October 17, 2011
Photo essay, page 6 Andrew Tan
Franklin Endorses $348,000 Enrolment Study Trent paid equivalent of 50 domestic students’ tuition to find out why students attend university elsewhere Zach Ruiter with files from Anthony Gulston
In 2007, Trent University signed a three-year contract with a private American higher education consulting firm, NoelLevitz, based in Iowa and Colorado, to study ways of increasing enrolment. According to the Noel-Levitz website, it is a partner to more than 2,700 private and public colleges and universities. Although President Stephen Franklin arrived during the last year of the Noel-Levitz study at Trent, he is no stranger to Noel-Levitz, having sat on an advisory group for the Noel Levitz study at the University of Calgary. Franklin explained, “We did a bunch of what I would call market segmentation at the time it was something quite new in universities.” Arthur tried to get a copy of the report, but was informed via e-mail by Provost and VP Academic and Gary Boire that “the study produced by Noel-Levitz is considered proprietary information as it contains competitive data that could have an impact on the revenue and reputation of Trent.” Was the $348,274.91 in US funds well spent? President
Franklin stated, “I believe so.” For Franklin, the report provided valuable information on “territory management.” The study also suggested sending out “different packages of material” and “different ways to contact students” which included personal phone calls from the President and other faculty to prospective students who had indicated Trent as their first choice but had not confirmed. Franklin said that the off-limits study contains “marketing and different research that was done on student profiles and different demographics,” including a survey called Why Trent and Why Not Trent.” He explained that “Why Not Trent is pretty straightforward. Some of our facilities are not thought to be very impressive by students, they come and they find the residences and the library not as interesting as they thought they might.” The Noel-Levitz report provided the backbone for the 2010 Enrollment and Retention Report, which was spearheaded by Meri-Kim Oliver, who was at the time Trent’s Associate VP Student Services and Acting-Registrar, and who Trent incidentally failed to retain. On behalf of Trent, Oliver’s testimonial can still be found
on the Noel-Levitz website. In it, Oliver states that “a new level of professionalism is apparent throughout campus.” She continues, “despite environmental and fiscal pressures, we are going to retain our students and help them succeed because that’s the model we believe in. Working with NoelLevitz is helping us meet these goals.” Thus far, Trent has not met its projected enrolment targets. Franklin claims that the announcement of academic cuts is not having an adverse effect on enrolment numbers. He said, “I think that there are a number of factors that have contributed to our lack of participation in this growth…and if we could just get our share then we could probably forgo some of these budget reduction exercises.” Franklin expects budget reduction exercises, otherwise known as cuts, to compensate for failing to meet enrollment targets. Franklin explains, “Well, if it’s 152 students that is 1.5 million dollars, each student is worth ten thousand dollars.” He cautioned that “not only do we not have those students this year, we don’t have them next year unless we can grow next year to recover from the ones we didn’t get this year.”
in the paper this week: Volume 46 | Issue 6 | October 17, 2011
Masthead by Jackson Creek Press 751 George Street • Suite 104 Peterborough, ON • K9H 7P5 tel: 705-745-3535 email@example.com • www.trentarthur.ca
Co-Editors Business Manager Iris Hodgson Miranda Rigby
News Reporters Andy Cragg
Wesley Collett-Taylor Mya Rushnell
Photography Andrew Tan
Board of Directors Chair • Kate Taylor Secretary • Caitlin Currie Treasurer • Not yet named Members at Large • Matt Rappolt, Brett Throop, Joel Young
Contributors Zach Ruiter •Janna Payne Aaron Campbell • James Wilkes Brian Lukaszewicz
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Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of Arthur staff, volunteers or its Board of Directors. Contributors are encouraged to attend the story meetings Tuesday at 7pm or contact the Editors to discuss story ideas. All article submissions are due Monday at noon. Letters, Listings, Classifieds, and Events are due Thursday at 9am and should be sent to listings@trentarthur. ca. Advertisers are encouraged to contact advertising@ trentarthur.ca for ad rates and contracts.
Peterborough’s 99 Problems p. 4 - journalism & union bashing p. 5- male volunteer shortage & remembering Jordan p. 6 - 99% & BC’s missing women p. 7 - China is booming p. 9 - fetishes p. 8 - Robots: chocolate, fighting p . 10 - radio p. 11 - mining awareness
“New” Media Requires New Faculty By Miranda Rigby
In volume 42 issue 24, March 31, 2008, Arthur Newspaper’s Kate Taylor wrote: “In the wake of announcing a $10.5 million dollar operating deficit, Trent has also announced that it will not be replacing retiring tenured faculty.” Almost three years have gone by since this article was published, and not much has changed since. With very few (new) full time professors and some very new programming, Trent is walking a thin line between being innovative and becoming repetitive. Trent University has become host to a variety of new programs in the past few years. These degrees repackage existing courses from various departments under new names to increase student enrollment without increasing costs. Most recently, Trent has committed to a joint initiative between Loyalist’s eJournalism program and Trent’s Cultural Studies and English departments, among others. Both schools hope to combine forces in order to provide students an “open door to job opportunities.” As a graduate of Trent University’s English Literature program and Loyalist College’s Advertising program, I have experienced the benefits and downfalls of both College and University education. Previous media coverage has often been skewed toward the benefits rather than the downfalls of combining the two backgrounds into one “joint degree advanced diploma.” I see the side of the argument that University students can find internships, can get the experience of working in the field, can work one-on-one with professors who still have their hands in the business of journalism – but I wonder if Trent’s departments are equipped to fulfill their part of the bargain.
