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hv 2 Culture
Friday, 25 November, 2005   THE UBYSSEY
//
can't
ANOSH IRANI
UBC Creative Writing Masters
Series
November 29
by Gemini Cheng
CULTUREWRITER
It's hard to beHeve that Anosh Irani
wasn't planning on becoming a
writer all along. Since immigrating to
Vancouver from India in 1998, the
UBC Creative Writing grad has carved
a comfortable Httie niche for himself
in the realm of Canadian Hterature
and theatre. But the possibility of
writing didn't even enter the picture
until Irani was in his early twenties
and holding a "useless" degree in
his hands.
"I was working as a copywriter at
an advertising agency in Bombay," he
says, "but I also wanted to write short
stories and poetry. I decided I needed
to get away from Bombay in order to
write and that's why I came here."
Irani graduated with a business
degree, but his decision to come to
UBC was based on his desire to
write. He followed his aunt to
Vancouver, and his journey as a
writer began. Living in Canada
allowed Irani to see his native
country differently.
"Being in Canada gives you a different perspective on a country when
you look at it from a distance both in
terms of time as weU as physical distance," he explains. "What helped me
was just being in Bombay and the life
experience that you get, the characters that you meet, the stories that
you hear, the images that you see—
those have helped shape my writing."
Referring to his childhood, he
admits, "I didn't write at all. I was not
one of those kids who knew that I
wanted to write, but I was always a
StoryteHer. That's why I chose to
write, because I wanted to teU stories." His study of Hterature as a child
was limited, but this isn't something
he regrets. Studying Hterature is
somewhat disadvantageous because
it can be too confining. "You feel you
need to do something familiar," he
says. "For me, I had no idea what had
been done so when I decided to write
patient when I write
//
A WRITER'S LIFE FOR ME  Anosh Irani strikes a pose at Lonsdale Quay, yinan max wang photo
my first novel I felt completely free."
Irani's debut, The Cripple and His
Talismans, was pubHshed last spring.
Set in Bombay, the novel traces
the journey of a man who has lost
his arm and wants to find it. The
idea came to him completely by
chance. "I was writing the end to one
of my short stories and I suddenly
had an image of amputated limbs
hanging from the ceiling," he says.
When the idea refused to go away, he
knew the story had to be told.
The setting of the novel is steeped
in magical-reaHsm. "I think stories
arise from a physical landscape in a
sense that cities, especiaHy cities like
Bombay, they have their own character," he says. His nameless narrator
comes across a multitude of eccentric
characters, including dueling lepers
and a man who sells limbs. Some of
the story's particularly grotesque
scenes have caused some reviewers
concern, but Irani isn't bothered.
"I think part of the charm of writing is the strangeness," he says. "I
mean, why teU stories, why reveal
images   everyone   can   see?"   He
beHeves that these sorts of scenes in
any form of writing must emerge naturally. "You have to use your imagination and try and push boundaries,"
he says, "but I think doing something
for shock value is a weak thing to do."
Irani tries not to become too influenced by other works of art, but now
that writing is his profession, he
reads more poetry and plays for
inspiration. The form in which this
inspiration takes shape is meaningless, so long as it is truly moving.
"Today, the whole purpose of art
is that someone else inspires you,
and then you create something that's
going to inspire somebody else," he
says. He tries not to think too much
about what other people are saying
about his own writing though.
"Sometimes people have an insight
into your work that you don't," he
says, "but also you have to discern
and know when people are just talking absolute garbage."
Diverse creativity and interest has
inspired Irani to pursue other forms
of writing. His first play, The Matka
King, premiered at the Arts  Club
Theatre Company in 2003.
Playwriting is a completely different
process for the writer.
"In a novel at least, you're in control of what's happening because the
novel ends with the page. Once you
finish writing the novel, it's done,
but the play just begins on the page,"
he explains. "With the novel it's the
same novel eveiy time. But with a
play, the Hve element brings both
risk and excitement."
People have been telling Irani
that good skiHs in writing dialogue
are essential for playwriting, but the
author knows that this is not the
only vital aspect. He tries to take
advantage of the physical state itself.
"I like using the stage as a visual
medium as weU," he says. "I try and
teU stories that have that sense of
theatricaHty."
Even though Irani is famiHar
with techniques to spin aU sorts of
captivating tales, he reveals, "I
think things just come roaring out
of you and I can't write slow. I can't
be methodical and patient when
I'm writing." He doesn't think writ
ers should be analysing their own
work while they are in the process
of creating it, although he does try
to be more analytical during the
later stages of editing. "The main
function of a writer is to teU a good
story, and also to chaUenge someone inteUectuaUy, to chaUenge the
way people think. Those are the
things that naturaUy happen if the
writing is good," he says.
So was Irani destined to write all
this time? Probably not "I don't
think there is any such thing as destiny," he says. "To me, destiny suggests that you are not in control of
your life."
Karma, on the other hand, is
something Irani beHeves in wholeheartedly. "With karma, it's different," he says. "Things are happening because of your own actions. It
does make you realize that you are
in control of your life. You can
shape your own life." The consequences of action are a major
theme in Irani's writings. He may
not have been destined to write, but
there is no doubt that it was something he needed to do, whether he
ever meant to or not.
"I think part of the mystery in
that is that even for human beings,
life is a journey. We have to ask
questions," he says. "That's what
makes us human, that we cannot
completely fathom the higher
power that exists."
Irani is trying to work on another play caHed Manja's Circus, but
it's being kept aside for now. "I
think it's just too weird for people," he admits. But there is no
lack of new projects with his name
attached. His next play, Bombay
Black, will premiere in Toronto in
January, and his second novel, The
Song of Kahunsha, is set for
release next spring. II
Anosh Irani will be at the UBC
Bookstore at Robson Square at
7:00 pm on November 29 to deliver a lecture and read aloud from
his body of work. The event is part
of the UBC Creative Writing
Masters' Series, and is free to the
general pubhc.
n
Ill
LA RONDE
Chan Centre Studio Theatre
until November 26
by Hannah Hardy
CULTUREWRITER
Sex, scandal, and comedy La Ronde
has it all. From the acting to the costumes, the Theatre UBC production
provides a realistic and entertaining
portrayal of desire, churning out a
socio-sexual taxonomy in its torrid
wake. With the help of director John
Cooper—three-time winner of the
Jessie Richardson award for
Outstanding Direction—these BFA
drama students have expertly fashioned an evening of side-spHtting
comedy and emotional resonance.
This darkly comic tale of forbidden sex and betrayal has inspired
several theatrical adaptations and
over sixteen films. La Ronde is made
up often scenes, each focused on pre
and post coital conversations; each
reveaHng ten forbidden sexual
Haisons in devastating cycles. Written
in 1898; this play incited rioting and
became one of the greatest scandals
in the history of theatre when first
produced in 1921.
La Ronde is the story of several
characters' twisted sexual activities.
The first to hook up are the soldier
and the prostitute. The soldier then
goes to the maid, who then goes to
the young master, who then goes to
the young wife, who then goes to her
husband, who then goes to the sweet
girl, who then goes to the poet, who
then goes to the actress, who then
goes to the count, who then goes to
the prostitute—you get the picture.
The short, bite-size scenes are
digestible and fun to watch. Despite
the fact that most of the women
appear as fickle sluts and the men as
lusty self-absorbed lugs, the writing
provides a unique perspective; one
you could watch over and over again
and not get bored.
A word of advice: don't leave after
the first two scenes. While the first
two scenes falter, coming across
underplayed and stilted, you are
bound to forget the play's slow start
by the end of the third scene when
the performance reaUy gets rolling. I
must comment on the fantastic characterizations performed by Keegan
Macintosh and Joann Liu, and the
defivery and timing by Tim Cadeny
and David Newham was especially
entertaining. However, it was clear
that certain characters were unsure
about the basic formation of the
script and their parts therein, as they
were sometimes too eager to cut
short their colleagues' lines!
The costuming perfectly augmented the performances, with each garment unique and weU-suited to the
personalities of the characters and
the period. Unfortunately, the same
cannot be said of the set design.
Although most of the props and the
set were perfect for the period and
suited the different environments,
the black block boxes used to portray
cupboards stood out like sore
thumbs. They didn't suit the period,
they didn't foUow the suit of the rest
of the set, and the colour made them
stand out for the wrong reasons.
But the use of the back screen was
fantastic. It fit weH with the smaU
scenes and made the set changes
interesting, setting the tone for the
coming scenes. They were suggestive
and comical, and the chosen images
helped the scenes to flow together
seamlessly. Accompanied by the
musical sound effects, the impressions were highly successful. The
sound effects themselves were weU
chosen and contributed to the narrative of the play, making up comical
effects for the action missing onstage.
