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UTSU: A MONTH FOR CHANGE GUARAV GUPTA STAFF WRITER This month was momentous for every student here at UofT, even if they didn’t know it—campus politics have never been so fast-paced outside of election season. With the nail-biting conclusion of the UTSU Special General Meeting (SGM), the decision of numerous bodies to sidestep the will of the student body expressed in said meeting, and the recent announcement that’s about half of the university’s colleges would consider

severing ties with the UTSU, student government stands at an unprecedented crossroads. The UTSU Annual General Meeting, where the student body shapes the direction the UTSU will take in the following year, came to an abrupt end in November, when students shot down an agenda they felt didn’t represent their interests. Much of the opposition stemmed from a perceived lack of motions involving online voting and other electoral reforms, leading to the surprise defeat of the proposed agenda.

A UTSU Special General Meeting with an amended agenda was scheduled for early February, and, in spite of numerous delays, a surprisingly large number of issues were tackled at the SGM. The student body voted to oppose unpaid internships, examine winter residence fees, eliminate Styrofoam food containers on campus, and allow international students to run for the Governing Council. Almost an hour after the projected 9pm ending time, the long-anticipated motion on electoral reform was up for discussion. An attempt was made

to amend the clause involving online voting to make it a binding motion instead of just a suggestion. The Chair ruled that such an amendment was not in order, leading to a large outburst from many students. A motion to extend debate on this issue failed, but just before the vote to approve these reforms was about to be taken, a large number of students from UTM left the meeting, as the last shuttle bus arranged for them was about to leave. As a result, quorum—the minimum


Demanding more than No More Silence

Toronto rally in memory of Aboriginal women exposes failings of Canadian protection services SARAH CRAWLEY ART EDITOR


No More Silence, a networking group dedicated to ending violence against Aboriginal women, organized Toronto’s 8th annual ceremony for Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women this Feb. 14. Hundreds stood in front of police headquarters, giving voice to not only the friends and families of victims but also to the broader call for reform of Aboriginal and government relations. The most oft-quoted statistic about missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada comes from a fiveyear study conducted by Sisters in Spirit

(SIS), a campaign established by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) in 2004. SIS estimated that there have been approximately 582 victims of violence within the last two decades— around 500 more than have been documented by the RCMP.

Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, demanded more protection, investigation, and accountability from the police force. Her actions were successful, leading the committee to release a statement declaring that hundreds of cases regarding Aboriginal women have

“He didn’t only take the life of that one person that day,“ said Waters. “[He took] the life out of society.” Key speakers at the Toronto memorial have long been working to bring these issues to light. Doreen Silversmith of the Guyohkohnyo (Cayuga) Nation, who previously represented the Six Nations at the 2008 UN Committee for the

not been properly investigated. Wanda Whitebird of the Bear Clan, a member of the Mi’kmag Nation from Nova Scotia, has been working with incarcerated Aboriginal women since the 1970s and remains a vocal activist for prison reform.

Whitebird led a strawberry ceremony for the memorial, which demonstrates respect for the Creator and remembrance for one’s ancestors. The strawberry, or ode’imin in Ojibwe, means “heart berry” and represents courage and love, as it bears its seeds (its children) on the outside. The ceremony presented the overarching goal of these organizations: to voice concerns about—and heavily criticize—Canada’s judicial and policing systems and to heal those who are affected. As Jackie, another prayer leader, said, “we will assert sovereignty in the most beautiful way we know how”: through tradition, music, and prayer.



No More Silence demands answers


‘SILENCE’ FROM PAGE 1 Whitebird led the participants in song, accompanied by the women she worked with as an Aboriginal Counsellor at the Kingston Penitentiary, to inspire hope and strength. The beating of drums and the call and echo of the song evoked an extraordinary feeling of solidarity as Whitebird called “ancestors dance with us—we haven’t forgotten you.” The image of the group was striking: black silhouette signs for murdered or missing women, the bright reds of berries and white snow falling more and more rapidly. In keeping with the grassroots efforts of the NWAC and the reports made to the UN, participants were given the opportunity to share their own experiences at the memorial. In 1979, Blu Waters lost her grandmother in a rape and murder. case. The perpetrator was sentenced to 15 years in jail but ultimately only served 10. “He didn’t only take the life of that one person that day,” said Waters. “They take the life out of society.” Providing a forum for these unheard voices is essential to how organizations such as Sisters in Spirit and No More Silence have responded to the extreme inadequacy in the protection and investigation of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. SIS’s study directly communicated with the families of victims as a means of collecting data. Many hoped that, with increasing demands for further investigation and the promise made by the Canadian government to address the issue, the SIS would receive additional funding to continue the valuable work. Yet while Canada’s 2010-11 budget allocated $10 million to the issue,

the vast majority of it was put towards creating a central RCMP missing person centre. This halted the efforts of effective grassroots organizations, and could potentially antagonize the already tense relationship between members of the Aboriginal community and the RCMP. The day before the Toronto memorial, Human Rights Watch released an 89page report on the failure of police to protect Indigenous Canadian women in northern British Columbia. The report specifically points to accusations against the RCMP for the abuse and rape of Aboriginal women, and calls for a national commission of inquiry into their murders, disappearances, and abuse at the hands of police. While police abuse presents an issue in itself, it is also an obstacle to communication between Aboriginals and state officials and thus to the investigation of missing and murdered women. In response to the report, Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded that those concerned should “just get on and do it,” ignoring the cycle of abuse and anger which has truly separated many members of Aboriginal groups from government agencies. Yet in downtown Toronto, hundreds stood in unison to hear those who otherwise felt unheard, explicitly declaring such voices to be integral to the success of a true national public inquiry and affirming the importance of continuing grassroots efforts through whatever means available. They sang not just for the remembrance of victims, nor solely for further investigations and protection, but as a demand for a new direction and as a voice of change.

Looking forward: what do the colleges do now? ‘CHANGE’ FROM PAGE 1 number of members required to hold the meeting— was lost, and debate was an abrupt forced to halt. Attempts to rally more students during a 10 minute recess were unsuccessful, and the meeting was postponed to the following week. Trinity college head Sam Greene later proposed that some “left out of a desire to shut down debate and that is unacceptable.” However, UTSU president Shaun Shepherd said that his commitment to implement reforms before the upcoming elections “still stands,” leaving some with hope that change would come in the following week. But before the second SGM could take place, it seemed that many had already given up on the prospect of electoral reform. Trinity, St. Mike’s, and the Engineering Society (EngSoc) announced their intention to “defederate” from the UTSU. EngSoc has already placed a law firm on a $10,000 retainer in anticipation of the compli-


cated legal battles ahead if these organizations choose to pursue this course of action. It is important to clarify here that though terms like “defederation” and “secession” are being thrown around, all that would most likely occur is that fees normally paid to the UTSU would be redirected to colleges or faculties. However, if even one of these orga-

tive health and dental insurance options, no statement has been made on the subject. Former VUSAC president Brandon Bailey was quick to suggest that “Victoria College should jump on board,” and current VUSAC president Shoaib Alli has stated that many members are interested in exploring the option of leaving the UTSU.

Before the second SGM could even take place, it seemed that many had already given up on the prospect of electoral reform. Trinity, St. Mikes, and the Engineering Society (EngSoc) announced their plans to try and exit the UTSU. nizations managed to sever ties with the UTSU, a massive upheaval in both campus politics and administration would likely result. Whether these students would still be able to participate in UTSU clubs and events is unclear, and though Trinity, St. Mike’s, and EngSoc are searching for alterna-

The second SGM began with controversy, as the Chair ruled that delegates from UTM could Skype into the meeting, and that their votes would be counted. No information about such an option was ever posted online and many students from UTM who were not informed of this option had made

the commute. After a debate on electoral reform that mostly mirrored the previous SGM, a vote was called and the motion passed by just nine votes. Many delegates commented on the irony of UTM students voting against online voting over Skype. After this, the Skype delegates left along with others, and the meeting once again lost quorum. Sheppard later said he was “fed up with this school” but would speak in favour of online voting at the upcoming Board of Directors meeting the following day. Unfortunately, he was absent from the meeting and the Board of Directors did not approve the reforms the SGM dealt with, and the motion passed in the SGM was non-binding. Trinity responded with an emergency meeting calling for a referendum on UTSU separation, which passed unanimously. This means Trinity will ask all its students whether they want to leave the UTSU and will act on the results of this vote.




