocates for sex education and contraception. She is eloquent and confident. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. Her sense of humour is impeccable. She is a complex and beautiful person. After the massacre in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of over 50 people and wounded nearly 500 others, Susanne still sees the right to bear arms as a crucial American right to uphold. She maintains the opinion that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I vehemently disagree. I stand firmly behind the argument that there is a direct relationship between how easy it is to acquire guns and the prevalence of gun-related casualties in the United States. Do I think her unrelenting advocacy in favour of firearms only worsens the situation in the States? I absolutely do. Are there still other things about her that I admire tremendously? There remain plenty. For better or worse, we live in a society where every facet of our lives is politicized. It is too easy to strip people of their humanity and reduce them to artificial labels and binary oppositions. It is too tempting to turn up our collars and stick out our tongues at those who argue ideas with which we disagree. If we want those who are politically opposed to us to change their ways, the worst thing we can do is to vilify them. We must remember that anyone can be prejudiced regardless of where they lie on the political spectrum. I urge you to think twice before shutting out those who are different. We forget that living in a democracy means living with a multitude of perspectives. Sometimes, those perspectives contradict our own. The best thing we can do is to tell our stories and listen to the stories of others with open minds and open hearts. More often than not, we will learn that there is so much more to people than their political views.
@STRANDPAPER THE STRAND | 17 OCTOBER 2017
Truth and impartiality in the news: ideology, centrism, and “leftist ideas” “Neutrality” is never apolitical, and oppression is not a political opinion tanuj ashwin kumar science editor
For newspapers, truth and impartiality are noble goals. The soul of (meaningful) journalism has always rested on the idea that readers should receive nothing but the truth when it comes to reporting. Naturally, in a society where ideas are classified on a spectrum relative to what is considered socially and politically acceptable, the “truth” becomes synonymous with being “impartial.” This is a fair goal to achieve when the priority of a news piece rests in accuracy, and impartiality includes things like neutral language and tone. However, ideas and ideology do not exist in a vacuum. As a result, particular ideas themselves are classified as “left” or “right” based on where they stand within the realm of “social consensus”—and even then, consensus among one circle of individuals may differ vastly from the consensus of a neighbourhood a few blocks away, or of a farming town farther north, or what the dominant ruling class of the state considers to be socially acceptable. This begins to bleed into aspects of identity and societal oppression. Criticisms of capitalism have been labeled “left” since the advent of this social consensus model, because these ideas challenge our current dominant capitalist mode of production. The very notion that systemic oppression exists and has an effect on everyday interactions and structural long-term changes in society is considered an inherently “left” idea. The police brutality of racialized people and indigenous genocide are an extension of this, but are equally labeled “left”. The existence of trans and nonbinary people, let alone the considerations of gender being both socially constructed and incredibly diverse, is soundly labelled “left”. Even the existence of climate change and the sustainability of the environment is considered a “left” idea. But all of these are valid and true, and can be corroborated through the decades of work done by physical and natural scientists, sociologists, activists, and the everyday people who face the burden of these specific oppressions. So why are they still in dispute, and why do they continue to be the focus of a struggle that has put many lives on the line? A peculiar notion of elitism has developed in our increasingly politically polarized climate, which manifests itself as a focus on “impartiality” in news. It is the “centrist” path, where impartiality and truth waltz hand in hand through a constant dialectic between the “left” and the “right.” This type of reporting masquerades itself as being intelligent and wise, but is in fact the opinion of the never-ending mediator, which solely places itself within the cradle of the social consensus, believing that all opinions are equally valid. In doing so, it flies above the riff-raff to deliver a “careful truth” about the nature of society. This perspective has been seen everywhere from discussions of Charlottesville to Jordan Peterson to a slew of recent editor-penned articles in The Varsity which held the idea of “impartiality” above all. When this perspective is touted as a truth in itself, it is ultimately misleading and obscures that a social consensus is far from objective when it is embedded in societal context and all the oppressive forces included. To understand this, we need to first break the myth that the centrist path is the objective path. When we define centrism and impartiality as we do above, we see that it best attempts to model a “balance” by deferring to a social consensus and a status quo. But the fundamental problem with this is that it believes all ideas to be mere ideology, holding no connected context to the greater structure of society. What is Canadian society embedded in? It is a capitalist settler-colonial state that holds white supremacy in its core and gleefully engages in imperialist destabilization worldwide before turning the other cheek and having public debates about the acceptance of the people it displaces. These systems are perpetuated deliberately, because they allow those who possess power in society to maintain it—even at the expense of marginalized people—and through this power, dictate acceptable societal ideology. The window of the “social consensus” does not
move freely through the verbal exchange of the people. If it did, why then, in the United States and Canada alike, is politics considered so poorly representative of its people—and especially its marginalized people—to the point that voting becomes less about representation, and more about a short-term strategy to prevent the worse fellow from winning? Social consensus is embedded in the nature of the ideology of the state. Newspapers are no different, as unbiased as they attempt to be, because ideology is reinforced through funding and through people who occupy different and complex social positions. A purely unbiased newspaper is myth, even in a section like science, as nothing embedded in society can be fully disentangled from the tendrils of its ideological base. When impartiality defers to this, it throws out the possibility of “truth” and has the potential to present a reality of oppression as the objective and truthful reality. When an article asks to constantly present “both sides” of an argument for the “full context of the information”, rarely have I seen the presentation of the larger societal context of oppression it is embedded in, something that is both “left” and “true”. This gets particularly bad when opinions are framed as equal despite the opinion of “one side” possessing no solid basis.
