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volume 12, issue 3 // december 2012

OPENWIDEZINE.COM

CHANGES
Make/Resist/Adapt
Disclaimer: The sole responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the authors. Its contents do not reflect the opinion of the University Students Council of the University of Western Ontario (USC). The USC assumes no responsibility or liability for any error, inaccuracy, omission or comment contained in this publication or for any use that may be made of such information by the reader.

CONTENTS
guest article
4
Fragments Shored Against My Ruins
// Romayne Smith-Fullerton

INSIDE YOULL FIND

openwide // decembeR ISSUE

Whats In a Name?
JordanPearson

feature article
6 18
ConverGENRE: Music in the Age of Adaptation // Samir Kashyap Urban Foragers // Samantha Ballard

EDITORS NOTE

Western life
8 10 11
// Jas Irwin & Paul Craig

By now youve probably noticed that this isnt the mitZine anymore. Its shocking, I know. Change is difficult on pretty much every level: Planning it, executing it, coping with it, and especially resisting it. Still, change of some kind is always inevitable, right down to the thermodynamic law of entropy. It is time for us to change, and I believe this change is good. After two and a half months of submissions and feedback from our readers and contributors, it was decided: The conversations happening within these pages - and the ones that just begin here - need to go beyond MIT. They need to include students from MPI, MTP, Poli Sci, Ivey, Science, and even people who arent students (shout out to Professor Romayne Fullerton over on page four). Sorry if I forgot anyone (whats up Kinesiology?), but the point is that were not an insular group. We are a collective of radical thinkers, provocateurs, and writers who are trying to say something meaningful, from every discipline and walk of life. Want to join? Youre in. This new name reflects that spirit.

So, why OPENWIDE? Were here to open wide a culture; to lay it out, analyze it and tease meaning out of it. We want to open wide a closed system - to crack open a space at Western and in society at large for a dissenting voice. We also want to expand your intellectual and cultural horizons, and to have ours widened as well. We are open to new ideas, perspectives, and alternate narratives. Will you open wide to be force-fed ideology and dogma, to consume, or to say something meaningful? Its up to you. This is wholly new ground for this publication and, to be honest, its kind of scary. But god, is it exciting. Were entering a new arena of public discourse, one that engages publics beyond the gates of Western, but remains rooted here. So, this is OPENWIDE. FIMS alternative student publication. Join us, and lets start a conversation that turns the whole damn thing on its head.

Head to Head: The USC, Power, and Democracy Start Teaching Our Kids How to Think // Kyla Garvey A Greener Purple Pride // Jenai Kershaw

OPENWIDE STAFF
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jordan Pearson editor@mitzine.ca MANAGING EDITOR Elizabeth Sarjeant editor@mitzine.ca GRAPHICS EDITOR Antonella Espinoza graphics@mitzine.ca WORLD EDITOR Paul Craig writers@mitzine.ca A&E EDITOR Kevin Hurren writers@mitzine.ca WESTERN LIFE EDITOR Emily Fister writers@mitzine.ca WEB EDITOR Sarah Koopmans web@mitzine.ca ASSISTANT WEB EDITOR Dan Perdic web@mitzine.ca PROMOTIONS COORDINATOR Rel Ollivirrie promo@mitzine.ca

FIMS AFTER HOURS


12 13
Hilary Eng (SKID Clothing) // Emily Fister Poetry // Kira Hoffman & Nathan TeBokkel

arts & entertainment


14 16 17
From Capes to Capitalism // Kevin Hurren Sex In The Air // Kyle Simons A Disturbance In The Force // Kevin Chao

(Dont) Sleep On It
10 releases from 2012 you might have missed, but have to hear
1. Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes
Not exactly under the radar, but you need to hear it if you havent already. Mature Themes plays like a love letter to pops past but takes the concept to new and weird places.

6. CFCF - Exercises
Its beautiful. No lie. And Im only a little embarrassed I wrote that. The floating synths and gentle piano do it for me.

World
20 22 23
Labelling It // Paul Craig #HurricaneSandy // Christine Tippett Class Struggle // Sarah Koopmans

2. Main Attrakionz - Bossalinis & Foolyones


Seventeen tracks of cloud rap bliss from the Bay Areas self-proclaimed best duo ever. Sorry, Paul and John.

7. dEon - LP
dEon sounds like Phil Collins if he smoked a ton of weed, got his chakras aligned, and surfed the Internet a lot.

3. Elite Gymnastics - RUIN 3 & 4


With producers like CFCF and Physical Therapy (and more), itd be hard to go wrong with these remix EPs, and they deliver.

8. Daphni - Jiaolong
For fans of African and Latin pop, as well as minimal house. Huh? What? Just listen, Its from Dan Snaith A.K.A. Caribou.

Zine Canada
24

4. Mac Demarco - 2

silently wondering, Why bother? since 1906. Jas Irwin, Elizabeth Sarjeant, Amir Eftekharpour, Francine Navarro

cover photography
www.kellysamuelphotography.com

Beautifully produced, fun, and superbly written and performed songs from friendly stoner/guitar god Mac Demarco.

9. Light Asylum - Light Asylum


Straight-up aping New Order, but Shannon Funchess voice is a something to behold and they really nail it on a few tracks.

KELLY SAMUEL

5. Finally Boys - Feelings


Get ready to take a trip to the astral plane. This is some seriously transcendent shit.

10. Trust - TRST


Sulky darkwave from Toronto. They actually have a song called Sulk. You get the candles, Ill get the absinthe.

MODEL: Matt Beal

Fragments Shored Against My Ruins


Romayne Smith-Fullerton
If change is of the essence of existence, one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.
Somerset Maugham, The Razors Edge

openwide // GUEST ARTICLE

I dont usually offer personal reflections about my own life or use such ruminations as jumping off points for giving advice to students. I dont usually write for the mag formerly known as the mitZine. But according to zine editor and MIT student Jordan Pearson, this is an issue that has a lot of never done befores. And if Heraclitus was right and change really is the only constant, then all of usmyself includedneed to embrace this and move on. Change has been the essence of my academic life and career. I have a very short attention span and an insatiable curiosity, so I thought journalism would be a great choice to pursue after high school. I studied journalism at Carleton University and graduated with my Honours Bachelor of Journalism degree, but I felt too young to ask what I thought would be the tough questions and I wanted to know more, so I went to graduate school. To make a long story short, I did a Masters and Ph.D. in English literature, writing about postmodern and traditional fairy tales and musing about why feminist writers would want to borrow problematic tropes,

storylines and characters from traditional tales to make points about our contemporary lives. I love stories and thinking about why some elements of narrative stick with us while others have no resonance. I love reading, and writing and talking. And I love sharing my ideas and hearing those of others who love what I love. Teaching seemed perfect, but there were no jobs in English departments (sound familiar?), so I adapted: I combined my journalism skills and knowledge with my graduate degrees to look at how mainstream news uses fairy tales to tell stories about the likes of the then-notorious Karla Homolka. I was hired to teach in Westerns graduate journalism program and the then fledgling Media, Information and Technoculture degree. The moral of my little tale? That sometimes you have to accept the change. You have to enjoy repurposing. You have to stick with what you believe in and what you feel passionate about. One of my counselors in high school told me something way back when that actually stuck. Its probably

not his own creation, and perhaps someone will tweet me to say that the source for the quote is such-andsuch. But then againI can take correction. To me thats positive change. My counselor, giving me advice about what I ought to study, said, Do what you love to do. Keep doing what you love to do. Then youll end up doing what you love to do. Its trite and clich, but it has the essence of both stability and change. Locate the stability in what you care about, and in your belief that what matters to you is real and genuine. If you stick with this and make decisions about you and your future based on that self-knowledge, you really wont end up doing something thats not right for you. Having spent a bit of time with Jordan Pearson last week, I know thats what he wants for this mag your mag: that it can be a place for thoughts, poems, photos, bits and pieces of anything that matters to youso long as it really matters. No more cool corporate persona voices was what Pearson said to me, borrowing a phrase from Marshall

McLuhan. How appropriate. Pearson spoke to me about hoping the reinvented zine will offer students a place to say something meaningful, personal, intellectual, affective as long as its genuine, theres a place for it here. To return to my personal story for a minute, my dad loves to play the piano and he plays very well indeed. When my parents were divorcing, he would play The Beatles Yesterday until my mother would leave the house. Another favourite was Simon and Garfunkels Bridge over Troubled Water. When I asked him why he did this, he said he just wanted to get away and playing the piano offers him that.

