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The Ubyssey Jan 9, 2009

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Array Naipaul:
Celebrating 90 years! •
Sadist   I
Nobel Laureate winner
January 9,2009 \ www.ubyssey.ca
Vera's burgers are deliriously expensive since 1918 \ volume xc, number 28
UBC's official student newspaper is published Tuesdays and Fridays
Toope's two years
Stephen Toope talks about his time here at UBC
On Canada Day in 2006, Stephen Toope became UBC's 12th
president, beginning a five-year term. At the time, UBC had
firmly entrenched itself as a globally respected research-in-
On Canada Day in 2006, Stephen Toope became UBC's 12th
president, beginning a five-year term. At the time, UBC had
firmly entrenched itself as a globally respected research-intensive university—or as previous president Martha Piper liked to say,
a "world-class university."
ON PLANNING | "Consultation does not mean agreement. Consultation means consultation."
ON THE FARM | "This is not a small group of pointy-
headed people who have a fixation with the farm."
ON THE WAR ON FUN | "I don't see us as being purveyors of prohibition. That's not our role, and it's not the
RCMP's role either in my view"
"Maybe on the more
negative side, on
■ the inverse side, there's
"* - ambition, but there
can also be a level of
by Justin McElroy
News Editor
aution cwmgiKM
While most UBC students take
getting around campus for granted,
for those with physical disabilities
it's another story. Making the
campus accessible requires energy
diligence and time.
MORE ON PAGE 5 2 I Events, Games and Comics
JANUARY 9, 2009
If you have an event, e-mail us at events@ubyssey.ca
January 9
Women's Hockey • UBC Thunderbirds vs. Lethbridge Horns •
Jan. 9 @ 7:30-9pm, Thunderbird
Winter Sports Center, Tickets:
$ 10 student/$4 youth & senior/812 UBC student •
Winter Broomball Championships • One of UBC REC's most
entertaining tournaments, the
Winter Broomball Championships
are the perfect escape for the
winter blues. CoRec teams of five
(four plus goalie) will compete in
the most fun you can have on ice
without wearing skates. Helmets
with a full cage or half-visor
and mouth guard are required
Participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own. Knee
pads and elbow pads are also
recommended, but not required
Be sure to sign-up for a timeslot
early as spots are sure to fill up
quickly! • All day Jan. 9, UBC
Student Team: $106, UBC Staff
Team: $175 •
Tanuarv 10
Shoot for the Cure - Women's
Basketball vs. SFU Clan * The
UBC Thunderbirds are proud
to be a part of the CIS initiative SHOOT FOR THE CURE.
Part proceeds from every ticket
sold will go to the Canadian
Breast Cancer Foundation—BC/
Yukon Region. Come out on
Saturday night for an evening
of basketball and support both
your Thunderbirds and breast
cancer research in Canada. Show
your support and come to the
game wearing PINK! • Jan. 10 @
6-8pm, Location: War Memorial
Gym, Tickets: $10 adult/$4 youth
& senior/$2 UBC student •
Basketball • UBC Men's Basketball vs. Simon Fraser Clan for
the last time in conference play
this year • Jan. 10 @ 8pm, War
Memorial Gym, Tickets: $10
adult/$4 youth & senior/$2 UBC
January 11
Chip In! Christmas Tree Recycling at the UBC Botanical
Garden • Come help. Your help
is much appreciated! Be sustainable! Drop off your Christmas
tree (only) to be chipped into
mulch for Garden trails. Please
remove all tree stands, decorations, lights and tinsel. All dates
and times are self-serve drop off.
• Jan. 11, 9-4:30pm, Location:
UBC Botanical Garden parking
lot, 6804 South West Marine
Dr. •
solution, tips and computer
programs at www.sudoku.com
Medium # 99
© Puzzles by Pappocom
January 13
Improve your Presentation
Skills • Whether you shake in
your boots at the thought of
speaking in front of a group
or ham it up on stage, Coach
Rhonda Victoor will catapult your
speaking to a whole new level
After nearly two years of grueling competition Rhonda became
the World Effective Speaking
Champion in Japan in November
2004: an event attended by
10,000 business leaders inducing author Stephen Covey. Now
she will share the GEMS that
helped her become a world class
speaker! • Jan. 13 @ 9am-4pm,
Location: TBD, Cost: $100 •
Note taking Workshop *  Learn
about the Cornell note taking
method and SQ3R—techniques
to help you take better notes
Also, get some tips to improve
your concentration in lectures. •
Jan 13 @ 12-1:30pm, Held in the
Dodson Room of the Chapman
Learning Commons, To register
IF THE" AuEiVSCoMfi-..