THE VERY NOTION THAT SYSTEMIC OPPRESSION EXISTS AND HAS AN EFFECT ON EVERYDAY INTERACTIONS AND STRUCTURAL LONG-TERM CHANGES IN SOCIETY IS CONSIDERED AN INHERENTLY “LEFT” IDEA. For instance, never mind the fact that fluidity and flexibility of gender is scientifically accepted, that trans and nonbinary people are real and can discuss their experiences in person, that they face an extremely disproportionate amount of violence and discrimination based on lack of social acceptance—or that the only thing that is harmed by this truth of gender is the structural role of the gender binary under capitalism, used to maintain an exploitation of specific types of enforced labour. What becomes more important than discussing the deep social context is the “counter-view” of transphobia, presented without commentary in an attempt to stay “impartial”—even when this view has no basis besides mere bigotry. This is not a presentation of the ideal of truth that journalism wishes to achieve. This is a reproduction of the oppressive systems embedded within society, nefariously passed off as being morally good. Meaningful journalism—journalism that can fully report the truth—implies a deep and effective investigation into the nature of the truth. Journalism that forsakes the truth for the impartiality of a centrist social consensus, at a time when marginalized people are constantly under threat of harm, is lazy journalism. If impartiality and truth should be tied together, then impartiality should not limit itself to the views of society’s embedded ideology. If this turns a newspaper into a “leftist rag,” so be it. This article is part of an ongoing series in which The Strand tackles issues relating to systemic oppression, privilege, and identity. All are welcome to contribute to the discussion. Pitches should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeking a sense of community outside of cultural clubs georgia lin editorial assistant
The pressure to immediately immerse yourself into university as a first-year student is overwhelming. Combined with the recent rise in discussions around finding and creating identity, the compulsion to conform is enormous. I care deeply about my heritage as a Taiwanese immigrant, but I’ve yet to discover a comfortable community based around my ethnicity. As a Taiwanese immigrant to North America—first to the United States, then to Canada— I’ve always had a strange relationship with Chinese culture. Immigrating from New York City to Toronto melded borders and cultures together until I shaped myself to become a blend of American and Canadian. I didn’t actively start identifying as “Taiwanese” until recently, when academic curriculums required me to reflect on what I considered to be my “identity.” Culture and ethnicity as a Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese immigrant then became an essential aspect of myself. During Frosh week, as I waded my way through the mass of people at the UTSU Clubs Carnival, I passed a sign indicating a lane of booths as “Cultural & Religious.” I had never been involved in a cultural-focused club before, mainly due to pressing fears about my language abilities. My Mandarin skills no longer match that of a native speaker, and I have always been afraid of having my foreign accent pointed out when I speak in my mother tongue. I felt that if I joined an organization based solely around ethnicity, I would be judged for being too inarticulate in Mandarin. I wondered aloud to my Korean friend, who was eagerly searching to chat with the Korean Students’ Association, whether or not it would be worth it to suppress my doubts and participate in a cultural association, given my outspoken identity as a Taiwanese woman.
I often think of myself as a kind of “other” amongst my Chinese peers—I didn’t move as an infant. I immigrated after I had gone through several years of schooling in East Asia and my mannerisms were inherently Taiwanese. Yet, I did not feel as though I had gained a full understanding of Taiwanese culture due to my North American upbringing, and thereby did not feel fully Taiwanese until recently. Though I have lost elements of Mandarin, I do not believe I have lost key elements of Taiwanese culture. I have always found bonds and been able to create a mutual understanding with other women who speak conversational Mandarin. Entering UofT, I had been hoping to better engage with others of my background and find commonalities. Walking through the Clubs Carnival and passing groups of students speaking whirls of Mandarin and Cantonese with Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and Beijing accents was terrifying. Interacting in conversation with club leaders in Mandarin, who were surprised I spoke the language, was terrifying. Declining to pay a $10 membership fee and join their organizations was terrifying. I decided not to sign up for any of UofT’s Chinese cultural organizations, not out of shame that I could not thoroughly read through informational pamphlets, but because culture can be accessed anywhere. Joining and bonding with a group who share the same geographical, ethnic, or cultural background as myself is not the only way to interact with and engage in cultural activities on campus or in Toronto. Culture is pervasive and is embedded within oneself, and it doesn’t take flipping through a Chinese cultural magazine handed to me by recruiters to recognize that. Disseminate and dissect culture how you will, but I did not feel the need to redeem my Taiwanese self with my North American immigrant self by joining a cultural association to further my identity. Discovering your community in university does not have to come from wandering through a clubs festival. Community and home can be found anywhere.
EDITOR | ERIN CALHOUN FEATURES@THESTRAND.CA
what do you Measuring and evaluating school spirit ted fraser associate features editor
It was a cold, wet day in late September. A group of us were sitting around one of the big, long tables at Burwash, begrudgingly downing the cardboard-tasting coffee with a rapidly shifting sense of nausea and vitality. Amid the conversation, a sheepish voice, fluttering through the air like some flightless bird, asked: “Hey, wasn’t there, like, a football game yesterday?” Homecoming, otherwise known as Yesterday’s Football Game, is a non-event at the University of Toronto. At more extroverted universities, homecomings are pulsating, alcohol-heavy manifestations of school spirit. Students annex city streets, chant for their school, and participate in university events. Social media’s set aflame as thousands light up Snapchat and Instagram with school-centric snaps and captions. Fundamentally, school spirit is to a university what patriotism is to a country. The unifying force that wafts into Fourth of July barbeques is the same force that permeates Aberdeen Street keggers in Kingston or Broughdale Avenue block-parties in London. These spirit events can be a useful shot-in-the-arm for universities, intimately tying together the student body through a single, shared idea. Trust, community, even happiness all seem to be overflowing out of pride-filled campuses. But lurking between the flashy university apparel and rowdy chants is a quieter, more destructive side of school spirit. In Canada, where humbleness and humility are the country’s moral bedrock, the “loud and proud” iterations of school spirit are relatively rare. In the United States, by comparison, college football is attended by many—in some venues, the number of screaming fans exceeds 100,000– and university-sponsored, school-loving fraternities and sororities are firmly planted atop the social totem pole. These frats and sororities are a boon to the local spirit scene, increasing school pride through themed parties, events, and fundraisers. And there’s strength in numbers; schoolsupporting frats and sororities act to mop up otherwise aloof students, wringing them out to live under one rowdy roof. But here, the most commonly recorded attendance figure for Ontario University Athletics (OUA) games are zero; in most cases this does not fully reflect the complete attendance by students, but flags a movement away from investing student energy into traditional school spirit outlets. Also, because of frats’ and sororities’ notorious, parasite-like presence across Canada, any mention of “Greek life” is invariably met with an eyeroll or groan. Last year, Yale put out a North American university guide. After discussing American colleges and praising their cultures and reputations, the authors begrudgingly approach the drab, Canadian section of their report. They scrawl, “One aspect of college life Canadian universities fail to offer is school spirit.” Broadly speaking, they’re not wrong. However, cramming ninety-six universities into a disparaging sentence doesn’t aptly explain the varying and nuanced university experiences offered across the country. When you talk about school spirit in Canada, the conversation veers towards a handful of infamously spirited institutions: Queen’s University, The University of Western Ontario, St. Francis Xavier University, and Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. The question is: what makes these universities more extroverted and spirited, while other Canadian universities appear to lack the same enthusiasm? A small town and a long history seem to be major predictors of a spirited university. Taken together, these elements—sometimes with a shot of sports mania for good measure—will make for a “loud and proud” student body.