Although I had a lot of music lessons, piano never was my escape. For me, its always been fiction and horses. When Im reading a good book, or riding my horse, the rest of the world ceases to exist. In the face of change, especially when it seems threatening and overwhelming and like something I just cant look at directly, I read or ride. As T.S. Eliot, one of my all-time favourite poets, wrote in that really challenging read The Wasteland, These fragments I have shored against my ruins. Like other modernist writers of the time who located stability in art, I think Eliot is suggesting that his poem is what he holds up against the chaos or the threat of change. His writingthe fragments-will organize that which he fears.

Sure, its a huge conceit. But in this postmodern world where profs like me love to deconstruct sacred artifacts like your degree (How much will that piece of paper actually cost you? Is it useful paper? Can you use it as an umbrella to keep yourself dry in the rain? Can you use it as note paper if you run out in a job interview?), you have to acknowledge that meaning is constructed. So what? Construct what matters to you. Believe in what matters to you. That doesnt lessen the experience. And if this isnt a perspective youve considered before, or its one you have considered but dismissed, maybe its time to change.

4 // OPENWIDE v12

OPENWIDE v12 // 5

ConverGENRE:
openwide // feature

Samir Kashyap

Music in the Age of Adaptation


effort to form such categorizations, but whats the harm of putting our music out there as something not to be labelled? This, however, is unlikely to happen anytime soon. While online sharing makes it easier to dismantle and reassemble music genres, it also makes it easier to judge and project opinions on music as well. We enjoy picking at songs, revelling in the ability to criticize or commend artists for their artistic decisions. Whether were praising a visionary or tearing down a fraud, we enjoy this evolution of music. Engaging in heated debates concerning artists and genres may

You turn on the radio and start going through your favourite channels. Then, all of a sudden, you stop and listen. You wonder when Pitbull started working with electronic dance musicians. You switch the channel. Rihanna, yelling. Her voice fades out, and in its place is a distorted bassline. You switch the channel once more only to discover Taylor Swift repeating the word trouble again and again and again. Is that dubstep? You can turn off the radio, but you cant turn off the movement. You cant stop this convergenre. It is difficult to trace the origins of fusion genres. Some say the first to emerge was funk-rock in the 1970s, spearheaded by artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Prince, followed by Lenny Kravitz in the late 1980s, maybe even Talking Heads. Though these performers had talent, were they really the first to mess around with musical boundaries? Back in the 1960s, the Beatles played with sitars on what is widely considered to be one of the greatest records of all time, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. If they brought instruments foreign to rock music and incorporated them into their music, are they the fusion genre creators? No: although the Beatles used sitars in Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, this didnt start a wave of sitar-oriented music; it seems that The Beatles were just ahead of their time. We live in an ever-adapting, fast-paced age. Over the last fifteen years, weve witnessed major social, political, and economic changes which have shapedand are still shapingour world. The evolution of music is an aspect of this changing world that has been greatly overlooked, and though difficult to believe, this great musical shift can be accredited to the fact that today everyone is a musician. All one needs is a few dollars and a touchpad. Today were driven by re-creation. We can take sounds from the past and incorporate them into the tracks we conjure up in our bedrooms. We can loop the opening

electric guitar riff of Ozzy Ozbournes Crazy Train, pitch down Adeles vocals, and throw in our own bassline. Suddenly our creation is a re-creation, a testament to the sounds that have been a part of us for ages. For instance, hip hop finds its roots in the Bronx during the 1970s. Though its been less than half a century, hip hops evolution has been monumental. What started off as a harmony of scatting and scratching became funk, then jazz, and then bass-heavy, only for someone like Kanye West to change it again. If youve been listening to hip hop in the past few years, youve heard of hip hop collectives like Odd Future and A$AP Mob. With these acts, hip hop saw its first major resurgence in the underground since its jazzy days. With all eyes on the underground, the stage was set for new hip hop producers. At-home talent sprung up from all parts of the world to contribute to this music trend. The results? Cloud rap. Witch house. Alternative hip hop. Hip hop became a myriad of subgenres, ones that we created. Just like rock and hip hop, the world of electronic music has seen rapid change and growth. Within the realm of electronic music, there exists a genre that, in some respects, is the epitome of musical evolution. It starts with a wub and is usually succeeded by a more aggressive one. Thats right: dubstep. Dubstep wasnt around for most of the 1990s, however, towards the decades end in London, England, the garage sound met drum and bass enter the original dubstep. Contrary to todays perceptions, dubstep wasnt always the aggressive, wonky-bass music you hear now. In fact, dubstep artists approached the genre with a very simplistic production style in mind. In its infancy, dubstep was more percussive and often made up of syncopated, shuffled rhythms in an effort to create a dark yet relaxing atmosphere. This sound may seem like the complete

opposite of what dubstep is today, and the transition was due to a few key players. Canadian artists like Excision, DatsiK, and Downlink rule todays aggressive dubstep scene, along with the equally loved and hated Skrillex. By incorporating aggressive tendencies in his music, as well as utilizing other genre conventions, Skrillex continues to challenge those who define him as a dubstep artist. While some are still struggling to place where Skrillex and dubstep are on the musical spectrum, at what point does it become difficult or even unnecessary to define music? With so many subgenres being created by fans, we find ourselves unable to organize our music by genre because we dont know the rules anymore. The constant sharing and altering of music means that genres are always colliding and transforming. We draw inspiration for sub and fusion genres to create our own forms of expression, seeing the purpose of the music genre, which is to categorize and define music, as obsolete. Some will argue that we should still be making an

seem like a strange way of showing this appreciation, but its because we feel music is such an important part of ourselves that we feel the need to engage with it. Before, it was easier to do so when genres were much more segregated; now we acknowledge, appreciate, and adopt musical styles. Genres will continue to collide and converge, with subgenres continuing to emerge - and we will happily let them. Why? Because, just like the music that we change and alter, as active listeners we are changed and moulded into a new audience. We are a new genre of fans.

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OPENWIDE v12 // 7

HEAD TO HEAD The USC, Power, and Democracy


OH, NO.
Like my grandmother says, nothing good happens after 2 AM. It is refreshing that Fearnall wants disconnects between students and their government to be tackled head-on instead of just feebly acknowledged. However, the new process of acquiring USC executives is a step back, not forward. Firstly, the new structure is far from connecting students more closely with their USC, what Fearnall cites as his primary goal. The anticipation of potential slates and hiring will likely lead to councilors forming alliances.