In Soviet Russia, meteor crashes you! EMILY POLLOCK EDITORIAL ASSISTANT On Feb 15 2013, the largest meteor to enter earth’s atmosphere in over a century touched down in Chelyabinsk, a town near the Ural Mountains in Russia. Throughout the city and the surrounding area, people reported seeing a blazing streak of light across the sky, seconds before they heard a loud boom. The explosion released 500 kilotons of energy, more than any man-made nuclear explosion. Unsurprisingly, the explosion caused large-scale damage: the shock wave from the explosion blew out windows from buildings and caused the collapse of roofs. Most of the people injured weren’t hurt by the explosion itself, but by secondary debris from broken windows. The damage has been estimated at around $30 million. The damages sustained have led many to wonder why this meteorite wasn’t spotted sooner. The answer: while there is a network of asteroidwatchers across the globe, this meteorite was too small to be picked up on their radar. Timothy Spahr, the direc-

tor of the Massechusetts Minor Planet Center, says, “Objects like that are nearly impossible to see until a day or two before impact.” Though scientists initially estimated that the 55-foot-long meteor was 10 tonnes, further estimates have shown the size to be closer to 10,000 tonnes, earning it the title of the largest meteor in Earth’s atmosphere since a meteorite strike in Tunguska, Russia in 1908. However, the telescopes trained on finding asteroids and meteorites before they hit us are only really effective at spotting objects larger than 100 meters. Scientists around the globe have been working ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System), a system of observatories stationed in Hawaii which will allow observers to scan almost the entire sky twice a night. This NASA-backed effort will be largely useful in detecting asteroids and meteors, giving a one or two day warning before they hit earth. John Tonry, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii, says “There are excellent ongoing surveys for asteroids that are capable of seeing such a rock with one to two days’ warning,

but they do not cover the whole sky each night, so there’s a good chance that any given rock can slip by them for days to weeks.” He believes that if ATLAS had been operational at the time, they might have been able to give some notice of the impending strike. But he admits that ATLAS is limited—it will not be operational on cloudy nights, and because it’s in the Northern Hemisphere, it can’t see projectiles over the South Pole. The project leaders have considered creating multiple ATLAS sites,

to find pieces of the meteor. Despite its huge size, the pieces that they have found are tiny, the largest no more than a centimeter across. The scientists believe that larger pieces may have crashed into nearby Lake Chebarkul, as evidenced by a six-meter hole in the ice. Divers have not yet found any larger fragments in the lake. Amidst the wreckage, some enterprising individuals have been able to make the event into cold, hard cash. Despite the fact that trading in meteorites is illegal, people have been sell-

“There are excellent ongoing surveys for asteroids that are capable of seeing such a rock with one to two days’ warning, but they do not cover the whole sky each night, so there’s a good chance that any given rock can slip by them for days to weeks.” which would do away with the problem of blind spots. The first ATLAS site is slated to open in 2015. Meanwhile, the search for answers about the Russian meteor continues. Scientists of the Urals Federal University have been combing the area

ing chunks of “meteorite” on the internet for more than $200.

How to feed an increasingly warm planet As the climate changes and our population grows, resources like land and water become more and more scarce. Even now, millions live in hunger, and our current way of cultivating food will only increase this number in just a few decades. As the C4 Rice Project’s website explains, “sixty percent of the world’s population lives in Asia where each hectare of land used for rice production currently provides food for 27 people, but by 2050 that land will have to support at least 43 people.” With the changing climate, providing enough food for a growing population will only get more complicated. UofT’s Tammy and Rowan Sage, from the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, are part of The C₄ Rice Consortium, which has embarked on an international project to improve the growth of rice, wheat and legumes. With research centers in the Republic of Korea, Canada, USA, Australia, UK, Taiwan, Philippines, Germany and China, this international effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is approaching this task from a wide range of disciplines and brings us one step closer to improving the quality of life for millions who face malnutrition and starvation in the presence of food shortages. They believe that the key to efficient growth lies in a different type of photosynthetic pathway. RuBisCO is the most abundant protein on our planet. This protein behaves as an enzyme, much

like a matchmaker, in a process essential for life on earth: photosynthesis. Energy from incoming light is used by plants to produce energy storing units, called sugars, from carbon dioxide (CO₂) gas found in the air. This is a story you likely heard as a child, and RuBisCO plays a central role in this incredibly important process. However, RuBisCO isn’t always loyal to its job. If



concentrations of oxygen in the air and subsequently around RuBisCO are high, this carbon “fixing” process becomes very inefficient. Oxygen steals RuBisCO’s attention from carbon dioxide. When oxygen is present in high concentrations RuBisCO, this enzyme’s attention can be crucially diverted. This is especially a problem in areas with high temperature and high light exposure. Fortunately, a solution to this problem has evolved. The more common photosynthesis pathway (C₃) has evolved into another pathway (C₄) in many plants that enables them to cope with changing environments. C₄ photosynthesis incorporates biochemical and anatomic adaptations to reduce the rate at which oxygen inhibits the efficiency of photosynthesis by enhancing the concentration of CO₂ around RuBisCO. As a result, C₄ crops such as maize (corn) are much more efficient in warmer temperatures, can survive in environments with low CO₂ concentrations and are more light-, water- and nitrogen-use efficient. Changes in our climate and a need to provide food for a growing population have urged researchers to improve the tolerance and productivity of common crops. C₄ may be our solution. By installing a mechanism that better resembles the C₄ photosynthesis pathway into crops like wheat, rice and legumes, The C₄ Rice Consortium hopes to make them better equipped to grow efficiently in a warmer, and more resource-deficient environment. For more information about the C₄ Rice Project, you can visit them at

News • 25 Feb. 2013 •

International project aims to use photosynthesis to increase crop efficiency



“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” EMILY POLLOCK

tolls the planetary death knell: or, why our obsession with individual action is inhibiting a sustainable future JONAH LETOVSKY ASSOCIATE OPINIONS EDITOR


This may sound counterintuitive, but that last time you picked up a piece of litter or chastised your friend for not recycling their water bottle? It helped ensure that our children will inherit a planet far, far worse off than our own. Before you write me off as a conspiracy theorist or climate denier, let me explain. Since the birth of modern environmentalism in the 1960’s and ‘70s, and especially since the end of the last decade, living an environmentally “responsible” lifestyle has dominated public discourse. As books like Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch finally inspired fear in everyday North Americans, business leaders and politicians saw the need to respond. Overwhelmingly, that response was, and continues to be, “change your behaviour as an individual, and reduce your impact on the planet!” If only we shortened our showers, we were told, and recycled our pop bottles, and reused our plastic shopping bags, and turned off the lights when we left a room, we could solve the global environmental crisis. Well, after half a century, how is this rhetoric working for us? Greenhouse gas emissions are hundreds of partsper-million above the “safe” level of 350. Biodiversity is being lost at a rate on par with a sixth Great Extinction. The global nitrogen cycle has been so disrupted that great swathes of our oceans are now permanently lifeless. If global ice cap melting continues apace, global temperatures may very well rise by 3 or even 4 degrees by the end of the century. Not so well, I’d say. Not coincidentally, “living green” has risen in tandem with neoliberalism. Both ideologies advocate individual responsibility—and have simultaneously undermined collective responsibility. Our obsession with changing daily behaviour has obstructed the vastly greater need: to change the systemic way our

society operates. Here’s the problem with concentrating on reducing, reusing, and recycling: it rests the fate of the planet’s future on individual altruism. A solution to climate change, or pollution, or the garbage crisis, or the collapse of ocean life that depends entirely on your neighbour waking up in the morning in a good-enough mood that she decides to cycle to work instead of driving is no solution at all. She won’t always be in a good mood. As much as we hate to admit it, we as a species and a society are both selfish and idle—and it is unrealistic to expect individuals to change the way they live their lives for an intangible concept like the “environment”. Even more disastrously: buzzwords like “efficiency” and “conservation” have become ammunition for

remains an extraordinarily subsidized resource, and corporations continue to dump their waste into our atmosphere and ecosystems at the taxpayer’s expense. Freshwater crisis? It helps to reduce the length of our showers and not let the water run while shaving, but our populations continue to grow and we continue to fulfill our needs from inherently unsustainable sources. I could go on, through food production, energy, and transportation. It’s a never-ending list of sectors where the future of civilization currently depends on one person’s conscience—pretty risky business. Our systems need be built so that regardless of whether or not we decide to be selfless in our everyday life, our children and grandchildren will have a planet to prosper on.