One Loyalist College Journalism alumna I have spoken with specifically stated how much the program has changed since she graduated only five years ago, “[from what I’ve been told the Journalism program now has] even more emphasis on students becoming well-rounded multi-media reporters. Writing, photography, editing, design and web are closely linked, even more than before.” According to my own research, Loyalist College’s school newspaper has become completely digital which only proves to me the attempts at innovative learning Loyalist has been making. It is not the fault of Trent departments that they have not been allowed to hire new professors. I will also say that not every Trent professor is completely technologically inept. But these restrictions on new permanent positions mean that Trent is ill-equipped to recruit and retain younger academics who will have more experience working in new media. In truth, journalism has changed so much, even since 2008, that current professors can’t be field experts and they shouldn’t be expected to be. Even without new courses tailored to journalism, administering a new program with the same staffing formula will spread departments even more thinly. This is something that should be of concern to all students. If Trent wishes to increase profits by adding programs, it should be investing in more faculty as well. Students who are planning to work as journalists need instructors who weren’t already teaching when The Medium is the Message was first in print. In order to be attractive to new students, Trent needs to provide departments with the resources to hire new professors.
[Trigger warning] A letter of home I recently went home, after four years of being too scared to return. I did not know if any of my family still lived here, I just needed to see the place. When I last left, it was in the middle of the night. I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving, I just left. I stopped answering phone calls, stopped replying to emails, and walked away. Immediately upon my return, I caught the scent of the lake; the hint of rotting fish and drying aquatic plants. The mix always brings me back to this place. Seaweed always smells worse dry than damp; same can be said for rotting fish. As I began to poke around the property, I saw the gooseberry bushes I remember plundering as a child, the massive garden I once tended, and most memorable of all, the fire pit my family spent so much time telling our stories over. These are the
memories I always try to think about, or tell to friends when they are telling me of their childhood, but I know they’re not accurate. Eventually I came back to the front. As I was walking toward the lake, a mere 20 meters from our house, I saw the first of two horrible sights. The first was my father, labouring away on some task. He didn’t see me. Here was the man who hit me, hated me, and the reason I left. When I first came out to him as queer, I was told by many friends that his hatred and disgust would eventually subside and be replaced with love and respect. I waited four long years filled with constant abuse and violence for that promised change. It never came. Every time he hit me, I would say to him: “One day, I’ll just pick up and leave. I won’t answer your calls, I won’t answer your emails, and I’ll just
cut you off.” The day I left, that cold March night, I think I was proud of myself. The second sight that stole my breath was the old, rusty, manual-swing boat launch. The house was separated from the lake by a small tar road. On the lake side was a large concrete excursion into the water which was used to lower small boats into the warm waters below. No one used it beyond us, and we barely did. Every time he hit me, I always thought of committing suicide by hanging myself off the upper pier. He would see it, everyone would. No one could ignore me. One night my sibling found me crying at the base of the launch. I was cut, bleeding, and bruised; the pain was a joint effort in my father’s and my own hatred. I frequently, to this day, wonder what would have happened if my sibling hadn’t found me; would I have
followed through on my attempt at my life? Sometimes I think I should have just done it. I want to face him one day. I want to show up on his doorstep and say, “Look at me, I am something good, somebody good, important to someone.” I don’t know if that is true. I don’t know if I even want to do that. Why the hell would I want to face him? The most painful thoughts are not of my memories, but some struggles I face today. Why do I spend so much time thinking of him? How can I have so many great and wonderful people in my life, more people than I have time for (sadly), yet spend nights wondering about this man? I don’t know if I want the answer. Anonymous person with shit to sort out
Trend toward open access research continues at Princeton By Brett Throop
The open access movement got a big boost last month as academic heavyweight Princeton University decided to keep the copyright for its researchers’ work in the public domain. Subscriptions to journals, where most academic research gets published, can cost as much as $25,000 a year or hundreds of dollars per article, according to online academic news source The Conversation. That’s a huge cost to universities and it leaves most people who don’t have institutional subscriptions unable to access publicly funded research. Despite the high access
costs, researchers are usually not paid for publication in scholarly journals. Open access is a movement to provide free worldwide access to academic works, something that’s become increasingly practical as academic publishing moves more and more online. Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University followed Princeton’s lead in October, calling open access an “increasingly democratic system for scholarly communication and the dissemination of knowledge.” Other early adopters include the U.S. National Library of Medicine, British scientific publisher BioMed Central and, in
Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) initiative Synergies. Two academic journals are based at Trent: The Journal of Undergraduate Studies at Trent (available free online) and the Journal of Canadian Studies (founded and edited at Trent but published through the University of Toronto Press). Subscriptions to the Journal of Canadian Studies are available through Project Muse, whose journal collections cost North American universities of Trent’s size as much as $18,300 a year. “The rapidly increasing costs of scholarly
publications has created an unsustainable system in which it is impossible for any academic institution to adequately support the information needs of their faculty and students,” the Trent University Library notes on its website. “The situation is particularly critical for smaller colleges and universities, and institutions in the developing world, which are having difficulty maintaining the journal subscriptions they need.” As the debts of universities and the governments which fund them keep growing, open access may be one key to their survival.