We Want You!
Free Course
Your Ad Could Be Here
Brave New Play Rites Festival, UBC.
Auditions: Sunday January 11,
10am - 6pm and Monday January
12 , 6pm - 10pm in the Dorothy
Somerset Studio.
Head to www.bravenew.ca for more
Dreams and OBEs:
A FREE 8-Week Course
January 11, 2009, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Kitsilano Neighbourhood House
2305 West 7th Avenue
Explore your dreams and far
go to: www.students.ubc.ca/
workshops •
January 14
Find your Career • Ever wonder
what types of careers are best
suited to your interests and personality? This interactive workshop will help you deepen your
understanding of your work style
and work preferences so you can
better plan and prepare for your
future career. Complete the Type
Focus personality inventory prior
to attending the workshop. • Jan
14 @ 12-lpm, Irving K. Barber
Learning Centre Room 260, Cost:
Free •
Unmasking the Hidden Job
Market • Is the eternal search for
employment feeling a bit futile?
You may be surprised to know
that an overwhelming 80% of
jobs are unadvertised. So where
are all the jobs? Professional association members from a variety
of industries come to uncover
the secret world of networking
to help you be successful in your
career quest. • Jan 14 @ 2-4 pm,
LSK460,   Cost: Free*
January 15
Post-Graduation Work Permit
Info Session • Are you graduating and planning to look for a
job in Canada? Do you want
to know about government
regulations on post-graduation
work permit? How can you find
job? How can you prepare and
what are the resources? Come
join us in the info session and
learn more about resources and
tips related to post-graduation
employment. • Jan. 15 @ 1-2pm,
Location: I. House, Upper
Lounge, Cost: Free •
January 16
Beijing Performance Photography • Performance Photography
emerged in China to forge a
new artistic direction within a
rapidly evolving society. Numerous Chinese photographers wil
have their work presented • Jan
16-Apr20, Free Admission, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery •
Critical Thinking and Learning
• Develop critical thinking strategies and enhance your academic
performance: an introduction
to the Strategic Content Learning Model. This workshop is
part of the Emerging Scholars
Program. • Jan 16 5-6:30pm,
Register at www.students.ubc.
ca/workshops, Location: Dodson
Room of the Chapman Learning
Commons •
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Thh Ubyssey
January 9", 2009
volume xc, n"28
Editorial Board
Kellan Higgins: coordinating@uhyssey.ca
Stephanie Findlay & Justin McElroy :
Trevor Melanson : culture@uhyssey.ca
Shun Endo sports@uhysseyca
Joe Rayment: features@uhyssey.ca
Goh Iromoto :photos@ubyssey.ca
Paul Bucci:production@uhyssey.ca
Celestian Rince: copy@tdhyssey.ca
Ricardo Bortolon : volunteers-@tdhyssey.ca
Adam Leggett: webmaster@uhyssey ca
Dan Haves : multimedia-@ubyssey.ca
Editorial Office
Room 24, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BCV6T lZl
tel: 604-822-2301
fax: 604-822-9279
web: www.ubyssey.ca
e-mail: feedback @ubyssey.ca
Business Office
Room 23, Student Union Building
advertising: 604-822-1654
business office: 604-822-6681
fax: 604-822-1658
e-mail: advertising@ubyssey.ca
AD TRAFFIC : Sabrina Marchand
AD DESIGN : Gerald Deo
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper ofthe University of British Columbia. It is published every Tuesday
and Friday 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 bythe 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 adherestoCUP's guiding principles.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please
include your 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 atthe editorial officeofThe Ubyssey; otherwise
verification will be done by phone. "Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750 words and are run
according to space. "Freestyles" are opinion pieces written
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and perspectives over freestyles unless the latter is time
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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 bythe 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 greaterthan the price pa id for
the ad. The UPS shall not be responsible for slight changes
or typographical errors that do not lessen the value or the
impact ofthe ad.
Kellan Higgins, Trevor Melanson, Dan Haves, Joe Rayment
and Shun Endo had delicious burgers and plenty of beer.