Kingston has an approximate population of 114,000. Sackville has a population of 5,000. Antigonish, the home of St. FX, has a population of a little over 3,000. London is an outlier in this respect, as its population is 400,000—however, it’s no Toronto-level heavyweight and, population wise, London is smaller than minor-league cities like Surrey, B.C. and Laval, Quebec. Common sense would dictate that as a city grows, so does the number of opportunities. The choice to participate in a school-wide march, football game, or Homecoming Weekend is less obvious in a city with more stuff to do. In a smaller town, attaching yourself to your school is just the logical thing to do. The four “spirited” universities in question—Western, Queen’s, St. FX, Mount A—were all founded at least one hundred and twenty-five years ago. Western was established in 1878, St. FX in 1851, Queen’s in 1841 and Mount A in 1839. An established history and a dense, interconnected network of alumni, traditions, and events, fuel a university's legacy. This strand of pride surfaces everywhere; businesses and restaurants often have the year they were set-up displayed under their logo. It’s a legacy-maximizing humble brag that implies, “We’ve been here for a hundred years. We must be doing something right.” School spirit can be an important aspect of university life. Schoolwide pride, like an elastic band, neatly organizes an otherwise dislodged and scattered group into a tight, intimate family. Students seem happier, there’s a more welcoming atmosphere, everyone feels united. But it’s not all good news. School spirit has an ugly side, too—a side that’s too often lost in the verbal parade of praise that automatically erupts from spirited students, alumni, and university executives alike. Kate Stone, writing for The Odyssey, says: “when you are a person who doesn’t get involved [with the university], you are ruining the fun for everyone else and they will be mad at you or shun you till the festivities are over.” This view could be valid; people who don’t march to the preppy beat of the university could very well be “ruining the fun” for everyone else. But, seen another way, conscientious objectors to “school spirit” aren’t necessarily anti-establishment, they’re just a subset of students who have different priorities and interests. In larger cities there are more outlets for students to pursue external interests from campus life. The concentration of school spirit is typically not as intense compared to a school situation within a town or city whose main export of vivid life is the academic institution. There’s a possibility that this attitude will lead uninspired students down a sparsely-populated path of alienation, leaving them left-out and cut-off. Recent research has shown that feelings of exclusion and physical pain activate the same regions of the brain—showcasing our intense aversion to exclusion and the tangible pain of being left-out. Also, giddy and blind devotion to any establishment (be it a university or sports team) diminishes one’s ability to evaluate the institution as a whole. It’s human nature to idealize what we’re connected to and dismiss what we’re detached from. But, a certain level of detachment is a necessary ingredient in any successful critique. If universities want to evolve and improve, the administration, the alumni, and the student body must be able to hop out of the school spirit-induced bubble and plainly discuss the school’s shortcomings— not just celebrate its strengths. Unfaltering faith and pride can both bind and blind, inspire and alienate. But school spirit is more than just drunken PBR-soaked street parties and densely-packed stadium stands. Schools must learn to ease the pressure to participate, while balancing the tug-of-war of pride and self-awareness.
@STRANDPAPER THE STRAND | 17 OCTOBER 2017
u cheer for?
| hana nikcevic
EDITORS | TANUJ ASHWIN KUMAR AND NADINE RAMADAN SCIENCE@THESTRAND.CA
A round-up of the Nobel Prize Laureates of 2017 patrick fraser contributor
Physiology or Medicine: This year, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” Since the planet we inhabit is constantly oscillating between day and night, every 24 hours, numerous organisms including plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria have developed an internal clock driving their behaviour into similar, cyclic patterns over a 24-hour period to mimic their environment. This behavioral rhythm, known as the circadian rhythm, helps to regulate many physiological processes such as sleep patterns, hormone levels, metabolism, and body temperature. The work of these three laureates studied how a particular gene, known as the period gene, is responsible for the functionality of the circadian rhythm. In particular, they showed how this gene encodes a protein that accumulates during the night and degrades during the day, thereby communicating to the cells what stage of the daily cycle they are in. Since the 1980s, when the key research was carried out by these scientists, research pertaining to the circadian rhythm has become a rich and diverse field with far-reaching implications in the study of the behaviour of humans and other organisms. Physics: The Nobel Prize in Physics is always awarded to individuals who have made great strides in their field. However, from time to time, the prize goes to researchers who have done something, not only of great significance, but of revolutionary magnitude (perhaps you recall the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 that shook the very foundations of modern physics). This year is one such year. The 2017 Physics laureates, Kip Thorne, Barry C. Barish, and Rainer Weiss, were awarded the prize “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.” When Einstein formulated his famous theory of general relativity, it was shown that mass curves space-time resulting in the phenomenon of gravity. One consequence of this is that the gravitational force with which we are familiar propagates through space in the form of gravitational waves travelling at the speed of light. These waves cause minute compressions and expansions of space-time in small, localized regions as they propagate through space. For decades, researchers had hoped that they would observe these fluctuations, which would confirm the existence of gravitational waves and corroborating general relativity. This year’s laureates designed an experiment known as LIGO (Light Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) to observe these gravitational waves, which was successfully completed in 2015. This experiment observes light over long distances to measure extremely small changes in the shape of space-time. The implications of these results have a significant impact on theoretical physics, as well as experimental astrophysics and cosmology, where gravitational interferometry may lead to many new and exciting discoveries in the future.
RESEARCH PERTAINING TO THE CIRCADIAN RHYTHM HAS BECOME A RICH AND DIVERSE FIELD WITH FARREACHING IMPLICATIONS IN THE STUDY OF THE BEHAVIOUR OF HUMANS AND OTHER ORGANISMS.