Volume 46 | Issue 6 | October 17, 2011
No new courses created for Trent’s journalism program Trent-Loyalist initiative pending approval By Anthony P. Gulston
Journalism at Trent has traditionally been a popular enterprise for students who are working on their degrees. Many students are hoping for a chance to grab at the holy grail of Trent journalism: the CBC Radio Gzowski Internship. This internship has been successful at bringing lateral thinkers to the CBC. In the fall edition of the Trent University Alumni Association magazine, there was a spotlight put on many of the Trent alumni who now work in media. Most of them cited “critical thinking” as one of the most important skills they developed at Trent. Now, with low enrollment, Trent is introducing a new joint venture in Journalism with Loyalist College. The new program will be coordinated by the Chair of the English Department, Elizabeth Popham, and Chair of the Cultural Studies Department, Victoria de Zwaan. The two departments will jointly manage the journalism program. If the curriculum is approved by the Ministry of Education, the program will start in the 2012-2013 Academic Year. Increasing Trent’s enrollment numbers is a major motivator for the creation of this program. “The upper administration are looking for places to develop new possible areas of programming in order to attract
students,” Victoria de Zwaan said. Arthur asked President Franklin why Trent needs a journalism program when, according to alumni, Trent already offers the skills needed to be a successful journalist. He said “I think that’s the reason. We want it [critical awareness] made available to more students, we want to grow the campus [and] we want to provide additional ways for people to experience the Trent philosophical approach to education.” He added, “We have our pedagogical strategies, [and] our funding model requires us to think a little bit about ways to attract new students.” According to a draft of the Academic Initiative for the new journalism program, it “will generate a substantial financial surplus in every year of its operation.” The journalism majors at Trent will spend their first summer of their four year program in Belleville to become comfortable with the Loyalist media facilities and their newswire, Q-Net News. Then they spend two years at Trent, spending summers at Loyalist, then the third year is spent at Loyalist while the summer is at Trent, making up credits for their degree. Finally, the journalism students do a “capstone” project that incorporates their chosen major, and is guided by a Trent professor and a Loyalist professor. Journalism students will be able to choose any major available to Trent students. In
addition, they will take a “Trent Journalism core (Ethics, Critical Thinking, Media Studies, Science and Society).” There was little certainty from Victoria de Zwaan about whether the current first year PHIL 1002H – Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry: Moral and Political Philosophy would suffice for an ethics course, or whether a new specialized journalism geared ethics course would be required. According to a draft of the Academic Initiative for the new journalism program, the program will draw upon “the teaching and research expertise in journalism ethics held by Dr. Kathryn Norlock, Trent’s inaugural Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics.” Other than this possibility, there is no plan to create new courses or to hire permanent faculty specific to this program. “At the moment we are waiting on a staffing plan”, de Zwaan said. She noted that for new programs, “all you have to do is find someone to teach the first-year courses,” and added that it would probably be filled by contract staff. Cultural Studies has offered a media emphasis for years, and has wanted to expand its course offerings, but – due to Trent’s hiring freeze – they haven’t been able to do so. The department is interested in the journalism program as a way to provide this content to students. “We don’t have staffing
to do this, but we need to be offering these [media] courses,” de Zwaan said. One feature of the new program could be the establishment of “a Peterborough bureau of Q-Net News”, which is Loyalist’s newswire that is operated by journalism students in the Bay of Quinte region. There is a mention to Media Studies students having access to the “12 MacIntosh computers with the appropriate Journalism software” in the draft of the Academic Initiative, but de Zwaan was unsure of whether individual students would have access to the Q-Net Peterborough bureau. The estimated cost of this lab is $42,000. At a talk organized by Arthur last month, President Franklin asked journalist Andrea Houston to provide some suggestions for this new program. He wondered, “Is there a skill set or a kind of way of thinking that we can really imagine ourselves as leaders in?” Houston had a quick response: “advocacy journalism”. She continued by saying, “You are using journalism as a medium to execute whatever social revolution you have in mind or want,” and “anyone is an advocacy journalist if you’re passionate about something.” This critical perspective is one that that de Zwaan hopes will result from Trent students integrating their chosen majors with their journalism courses.
Back-to-work legislation undermines legal right to strike
Harper government stopped Air Canada bargaining too early Sara Ostrowska
The federal government has not hesitated to get involved in national labour disputes in the past few months. With a Commons majority, decisions are being made despite what the other parties have to say, and our legal right to collective bargaining is being threatened. Within hours of the Air Canada flight attendants announcing a strike deadline, a spokeswoman for Labour
Minister Lisa Raitt expressed disappointment and concern for the economy, while alluding to government intervention as a possible solution. The 6,800 flight attendants have been without a contract since March 31, and are seeking improvements in wages, pension and working conditions. 65% of the voting union members rejected a second tentative deal last week and served strike notice for October 13. In June, when Air Canada’s customer service agents
walked off the job, Labour Minister Raitt also threatened to force strikers back to work, even though there were few flight delays. Consequently, a settlement was quickly reached prior to legislation being tabled. Around the same time, Raitt introduced back-to-work legislation to end a dispute at Canada Post that shut down the post office. These actions of hasty government intervention threaten our legal right to collective bargaining and set a precedent. By using the “fragile economy” card as a justification for taking away our legal rights to bargain and strike, is it possible that we are being convinced that our rights are only important so long as they don’t get in the way of big business or the convenience of others? It seems that many people are against striking workers because the work stoppage may affect their own lives, and because they think that the workers are just being greedy and should go back to work like everyone else has to. What people forget is that unions were created to protect working people. Unions have been responsible for the rise of the middle class. They help workers make fair wages so that they have more spending power, which leads to the increasing demand for things, which leads to the creation of more jobs and economic growth. Unions brought us many things we hold true and dear, such as unpaid and paid leave, the minimum wage, weekends, and the end to child labour. Taking away these rights and using back-to-work legislation sends a dangerous message to employers that they don’t need to negotiate with their workers.
The Voluntary Marginalization In Memory of Jordan Grahame: A Personal Reflection of Male Volunteers Janna Payne
Why do men avoid volunteerism and mentorship?