But the most successful technical device was the lighting. The
use of candles as the first source of
illumination and the employ of a
dim light across the stage was
highly effective in setting the
mood. It also made the audience
feel like they were in the action
rather than in a theatre. The use of
the whole theatre space itself also
created a sense of involvement for
the audience.
The text is funny, the effects are
fantastic, and the acting is phenomenal—La Ronde is well worth
going to see. II ££■-
THEUBYSSEY   Friday, 25 November. 2005
Culture 3
The Doodlebops tot-rock to the top
THE DOODLEBOPS
CBC Television
by Jackie Wong
CULTURE STAFF
We promise to share
We promise to care
All together as a team
Just stick to it, we can do it
We can do anything
Stand tall
Say it loud
We're together and we're proud
DeeDee, Rooney, Moe
Yeah—we're The Doodlebops!
Holy shit. I feel like I've just eaten an
entire box of Fruity Pebbles. To up
the ante for sensory overload, the
dry goods have been chased with
alternating splashes of chocolate
and strawberry milk. AU this while
wearing 3-D glasses, and Hstening to
psychedeHc anthems about working
as a team, anger management, and
improving motor control. My rods
and cones can't keep up. My risk of
having a seizure has increased by
seventy-five percent.
Such was my mental state after
downing two Doodlebops sample
CDs {Music & Fun, The Doodlebops),
two "in concert" music videos
("Abracadabra," "Get on the Bus"),
an episode of their TV show ("Look
in a Book") and a buffet of online fan
discussion ("Jonathan Wexler is Hot
as Heck. If you don't trust me, watch
the Doodlebops for a couple minutes and you wiH be fixated at [sic]
them and their big hands!!!"). If you
ever find yourself in need of an
audio/visual pick-me-up at 7:10am,
look no further than CBC. Canada's
newest rock band for two-to-five-
year-olds wiH be heating up the airwaves with choreographed dance
sequences, hilarious mishaps, and
Hght moral rectitude for the second season of their absurdly-popular TV show, which premieres in
December.
The Doodlebops is a trio of "siblings* who play in a band together.
With pink-haired DeeDee (keytar,
vocals) at the helm, she and cauH-
flower-loving Rooney (guitar) team
up with rambunctious wildcard
Moe (drums) on a journey of
music, adventure, and repetitive
comic gimmickry that keeps toddlers coming back for more. Each
episode begins with a recitation of
the Doodlebops Pledge (above)
and a hilarious search for Moe,
whose mischievous ways always
get him into trouble.
The shows are fast-paced, weU-
produced, and awash with more
"A three year old these days is incredibly hip"
rainbow than could ever be procured from a million Skittles.
Sure, it's a show 'for the kids,' and
the producers have hit the target
market on the nose: during its
debut season last year, The
Doodlebops secured the number
one spot on Disney Channel's ratings for the two-to-five age group.
Months before its official October
2005 release by Universal Music
Canada, Doodlebops DVDs and a
CD had already emerged as some
of the top seUers on Amazon.ca.
But the unquestionable market
success of The Doodlebops
nonetheless leaves me wondering
about the degree to which
parental/adult tastes inform the success of children's entertainment
Clad in a hypercolour pastiche
of what appear to be mutant derivations of Dr. Seuss, Sonny Bono,
and rave culture, the Doodles are
caked in prosthetic ears, hair, and
face-distorting makeup. For those
still standing after the clown-
phobes have fled the scene, the
Doodles appear to be the physical
embodiment of a triple-dose of
postmodern camp laced with
marshmallow Alpha-Bits. In the
words of director James Waese,
"I've tried to sum up the rock and
roU experience for pre-schoolers
by taking everything that's fun and
playful and exciting about flower
power, disco and glam rock and
focusing on aU that's good and
wholesome in it."
The       parents       of      young
Doodleboppers are of Waese's gen
eration; does their nostalgia for
1970's rock aesthetics underpin
their approval of their children's
Doodlebop fandom? "Kids are getting their families to spend their
vacations to come to Doodlebops
shows," Waese continues. "They
come from all over in homemade
costumes dressed as DeeDee,
Rooney and Moe, and they break
dance and know aU the lyrics to aU
of the songs." The number of fan
sites that have erupted within a
mere year of the Doodlebops'
arrival-launched, maintained, and
designed by and for a primarily
adult audience raises the band to a
Spongebob-esque fetish status.
"The Doodlebops wiU be bigger
than Barney, bigger than Sharon,
Lois & Bram or Raffi. They wiU be
the biggest thing to hit this [preschool] age group in music ever,"
claims Michael Hirsch, 5 7-year-old
executive producer and co-creator
of The Doodlebops. "A three year
old these days is incredibly hip."
Are three-year-olds in 2005 more
hip than three-year-olds in 1985?
I doubt it. The difference here is
the degree to which adult consumers, producers, and participants of children's entertainment
understand "hipness" as a measure of quaHty.
The Doodlebops achieve this
with the accompHshed performance backgrounds of the "band*
members: Lisa Lenox (DeeDee) is
only 23; her undeniable vocal
talents point to a strong background in musical theatre; Chad
McNamara (Rooney) toured across
Canada with the 2003 production
of Mamma Mia! and has appeared
on Queer as Folk; Jonathan Wexler
(Moe) costarred in a recent production of It's a Wonderful Life. A popular Doodlebop fan site, www.dont-
puHtherope.com, features photographs of "The Doodlebops,
unmasked." I showed the link to my
friend, whose first reaction was,
"Lisa Lenox is fucking hot." Sure,
photos of "the faces behind the
music" endow The Doodlebops
with "real-life" credibility that
other children's entertainers may
lack, but investigating their previous performance credits leads me
to wonder why Lisa, Chad, and
Jonathan chose to work as
Doodlebops at all. '; ~\
Jonathan Wexler seems to have
become  an  internet heartthrob
among   Doodlebop   fans   ("STAY
AWAY FROM JONATHAN WEXLER
MY FUTURE HUBBY" screams one
message board); the success of the
band's Hve shows and merchandise    sales    suggest    that    the
Doodlebops  are  on the  road to
spearheading    another   kid-pop
fetish  movement similar to the
Teletubby frenzy of the 1990s. If
the futuristic, androgynous shape
of the Teletubbies and their landscape reflected millennial trepidations.   The  Doodlebops'  pop-art
kitsch is an expression of a post-
eveiything culture laden with the
aesthetic   baggage   of  its   more
seemingly glamorous yesteryear.
The result: a haUucinogenic visual
spectacle that leaves you gasping
for a mental antacid, or another
stick of blotting paper. The magic
comes in two breakfast-time sittings, 7:10 and 10:00am on CBC;
season two premieres December
12. II
"nikamow," itew/'nikamow"
"Sing" he said, "sing" It was an intimate setting at the First Nations Long house last Thursday as Metis poet Gregory Scofield entertained listeners with poetry and
and song from his latest book Singing Home the Bones. Put on by the UBC Creative Writing department, Scofield wooed the audience with a series of diverse works
about love, family history and ethnicity in both English and Cree.   yinan max wang photos 4 Feature
Friday, 25 November, 2005
THE UBYSSEY
Friday, 25 November, 2005
Feature 5
Seeds of chan
unsown
Is copyright legality or the repression of academic freedom
preventing the release ofa documentary on GMOs?
/A-;
M&f*
Despite its name, a video caUed Seeds of Change
wiU not have the impact on the biotechnology
world its creators intended—at least, not anytime soon.
The documentary, by University of Manitoba PhD candidate Ian Mauro and Professor Stephane McLachlan,
has sown controversy in what was one of biotechnology's most contentious fields, in an attempt to get at the    Joanne Keselman, vice-president (research), said that
geneticaUy modified crops in Canada, and as such, it is
"inherently controversial: the vast majority of risk
research conducted of geneticaUy modified crops has
some element of private funding associated with it."
What the University says
truth about geneticaUy modified canola.
Now, three years after its completion, the video still
cannot be shown. And while the film is controversial
on a number of levels, the project's viabifity may ultimately depend upon the prickly position in which it
places the University of Manitoba (U of M).
The medium of change
To film Seeds of Change, Mauro and McLachlan traveled rural Manitoba and asked farmers for their
thoughts on geneticaUy modified canola. EventuaUy,
they synthesised these accounts into documentary
form. The research, originaUy intended to constitute
part of Mauro's PhD, is controversial mostly because of
its approach: Mauro uses the medium of video to document the experiences of farmers, an approach that
has never been done in this way before. The documentary is based on the experiences of farmers, rather
than going about the research from a purely academic
basis.
"Ironically, going to farmers and asking them
'what's up?' is incredibly controversial—because some
of the stories farmers have, and some of the experiences farmers have had, are irrefutable in their truth;
it's straight from the land. Hearing the stories and
hearing those experiences—either good or bad—resonates in a way that science can't match; numbers on a
sheet pale in comparison to the power and emotional
response people have to a farmer telling a story about
what's happened to them," said Mauro.