OPENWIDE // western life

On October 22nd, USC President Adam Fearnall spoke about his plans to restructure the USC executive board during his Western Untold talk. Next year, the USC presidential candidates will run with an appointed vice presidential running mate, and then hand-select the remaining vice presidents after winning. The proposition was passed by a vote on November 22nd. Jas Irwin and Paul Craig face off on whether this is a dangerous precedent or a boon for students power.

Jas Irwin
platform. But hiring VPs is structurally set up so that yes men are created within hierarchal structure. One would hope that current VPs would be respectful of the decisions of the President, but they are not beholden to himthey earned their position separately and of themselves. Having a VP owe a President for their tenure fundamentally changes the nature of that relationship, regardless of the personalities or values of the people involved. Contention and compromise are tenets of innovation, and making homogeneity a required staple of our government would be incredibly short-sighted. One of the most important shortcomings of this plan is the reality of USC turnover. Fearnall says that in real life government, a political leader appoints their ministers themselves (for the record, ministers who are still elected by the public to be eligible). In Canada, the prime minister has at least four years to make choices, engage with checks and balances and face subsequent accountability. In that time, the average university student has completed their entire term at Western. Continuity of vision is already a huge problem with the USC. The new system will see a perpetual spinning door of like-minded and self-congratulatory execs, making yearly transitions even more jarring and discordant than they already are.

OH, YES!
Starting this January, the president and two vice presidents will run together on a ballot. Instead of being quietly voted in by council, the remainder of the executive will be appointed afterwards by the winning team. While the motion passed with 64% of the vote in Council, much of the at-large student criticism has been scathing. For an organization characterized by such an extraordinary penchant for mildness to attract such fierce criticism is, if nothing else, admirable. Detractors have lamented that the centralizing of power will inevitably lead to abuse. At the same time, the USC is often criticized for being a bloated, inefficient organisation that neither does very much fornor communicates very effectively with the student body. So which is it: are we happier criticizing a meek USC or lashing out defensively now that theyve emboldened themselves? On October 30th, the Gazette Editorial board decided to take a strong stance against the possibility of power-induced corruption, maintaining the USCs fragmented executive selection process would remain the best safeguard against radical change. In sum, the Gazette is of the mind that the best way forward is to stand still. But, unlike the Gazette, were not all enamoured with the status quo. Radical isnt by definition wrong.

Paul Craig
scrutinized, and even once elected, they remain far from the popular consciousness. They get 162 votes and then vote on important policy decisions all year. What would be so wrong, then, with giving more power to the President? The President is the only member of the executive committee elected by the student body, and presumably students votes are simultaneously their blessing. Why would it be so wrong if the person people picked to be President was powerful? An erosion of democracy, decries the Gazette, but I disagree. Its not fair to argue the USC is flawed and then balk at a solution: its true that the new system introduces the potential for destructive change, but its wrong to assume that all change is destructiveespecially when any future president needs first to win the support of students. The potential for abusing or mishandling power has thus far been widely trumpeted, but there comes a point where elected representatives must be trusted to do what theyve been elected for. Giving agency to the elected president is a vote of confidence, and ultimately we must trust the student body to choose the candidate best fit to represent them.

The last thing the USC needs is a better way to become more insular and internally fragmented. As a clueless interloper witnessing this USC meeting, the vibe in the chambers was bewildering. Like a Model UN conference after a wild party in the hotel lobby the night before, the proceeding were laden with weird tension, grandstanding and the increasingly sassy use of formal titles: Well, Mr. Speaker- At . least right now every councilor is a separate political entity. Implementing slates indicates a move away from a multiplicity of individual ideas towards overt USC schisms. While it is taboo to speak of the Western electorate as anything but eager, informed political animals who pore over totally objective Gazette election coverage like Scripture, it needs to be acknowledged that not all USC presidents are created equal, and not all voters are as engaged as one would hope. Allowing a weak president to have free license to shape the rest of the executive wouldnt result in disasterthe existence of council would prevent that but it could conceivably result in rendering a crucial arm of the USC impotent. In contrast, the likelihood of council electing five ill-prepared or irresponsible VPs is slim. Council hopes that under this new structure, the USC executive will have a streamlined system of decision-making and the opportunity to present a unified front on the democratically elected presidents

It certainly merits questioning the wisdom of centralizing power, but in this case the potential benefits trump the perceived negatives. The problem with the selection process was of the inconsistencies of governing together: should the presidents agenda diverge from some of his/ her vice presidents the president , would be effectively vetoed. This change would present a problem when negotiating with Westerns administration, for example. Fearnall argues, rightly, that a single-minded USC executive board would be a better liaison for students than a multi-minded one. I know the nature of politics precludes scheming, plotting, and coaxing in front of councils and behind closed doors. I can appreciate that when we talk about politics, we arent referring to an efficient machine churning out progressive bylaws on the first of every month. Were talking about arguments, back deals, and vested interests. Were talking about power. The Official Opinion of the Gazette is that the president would get too much of it. To which I counter: as students, we hardly have any. For six weeks in the dead of winter, a plethora of potential presidents try their darndest to court us students, and each candidate is subject to the heavy vetting of a campus media incapable of professional distance. Councilors, on the other hand, are just the friends of your friends friends. They are rarely, if ever, publicly

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OPENWIDE v12 // 9

openwide // WESTERN LIFE

Start Teaching Our

Kyla Garvey

illustrated by Nicole Landsiedel

Jenai Kershaw

Kids How to Think


W
hat is the goal of our education system? And Im not talking about the university. Im talking about the elementary schools holding hostage the young, malleable minds of the next generation. Cynthia Reynolds, author of Macleans October 26th cover story, Stop Brainwashing our Kids, brings up an interesting discussion: where is there space for activism in elementary schools? Reynolds takes the stance that, as a place responsible for ensuring the basic education of our children, elementary schools should be free of controversial discussions surrounding social issues. Reynolds makes a good argument. Her preliminary claim is the problematic age-difference between students and teachers. As one psychologist states, forcing politics on grade school kids verges on manipulation. Children idolize their elders, so its not hard to envision the effects of an eager activist leading a discussion in a second grade class on Albertas Keystone XL Pipeline project. The classroom is not the place for activism. I agree, instructors should keep personal politics separate from lesson plans. Its entirely inappropriate to have Grade Four students decide in ten minuteswhich three people from this group should be saved from an imminent planetary explosion: a black African, a Chinese person, an Aboriginal, a Francophone, and an Anglophone. This conservation actually happened in New Brunswick in 2009, but this is the exception and the extreme. Macleans presents this scenario of social justice throughout primary school curricula as a growing problem. Firstly, it isnt a growing problem, but a series of unrelated events. Secondly, its necessary. More depth and relevance should be provided to the academic curriculum, not the reverse. Putting relevant situations into coursework is a way to encourage youth involvement. We want an inspired group of people who will engage with media texts and political issues instead of ignoring them. Social justice in the classroom becomes controversial when teachers impose political ideals and personal ideologies onto these young children, when school trips become class protests complete with petition signs and oil spill dioramas. Take, for example, this workto-rule mandate thats overwhelming educational institutions across the province. Children are already losing out and wondering why. Can the situation be explained by teachers without bias and vested interests? Reynolds states that Social justice generally entails a strongly progressive bent. Well, progressive bent is an interpretive term; what the average might say is a leftist lean, we as

students might call an even playing field. And what delineates controversial topics? Well, subjects that some people might label basic education may seem blasphemous to others. Global warming, sexuality, bullying, animal rights, and international trade are a few of these infamous topics. Its critical to introduce this dialogue when students are young. However, the assumption is that its the role of parents, not the classroom, to inform. By pre-emptively eliminating taboos, teachers will encourage children to grow up in an open culture that would lead to a more inclusive society. Most importantly, Reynolds article fails to address what the institution is really missing. Education should encourage children to think critically, ask questions, and be creative. There is a flaw in our education system where students are being taught what to think rather than how to think. This is important not only for aspiring teachers, but for everyone. It raises the question of objectivity in the classroom. And if elementary schools are rife with opinion, you can bet universities are. Dont underestimate the power of suggestion. When youre overwhelmed in the classroom, dont heed everything your professor says without asking why. From advertisements to education, be proud that the humanities are critical of everything around us.

