September 22, 2011 | VOL. XCIII ISS. VI
We don’t grow our hair all long and shaggy SINCE 1918
In the aftermath of UBC’s dispute with Access Copyright, professors are facing an uphill climb with Canadian copyright law. Did Access Copyright really protect profs in the classroom? P3
FOR PROTEST P8
TO RECOVERY Two years after a devastating knee injury, Brent Borthistle is making a comeback.
2 | Page 2 | 09.22.2011
What’s on 22THU
This week, may we suggest...
One on one with the people who make UBC
Olio Festival—Say Wha?!: 8-10:30pm @ Guilt and Co. Enjoy a night of “deliciously rotten writing,” where comedic artists read some of the worst pieces ever published. Tickets are $10 at the door.
MM & ONs Friday Night Spectacular: every Friday at 9pm @ WISE Hall (1882 Adanac Street) Every week, MM&ONs presents a night ofvaudeville, burlesque, circus, comedy, magic and more. Don’t forget to dress up. Cost is $17 in advance or $20 at the door.
It took Kaitlin Fontana, a Fernie, BC native, a few years to fully immerse herself in the Vancouver music scene.
Revenge of the music nerds Will Johnson
Senior Culture Writer
IMPROV >> Vancouver International Improv Festival: 7:30pm @ Performance Works (1218 Cartwright Street) Canadian and US comics will join forces to make you laugh in the Vancouver International Improv Festival. If they don’t, you have no sense of humour and therefore no soul.
Got an event you’d like to see on this page? Send your event and your best pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE UBYSSEY September 22, 2011, Volume XXXIII, Issue VI
Coordinating Editor Justin McElroy
Managing Editor, Print Jonny Wakefield email@example.com
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Senior Culture Writers Taylor Loren & Will Johnson
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The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of British Columbia. It is published every Monday and Thursday by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous, democratically run student organization, and all students are encouraged to participate. Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of British Columbia. All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission of The Ubyssey Publications Society. The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP’s guiding principles. Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include your
having a child. People have this idea about what it’s like to publish a book. Then you actually do it, and it’s not as much of a thing,” she said. Fontana, who considers herself a self-taught journalist and music lover, started the project while she was studying for her MFA in creative writing. It ultimately became her thesis, rather than the collection of essays she had originally planned to produce. “Occasionally you get those great ideas that are timely,” said Fontana. “I’m still going to keep working on my essays, but that will be a little harder to sell.” Fontana has racked up a number of awards in the last few years, both for her journalistic and literary work, and said she feels comfortable switching back and forth between the two genres. Her work has appeared in The Walrus, Event, Maissoneuve, Exclaim!, Spin and Rolling Stone. “I kind of swing back and forth. It can be really emotionally taxing, putting out all this really personal stuff. And it can be pretty grindesque to stick with pure journalism,” she said. “Many people in our generation don’t just do one thing,” said Fontana, who also works as a
phone number, student number and signature (not for publication) as well as your year and faculty with all submissions. ID will be checked when submissions are dropped off at the editorial office of The Ubyssey; otherwise verification will be done by phone. The Ubyssey reserves the right to edit submissions for length and clarity. All letters must be received by 12 noon the day before intended publication. Letters received after this point will be published in the following issue unless there is an urgent time restriction or other matter deemed relevant by the Ubyssey staff. It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the UPS will not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS shall not be responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value or the impact of the ad.
WRITE FOR THE UBYSSEY
Holy shit, the football team is winning! People showed up to a game! It was actually kind of fun. Show up for the biggest game of the year and get sloshed as we crush Manitoba. FOOTBALL.
Kaitlin Fontana isn’t your typical music nerd. Originally from the small town of Fernie, BC, Fontana first came to UBC to do her undergrad in creative writing. Having been raised on classic rock, she knew nothing about the Vancouver music scene. “I remember I walked into the CiTR offices and there was this girl sitting there with her boots on the desk and I was like, ‘I am nowhere near cool enough to be here right now,’” she said. “Believe me, I am extremely uncool.” Fast forward to today, and Fontana has written the book on the Vancouver music scene. Literally. Fresh at Twenty: The Oral History of Mint Records was released this month, and details the independent label’s meteoric rise from campus off-shoot to the creative force behind such acts as The New Pornographers, Neko Case and the Pack AD. Fontana spent the last two years writing the book, and is thrilled she can now hold it in her hands. “It’s kind of funny. We all have these preconceptions, these social constructs around certain experiences. Like falling in love, say, or
AND FINE TASTE
If all you know about birds is that you flip one at the Man, but want to learn some more, come for a twohour walk through Stanley Park.
UBC Homecoming: 12:30pm @ Thunderbird Stadium
Stanley Park Ecology Society: Birds of a Feather: 9-11am @ Stanley Park Nature House
A MAN OF
WILL JOHNSON/THE UBYSSEY
Brian Platt firstname.lastname@example.org
comedian and performer. “I’d love to be able to do all the things I love, and do them equally well.” Fontana said she admires New York-based writer Joan Didion, and would love to emulate her multi-faceted career. “That’s the dream, obviously,” she said. For more information on Fontana, visit her website at kaitlinfontana. com.
Kaitlin Fontana Occupation Writer
Area of study
Creative writing MFA graduate
On the music biz
“My nagging secret is that I’m not into much of anything I’ve just heard. I need time—time to listen and time to contemplate —which is frowned upon in the lightning-fast music writing world.” From “The Flight Album,” an essay published in The Walrus in 2010.