At some point during the month of September, I attended a volunteer fair that was being hosted in the Great Hall, located in Champlain College. Having enjoyed Clubs and Groups Day one week earlier, I approached the event with similar expectations in terms of appealing groups that would be on display, and a sustained enthusiasm about doing something productive within the community. My friend and I came down the steps only to find a sparsely populated room of individuals, most of whom were representatives from different organizations waiting for someone to stop by their booth. I was admittedly bothered by the poor attendance. I had hoped more people would be interested in giving their energy and time. In retrospect, I could rationalize and argue that I went too early, or that most students had class, or that everyone but me was involved in some other service organization on campus. However, my idealistic nature lends itself to only so much naivety. In any case, on we went to explore to see which groups fell in line with our individual passions. Now it is bothersome enough to go to an event that is poorly attended, but it was more so because I began to feel as if I was the only male student in the room (that I could distinguish in any case). As a result of this, I soon started to feel like the token “male volunteer” in the room. More than once, I was told by representatives that their organization is in need of male mentors for their program. Like a salesperson trying to pitch a product you really don’t want, these people tried as best as they could to get me to apply for a position to be amongst their volunteer cohort. Granted, I appreciated the objectives of these entities and I wanted to do my part in making a difference, but I still failed to send in an application of my own. I felt bad obviously. I’m feeling guilty as I write this article, but at the time, I hadn’t settled into a routine yet (plus I already signed up for a million and one other clubs the week before and wasn’t sure how I was going to make them all fit) and I did not want to sign up for something I wasn’t sure I could dedicate extended time to. In another context, I was scared I would not be a great mentor to whomever I was assigned. My personality doesn’t lend itself to being “off the heezy” very often and I would rather not be responsible for scarring a child for life by being socially awkward. Still, I was curious as to why male mentors/volunteers are so rare in some organizations. I spoke with Catherine Bailie McGrath from Champions for Youth Peterborough and she indicated that they are currently having success with male volunteers but she conceded that it’s “an ongoing challenge with our program”. Nancie Im-Bolter, the Faculty Advisor for the Trent Penpal Program, told Arthur that there are only a few men involved in the program this year. She speculates that it might be because the program tends to attract students who are planning to attend teacher’s college, which has a higher ratio of women to men. Having looked at a couple factors, I have come up with some possible reasons for the lack of male volunteers. According to globecampus.ca, there are twice as many women as men enrolled at Trent. As such, men will inevitably be a minority in most activities on campus. I also considered the matter of campus organizations as a whole. Is it possible that men have more stimulating options to choose from that makes volunteerism that less appealing, or is it just that the “average” male is conditioned to think little of mentorship/ volunteerism? There are many variables that may account for the lacklustre manner in which males are seen to be involved in service-oriented activities, and maybe we should spend a little more time trying to figure out why.
Death is confrontational. Andtoday I am confronted by the suicide of Jordan Grahame (April 20, 1988 to September 19, 2011), a good friend and former student at Trent University. I am confronted by why he killed himself and whether or not I knew the real him. I am confronted by his difference, complexity, and paradoxical nature. I am confronted with having someone I genuinely identified with thrust into another category of having sudden and inextricable otherness. Most of all, I am confronted by how his suicide fits in with all the philosophical oneliners I’ve been spouting for the last however many years. How does his suicide fit in with my social values, with my insistence on choosing a comic narrative over a tragic narrative? I’m still not sure, and although I write with more questions than answers, here’s my best attempt: Tragedy relies on victims, scapegoats and enemies. Comedy invites us to recognize ourselves in all of humanity—in victims, scapegoats, enemies, and saviours. Tragedy relies on an all-powerful Saviour. Comedy invites us to recognize God (or whatever word we use) in energy or in our moments of deep connection. Tragedy invites us and them divisions; highlighting otherness. Comedy invites us to recognize ourselves in the shared web of humanity, ourselves in the Other. Comedy invites us to recognize ourselves in Jordan. Tragedy invites us to destroy and eliminate pain. Comedy invites us to confront the mystery of pain in our own lives. Tragedy invites us to confine, name, label, categorize, imprison. Comedy invites alternative imaginaries, possibilities and stories. Tragedy invites investigation, turning Jordan into a case study. Comedy invites us to set Jordan free (or recognize he has been set free). Tragedy makes it okay to say “poor Jordan” or to join in a unanimous “aww. Comedy welcomes celebration, paradox, mystery and tension. All said, I can’t claim to know Jordan’s take, and I can’t claim I always choose comedy over tragedy. What I can say is that when I do choose comedy over tragedy, I feel a little more connected to myself, to others, and to the interconnected web of life. I feel a little more connected to Jordan—to his energy, his witty banter, his generosity or the parts of him that are being cultivated around me. Thanks be to Jordan.
Volume 46 | Issue 6 | October 17, 2011
Are you getting screwed? Here are the Peterborough 99%
As Arthur followed the progress (and critique) of the problematically-titled “Occupy” movement, we wondered how people in Peterborough would relate. How similar, or how different, are Trent students’ concerns than the US-based submissions on wearethe99percent.tumblr.com? We sent staff photographer Andrew Tan into the field to find out.
Groups Withdraw Participation in BC’s Missing Women Inquiry Zach Ruiter
The Missing Women Inquiry hearings in BC have seen numerous intervener groups withdraw participation in the hearings starting this week, over what many believe is an unjust process. A statement on the BC Civil Liberties website notes that 21 of the 22 participating non-government organizations asked the Premier to “intervene to fix the broken Women’s Commission.” Speaking to CBC’s The Current, Harsha Walia, project coordinator of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, claimed their group has been advocating for an inquiry for over twenty years. Among its members are women who are survivors of the Robert Pickton farm, where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women were sexually assaulted, murdered, and dismembered. Many of the women involved in the Centre, according to Walia, have key information that would benefit the inquiry and have been trying unsuccessfully to report violence against them to the police over the twenty years. The BC government has provided the police and inquiry with over 19 full-time lawyers, but denied funding to provide legal representation to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, which the BC government hopes will represent itself without legal counsel. According to Walia, “the way the inquiry is structured has systemically marginalized the voices of women. A lot of the focus has been on the lack of funding for lawyers, we actually asked our membership if they wanted to participate in this inquiry which is actually an adversarial structure. Most women said no, they didn’t want to take the stand and have police lawyers shred their stories to pieces because the way the inquiry is structured right now is basically a trial, where the cops are saying they are not guilty and the women are going to be told they are not credible.”