purple pride
O
ne of the best features about Western is its beautiful campus. It even swayed my decision when it came down to choosing a university. Yet, as months have passed and my interest in Westerns academic and social opportunities has increased, Im still able to revel daily in the natural beauty of these buildings, the Thames, and the greenery surrounding this campus. But its one thing to revel and another to preserve it. As a student, Ive had no desire to actively conserve this natural beauty. To some degree, I blame Western for this inaccessibility. The school does an impressive job of promoting school spirit; we take great pride in the fact that Western has consecutively been first (or tied for first) in The Globe and Mail Annual University Report in categories like Work and Play Balance, Student Satisfaction, and Student-Faculty Interaction. While we excel in so many categories, were stuck with a B+ in Environmental Commitment. This is comparatively lower than the majority of our A and A- rankings. In a Green Card Report taken last year by The Sustainable Endowments Institute, Western received a commendable A rating in our healthy foods and recycling effort, followed by a pitiful D in climate change and energy. Westerns Hospitality Services promote healthy choices for students and the environment; the Western Green Award is highlighted in all our cafeterias and food courts. But almost no one is aware of the lack of initiative for climate change and energy conservation. Why isnt the university encouraging a more proactive role for students? It seems almost immature to blame everything on an institution. In the humanities, were taught to recognize the veil of ignorance over consumers eyesor in this case, students eyes. Its up to both students and staff to share responsibility in this green wash ignorance. For instance, when I searched on Westerns USC website for environmental clubs, I was disappointed to find only one result under Environmental and Sustainability. The result was the Wildlife Conservation Society. Other environment-friendly clubs were all concerned with drought relief in Africa or building wells in developing nations. Even EnviroWestern, the main environmental organization at Western, only minimally promotes itself, making it difficult to be part of the effort or understand its goals. Its time for Western University to make actual, transparent choices to prioritize environment walk over talk. Realizing sustainable climate change and energy change seems to get lost amidst other priorities, such as promotional ventures. Westerns newly unveiled e-newsletter, Green and Purple is the latest green-washing , medium. Its time to focus on more studentoriented environmental projects and services, like green energy programs or clean-up initiatives around campus. Ive already seen some in action. In November, residences across campus competed with each other to reduce their energy emissions. The residence with the highest reduction won funding from the USC. Also, the Faculty of Science has an ongoing bottle drive that recycles used alcohol bottles and cans, encouraging students to keep their bottles instead of littering. Its small initiatives like this that show me we are capable of, if not passionate about, saving our environment. All we need is bigger action and bigger commitment on Westerns behalf, ensuring that Western, as an institution, involves its students.

a greener

10 // OPENWIDE v12

Hilary Engs Street Style Goes Runway

fims after hours

Emily Fister

AMONG OTHER THINGS


Id like to go to a restaurant called Restaurant . Id order a coffee and an apple pie and instead of a tip, Id leave a cigarette for the weathered waitress. Id like to fall in love because for once, I would like a purpose for falling. Yes, I would like to revel in unoriginal clichs. Among other things, it would be nice to have a crossword I could finish and good sleep that didnt exist on a rainy day. I would like a reason to be bored because I only ever say it when Im far from it. Id like to write a shitty poem and feel something instead of nothing. But writing is a symptom that is only derived from something. If I could just subvert logistics, maybe we could all exist without existing like we do. We could think with our hearts and feel with our brains and happily ever after would be sad never again . We would do each others makeup before bed and in the morning wash it off along with our insecurities. Among other things, I would like to lose myself without being lost. And Id like to live without wondering why. Most of all, Id like to exist without the worry of existing among other things. Id like for you to reach me only within your memory.

OPENWIDE

poetry
belief
be(lie)ve in(to) you(rself) be(in you,hope iridesces)lieve be(in you,love wanes&waxes)lieve be(in you,i coalesces)lieve the pale light of the moon when it whispers: be (y)ourself, be(Lie)ve in(tO) you(rselVEs) in(your many,many selves)to in(your many,many tears)to in(your morethanmany smiles)to forever, says the moon when a ghostly face unblinks, be (y)ourselves,

Hilary Eng can make a paper clip trendy. Its a Wednesday before night class, and the up-and-coming fashion designer is clad in a grungy army green jacket, bedazzled with her signature silver studs. Green tea in hand, she whispers over chatter in Weldon Librarys Quotes Caf. I keep getting stares Eng points to the black toque on her head, smiling. Because my hat says Get Fucked. Today is her brash tomboy day, she tells me. This morning, the 19-year old was inspired by the prospect of turning a paper clip into a nose ring. Tomorrow morning is a blank canvasuntil inspiration from the everyday strikes. Only in her second year of MIT, Eng has already made a name for herself in the Western community. As the visionary behind S.K.I.D. Clothing (Street Kids In Distressed Clothing), the past year and a half has seen her expand the street style brand to runway status. And it all began with unemployment. I quit my summer job as a hostess at Montanas, she laughs. And I wasnt doing anything, so I started making clothes for my friends. Inspired by her mothers treasure-hunting thrift techniques, Eng has always had a keen eye for unlikely trends. That jobless summer was filled with sweat and sewing machines. She began experimenting, melding a love for vintage, haute couture comme Alexander Wang, and DIY fashion on sites like Tumblr and Lookbook.nu. With a knack for remix culture, Eng repurposes classic fashion with an urban edge. Thrifted plaid and jean shirts are given a second chance as sultry studded collars. Old pairs of highwaisted jean shorts are patched up with a lace floral cutout. Aztec sweaters become skirts. In S.K.I.D.s world, any fabric becomes everything. Its all about statement pieces, being comfortable but still fashionable, she says. Its about having that edge and standing out. Since starting MIT, Engs creative input and output have soared. This past March, she was the very first student designer showcased at the annual CAISA Fashion Show at the London Convention Centre. That runway experience, coupled with a tattoo parlour photoshoot, set the stage for her first S.K.I.D. lookbook this past summer. Right now, Eng is readying herself for CAISAs 2013 show where she hopes to debut more edgy material. A true media student, Eng finds inspiration in musical muses. If Im listening to something softer, like Bon Iver while Im working, I make softer pieces, the designer says. My music is everywhere. Ill listen to rap or hardcore, and it comes out as studs. This duality is key to her personality. She embodies the same spunk that made Gwen Stefani a firecracker in the fashion world, but is as approachably tough as Emma Bunton in Spice Worlds boot camp scene. For her next venture, Eng is looking at expanding the line to male pieces. But right now, shes excited to work on hardwareinfused jewellery. Id like to take something like nails and turn it into jewellery. Something very raw and wearable. Paper clip in nose, studs on shoulders, Eng takes off into the night. Shes off to Selma Puracs class for a movie screening, exploring celebrity culture like any other day on campus. Students will ask me, Why are you so dressed up for school? And I say, Im not, Im just myself. Official website (coming soon): www.skidclothing.ca Follow Hilary on Twitter: @SKIDClothing Facebook: S.K.I.D. Clothing