Editors: Kalyeena Makortoff & Micki Cowan
Toope touches on timely issues at third annual town hall Jonny Wakefield Print Editor
Three years into his overarching strategic plan for the university, President Stephen Toope appeared before faculty and students at his annual town hall meeting to tout UBC’s accomplishments and promote “Place and Promise.” In a conversation with Peter Klein, the director of the School of Journalism and former 60 Minutes producer, Toope answered questions on topics ranging from the
affordability of on-campus housing to UBC’s policies on animal research. He identified housing as the university’s biggest challenge. He said that the university has established a student housing endowment fund to subsidize the construction of new residences and set the “eventual goal” of housing 50 per cent of the full time undergraduate population on campus. UBC currently houses 29 per cent. Toope also spoke to the strained relationship the university has with
TransLink, as a major transportation destination with no real municipal status or representation. “There’s no one at TransLink who represents UBC, even though we’re the second largest transit destination in the Lower Mainland outside of the downtown core,” he said. Toope said he was unhappy with TransLink’s consultation process and that nothing short of a light rail line would adequately serve UBC’s commuter population. Klein also asked Toope to address recent changes to copyright
licensing. During the summer, Access Copyright (AC), a national copyright licensing agency, announced that it would greatly increase the costs for universities to gain access to copyrighted materials. UBC opted out of AC, claiming that the cost was too high and that the extra expenses would be passed onto students. “We were frankly being held hostage—I use that term intentionally—and we decided we had to push back,” he said. “I know that it’s very hard. We’re trying to do
everything we can to find support mechanisms.” STOP UBC Animal Research, a group which has waged an aggressive PR campaign against the university’s animal testing practices, held up banners protesting the denial of a recent Freedom of Information request by their organization. Toope maintained that a balance needs to be struck. “We’re working hard to figure out how to be more forthcoming around basic information of most research,” he explained. U
Former CBC reporter to direct UBC Public Affairs
Copyright laws cause confusion News Editor
Professors and students are struggling to figure out how to stay within the legal bounds of copyright since UBC opted out of a licensing agreement with Access Copyright (AC) back in August. However, the university has said that faculty should already have been aware of limits set out in Canada’s Copyright Act. “We’re having to do this very quickly,” explained Allen Bell, UBC’s library digital initiatives director. “Everyone’s coming back to campus and they’re learning about something that they should have known in the course of history but they didn’t. “There’s a big hill to climb in terms of education.” Essentially, professors can no longer rely on AC’s license to cover photocopied material they want to use for classes, explained Bell. But certain rules—about digital copies, slides or online reference, for example—were already misinterpreted. “There was a misunderstanding between what the old license allowed,” Bell said. “And one of my questions that came in was about…what if you were scanning and putting [material] on Web CT Vista. This is always a problem with the Copyright Act,” Bell said. Despite UBC’s attempt to notify faculty and staff of the changes, professors say it’s still not entirely clear what materials are covered by the university’s own personal bank of copyright licenses and what is up for grabs as open-access materials. “I’m simply not using some
PHOTO COURTESY OF VANCOUVER COASTAL HEALTH
Trisha Telep Contributor
GEOFF LISTER/THE UBYSSEY
UBC said that course packs have gone up two cents per page. But that’s based on print shops’ license prices—not the university’s.
things,” said Paul Kopas, a political science professor. “And I can’t second-guess the status of the copyright on any publication. “One of the documents that I use was a PDF document, a report that is on the City of Vancouver’s website. But in order to make it convenient for my students, I used to upload the PDF on my WebCT Vista, and I can’t do that anymore.” Instead, he’s had to use web links to stay within Canada’s Copyright Act. Another political science professor, Raul Pacheco-Vega, decided to avoid the hassle and simply stopped using some course materials. “I think I could’ve just called
UBC Press and asked permission, but I just didn’t want to go through the hassle, so that’s one thing I just changed.” UBC President Stephen Toope was asked to address the new copyright guidelines at a town hall meeting on Monday. “As high as 70 per cent of the material that we were paying for when we were paying Access Copyright, we were already paying for by having online licenses. So we were effectively being asked to pay twice for the same material. And AC has been absolutely unwilling to parse that out,” Toope said. Part of the reason that UBC left AC was their proposed fee
Bike share program being researched at UBC
UBC journalism project documents global pain crisis
UBC to look into U-Pass denials due to financial hold
An early analysis of a UBC public bike sharing program is in the works, much like ones already seen in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. At the Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, Carole Jolly, UBC’s director of Transportation Planning, announced the possibility of using funding from the previous U-Pass subsidy money to bring 200 bikes to campus, located at 20 different docking stations. UBC is also looking into the potential for having the bikes and docking stations compatible with a Vancouver public bike system, which is also being researched for implementation for spring 2012.
The UBC Graduate School of Journalism, after a year-long investigation by UBC’s International Reporting Program (IRP), has launched a multimedia site. called The Pain Project. The project documents one of the greatest challenges of treating chronic illnesses: severely constrained access to morphine. Unlike many global health problems, pain treatment is not about money or short supply; morphine costs pennies per dose and is easy to make. Instead, the IRP found that bureaucratic hurdles and the global war on drugs are the main impediments to morphine access.
UBC has sent emails to students on financial hold, informing them that they will not be eligible to pick up their U-Pass. However, the university has said they are working on finding a solution to this problem. “The plan is to make the system so that students are still eligible to get the U-Pass regardless of their status on outstanding tuition,” said Carole Jolly, director of UBC’s Transportation Planning. She said she was unable to give a set date as to when a change would be made, owing to the complexity of the issue and the number of stakeholders involved.
increases, which would ask the university to cough up $2 million instead of the previous price tag of $650,000. Staying with AC under their new $2 million tariff would have covered digital copies, but Bell said that their coverage of digital copies wasn’t all that extensive. “We’re all working really hard to make this work, but we know it’s a very difficult moment of transition.” But with everyone’s attention turned towards Canada’s copyright laws, Bell said, “There’s an opportunity to educate people and support them on getting good information on what they can do.” U
News briefs The status of students currently being denied U-Passes for October is unknown at press time.
UBC-O goes keyless By the end of this fiscal year, UBC-O will become the first keyless campus in Canada. The data for lab access at the university is contained in each person’s card and can be used to gain entrance in place of keys. UBC Vancouver is transitioning to a similar system and installing it in all new buildings. Garry Appleton, manager of security and parking at UBC-O’s Campus Security, said that though there were a few issues, “Once the system is running, it runs flawlessly.” U
From her time as a broadcaster at CBC Radio in Vancouver to her work as a journalist in China and her stint as an international development consultant, communicating has been one of Lucie McNeill’s greatest strengths. And when she starts her new job as director of Public Affairs at UBC next month, keeping UBC “connected” internationally will be one of her main goals. “I do have a sense of what it’s like to be operating in a country other than Canada as a journalist, what the Chinese media are interested in, what would make news in a place like China, what drives the news there,” she said. In 1993, she took a job with Beijing Radioto support their English broadcast department in China. While there, she worked on a variety of freelance projects for C BC and worked on a 1995 broadcast for Sunday Morning from a surveillance-heavy North Korea. In 1998, McNeill moved back to Vancouver and soon started work as a development consultant, commuting back and forth between Vancouver and Asia for organizations like the Canadian International Development Agency and the World Bank. Then, after about ten years of airports and hotels, she felt the need to become a little more grounded. “I knew more about China than I knew about my own backyard.” Veteran journalist Scott Macrae, who had spent over ten years as UBC’s director of Public Affairs, was retiring, and McNeill was approached by the firm that was looking for Macrae’s replacement. She was fascinated by the school’s international ties and by the idea of being back in a full communications position that played to her strengths. “Diversity, tolerance, engagement and freedom of thought. I mean, those are real liberal values that I find really exciting.” U .