McLachlan, however, thinks the images might be
"too powerful" for some. Upon seeing the film for the
first time, the University balked and decided that it
could not be responsible for insuring the video. The
University has an enormous interest in the content of
the film; not only was canola originaUy developed at
the University of Manitoba, but a substantial amount of
research into geneticaUy modified canola is ongoing at
the institution.
Both researchers said that the documentary is unbiased and reinforced by peer-reviewed Hterature, and
no one denies that the film is objective.
The video, according to the filmmakers, does not
faU victim to either the radical, anti-geneticaUy modified organism (GMO) activism or corporate concerns
that so plague the issue of genetic modification;
instead, it leaves the viewer to draw conclusions.
Nevertheless, the video has the potential to make an
enormous—albeit diminished with time—contribution to
the discourse on biotechnology, and agriculture
in general.
Mauro said that it is one of the
first, if not the first, publicly  funded  risk
analyses    of
the University was not concerned with limiting the distribution of the video, but rather with issues of intellectual property. SpecificaUy, the University, which has
a 50 per cent stake in the raw footage used in the documentary, has every right and, in fact, is mandated to
protect the rights of farmers who express their opinions in the video.
Keselman emphasised that the documentary was
created independently of the University, but the
footage was originaUy coUected as part of Mauro's
graduate research, so the University maintains a legal
interest in it, and technicaUy has copyright ownership
of half of the footage used in the documentary. This
right is unalienable without consent from one part-
owner or the other—in this case, the University or
McLachlan.
Without owning the rights to the raw footage of
farmers used in the video, it can't be distributed commercially; without clearance from the University, it
can't be shown for educational purposes. This copyright bylaw is intended to protect educational videos
and other such new media resources from being used
for commercial resale. The bylaw cannot be changed
without a new coUective bargaining agreement with
the University of Manitoba Faculty Association—and
the current one won't expire until 2007.
"If [McLachlan] and I wrote a book, or painted a
ture about GMOs and farmers, the University w»
have no say in how we distribute that informa;
said Mauro. "The whole situation is preposterou:
Keselman maintains that the only remaining constraints on the documentary are legal. j^
"We have no issue with the content of th^^peo, we
have no interest in the video itself—our issjglpf making
sure that we are conducting our research^Ptivities in
accordance with the highest ethical principles and
standards," she said. Keselman emphasised that there
are two, and only two, conditions tha|||ltist be fulfilled
before the documentary can be use^Hton-commercial-
ly. The first: a disclaimer, stating tl^^he opinions presented in the video are not representative of the
University in any way. WhUe both researchers have no
contention with this conditioi^^Py said that the way it
is presented might have m^pangs more difficult to
agree to than hinted at in tHllfigal discourse.
The second of the provisions requires expressly
written permission to uj^Jhe raw footage from aU of
mers interviewed in the
iject. Mauro said that it has
already    been    done—but
Keselman   said   that   the
University has no documented   evidence   that
this   permission   was
obtained, which
tinues   to   o
ect
text by Tessa Vanderhart THE MANITOBAN / UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA
photos by Yinan Max Wang & Laura Tabert
Academic
freedom
in the baSance
The content of the video
is,    however,    in    high
demand.
Mauro  said that people
across the world are clamouring    to     see     the    video,
including    farmers    from
Canada, the United States
and    Argentina    where
geneticaUy    modified
products have been
commercialised.
At a conference
in     Alberta,
Mauro was
impugned
by   a   plant
biologist, but
McLachlan
said that farmers
T>ooed' the scientist, ask
ing Mauro to come to their counties and sh<llllhe video.
Rene Von Acker is a professor in th^Wculty of agriculture who has conducted some heady research into
genetically modified crops, speci|i£aUy trans-gene
escape, when geneticaUy modified^^pola inadvertently grows in a farmer's field. But, ^^p)ted, his research
has mostly stayed under the rallar, despite having
enormous ramifications on the biotech world, even
outraging the Canadian WheagJ3oard.
Von Acker said that he J|||Pinues to be funded by
industry, since his researc||||ielp[s] big business," and,
for the most part, privfllF investors recognise the
importance of supporting diverse and real research.
He worries his coUe£y&ges at Agriculture Canada are
less free to dissemi
nology than tenurej
sities are suppos
ie negative results of biotech-
^ademics—which is why univer-
pubHsh research that has the
potential to be unpopular with big businesses.
"Do you wanlyi university? That's what universities
do," said Voig|jiecker. "Academic freedoms serve a
purpose."    Jmf
He's confiPiied that, by preventing the distribution
of the video, the University is, inadvertently, doing the
agricultu|al community a great disservice by limiting
discus|||p; and not answering the questions that farmers njfiPanswered.
AnSfe Clark, a professor of genetics at the University
of Guelph, is concerned about the future of academia,
^generation of students "who are only interested in
side* come into the foreground of research on
ly contentious subjects such as this.
'The source of the funding predetermines the outcome of the research; it Hmits the number of questions
you can ask. Monsanto is not interested in looking at
aU of the bad effects. "Farmers are getting smart on
this, and they're reaHsing that there's more to the
story. They have resisted the release of geneticaUy
modified wheat because it wiU have adverse effects for
them, just as genetically modified canola has,"
she said.
One of the primary concerns in the agricultural
community is the potential for geneticaUy modified
canola to contaminate fields. This devalues Canadian
canola, and presupposes that the canola oil that comes
from geneticaUy modified crops is safe for human consumption, which has not been supported by testing.
Clark said that geneticaUy modified crops should be
considered "unsafe until proven otherwise."
Since the video was prepared, Canadian farmers
have successfuUy blocked the sale of Roundup Ready
wheat, which—as demonstrated by Von Acker's
research—would likely grow voluntarily, just like
Monsanto's herbicide-resistant canola, if widely used.
Monsanto University
The recent announcement tihat Monsanto is g(
locate its national headquarters^^^^^&Jniversity's
Smartpark may also be d|y3ply e^^^^^Tin the controversy. Smartpar^^^^^p area on campus where
indust3yjmj|||he Uilifli^jity coUaborate on research.
M^^^^^^en to know the details of the agreement
betwe^nthe University and Monsanto. "It certainly
doesn't help the University's image to be as closely
associated with Monsanto, given their actions against
us—and that's certainly why this is so controversial,"
said Mauro.
"We don't know to what extent that private-public
partnership has affected our abUity to disseminate
our publicly-funded research. It's certainly a troublesome connection, and it's a troublesome series of
events, that certainly calls into question these types of
relationships, the presence of corporations on campus, and the long-term effects that has on public
knowledge production, and the public good as a
whole," said Mauro.
Despite these types of aUegations, there is no established link between the legal confusion precluding the
release of Seeds of Change and the decision to relocate
Monsanto's corporate headquarters to the University's
Smartpark. Moreover, there is little threat that
Monsanto will sue; not only has the company not seen
the film, said Trish Jordan, communications representative for Monsanto, but the biotech giant was barely
aware that it existed until the situation became publicised in the Winnipeg Free Press.
"I have absolutely no understanding of what is
included in the video—we don't have a history of pursuing these sorts of things," said Jordan. She added
that Monsanto does not currently sponsor any research
at the University of Manitoba, although the company
may consider coUaboration when it takes up residence
on campus in November.
Mauro said that Monsanto was asked to participate
in the documentary, but decHned—a fact mentioned
along with the anti-Monsanto opinions in the film.
However, Hbel laws stipulate that simply including a
defamatory statement in public media—even if it is not
endorsed—can be the basis for a lawsuit.
The Canadian University Reciprocal Insurance
Exchange (CURIE), a coUaborative insuring body for
universities, found that the video could be insured,
a single lawsuit would result in the utter coUaps
University's insurance. Furthermor^^^&not oiHy the
farmers—who in part have alrea^^^^^.ed for themselves the future oj|^^^^caUy modified canola in
Canada—wha have lilille in the content of the video
A ti¥H9 in academic censorship?
By limiting the rights of researchers to distribute a scientific document, however innocuously, the debate
over this video is headed in a dangerous direction. "I
don't think this is a debate of academic freedom at aU,
or the abiHty to disseminate findings," said Keselman.
The administration of the University holds that the
notion of academic freedoms is "disingenuous* with
this incident, reaffirming that the debate is about the
treatment of the inteUectual property and not the content of the video.
According to James Turk, executive director of the
Canadian Association of University Teachers, the
stakes are even higher than canola prices. He likened
this case to the OHveri scandal at the University of
Toronto in 1999, saying that the academic freedoms of
aU researchers are being contested herein.