Nathan TeBokkel

Kira Hoffman

OPENWIDE v12 // 13

OPENWIDE // ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

FROM CAPES
VAMPIRES IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE

Kevin Hurren

ILLUSTRATED by Jennifer Feldman

TO CAPITALISM:
marginalized groups that related to them, vampires have the strength and means to overpower their oppressors. Using their dominant physical abilities, the hunted were able to hunt. Vampires have also come to be closely aligned with amplified sexuality. For men, becoming a vampire means adopting a foreign intrigue, a mysterious appeal. Instead of defining attraction within the parameters of heroism, men can admire the intense, gothic sexuality of their vampire brothers while simultaneously forgoing the knight in shining armor archetype. Female vampires are symbols of sexual freedom. Portrayed as seductresses and temptresses, female vampires demystify conventions of passivity and purity when it comes to sexuality and women. In vampire imagery, its the women who dominate and penetrate (with teeth) their male counterparts. Also, what makes vampires sexuality superior is the fact that they possess beauty and youth that will never fade. This note of immortality is the third and perhaps seminal reason people emulate vampires they are the masters of eternity. No matter the text, vampires are endowed with superhuman attributes. These abilities range from instant and far-reaching communication to super speed to the lasting preservation of

their current state. Immortality alone is enough to account for a pronounced desire to become a vampire. But for those who mourn Twilights end and are desperately looking for another vampire clan to emulate, I pose a suggestion: why turn to fictional representations when we are already living as vampires? We may not have the fangs, the pale skin, and the aversion to sun, but we do have something that makes us equally as powerful: technology. Where Dracula was able to telepathically send messages over time and space, we can do the same via text message probably with a greater character count and faster delivery time. While Edward Cullen runs to Bella at speeds that defy nature, we can hop on a train and meet him there in style, or better yet, open a session on Skype and interact with someone on the opposite side of the world. Finally, though our bodies still age, were getting better at perfecting techniques and technologies that will prevent or at the very least disguise this process. Another way to look at immortality is from a digital perspective. We live so much of our lives online that we can literally reject the need to age. For example, if an individual were to suddenly pass away, wouldnt their Facebook account still be online, equipped with a collection of photos, videos, and notes to remember the person by? If the images remain on the Internet, the ultimate preserver, then does that individual become immortalized in their digital mosaic of youth? The answer to that is unclear, but what may be even more confusing is how exactly this relationship with technology makes us vampires. After all, the most widely recognizable feature of a vampire is his or her need to drink blood and to thrive off the lives of others. Whether were aware of it or not, this is the main reason why today we can be understood as living a vampire-like life. Our technologies extend us, empower us, and immortalize us but these technologies are built by a system rooted in exploitation. Conflict minerals, technological waste dumps, factories with non-existent labour laws it seems as though the technologies upon which weve come to depend, the ones that, in a sense, keep us alive are closely tied to the mistreatment, oppression, and exploitation of a working class.

We can hurt the exploitative cycle of consumerism the same Way We Would hurt a vampire by shedding light on it.

s 2012 ends, we prepare to say goodbye to Mayan apocalypse theories, binders full of women, and of course, the Twilight series. With the final installment of the franchise already in theatres, the mania that has surrounded the Cullen clan will finally subside. Or will it? What the Twilight series, among other recent projects, has done in the past few years is re-spark an obsession with the vampire kind. Though Twilight has brought the (tinted) spotlight back onto vampires in popular culture, the obsession with these bloodsucking nightwalkers has long been present. From 1922s Nosferatu to 2003s Underworld and all the Dracula adaptations in between, vampire stories

have been a fixture in cinematic history. However, the depictions of vampires have transitioned from demons to demigods. Vampires no longer resemble the ghostly, haunted villains hidden in castle shadows. Now, vampire characters are the protagonists, the main characters, and the love interests. This cultural shift can be equated to an overall change in perception, or more specifically, a step towards addictive admiration. Vampires arent the villains because they arent scary anymore theyre no longer creatures to avoid but visions to aspire towards. This change in perspective can be the result of several factors. For instance, over the years the vampire kind is continuously seen to overcome its marginalized limits. Hunted down for their physical differences, vampires represent the quintessential outsider. In this way, other racialized or persecuted groups empathize with vampires, seeing the tortured race through a sympathetic lens. However, unlike the

If that phrase sounds familiar, it is because concerns for the proletariat were at the centre of several of Karl Marxs theories. Marx himself compares capitalism and vampires. As he writes in Das Kapital, capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor. Though we rarely see such a correlation, our ignorant consumption continues to support a system that prospers off the life of third world workers. While we may feel trapped in this vampire-capitalist system, we are not doomed to live these shadows forever. We can hurt the exploitative cycle of consumerism the same way we would hurt a vampire by shedding light on it. Enrolling as students in the this faculty has allowed us to take steps towards educating ourselves on these issues and issues with capitalism as a whole. If we hope to improve the way in which the products we consume are made, we must share that knowledge and continue to expose specific instances of injustice as they relate to our technology. After all, the theme for this issue is change, but we cannot enact change if we dont first become aware of the problem. Its about time to wake up from our daydreaming, rise from our coffins, and stop living like vampires. Although this fanged race is fictional, the repercussions of our ignorant consumption habits are very real. In our world, its going to take a lot more than garlic to ward off our kind of bloodsuckers.

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sex in the air


T

openwide // ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Perceptions of Women in the Music Industry Kyle Simons

a disturbance

openwide // ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

ILLUSTRATED by Jennifer Feldman

in the force
DISNEY, STAR WARS, AND THE THREAT OF MEDIA CONSOLIDATION

here are a number of debates about the rampant misogyny in popular music. Whether its rappers spitting about whores or the scantily clad women that frequently appear in music videos, objectification of women in the music industry is normalized. From a male lyricists perspective, women are sex objects. Does this change when a female artist openly talks about sex in her music? Is she still being objectified? While the initial answer might be affirmative, its important to rethink this automatic reaction. When male performers sing about having lots of sex, wanting sex, or being sexy, hardly anyone thinks twice. On the contrary, female musicians who choose to express their sexuality in the same way are often regarded as sluts who commodify their own bodies to sell music. This double standard is demonstrated by many artists, such as Rihanna. In 2011, the unapologetic pop star bluntly sang in her track S&M: I may be bad / but Im perfectly good at it / Sex in the air / I dont care / I love the smell of it / Sticks and stones may break my bones / but chains and whips excite me. The song, accompanied by an explicit video, immediately created controversy. Critics tore the song apart, arguing that S&M endorsed the treatment of women as less than men. The songs problem isnt its sexual nature or its perception of women. Rather, the problem is our perception of women. We need to address the root of peoples frustration. Are people angry because women are supposedly being treated as sex objects, or does this discomfort stem from the fact that open female sexuality, a long-time taboo, is being brought to the forefront of popular culture? Its time for female figures in music to step out of the historic expectations on female behaviour and the restrictions that come with it. Music consumers need to realize it is okay for women to desire sex, to have sex, and to express sexuality in their music. Collectively, we need to stop slut-shaming celebrities that are open about sex and start embracing them. For todays female performers, sex needs to be empowering. We need to have women in the public eye who are willing to define their sexuality on their own terms. For example, Nicki Minaj came onto the music scene in 2010 and has since been a strong proponent of sexual freedom. In several of her songs Minaj boldly expresses her sexual interests. Furthermore, the eccentric rapper has managed to guide her career towards success in an industry that has long been dominated by males. In 2011, Minaj even surpassed Eminem in becoming the most followed rapper on Twitter. Her daring will to talk about sex and the female body goes against traditional musical gender roles, and is a progressive force in music today. If we stop seeing women who are open about their sexuality in music as sluts or objects, the music itself can be an empowering factor. By throwing away our old ideas of how women in music should portray themselves, we can foster an environment of artistic and sexual freedom that will not only give way to an influx of creativity, but also assist in leaving behind archaic notions of puritan female sexuality.