Editor: Drake Fenton
After two years of rehab, Borthistle is ready Kelly Han Contributor
“Don’t let anyone tell you to stop or that you can’t do something,” Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger advised UBC football player Brent Borthistle, after he suffered a potentially career-ending knee injury in 2009. In his second year, Borthistle was the Thunderbirds’ starting tight end. In the final game of the season, against the University of Manitoba, a vicious tackle ruined Borthistle’s knee. Dave Adolph, the football team’s head athletic trainer, rushed onto the field to find Borthistle’s knee popped out from the side, dislocated and disfigured. “I put him on his back and put my hand on his helmet to stabilize him,” he said. “[Brent] knew it was a bad situation. We made sure he didn’t look at his knee and put the oxygen on him to control for shock.” Borthistle lay near the sideline for 45 minutes waiting for an ambulance to arrive. He was treated with nitrous oxide for the pain as the doctors snapped his knee back into place. With a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Borthistle went straight to surgery the next morning. He was hospitalized for the next three days. “For two weeks, I was in two states at once—one half of my brain connected to the pain and the other half on painkillers and feeling nothing,” Borthistle said. “I was in bed for a week, and had a brace on for a solid five or six months.” Borthistle’s surgery involved reattaching his ACL and PCL to the bone. The estimated recovery time for his surgery was 12–14 months. Shortly after the injury, Borthistle received an unexpected phone call from Ruettiger, the inspiration behind the motion picture Rudy. Ruettiger’s involvement in Borthistle’s grandfather’s company
GEOFF LISTER/THE UBYSSEY
Tight end Brent Borthistle blew out his knee in 2009. After almost two years of rehab, he’s set to return to the field.
led to the conversation between one athlete who faced significant obstacles and one who was about to. “[Rudy] gave me a motivating speech about perseverance,” said Borthistle. “Having the opportunity to speak with the man behind one of my favourite movies helped me maintain a positive attitude from the beginning.” Following the injury, Borthistle withdrew from his classes to focus on rehabilitating his knee. While physiotherapy became almost second nature to him, it was the mental recovery process that proved most challenging—from irregular sleeping
schedules and loneliness, to the repeated and discouraging news that he would never be able to play football again. During this time period, Borthistle masked his real issues with excessive social outings. This new attitude led to unsupportive reactions from his parents regarding his return to UBC for the 2010–11 year. Instead of returning to school, Borthistle worked 80 hours a week doing construction in Fort St. John. The experience taught him the value of a hard day’s work. During this period of exile, Borthistle reflected on
the decisions and mistakes he made at UBC. “Having real hard life talks with the older guys made me even more determined than before,” said Borthistle. “In January  I went home to Salmon Arm and finished the 18 credits (at Okanagan College) that I needed to get back into UBC and to play football again.” While completing his credits, Borthistle attended the team’s 2011 spring camp. It only took a day and a half before he tweaked his knee. He said the pain “felt like a gun pointed to his knee.” In an
emotional conversation with his father, Borthistle discussed the difficulty of recovering from his injury. “I decided right then that I would be okay with not being able to play again, but that didn’t mean I was going to quit,” Borthistle said. Throughout the summer Borthistle continued to religiously rehab and strengthen his knee. When training camp began in August, he was able to attend with his knee closer to full strength than ever before. “Not once did I see him get down or get emotional; he was always in great spirits,” Adolph said. “When I look at my schedule and I see Brent on it, I can’t wait to get there. His determination is contagious.” At the end of camp, Borthistle was on the field for more than 15 plays in an alumni exhibition game. “Right now [Brent] is kind of a hybrid player, playing a little bit of offensive line at a tackle position, as well as playing some tight end,” said head coach Shawn Olson. “His hands are still there, and are very good. He is still a big physical presence so now it’s just a matter of getting the confidence in his knee back.” Olson expects Borthistle’s recovery to continue at a steady pace. “By the end of the year, it is realistic for him to get on the field for some home games,” Olson said. “It’s tough to predict, but if he continues to progress like he has in the last couple of weeks, I can see him getting in the mix.” Now almost two years since Borthistle’s gruesome injury, he has returned to the field with a fresh perspective: there’s more to life than football. “Through my injury I realized the importance of academics outside of football,” he said. “When I was away, my family constantly encouraged me; it was very crucial and I’m thankful for the knowledge I walked out of this experience with.” U
Spin city: indoor cycling is making a comeback Catherine Guan Staff Writer
The revival of 80s relics Duran Duran, Pac-Man and Care Bears were met with cries of both joy and dismay. The latest to make a comeback from the Whitesnake decade is the exercise craze, indoor cycling, colloquially known as spinning “It improves your cardio system, helps tone your body and leaves you feeling great and reenergized,” said Laura Jeary, the manager of the BirdCoop at UBC Rec, which offers indoor cycling classes. Spinning was invented by South African cyclist Jonathan “Jonny G” Goldberg in 1987 as an alternative to outdoor cycling. Spinning reached mass appeal in the mid90s, but in order to compete with the aerobics-crazed 90s, many spin classes began to incorporate elaborate choreography to accompany the cycling. From mini push-ups against the handle bars to riding with no hands, spinning was as much circus act as it was legitimate form of exercise. In the new millennium, spinning has experienced a
PETER WOJNAR/THE UBYSSEY
Indoor cycyling is a cardio workout that can burn as many as 600 calories in 45 minutes.
renaissance. The activity has been resurrected from the ashes—and the absurdity—of the 90s to an exercise that is now both popular and beneficial for the body. Mike Porter is the founder of Cadence Studio on South Granville, which is the first, and
only, spin exclusive studio in Vancouver. Porter described what a participant of one of his classes experiences. “Although it is low impact, you can get a very intense workout with minimal stress on your joints,” he said. “In a 45 minute
spin class, it is not uncommon to burn upwards of 600 calories.” Nowadays, spinning is reminiscent of its origins—focusing more on recreating authentic cycling experiences. On stationary bikes, individuals add resistance to simulate hills or wind gusts. To the beat of top 40 singles, classes will pump their legs through climbs, runs, jumps and sprints. “My favourite is ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC. It has the best beat for a hill climb and is always greeted with an initial smile by participants,” said Porter. “They know it’s time to work hard when ‘Thunderstruck’ comes on.” According to Jeary, one of the reasons spinning has had a resurgence in popularity is because of the spin instructors. “The instructors play a big role in keeping people coming back.” Seated atop a lead bike, the instructor amps up the energy by calling commands into their headset, like, “Climb out of the saddle, big hill coming!” “You also draw energy from other participants,” remarked Porter. Jeary agreed, “There is great class camaraderie.”