Chemistry: This year’s Chemistry laureates, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson, were awarded the Nobel Prize “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.” For more than half a century, electron microscopy has been used to produce images of molecular structures and provide scientists with a better understanding of fundamental chemical processes by bombarding samples in a vacuum with a beam of electrons and observing how they scatter. Similarly, it has been known for many years that a large variety of biological processes occur at the molecular level. However, traditional electron microscopy technologies cannot be used to image these biological phenomena because the high-energy beams of electrons destroy the fragile biological structures that scientists seek to study. This year’s laureates revolutionized this technology by developing a method of electron microscopy that holds samples in rapidly cooled water, thereby preventing the destruction of molecular structures such as proteins under the high-intensity beams of electrons and merging many two-dimensional images of these molecular
image source nobelprize.org
structures to create high-resolution, three-dimensional models of a wide range of biological molecules such as proteins and viruses. This technology has many applications in a wide range of subjects. Recently, it has been used to image the surface of many viruses including the Zika virus, and study a variety of proteins such as those that cause antibiotic resistance. By enabling experimenters to better visualize their work, these Nobel laureates have created a tool that has vastly shaped the field of modern molecular biology. Literature: The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” Born in Japan in 1954, Ishiguro studied English and Philosophy in the UK before pursuing his distinguished career as a novelist. Ishiguro’s restrained writing style often leads readers to sympathize with the flawed nature of the protagonists, and uses themes such as memory and time to convey powerful messages within his novels. His melancholic writing has dealt with numerous powerful themes such as human self-delusion and dignity. Ishiguro’s most prominent work The Remains of the Day tells the story of a butler of an English aristocratic family in the years leading up to World War II and his master’s pro-German sympathies. Ishiguro’s 2005 novel, Never Let Me Go was named by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 English-language novels since their initial issue in 1923. Peace: The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.” The most political and thus most controversial of the Nobel Prizes, the Peace Prize, has often been highly polarizing (for example, when it was awarded to Henry Kissinger for his work in ending the Vietnam war, despite allegations of war crimes in Cambodia). However, in a time when both the United States and North Korea have issued threats of war and promises of nuclear retaliation, perhaps this year’s Peace Prize is meant to be taken as a testament to the substantial efforts that have been made towards disarmament and to remind the world that, despite the impending nuclear catastrophe, all is not lost. Economics: This year’s Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded to Richard H. Thaler “for his contributions to behavioural economics.” In the traditional formulation of economic theory, all parties are treated as completely rational beings, and from this assumption, many useful models may be constructed. However, one may readily observe that people are not entirely rational. Thus, despite the wide-range of economic models that may be constructed under the assumption of rationality, they cannot truly describe the world realistically. Hence, there is a need for a more psychologically oriented theory of economic decision-making. By considering numerous aspects of human irrationality, such as social preference and lack of self-control, Thaler demonstrated how such imbalances affect buyer decisions and influence market outcomes, thus making economic theory substantially more applicable to real situations.
ARTS AND CULTURE 11
EDITOR | SABRINA PAPAS ARTSANDCULTURE@THESTRAND.CA
In conversation with Toronto’s Feminist Art Conference Coordinator Ilene Sova on Toronto feminist art culture and The Women’s Kit Regeneration maia kachan associate arts and culture editor
The Feminist Art Conference (FAC) is a Torontobased “yearly multidisciplinary art conference that inspires sharing, networking & collaborating.” They organize year-round events that highlight the work of women, two-spirited, and trans people, with a focus on intersectionality and highlighting marginalized experience. A current project of the FAC is The Women’s Kit Regeneration, a digitization project of a historic resource on the “socialization of femininity.” An exhibition of the project opened at OCADU on October 5th. The Strand spoke to Ilene Sova, Coordinator of the FAC, about their history, philosophy, and active exhibit. The Strand: How was the FAC founded? How did that initial idea go from being theoretical to a real conference? Ilene Sova: I was planning my painting exhibition, the Missing Women Project. During the exhibition, I wanted to facilitate conversations around the power of art to open up issues of gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, and social hierarchies. I proposed the idea for a feminist art conference to take place at the same time as the exhibition. The planning for the conference began in the tradition of all feminist organizing, at the kitchen table. I put out a call for volunteers and artwork. The response was incredible. People were tired of the feelings of isolation the internet engenders. FAC volunteers wanted to help build something that would build a community around feminist art. Since 2013, we’ve organized four conferences, and we’ve run three international artist residencies on Toronto Island at Artscape Gibraltar Point. I noticed a big intersectional feminism focus on your website. What are strategies you, as an organization, employ to make sure you recognize the struggles of women who experience racism, transphobia, homophobia, etc? We always start with the questions: Who’s in the room? Whose voice is missing?
We have a multitude of voices in the room when we make planning decisions. When we fall short, we look to our broader network and actively cultivate relationships with communities that reflect intersectionality. We put out open calls for work, and when we notice gaps in the pieces submitted, we invite folks from our extended networks to submit. The theme for each conference emerges from the artists’ work, and we operate within a bottom-up organizing framework. We consult with artists and community members on their wants, needs and expectations of the conference, exhibition, and residency. We are sensitive to current nomenclature, and we consult with various artists and activists concerning the language we use in our communications. We pay close attention to issues affecting members of marginalized and oppressed groups. We take in critiques, process, and learn from them. Many of your projects are done through community partnerships. In what ways are these connections integral to fostering social engagement, and continuing to strive for intersectionality in your feminist discourses? Organizing across communities is key to social and political change. The greater reach we have as artists and activists, the better it is for our social justice movements. Our community partnerships are the greatest resistance to divide-and-conquer political strategies meant to keep us angry, scared, suspicious and isolated. As we continue to work with various groups within our growing community, we’re expanding our dialogue and vocabulary as well as our capacity to understand issues that many different groups face across the city in their struggle for justice and equality. Where did the plan to regenerate the original Women’s Kit resource come from? We saw The Women’s Kit during a community partnership meeting with the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Upon our initial viewing, we got the sense that this box is lost to history. It is such a great resource, and we wanted to make it
Playlist: Fall Rewind
accessible for everyone. There is a current drive within the movement to document our ongoing work as can be seen, for example, from the success of Wikiproject Women, a massive data upload initiative. We have the tools to do this important work thanks to digital technology, and documentation is much more democratic as a result. We were able to build the website thanks to a generous, anonymous donation. This project is part of a move towards preserving key parts of our feminist histories in Toronto. FAC committee members are also the Toronto coordinators of The Feminist Art Project, an initiative out of Rutgers University. The key goals of this research project are to celebrate the aesthetic, intellectual, and political impact of women in the visual arts, art history, and art practice, past and present, and to include feminist artists previously lost to erasure in the cultural record. Can you speak to the significance of the Women’s Kit Regeneration project within Toronto feminist culture and history? Arts education is a new initiative for FAC as an organization. We wanted to connect with younger feminists, to facilitate conversations and mentor them through the process of art creation and exhibition. The Women’s Kit was an educational initiative, which aimed to reach the emerging generation of feminists, and we strive to do the same thing. We feel it’s important to acknowledge feminist histories as a continuum and we’re building relationships across generational divides. We’re also very interested in closing the generation gap and gaps in recorded history. The Women’s Kit is a historical document, and as such, it reflects its social and political biases. For us, it’s important to acknowledge those biases to identify what needs to change for us to move forward. Do you have any suggestions for young people looking to get involved in Toronto’s feminist art community? Get in touch! We get by with a little help from our friends, and we’re always looking for new volunteers and committee members. Those interested can contact us at email@example.com.