Kevin Chao

hen the Walt Disney Company announced its purchase of Lucasfilm and its intention to produce a sequel to the Star Wars franchise, fans and media critics alike raised questions immediately. What does this merger mean for the series? Will the new movie disappoint? Is Disney beating a dead horse or pumping a cash cow? Though shocking to some loyal Lucas fans, Disneys purchase of Lucasfilm is not unique. The creators of Mickey Mouse recently bought Pixar and Marvel, both entertainment giants in their own respect. The two studios then went on to create blockbuster hits like Toy Story 3 and The Avengers. If fans are worried about the quality of any future Star Wars films, they shouldnt be. Disney has a great track record, and its unlikely that any Disney princesses will be making Jedi cameos. Instead what should raise concern in public consciousness is how yet another smaller company has fallen under the influence of a multinational mass media corporation. Many people dont realize just how much of our media is controlled by factions of media conglomerates. Though not widely known and rarely acknowledged, only six companies control over ninety percent of American media. Thirty years ago, fifty media companies controlled the same amount. Because of media consolidation, these Big Six companies - comprised of General Electric, News-Corp, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, and Disney - have become some of the most influential corporations.

Regarding news, Time Warners properties alone have amassed one hundred and seventy eight million readers monthly twice that of Tumblr, Digg, and Reddit combined and three times as many readers as Google News. Similarly, News Corp owns the top newspapers of three separate continents. From this its clear that something as seemingly independent as news comes from the same six places. News isnt the only media penetrated by the corporate consolidation efforts of such companies. Hollywood and similar film industries have become increasingly controlled by the Big Six. In 2010, box office sales of Big Six films were twice the profit of the next one hundred and forty studios combined.

This kind of media consolidation occurs with very little time to contemplate its value. In terms of productivity, consolidation is a great asset to efficiency, but at what cost does this productivity come? Yes, small studios cant necessarily get projects done as fast as studios like Disney or Time Warner which churn out films at an alarming rate. However, what the media giants cannot offer is creative individuality. Artistic expression is becoming increasingly scarce as the Big Six absorb Hollywood and become more influential than ever before. The ideological directions our movies take are streamlined, and creativity falls in favor of the formulaic cinema most conducive to moneymaking. Thus, the innovative projects of small studios can barely stand up to their corporate counterparts and we, the audience, suffer. With so much influence, the Big Six hoard value-shaping power through their various and far-reaching affiliates. They, like any group of corporations, have an agenda. If nearly all of our information comes from the same six media sources, what does that say about the state of our news, our art, and our lives? How close are we to an era where corporations define what we know and how we live at least more than they do today? We must be critical of how we retrieve, evaluate, and disseminate our media. Like the omnipresent and all-powerful Big Brother, the Big Six watch us and feed us information every day. Its now up to us to bite the six hands that feed us. OPENWIDE v12 // 17

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ILLUSTRATED by Olivia Pierratos

Urban Foragers
openwide // world

ILLUSTRATED by Kristina Rowell

Considering Freeganism

Sam Ballard

Be fty Thri

his past summer, my friend JP introduced me to a guy hed met at a philanthropy initiative function in Toronto a couple of years ago. My only precursor to our meeting was Sam, this is the most brilliant person youll ever meet. He wasnt kidding. This guy, whod rather not be named in this article, identified himself as a freeganist. It was a term Id never heard before, so I spent the rest of the night picking his brain. Fortunately, he was happy to enlighten me. Simply put, he said, my life is about freedom. The term itself is an obvious extension of the word free. On their official site freegan.info, freeganists define themselves as: people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources... [It is] a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy

will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able. Obviously it takes some serious dedication, but these people have not only recognized how truly fucked up capitalism is, theyre legitimately doing something about it. After interrogating the shit out of him, he decided itd be best to just show JP and I what he does. Dumpster diving-or urban foraging on freegan.info--involves rummaging through the garbage of retailers, residences, offices, and other facilities for useful goods. Despite our societys stereotypes about garbage, the goods recovered by freegans are safe, useable, clean, and in near-perfect condition, a symptom of a throwaway culture that encourages us to constantly replace our older goods with newer ones. Certain freeganists, like the one I met, prefer to travel in groups when theyre looking for sustenance, and there just so happens to be a fairly large community in Toronto. Their

favourite places to grab food are in Kensington market, as many store-owners are helpful contributors to the movement. There are a variety of fresh produce markets and bakeries that need to toss what is technically expired, and take no issue with the community doing their urban foraging. That night, we dined on a nice head of lettuce, some small ripe tomatoes, and a gigantic bell pepper. Yo germaphobes, I lived to tell the tale. Words cant fully express the respect I have for this community of people. To go full freegan is really hard, and thats the sad truth. We all know that capitalism means overconsumption, but were socialized to think that this is okay. The freeganists agree: Sweatshop labor, rainforest destruction, global warming, displacement of indigenous communities, air and water pollution, open-pit strip mining, oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, union busting, child slavery, and payoffs to repressive regimes are just some of the many impacts of the seemingly innocuous consumer products we consume every day.

Western society is stuck in this dissociative mind frame where we dont realize that almost everything we do has a negative impact in some way. We all have blood on our hands. Its an overused statement, but seriously: if youre not part of the solution, youre part of the problem. So what the hell are you going to do about it? Or better, what the hell am I going to do about it? Dont get me wrong; Im not on some humanitarian high horse. These people are saints for their dedication and ability to see no moral gray area. I myself am pretty conflicted, even in reflecting on the daily routine of the average student in Western society. Resolving to become fully freegan necessitates a severe degree of inconvenience. So it goes, we do what we can. Recognize what is wasteful, unnecessary, unethical. Reduce, reuse, recycle. I dont need to lecture anyone on how to be more world-friendly, but it doesnt hurt to expand your horizons.