Drowning in sweat while pedaling furiously to nowhere can be a bonding experience. While detractors say that not all the leg muscles are exerted equally, Porter pointed out, “It would be very hard to find any other form of cardio where you can accomplish this much in 45 minutes.” Individuals can take spin classes at the BirdCoop, such as Hot Wheels Express and Hot Wheels Sprint, by either dropping in or registering for a one month or one term pass. While Cadence is a slightly pricier alternative for students, Porter said that his spinning-only studio offers “a large variety of classes [and] a great sound system.” With the prodigious outpouring of sweat during spin classes, towels and a water bottle are a must. As for workout wear, Porter recommended, “Crops or slimmer tights work best for women and shorts are most popular for men.” For anyone who is interested, Jeary encouraged, “Come out and try a class, go at your own pace. It is a great way to improve fitness levels, increase your energy, relieve some stress, make new friends and have fun.” U
6 | Feature | 09.22.2011
All this academic inquiry has got me down. Where can a gentleman find some leisurely pursuit?
CLUBS DAYS! EQUESTRIAN CLUB Tanya Thakur Contributor
Horse enthusiasts and knights in shining armour alike can find their home with the UBC Equestrian Club. Aiming to unite all the “horse people” at UBC, the club’s $10 membership fee comes with a lot of perks, starting with an opportunity to compete in horse shows. “We compete in the US, mainly Oregon and Washington, but there are opportunities to compete throughout the US. We compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. The horse shows are very unique and a lot of fun,” said Holly Walker, the club’s former president. Show experience, however, is not necessary. With many levels of showing available, novice riders are always welcome. Members can also just ride without competing. The UBC Equestrian Club hosts many social events for members to mingle and share their favourite “horsey” anecdotes while getting a chance to tour the thoroughbred racetrack in Vancouver or volunteer at Southlands Therapeutic Riding Society. The club also offers the opportunity to connect with local trainers and instructors. “The big dream for the club,” said Walker, “would be to one day having an affiliated barn with a lesson program to make it easier for new and beginner riders to learn.” But until then, the horse lovers at the Equestrian Club are happy to connect you with team members at the same level for group lessons. U
A century of club controversies Scott Macdonald & Tanner Bokor Contributors
With thousands of student clubs coming and going over the past century, UBC has seen no shortage of juicy scandals and humourous controversies involving its diverse crop of student-run organizations. Here are a few of the greatest hits.
Lifeline anti-abortion display incident Throughout 1999, the UBC Lifeline Club attempted to have a graphic photo-mural exhibit called the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) displayed on campus. Later that year, after much community backlash, the club succeeded. But shortly after it was set up, three former members of AMS Council arrived and destroyed the exhibit by overturning tables and tearing up signs. In response, the former president of Lifeline asked the AMS to condemn these actions
and remove the perpetrators from all councils and committees. The AMS took no action, but the students received a four-month suspension from the university. The AMS then revoked Lifeline’s booking privileges and the Student Administration Commission (SAC) resolved to ban all content and mention of GAP from the SUB. A lawsuit was filed against the AMS for suppressing freedom of expression, but the Supreme Court reserved judgment and the case ended without a resolution.
evicted from their club space. When the Varsity Outdoor Club moved into their previous office, the Jokers replied, “It’s an outdoor club, so it ought to be outdoors.” They also made their mark in 1956, when they stormed a 1200-person AMS Annual General Meeting. Marching in with bright balloons and posters, the Jokers handed out bags of popcorn to the audience and called the whole thing a “circus.” The chairman of the meeting tossed them out and threatened to lay charges.
member demanded the meeting be ended and motioned to strip the club’s table booking privileges for failure to comply with the denied request. The club accused the AMS of suppressing freedom of speech, but the SAC replied that there would be “utter chaos if every group were allowed to violate this rule,” and the SUB is not a place for “soapbox speeches.”
Jokers Club versus the AMS
Vietnam invasion row
The Jokers Club, one of the most popular and infamous clubs in UBC history, was known for pulling campus-wide pranks, hosting outrageous and unrestrained parties, and causing general mischief in their 1940s heyday. At one point, they piled mountains of junk in the AMS offices to protest being
In 1979, the Norman Bethune Club requested the use of the SUB’s conversation pit to hold a meeting regarding the Chinese invasion of Vietnam. The request was denied on the grounds that it violated the AMS’s building policy, but the club held the meeting regardless. During the meeting, a SAC
At the 1966 Clubs Days, a massive crowd of students was drawn to the booth of the Conservative Club. This was not due to any surge of political interest, but to the Playboy centrefolds that club members had plastered around their booth. The club also created a picture of the Parliament buildings topped by a voluptuous set of breasts and hung a large banner claiming “Conservatives are
Conservative Club Playboy controversy
Sexy.” Ironically enough, the top prize for display that year went to the newest club on campus: the Campus Crusade for Christ Club.