The OHveri case involved Apotex, the drug conglomerate, which is also sponsoring the construction of a
new Pharmacy building at the Bannatyne campus of
the U of M. Nancy Oliveri, a haematologist, was not
supported by the University of Toronto or by the
Hospital for Sick Children, where she conducted her
research. She was threatened that she would be sued if
she revealed research showing that one of its drugs
was detrimental to the livers of children taking it.
Eventually, she sued Apotex for libeling her, and they
returned the favour, accusing her of slander; neither
case has yet been resolved, although Oliveri is now supported by both institutions in her legal battles.
Arthur Schafer, who heads the Centre for
Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of
Manitoba, said that he is not surprised by what has
happened. He found paraUels between this controversy
and numerous other infringements of academic free
doms. He also raised concerns over the University's
decision to coUaborate with Apotex, who he said is
"internationaUy notorious" for suing Nancy OHvieri.
"Research on cHmate change is funded by the petrochemical industry; research on new drugs is funded^
the pharmaceutical industry. And it's not
research: it's the very fabric of the^^^^rsity.^Erthis
respect, the U of M is conformi^^^^^attern which
has caUed into qu€yg|gg|||^ integrity of research, and
universiti^^hems^^^^said Schafer.
A^^^^pl^ to Schafer, the success of research
depefrason partnerships with corporations; much governmental sponsorship is available only to researchers
who can attract corporate sponsors. He likened the situation to riding two horses at once—and noted that the
University is vulnerable to being puUed in two very different directions. "That this video should not be
viewed, that it should not be able to be shared...seems
to contradict the University's commitment to truth,
and to debate. You would think the University would be
fighting on behalf of its researchers, to make their
work pubHc," he said.
"It is legitimate for the University to protect itself
against potentiaUy ruinous defamation suits; but, since
the University has not given up the rights to the video,
larger questions arise about its true intentions." Good
ethics require good facts, and Schafer admits that he
doesn't know aU of the answers.
Negotiating change
Since June, when negotiations between the researchers
and the University broke down, there has been no communication between the administration and Mauro
and McLachlan. Instead, both sides have come to rely
on growing media attention. And both sides have
voiced concerns about the veracity of media reports.
McLachlan and Mauro point out utter contradictions in what the University administration has said to
them and to the media, adding that the resolution of
the conflict wiU require more than just the dean of the
Faculty of Environment's signature. Keselman and
John Danakas, the University's director of Public
Affairs, are more concerned about biases in the media.
Keselman said that the video could be shown publicly at any time, with the Dean's permission—and with
the fulfillment of the University's two conditions.
Keselman, however, is not worried about the prospects
for reconciliation of the dispute. "Honestly, I genuinely
can say that I think the University has been amicable
throughout, and has been ultimately responsive and
diligent in dealing with this matter. And it's interesting, I think that even the faculty member and graduate
students themselves have indicated that we've been
said Kesl
«s optimistic that good faith
working in good faith,
Meanwhile, Ma
wiUpresid^
^^^^^pitracts presented, according to Mauro,
woiW^en require both himself and McLachlan to pay
the University if the video was sued.
"They wanted us to indemnify the University, so
basicaUy if there was a lawsuit, we would take respon-
sibUity for any kind of court costs, and we said no way.
So, we spent a lot of time coming up with this insurance poHcy, and then they changed their tune again,"
said McLachlan. "If you look at it chronologicaUy over
the three years, it's exactly the opposite: it's us, always,
desperately trying to come up with solutions...that wiU
aUow us to put out the video."
"[The conditions outlined in the document] reaUy
restrict our abUity to talk about the video, to associate
with the University when we talk about the video; it
restricts our abiHty to deHver and distribute the video
through the University website. It certainly means that
if any revenue comes out, we have to pay back the
University," said McLachlan.
Of course, it must be noted that none of this is
mentioned in the University's bylaws regarding the
copyright of recordings, but rather in the contracts
provided to McLachlan delineating the conditions
that must be met to distribute the film for educational purposes.
In the end...
At the end of Seeds of Change, farmers are shown the
partiaUy completed video, and asked what they think of
it. The results of this survey are unambiguously
positive.
Mauro doesn't have any more questions for the
University—having asked them aU—but said that he
wants the University to make pubHc the details of its
agreement with Monsanto.
Yet many questions remain. What is to be done with
the raw footage? Should the University transfer ownership, or can the dispute be reconciled for academic
distribution?
From a research perspective, questions abound
regarding the affects the video would have: the testimonial of farmers on geneticaUy modified crops is
undoubtedly a powerful tool for sorting through this
highly contentious subject.
And, of course, the most pressing question; when,
and under what circumstances wiU the documentary
finaUy be released?
Finding answers to these questions wiU take time-
time the researchers say continues to diminish the
relevance of the video. II
CLASSIFIEDS
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CAMERA AND OFF. Oxfam Canada
is holding a public meeting Saturday,
November 26, ar 7.30 pm at Capiiano
College, 2055 Purcell Way, Cedar
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speaker Robert Fox, Executive Director
of Oxfam Canada, speaking on media
coverage of humanitarian disasters and
how it affects NGO activity worldwide.
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x :Jeatu.res.@utyssey,b.c,Ga; fi Opinion/Editorial
Friday, 25 November, 2005   THEUBYSSEY
Stop wasting
our money!
Representing the views and interests of the student population has been a problem facing student government since the late Cretaceous period. And it was this longstanding problem that
prompted Alma Mater Society (AMS) Councilors
to approve up to $10,000 for an online survey
that wfll find out just exactly what their constituents think. The questions to be asked have
yet to be finalised, but concerns over lobbying priorities, AMS services, and the role of the student
society are! issues being considered ('a wide
gamut of strategic priorities,' according to
President Spencer Keys).
VP Academic and University Affairs Gavin
Dew expressed his hope that this voluntary-
response survey will give the AMS more legitimacy in its claim to represent students when
dealing with the UBC administration.
ButwiUitreaUy?
The proposed AMS survey faUs victim to the
same flaw that undermines every voluntary-
response survey—only people with strong opinions will actuaUy take the time to respond. Ask
any statistician and they wiU teU you the
inevitable consequence of this method is that the
results wiU be skewed toward this particular
demographic and is unlikely to be representative
of the student population at large.
The AMS conducted a similar voluntary-
response survey this past February, asking
students via email if they would like to fiU out
a survey on tuition issues. Only 6.6 per cent of
students responded. Of these respondents, a
whopping 63.7 per cent indicated that tuition
levels were unaffordable. According to stats
on the tuition survey results, the largest demographic of those who fiUed out the survey were
people from a low-income famUy demographic. This group is likely to have a harder time
making tuition payments, and wiU be more
inclined to offer their strong opinions on the
matter—providing execs with valuable but not
necessarily representative information.
Conducting a survey like this is useless to
everyone, including students who are having
tuition problems, as it is not taken seriously
and does not help the AMS identify how many
students are actually having problems.
This year's survey is on a different topic—
if previous years are any indication, it wiU
undoubtedly be plagued with a similar problem. We can be sure that the main group of
students fiUing out the survey wiU be those
who have strong opinions—this time about
the AMS. Students who don't see a problem
with what the AMS is doing, or who don't
care, won't have their voice included.
The survey cannot have any value unless there
is a diverse array of responses from every faculty
and demographic.
Granted, voluntary-response surveys are
somewhat useful, but the problem comes when
AMS officials assume that this constitutes consultation and that the results are representative of
the student population. With such skewed results,
the AMS won't actually be representing the will of
all students but rather those students who have
strong opinions, or those who wants free iPods.
Oh sweet, well-intentioned (porcine?) AMSers,
we propose that opinion polls be conducted with
a random sample populations, a method that
actually ensures some degree of accuracy.
The AMS should strongly reconsider their
methodology. They should ask themselves if
they are really going to be able to represent
students any better as a result of this survey,
or if they are just throwing $ 10,000 down the
drain because they are too la2y to go and find
out what their constituents actuaUy think.
Sitting behind a desk and hiring someone to
determine the opinions of your constituents in
order to develop policy is a cop-out. One thing
is for certain: the current approach is as frivolous as it is inaccurate. II
Freestyle/Opinion
The more I think of the movie, the more I am dissatisfied
by Liz Green
I felt compeUed to reply to the review appearing in the Ubyssey by Meredith Hambrock,
which described the latest film adaptation of
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as a "fantas-
ticaUy satisfying film" and raved about the costumes, the setting and even the script. My
review of the same movie reads a little differently: in short, it sucked.
As a die-hard Austen fan, I've read the books,
I've seen the films and I ventured hopefully into
the newest movie believing that aU things
Austen must ultimately be good.
So let's say, for the sake of making this reply
legitimate, that I had no prejudice against the
film going in. Which means that it was my
pride that was so desperately offended by the
extreme deficit of anything resembling Austen
in this movie.