A look inside booming China
I recently spent six weeks in China as part of a trip focused in part upon gaining an understanding of the current state of communist China. Since returning, various people have asked me for my impressions of China, and so I have undertaken here to sketch some of what I learned about the country, based upon my own study and observations and upon conversations with various people, ranging from party officials to academics to working people. One thing that I’ve learned about China is that any discussion of its politics, society and economy quickly elicits controversy and strong opinions. In sketching my impressions here, though my remarks will undoubtedly fall on one or the other side of various heated debates. I aim simply to present China as I experienced it, and to attempt to encourage understanding of a fascinating country which is rapidly resuming its historic position as the world’s leading society. Where the dictators at? The elephant in the room, when it comes to China, is communism. As such, I was surprised about the level of consumerism present in China, particularly in the cities. Billboards large and small are everywhere, advertising mostly foreign brands. Ipods, computers, cameras, designer clothing, and many other products are sold from new, fancylooking stores. The stores are full of people, especially young people, who are clearly excited by these products and by shopping in general. China’s embracing of capitalism and consumerism has happened gradually over the past thirty-five years, following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. Since then, the ideas of Deng Xiaoping have been the driving force of the policies of the Communist Party of China. Where Mao focused on the establishment of China’s independence as a state, the building of an industrialized socialist economy, the redistribution of land, and other tasks oriented towards building a socialist society, Deng changed the course of China dramatically, embracing the capitalist economic and social ideas that have resulted in growth of both wealth and inequality in China over the last thirty years. Interestingly, the Chinese people have a deep appreciation for both Mao and Deng despite their ideological differences:
for Mao because he “helped the Chinese people stand up” after centuries of oppression by emperors and foreign imperialists, and for Deng because he helped people become wealthy and have more possessions. The Chinese political system, with the leadership of the Communist Party of China inscribed in the constitution, seems dictatorial to outsiders. Legitimacy in the eyes of many Chinese is typically based on the fact that communists have brought to the Chinese people what no ruler had previously delivered: an end to the domination of the majority of the population by fascists, tyrants, landlords, emperors, and foreigners. The Booming Economy After the consumerism, the most omnipresent feature of China is the pace and scale of construction, of buildings, of subways, of trains, of roads, of bridges. The skyline of every city is marked by dozens of large cranes, working from dawn till dusk. The adventurous architecture of many of the new tall buildings is astounding and is especially present in Shanghai. In Chengdu, we rode the subway to the stop called “Financial City” only to discover a half-built collection of new office towers that will dwarf Toronto’s financial district, and will help to absorb some of China’s rapidly urbanizing economy. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and a city of 11 million, opened its first subway line recently and there are three more under construction, and a further three planned. Similarly in Chongqing, a brand new subway was recently opened and fifteen more lines are planned. Not to be outdone, Beijing is building or expanding eleven lines, many of which will be completed ahead of schedule, bringing its total to nineteen lines. Impressive bridges are also a frequent sight and cruising down the Yangtze River, I passed under several of these bridges. I learned later that until 1957 there were no bridges across the Yangtze; trains would have to be ferried across. Now there are sixty bridges across the river, almost all of which were built in the last twenty years. The Environment China’s record on the environment is mixed. From the window of one China’s numerous long-distance trains, I observed numerous massive coal-fired electricity plants
pumping out large clouds of smoke, while nearby a factory produced reams of solar panels. I also saw a few very large solar energy and wind installations built on the edge of the Gobi Desert, surely a sign of China’s energy future. And, more impressively, household rooftop solar hot water heaters were present on most buildings, from the most humble homes to the newest condos. Car ownership is a major problem in China, and one that the government seems to be devoting increasing attention to. There are strict rules about who can own a car, and where it can be driven. And, as noted above, transit infrastructure is being built at a frenzied pace, including new roads to absorb car traffic, but also new trains that will provide an alternative to car travel. Public Life Returning to Canada, the first thing I noticed was a sense of absence, that the airport, then the subway, then the city streets, seemed somehow empty of people. It is hard to find yourself alone any place in China; even the smallest cities seemed to have a few million people. People practice their hobbies in the public parks, playing instruments, singing loudly, practicing calligraphy with water brushes on stone walkways, dancing waltzes and folk dances in groups, practicing martial arts, flying kites, exercising, and a host of other activities. This appreciation for and engagement with art and beauty must, I think, be deeply rooted in China, and is certainly reflected in the centuries old bureaucratic system that rewarded intellectual and scholarly competence. Someone remarked to me that while Japan was ruled by warriors (the Samurai), China was ruled by poets. What China has accomplished in the past sixty years is by any measure incredible. Life expectancy has risen from thirty-five years to over 73 years, and the economy has grown dramatically over this time as well. Marx once wrote that capitalism cannot abide a limit. Having visited China, it seems that China cannot abide a limit either. The interesting question will be how, as opposed to whether, the Chinese government, and the Chinese people, confront and overcome economic and social challenges like safe working conditions, inequality, and democratic reforms.
Volume 46 | Issue 6 | October 17, 2011
Chocolate Robots at The Spill Oct 21 Pizza bros. start rock-and-roll band Matt Jarvis
You know that friend you have, the brow crinkler? The head shaker? The “my knowledge of obscure and irrelevant music is far superior to your forgettable B.A.” eye roller? That’s me. I am that raised-nose, lowlife scumbag. And so, it is bizarre to the maximum that I would even THINK about opening an unwanted email from an unknown musical group, sure to be full of cultural clichés and superfluous name dropping. However, the fact remains that I did open that email. And I’m going to tell you why. Mike, Mutt, and Marco Giresi are the heirs to Giresi’s Pizza in Sarnia, Ontario. Their band, Chocolate Robots, plays weird and sentimental songs, managing to evoke both The Strokes and the Unicorns. So, let’s just set the record straight: pizza family starts rock band to write love songs. Is this real life? Are these guys going to team up with Brian Henson to start filming Ninja Turtles 4? In an age of a million virtual bands, the ones that stand out are the ones with the legendary beginnings. In North America, you can’t get much more legendary then a pizza shop. So, I checked out their website. My first reaction was negative (MySpace?) but I was immediately perked up by a short video of a disembodied Darth Vader head coming out of a pizza box and shooting laser beam eyes all around a room. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for laser beam eyes. They got me. There’s a show coming up at The Spill, and I will be there. But what about you? Are you
intrigued enough to make the trip? I thought I’d give the band a chance for an introduction and maybe get some of your bodies out to party. Arthur: Tell us your strangest story from the family pizza shop. Giresi Bros.: All kinds of strange things have happened over the years there, delivering pizzas to celebrities like Bryan Adams and Conrad Bain (Mr. Drummond) from TVs Different Strokes. I would have to say the strangest would be for years one of the delivery boys was leading a double life. Known to Sarnia teens as Undieman, this guy would hide in the park in some polka dotted underwear and a balaclava [and] when he would spot some kids he would run out of the bushes. In time, mass groups of kids would head into the park after dark to hunt for Undieman like he was some kind of boogey man. This went on for years till the police banned him from the park. He had many fan pages on Facebook, and many kids were sad to see him go. We are in the very early stages of writing a concept album about him. Arthur: Several studies indicate that male births are rare in Sarnia because of toxic chemicals. How do you explain the three of you? Giresi Bros.: I wish I could. I guess we are some of the lucky few. Maybe unlucky depending on who you ask. Though I think it would have been cooler if we were three sisters.