Ski and Board Club beer garden clash In 2003, the UBC Ski and Board Club was banned from organizing beer gardens due to questionable practices at recent events. It was the second year in a row of having their events banned. The SAC alleged that bartenders were getting drunk prior to going on shift and free beer was being handed out to attendees. The AMS later rescinded the ban after appeals from the club, but continued to impose many restrictions, including having the SAC approve each individual event and capping attendance at 175 people (they often drew 500 or more people to their functions.) U
09.22.2011 | Feature
Visiting the AMS club graveyard
BrUBC: BREWING CLUB Osly Sorokina Contributor
There’s a storm brewing at UBC, but you won’t need an umbrella— only your pint glass. With the founding of the campus’s beer brewing club, BruBC, your days of failed attempts at brewing beer in bathtubs are over. “It turns out that making your own beer costs about 50 cents a pint,” said the club’s president (and former Ubyssey editor) Kathy Yan Li, “and if you feel like there isn’t a market for a particular flavour you like, you can make it.” Club members have been getting creative with ingredients, using combinations of flavours like spruce and ginger, along with local organic
Rheanna Buursma Contributor
sources like fresh hops from the UBC Farm. For $10 a year, being a club member means access to the weekly brewing sessions and all the necessary equipment to brew your own delicious beer. “It’s a good skill to have,” said Yan Li. “Your friends will love you because you will always have bottles and bottles of beer in your fridge that you’re trying to get rid of to make room for more beer.” Yan Li hopes BruBC will give beer drinkers at UBC a unique community. “I’d love to make a genuine UBC beer that was made with ingredients grown on campus, made on campus by the UBC students.” U
DANCE CLUB Chloe Sargent Contributor
Students of UBC, get on your feet! The UBC Dance Club wants YOU. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got two left feet, two right feet or two feet that can dance without the input of your brain; this club is the place for you. Club secretary Shayna Ding joined with an impressive resume of dance-related experience, including Chinese dance, ballet and jazz. Meanwhile, Zachary Lim, the club’s publicity representative, joined with zero previous experience—yet now, “he’s really good,” Ding said. Lim explains that the club just wants to “help spread the love of dance.” The club specializes in
COGNITIVE SYSTEMS SOCIETY Veronika Khvorostukhina Contributor
Ever wanted to dress up as a robot and go party? Are you interested in philosophy, psychology, human or computer intelligence? The Cognitive Systems Society (CSS) welcomes you, young scholar. The story started nine years ago, when a union between arts and science produced a new multi-disciplinary program: cognitive systems. This partnership between computer science and the humanities studies different forms of natural and artificial intelligence—and even creates new ones. “Our club combines intellectual discussions and academic work with listening to good music and having
pizza, hosting career fairs with robot parties,” said Haven Anderson, the CSS president. “When cool people get together, they do cool things.” The CSS is known for its close ties with faculty, with frequent trips to guest lectures and effective study groups. Ambitious plans for this year also include trips to various UBC labs and mechanical art exhibitions. “Our area of focus is the brain,” said Haven. “So anyone who has consciousness is automatically an expert in it. We believe that everyone has something to say. We listen, exchange ideas [and] learn from each other.” U
ballroom and salsa, and offers classes at a range of skill levels, all taught by professionals. The common misconception is that the club is only for highly skilled dancers, but that is not the case. The newcomer classes outnumber the advanced ones four to one. That is exactly why some of their posters will tell you that the inability to dance is no excuse. The club is the perfect place to learn. That said, competitive dancers have a place in the UBC Dance Club as well. By introducing you to the professionals that frequent their various events, such as their winter semi-formal, the club can open doors for those interested in a future in dance. U
Some of UBC’s clubs, like the Player’s Club and the Dance Club, have a history that goes back decades. But not all groups have survived the changing interests of newer generations. Digging into the AMS graveyard, we can see the tombstones of the Scottish Dance Club and the Folk Song Society. But to see the Flying Saucer Club and the Skydiving Club lying six feet under raises the possibility that our club scene has a more colourful history than one might suspect. Some of the names etched on gravestones stand out more than others. RIP: The Mamooks. What the heck is a Mamook? In the 50s and 60s, the Mamooks were one of most active clubs on campus, a group of artists that could be hired to paint posters to advertise campus events. But in the age of colour printers, the need to hire a Mamook to create cool posters faded away. The Kickapoos were another UBC club whose raison d’etre became less central to campus life. The Kickapoos were a booster squad that promoted school spirit at athletic events in the 50s—but this was back in the good old days, when Thunderbirds games had good attendance. UBC also has a rich history of whimsical and silly groups. In the 40s and 50s, the campus was graced with the presence of the Jokers, a club with the sole purpose of entertaining the student body. Their exploits include sponsoring goldfish-swallowing competitions, digging an enormous hole next to the library and holding a horse race which turned out to be four school children riding Shetland ponies. Perhaps their most memorable endeavour was the Frog Derby in 1947, when the Jokers set up a competition between the bounciest amphibians on campus. In the same vein was the Intellectual Stunt Committee (ISC). The aim of the ISC was to dispel apathy and promote interest in campus events. In support of a book drive, the ISC held a bed-pushing marathon in 1961. The stuntmen pushed a wrought-iron bed on wheels 40 miles from the US border to Brock Hall. Briefly holding the world record for the “biggest push,” the marathon was such a success that universities mimicked it across Canada and the US. Less successful was the ISC’s attempt to row across the Burrard Inlet in a bathtub. Their goal was to beat rush hour, but unfortunately the plug came out of the bathtub and it sunk to the bottom of the sea. The most recent of these absurd student groups was the Moustache Appreciation Club. Established in 2003, the founding members wanted to increase moustache awareness on campus as well as honour the whiskers of Tom Selleck. Eventually becoming more politically active, the Moustache Appreciation Club began to support sustainability, student politics and other issues mostly unrelated to moustaches. A well-known project was the conservation of Wreck Beach, the one place on campus where they could wear nothing but a moustache. So if you’re walking through the Clubs Days concourse and feeling underwhelmed, take a look back to the weird and wacky clubs that existed in the days of yore. It might be time to resurrect some of them. U
Editor: Ginny Monaco
Elle-Maija Tailfeathers stands up for the Bloodlands
Shannon O’Rourke Contributor
Elle-Maija Tailfeathers believes in the power of standing up for an important cause. Tailfeathers is a recent graduate who created Bloodland, a short experimental film, in her last semester at UBC. The film explores the issue of hydraulic fracturing in Kainai, Southern Alberta. Bloodland will be shown at the Vancouver International Film Festival along with future premieres at festivals in the Northwest Territory, Toronto, Oklahoma and northern Norway. The film examines how the global demand for gas and oil causes large corporations to exploit the lands of First Nations peoples, putting their health at risk through hydraulic fracturing. The extraction process pumps huge amounts of water, chemicals (which are usually toxic), and sand under very high pressure into a well. This causes the shale and sandstone to fracture, which then allows the natural gas to flow into the well. While companies do attempt to recover the harmful residue, usually 20–40 per cent of the fluids are left behind. Unfortunately, just a small amount of these toxic fluids has the potential to contaminate an entire aquifer. Polluted groundwater means health risks such as cancer, asthma and a number of neurological disorders. It has been reported that contamination levels are high enough that people living in affected areas are actually able to light their tap water on fire. When asked about her intentions for the film, Tailfeathers’ response was simple. “Film is a very powerful medium for social justice issues. It’s something I know how to do, so I figured I may as well make a film
Arcade Fire win Polaris Prize
GEOFF LISTER/THE UBYSSEY
Elle-Maija Tailfeathers was arrested for protesting the Murphy Oil plan to drill fraking wells on the Blood Reserve.
about such an important topic.” Her mother, brother and grandparents live on the Kainai Reserve (also known as the Blood Reserve), where Murphy Oil and Bowood Energy plan to drill a minimum of 16 wells. “It’s my home,” said Tailfeathers. “It’s where my family lives. I can’t bear the thought of what might happen if the fracking goes ahead.” On September 9, Tailfeathers demonstrated her commitment to stopping the degradation of Kainai. Along with a handful of other members of the Blood Tribe, she participated in a peaceful protest in an attempt to delay the start of hydraulic fracturing on the Blood Reserve.