I've talked to a lot of people who loved it, and
I wiU concede that it had its funny moments. I
even found myself giggling more than once. So,
make the movie and caU it something else,
something more appropriate; reference the
over-romantic, misty Brontean scenery; call it
The Fog of Love; but don't name it after one of
my favourite novels and insult Jane Austen.
Austen was a brilliant satirist commenting on
women in society at the end of the 18th and early
19th century. She wrote about her experiences of
country society in a contemporary setting. Which
means that dressing up Elizabeth Bennet in a
1980s Laura Ashley dress, and complimenting it
with an overcoat straight out of Oliver Twist (all
she needed was the newsboy cap) doesn't quite
achieve the "splendor* that Hambrock describes.
I'm also pretty sure that the sleeveless dress worn
by Caroline Bingley was equaUy anachronistic—I
wore something similar to my high-school prom.
It was as if the producers raided the Salvation
Army for period clothing and settled on anything
remotely vintage.
The true beauty of Austen's satire is the wit
embedded within the strict codes of conversation and comportment observed by the upper
classes at the time. So suffering through a script
that completely ignores the conventional manner of speaking and butchers the dialogue that
makes the novel so hilarious was nothing less
than emotional agony. Not only was any potential for hilarity stunted, the director chose to
ignore so many rules of etiquette that would
have been strictly observed. When Bingley walks
into Janes bedroom, while she lies half-dressed
in her nightgown, I almost threw my popcorn at
the screen in purist disgust. There's no way in
hell that would ever happen.
I would really love it if the director, or anyone really, could point out the part of Austen's
writing that focused so much on farm animals.
Given that it is a novel about the upper classes
that spent very little time hanging around the
barnyard at aU, I'm fairly certain there's no
mention of them in the book. So why the cows?
Why aU the geese? And what the heU was up with
the pigs? I've forgotten the part where Austen
describes the humour of porcine genitalia
swinging as the pig traipses through the kitchen
—oh that's right, that was in the same version
that ended with Darcy and Elizabeth walking in
their pyjamas through the misty fields towards
each other to symbolicaUy almost kiss as the sun
rises between their faces, bent passionately
towards each other. Gag. There's a reason that
the British release has a different ending than
the American release—the British wouldn't put
up with that cheap crap, while our society seems
to love that kind of smut.
If Hambrock had actuaUy read the novel a little more carefully, she might not have been so
quick to praise director Joe Wright's faithfulness
to the plot. Aside from the atrocious ending, half
of the book was cut, and I would argue, completely unnecessarily. And if the camera had
spent a little less time capturing the fog rolling
romanticaUy over the dusky hills, or panning
the cows again, and again, and again, we might
have got to know a little bit more about
Wickham. He's only in two scenes in the entire
movie, and Mr and Mrs Hurst were cut completely. The same goes for Maria and Colonel
Fitzwilliam. Instead, we were saturated with saccharine efforts intended to encapsulate complex
characters into Hallmark moments. Austen
would snort in disgust. That is, if she hadn't
already walked out of the movie after the
entrance of the dirty pigs.
—Liz Green is the volunteers coordinator at
the Ubyssey
Streeters
Are you going to
celebrate buy nothing
Day?
"I'm not going to buy anything but
food.*
— TJ Chung
Engineering 1
"I probably won't buy anything anyways. I don't have any money."
—Anna Wootton
Arts 3
~>x,
':2
"Yes.  I feel like doing my small
part.*
—Steven Einarson
Education 5
Tt's unfeasible."
— Vikash Nand
Science 1
T didn't know about it until now."
—Jordan Soet
Computer Engineering 4
—Streeters coordinated by
Carolynne Burkholder THE UBYSSEY   Friday, 25 November, 2005
Sports 7
Friday, 25 November, 2005
Vol.LXXXVII  N°22
Editorial Board
coordinating editor Jesse Marchand
coordinating@ubyssey.bc ca
news editors Paul Evans <5d Eric Szeto
news@ubyssey.bc.ca
culture editor Simon Underwood
culture@ubyssey.bc.ca
sports editor Megan Smyth
sports@ubyssey.bc. ca
features/national editor
Bryan Zandberg
features@ubyssey.bc.ca
photo editor Yinan Max Wang
photos@ubyssey.bc.ca
production manager Michelle Mayne
production@ubyssey.bc.ca
Coordinators
volunteers Liz Green
volunteers@ubyssey.bc.ca
research/letters Claudia Li
feedback@ubyssey.bc.ca
BUY NOTHING DAY SUPPLEMENT
Carolynne Burkholder
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University
of British Columbia, it is published every Tuesday and Friday
by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous,
democratically run student organisation, and al! students are
encouraged to participate.
Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They
are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily
reflect the views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the
University of British Columbia. All editorial content appearing in
The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein
cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission
of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press
(CUP) and adheres to CUP's guiding principles.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include
your phone number, student number and signature (not for
publication) as well as your year and faculty with all submissions.
ID will be checked when submissions are dropped off at the
editorial office of The Ubyssey, otherwise verification will be done
by phone. "Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but
under 750 words and are run according to space. "Freestyles" are
opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff members. Priority will be
given to letters and perspectives over freestyles unless the latter is
time sensitive. Opinion pieces will not be run until the identity of
the writer has been verified. The Ubyssey reserves the right to edit
submissions for length and darity.
It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising
that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an
advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the
UPS will not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS
shall not be responsible for slight changes or typographical errors
that do not lessen the value or the impact of the ad.
EDITORIAL OFFICE
Room 24, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BCV6T1Z1
td: 604-822-2301
fax: 604-822-9279
web: www.ubyssey.bc.ca
e-mail: feedback@ubyssey.bcca
BUSINESS OFFICE
Room 23, Student Union Building
advertising: 604-822-1654
business office: 604-822-6681
fax: 604-822-1658
e-mail: advertising@ubyssey.bcca
business manager Fernie Pereira
advertising sales Bernadette Delaquis
ad design Shalene Takara
Liz Green bought Claudia Li, Bryan Zandberg sold Eric Szeto,
Paul Evans traded Greg Ursic's mom, Andrew MacRae bartered
Shagufta Pasta and Tia Town-Schon for a goat, Jesse Marchand
and Michelle Mayne fair traded Yinan Max Wang and Carolynne
Burkholder. Back at the ranch Simon Underwood, Champagne
Choquer and Megan Smyth negotiated a new lease for Robert
P.Willis, Gemini Cheng, and Jackie Wonp/s cow. Hannah Hardy
was compensated by the Government for Laura Tabert, and
Tessa Vanderhart went wee wee wee wee all the way home.
cover design Michelle Mayne
cover photo Yinan Max Wang
editorial graphic
L V Vander von Axander
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• rTT*1^; %S" j?*
A MAN APART: Bored with your bicycle?Trade it in for a mountain unicycle! photos courtesy of kms holm
by Megan Smyth
SPORTS EDITOR
Think that unicycling is only done
during circus performances? Well,
think again.
Kris Holm, a recent UBC grad
and sessional instructor within the
geography department, not only participates in unicycling, but has his
own unicycle company. He has combined his love of unicylcing with his
passion for travel and has unicycled
in approximately 15 different countries around the world.
Holm doesn't stick to flat pavement
for his riding; he conquers the same
steep and rugged terrain that many
mountain bikers enjoy. However,
unlike most unicyclists, Holms did not
begin on a mountain bike.
Holm explains how he got his
first unicycle: 'When I was 11,1 saw
a street performer named Yuri
Toufar. He was playing a violin on a
unicycle, which I thought was quite
cool since I play, so I asked my parents for one for my 12tih birthday.*
"My athletic background comes
from climbing and skiing, and in
these sports, the challenge is to
negotiate some kind of hard terrain.
So for me, it seemed natural to try to
do the same thing on a unicycle,* he
explained.
Even though he didn't mountain
bike himself, Holm's first entry into
the industry as a professional was
through mountain bike promotion.
*I became professionally involved in
the sport when I started filming for
mountain bike video segments in
1998. This led to sponsorship from
Norco Bikes and Horny Toad brand
clothing, and eventually to owning
my own brand of unicycle.*
Holm now sells four different
types of unicycles on his website,
along with various accessories and
unicycling attire. 'Until the late
1990s there was no such thing as a
purpose-built mountain unicycle,
and I had to have one custom made.
Then I had a few made for some
friends, then some more, and now
the sport has grown to the point
where my unicycles are distributed
all over the world,* said Holm.
Since the 1990s the sport has
rapidly expanded. 'When I first started riding there were perhaps a few
dozen mountain unicylists worldwide, and now there are more than
30,000,* reflects Holm. 'It's really
exciting to see the sport growing as
fast as it is right now.*
Brock Davis, an employee of
Cambie Cycles, said that last summer was sort of a mini-boom* in the
interest of unicycling in Vancouver.