guhar ullah contributor
Fall is the time for retrospection; bundle up and watch the leaves fall with this mix of old and new indie hits. “Sweater Weather” – The Neighbourhood “Campus” – Vampire Weekend “Birch Tree” – Foals “Halloween All Year” – The Orwells “I Miss You” – blink-182 “Undone – The Sweater Song” – Weezer “The Louvre” – Lorde “Super Far” – LANY “7” – Catfish and the Bottlemen “Knee Socks” – Arctic Monkeys “Simple Season” – Hippo Campus
| hana nikcevic
12 ARTS AND CULTURE
EDITOR | SABRINA PAPAS ARTSANDCULTURE@THESTRAND.CA
Review: The Canadian Opera Company’s Arabella A stunning love story launches the opera season
claire de sévigné as the fiakermilli and tomasz konieczny as mandryka in the canadian opera company’s new production of arabella, 2017 photo: michael cooper photo from canadian opera company (coc)
georgia lin editorial assistant
Resonating warmth and humour, through an inherently clever story that showcases love of all kinds, Arabella opened The Canadian Opera Company’s 2017-2018 season on October 5th at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Arabella, Richard Strauss’ 1933 opera, tells the story of the aristocratic but financially troubled Waldner family living in Vienna. Only one of the two Waldner daughters, Arabella, is allowed to present herself as a woman. Zdenka, her younger sister, lives as “Zdenko” since they cannot afford to raise two daughters in upper-class Viennese society. Their father, Count Waldner, is looking to marry off Arabella to a rich suitor in order to rescue the family from their debts. Erin Wall stars as the eponymous Arabella, bringing elegance and poise to a character with firm beliefs, despite her lack of autonomy as a woman. Her operatic soprano is full and steady throughout the three-hour production, and she utilizes Strauss’ composition to showcase the various colours of her voice. A particularly prominent moment comes when Arabella closes the opera by declaring her love and devotion to Mandryka (Tomasz Konieczny), her chosen suitor. This happens as the spotlight follows her gentle movements around the stage and as Wall’s voice shines in the role of Arabella, and matches well with each of her scene partners. Jane Archibald’s Zdenka was the most memorable performance of the evening. Archibald is the COC’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence, and the gradual development of the plot showcased both her vocal and theatrical abilities. Both her Zdenka and “Zdenko” personas were equally delightful, with her rich soprano tone flowing through her scenes and exhibiting her considerable range. Archibald’s dynamic contrast and precise dramatic choices in moments of self-torment captured the audience. For example, this can be seen when Zdenka was distraught about the fate of her friend and secret love, Matteo (Michael Brandenburg), whose advances towards Arabella are soundly rejected. Arabella is ultimately a multi-faceted love story. Arabella’s many suitors pine
for her love, while she does not return any of their affections and maintains hope that she may find her true love. Zdenka’s love for Matteo is self-sacrificing, in that she encourages him to pursue her sister in order to keep him safe. However, the most authentic moments of compassion occur between the Waldner sisters. Wall and Archibald’s vocal blend and theatrical chemistry when performing duets with one another displays the deep family bond that tethers them together. The two powerful sopranos create a resonant and stunning sound that comes to represent the soul of Arabella. The production’s liveliest moment in the otherwise static set and lighting design comes when The Fiakermilli, played by a joyful Claire de Sévigné, arrives on the stage to entertain the party. De Sévigné’s clear and skilled coloratura soprano brilliantly plays against the staging of the scene, in which her character, donning a striking firetruck red jacket, taunts each of the gentlemen at the ball by tossing them out of their chairs. Her commanding stage presence demonstrates the power women possess in the show, and reaffirms the outstanding vocal technique of the soprano roles in Arabella. Arabella’s main love interest, Mandryka, is a wealthy landowner sung with strength by Konieczny. His character range is significant—varying from wistful when explaining the death of his uncle, to despair when he realizes he has betrayed Arabella’s trust and declares the “Earth is collapsing underneath [him].” The Canadian Opera Company Orchestra provides unwavering support and strings tension throughout, despite overpowering the men on occasion, due to the nature of the latter’s low vocal tessitura. The COC’s production of Arabella possesses a powerful vocal and dramatic range, with amusing comedic moments contrasted by tender embraces of familial and romantic devotion. The opera espouses universal themes of searching and turning to love for salvation in times of difficulty. Arabella was a beautiful and dazzling operatic production fit to begin the Canadian Opera Company’s 2017-2018 season. Arabella runs until October 28th at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
An uneven directorial debut finds feeling within moments of pure sensation
harrison wade associate arts and culture editor
Woodshock seeks itself through images—it is a movie caught between the sensation of art and the integrity of narrative. At first glance, it seems to be about a mother’s death, or about the gender roles that can isolate a grieving woman. However, these motifs fade into the quiet passage of time. It is a movie about too much, with never enough intensity. Woodshock is a searching film— take this as an equivocal warning. The pacing drags and the writing may be trite, but the film still manages to reach profound moments of honesty. What can be said for certain is that Woodshock explores the sensation of touch. Here, texture is more important than visual storytelling, as hands tug on clothing, bare feet step on earth, and the grain and bark of trees take over the whole screen. What else would you expect from Laura and Kate Mulleavy? The co-directors are sisters and founders of the high-end fashion line, Rodarte. If surfaces are everything in fashion, then Woodshock is what those surfaces might feel like. But, the movie is also about depression and its potential to mute one’s senses. Kirsten Dunst plays Theresa, a woman stuck in a small Northwest American
town. Woodshock opens with the death of her mother: Theresa lights a joint and passes it to her mother lying in bed, who inhales and passes peacefully. This seems to set off Theresa’s ethical struggle. She provides euthanasia marijuana under the counter while working at the local dispensary. Death comes from a clear liquid she uses to lace the drug. It is her burden; she is the only one with access to the drug, or perhaps is the only person with the strength to use it. Dunst’s performance is necessarily mesmerizing. Most of the movie is spent watching her wander through her empty home, or wander through banal social encounters. Theresa has a certain middle-class freedom, and a self-composed constraint. Dunst lets her grow without dialogue and without strain, performing a loneliness similar to her role in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. Unfortunately, her co-stars don’t embody the same aesthetic of loneliness. Joe Cole plays Theresa’s young husband, Nick, a meek and disinterested logger. Pilou Asbæk plays Keith, the manager of the dispensary and ostensibly Theresa’s sole friend. He is a dangerous man—one who constantly threatens to overwhelm Theresa with his plainspoken sexism. The two men are mirrors of oppression; refusing to make an effort to un-
derstand, they try to control her grief. Their characters suffer because neither Nick nor Keith are granted access to the experimental sequences in the movie, where Theresa is able to change. They remain undeveloped and static within a plot that is tired, disingenuous, and the weakest part of Woodshock. The story feels tacked on by someone afraid of creating a purely experimental work. It often intrudes upon moments of surreal introspection, dissipating the emotional momentum of a scene with a single cut. When the experimentation is allowed to be unconstrained, it is sublime. Theresa floats and flashes back into a forest; she sleepwalks and day-walks and self-harms—it is a nightmare and freeing and feels like depression. The Mulleavys may be afraid of letting their narrative drift too far into fantasy—they don’t realize their world is already more fantastic than reality. It’s not until the last third of the movie that Theresa breaks from narrative logic. Catharsis arrives as surreal image meets texture. This sequence is the most powerful in the film; not because it was delayed repeatedly by the narrative, but because it is true. In its searching, Woodshock has found a moment of honesty, and it holds onto it as long as it will last.