Tailfeathers stood post at one of the roads that led to the Murphy Oil wells, in order to prevent trucks from entering the well site with hazardous chemicals. By 9pm, law enforcement officers arrived and arrested Tailfeathers and two other women who refused to leave the site. They were charged with intimidation under Section 423 (1) (G) of the criminal code and were held overnight in prison. Although Murphy Oil is now able to continue with the well sites, the arrest has helped to put a spotlight on the issue. Tailfeathers has received international support following her arrest. She believes it is her role as a First
Nations woman to protect and act as a steward of the Kainai land. “The land is all we have,” she explains. “Our language comes from the land, our culture, our identity. Without the land, who are we? What are we?” U
If you go... Bloodland Bloodlands plays at Empire Granville 7 Theatre on October 6 and 11. To learn more about this cause, visit www.protectbloodlands.ca.
LOCAL MUSIC >>
20 years of Mint Records
New book celebrates 20 years of Mint Records Mint records is founded
Cub releases Come Out, Come Out
january Cub releases Betti-Cola
Will Johnson Senior Culture Writer
In the late 1980s, Randy Iwata and Bill Baker were a pair of UBC students working at their university radio station. They liked to party, they liked good music and they had no idea they were about to create one of the most successful and enduring record labels in Vancouver’s independent music scene. Now their story has been immortalized in Fresh at Twenty: The Oral History of Mint Records. The creative force behind such acts as the New Pornographers, Neko Case and the Pack AD finally has a chance to tell their story, in their own words.
Neko Case releases The Virginian
october The Evaporators release Gassy Jack and Other Tales
The pair are humble about how far they’ve come. “We haven’t had a very exciting 20 years, I think it’s safe to say,” Iwata said in the first interview of the book. “Like, it’s not the Mötley Crüe book, you know?” he added. But their rabid fan base, including Fresh’s author Kaitlin Fontana, begs to differ. The nearly 400-page book details every step (and misstep) Iwata and Baker took along the way, and illustrates what a unique and revolutionary musical force they have become. Starting with a punk riot at Expo ’86, Fresh tracks the pair through their university years, and
Immaculate Machine releases High On Jackson Hill
introduces us to the larger-thanlife characters that helped shape the local music scene. One of those characters is Nardwuar the Human Serviette, who wrote the foreward to the book and still has a regular radio show at CiTR. “Mint Records never really should have stood a chance. Both Satanists and art legends alike would have found the notion to base an indie record company out of Vancouver frankly stupid,” Nardwuar wrote. “But Mint Records is still in the game after 20 years and 160 releases.” In their first ad for the label, which appeared in Discorder magazine, Mint advertised themselves
Pick of the Fringe announced Grim and Fischer, This Is Cancer, The Progressive Polygamists, Big Shot, Little Orange Man and Peter ‘n’ Chris have been selected as the winners of the 2011 Pick of the Fringe. Fringe patrons were encouraged to pick their favourite productions throughout the festival, which ran from September 8–18. A panel of judges chose the six productions from the top ten audience selections. For information and times for any of the Pick of the Fringe performances, check out vancouverfringe. com.
Olio Festival begins September 22
Hot Panda releases How Come I’m Dead?
The Pack AD release Tintype
The New Pornographers release Mass Romantic
The 2011 Polaris Prize was awarded to Arcade Fire on Monday night in Toronto. The Montreal-based band— who already won a Grammy, a Juno and a BRIT award this year for their album The Suburbs—was predicted to take home the $30,000 award for “best full-length Canadian album based solely on artistic merit regardless of genre, sales or record label.” When presented the award, Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry joked, “Since the beginning of our career, we’ve tried to get paid in an oversized novelty cheque, but no one did it—‘til now. Thanks Polaris.” Over 200 music journalists, broadcasters and critics selected a longlist of 40 albums, which was then narrowed down to 10 nominees. The winner was chosen by an 11-member grand jury. All shortlisted artists—including The Weekend, Colin Stetson, Austra and Destroyer—received a $2000 award.
Mint Records celebrate 20th anniversary
this way: “We love trash. We’re the unhappy folks at Mint Records. Anything dirty or dingy or dusty. Vancouver’s newest label. Anything ragged or rotten or rusty. We’re accepting demos. Yes we love trash.” But for the fans that have made Mint the musical powerhouse it is, their music is anything but trash. Whether you’ve followed Mint since the early days or you’ve never heard of them before, Fresh at Twenty is a fast-paced look at a golden age of Canadian popular music that still thrives today. If that’s not enough to sell it, the book also comes with a free playlist sampling of Mint’s artists. Party on. U
The Olio Festival, a celebration of art and music in Vancouver, is set to kick off today. The festival, now running for 3 years, runs until Sunday and features 70 bands, 32 comic acts, 9 visual arts, a skateboarding competition and a 30-team film festival. Key events include a “Classic Comedy Roast” of Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson at the 560 Club on Thursday night, organized by ShitHarperDid.com masterminds The Party. Roasters include the head of the city’s outdoor workers union, city councillor Andrea Reimer, and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi. Saturday night will feature a masterclass In filmmaking with Tommy Wiseau, director of The Room, one of the greatest terrible movies of the 21st century. Wiseau will also host two screenings of The Room and a Q&A. Other artists include Cave Singers, Malajube, Dinosaur Jr alumnus J. Mascis, and street artist Shepard Fairey, who designed the Obama Hope poster. Events will take place in various venues around Vancouver. More information is available at 2011.oliofestival.com. U
09.22.2011 | Culture | 9 QUEER CULTURE >>
A fabulous history lesson Myriam Lacroix Contributor
Prepare yourself for a spicy history lesson from high-heeled temptresses who are likely to break out in dance at any second. Tucked and Plucked: Vancouver’s Drag History Live On Stage is due to open at the PAL Vancouver Studio Theatre this weekend. The event will include talk show-style interviews with some of the city’s most delicious drag stars, mouthwatering performances and a few interactive games (which may or may not get messy)—not to mention an eyeful of yummy from the evening’s hosts, Peach Cobblah and Isolde N. Barron. Tucked and Plucked was put together by Dave Deveau and Cameron Mackenzie (the alteregos of Cobblah and Barron, respectively), who are also the founders of Vancouver’s Zee Zee Theatre. Mackenzie, who is directing the show, also put together
Apocalypstick, Vancouver’s longestrunning drag show, which takes place every Sunday night at the Cobalt. In an interview, Mackenzie explained that for him, drag performance is an art form—and a very underrated one. He is fascinated by the artistry that goes into painting your face, creating outfits, interacting with the audience and creating characters. Drag performance runs deeper than fun and games. “What I am working with is the illusion of gender. What I’m working with is the fact that I don’t really believe that gender is part of our actual makeup, I believe it’s a learned behaviour,” he said. “I think that that kind of awareness of how silly being a man is, or being a woman is—I think that kind of fluidity within the understanding of the spectrum of gender is something that a lot of drag queens play with.” Tucked and Plucked deals with how the drag scene historically
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contributed to social change, especially in Vancouver. When asked about the types of changes that he would like to see, Mackenzie said that he hoped the drag scene would help people “get over the issues with gender and sexuality. I ultimately want people to be able to have fun and enjoy life.” For Mackenzie, being able to enact gender—to put it on and take it off as he pleases—means that gender is fluid; knowing that is an important part of being happy and healthy as individuals and as a community. PS: Beware of pop quizzes. U
If you go... Tucked and Plucked: Vancouver’s Drag History Live On Stage runs September 23 and 24 at the PAL Vancouver Studio Theatre. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit palvancouver. org.