Drew Thompson Rian Harrison, Paul Bucci, Claire Hanna,
Justin McElroy and Isabel Pilar Ferrares did not. (And a bent
Canada Post Sales
Number 0040878022
printed on^100%
'recycledpaper JANUARY 9, 2009
Stephen Toope, president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia, chatted with The Ubyssey to give his views of the what UBC should be. kellan higgins photo/the ubyssey
At the same time, student engagement surveys showed a disconnect between undergraduate
students and professors, that
campus development often happened with little in the way of
consultation, and that UBC was
struggling to deal with structural
deficits. Today under Toope, UBC
continues to score in the top 50
in most international rankings of
universities but still faces many
of the same challenges: attempting to increase engagement between undergraduate students
and professors, balancing the
budget in face of government
cutbacks, and cranes on campus
that clash with the wishes of students. This past December, The
Ubyssey sat down with president
Toope for the first time since
September of 2007, and spoke
with him at length of the challenges—and successes—he has
had at the hallway point of his
first term. Here are excerpts
from the conversation.
The Ubyssey: Two and a half
years into your tenure, it's fair to
say you've fully settled into your
position. What would you say has
marked your presidency so far?
Stephen Toope: I guess I
would say in some ways my tenure is a continuity from the past
two presidents [Martha Piper
and David Strangway] because
in the past 20 years UBC has
repositioned iteslf as a globally influential university, and
I think we're continuing along
that trajectory. We're attracting really outstanding students,
especially at the undergraudate
level. Our students are really
remarkable, and at the graduate
level we have some really exceptional students and would really
like to do even better there by
offering better support packages
for graudates....I think that's
moving in the right direction,
the research prowess of the university has grown tremendously
and continues to strengthen. The
biggest challenge was this sense
of a lack of attention—and it's
pretty common to all reasearch-
intensive universities—on the
undergraduate experience.
U: Many student leaders
have commented that compared
to previous president Martha
Piper—you really focus on the
micro aspect ofthe experience of
undergraduate students as being
a fundamental part of your job.
T: I'm not sure I would classify it as micro, it's macro too, but a
different macro. Universities exist because there are students; we
wouldn't be a university without
students, so if we're not engaged
and directly thinking through the
vagaries of the undergraduate
program, then we're not fulfilling our role as effectively as we
could. Research is macro too, but
the undergraduate experience is
fundamental to the university.
U: Are you satisfied with the
way planning and campus development has gone on campus?
T: (Laughs) Look. What I
can say is planning, in any circumstances, is one of the most
politically fraught activities
you can engage in. If you look
at planning, never mind the
university. If you look at it in
Vancouver, in Toronto, in Montreal, it's always highly contentious, because there are all sorts
of interests, some of them are
incommensurable. People have
different visions, and they're
often restricted by very specific
time frames....Inevitably there's
going to be controversy. Am I
happy with everything that has
ever been decided? No. Would I
change some things? Absolutely.
Do I think people have overall
made [their] best efforts? I think
they have. Not every decision
is right. So I hope that we can,
going forward, make sure we
have really robust consultation
U: Were you, UBC, and the
board prepared for the controversy that would come up with
the farm?
T: I was, yes.
U: Was everyone else?
T: I think there was some
surprise. But I can tell you that
I had discussions months ago,
saying this is a big, big issue and
we have to be paying close attention because it's not going away.
This is not a small group of
pointy-headed people who have
a fixation with the farm. This is
a much broader set of issues and
people who are really engaged.
These are people who care,
and care for very understandable reasons. I was surprised
with 15,000 [signatures] on the
petition, I thought that took a
lot of organization, and it was
pretty admirable, but I wasn't
really surprised that this was a
big issue.
U: There's been a perception,
particularly among fraternities,
that the RCMP and UBC have
been cracking down on alcoholic
activities on campus. Do you
think this perception actually exists, and more importantly, does
UBC have a role to play in mediating issues between students
and the RCMP?
T: I certainly hear it enough
to feel that there's a level of frustration that we have to take seriously. People have called it the
"War on Fun," and the Radical
Beer Faction produced a really
good report. It was very thoughtful, about what some ofthe issues
are. So does UBC have a role to
play? Yes. Is it playing that role?
Yes. Are we where we need to
be? Not yet. [VP Students] Brian
Sullivan and various people in
this office have been trying to
facilitate a dialogue. One of our
board of governors members,
Bijan Ahmadian, has been actively working on this file, trying
to broker better communication
between the fraternities and
the RCMP....We're trying to find
ways to bring people together.
I think that there's enough concern that I'm inclined to think
there's a real issue, that it's not
just a perception, that it is real.
So, I think we do need to keep
working on this one....I think
our role is probably an intermediary one at this point, but with
a sense of support for university
life. University is not just going
to classes and doing your papers
and lab, it's the whole nine yards
of having fun—I hope relatively
responsibly, but this is a university. I've spent my whole life in
universities and I know how they
function, and I've lived in dorms
and I know how they work. We
have an obligation to ensure that
safety issues are being dealt with
properly and things like that, but
I don't see us as being purveyors
of prohibition. That's not our
role, and it's not the RCMP's role
either in my view.