Our obsession with changing daily behaviour has obstructed the vastly greater need: to change the systemic way our society operates. politicians and business leaders looking for an easy middle ground: a convenient way to assuage the demands of posterity (and environmentalists) without having to make any politically or financially expensive decisions. Real change will hurt energy monopolies and ask more from taxpayers—at least in the short term. Decision-makers have, to their own benefit, shifted the environmental burden from themselves onto the public. We’ve let them do it. And in response, the crisis has only worsened. The vast majority of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions come from manufacturing and transportation—you know, those gas-guzzlers that your parents drive. While it’s all well and good to name and shame those who drive Hummers and Escalades, real responsibility lies with governments that have allowed manufacturers to continue making gas-guzzlers. Gas

We should be pragmatic to achieve sustainability, and that will include gradual measures. Shortening shower lengths, separating paper from plastic, and turning down the air conditioning are all necessary first steps. But they will not get us there. As I write this, sitting in Starbucks, I can see a sign on their counter proudly declaring, “We have a new partner in reducing cup waste. You.” It’s an advertisement for a reusable porcelain coffee cup that customers can purchase. Sitting immediately below it is a huge basket full of plastic water bottles. Every person in the café is using the paper-plastic cup that the baristas provide. All of their food has been trucked here, and most of them have driven here. Individual green living is a false god, and it`s time to break free.

“What are you?” Why being called “exotic” isn’t a compliment





SARA DERIS OPINIONS EDITOR In my nearly 21 years of living in allegedly-multicultural Toronto, I can condense almost every conversation I’ve had with a stranger into a couple of sentences: “What are you?” “You look like Princess Jasmine/Pocahontas/Tiger Lily!” “Are you Italian? No? Oh, Portuguese!

Spanish? Native?” “You’re so exotic!” Then, when faceless stranger finds out my actual ethnicity, the fun really starts: “You’re so regal-looking!” “You look like a desert princess!” “Your people are so noble!” “You’re so lucky you don’t have to tan!” It’s all I can do now not to smack people who say this stuff to me. Being told you look “exotic” isn’t a compliment. Guessing my ethnicity isn’t a game. Calling me exotic isn’t a nice thing to say, and it’s not by any stretch of the imagination harmless. It contributes to the ongoing objectification and commodification of people of colour for the purpose of consumption by the Western world. By calling me exotic, you are telling me that I am not natural, that a white gaze is how I am meant to be understood, and that this is how I am meant to understand myself. With one simple word, I am removed from my actual background (that of a first-generation Canadian citizen) to fit someone else’s ideas about people of colour who step outside of their preconceived notion of a ‘norm’. It reduces me to a character sketch narrowly representing an entire culture. “Exotic” implies that since I am an aberration from the norm, I must hail from a faroff, mystical land where all exotic-looking people live— since the distinction between ethnicities is apparently not as important as identifying that I am unnatural. Guessing my ethnicity by rattling off countries where vaguely brown-skinned people are born is not funny. It’s extremely offensive, not only to me, but to every other “exotic” country on your list. By telling me

I look Latina, or Native American, or Italian you are effectively homogenizing every single non-white country into one “exotic” country. Comparing me to fictional characters isn’t funny either—no, I will not dress up as Pocahontas, Princess Jasmine, or Cleopatra for Halloween. The purpose of my skin colour is not to make costumes “better”. Comparing so-called exotic-looking people to fictional characters also romanticizes our identity and places us in the historical past. By comparing me to Cleopatra, you’ve historicized me, placed me into a history that I have nothing to do with and am not a part of, and implied that my own contemporary personality is irrelevant—that because I look exotic it somehow means I will act like a regal princess or mystical tribal leader. Describing someone as “exotic” is not an accurate way of portraying them. Telling someone they look ‘exotic’ is not a compliment, and you should not expect it to be taken well. Asking “what are you?” is dehumanizing and otherizing. Guessing someone’s ethnicity by rattling off “exotic” countries isn’t cute—it’s annoying and homogenizes “other” countries. Romanticizing “exotic” looks robs a person of their individual character and places them into histories that are not their own. “Exotic” is a lazy word—it does not do people of colour any justice, and stipulates that we may not be beautiful alongside white people. It says that we can possess “exotic beauty,” putting us into a separate category to be consumed by Western society.


EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Maybe it’s because I’m a first year student, but if someone asks me what’s going on, I’m required to answer with: Oh, just nothing. The usual. No biggie. Whatever, I can deal. You know how it is. Saying otherwise, elaborating on how I feel is not exactly encouraged. After all, there’s a conservative attitude that comes with discussing certain “taboo” topics as a first year, especially mental health. You want to make friends this year, you want to build relationships, not tear them down. So for some reason, there is this unwritten social rule that you don’t talk about how you’re feeling nonchalantly. When someone asks you how you’re doing, they expect you to say: I’m fine. And if you’re not fine, well, get over it. Getting over it—panic attacks and depression. That’s a simple request to resolve something way too complex. So complex that most people shy away from talking about it because they don’t know

much about what mental health is, just what other people tell them what it is. Psychos and attention whores, that’s all you need to know about the type of people who suffer from mental illness, right? Maybe it’s not just about being a first year student, but being a student in a campus where mental health dialogue is still not acceptable. Of course, within the past year, there have been positive changes from UofT and Victoria College. I’m not just talking about professionals, however, I want students to understand other students as well. First year for me hasn’t been as smooth as I’d hoped it would be. My anxiety caused a crippling fear in me whenever I attempted to start an assignment, pick up a book, or even go to class. Soon enough, even doing rudimentary tasks, such as getting out of bed, became an issue. I was a mess, and I didn’t know where to get help, or who to talk to. I had to get extensions, which many of my peers looked down upon. I dropped two courses, which also resulted in people

insulting my intelligence. I lost relationships due to people not understanding what I was going through. Not being able to talk about my struggles freely, I couldn’t relate to anyone, which made things worse. Just a few weeks ago, I was hanging out with some of my fellow students, and all of a sudden, the topic became about getting extensions. “I think they are useless”, said one student. “It’s not that difficult. Just write whatever you need to write, and hand it in on time,” said another. When I came in to defend the necessity of being granted an extension, because common sense: life isn’t always so easy, there was silence. No one wanted to respond to someone who admitted that they had to get an extension due to mental health reasons. Even in university, where progressive ideas and concepts are promoted, there’s still stigma attached to students with mental health issues struggling in school. No, it’s not that easy for someone to write an assignment when it is already

too difficult for them to get out of bed. And no, it does not make them weak if they go ask for help. Give us a fucking break. If it weren’t such an obstacle to talk about your feelings, then maybe students wouldn’t look down on other students who get help. Maybe students wouldn’t isolate themselves from someone because they became less “fun”. And maybe, those of us who are going through a lot right now won’t feel so alone if other people start talking too. So can we do it? Can we talk about how we are doing and not get judged? Can people start educating themselves in order to differentiate the stigma that surrounds mental health? I don’t want to struggle alone. I don’t think it’s fair if other students struggle alone. I just want to talk without having to follow that unwritten social rule. So fuck it— we all deserve to be able to say more than “I’m fine”.