ARTS AND CULTURE 13
@STRANDPAPER THE STRAND | 17 OCTOBER 2017
Review: Rebel in the Rye A potentially compelling biopic that ultimately misses the mark nicholas freer staff writer
The first feature length film by writer-director Danny Strong, Rebel in the Rye has potential that it ultimately fails to reach. This biopic examines the life of author J.D. Salinger and the events surrounding his creation of the classic 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Despite a sufficiently lengthy runtime, Rebel in the Rye offers a simplistic view of J.D. Salinger’s life, focussing only on the notable events of his career. Rather than showing the evolution of Salinger as a writer and the development of his character, Strong displays his version of Salinger, called Jerry (Nicholas Hoult), as fully formed. The viewer must accept Jerry as a genius author from the beginning, before he attends university or is published. By creating a character who does no wrong, and whose prose is nearly perfect, Strong’s film loses any of the depth or complexity it might have had working with the life story of a complicated artist. The film would be formulaic if not for its frustrating sequencing. Central to Rebel’s failure is this sequencing. For the first half of the movie, the temporal order shows Salinger in four different time periods. Non-chronological temporal sequencing can be done well in other films, but when time shifts in Rebel, the change is sudden and
interrupts the narrative flow. At one moment, Salinger is a patient in a mental hospital, the music is slow but swelling as he tries to remember how to write. Then, in one hard cut, Salinger is suddenly in a concert hall, the music is Bebop, and he’s perfectly fine trying to pick up girls. The abruptness of this switch is enough to make someone nauseous. With such hard cuts and frequent changes in score, Rebel presents a narrative that is challenging to follow. The final failure of Rebel is the ending. It’s no secret that after his success with The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger struggled with fame, becoming intensely private before isolating himself almost entirely from the world. However, Strong’s film struggles to define the tone of Salinger’s decision. Strong’s Salinger claims that by doing this he will find happiness. A quest for happiness would make sense if it were clear that this is what his character is searching for throughout the movie—but it’s not. The moments that lead to Jerry’s self-imposed exile are treated as positive by the film. The scenes commend his isolation as a natural conclusion to the film, with half of the film focused on Jerry getting published, not on achieving peace. These final scenes, when considered as actual events in somebody’s life, would make more sense as tragedy. Salinger’s refusal to publish and his abandonment of the world, in-
cluding his family, are a loss. In the end, Strong has written and directed a predictable biopic which romanticises a conflicted author into a figure who is justified in any action he takes. Strong’s story offers nothing new for a viewer—no insight that a quick Wikipedia search couldn’t satisfy. Despite a cast of well known actors and a wealth of material from the author’s life to work with, Rebel is not enjoyable enough to be worth the price of admission.
nicholas hoult as j.d. salinger in danny strong’s rebel in the rye photo by alison cohen rosa. courtesy of ifc films
Review: TCDS Presents Love’s Labour’s Lost: The Musical william dao contributor
Trinity College Drama Society’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by Nicole Bell, was a cute start to this season of campus theatre. The musical was adapted by Alex Timbers from Shakespeare’s play of the same name, with songs written by Michael Friedman. Despite the strong cast, the production did not provide the opportunity for them to perform at their best. The overall direction and design of the production was full of wasted opportunities, with childish elements that didn’t seem intentional, from the awkward jokes to the audience interaction. Every year TCDS does a “Shakespeare in the Quad” show mirroring “Shakespeare in the Park,” put on in High Park during the summer by Canadian Stage. Producing Love’s Labour’s Lost as a quad show is a great idea, considering the musical is about a college reunion and the setting would be a college quad. Unfortunately, this production did not utilize the potential of the space. Other than the audience having to sit on benches and stools, or even on the ground, this show could have been performed anywhere else. Most of the quad space was not used, with the stage occupying approximately a quarter of the area, and was ignored by the performers. Each performer seemed to have a different idea of when they could drop character when they were walking off stage. This made it hard for the audience to really believe in the world of the play because there was no consistency. This issue could have been solved simply by using the entire space as the stage, so that the actors would need to walk out of the quad to really be “off-stage.” The show also featured a pre-show—another wasted opportunity. Actors Nam Nguyen and Sophie Waldman should be commended for their work during the preshow as it must have been quite difficult, but they sounded fantastic on their duet. They were tasked with audience engagement, asking why they didn’t have masks for the masquerade, yet nothing about the environment led the audience to believe that they should have masks, or that they were even at a reunion of some sort. It would have been much stronger if the audience were sitting at banquet tables watching a slide show of the characters going through their college days or if the audience were handed masquerade masks to really feel immersed in the world of the play. In terms of audience interaction, there were a few instances of it, but it was quite inconsistent. It varied from being directly spoken to during the pre-show, to being vaguely gestured to, to being pulled up on stage to sit down and watch a character sing to the audience. This discrepancy produced confusion. At times, the audience felt somewhat like characters in the show, but at other points were pulled back out with the reminder that a fourth wall does exist.
| sydney bradshaw courtesy of tcds
Adding to the confusion, the play features many characters and the plot relies on the audience believing in the crazy web of relationships that the characters find themselves in. The show ended up being quite disorienting because it was hard to figure out who was “in love” with who. I couldn’t figure it out until the end of the play, which is not a good sign. The clarity of the relationships is something that should be easily worked out for the audience as this is what the show is all about. Though there were issues in the direction and production design of the show, the highlights were the performances. Everyone in the cast sounded phenomenal every time they sang. It was really impressive that they could all harmonize and blend so well, considering they had to perform in the cold. Kenzie Tsang as Jaquenetta had a standout performance during her solo song. It was powerful and grounded in genuine emotion—something that is often missed in musical theatre performances. Jasmine Cabanilla as Armado was also a highlight throughout the show; her energy and commitment was electrifying to watch. Overall, the show was entertaining to watch, as the cast brought a lot of energy to their performances and they all sounded wonderful. Clearly, this production was all about having fun as opposed to being innovative—but no one says that campus theatre needs to be innovative.