U: What are other areas at
UBC that have been a focus of
T: We now have a draft of our
Aboriginal Strategic Plan, which
is up on the website, and I think
we've really been trying to be focusing our attentions and energy
on actually delivering on promises we've been making since
TREK 2000. So we're going to appoint a senior adviser to me on
aboriginal affairs, and we have
a strategic plan which I think is
getting a lot of support, and now
we have to make sure we actually implement that thoroughly.
U: But how do you measure
improvement in aboriginal issues at UBC?
T: I'll give you some random
examples. I think we would be
successful if we had substantial
increases in the number of levels at undergraduate and graduate levels, not only at admission
time, but that were sustained
and supported throughout the
program to successful graduation. That's one measure. I
would like to see more aboriginal students in science than we
currently have, and that requires
us to work with high schools because it's very hard for aboriginal students to gain access to
courses to allow them to go into
science. I think we should have
significantly more [aboriginal]
faculty members than we currently have at UBC. It's in the
mid-teens right now. We have
more [aboriginal professors] at
UBC-O proportionally, but we
have to set some targets, and
find mechanisms of support,
and really reach out to find the
very best aboriginal candidates.
And I think the last measure is
much more robust relationships
with aboriginal communities.
We have good relations with
Musqueam, through the sports
program, there are mentoring
programs, language programs,
but it could be more.
U: Say you're talking to a
Grade 12 student, trying to
make their decision at what university to go to. What do you say
to convince them to go here?
T: Why come to UBC? Because I think there is a chance
to really make a difference here,
for a set of reasons. You're going
to be with a group of students
who are very strong, who are
very ambitious and want to succeed. You've got an incredible
range of opportunities in the
university because of its scale,
size, strength across many faculties. It's not a university where
one faculty is strong; you've
got pinnacles of excellence
across the university, you're in
a beautiful place. It gives you
opportunities to engage if you
do want to do all the outdoor
things, but there's a lively music community, a lively drama
community, political activism
is alive on campus. I think those
things are all very positive, but I
would say you have to be pretty
self-motivated, because this is a
very big place, so you've got to
think through the kind of person
you are, and decide whether or
not you are the type of person
who jumps into things and seizes opportunities. And if you're
that type of person, that kind of
leader, really, then this is a wonderful place. *2I 4 | NEWS
JANUARY 9, 2009
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»News Briefs
On January 3, John Atta Mills
was declared the winner of the
Ghanaian presidential election.
Mills, who led the National Democratic Congress to victory over
Akufo-Addo's New Patriotic Party, was also formerly a visiting
professor at UBC's Liu Institute
for Global Issues. Mills is noted
for having a great admiration
for Canadian-style social democracy and took part in a relevant
country-wide consultation before
Canada hosted the G8 summit in
The Georgia Straight reports
that Mills has promised he will
not allow his party to extract
revenge against the former NPP
government, which in the past
eight years of power took retribution against former NDC government officials. As Mills says on
his own campaign website, "The
time has come to work together
to build a better Ghana....I assure
Ghanaians that I will be President for all."
UBC Reports asked a group of
researchers and professors what
they felt was "the next big thing"
to change the world.
Wade Hundey felt that nuclear disarmament is near at hand
after diplomatic steps were taken
by nuclear-armed countries.
Associate Professor W.G.
Dunford of the department of
electrical and computer engineering foresees driverless
vehicles as the next big thing in
technology. The vehicles will be
hailed like a taxi and will come
in a wide range of sizes and fuel
sources depending on your type
of trip.
Assistant Professor Elizabeth
W. Dunn believed there is going
to be a serious change in public
policy and soon happiness will
be its primary end.
Erik Rosolowsky, professor of
physics and astronomy, said that
thanks to a new and advanced
telescope, scientists are closer to
learning more about how our solar system came to be by observing other solar systems currendy
in the process of forming.
Dr. John Steeves, Dr. Gary
Birch, and Borna Noureddin believe that brain-computer interfaces or BCI are going to change
the world for the physically disabled, giving them the ability to
perform tasks by commanding a
computer with their thoughts.
And perhaps most interesting was Professor Frank Ko's
recent development in nano ma
terials called tissue scaffolding.
Tissue scaffolding works within
the body to regenerate damaged
tissue, slowly releasing drugs to
help in healing, and is then broken down and metabolized by
the body.
UBC has appointed Shirley Nakata as the ombuds for students.