Arthur: If your lives were an 80’s movie, what would the name of your cool guy gang be? Would you wear matching vests? Explain. Giresi Bros.: We’ d call ourselves “Gangrene”, and definitely would wear matching vests, because matching vests are cool. Our band is colour coordinated, because we like the idea of looking like a gang. You don’t see the Outlaws in matching windbreakers. It’s simple, they wear denim and leather. We’re kind of like them, we have a loose dress code, we wear all white and occasionally we will wear our matching Thriller jackets. Arthur: One of your songs contains the theme of rollerblading in lightning storms for love. What other strange and dangerous situations has love forced you into? Giresi Bros.: Everything we do (as a band) is for the love and acceptance of complete strangers. This past Canada Day we filled a U-haul truck up with a generator, our gear,
some lasers and a ton of smoke machines and just pulled up to random parties unleashing a copious amount of smoke and loud music all hours of the night. Everyone was having fun till we woke up someone’s sleeping baby. He unpleasantly asked us to get out of the streets, [and] as he was walking away he made a motion with his finger from one side of his neck to the other indicating what seemed to me that he was going to cut our throats. He was right, it was 2 am and the street was filled of people going mental. We wrapped things up rather quickly at that point. Arthur: Why should we care about your band? Giresi Bros.: Simply because we care about you. We could be [a] big happy family! Chocolate Robots will be at The Spill Coffee Bar w/Guests Friday October 21 @ 9 pm, $5 Songs and more information at chocolaterobots.com or myspace.com/thechocolaterobots
Robotboxingatitsless-than-finest Many of the spectators dress as though they’re in some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland, where leather is the only commodity that survived the fallout.” Brian Lukaszewicz
This is exactly the kind of movie I wish I’d seen when I was nine. Big flashy robots beating the crap out of each other, zany, over-the-top characters controlling them, you just know it would have been the talk of the playground. But while it’s hard to blame the filmmakers for knowing their audience, nine-year-olds don’t always have the best taste in movies. This was one of those examples. Just looking at the previews for Real Steel, one would think that the “Rock Em’ Sock Em’ Robots” license was simply unavailable. Ironically enough though, Real Steel is based the short story Steel by Richard Matheson, the author of such science fiction classics as I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come (Full disclosure: I have read exactly none of those, but both were made into movies). Unfortunately, that first impression wasn’t exactly too far off from the truth. If you’re looking for a satisfying explanation as to why mankind has suddenly taken up robot boxing, you’re not going to get it here. The
whole premise just sort of sits there as the movie gets sillier and sillier and sillier. Robot boxing, at least in this form, seems to have more in common with a demolition derby than the tense human drama of a real boxing match. The weirdest part though, is that in a movie where fighting robots are the primary feature, it’s the background of the fights that actually ends up being the most ridiculous. Many of the spectators dress as though they’re in some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland, where leather is the only commodity that survived the fallout. The competitors act like cartoon villains. And the venues wouldn’t seem out of place in a Street Fighter game. On top of that is the script’s apparent need to narrate everything that’s happening in the action, whether it’s through some truly terrible boxing announcers or Hugh Jackman’s character ringside. I understand that they’re trying to keep the kids in the loop, but the screenwriters did realize that most of the audience members would be able to see the robots fighting, right? It really ended up
undercutting what little drama the fights had in the first place. And that’s unfortunate, because once you get past the silliness of its premise, Real Steel actually features a fairly sweet fatherson story. Child actor Dakota Goyo does an ample job playing opposite Hugh Jackman, and the pair exhibit good chemistry with each other. There are a few schmaltzy lines here and there, but you get the impression that if director Shawn Levy had been better able to execute some of the more absurd elements of the script you might have found a decent movie in that relationship. So if you’re looking for something to take your kid to, you wouldn’t be doing them wrong by taking them to this movie. Otherwise I’d probably skip Real Steel. It doesn’t have that same crossover appeal to an adult audience that so many of the better children’s movies these days are able to achieve. Though, I do have to say, it’s still more coherent than Transformers.