Opinions • 25 Feb. 2013 •

“I’m fine” and other lies I tell



EDITORIAL OUR MASTHEAD Editors-in-Chief Pauline Holdsworth Muna Mire Patrick Mujunen News Associate

Sabina Freiman Wendelle So

Opinions Associate

Sara Deris Jonah Letovsky

Features Associate

Malcolm Sherwood Vacant

Arts & Culture Associate

Paula Razuri Dominique Béchard

Film & Music Associate

Bahar Banaei Alex Griffith Vacant

Stranded Associate

Will Pettigrew Vacant


Allie Chenoweth

Design Associate

Jade Bryan Vacant

Copy Associate

Blaire Townshend Matthew Casaca

Photo Associate

Thomas Lu Victoria Chuen

Art Associate

Sarah Crawley Vacant


Jamie Shilton


Jen Roberton

Editorial Assistants Amanda Aziz, Emily Pollock, Grace Quinsey Copy Staff Johanna Lewis Contributors Jill Evans, Kevin Hempstead, Guarav Gupta, Yannay Khaikin, Wenting Li, Dan Miller, Angela Sun Cover Art Emily Pollock Special Thanks Emily Pollock, for holding down the fort big time this issue.You rock more than a mountain full of rockslides xoxo

Toronto is Canada’s first sanctuary city. So what took us so long? MUNA MIRE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF City Council voted last week to establish Toronto as a “sanctuary city”, meaning that city services will be offered to residents regardlesss of their immigration status. Beginning in Los Angeles in 1979, 36 American cities have declared themselves sanctuary cities. In the first case, the process began with the LAPD preventing its officers from questioning people about their immigration status in an effort to get residents to cooperate with the police without fear or intimidation. The term “sanctuary” has itself been criticized by many activists for the undocumented. Observing the way that the label “amnesty” has allowed rightwing commentators to frame the issue in misleading ways, left-wing critics have cautioned that the term “sanctuary” can also be easily co-opted to imply that granting formally mandated access to public services for non-status migrants creates some sort of zone of lawlessness. Right wing critics of the concept of sanctuary jurisdictions have often found themselves in the national spotlight. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, for instance, has vocally opposed community policing policies for the undocumented. Instead, Mr. Arpaio has advocated rounding up “illegals”—and it was his brainchild, the infamous SB 1070, that was nicknamed the “papers please” law. But the threat of criminalization for non-status people trying to access public services does more to hurt public safety than to help it. “In fact, community policing policies are about providing public safety services, not sanctuary, to both immigrant residents and the entire community,” writes Lynn Tremonte of the American Immigration Council. “Crime experts, including hundreds

The Strand has been the newspaper of record for Victoria University since 1953. It is published 14 times a year with a circulation of 2000 and distributed in Victoria University buildings and across the University of Toronto’s St. George campus. The Strand munificently 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, homo/trans*phobia, ableism, or other oppressive language. The Strand is a proud member of the Canadian University Press (CUP).

Our offices are located at 63 Charles St. W., Toronto, ON, M5S 1K9. Please direct enquiries by email to editor@thestrand. ca. Submissions are welcome and may be edited for taste, brevity, and legality.


of local police officers, have found that cities with community policing policies [...] have built bridges to immigrant communities that have improved their ability to fight crime and protect the entire community,” she continues to explain. It makes sense, doesn’t it? When a community maintains open channels of communication with law enforcement, more is done to help prevent legitimate crime. With the immigration systems in Canada and the US utterly broken (albeit to varying degrees), no one can claim that being undocumented is a real crime. The system itself is broken; its borders no longer signify what they used to. That the system is broken in many ways is obvious to undocumented and

It may be that we’re a few decades late to the conversation on sanctuary, but the effects of providing access to city services are real and tangible. non-status peoples, activists on the ground, and to some legislators. But given the current political climate, it was still surprising when, on Feb 21, Toronto made history by becoming as the first sanctuary city in Canada. In a 37-3 vote, the City Council passed a motion ensuring that all non-status people residing in the city can access its services without fear of being turned over to border enforcement officers for detention and deportation. In this respect, the municipality of Toronto has taken a marked step away from the federal government’s policy stance on immigration. Harper’s gov-

ernment (with Jason Kenney at the helm of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism) has set an unmistakeable tone, immigration policywise. Their priorities have been mandatory detentions, deportations, and cuts to refugee health care. But what’s more, the City of Toronto has set a new precedent, which may have far reaching consequenes in the province of Ontario. Last Thursday, The Toronto Star reported that city council had also voted to ask Ottawa to join the initiative. By Saturday, reporters in the Hamilton Spectator were asking whether Hamilton should be a sanctuary city as well. It’s surprising that Canadians are just getting around to asking these questions of ourselves and of our elected representatives—after all, there are already 36 sanctuary cities in the US! Of course, while many non-status peoples have been de facto accessing city services such as public libraries for some time now, it is long overdue we had conversations about providing fuller access to non-status residents. It may be that we’re a few decades late to the conversation on sanctuary, but the effects of providing access to city services are real and tangible. We are creating safer, healthier communities. Communities that can live with less fear of a broken system. The city should be congratulated on its efforts, but needs to remember that without activists like the people behind No One Is Illegal Toronto, these discussions wouldn’t be taking place. We should be looking to these activists to ensure that the policy is implemented, and that access is truly universal. With any luck, we’ll see the sanctuary phenomenon grow. We have some catching up to do.

OTHER CITIES Toronto may be the first Canadian city to be designated a sanctuary city, but 36 other cities in North America have already taken the step. These cities include:

New York City

Washington D.C.

Los Angeles


San Fransisco



Salt Lake City

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Want to be a part of your student government or a representative on governing bodies at the college next year? Run in the VUSAC elections!

Strand? Elections for The Strand’s

33 positions are open for contestation: 10 VUSAC executive positions (President, Vice-President Internal, and Vice President External, and Arts & Culture, Clubs, Communications, Commuter, Education & Equity, Scarlet & Gold, and Sustainability Commissioners), 4 Board of Regents representatives, 9 Victoria University Senate representatives, and 10 Victoria College Council representatives.

Important dates:

2013-2014 masthead will be held on Mar 11 at 9pm. You’re eligible to run for a

Nominations open: March 4 – 15

position or vote if you’ve contributed five times to the

Voting: March 23- 26

paper this academic year, whether you’ve written for us, come in to copy edit, taken photos, or helped with illustrations and design.

Info Session (Cat’s Eye, Birge Carnegie): March 5 & 7 All Candidates Meeting: March 15 Campaigning: March 16 – 22

Polling stations: Birge Carnegie, Burwash Dining Hall, Northrop Frye More information about running and voting, including times and locations of the info sessions and the all-candidates meeting to be posted in the Victoria Student Listserv and the VUSAC office, on the VUSAC website and around campus the week of March 3. Questions? Email Ashley Quan at


Editorial • 25 Feb. 2013 •

Do you want to be involved in shaping the future of The




Support, safety, and Stigma in Toronto's Sex work community


"Common bawdy-house" means a place that is kept or occupied, or resorted to by one or more persons, for the purpose of prostitution or to practise acts of indecency. - Law and Government Division, Library of Parliament

"I don't know if, at this point, I would want a manager who had never worked. I like to work at places that are femaleowned. " for half an hour, $120 for 45 minutes, and $160 for an hour. The top-level service is the body-slide, in which the worker slides in oil on the client’s front and back, finished with a hand-job. One level down is the “nudereverse” in which the client can massage the worker halfway through but there is no body-to-body contact. The least expensive service is simply a nude massage. You might ask how this is legal. Well, the grey area is in the discussion beforehand. “This is the part of the job that’s illegal,” she says, “the solicitation part. Walking in and saying ‘this type of session costs this’. So we tend to work around it by asking what kind of session they want to have and get them to say what they’re looking for. It’s the offering of services with a dollar amount attached that’s the illegal part.” Our subject is a woman in her late 20s who got into sex work when she answered an ad on Craigslist while she was finishing her master’s degree. “I think that for everyone, the first time you have an appointment it’s appalling and scary,” she says, pausing. “But after that you sort of feel like you can do anything.” She had the conventional preconceptions about other work-

ers, women in particular, including the idea that they would be relatively uneducated and would have emotional issues and drug problems. While those judgments changed over time, she still notes the personal toll that the job takes. “It turned me into quite the prolific liar, initially. I still hate to this day when I make up stories about what my job is and what I’m doing. And that continues to be one of the worst parts of the job. I am out to my family now, but [at first] I certainly wasn’t.” Beyond the stigma attached to sex work, there are also legal mechanisms that undermine worker safety, even in a relatively comfortable environment like our subject’s parlour. “The bylaws on massage parlours state that we can’t have any security personnel on hand,” she says. “We hope [the clients] behave less aggressively in a closed area” – such parlours are legally licensed by the city precisely because they keep sex work out of the Decent Public Sphere – “but it still sucks.” Security is quite a problem when dealing with “aggressive or unruly” customers. “We lack, for lack of a better word, the muscle—the authority to call the cops. We’re reluctant about bringing them into our premises and into our situation.” Since the parlour is legally a public space (ironic because of Section 210’s specific injunction to keep “acts of indecency” out of public areas) the police can search the premises without a warrant. Escorting, which our subject used to do in Vancouver, comes with its own challenges. “Working for yourself is another thing. You always want to partner up with a girl who you can call and say: ‘My appointment is starting now, please call me profusely in an hour if I don’t message you back and say everything worked out.’ So the girls in the industry rely on each other a lot.” She worked as an in-call independent escort in Van-