Starting this month, Nakata will
aid in the resolution of conflicts
between students and professors, staff members and university departments, conducting
impartial investigations, and
providing advice to students.
The new position is jointly
funded by the Alma Mater Society, Graduate Students' Society
and the university. Previous to
Nakata's appointment, the AMS
had independendy employed an
Ombudsperson's office.
Nakata has extensive experience as a legal professional and
conflict mediator. She was director, professional conduct with
the BC College of Teachers, managing the professional conduct
department and the discipline
process. She has served as a
board member of the BC Council
of Administrative Tribunals, and
the West Coast Legal Education
and Action Fund. Additionally,
she has worked with the Canadian Human Rights Commission
as a human rights investigator.
A former agricultural expert
at UBC, Tooryalai Wesa, was
sworn in as governor of Kandahar, the war-torn province of
Wesa received his PhD in
educational studies from UBC in
2002. He speaks six languages,
and is fluent in four of them.
Included in Wesa's resume is
that he has trained Canadian
soldiers, was the founder and
first chancellor of Kandahar University, and worked as an associate researcher at the Institute of
Asian Research at UBC.
Wesa recendy went to Kandahar to speak to constituents
about the crisis. Wesa fielded
comments that foreign troops
were not helping enough, responding that many Afghans are
reluctant to co-operate with the
foreign troops in their search
for insurgents. Wesa said that
residents should work together
instead of engaging in family
and tribal feuds.
Wesa's top priorities are security and improving employment
opportunities in Kandahar. *2I C ~~^U: ,
*    ^
I Editorial
If you'd like to submit a letter, please contact feedback@ubyssey.ca
January 9,2009 \ Page 6
Our view
Newspapers a dying breed?
Right now, three hundred or so young journalists (including many
of us at The Ubyssey) are in soul-freezing Saskatoon, taking part in
the annual national conference for Canadian University Press. The
conference is a good opportunity to learn from top writers, network
like crazy—and drown our sorrows as we contemplate the state of
our profession.
Since the beginning of this decade, it seems every year there's
been warnings about the inevitable death of newspapers. Now it's
actually happening. A few examples: Sun Media has announced
they are laying off 500 workers. CTV Globemedia is cutting five per
cent of their workforce. CanWest stock trades near 80 cents and
hurdes ever closer to bankruptcy. And that's just in Canada, where
our economy hasn't completely cratered yet. In America, the company that runs the LA Times and Chicago Tribune among others has
filed for bankruptcy. The New York Times is desperately trying to
sell its Manhattan building, and it seems that every week another
magazine is being shut down.
It's easy to blame the Internet for this collapse. After all, newspapers flourished because they had a local monopoly on current
print information. In the past five years, Craigslist has destroyed
classifieds—a major source of a newspaper's revenue—in all major
metropolitan areas. But purely blaming the series of tubes would be
a copout, because all industries face change, and some deal with it
better than others. In the case of the newspaper, the response was
roughly akin to sticking one's head in the sand. The basic format of
the paper hasn't changed in decades, and it's only been in the last
couple of years that people have begun to seriously use the capabilities of the Internet to deliver news in a more innovative way.
There is some fat in the media that needs to be cut—but what's
happening now is cutting ofthe fat, muscle, and marrow. There are
important parts of papers that are getting cut these days due to budget constraints: Investigative pieces that take weeks of work; Beat
writers who spend years cultivating sources and gaining knowledge
about a particular subject; Bureau chiefs who doggedly hold local
politicians to account. What's going to replace that? Citizen journalists? Blogs? Because right now, the vast majority of what they
publish is either a rehash or a reaction to news that was written by
actual journalists.
So yes, while few are crying about what's happening to newspapers, maybe the next time you pass by a news stand, do more than
stare at the front headlines. After all, you don't know what you're
missing until it's gone. *2I
Yelling doesn't make you
right; it just makes you loud
In Monday's issue, The Ubyssey published a captioned photo (we
call them "stand-ups") on the protest against the Israeli attacks on
Gaza. As a result of the piece, in the past couple of days, people
have got in touch with us informing us that we are Zionist conspirators and an anti-Israeli rag. The strange thing about the comments
though, is that most of them had some very thoughtful critiques at
their roots—the thoughtfulness was, however, drowned out by the
yelling and ad hominem attacks.
First, let's set something straight: we, at The Ubyssey, are not
smart enough to start or maintain a conspiracy. We are neither
Israeli nor Hamas agents, we have less vulnerability to corporate
influence than almost any publication, and we have never had anything against the proletariat. If you were to come down and speak to
the various people involved in putting the paper out, you'd find we
disagree on just about everything—we're not here due to common
political aspirations, we're together for journalistic goals.