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OPENWIDE v12 // 19

Labelling It:
Paul Craig

openwide // world

the Role of Government Regulation

in Battling Obesity in Ontario

been pushing that envelope for decades. Instead, I see an important cultural element at play. I think that a good part of the repulsion comes from experiencing a brazen style of marketing totally at odds with what marketing strategies have become. Food marking is a peculiar business to start with, because, as noted by Slashfood.com, nearly 80 percent of food ads [] are for foods of poor nutritional quality. So if most advertised food is bad food, how does one go about advertising it? Well, the usual strategies would be misconception and misdirection. Its not common (nor legal) to lie outright about your product, but while food advertising rarely lies, it often leads. Misconceptions are encouraged by way of purposefully deceptive strategies for marketing food that, unfortunately, we as a society have developed a bit of a taste for. I offer as an example the freshly-cut ingredients and painted-to-look-delicious burgers that are the standard fare of fast food commercials. We know were not getting tomatoes cut for us when we order, nor are we disappointed when our burger is flatter and more pallid than its TV counterpart, because we know the advertised product isnt representative of the real product. We might not know that some quasi-healthy products such as fast-food chain smoothies contain as much sugar (syrup) as any carbonated sugary drink on the market, or that when Cola-Colas Vitamin Water was challenged for deceptive advertising overstating its health benefits, Cokes lawyers maintained that no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitamin Water was a healthy beverage. But maybe were less surprised than we should be.

ast month, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) made headlines when its president, Dr. Doug Weir, proposed a number of so-termed radical new measures meant to combat what he called the epidemic of obesity in Canada. Obesity needs combatting aggressively and immediately, he continued, recommending, among other things, the inclusion of graphic warning labels on high calorie foods with low nutritional value. Industry backlash was likewise immediate and aggressive, claiming that labels would be overreaching because they unfairly manipulate consumers emotions. Now, I dont agree with all of the proposals, but I think that the OMA has a point in saying that the increasing numbers of overweight Canadians is concerning, and that junk food warning labels might be just what Ontario needs to fight the manipulative and overreaching food industry. Firstly, it needs saying that there are an extraordinary number of

overweight Canadians. Statistics Canada reports that about 60 percent of Canadians are either overweight or obese, with obesity up ten percent since the 1980s. And the caramel apple doesnt fall far from the stall, either: just over 31% percent of Canadian children are overweight or obese compared to 14% in the 1980s. Okay, so the OMA can credibly claim that obesity in Canada is badmaybe bad enough that the president can president get away with saying pussyfooting around on national television. But even more interesting than the severe language of the conspicuously lean Dr. Weir was a part of his proposed solution: a series of mock-up warning labels flanking the podium. Modeled after tobacco warnings, the two most attention-getting graphics respectively featured a bloated liver and an open sore on a small foot, accompanied by text identifying them as possible consequences of poor diets. Theyre pretty gruesome, admittedlywhich is the OMAs not-

so-veiled intent. Sometimes a little controversy invites big questions. Before we go further, it bears clarifying that this isnt about shaming the overweight. That happens quite enough already, and its incorrect to claim overweight people are necessarily unhealthy, just as not all skinny people are necessarily in shape. Fortunately, the OMA avoids showing anyone with a big belly or a succession of chins, unlike a certain public broadcaster. Instead, they show isolated body parts affected by specific afflictions that can result from a sustained unhealthy diet. I can understand the outrage sparked by the notion of decorating lunch box snacks with diabetic ulcers, but I also think that the box of juice is a can of worms, and theres more to this than just the idea of kids being exposed to gore after all, ultra-violent movies have

The other favoured tactic of food advertising is to associate a foodstuff with an emotion or lifestyle, if theres nothing pragmatic to be said. For example, advertisements of Coke are never about sugar and caramel colour, or any of the products tangible properties; instead, they feature polar bears, Father Christmas, and assemblies of young, attractive, thirsty people clad conspicuously in red as they smile and laugh with unsettling regularity. In fact, one need look no further than Cokes current slogan: open happiness. Its not as though we are deluded enough to think a bottle of Coke is a bottle of distilled contentment, but these corporations collectively spend billions of dollars a year making their products fun, and some part of that sticks. So how does this relate to labels? Well, frankly, because the labels are ugly, and we never see ugly in food advertising. Our food advertising has for so long been so unrelentingly positive that a public shudder upon seeing anything else represented is unsurprising. The OMA arent really out of line though. If these warning labels are vulgar, well, its because theyre real. Most importantly, these labels are another another conversation: a way to talk baldly about food were so used to seeing sugarcoated. They arent meant to restrict consumer choice, rather, theyre messages that interrogate the overwhelmingly positive imagery these corporations spend so much to craft. Many have disparaged these proposed warning labels as the clumsy elitism of a moralising organisation, but thats not what this is about. This is about countering rising obesity rates in Canada--rampant among young children--in the face of aggressively positive marketing. The overconsumption of poor-quality foods is heartily encouraged by a billion-dollar industry well-versed in spinning bad foods into gaiety. Graphic warning labels will simply help to reconcile the difference between a given products marketing and the product itself. And thats really what this is all about, isnt it? Balance? Well, lets promote a balanced media diet that complements a balanced alimentary one. Lets take some of the refined sugary language out of this, and challenge some of the highly processed claims. Lets do what we need to do. Lets put a label on it. OPENWIDE v12 // 21

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openwide // world

#HurricaneSandy
T
heres no doubt about it: Hurricane Sandyor Frankenstorm as forecasters playfully dubbed the looming Halloween week natural disaster was a terrible storm that left over 100 people dead, millions grief-stricken, and caused an estimated $60 billion dollars in damage. For the intrepid media student, another newsworthy aspect of this particular superstorm was the hefty role that Twitter played during its unfolding. Watching the events of the storm play out in realtime was not only fascinating, but quite telling about our society as well and not necessarily in a good way. On the surface it appears Twitter was a lifeline for many that were left without power or the resources to gather essential information about Hurricane Sandy. I mean, really, who owns a battery-operated radio these days (other than Williamsburg hipsters)? Twitters widespread use was illustrated when the sites official account revealed that users sent more than 20 million Tweets about the storm from October 27th to November 1st when they tracked the terms #sandy, and #hurricane. After the storm passed, countless journalists and bloggers rushed to proclaim Twitters almighty micro-blogging powers in keeping those in the midst of Hurricane Sandy informed. Even the big man himself, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, tweeted Proud of Twitter right now, around midnight on October 29th. Sure, Twitters 140 character cap can be advantageous in an emergency, but dont toot your own horn too quickly, Mr. Dorsey. Truth be told, a notable amount of the social media sites role in the dissemination of information during Hurricane Sandy was damaging. The storm created a serious atmosphere on Twitter that sharply veered from its usual snarky and self-promotional tone, but not all Twitter users hopped on the citizen-journalist bandwagon. False information was circulated by users like @comfortablysmug who suggested that the floor of the New York Stock Exchange was flooded and that New Yorks Governor was trapped by rising waters. Similarly, various Photoshopped pictures went viral faster than the storms winds themselves. Some were believable, others were hilarious (a computeranimated image of the Statue of Liberty being crushed by waves from The Day After Tomorrow? Really?), but all were misleading. In response, those defending Twitter claimed that misinformation clears up quickly online, where citizens and journalists alike function as factcheckers. Maybe thats true, but tell that to my friend who asked if Id seen the picture of a shark swimming down a flooded New Jersey street-last week. The thing is, while interesting and unusual information spreads like wildfire online, the follow-up to misinformation is rarely spread to the same extent, leaving many people misinformed. From the example of Hurricane Sandy, we can see clearly some of the detrimental effects of Twitter on our society. Firstly, Twitters realtime format encourages immediacy and therefore scanning instead of reflection, which only exacerbates the spread of misinformation and societys decreasing attention span. Also, it seems that Twitters 140 character limit contributes to the unfortunate trend of quantity over quality in news reporting, where rapid but often cursory soundbites are privileged over less-frequent but more in-depth reports. Like Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, we too were once scuba divers in a sea of words but now zip through the shallows like a shark on 5th Avenue. Whether or not Hurricane Sandy legitimized Twitter as a platform for effective real-time news reporting during a natural disaster is still up for debate, but it is clear a shadow of doubt has been cast. A microblogging social media site is not the answer to our prayers during a time of crisis, and we must look to a superior information outlet that can accurately spread valuable information, even when time is of the essence.