Editor: Brian Platt
Town versus gown Editor’s Notebook Micki Cowan
The Last Word
VIRGINIE MÉNARD/THE UBYSSEY
Parting shots and snap judgments on today’s issues A town hall in name only The president of the university, Stephen Toope, held his third annual “town hall” meeting on Monday. While we were more than happy to hear from one of the less accessible personalities on campus, we’d like to point out that calling the event a “town hall” is ridiculously misleading. We expect a town hall to be an opportunity to give members of a community the chance to ask hard and pressing questions to institutional or government heads. That Toope is appointed and not elected is a whole other issue. What was infuriating was that community members asked about four questions before the meeting was called to a halt at exactly 1pm. Fine, you’re a busy man, Toope. But don’t give us false hope of democratic debate and openness if you open the floor for ten minutes before rushing off. This is the one chance a year we get to engage with you publicly, and if you really want to create the spirit of a town hall, or at least want to put a good face on the executive of UBC, you’d spend more time listening and discussing. Cut the speeches about how great the university is, and leave the introductions by student senators and the administration behind. We don’t need formalities. A real town hall is supposed to be our time.
Personal advisor program will be a boon for students At the town hall, Toope said that Enrollment Services is working on a plan that would see every incoming student paired up with an advisor that would track them throughout their time at UBC. And to that we say: praise the lord. Also, we say: about damn time. In addition: boo yah. You get the point. This is a fantastic idea, and one of the best things the university could do to cut through the layers of bureaucracy that cause students to have a less than satisfactory experience with the actual institution of UBC.
Our university will always be big. It doesn’t have to be imposing, though, and a personal advisor would go a long way towards curing that.
Pot calling the kettle undemocratic We couldn’t help noticing a rich bit of irony during Toope’s town hall. When he was asked about Translink and the UBC SkyTrain line, Toope expressed frustration with the fact that UBC is the second-largest transit destination in Metro Vancouver, but has no representation on Translink’s board. “It’s a structural governance problem,” Toope explained. Sorry—is UBC accusing someone else of a structural governance problem? Last time we checked, UBC has thousands of non-campus residents living here and has no democratic governance whatsoever. Instead of a normal municipality with elected councils, UBC skips by Metro Vancouver completely and reports straight to the province in an arrangement that still hasn’t been fully fleshed out. In other words, maybe the reason why UBC isn’t given fair representation as a municipality is because at every opportunity, UBC goes the extra mile to make it clear to everyone that it doesn’t want to be treated like a regular municipality. Before the administration goes around accusing others of structural governance problems, it might want to take a look in the mirror.
STOP is annoying because they’re well-organized Seemingly no major UBC event is complete these days without a few people decrying the university’s animal research policies. So it was again when STOP UBC Animal Research commandeered a portion of Toope’s town hall, getting a few noses out of joint. We get it, they’re annoying. But unless you agree with them, so are most protest movements. They’re supposed to get your attention one
way or another, and in this, STOP has succeeded. Besides, they only seem really annoying because most of the rabblerousers that traditionally populated this campus are gone.
Clubs need to up the ante As detailed in our Clubs Days articles, UBC has a great history of outrageous clubs. So this begs the question: where’s the outrageousness today? Yeah, there are some interesting clubs at UBC—the Varsity Outdoors Club, Ski and Board, the CVC, etc.—but there aren’t enough people throwing massive parties, disrupting the peace and getting yelled at on a regular basis. We used to be able to rely on the engineers to create a ruckus, but as we pointed out last year (rudely but accurately), the days of amazing engineering pranks seem to be over. Why aren’t there more groups raising hell on campus? The Undie Run, organized by the Ski and Board Club, only comes once a year—and frankly, we need more excuses to get drunk and strip off our clothes. Or, you know, whatever the situation requires.
Vancouver deserved its worst-dressed city ranking, and it’s your fault MSN Travel recently awarded Vancouver the distinction of being third on its list of worst-dressed cities in North America. And they were absolutely right. In Vancouver, yogawear—their main argument for our ranking—has made the unfortunate transition from gym attire to acceptable everyday sartorial choice. This is not okay. We’re better than sweatpants at the grocery store—no matter what certain coordinating editors of this paper might say (editor’s note: and will say, proudly). For Christ’s sake, NEW JERSEY, the birthplace of the spray-tan, ranked better than us. This needs to be fixed, now. U
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Oxford, England, you will most likely be told about the fierce rivalry that has plagued it since its establishment. The rivalry between the town (those who reside in the town of Oxford itself) and the gown (scholars at the university) has been so fierce that there is even a massacre in its history. In 1355, the tension between the two groups culminated with the gown’s dissatisfaction with the food and drink served to them at a town pub. After the scholars threw the food on the ground and walked out, the townspeople chased the scholars down and murdered dozens of them in a two-day battle. While it’s safe to say that the University Neighbourhood Association (UNA, and our “town”) won’t be massacring any UBC students or faculty members (our “gown”) over a bar fight at Mahony’s, the Oxford case does show just how serious rivalries between community residents and university denizens can be.