On Tuesday afternoon, a man called the office with a complaint.
The crux of his argument seemed to be that we should have identified it as a protest against the civilian deaths in Gaza rather than a
protest against "the conflict between Israel and Hamas." This point
was deciphered during a fairly long, angry conversation in which
the man seemed to imply that not re-printing the group's press release verbatim is lying, and then he called two of our editors Zionist
conspirators who were too uneducated to understand some of the
finer details of his argument (which was interesting, since he was
talking to the person who was closest to the phone when it rang,
and he had no way of knowing the editor's academic credentials).
Almost every word he said was delivered with indignation and an
exclamation mark, which made it a frustrating experience.
The irony is that his initial point—that the reporter could have
identified the protest more accurately—is one we're receptive to.
In the future, we will be more diligent in identifying motivation
for these protests. We could have gotten to that point with a civil
conversation though. The anger and yelling can only hurt the argument; it encourages reactionary responses and more anger, and
reminds all of us journalist types how Chomsky describes "flack's"
influence on the news.
We appreciate when people from different sides of a story call
to give us input—it opens our eyes to perspectives we may not have
known. There's no need to yell though. It doesn't make you right, it
makes you an asshole. *2I
qeixo kegp My
UBC awaits Supreme Court decision
on parking ticket lawsuii
by Dan Haves
Web letters
They never needed to go to the editor and have a
meeting at all. They could have just written a letter
to the editor and requested it be printed. I don't
blame Maclean's for preferring to go bankrupt.
Here's a shortlist of other things they requested:
—5,000 unedited words in Maclean's pages
—editorial autonomy over the cover art
—that the article be written by a "mutually acceptable author"
—given all the things above, a temporary surrender of editorial control over their own magazine, something that no publication, Maclean's, the
Ubyssey or otherwise, owes anyone
—a donation to a charity of the Sock Puppets'
The Sock Puppet Three acted like a bunch of
self-indulgent prisses in bringing a human rights
complaint against Maclean's. If they wanted to
write something so badly, they could have started
their own publication and printed it there. None of
this fiasco was ever necessary.
—Jesse Ferreras
Master's ofjournalism, '08
LAST" [NOV. 18, 2008]
The fact that students require more financial assistance is a fault with the university, and not the
banks. RBC are capitalizing on this which is quite
understandable - its good business. I don't blame
As an RBC client myself, I am quite happy that
I don't have to waste my time taking the bus to and
from Sasamat to get teller services.
Albeit, if it was a choice between a student pub
or a bank at that location, I'd easily choose the
—Nick Sertic
If you wish to submit a letter it must be no longer
than 350 words. Your identity will be confirmed by
phone or by ID from the office. People may email us
atfeedback@ubyssey. ca.
Where do you get your news most often?
Rob Vanner
Science 4
"I read The
Globe and Mail
online because
it's the most
That's mainly
where I get my
news. I don't
really watch TV
or listen to the
ulian Steger
Civil Engineering 3
"I guess I get
my news from
the Internet because it's easier
and it's free."
Brittany Rhoads
Arts 2
"I try and go
for a bunch
of different
easiest for me
is definitely
TV....I read the
newspaper very
Silvio Ruprah
Arts 4
"I get my news
from the Internet because it's
the most up to
I'm taking a
dump, I like to
read the newspaper."
Kaitlin Ling
Arts 3
"Mostly the
television just
because it's on
and it's easy."
-Coordinated by Dan Haves, with photos by Drew Thompson Culture
Editor: Trevor Melanson | E-mail: culture@ubyssey.ca
January 9,2009 \ Page 7
Controversial biography on Naipaul is unforgiving
by Rian Harrison
Culture Writer
Much has been written already
about Patrick French's The World
Is What It Is: The Authorized
Biography of V.S. Naipaul. The
reputation of Naipaul—2001 Nobel Laureate for literature—will
probably survive the publication
of this warts-and-all account, despite a review by Paul Theroux
predicting his former mentor's
"It is not a pretty story; it will
probably destroy Naipaul's reputation forever, this chronicle
of his pretensions, his whore-
mongering, his treatment of a
sad, sick wife and disposable
mistress, his evasions, his meanness, his cruelty amounting to
sadism, his race baiting."
All true, according to
French's biography, yet the review is still a distortion. When
Theroux writes that "Naipaul's
pathology is central to the tale;
his writing peripheral," he misses half the story.