*I think it's picking up a little bit, we
are selling more high-end models,*
explains Davis. *I saw a family unicycling together around Granville
Island this summer, that was pretty
cool,* Davis commented.
Currently Cambie Cycles provides
the greatest range of unicycles in
Vancouver. *I think a lot of stores cany
a few, but we've got the most models,*
said Davis. Cambie Cycles carries
Torker unicycles in three styles rang-
ing in price all the way up to $400.
'It's really exciting to see the
From November 28th to December 5,2005, for every non-perishable food item you
donate, $2 of your fine will be waived to a maximum of $20 per borrower. All
donations go to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and the AMS Student Foodbank.
An event brought to you by your student society and the UBC Library
www.QmsMbc.ca/foodforfmes
THEUBYSSEY
sport growing as fast as it is right
now," comments Holm on the
increase in unicycle sales in the last
few years.
Mountain unicycling is also
gaining new fans as a type of cross
training. It requires extreme balance and awareness of your body, as
well as "focus, quick thinking, and
the ability to visualise actions before
you perform them," stated Holm.
Unicycling is currendy being used
by freestyle ski teams to enhance
their overall performance.
Holm currently participates in
mountain unicycling competitions.
International unicylcing competitions were established in the 1980s,
but mountain unicycling got its start
about a decade later. Holm has done
quite well on the competitive circuit:
"My competitive specialty is trials
and I was World Champion in 2002
and European Champion in 2005."
When Holm tells people about
his involvement with unicycling, he
explains that 'many people are skeptical if they haven't heard about it,
but most people think that it's a
great concept for a sport The difficult part is convincing people that
it's a sport accessible to anyone, not
just elite athletes. I met a rider once
whose neighbour was a 92 year-old
unicydist The most amazing thing,
however, was that he had only ridden for two years!*
When in Vancouver Holm likes to
ride the trails on Mt Fromme near
Grouse Mountain on the North
Shore, but for log riding he prefers
Wreck Beach.
Holm enjoys the beautiful landscape of Vancouver and does his
part to keep it that way. Holm notes
that, "the importance of minimising
the negative environmental impact
of business is obvious, but disturbingly few cycling brands are
directiy involved with environmental conservation, although many, of
course, are indirectly involved
through promotion of human-powered transportation. Kris Holm
Unicycles is the cycling industry's
only member of One Percent for the
Planet, an organisation founded by
Patagonia Clothing that requires
members to donate one per cent of
sales to environmental conservation. "I always admired Patagonia
for doing this, and it's nice to have
the chance to do the same.*
Holm has been spotted on campus practicing his skills, and can
sometimes be seen riding on top of
the railing on the ramp in front of
the UBC Aquatic Centre.
"I always liked unicycling, but I
never expected that it would have
this much of an impact on my life.
It's funny how things turn out," commented Holm, a
*»S. 8 News
Friday, 25 November, 2005   THE UBYSSEY
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Missing women
slipping through
the cracks
by Jesse Marchand
NEWS STAFF
There are over 500 aboriginal women missing
in Canada today, said Aboriginal children and
families advocate Ernie Crey at the No More
Stolen Sisters presentation last Tuesday. "There
needs to be action in Canada to change the attitudes towards Aboriginal women, even in the
minds of Aboriginal men," he added.
Put on by students from political science
373 and Amnesty International, the No
More Stolen Sisters presentation invited
several advocates from the Downtown
Eastside (DTES) to the First Nations
Longhouse, to speak about the status of First
Nations women in Canada with a particular
emphasis on Vancouver's DTES.
Despite being an activist for missing women
in the 90s, Crey gained major recognition as an
Aboriginal activist when his sister went missing
from the DTES in November 2000. With his
own family involved, things became personal
for Crey and he began to put even more pressure on the RCMP to help the VPD find the missing women. 'For Ernie Crey now it is personal,"
said Crey. 'Damn right, it is personal. It was
very personal/but for a lot of people it was very
personal too."
During the excavation of the Pickton farm,
DNA from Crey's sister was found, but not
enough evidence was collected to press charges
on her account For Crey, the Pickton farm is
only a start in solving the problems surrounding Canada's missing women.
He suggested that we look at the root causes
of why these women are on the streets.
"Women in our reservations flee the community because there are no jobs," said Crey.
"They are frequently abused. Why would they
stay there?" He added that many women end up
leaving their home reserves and end up living
on the streets in major Canadian cities.
Residential schooling was also mentioned as
one of the major factors leading to alcoholism,
drug use and physical abuse in First Nations
communities.
"We had to leave our culture behind," said
Squamish woman Harriet Nanahee of her experience at residential school. "We were put in residential schools and were told our culture was
evil and we had to leave it behind."
"It was supposed to be the best years of my
life," said Reta Blind, a Cree woman sent to residential school at the age of eight "But itwas the
most dangerous, most scariest part of my life."
Blind recounted tearfully, that after
being separated from her family and
spending nine years in residential schools
she ended up living in the city as a hairdresser with an abusive husband. Blind
then recalled how she too began to abuse
her own children.
"I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me," said Blind of her children. "Because
that's what needs to be done in this land of ours
that we call Canada. We need kindness, we need
care, we need love."
Despite the tearful renditions from all the
First Nations people that told of their horrific
experiences, the overarching feeling was one of
activism and hope.
"We are strong. We can continue to
make changes down there," said Carol
Martin, an activist committed to creating a
memorial for Vancouver's missing women
by Mother's Day in 2007.
While Amnesty International reaffirmed
their main objective to raise international
awareness around the missing First Nations
women of the Stolen Sisters Report, local activi-
sists focused on creating more resources and
encouraging volunteering in the DTES.
'If we don't have places for these women to
go to, we're going to keep losing them," said
Skundaal Bernie Williams, a member of the
Haida Gwaii and lil-watt nations and counsellor
at the Elders of the Downtown Eastside
Women's centre.
"How many more women have got to fall
through the cracks before they wake up and listen to us?" asked Williams. "Because we are not
going to go away." 01
MOMENTOUS OCCASION: Alan Baker, Stephen Owen and Nabil Barto discuss Middle Eastern peace prospects, yinan max wang photo
"Partners in peace" come together at UBC
by Robert P. Willis
NEWSWRITER
Dubbed "Partners In Peace," both the Israeli
and Jordanian ambassadors to Canada convened for the first time to engage in a spirited
discussion on the relations between the two
politically charged Middle Eastern countries
Monday. The two diplomats were joined by
Canadian Cabinet Minister Stephen Owen, as
well as members from the UBC Israel
Awareness Club and International Relations
Students Association (IRSA).
Aaron Dewitt, co-president of the UBC Israel
Awareness Club, said that the talk had been in
development since spring 2005 and was set-up
with the assistance of the greater Jewish
Community in Vancouver. An IRSA press
release explained the reason for having the two
ambassadors speak at UBC: "to advance peace
in the Middle East through dialogue and cooperation, with Canada acting as the catalyst."
Security personal were out in frill force
around the Student Union Building. Instead of
the usual entrance to the Norm Theatre, the
audience entered the theatre via the outside exit
doors after going through a mandatory bag
check. A small group of protestors outside the
theatre handed out signs and chanted slogans
condemning the political stances of both Israel
and Jordan towards Palestine, a theme repeatedly brought up during the talk.
Inside, the Norm Theatre was less than
half-full with an audience composed mainly
of students.
Calling the ambassadors "two men of
peace," Liberal MP and moderator Stephen
Owen began the discussion.
Israeli Ambassador Alan Baker was the
first to speak. Baker spoke for some 20 minutes on the concept of Middle Eastern peace,
stressing, "Mutual trust is the single most
important component to peace."
According to Baker, this pursuit of peace is
something Israeli and Jordan have been working on for some time and will continue working
on into the future. "We're working with the
interests of each other," said Baker.
Jordanian Ambassador to Canada Nabil
Barto echoed similar themes. "Failure to meet
Arab-Israeli peace is not an option," he said.
"Jordan will always be an oasis of stability in the
Middle East."
Once the opening addresses by the ambassadors were finished and the question period
with the audience began, the congenial and
easy tone of the dialogue was replaced by challenging questions and high emotions.
The first question, directed to Ambassador
Barto, was why Jordan didn't elect its head of
state. Ambassador Barto replied, "Democracy
exists in Jordan, but it's a different form of
democracy." Much to the chuckles and groans
of the audience, Barto continued saying, "If
King Abdullah [II] ran in Israel, he would win
the election."
Questions regarding the motives and
effects of the barrier separating areas of
Palestine and Israeli were repeatedly asked of
Ambassador Baker. According to Baker, the
barrier is necessary: "It's intended to keep
infiltrators from blowing people up in Israel."