EDITOR | REBECCA GAO STRANDED@THESTRAND.CA
The Cat, The Ned, and The Klingon Klingon-Speaking Students Feel Unheard in Regard to Cat’s Eye Water Supply max “the ten-time” nisbeth contributor
On October 9th, the Klingon-speaking community at Vic finished their first meeting as an official student group. They’ve identified several issues, the most pressing of which is the need for water dispensers in the Cat’s Eye. The Strand reached out to Sting, well-known for his position as the Klingon Ambassador to Earth and lesser-known for his role as the lead singer of The Police, for a comment. He said: “cha’par watchers luj nuvpu’,” which has offended both bird watching enthusiasts and fans of the once-popular television series LOST. In lieu of this comment The Strand also asked the Victoria Klingon Student Representative, Nax’ MisPeff for a quote on the matter; the following is his response as he said it, translated from Klingon to English: “We are deprived the very right to relish in the translucent nectar that you English-speaking humans call ‘water.’ How much longer shall you humans limit your evolutionary capability by forcing yourselves to walk for your water? To quench such powerful and barbaric thirsts, we must journey out of the Cat’s Eye, decide whether to walk all the way around or just do a little hop thing or ducky thing under the bar, then straddle the endless desert that is the Ned’s sitting area, only to have to manually fill our water vessels like some pre-Borg civilization. And once such difficulties have been overcome, one must gather the shattered remains of one’s empty soul in order to muster the sheer will to shamefully walk back across the plains of Ned. Sometimes being forced to tortuously and awkwardly wave hello to students you’ve previously passed on your first journey’s march. If you are lucky enough to survive such brutal destruction of the psyche and are able to re-meander through the maze that is the Cat’s Eye accessibility ramp, you often realize that you forgot something. Sometimes it’s the dressing for your salad, maybe a battle scarf (napkin), or maybe you just forgot your smoked turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich that cost you like six bucks and which you needed for your next three-hour block of class, but didn’t realize you had lost until half-way through the first class so you posted it on Facebook like, ‘Can anyone check if my sandwich is at Ned’s? I left it on the water dispenser,’ only to realize your friends do not value
you or your lost sandwiches and think you are a big sandwichless idiot. If this is the case, you will once again be forced to journey across the scorching Nedian vista in hopes of salvaging a small piece of tattered cloth from the enormous war flag that is your eternal spirit. Put water back in the Cat’s Eye. #thecatneedswater Lojmlt ylpoSmoH!” We here at The Strand didn’t know what to do with all of this. We were actually more concerned about whether Sting had reached out to make a song about the struggle. We really want a comment from Sting. The comment that offended bird watchers and LOST fans, we made it up—I know. So, Sting, if you are reading this, please come back! We miss you. I miss you! Sting, come home. This piece is dedicated to Sting. Hab SoSlI’ Quch!
Strand masthead blacklisted after slandering celebrated Vic alumna in print Reported sighting of The Handmaid’s Tale star and trained assassin Alexis Bledel outside editor’s home following the incident staff reporter the failing strand
TORONTO, ON—a few days following the publication of The Strand’s third issue, a member of the student newspaper’s masthead reported a strange and frightening event that took place near their home. Many members of the Vic community believe that this is due to the questionable publication of an article in their “comedy” section, called “Does Anybody Know Who The Pilgrims Were?” which was falsely attributed to beloved Canadian novelist, Margaret Atwood. Sources report that many feel as though the Victoria College campus media’s weird and unfunny jokes have gone a little too far this time around. “The Strand... they’re that fake newspaper on campus, right?” says frosh who has never actually read a copy of the paper because nobody outside of the Vic bubble actually cares about them. “I guess if I actually want to be taken seriously as a student journalist I’ll like, try and write for The Varsity. Have you ever read The Varsity? They’re like, the real deal. Everyone on The Varsity’s masthead loves talking about how great it is to be a part of The Varsity. They have an almost disproportionate amount of self-pride. That’s the kind of atmosphere I want to be a part of,” they added on a completely unrelated note.
Anyway, these startling testimonies from The Strand’s Volume 60 masthead will shock you: “The other day, I was running late, when my usual morning walk to school presented a shocking turn of events,” says Molly Kay, one of The Strand’s Editors-inChief. “I was crossing at Lowther and Bedford, when I thought to myself, Could it be? And sure enough, it was. Alexis Bledel was literally across the street from me just, like, kind of staring at me.” “As a huge Gilmore Girls fan, at first, I was thrilled to have bumped into Rory on my morning commute,” continues Kay. “But after talking to some of the other editors, I realised that this was definitely, probably, maybe something more than just an innocent celebrity sighting in the Annex.” “When Molly first told me about her run-in with Rory, naturally, I was super excited for her,” says Hana Nikčević, Photo Editor. “But it wasn’t until I talked to [News Editor] Ainsley that I realised what was truly at stake here.” “It’s obvious, isn’t it?” says Ainsley Doell, News Editor. “After reading our piece about her in the last issue, the Patron Saint of Victoria College must have called on Alexis Bledel for backup. Everyone knows that she went through like, CIA black ops training to land that role in The Handmaid’s Tale. They’re planning something huge, I can sense it. You know what they
say: keep your friends closer and your enemies closer. Sounds about right. I feel like we don’t even know what’s coming for us.”
| emily fu
@STRANDPAPER THE STRAND | 17 OCTOBER 2017
New tea at Caffiends! Come in and Order a Cup of English Oolong Berry Today! leo morgenstern caffiends volunteer (tuesdays 10:30-11:30)
You have to try the new tea we have at Caffiends. It just came in and students are loving it! You can order it hot, iced, or even as a tea latte!! I mean, I guess you can do that with all the teas we already have. But this one’s new! Although, it’s not like I’ve actually tried all the other teas. I probably wouldn’t even have known that this one was new if somebody hadn’t told me. I don’t even like tea that much. Why the hell did I get so excited about a new tea at Caffiends when I don’t even drink tea? God! I’m so fucking fake! My life is so empty that I pretend to get all excited about tea just to fill the void in my chest. But a new tea won’t fill that void. Nothing will. It never goes away. It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger until one day it’s going to consume me. One day I’ll wake up, and look in the mirror, and all I’ll see is darkness and emptiness and absolute meaninglessness. So sure, come in and try our new tea. Tell everyone how excited you are about it. But if you do, I’ll know what it really means. Because I’m just like you. A scared little boy afraid of his own reflection, hiding behind a cup of tea.