Fetishes and University Reform
Does our reverence for “community” impede our reasoning ability? Aaron Campbell
On his Academic Planning blog, Trent Provost Gary Boire has a recent post about fetishes. He begins with three definitions of the term: (a) “an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency; or (b) any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion: to make a fetish of high grades; or (c) any object or nongenital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.” Boire introduces this notion in the context of academic planning, and suggests that some faculty may have fetishized one aspect of academic interest, such as research, over others, like planning or service. But this is actually a broad issue which could have implications for many aspects of university operation. Fetishes are breaches in the reasoning of staff and students. They cause people to hold contradictory opinions, embrace superstitions, behave destructively, and cling to narrow relational frames. By raising this issue, the Provost presumably hopes to curb fetishistic tendencies, and expand the scope of reason within the academic planning process. His initiative is commendable and should be generalized to rejuvenate the entire concept of higher education. The problem of fetishes in academia is nothing new, and even goes to the origins of liberal universities. Schools like Trent fill a niche that was carved out in the 1500s by Renaissance polymaths and reforming churchmen. It was guys like John Calvin and Martin Luther who established the basic model for what a liberal university does. In those days the Catholics used religious fetishes and superstitions to control populations, while the reformers led a popular resistance that taught people to remove the fetishes from their lives. By throwing out the fetishes they liberated the use of reason. There is some evidence that we’re in a similar situation today. This time it’s not the Catholic church, but rather Wall Street banks who use advertising images to induce fetishistic behaviour. Like in the 1500s we again find ourselves suffering a plague of fetishes deployed to enslave us, but this time its financial authorities who generate this plague. So fetishes are not just one coincidental annoyance that obstructs the rational planning of universities, but rather the original obstacle that universities were established
The question that prompts this little meditation on grotesque desire is this: to what extent has the North American academy become abject? To what extent does it fetishize either research or teaching or service? These three traditional pillars of academic labour seem to have drifted apart over the past few decades and now, in some quarters, only one of the three becomes the object of desire. In an odd mimicry the academy has become a marketplace of individualistic acquisition where members of the Collegium are positioned EITHER to overvalue research (or more specifically research income); OR good teaching is deemed good teaching only if it receives an award; OR service is fixated upon to the exclusion of the other two pillars.” -Gary Boire, “Fetishes” provostsacademicplanningblog.blogspot.com
to help people overcome. And it seems the traditional mandate of reversing fetishism could be reinstated as a priority at these institutions today. Adopting a reformation model, schools could serve students by cleansing them of fetishes. This would mean empowering people to use reason independently, and avoid becoming puppets of the financial system. The school would be there to help people break the fetishistic spells of finance, liberating populations from financial tutelage and speaking out for the free public use of reason. But let’s be realistic for a moment. People are deeply attached to their fetishes, and an anti-fetish university could prove unpopular. Fetishes have become a second nature which people use to identify themselves, whether they are attached to local food or medical research. People love their gadgets and their celebrities, and a university that discouraged these would have very low enrolment. Some fetishes are the exclusive markings of certain cliques, while others are practically obligatory for everyone. There are strange notions which paralyze reasoning around the university, such as all the bizarre talk of “community.” This is not the weak community of accidental shared proximity, which is totally congruent with reason, but refers instead to something imposed as an obscure moral obligation. The free use of reason requires a primary
disassociation that rejects the communitarian presumptions of neoliberals along with all other insidious superstitions. It requires a neutrality that is unfortunately discouraged in the current environment. It seems fetishes have taken the upper hand at the university, and that liberal reason has become rare. This situation can be upsetting, but it also poses an exciting and historical challenge. It calls for a new generation of reformers to repeat the classic Protestant anti-fetish gestures. The return of reason at the university demands the creation of new departments to cut against the grain of entrenched academic specializations. Reason must be secularized anew, liberated from the confines of the old institutional territories which are so often the fetishes of faculty. This secularization can only work if ontology takes the lead, and becomes a mediator for other disciplines. Only ontology can foster a neutral reason independent of all disciplines. An anti-fetish university would arrange academic programming ontologically to oppose the hegemony of banks, which are the source of that master fetish which is money. The function of the school would be to shift sovereignty to individuals, just as the Protestant fathers did before. Perhaps its time to open the window and let the fresh air of secularism awaken individuals once again.
Volume 46 | Issue 6 | October 17, 2011
column Canadians for Mining Awareness
KI calls on Premier McGuinty to stop mining activity on sacred burial sites James Wilkes
Unrestrained mining is once again making headlines in Ontario’s remote northwest. Nearly 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, the OjiCree community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) is embroiled in a new mining conflict they say threatens their traditional lands. Also known as “The People of Big Trout Lake,” KI drew international attention in 2006 when they blocked the Toronto-based Platinex company from conducting exploration drilling on KI territory. A long legal battle landed six community members, including five leaders, in jail in 2008 before their release by the Ontario Court of Appeal two months later. The Ontario government ultimately chose not to recognize a co-governance resolution and instead, Platinex walked away with a $5 million settlement at Ontario taxpayers’ expense. KI Chief Donny Morris is again calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty to take immediate action to force another company, God’s Lake Resources, to stop work on a mining claim at nearby Sherman Lake. KI is outraged that exploration has begun in a sacred area despite the community’s established protocols for industrial development. “Our ancestors deserve a place where they can rest
undisturbed,” Morris said. “People everywhere understand that cemeteries are sacred places. But in Sherman Lake, they want to put a gold mine on one.” In July, KI citizens voted almost unanimously in favour of a process that requires outside governments and corporations to obtain KI consent before beginning activities that may impact KI lands. KI’s protocol and its application of the right to free, prior, and informed consent is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is now a signatory. In support of KI, Craig Benjamin at Amnesty International wrote: “The rights of indigenous peoples in respect to lands, territories and sacred spaces are affirmed in treaties, the Constitution, international human rights standards and an extensive body of decisions by the Supreme Court.” “The problem is that the provincial government continues to treat these fundamental rights as an afterthought, to be considered only once crucial decisions have already been made giving resource extraction priority over other land uses,” Benjamin said. Last month, KI called on McGuinty to stop the current exploration, apologize to the community and promise that no further work is undertaken on KI homeland until the process to identify and protect sacred sites is complete. They also demanded that mining companies comply with
KI protocol. God’s Lake Resources president Eduard Ludwig issued a statement saying he would not honour KI’s request to stop exploration and he demanded proof of burial sites before delaying his search for gold. KI spokesperson John Cutfeet said KI does not have the resources to speed up identification of those sites simply for the company’s convenience. “It’s disrespectful to order elders to make identifications because you want to get out on the land,” Cutfeet explained. Despite their frustration with mining companies, KI’s leadership is angered that the province continues to issue mineral claims without first consulting the community. KI is still waiting for Queen’s Park to honour a 2008 promise to create a panel to resolve longstanding mining issues on their traditional lands. “We call on our supporters to recognize and respect this declaration,” KI said in a statement after their recent community referendum. “We call on you to fulfill your duty as treaty people to take action, under our direction, to hold your governments accountable to respecting this declaration.” “Please stand with us as we assert and implement our Indigenous Laws and responsibilities. Together we can protect this sacred water for all people, all animals, all plants and all life.”