"Best thing about Maggie's is that it's a good spot for all different types of sex workers to come together [...] Even on the email listserv that I got today everyone asks questions about how they do can their jobs safer and better."

couver, one of the most entrepreneurial and work-intensive jobs in the field. She rented out a studio apartment in an expensive part of the city, created a website with professional photographs of herself, and set herself up finding top-dollar clients. She also opened a small massage parlour that she ran with a friend. “I don’t know if, at this point, I would want a manager who had never worked. I like to work at places that are female-owned.” In Vancouver, the sex worker community sent out a newsletter to workers with descriptions of dangerous or dubious clients. The accounts were practical, listing “whether they had an accent, the clothes they wore.” She said that the support group “sent out these descrip-

Johns are most often the perpetrators of violence against sex workers. The police are more interested in searching licensed massage parlours without a warrant instead of trying to stop johns from getting away with inflicting violence. tions of bad dates and a description of what happened to the service provider when she was in that position.” In Toronto, workers can support each other through Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project. “[The] best thing about Maggie’s is that it’s a good spot for all different types of sex workers to come together […] Even on the email listserv that I got today everyone asks questions about how they can do their jobs safer and better.” Safety and profitability is secured first and foremost by the sex worker community. Johns are most often the perpetrators of violence against sex workers. The police are more interested in searching licensed massage parlours without a warrant than in trying to stop johns from getting away with inflicting violence. The use of the internet to report johns to fellow sex workers does have a flipside though—private websites that exist to out the (usually fake) names of sex workers along with detailed rating of their performance. While some johns and police intervention act to the detriment of workers, a whole community based support system exists for sex workers to protect each other.

Features • 25 Feb. 2013 •


ounds pretty Victorian, doesn’t it? “Bawdyhouse”? “Acts of indecency”? Of course, these terms are legally defined phrases but they carry a lot of preconceived judgment. Let’s get specific on, say, the kind of “acts of indecency” that would take place in a “bawdy-house” such as a massage parlour. We sat down with a Toronto sex worker who gave us a detailed outline of one session in what is colloquially referred to as a “rub and tug” (we’ll let you figure out why it’s called that) from start to finish. The clientele is predominantly male. The rise in the number of female customers is both recent and modest relative to their male counterparts. Regardless, the client enters, the receptionist collects the door fee, and then allows them to meet everyone (in this case women) on shift. The client makes his decision, showers, and then waits for the worker. When the worker meets him, there’s a brief discussion about the kind of session the client wants. On top of the door fee, which the house collects, the client must pay the worker a service fee. In this worker’s case, a top-level massage is $60



Back alleys and garage doors A new gallery of downtown art iii.



ii. JILL EVANS When I first moved to Toronto I spent a lot of time wandering around and getting to know the city. What surprised me most about it was the crazy amount of art everywhere. Not just art in the AGO or the ROM, or even in the many independent galleries clustered around the cooler downtown streets, but art literally on the streets. I was also shocked by the calibre of Toronto’s street art: “graffiti” doesn’t do justice to this local work. Street art in Toronto runs a wide gamut. We have, as in this photo, classic-style graffiti art. We have political statements: in Kensington Market, a stencil of Rob Ford’s face with the words I’m sorry printed below. We have stunning works of art and graphic design in all sorts of styles. A walk through the right downtown streets of this city is like a walk through a free public art exhibition. i. I came across this lovely modern take on the nineteenth-century Japanese classic


The Great Wave off Kanagawa somewhere in Little Portugal. I recognised the image as soon as I saw it, and a quick Google search had me reading about the Japanese art school that inspired the work. It’s called ukiyo-e, which literally translates to “pictures of the floating world.” Ukiyo-e typically depicted the everyday city life of the lower classes, celebrating the fleeting joy of life as we know it. This is an art form that draws inspiration from the everyday, created by unpaid young artists, in the least beautiful parts of cities, with nothing but markers and spray paint. ii. In the spring, a friend and I wandered along Queen Street West with cameras looking for interesting things to shoot. We took a side-street shortcut and ended up staring at back walls and garage doors for hours. We also saw gallery-quality portraits, words of advice scribbled on the fire exits of restaurants—colour and light where you’d never expect it. In dirty trashfilled corners below leaking drainpipes and above stained asphalt, we found some

of the most original artwork I’d ever seen. The wall in this photo is covered in tags, which are basically signatures for graffiti artists, marking where they’ve been. Tagging is what most people think of when they complain about graffiti. Tags are often sloppy, ugly, and sometimes denoting gang affiliations or turf wars among artists. Even so, I don’t think anyone can deny how much tagging has improved this otherwise boring building. iii. I’ve always been interested in street art, even tags. It has a compelling quality of urgency and honesty about it that you rarely find in art hanging on the walls of galleries. It’s more accessible than any other sort of art: anyone can draw on a wall, and anyone can see it. Street art constantly challenges our conceptions of art, and does so in a forum totally removed from the “proper” art world of shows, critics, and artists who get paid for what they create. Like other art, street art can express emotions, political sentiments, or personal ex-

perience. Sometimes all it expresses is the desire to vandalize another person’s property. This is a feeling that frightens people. It frightens not only the business owners who are painting over drawings they don’t want on their walls, but also neighbourhood residents and passersby. However, even when it is destructive and ugly and illegal, street art is undeniably one of the most authentic art forms around. We’re lucky that Toronto offers tons of opportunities to see great art in traditional settings. But even more exciting to me is that the street art here forces you to acknowledge it: everyone has to engage with it somehow, and it’s free and universal and right in your face everywhere you look. The fact that I can, and indeed have no choice but to see art when I walk through downtown Toronto is one of the reasons I love living in this city.

Match Game A look at the Canadian panel show ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR


hen it comes to panel shows, Canadian television isn’t exactly leading the genre. The Comedy Network’s reboot of the 70’s era show Match Game is a rare gameshow-panel-show hybrid on our Canadian television landscape, and it runs much the same way the original series did: comedians and celebrity types get a little boozy and play “fill in the blanks” with the contestants. If your answer matches the panelists’, you collect points and move through the rounds with a chance to win up to $5,000, or something—it’s really the panelists that make the show. Produced by UK-based media mammoth Freemantle Media, Match Game relies heavily on its three Canadian anchors and fills in the rest of

the show’s seats with rotating celebrity guests (think Video on Trial or Best Week Ever). The show has featured Colin Mochrie, Jeremy Hotz, Andy Kindler, Jonathan Goldstein, and Janeane Garofalo (to name a few names). That Match Game is sponsored by a UK-based company seems fitting, since it`s one of the few shows on the air right now that follows the hugely successful trend of British panel shows. The show’s first season was certainly a right direction in creating a television-scape that features more nationally-created original programming, but Match Game takes patience, and it’s a while before the watcher starts to enjoy the comedic styles of the show’s main players. While the original 70’s version with host Gene Rayburn relied heavily on panelists coming up with racy

answers like “making whoopee” or “bosoms,” the reboot relies mostly on the improv talents of the panelists and host. Host Darrin Rose (think: Canadian Jason Sudeikis) has an impressive stand-up career. He has been seen on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and has a regular gig on CBC’s Mr. D. He’s a charming host whose self-deprecating jokes sometimes go over the audience’s head. Regular panelists Sean Cullen and Debra DiGiovanni join Rose, and together the three of them are some of the most recognizable Canadian faces on television. This is undeniably a good thing, but it`s also a sobering statement about the amount of popularity a Canadian stand-up can hope to achieve. Cullen’s improvisatory experience makes him a factory for most of the show’s major laughs, though it

is hard to decide whether his overtly obnoxious style is indicative of his genuinely dislike for the show or his dedication to one long-running selfdeprecating joke—perhaps it’s both. DiGiovanni provides much of the show’s energy; her boisterous personality comes through clearly, and she often provides the best answers for filling in the blanks. It will be a while until we have Canadian versions of QI or Would I Lie to You?, but in the meantime Match Game is a harmless distraction and a funny enough presentation of Canadian talent on Canadian television.