Does It Count as Stealing if I Take My Wife’s Insulin and Sell it to Buy Bowling Shoes? the ethicist columnist
Dear Ethicist, I find myself in a moral grey area. I’ve recently taken to the bad habit of taking my wife’s insulin needles when she isn’t looking and selling them on Craigslist. I know this sounds bad, but in my defense, I am only selling her insulin so I can afford more bowling shoes. Does this count as stealing? Bryan Bolgreeves, Mississauga Dear Bryan, Well, you’re certainly right about one thing—this is definitely a moral grey area. There is no one right answer to your question. On the one hand, it usually doesn’t count as stealing when you take things from your own wife. I sold my wife’s drivers license to some middle schoolers last week so they could buy beer, and I wouldn’t consider that stealing. After all, if your wife really didn’t want you to take her insulin she should have done a much better job of hiding it. Why does your wife even have insulin anyway? You didn’t mention that your wife was diabetic in your question, so I’m going to go ahead and presume she isn’t. However, I bet some of the people you sold that insulin to online are diabetic. You might just be saving those people’s lives. Plus, bowling shoes are really cool. If your wife cares more about her insulin than about bowling shoes then she sounds like a real bore. You could do better, Bryan. On the other hand, sometimes people don’t like when you take their stuff. My wife got really mad at me when I took all of her shoes so I could throw them at birds. I can’t say I understand why that bothered her, but it definitely did. In short, there’s no simple answer I can give you here, Bryan. I’ve told you both sides of the story, and now you’re going to have to make your own decision. Best of luck! The Ethicist
Dormmate “Aggressively Nice” Neighbours suspicious jasmine ng contributor
Residents of a dormitory’s third floor have been expressing their concerns about a certain hallmate, calling her “aggressively nice.” The individual in question has allegedly been offering cookies at non-peak food-offering hours and writing unsolicited thank-you notes to her neighbours. A hallmate, who will be called Melissa for the purposes of the article, had concerns about the nature of the cookie offerings. “I noticed that the individual offered them to me before she ate them herself. I couldn’t help but think that was suspicious. Could they have been tampered with, or expired? Or was she fattening us up for a purpose, like an ancient ritual?” Seeing as The Strand is a newspaper that prides itself in rigorous, factual reportage, no further investigation into the witchcraft allegations will be included in the article. Many of these dormitory residents also admitted to feeling uncomfortable with the personalization of their thankyou notes. “They’ve got these details on them that indicate that she remembers things from our conversations. It’s like she’s invested herself in our lives or something,” her neighbour stated. The notes are only part of a larger problem. Another student shared that the community
is worried about her good memory: “A lot of us have been talking about just how much she remembers. It seems like she knows all our names and programs of study by heart, as well as the music we like. It really makes you wonder how much she’s paying attention.” The individual’s ability to listen to her hallmates and
remember details about their lives has put the community on edge. “You just don’t want to upset her, you know? It really makes us careful about the things that we say, because you just don’t have any leverage on her, while she has everything over us.”
Another couple, who will be called Barry and Len, joined in on voicing their concern. “The individual wrote to me that she liked my fashion sense. Could there be a hidden message in that? I think she’s being facetious here. I can’t imagine that someone would outright compliment me like that. Even though I do think my style is pretty amazing,” said Barry. His partner was equally disturbed. “It’s extra strange because we don’t know her well at all. There’s no way a stranger could feel so sincerely and be compelled to express such positive emotions towards my partner. It really just gives me the chills thinking about it,” Len stated. The individual in question has also allegedly taped themed images for different holidays onto other residents’ doors, leading to much discomfort. Tom stated: “It’s uncomfortable to know that she actually touched our doors. Like, she doesn’t just walk by and ignore them like the rest of us. She really actively seeks out interactions with us. What does she want from us?” At this point, the other residents have decided to band together. “It’s a really dangerous situation we’re in here. We’ve decided to do something nice for her at least every week and say hi whenever we encounter her, just to keep the situation at bay. We really have to look out for one another in these trying times,” stated Melissa earnestly.
@STRANDPAPER THE STRAND | 17 OCTOBER 2017
The ROM Wouldn’t Put Up My Artwork Even Though I Asked Really Nicely leo morgenstern artist
The Royal Ontario Museum claims to be “an indispensable resource for building community by nurturing discovery and inspiring wonder,” but it’s pretty dispensable to me! They refused to put up the artwork I brought them, even though I said “please.” I bet if I’d painted a dinosaur they’d put it up. They looooooooooooove dinosaurs at the ROM. But apparently they’re too good for my artwork. And I worked really hard on it too. I even drew the picture with my own markers; I didn’t borrow them from anyone! (I did borrow the glitter-glue from school though). Do you know what they did put up at the ROM? This thing! Does anybody even know what that is? My art is relatable. My art asks the question we’re all asking! Why? Why wasn’t my art put up at the ROM? If you agree that I’m right and the ROM is stupid, please join me in formally protesting the ROM tomorrow afternoon. You’ll recognize me because those are my hands in the photograph below. See you there!
what even is this?
choo choo! marker and glitter-glue on tracing paper
salt in the wound human hands and pretzel on table
this work is licensed under a creative commons license by david sk, 2004-2016
Why every garden needs, no, DESERVES rocks that look like speakers leora nash contributor
As another summer ends and the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn begin to settle, I think of a puzzling question that returns to me year after year. No, not: Why not squash instead of pumpkin spice? Not the query of why we enjoy something as pedestrian as turkey when we could be eating rabbit or pheasant. The question that befuddles me annually, dear reader is... WHERE ARE ALL THE ROCKS THAT LOOK LIKE SPEAKERS?!? Yes, you heard me correctly. I know what you’re thinking: “Rocks that look like speakers? Well, that’s simply preposterous!” This is where you’re wrong, dear reader. Landscaping has been a practice among humans for thousands of years, with rocks being the centre of both celebration and encapsulation. Today, landscaping has taken on a new form of entertainment. You guessed it, S-O-UN-D!!!! Any plebeian can go into their local Radio Shack, Best Buy, or Costco
and find a plethora of speakers designed and engineered to imitate the holiest form of THE ROCK. Landscapers now overuse what was once the phenomena of a rock-like speaker. Go to any summer barbeque or puddle jumping party, and watch as not one person is amazed by the sound being emitted from the once aweinspiring fake boulder. Pitiful. If humankind can create a rock-like speaker why can’t we create a speaker-like rock? Picture yourself enjoying a meal in your brother-in-law’s backyard. You see something in the distance. At first you believe it is a simple speaker, mistakenly placed in the backyard, perhaps as a joke. You mention it to your brother-inlaw and suddenly you are dumbfounded to learn it is not a speaker after all, BUT A ROCK DISGUISED AS A SPEAKER!!!! You are shocked! You are amazed! You are aliiiiiveeee!!!!!!!!!! Now you understand my query and must join me in my quest to find the perfect speaker-like rock!!! If interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org and join us in our sound revolution!!
osd au dio bt r-80
0 blue to
oth ro ck spe aker
Self-care is recognizing that some days, the most you can do is to take deep breaths, and realize that the joys of your life will counteract...
Published on Oct 15, 2017
Self-care is recognizing that some days, the most you can do is to take deep breaths, and realize that the joys of your life will counteract...