When pushed on the question further, Baker
replied that the barier is not intended to separate or impoverish Palestinians, and if acts of
terrorism weren't killing Israelis, then there
wouldn't be a barrier.
One audience member emotionally condemned Owen for calling himself a moderator
since Owen has openly supported Israel. Owen
took the accusation in stride saying, "There is
nothing contradictory in my mind in being a
friend of Israel and being a friend in peace in
the whole region." H
"Lapse in communication" causes event kerfuffle
Organisers disgruntled after
crowd denied entry to
ambassador discussions
by Eric Szeto
NEWS EDITOR
A polemic decision by an Alma Mater
Society (AMS) executive during the
"Partners in Peace" dialogue resulted in the
student society issuing an apology to all
affected parties yesterday.
The event, which featured the Israeli
Ambassador to Canada Alan Baker and
Jordanian Ambassador to Canada Nabil Barto,
made headlines in The Vancouver Sun after
both ambassadors lambasted the way the
event was managed during their talk at SFU
and at a private meeting with The Vancouver
Sun editorial board.
The incident, reported in an opinion piece
by columnist Barbara Yaffe, sanctioned the
actions of AMS VP Admin Manj Sidhu after
she issued an order to turn away a slew of students, professors and members of the community eager to gain entry into the event
because they didn't have student cards.
The November 21 opinion piece stated,
"Sadly...when a similar event featuring the two
diplomats was held at the University of BC's
Student Union Building, a member of UBC's
Alma Mater Society took it upon herself to order
security officers to block the entry of some 200
people who had tried to get inside."
As a result of this decision, the ambassadors were greeted by a crowd of empty seats at
the Norm Theatre.
Sidhu reversed her decision a half-hour
later, but by then the majority of the people
outside had already left.
'I don't know why she made the decisions
that she did," said Michelle Aucoin, executive
coordinator for the VP students.
The initial agreement between the organising bodies stated that only students with
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SORRY: VP Manj Sidhu issues an apology during AMS council, michelle mayne photo
IDs would be allowed into the event. Confusion arose when changes were made to
the agreement, however.
Aucoin noted, "there were a number meetings in advance of the event* that would have
informed Sidhu that it wasn't limited to students any longer.
Sidhu later referred to this as a "lapse in
communication."
She said that the AMS was acting on the
original agreement and that they weren't
informed of any changes that were made.
"That's the sole reason the AMS, myself, the
security took [that course of action] on that
day, and that's it," she said.
"I'm sorry it came to this," she said. "It's
just beyond words."
Claims that over 200 people were rejected from the talk, she said however, were a
gross exaggeration.
The Israel Awareness Club, an organiser
of the event, and the Vancouver Hillel
Foundation were visibly upset with the consequences of the decision.
"There's no reason for that mistake to be
made," said Eyal Lichtmann, executive direc
tor of the Vancouver Hillel Foundation.
Lichtmann said that the Canadian Jewish
Congress will be investigating the matter to
see if the rules that restricted the success of
the event have existed for any other event in
the SUB and whether the nature of the events
at the Norm were anti-Semitic.
He added that these actions were setting a
precedent that didn't exist for any other club-
organised events.
AMS President Spencer Keys said he would
be hesitant to place this event into a particular
pattern of behaviour.
"Certainly one should ask, is this related
to any previous concerns? And we would
certainly say no," Keys said. "It should be
viewed in isolation."
Aucoin acknowledged that it was ultimately
up to the AMS what course of action to take
because it was a student run event She said it
was regrettable, though, that UBC has been put
in the spotlight over an incident of this nature.
'It's a pretty historic event to have such
high profile people here," she said, "and it's
unfortunate that UBC and the AMS are being
recognised over this." II
i PAGEONE
OxUBYSSEY Supplement  I Friday, 25 November, 2005
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YINAN MAX WANG
BY JENNIFER CHRUMKA
Over-consumption is often considered to be a
hallmark of today's affluent western society.
Advertisers and marketers have become
increasingly sophisticated at telling us what to
buy, what we need, even what we want. What
we choose to buy has enormous social and environmental consequences.
The costs of over-consumption include the
depletion of resources, the spread of dangerous
pollutants, undermining of ecosystems and
fast progression of climate change. And with
consumption increasing on a global scale, environmentalists are left scrambling to find ways
to get these messages across to populations.
Lisa Mastny, a senior editor of the
Worldwatch Institute, an independent research
firm in the United States, says, "every product
you buy and the services required to make that
product has a history behind it, a lifecycle, most
consumers don't think about that*
Instead, if consumers were to pause
before buying something, to think about the
product's history and implications and ask:
'Do I really need this? Or where does this
come from?' Mastny hopes people would
reconsider their purchases.
Consider the production ofa plastic bag. The
ingredients that go into making one include
crude oil, natural gas, and other petrochemical
derivatives. Each year around 100 billion plastic grocery bags are tossed out in the US.
Though they take up less space in landfills than
paper bags, many plastic bags don't make it to
the landfills; instead they end up in gutters,
sewers, fences, and trees.
Research indicates that North America is the
greatest consumer of private expenditures-
goods and services at the household level.
According to the World Bank's World
Development   Indicators   Database,   North
over-consumption
America, with 5.2 per cent of the world's population, contributes to 31.5 per cent of consumer
spending in the world.
Rather than have people feel guilty about the
purchases they make, Mastny says what she
tries to do is portray a positive side, "an exciting
side" to needed change. To explain, she postures: "Wouldn't it be cool if we could get all of
our energy from the sun or the wind." Another
tactic Mastny uses is pointing to larger equity
issues by portraying people as world citizens.
Given the state of rapacious consumption "how
is there going to be enough to go around? That
kind of comparison might result in some
change," she says.
A recent State of the World report, by the
Worldwatch Institute indicates that "providing
adequate food, clean water and basic education
for the world's poorest could all be achieved for
less than people spend annually on makeup, ice
cream, and pet food."
While consumerism continues to increase,
developing countries remain mired in poverty
J.W. Smith, author of Economic Demo-cracy,
explains, "Wealth comes from resources and
most of those resources aren't within imperialistic nations.* It is developing countries that
provide cheap labor to produce the goods that
North Americans consume.
By adopting a more cradle-to-cradle
approach, wherein the design, production, and
the lifetime of products is taken into consideration, consumers and producers can make substantial adjustments.
Mastny is hopeful. "The tools are there,
now it's just about ramping up support and
taking action.* Compared to ten years ago
where solutions were unclear, today there
are tangible actions. "Now it's not a question
about what are the issues, it's just a question
of doing it* Mastny says, "that's what makes
me optimistic." $
l&tfier&fwpe? \je&, y&Sstfier&hSs
BY GWEN PRESTON	
North Americans over-consume just about
everything, from gasoline to grain, paper to
plastic. In most arenas over-consumption is
simply wasteful but, in one area, it can be downright dangerous: food.
Daily calorie intake has risen from 2,234
calories per person inl970to2,757 calories in
2003, an increase of 23 per cent Waistlines
have grown as a result, leading to a host of
health problems.
According to Dr. Andrew Wister, chairman
of Simon Fraser University's gerontology
department, chronic illnesses connected to
weight gain are on the rise and diabetes leads
the pack. Over 2 million Canadians hve with the
disease today and the number is expected to
rise to 3 million by 2010. Diabetes is a leading
cause of death by disease in Canada and is estimated to cost the health care system $ 13.2 bilHon a year. The cost is high because diabetes is
society
associated with numerous other health complications, including blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, amputations, nerve damage, and
erectile dysfunction.
But why are we are eating so much? According
to Dr. Darren Dahl, an assistant professor of
marketing at UBC, "everyone's to blame.*
"It's a tough question that everyone wants to
simplify,* Dahl said. "People want to point fingers: 'Oh, it's that rotten food industry/ or 'it's
personal choices, but it's not that simple."
Dahl said one factor is the 'value for money'
mindset that drives many decisions. "People
want more for their money,* he said. "If you've
got five hamburger stands on a corner, what
happens? Each one offers more fries! And more
fries!" The competitive nature of the food industry is the root cause of the move to larger portions and increased caloric intake.
For a perfect example of 'caloric value for
money/ look no further than the fast food
giant McDonalds, where it costs eight cents
more to purchase a McDonald's Quarter
Pounder with Cheese, small French fries, and
small Coke (890 calories) separately than to
buy the Quarter Pounder with Cheese large
Extra Value Meal, which comes with a large
fries and large Coke (1,380 calories). And
McDonalds charges customers more to buy a
smaller, lower-calorie meal.
Another root cause of over-consumption is
that people are so busy making money, that
time has become precious. "That's a big part
of the rise of poor eating habits, truthfully.