Christine Tippett

openwide // world

class struggle
Reform and Reductionism in Frances Education System
rench president Franois Hollande recently announced a plan to ban homework in elementary schools as part of a new wave of education reforms. The reforms are intended to promote equality between children from wealthy families--whose parents often help them with homework--and children from poor families--whose parents spend more time working. The reform would see the elementary education week changed from four eight-hour days to four and a half shorter days. More teachers would have to be hired, and school buildings would be needed for an extra day each week, further taxing Frances already over-burdened national budget. Moreover, most French parents, like their North American counterparts, wont have the luxury of a work schedule flexible enough to accommodate for their children being let out earlier four days a week. They will be forced to find external childcare, adding to the households financial strain. Most educators in France agree that the system needs revision; some traditions, such as setting aside Wednesdays to study the Roman Catholic catechism, date back to the nineteenth century. But is abolishing homework the best answer? Authors Sara Bennet and Nancy Kalish echo Hollandes sentiment in The Case Against Homework: Home Homework is Hurting our Children. They point out that some of the countries that produce the best achievement test scores assign very little homework (Japan, Denmark, Czech Republic) and those countries where teachers assign a lot of out-of-class work score poorly (Iran, Greece, Thailand). The anti-homework camp maintains that homework has made kids more sedentary (read: diabetic and fat): instead of playing, they are sitting down doing homework. A section in Bennett and Kalishs book also claims that kids arent getting enough sleep, theyre more anxious, and when it really comes down to it, teachers often assign homework just to keep kids busy. Students miss out on family and social time and can even lose interest in their work. In the long run, the more homework they do, the worse they fare in school. While I agree that too much homework could very possibly kill a kids desire to learn, Bennett and Kalishs argument seems reductionist to me: how is it that homework is the one social

Sarah Koopmans

evil that results not only in poor test scores but also in poor sleep habits, poor health habits, less exercise, and an increase in anxiety? Surely there is a greater impetus on the structures and institutions of society as a whole to help children grow up to be not only well educated but also well-balanced as human beings. Ontario elementary school teacher Monica Doherty offers the more reasonable perspective of homework in moderation: I think homework can absolutely have value [for young children]... Sometimes work just doesnt get finished at school and having to finish it at home is best. But I also think there is a lot of value in taking a break and coming back at things fresh the next day, so I definitely wouldnt assign homework just for the sake of doing more work. Its clear that President Hollande means well, but I would caution the eager new French leader to promote a more moderate and comprehensive homework strategy rather than to ban it outright. The problem is not with the homework itself, but rather with the reason it is assigned.
ILLUSTRATED by Michelle Yick

IL by D TE rd RA la ST al LU b m sa

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OPENWIDE v12 // 23

Silently wondering, Why bother? since 1906


Gazette editorial

ZINE CANADA
Elizabeth Sarjeant
LONDON, ON Actually paying professors to teach courses was wreaking havoc on our bottom line, said President Amit Chakma when asked for comment. We need to start maximizing profit by giving students what they really want - a damn good experience. Since a mere few of the categories in the Globe and Mails University Report rate schools on issues directly related to class, the university made an official decision last week to throw away these scores while really investing in other areas of achievement. Thank God thats over, said Chakma yesterday, boarding up the last of the classrooms on campus. The institution formerly known as a place of higher education will now have a better shot at categories like Campus Atmosphere,

hot air at ivey case


Amir Eftekharpour
LONDON, ON - Researchers at Westerns Wind Engineering, Energy, Electricity, and Environment Enhancement Institute (WEEEEE!) are developing plans to construct what they believe will be the worlds most powerful wind tunnel. The wind tunnel is to be constructed at the Ivey HBA1 Consulting Case Competition, sources close to the project confirmed. We needed a strong, consistent source of pure wind to conduct our building and bridge stress tests, said project lead Popan D. Patel. Our analysis confirmed that a bunch of consulting hopefuls talking endlessly about creating synergies and making decisions with analytics would provide the required supply of pure wind needed to strengthtest models of suspension bridges

competition to be used for

labyrinth
Bones of first-year students to be sent home to parents.

poster sale
noW to feature

poWerful Wind tunnel

minotaur

accidentally
insiGhtful and relevant
Jas Irwin
LONDON, ON - After a long-standing commitment to frivolity and rambling, a Gazette editorial was published this week that contained incisive and subversive commentary on an issue important to student intellectual life. Only a select few were able to view the article before it was yanked from all newsstands campus-wide. One Natural Sciences custodian who saw it could only recall scant words like collectivization funding and the. News Editor Michelle Dunlop was publically repentant about the anomaly, insisting that a campus-wide apology was in order. We have no idea how this happened, but it is under investigation. I can assure you that it will not happen again, Dunlop said in a statement. Were going to eliminate the editorial for a few days while we assess where we went wrong. It will be replaced with extra Dear Life letters to eliminate the risk of further sophistication. At this point no one is sure how the perpetrator was able to break into the newsroom, but it is suspected the infiltration occurred when all of the editors were occupied brainstorming alliterated or rhyming titles for their personal columns. They should definitely be ashamed, said Terrence Williams, a third-year Science student. I read the Gazette editorial for the observations on actual issues, like types of sunglasses or why girls always block the bathroom door. This was an unacceptable breach.

Western does aWay With classes

altoGether to free up more


and Most Money Spent on Rebrand.

and skyscrapers. Sources close to the project expressed optimism about the usefulness of the tunnel. If a building can stand firm while being subjected to the pure wind coming out of an HBA1 discussing 2x2 matrices, then it can withstand any force of nature or act of God, an anonymous tester said. However, Patel did express the need to expand their operations in the near future, discussing a recent partnership with a firm in Dubai. As buildings in that climate need to be stress-tested against scorching desert winds, Patel hopes to expand the tunnel to cover marketing case competitions as well, in order to extract a truly abundant supply of hot air from those HBA1s.

fundinG for experience


University officials are confident that employers will be totally on board with these budget revisions. Employers arent looking for people who have any in-depth knowledge or skill. That was yesterdays marketplace, Chakma noted. Current research indicates that top firms are looking for university graduates who had a pretty chill time while they were away at school and who really lived their university years to the fullest #yolo. In an effort to maintain Westerns chokehold on the Globes 2013 report, Chakma and his administration are lobbying Globe editors to add categories Best Student Mall and Most Artistic Bike Racks.

stop resistinG!
joke ever to be made

last
New monument to be erected of David Chang, 4th Year BMOS student, telling joke

october 18th, 2012:

told in ucc

on campus is

all buildinGs on campus to be

re-constructed of Glass

in effort to increase
Windex signs on as sponsor.

university transparency

busted
by london police
Fuckin pigs, man, said the mayor, when reached for comment.

mayor joe fontanas brouGhdale keGGer

fourteen-year-old Girl
for use of her tWitter account

sues the Gazette


for dear life section
I posted all that when I was twelve.

underGoes $7-billion

mitZine
rebrand,
becominG
zine canada

GraduatinG class of 2017 to be comprised

entirely of international students


24 // OPENWIDE v12

Francine Navarro

Chakma retires: My work here is done.

Now in running for Best Zine category of Globe and Mail University Report

CHANGES

www.kellysamuelphotography.com

Elizabeth Sarjeant

www.kellysamuelphotography.com

Elizabeth Sarjeant 26 // OPENWIDE v12 Samantha Ballard

Delegado Cero OPENWIDE v12 // 27

To contribute email editor@MITZINE.CA


(Hey, one thing at a time)

OPENWIDE