In absorbing detail, The
World Is What It Is assembles
the writer's life into a story, beginning with his childhood in
Trinidad. The reader sees Naipaul's vexed relationship with
the culture he was born into; his
identification with his father,
Seepersad Naipaul, who almost
became a novelist, despite an
unspecified mental illness, poverty and a lack of education; the
Naipaul family's life as the poor
relations of a large and insular
extended family; the young Vidia
Naipaul's brutal study regime
and his scholarships, first to an
elite colonial school, and finally
to Oxford University, where Naipaul had his own nervous breakdown and where he met Patricia
Hale, his first wife, then another
scholarship student.
The revelation of French's
biography, though, is the connection between Naipaul's
traumatic past and his writing.
Above all, it describes a bond
between the best and worst parts
of the writer. This is not an unusual observation, but after the
biography, the books themselves
look different: less objective, but
more interesting, perhaps even
The impression that slowly
builds throughout the biography
is of a writer so obsessed with
the marks his progress had left
on him that finally, there was
almost nothing that didn't speak
to his obsessions. In his books,
fiction and non-fiction alike, the
landscape symbolizes the psychic state of the writer: his violence, his fear of chaos, his terror of losing control of himself,
emotionally or economically.
Above all, every building
Naipaul describes, whatever he
writes, is haunted by the threat
of ruin and decay. Not surprisingly, given his history, given
houses in general, and what they
mean. Here too though, the writing is made more psychological
by new information about the
Tell Me Who to Kill, a short
story from the sequence In a
Free State, is given a new meaning. In form, it is a series of
negating revelations, where every expansion of the narrator's
consciousness reveals a further
humiliation. His first illusion is
of the greatness of a troubled
man who has come to possess
his own house.
Later, the narrator sees the
interior when it is lent for a wedding; he sees that the dignity
was wishful thinking. "The lights
dim, dim. It is what I remember most. That and the dead-rat
smell. You feel dust everywhere,
dust falling on you even while
you walk. It isn't dust, it is the
droppings from woodlice, hard
smooth tiny eggs of wood that
roll below your hand if you put
your hand down anywhere."
This is Naipaul, we can now
see, tearing down A House For
Mr Biswas, often considered
his greatest work. The novel
is a posthumous triumph for
Seepersad Naipaul, whose life
it is closely based on. The book
begins with its hero dying in a
cramped house stuffed full of
furniture, reading Marcus Aure-
lius, then begins again from his
birth, slowly showing how the
cramped house and the books
have been a victory, a scrap of
The dressing down is brutal,
for all its precision. According
to French, Naipaul tried to drop
Theroux, and essentially did
drop him, years before Theroux
thought that he had, in a letter
"designed to brush off a more
sensitive man." Evidendy, Theroux remained unaware, perhaps
until the publication of this biography, that the friendship he
eulogized in 1998 had actually
ended in 1967.
It turns out that Theroux,
mosdy in the form of personal
letters to Naipul, had left enough
evidence lying around to hang
him. French very nearly does,
using carefully selected samples
of Theroux's own writing voice
to make him look twice the caricature Naipaul had looked in Sir
Vidia's Shadow. This is possibly
the worst: "As for himself, T
would be very happy to meet a
decent, tolerant, intelligent girl
that isn't fat.' Soon he found one,
Anne Casde, an Oxford graduate
and his future wife..."
Naipaul though, looks no
more like a caricature in the
memoir than anyone else in
Theroux's non-fiction. As French
says, he is insensitive; the harshness he shares with Naipaul
seems to stem more from this.
Although Theroux's review of
The World Is What It Is appears
to have been written in an unhinged rage, Theroux seems at
some point to have been cooperating with its research. In an
interview with French that he
appears to plead that his racist
comments, and communication with Naipaul in general,
were said in the spirit of a sort
of private language: "I began to
see it [Africa] through his eyes
a lot, I think somewhat to my
French likes to use a lot of
double-edged language, and one
of the secondary fascinations of
this biography is seeing the biographer revel in, or seem to revel
in, his own editorial power.
It is ultimately French's
fondness for authorial control,
and not the miniscule quotes
from Naipaul's intellectual opponents, that raises faint suspicions of French's veracity,
despite the facts. Lies can also
be assembled from nothing but
the facts.
On the other hand, Patrick
French is working in an aesthetic medium, one that requires
manipulation to make any sense
at all. It's reminiscent of a line
from an early Saul Bellows
novel: "you want to see without
being seen." vjj
am.S Insider weekly
student society
a weekly look at what's new at your student society
The nominations close this Friday @ 4 pm, and the
All Candidates Meeting will take place after.