Human Rights Human Wrongs

Chronology of conflict at the Ryerson Image Centre




t’s not often that you see disclaimers from graphic content at photography exhibits—it features at least not so abundantly in the entrance way and all over the visitors’ website. Curated by Mark Sealy, Human Rights Human Wrongs certainly warrants the strong disclaimers—corpses beside abandoned ambulances, surgeons playing with severed hands, soldiers performing water torture—but that shouldn’t deter anyone from viewing an exhibit of such importance to the study of the history of human rights. Taken from Ryerson University’s prestigious Black Star collection, these photos present a raw, unflinching look at the journey of human rights over the last 50 years. The exhibit begins with a mosaic of the photographs surrounded by walls printed with articles from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The signing of the Declaration of Human Rights is a fitting launchpad for the collection, and the collection’s chronology extends to events as recent as the Rwandan genocide. Though there’s a strong focus on the American Civil Rights movement and African independence, there are also photographs of human rights movements and conflicts from around the world, from student riots in Czechoslovakia and Mexico to relief camps in Bangladesh and prisons in Brazil. Not only is the size of the collection impressive, but the photographs present a variety of viewpoints. The photos range from portraits of individuals to

shots of massive demonstrations. The photos that are the most arresting are the ones that depict the more personal, quieter moments: Martin Luther King hugging his wife during a hospital stay, a close-up of young girls standing in a demonstration in Algeria, and a fist-fight between black and white American protestors at a rural gas station. Although the photographs are mostly presented chronologically, some have obviously been strategically placed together. Female Vietnamese soldiersin-training are juxtaposed with marching female Israeli soldiers. A row of photos depicts “comfort women” from Vietnam and Rhodesia with their white suitors. One of the most striking messages comes from the placement of photos of the African Unity Conference beside photos from the 1963 Birmingham Race Riots. In an interview with the Toronto Star, Sealy was recently quoted as saying he wanted to place the American Civil Rights movement within “the context of the rest of the world” and to show that the “continuing process of violence that…have not changed.” I only wish there was more information about the photographers themselves. So far all that is shown is the name, the year, and the location (and it is interesting to note that many of the photographers seem to be of European and North American descent), but looking at these photos makes one realize that these people were participants in or wit-

nesses to some of the most important conflicts of human history, and it would’ve been interesting to hear about their experiences. Certain areas in the collection are also lacking. There are multiple photos of Israeli soldiers and of Jerusalem, but only one of the West Bank. There are also only a couple of photographs from East Asia—despite the attention often paid to that corner of the world for their less than stellar human rights record. Presented alongside Human Rights Human Wrongs is Ryerson alumni Dominic Nahr’s Captive State. Nahr traveled to Southern Somalia in August 2011 to document the famine-stricken state. Nahr is a master of contrast, focusing on the vivid colours of the textiles of Somalia against a beige, crumbling environment. In his photos, armoured cars cruise around a hospital, a mother and her son stands in front of broken columns, vibrant tents can be seen through a crack in a wall, and a mother lays a cloth over her son dying from malnutrition. Despite the depressing tone of the captions, there still exists a sense of hope and resilience in the pictures themselves as illustrated by the saturated, colourful garments of the Somalian people. Both exhibits are a must-see for anyone and admission is free. The exhibits can be viewed at the Ryerson Image Centre until April 14th. For more information, visit

Arts & Culture • 25 Feb. 2013 •





Karl Marx disapproves of your capitalist Oscars party Alex Griffith, Pauline Holdsworth, and Patrick Mujunen look at the Oscars from left field


been criticized for offering a thinly-veiled realpolitik justification for torture – distasteful, but necessary in order to protect “American values” – and as yet another example of Hollywood whitewashing American imperialism. Much like fellow nominee Argo, Zero Dark Thirty depicts the covert activities of the CIA through a rosy lens as plucky operatives fighting a murky war against a fanatical, barbaric enemy. But we shouldn’t forget the CIA’s real record: during the Cold War, the CIA was directly responsible for assassinations, coups, genocidal right-wing militias, and puppet dictatorships, and is no better-behaved today—no matter how much reactionary filmmakers try to paint it as a heroic protector of “freedom” and “democracy”. Despite director Katherine Bigelow’s assertion that the film is not meant to take a particular side, it has clearly received an enthusiastic reception from a disturbingly large and bloodthirsty segment of the American population. As the helicopter carrying the blood-soaked body of Bin Laden lifts off into the sky, movie theaters have reportedly burst into applause, while audiences have flooded the internet with racist comments about Arabs and Muslims. Many will argue that the film is not meant to be realistic, but the very fact that a chest-beating imperial revenge fantasy like Zero Dark Thirty has received

such widespread acclaim suggests that the Obama administration’s attempts to rehabilitate the use of torture and other illegal practices have been extraordinarily successful. Since Hurt Locker, Oscar has veered right in its best picture choices. The King’s Speech? Defense of traditional British monarchy and masking disability to fit class expectations. The Artist? Tries to wind back the cinematic clock 80 years. It’s funny that the winners everyone shittalks for being too crowd-pleasing are actually the more radical of the bunch. In Gladiator, Maximus sees his patriarchal world order fall away before him as he joins the slave class; The Departed put organized crime and the police force next to each other in a lineup and weeded out their shared culture of violence; Lord of the Rings—well, actually that story is pretty damn conservative. As for “underdog” Slumdog Millionaire, it is true that Danny Boyle hadn’t been in the running since Trainspotting, but Deepa Mehta, Dibakar Banerjee, and other Indian directors are hardly ever nominated. Though this year’s nominee Beasts of the Southern Wild is an aesthetically gorgeous film and a thought-provoking exploration of how we imagine disaster and federal disaster relief, it’s also been slammed by critics like bell hooks for appropriating Black history and experiences—a white hipster’s

take on Katrina and river-people and stuff. It’s a movie set in a community below the levee in New Orleans, faced with mythical monsters set free by climate change and the paternalism of a government which wants to “rescue” them from the dangers of their home. But though it deals with black Southern landscapes and communities, it’s pretty much exclusively imagined and directed by white Northeners. No matter which expensive film wins this year, those of you who watch the Oscars will have spent three hours watching a fancy advertisement for imperialism and designer clothes. And don’t expect it to change any time soon. After all, the revolution will not be televised.


This may come as a surprise to no one, but some of us at The Strand swing a bit to the left. We know that the Oscars already happened and that we can’t give predictions. But we’re here to prove that it really doesn’t matter who wins the Oscars, or who hosts them, because the Oscars are basically a long infomercial for the American movie industry. Specifically, for American movie elites—despite all the excited talk over the last decade of filmmaking becoming cheaper and more democratic, the Oscars remain as reactionary as ever. It’s great that Amour and Les Mis can share the same ten-nominee field, but beyond giving these movies more publicity, the expanded nomination list does nothing to change how Academy members vote. Frontrunners Argo and Lincoln, two A-list MPAA movies heavy on American patriotism (Lincoln is admittedly more subtle) were always going to be favourites. It’s always going to be Lincoln over Django, just as it was Forrest Gump over The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction. There are occasional upsets, but the media-hyped showdowns like Avatar vs. Hurt Locker don’t exactly betray divergent ideologies. Hurt Locker, despite glimpses of post-traumatic stress disorder, was essentially an action movie set in Iraq; similarly, Zero Dark Thirty is a peep show into terrorist hunting with a somewhat ambiguous ending. The film has deservedly

No strategy, just tactics DAN MILLER & KEVIN HEMPSTEAD “No one has interviewed the heads of Shin Bet”: so states the preamble of the Oscar nominated Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers. What follows is an unprecedented documentation of the minds and thoughts of the six past leaders of the Israeli security force, Shin Bet. The documentary is organized into seven sections organized chronologically, discussing both the tactics and modus operandi of the Israeli special security force from the 1967 war to the present day. Black and white narratives and stark contrasts, so often associated with commentary on the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, are eschewed in favour of candid interviews, archival footage, and digitally reproduced scenes. One quickly realizes that these men are not just evil shadowy figures. Avraham Shalom (leader from 1981-86) is still bitter at the political scandal that forced him to resign after covering up the deaths of two terrorists following a 1986 bus hijacking. Carmi Gillon (199496) almost glows with pride as he illustrates the operation of killing

a Hamas leader with a bomb implanted in a cell phone. These men might have been bred to follow orders but they have ideas of their own; they seem to agree on their mutual disgust with politicians and their views on the dormant peace process provides perhaps the film’s most illuminating moments. Shalom complains that Israel has “no strategy, just tactics”. Another former leader says if he was in charge he’d talk to everyone, from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to any Hamas or Hezbollah leader. Their frustration with the astringent Israeli right is obvious. This leads to The Gatekeepers most striking point: these battlehardened veterans don’t believe in the myths they are fighting to protect. Although their function serves to support the Zionist state and its various myths, in reality none of these men buy into the illusions. Perhaps this is just a reflection of the fact that fighting the war is much harder then propagandizing it. At one point Yuval Diskin (2005-11) notes that the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) is not an army fighting for freedom but an occupying force. Yaacov Peri (1988-94) has no trouble recognizing that to


Past leaders of Israeli intelligence community in new doc

the Palestinians he is the terrorist. While these men all take pride in their work, they have no faith in the justness of their cause. None of them believe that violence and force will make Israel better off. All

agree Israel is on the wrong path, and the key is not counterterrorism, but diplomacy. If only Israel’s leaders listened to the men they assign to keep them safe.