Volume 46 | Issue 6 | October 17, 2011
Listings 2011 Bring Food Home Conference From October 27-29. Farmers, processors, health care professionals, educators, and government officials will be coming together at Trent University in Peterborough for a unique food conference. On Thursday, October 27th, Bring Food Home will host the exciting “Let’s Talk About Food” event, which will take place at Peterborough’s ShowPlace Performance Centre. The event will feature scholar and food policy expert, Mark Winne; the Director of Sustain UK, Jeanette Longfield; Indigenous scholar and educator, Dawn Morrison; writer and broadcaster Jon Steinman; and a welcome address by Mayor Daryl Bennett. Tickets can be purchased online at www.bringfoodhome. com, or at the Showplace Box office for $12, or $5 for students and seniors. Seasoned Spoon workshops: There will be a gluten-free baking workshop at the Seasoned Spoon Wednesday, October 19th at 4:30pm. The cost is $5 or pay what you can- all are welcome! There will be a cooking with Ancient grains workshop at the Seasoned Spoon on Tuesday, November 1st at 5pm. The cost is $5 or pay what you can- all are welcome! Curry Village: Come out and enjoy Jazz Duo, pianist Biff Hannon and vocalist Dona Collison with guests, drummer Ken Erskine and bassist Richard Scott, at Curry Village, 306 George Street on Saturday, October 22nd from 6pm- 9pm. All are welcome. Trent Athletics Hosts National Coaching Courses: All courses will be held at the Trent Community Sport & Recreation Centre. The courses, which are suitable for coaches in sports at all competitive levels and all ages, are open to all coaches and interested members of the community. Introduction to competition A: This is on Friday, October 28 7pm- 10pm AND Sat-
urday, October 29 8:30am- 5pm. The cost is $110/person+ HST (includes materials) Introduction to competition B: This is on Friday, November 25 7pm-10pm AND Saturday, November 26 8:30am-5pm. The cost is $110/person+ HST (includes materials) Both courses will be taught by instructor Mary Stever. Registration is now open! Register online at www.trentu.ca/athletics. Previous coach training is not required. Writer’s reading with Rebecca Rosenblum: Rebecca Rosenblum’s short fiction has been short-listed for the Journey Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the Danuta Gleed Award, long listed for the Relit Award, and she was herself a juror for the Journey Prize 21. Come out on October 19 7pm-8pm at the Traill College Junior common room, 310 London Street. Reception to follow in the Trend Pub- all are welcome to attend. Sadlier House circus art jam: Every Tuesday until April 10 except on Nov.22, Dec.20, Dec.27, Jan.3 at the Sadlier house upstairs in the dining room 7pm9pm. Bring some toys and come and play. If you don’t have any toys just bring yourself. All for the low price of FREE (however donations to help pay for the space will be greatly appreciated.) Live/Participatory reading of Brecht’s Three Penny Opera: Thursday, October 20th at 8pm at Hausu, 240 Murray Street. Be one of the characters in Brecht’s play. We will read a few acts and discuss the play following. Film Screening: Von Trier’s Antichrist: Thursday, October 27th at 7pm at Hausu, 240 Murray Street. It’s Halloween, how about a spooky film? Von Trier caused a bit of a scandal at Cannes 2009 when this film was released. Come and see what all the fuss is about. Candy and chocolate will be provided. Warning:
violent and sexual content. Need $ for your theatre-related activity? Theatre Trent’s funding proposal deadline is this month and you can apply painlessly at www.theatretrent.ca. We are welcoming new executive members to write cheques for theatre-makers and gain non-profit Board experience: you are needed. As always, you are welcome to borrow props and costumes from the storage space at Sadleir House - email firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff Hannon and Donna Collison: On Sat. Oct. 8 and Sat. Oct. 22, come out and see Jazz Duo, pianist Biff Hannon and vocalist Donna Collison at Curry Village, 306 George St. From 6pm to 9pm. The Mangy Moggy: a United Way Fundraiser. A bicycle scavenger hunt by COIN. Meet at Millenium Park, 2pm on Sat. October 15. Register at COIN (251 Charlotte St), Peterborough Green-Up (378 Aylmer St. N), B!KE (336 Rubidge St.), or the TCSA Office. Cost of registration ranges from $15-$30. The options for the scavenger hunt are the Alley Cat Race for bitterly competitive individuals, or the more leisurely Poker Run for teams of 4. Prizes for performance, prizes for panache. This scavenger hunt is for avid cyclists, commuters, Sunday-afternooncyclists, and families, so come out and join the fun! Fall Monday night Yoga Class! Prana Flow Yoga 12 week series. Yoga has proven to reduce stress, increase euphoria, and maximize health in body and mind. This is an all levels class. All are welcome! Instructor: Tiina Kivinen 50 hr certified. Dates: Mondays Sept 12 - Dec. 5. (not including Thanksgiving) Time: 7:30 - 9pm Cost: 12 weeks for $108 (commit to your practice!) or Drop- in for $12-$15 sliding scale. At Sadleir House Dining Hall, 751 George St. N Peterborough.
Introduction to Buddhism: “Travelling from Confusion to Original Sanity” A 10-week Study Group based on talks given by The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and carefully compiled under his direction. Starts September 15 at Sadleir House. Whether you are new to Buddhism or already have experience studying the Dharma, this is a great opportunity to engage in lively discussion of Buddhadharma. For more information, call 705755-0063.
classifieds Part-time Research Job Well-organized person with good social skills needed for research project on theatre and music scenes in Peterborough. Experience with interview-based research helpful but not required. Start October 2011 / 20 hours a week (negotiable). E-mail email@example.com with a copy of your resume. Are you thinking about doing an internship? Internship Panel Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Plan to attend and get informed from the perspective of an intern and also of the employer. Where: Champlain Living Learning Commons (old Seasoned Spoon) When : 2:00-4:00pm. Thinking about Adoption? If you are pregnant and need a nurturing loving home for your child, then we would love to talk to you about our family. We look forward to hearing from you! Call Trish at 1-519-304-1555 Need essay help? Experienced Masters and PhD graduates can help! All subjects and levels, plus resumes, applications, and editing. Nursing, English, Business, Sociology and more! Call toll free 1-888-3458295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote today!! www.customessay.com