The fact that the UNA isn’t a murderous mob doesn’t mean the university should take the conflicts that exist between these two groups any less seriously. The spectacle of residents in the Promontory Tower petitioning against the St John’s Hospice is only the most recent example of how the town affects our university’s autonomy. If we want to build a useful facility on campus for research, we should be able to. After all, that’s what we are all here for. And unlike Oxford, which was a university that was built inside of an established town, UBC came first. So while the university is pushing the idea of a true university town and seeking to integrate non-campus members into the community, an air of caution should still be maintained. For many residents, the university often represents unwanted change. History proves that there is reason to express caution. The tension between campus residents and the university isn’t going to go away; 650 years later there are still plenty of complaints between the town and gown in Oxford. If we build market housing in the centre of campus, the university will still be dealing with the headaches centuries later. U
Parsing the signals in Toope’s answers Editor’s Notebook Justin McElroy And so it was, that on Monday, September 19, in the year of our lord 2011, Mayor Stephen Toope graced the citizens of UBC at the Roy Barnett Recital Hall, and told the citizens of UBC how his city is moving ahead to meet the challenges of the new decade. I kid, of course. Toope doesn’t enjoy being called a mayor, just as UBC as a whole doesn’t like being called a city. Then again, most updates by university presidents don’t involve discussions on affordable housing, land use consultations, inter-cultural engagement and how far away a store with a litre of milk is. The challenges UBC faces and the demands from its community are far different than any other university in the country, which makes for a lively discussion regarding the future of this campus—but one that is perhaps unsuited to our oligarchical governing structure. But back to Toope. Five years into his mandate, with a group of vice-presidents that he himself hired, he’s clearly into the portion of his tenure where he can focus on implementing his vision for this university with a small number of inherited distractions. After years of government cutbacks and deficits, the budget has been balanced. On the general tenants of “Place and Promise,” his strategic plan/ magnum opus, everyone is fully on board. Dissent is minimal. Obama could only be so lucky. After Toope gave his state of the union address, Peter Klein, acting head of the Journalism School and former 60 Minutes producer, grilled him—to the extent you could expect
from someone interviewing their boss. And he elicited some interesting, almost apologetic responses. Now, when you’ve got the full confidence of the board and a firm grasp of the big picture, you can afford to give an inch and show some contrition. But still. So on animal testing, we got an admittance that UBC, for all of its defensiveness over the past year, hasn’t communicated the truth well enough. Toope even raised the prospect of outlining exactly how many animals the university tests on. On the last-second decision to leave Access Copyright, Toope pleaded with faculty to give the university time to find an efficient alternative, describing the previous arrangement as a hostage-like situation. Those are relatively minor things and Toope addressed them calmly and honestly. But on Gage South, which the university contends is a minor land use decision, the president got about as animated and angry as he tends to get in public. He denied that there were any plans as of yet to plant market housing on the land. He also promised that three options for the future of Gage South would be presented to the public later this semester. This was interesting, because it was the first time any mention of “three options” had been raised by someone at UBC. It was also an entirely different response than those given by UBC Public Affairs, Campus and Community Planning, members of the Board of Governors or the VP Finance in the past month. Altogether, it gives the impression of an administration that is changing the playbook after public criticism. It gives the impression that a president, after a year of staying hands-off on this issue, is going to use his sizable capital to find a solution to Gage South—and soon. U
Pictures and words on your university experience
Query the fifth: how to get laid The 25 Queries of Student D Bryce Warnes The 25 Queries of Student D is an attempt to answer 25 pressing questions posted anonymously by a commenter on The Ubyssey’s website. For the introduction to this column, and to read the original comment, visit ubyssey.ca/opinion/the-twentyfive-queries-of-st432udent-d/.
QUERY THE FIFTH: How to get laid
I’m really glad Student D asked this question, because I am an expert on the subject of getting laid. You can read The Game, or pay a guy on the internet for an e-book on neuro-linguistic programming and personal hygiene, but neither of these will give you the information you really need. Only I can do that. The secret to getting laid is this: you are repulsive. Male or female, queer or hetero, you are a flesh sack filled with vile secretions and gases. The parts of our bodies that squeeze out feces and urine overlap and jostle up alongside the sites of the glorified
squelching noises our culture refers to as “sex.” Even the all-too-brief experience of orgasm consists of a cessation of thought or emotion: a small respite from indignities of the mortal coil and a tiny foretaste of what, from a materialistic perspective, is the best afterlife we can hope for. Nothing I write here will turn you off your sordid meatspace desires. Logic has never been a match for the fight-flight-feed-fuck instincts of the ancient reptile brain. But, at the very least, try reading the above paragraph a few times before you head to a club or leave for a first date. Realizing the futility of sex and human endeavours as a whole will wash away some of the stench of desperation that turns away potential partners. Once you recognize that you are an obscene cluster of cells doomed to collapse and crumble into nothingness, pot bellies and cottage cheese thighs will be less likely to dampen your sex drive. So try this: lower your expectations. There’s a good chance you’re not as attractive—in body or spirit—as you think you are. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect; the worse you are at something, the more likely you are to drastically overestimate your abilities (think American Idol hopefuls).
And if that “something” is finding someone to copulate with, you can increase your chances of success by setting your sights lower. For a more precise, personalized rating of your worth as a human being, complete the short survey below.
THE SURVEY 1. When you first meet an attractive member of the desired sex, you: a. Make a clever and disarming comment that displays your confidence and wit while leaving open the possibility of deeper, hidden vulnerabilities that you will only share with the “right person.” b. Maintain brief eye contact, then look downwards while unconsciously wiping your sweaty palms on the front of your pants and moving your lips in silent self-reprobation. c. Voice a crude, cynical observation about the other person’s mannerisms or appearance, which is supposed to “challenge” and entertain them, but instead taps into deepseated insecurities and makes them afraid to speak with you. d. Say something racist. 2. When “in da club,” your dancing style is best described as:
a. Aggressive thrusting. b. An effortless, rhythmic movement that makes use of all your best physical attributes yet coyly suggests that you don’t take the act of dancing seriously. c. Standing against the wall a la middle school sock hop and hoping someone will ask you to dance. d. Loudly complaining to nobody in particular for several hours about the venue’s music and clientele while becoming progressively drunker and finally vomiting into a woman’s purse while crying. 3. You’ve met someone who you suspect may be “the one.” You invite them over to your place for dinner, and: a. Serve pierogies covered in melted cheese and bacon with jello shots for dessert. b. Immediately try to fuck them. Also, you didn’t cook anything. c. Present a three-course meal using “grandma’s recipes,” confidently adding “final touches” (all of which involve expert chopping or sautéing skills) while the other person watches appreciatively and sips carefully-paired local wines. Dining music choice: Gypsy Kings. d. Order pizza, and when it arrives try to argue down the price with the delivery person because it’s “cold.”
4. When making eye contact across a crowded room, your facial expression of choice is a. Seductive. b. Charles Manson hypno-eyes. c. Duckface. d. Sheer animal terror. 5. A desirable mate from class asks to borrow your notes. You: a. Not only provide well-ordered and tidy notes, but briefly summarize the contents of the lecture, providing a unique and interesting angle that at once entertains and fascinates the other individual while your locked eyes light up with passion for the subject and for each other. b. Give them a piece of paper with your phone number on it. Just your number. Nothing else. c. Suggest they come over to your place for a study session, noting that “studying when you’re wasted is fucking sick” and that you have some “really pure E.” d......?
Want to take the full version Bryce’s existentially crushing survey? The full version is online at ubyssey.ca