Official campaigning begins on January 16.
Online voting opens on January 29, and on campus polling
will take place on February 4. The results are expected to
be announced that evening.
We're hoping to have a great turnout for elections
this year, and are looking forward to meeting
all the candidates this Friday!
Let us taKe care oi an your copying ne
Located lower level ofthe SUB
0 Bring this ad to Copyright and enjoy a FREE* medium Latte
while you wait courtesey of Blue Chip Cookies
*$25.00 minimum order required for delivery service & coffee promotion. Offer expires February 15,2009 Editor: Shun Endo | E-mail: sports@ubyssey.ca
January 9,2009 \ Page 8
Birds in '09
by Shun Endo
Josh Whyte, a Calgary native
on the UBC men's basketball
team, is the first repeat athlete
of the week in 2008-09. This
past weekend, Whyte notched
a season-high 14 assists versus
the Thompson River Wolfpack.
Not only is this a personal best
for the guard, but a conference
high this season. Talk about setting up the offence! Leading the
Birds to a dominating 94-58 defeat of the Wolfpack, Whyte also
chipped in with ten points of his
own. To his teammates, Whyte
is a fun-loving, relaxed guy, but
also someone who knows when
to bring it on the court. *2I
It was a good weekend for basketball; Leanne Evans is athlete of the week representing
women's basketball. A towering
6 foot 2 forward, Evans grabbed
an amazing 13 rebounds off
the boards. This performance
propelled Evans to the leading
spot in rebounds in Canada
West, averaging 10.3 boards
per game. Not only did she play
great defense, but she added 14
points to the scoreboard. The
hard work Evans puts in daily
has started to pay off, and her
teammates are grateful for her
contagious enthusiasm, especially this past weekend. Evan's
amazing weekend performance
helped the lady Birds to a 70-
54 victory over the Thompson
River Wolfpack.
You can catch more of Whyte
and Evans this weekend when
the Birds batde the Simon Fraser Clan in the Buchanan Cup
on Saturday January 10 at 6pm
(women) and 8pm (men). \a
Sports Writer
The new year will no doubt be a
crucial year for the UBC Thunderbirds. The biggest issue this year
will be whether or not to join the
NCAA. The topic has been argued
from various perspectives, but
the final decision will happen
this year—hopefully. The NCAA
more or less gave the green light
already. So now UBC must decide
whether joining the league would
have a positive impact. It will be
interesting to hear how these people would make a decision based
on how it will be "beneficial" to
UBC students. The wait and see
game is almost over.
After experiencing a dismal
first half in the 2008-09 season,
all eyes are on the men's basketball team to bring back some
attention to the Birds. The squad
has an impressive 12-1 record at
the moment with a 9-0 divisional
record on the line this week.
They are a top contender for the
national championships this year
with the Pacific Division crown
all but assured. Josh Whyte, a
transfer student from the University of Victoria, consistentiy
has been an instrumental in the
campaign and has been scoring
on average in double digits. The
T-Birds will be one of the teams
that would most likely succeed if
the department decides to join
the NCAA.
The swimming team too is in
the hunt for a national championships. Birds will host the nationals
for the second consecutive year at
the Aquatic Centre and hope to
obtain the top rank in both men's
and women's. The attention will
be on Annamay Pierse who has
broken Canadian records numerous times in the past year. She will
be an essential swimmer in bringing the banner to the pool. *2I
prescription drugs, psychologist,
chiropractor, physiotherapist, ambulance,
vaccinations, and more...
eye exam, eyeglasses or contact lenses,
laser eye surgery
cleanings, checkups, fillings, root canals,
gum treatments, extractions, and more...
travel health coverage for 120 days per trip
and up to $5,000,000, trip cancellation,
trip interruption
Network Savings Give You the Upper Hand
Get even more coverage by visiting members of the Dental, Vision, Chiropractic,
Physiotherapy, and Massage Therapy Networks.
Find a health practitioner at www.ihaveaplan.ca.
Change-of-Coverage Period
Additional enrolments and opt outs for new Term 2 students must be completed
between Jan. 5 - 26, 2009. Visit www.ihaveaplan.ca for more information.
Health & Dental Plan Office, Room 61 - SUB Lower Level
The Member Services Centre is also there to assist you
from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays.
Toll-free: 1 877 795-4421
Ski & Snowboard
New Clothing CLEAR OUTS • Ski/Board Service & Rentals
102W. Broadway (at Manitoba) 'Vancouver- 604-879-6000* www.sportsjunkies.com


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