Another former leader says if he was in charge he’d talk to everyone, from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to any Hamas or Hezbollah leader. Their frustration with the astringent Israeli right is obvious.

A glimpse inside the mind of Roman Coppola ALEX GRIFFITH FILM EDITOR

He sounds just like his father. Interviewing Roman Coppola over the phone, I can almost trick myself I’m interviewing Francis Ford at the peak of his 1970s’ powers. Not that I’m really supposed to be thinking this as I ask the 47-year old filmmaker, music video and commercial director, Oscar nominated screenwriter, and co-owner of American Zoetrope, about his second feature, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, starring Charlie Sheen. But I have to think about it: the sonorous vowels, the West Coast drawl, and all the family-oriented maxims about friendship and trust. Discursive and semi-apologetic for his tangents, Roman calls himself a “partner in dialogue” rather than a co-writer on Wes Anderson’s scripts for Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. “Wes, as the director of Moonrise Kingdom, was in charge,” he said, “My role in that

film was really just to help him realize this idea he had.” Writing for himself – as a director, as the final creative arbiter – was a double-edged sword. “With my own work it can be a little more daunting because you have to ask yourself what do you want to do and how are you going to get there; it’s all on your shoulders, but when I’m working with Wes, it’s all his burden.” Charles Swann III is a difficult movie to capture in a few lines: part relationship drama, part surreal comedy, part 70s nostalgia trip. Mostly, though, it’s about men and women, specifically how Charlie Sheen’s graphic designer can reconcile his love for aesthetic beauty with his emotional love for one person in one monogamous relationship. “The starting point for Charlie Swan was speaking through the eyes of men—of helpless, immature men.” I raise the male characters’ befuddlement when interacting with women. “I would agree there’s a grappling with understanding wom-

en and coming to terms with the mystery of man/woman relationships, which is a beguiling and ongoing discussion.” Coppola says the idea of the movie began to germinate during a bad breakup. “There’s a fun comment in the film – you see it in Charlie’s beautiful old car, that doesn’t drive very well – that beautiful things are hard to maintain.” Speaking of lost beautiful things, Charlie Swan recreates 70s aesthetics in the eye-popping set design. Considering Coppola’s debut, CQ, was also an homage (in that case to Euro-cinema of the 60s), it’s no surprise he gets more emotional when I ask him about the past, and I can actually justify that with an exclamation mark. “The 70s was a wonderful era of filmmaking – so many wonderful movies came out of that period! All the things that inspired me, like All That Jazz, Stardust Memories, Annie Hall, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie—this kind of stuff was something that I wanted to connect with through my work.” And connecting with his father’s

movies? “It’s been a whole lifetime around his work.” Coppola literally grew up on movies (running around the set of Apocalypse Now with Charlie while father Martin Sheen did takes) “I’ve learnt a lot. My dad likes to be adventurous. There’s a lot of technical stuff about filmmaking but my dad’s very clear that it’s the writing and acting that really makes the movie.” I bring up Jason Schwartzmann and Bill Murray, both stalwart Wes Anderson thespians, who also have supporting roles in Charle Swann. “It’s natural that you would see them as Wes’ actors,” he laughs, “But you know Jason is my cousin—” everyone has a Coppola connection “— and Bill was in Sophia’s [his sister] Lost in Translation…it’s a very dense web of relationships. If you have a good rapport with your actors it makes it all the more, in my mind, appealing because you have that sense of trust and comradery. For me it’s such a natural inclination to work with people I know.”

Film & Music • 25 Feb 2013 •

An interview with the writer/director of A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III



“We call it ‘hip-hop-funk-rock’”: an interview with The Vibonics BAHAR BANAEI MUSIC EDITOR Toronto hip-hop funk-rock fusion band The Vibonics have been a growing name throughout Canada since they were founded in 2010. The band members are Alborz Mohtashami, aka Crossword, Tacha on vocals, Alfred Chow on guitar, Jose on bass, Laura on keys and Scott on drums. I sat down with Alborz and Tacha to hear what they had to say about the Toronto music scene. The Strand: Why don’t you tell me a bit about the genre you guys play? Tacha: I think we promote a fearless approach to music, because we’re not afraid to tackle any genre whether it be hip-hop or rock n’ roll. We even have Soca fusion in there.

Film & Music • 25 Feb. 2013 •

Alborz: We call it “hip-hop funk-rock.” It is really fearless and we are all believers that music is a powerful tool that can cause revolutions and shape our world.


TS: Do you think it is difficult to operate in the Toronto music scene? T: The Toronto hip-hop industry is like a big high school. You have to know the right clique of people. It may not be what the person is looking for, but if you know the right people then you’re probably going to get in there over somebody who doesn’t A: I think that Toronto is very much an “old man’s country” because a lot of the people who are in charge are the same small group of people who monopolize the media outlets. I’m sad to say they view hip-hop as gang music. The spots are very marginalized to begin with, since there’s only a handful of radio stations. One of our college radio stations got shut down last year. Our only commercial hip-hop station got converted into a top 40 station. So basically if you’re not doing this top 40 thing then you’re really not getting a shine in this business. With that said, there’s a lot of hip-hop happening in the underground and I salute people who are helping hip-hop artists, people like Jake the Snake, Jesse Ohtake, DJ MelBoogie, and Theo3!

T: I look at it as a mine of untapped talent. There are so many unexposed artists that are so phenomenal in this city. It’s unfortunate, really. TS: Do you think that this applies only to Toronto or to other cities as well? A: I wouldn’t really know, because the ground is always greener on the other side. When you go somewhere these people haven’t seen you and you’re a fresh face to them. Someone’s going to see your name on a flyer and it says “Toronto” and it’s human nature to be curious about what’s on the other side T: But you know, I was shocked when we went to Michigan there was this sheer love and excitement. I guess it depends on the crowd you’re doing it for, but in Michigan it was a complete love fest. A: There’s truth to what Tacha is saying, there’s not that support in Toronto. Like in Montreal people will be like “Simple Plan’s the shit.” I really can’t find that here. T: In the States, their whole community

is pushing for them, but here that sense of community isn’t there, unless it’s super underground, like Toronto gangster rap. But you’re not going to get any shine for being a part of Toronto gangster rap. TS: Why don’t you tell us about the show you have planned for Feb 28th? T/A: We’re playing at the Piston with a band called the Upperclass Men. What’s cool about this show is that they are similar to us—they’re a live hip-hop band. They’re from Brooklyn and they’re a bit more electronic. It’ll be cool because we‘ve played with rock bands or hip-hop bands, but rarely a fusion of the two. We will also be playing with 12th Letter and DJ James Redi, one of the hardest-working DJs in this city. TS: Any final words? T: If I have any advice for any artist in Toronto is: Get. Out. There. Don’t fall into the promoter trap. Toronto is home and I love it but people aren’t going to respect you until you do something somewhere else.

Last to leave the party KATE LATIMER STAFF WRITER You’re swaying alone in a gym; the floors are sticky from spilled Coke, a disco ball spins slowly on the ceiling, and crumpled streamers cover the floor. Like at every great party, you see it to its slow, bitter finish. You realize that music is playing. What is that? Ah yes, New Order’s new album Lost Sirens. Like the lone dancer in this story, New Order is the last to leave the party. Perhaps like their New Wave brothers Talking Heads, they would have been better off quitting 20 years ago, when they were still pumping out music that seemed contemporary and effortless. Their ability to mold current music trends into a unique New Order sound has been re-

placed by a juggling act constantly on the verge of losing control. With Lost Sirens, New Order has produced the latest iteration of a sound has remained relatively unchanged since before Justin Bieber was born. Their sound, once so new and inventive, now seems dated and forced. The eight-song album came out in North American on Jan 22 to the delight of their fans, who seem to never tire of the 80s nostalgia embedded in the songs. Currently, the band is made up of Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham, and Tom Chapman. After the suicide of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, the remaining members Sumner, Morris, and Peter Hook created New Order. Hook left the band, delaying the production of the new album. These songs were created

during the recording session for their 2005 album Waiting for the Siren’s Call. After eight years of tweaking, they were ready to put out this extra material, slap a name on it and call it an album. Their 9th album begins with “I’ll Stay With You”—a break up song for the new generation, mixing Maroon 5 with James Blunt in order to tell their listeners, “You’re one of a kind…when will you surrender?” They throw in a little of the familiar New Wave sound, but the electric guitar sounds too casual, as if it’s stopping by for drinks but refusing to commit to dinner. It fades out with an echo, like my hope for this album. “Sugar Cane” and “Hellbent” seem like songs I’ve heard before; songs I’ve bopped my head to at teenage birthday parties in basements. The highlight of the album for me was “Californian Grass”; the lyr-

ics are poetic instead of contrived, while the guitar and vocals glide along together. For a moment, the effortlessness of the previous albums seems to come out in this song. The drums kicked out a beat that Cyndi Lauper couldn’t sing along to if she tried. The last ten seconds are devoted to playing with sound, dedicating these final spacey seconds to Pink Floyd and Supertramp. The album finishes with “I Told You So”, a remix of a song from their last album. If you really want to listen to New Order I suggest you hop into a time machine and listen to them in their prime: “Blue Monday”, “Regret”, and my ultimate favourite, “Ceremony”. They’ve jumped the shark, so to speak, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the brilliance of their work, back when they were great.


Why did the reader turn the page?

Stranded takes on plagiarism SOMEBODY ELSE

ing the author or source, of another person’s original work, whether such work is made up of code, formulas, ideas, language, research, strategies, writing Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “puror other form”; Yale views plagiarism as “the use of loining and publication” of another author’s “lananother’s work, words, or ideas without attribution” guage, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the repwhich included “using a source’s language without resentation of them as one’s own original work. The quoting, using information from a source without atidea remains problematic with unclear definitions tribution, and paraphrasing a source in a form that and unclear rules. The modern concept of plagiarism stays too close to the original”; Princeton perceives as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Euplagiarism as the deliberate use of “someone else’s rope only in the 18th century, particularly with the language, ideas, or other original Romantic movement. (not common-knowledge) matePlagiarism is considered acarial without acknowledging its demic dishonesty and a breach of source”; Oxford characterizes journalistic ethics. It is subject to plagiarism as the use of “a writer’s sanctions like expulsion. ideas or phraseology without givPlagiarism is not a crime per se ing due credit”; and Brown exbut in academia and industry it is plains plagiarism to be “approa serious moral offence, and cases priating another person’s ideas or of plagiarism can constitute copywords (spoken or written) without right infringement. attributing those word or ideas to In the 1st century, the use of their true source”. As well-known the Latin word plagiarius (literally institutions, they reflect a common kidnapper), to denote someone academic definition of plagiarism. stealing someone else’s work, was Lack of citation, giving credit, or pioneered by Roman poet Martial, attribution is considered to be plawho complained that another poet giarism. In academics, committing had “kidnapped his verses.” This plagiarism comes down to failing use of the word was introduced to cite sources. into English in 1601 by dramatist Content scraping is copying and Ben Jonson, to describe as a plagiapasting from websites and blogs. ry someone guilty of literary theft. Free online tools are becoming The derived form plagiarism available to help identify plagiawas introduced into English Obviously I didn’t make this. And if you think this is bad, wait ‘til you see the next page. rism, and there is a range of aparound 1620. The Latin plagiārius, “kidnapper”, and plagium, “kidnapping”, has the root appropriate citation. While plagiarism in scholarship proaches that attempt to limit online copying, such plaga (“snare”, “net”), based on the Indo-European and journalism has a centuries-old history, the devel- as disabling right clicking and placing warning banroot -plak, “to weave” (seen for instance in Greek opment of the Internet, where articles appear as elec- ners regarding copyrights on web pages. Instances of plekein, Bulgarian “плета” pleta, Latinplectere, all tronic text, has made the physical act of copying the plagiarism that involve copyright violation may be work of others much easier. addressed by the rightful content owners sending a meaning “to weave”). For professors and researchers, plagiarism is punDMCA removal notice to the offending site-owner, It is common knowledge in academia and in onished by sanctions ranging from suspension to termior to the ISP that is hosting the offending site. line encyclopedia-based communities that modern Detecting plagiarism even by detection tools can concepts behind plagiarism appeared in the 18th nation, along with the loss of credibility and perceived integrity. Charges of plagiarism against students and still be difficult, as plagiarism is often held to not century. Because scholars, professors, and editors of professors are typically heard by internal disciplinonly be the mere copying of text, but also the presenonline collaborative articles must understand citation systems such as MLA very well in order to avoid ary committees, which students and professors have tation of another’s ideas as one’s own, regardless of the specific words or constructs used to express that getting into severe copyright troubles, these types of agreed to be bound by. Plagiarism is defined in multiple ways in higher idea. However, many so-called plagiarism detection people must be extremely familiar with the history of plagiarism as a sort of “given” or even “built-in” education institutions and universities. To name a services can only detect blatant word-for-word copfew: Stanford sees plagiarism as “use, without giving ies of text. knowledge. Within academia, plagiarism by students, profes- reasonable and appropriate credit to or acknowledgWIKIMEDIA COMMONS

sors, or researchers is considered academic dishonesty or academic fraud, and offenders are subject to academic censure, up to and including expulsion. In journalism, plagiarism is considered a breach of journalistic ethics, and reporters caught plagiarizing typically face disciplinary measures ranging from suspension to termination of employment. Some individuals caught plagiarizing in academic or journalistic contexts claim that they plagiarized unintentionally, by failing to include quotations or give the

Headline here, make it long to fill space “Someone should get a good ‘lol’ out of it”


Drop caps are out apparently, which sucks, ‘cause I always got a kick out of a big letter at the start. National Geo styles, yo. Blah blah blah something pertinent, something funny, something topical, something local. Jokes about reading week would be good, reading week happened I guess though quickly. It’s always too quick isn’t it? Whatever. Listening to Tom Waits right now, Tom Waits, Tom Waits, Tom Waits, totally can’t type as fast as I should. Does that make me old? If I ever have kids (gods forbid) will they be like “Dad, you suck”? Probably but whatever. Oh dear filler filler filler yeah yeah yeah shoulda got some help for this oh well hindsight is twentytwenty. Well I guess I got help now, he’s looking up a picture. Pictures are good, pictures take up space. Space space space. Space wasting is my speciality. I’m really quite good at it. Perhaps this is just me stroking my ego but I just wrote like seven lines without missing a beat. I’m probably definitely a dickhead. So much of a

This is Hagen Reischel.

dickhead that my entire section is a series of groaners; just horrible, absolutely putrid, shitty, shitty, lazy jokes that suck but someone should get a good “lol”

out of it. Maybe I’m stretching my luck. But it’s kind of almost funny, I guess, if you stop and think about it. Really stretch the imagination. I gotta get a pull quote in here. A pull quote is tacky but fills hella space. Wow I really have no idea how to format that. Sorry Patrick. [No worries, fixed that for you. –Ed.] Huhfeuhfh8gfbnf9 running pretty dry on filler now. Time for some italics to make it look like I’m actually writing something important. A one-sentence paragraph works too. Time for a picture. Pictures are key. You know what would be awesome? If this made it to the CUP newswire. The wire is for content when you don’t got none. But I showed them. I just wrote a whole original article. Filler filler maybe I’ll try keyboard shortcuts: filler filler filler filler. Much easier.



There’s a joke on the other side

What I (and probably you) did over reading week A. STUDENT METROPASS USER

This week in Stranded

THINK YOU'RE FUNNY? OF COURSE YOU DO. Apply to be next year’s Stranded editor for the chance to titillate Vic students on the regular. Email us at with the subject line “I want be the funny person” or something similar by March 5th and you’ll probably win! Wow!


Content plagiarized from Wikipedia Empty space Last-minute panic Poorly executed graphs Lena Dunham’s face

The Strand Issue 11  

VOL. 55 ISSUE 11

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