Lack of time," said Dahl. After a long day at
work or school people don't want to spend an
hour making a meal, so they pick something
up on the way home, he continued. "People
are cognitive misers, they're physical misers—
they want the easiest thing!*
The easiest thing, unfortunately, is not usually the healthiest thing. According to Wister,
about 25 per cent of the food Canadians eat
comes from the "other* section of the Canada
food guide. "Those are simply the things many
people love to eat potato chips, pies, snack
food," said Wister. "Pop consumption has doubled [since 1970], quadrupled since the '50s."
William Leith, a British journalist, recently
published his first book, The Hungry Years:
Confessions of a Food Addict "Overeating
makes you fat and in our society people hate fat
because it reminds us of the problem of over-
consumption,* he said. "Our society's big problem is out of control consumption. And to us, it
is clear that fat people are over-consuming.*
The situation may be bleak, but it is not
hopeless. Dahl said there are ways to slowly
change people's fives and lifestyles. "We know
that if we develop programs that are easy for
people to buy into, easy for people to do, they do
them," said Dahl. 'For example, the blue box.
Everyone says, 'Ohyeah, the blue box' but 20 or
30 years ago, that would be like, 'Are you crazy?
You want me to separate n^y trash? No way!"
The hard part is coming up with those programs. That seems to be the big stumbling
block," said Dahl. 'If you can figure out ways to
change people's behavior that makes sense to
them and is easy for them, they embrace them.
People want to do the good thing, you just have
to make it easy!' $ PAGE TWO
Friday, 25 November, 2005 I d UBYSSEY (Supplement
A whole lot of nothing
adds up to something
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PAGETHREE
a UBYSSEY (Supplement I Friday, 25 November, 2005
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BY HELEN POLYCHRONAKOS
The brown house on Vancouver's West
7th Avenue, headquarters of Adbusters
Media Foundation, doesn't have nothing.
In fact, it is bursting at the seams.
The latest issue of the bi-monthly
Adbusters magazine has just come in, and
stacks of packages are waiting to be
shipped out to subscribers. Sweden,
Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa—
that is just a small sample of the countries
Adbusters reaches.
It is also a small sample of the countries that will be holding Buy Nothing Day
celebrations today. Adbusters has been
promoting the event across the globe for
13 years.
Celebrated on the day after American
Thanksgiving traditionally the beginning
of the Christmas shopping frenzy, Buy
Nothing Day encourages people to take a
break from over-consumption by simply
not buying anything for 24 hours.
A break was just what Ted Dave needed in September 1992, when he was working in a downtown Vancouver office. He
was fed up with a culture that forces people to work more than 40 hours a week
and to eat junk food on the go.
*A couple of muffins and a couple of
lattes," Dave says, "and it's 12 bucks
before you even think about it."
He decided it was time to take a break
from the expenses of the rat race. He was
also inspired by the environmental movement of the late 80's and early 90's. That,
Dave says, was a time when "people were
looking to the new millennium with ideas
of what you could do." One of Dave's ideas
was Buy Nothing Day.
"It was such a quaint beginning," says
Dave of the movement that would spread
all around the world.
He made some posters with graphic
art and three paragraphs of a manifesto.
He drafted a press release and sent it off
to the media. Adbusters Media
Foundation loved Dave's idea.
In addition to the magazine, the
foundation publishes posters, calendars,
post-cards, and a whole mass of
paraphernalia meant to attack what
they view as a consumerist culture that
controls people through advertisements
and logos.
Adbusters, then, seemed to share
Dave's concerns about society's psychological and physical well-being. They
loved Dave's press kit, and ran an ad promoting Buy Nothing Day. Every year from
then on, activists around the globe have
been staging demonstrations and pranks
against consumerist culture.
Brian Highley, Adbusters' Buy Nothing
Day Coordinator, says that Buy Nothing
Day has grown bigger, even, than the
international magazine. People have
taken matters into their own hands.
Washington State based Kirsten
Anderberg, for example, sent Highley a
brochure called "Santa is Satan to Welfare
Mothers." Over the phone, Anderberg
explained that parents who send children
to school with expensive gifts are "creating a horrific situation for children and
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mothers" who don't even have enough
money for food.
Her brochure promotes the global
"Whirl-Mart Day of Action", started by the
Breathing Planet Troupe and coming up
this Buy Nothing Day. Groups wearing
Walmart smocks will push empty carts
through stores to "mimic the absurd shopping process," Anderberg explains.
One of Adbusters roles is to link all the
networks of people organising protests on
Buy Nothing Day. The magazine's website
hosts city-based forums through its
JammerGroups link.
This year, the Kyoto forum is calling
for people to take part in a Zenta Clause
meditation session in front of a department store. And members of the Toronto
forum are talking about organizing a
"zombie walk" through the Eaton Center.
The idea behind Buy Nothing Day is
that it has a different meaning for all its
participants.
According to Highley, some join for
environmental reasons. Others want to
return to a more spiritual Christmas.
People like the Zenta Claus and Zombie
protesters make shoppers turn their
heads, and that's what matters, says
Highley.   "If five   people   are   inspired
to make their own gifts rather than
buy them," he said, "that's a successful
campaign."
Dave agrees that the aims of Buy
Nothing Day are not huge. It's not a movement meant to overhaul capitalism.
Rather, Dave explains it's "a way of looking into your own wallet and saying,
'Okay, now how much am I going spend
today, and what exactly am I going to
spend it on and why?"
Their hope is that all these small
actions will add up to Dave's original idea
of "people living as if their dreams had
been marketed back to them." $
Genetically modified food and Canada's soft labeling policy
BY KATHERINE SCARROW
YINAN MAX WANG
CAVEAT EMPTOR: This apple mght be genetically modified.
In Vancouver-speak, it's a 24-hour opportunity to yogify the spendthrift shopper within us.
Buy Nothing Day, the self-proclaimed holiday
happening today, emphasises discipline on
the part of us prodigal purchasers, and challenges us to channel our thoughts on the products we mindlessly consume on a daily basis.
And what better way to partake than by
focusing on something we literally consume:
food. More specifically, it's a chance to consider genetically modified (GM) food, which
accounts for a whopping 60 per cent of
all processed foods on Canadian grocers'
shelves.
The World Health Organization defines
genetically modified organisms as "organisms
in which the genetic material (DNA) has been
altered in a way that does not occur naturally."
Genetic manipulation can also be thought
of as cutting a selection of genes from one
organism and pasting them into another in
order to create new gene documents.
But as straightforward as this may sound,
issues surrounding GM food —such as labeling laws—are anything but.
In fact, labeling laws on GM food in
Canada, unlike European Union nations,
Japan, China, and Australia, are virtually nonexistent.
On October 17, 2001, Parliament defeated
bill C-2 8 7 that would have imposed mandatory labeling of foods that contain genetically
engineered ingredients.
Health Canada contends that because GM
foods have shown to be equivalent to, and as
safe and nutritious as their traditional counterparts, they should be treated the same with
regard to labeling requirements.
Proponents of mandatory GM food labeling, on the other haiid, argue for "informed
choice." Because DNA is introduced into foods
using recombinant DNA technologies, they
believe that the public has the right to know
what they're eating.
According to an Environics poll conducted
in 1999, 80 per cent of Canadians said that
they wanted GM foods to be labeled.
But the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
felt that industry would face devastating blows
if mandatory labeling were implemented.
Their fear was that consumers would see
labels as hazardous and deterring warnings,
and food processors would reformulate their
products to avoid GM foods rather than
place labels.
Dr. Brian Ellis, a Professor in the Faculty of
Land and Food Systems at UBC, believes that
if labels were implemented in Canada, they
would "generate a negative response." But
"the effect would be more pronounced on
fresh foods, such as fruit, rather than on
processed foods or flowers," he said.
Where safety concerns are identified, such
as allergenicity and compositional or nutritional changes, special labeling is required. In
this situation, all foods (including GM foods)
must be labeled in order to alert consumers
or susceptible groups in the population.
Dr. Alan McHughen, a professor and senior research scientist at the University of
Saskatchewan, thinks that even if mandatory
GM labels were imposed, they would be misleading at best.
A label reading "may contain some genetically modified organisms" is too indiscriminate to be of any use, according to a research
paper he posted on an Alternative Agriculture
Google Group.
In order for the labels to serve any purpose, officials would need to find a way of
enforcing regulations in a consistent manner.
Clif Bars, a company that purports to use
70 per cent "organically-grown ingredients to
preserve the nutritional value of food," also
claims to be completely GMO-free.
But when contacted over the phone, a
spokesperson said that the products were
actually only 99 per cent GMO-free.
Due to "occasional mixing errors, intentional or otherwise," no product can legitimately
claim to be devoid of GM material, according
to McHughen.
The one per cent may not seem like a big
deal. But for the European Union, which has
an approved tolerance of one per cent for GM
ingredients, this can mean the difference
between wearing and not wearing a GM label.
While there are benefits to GM foods, such
as enhanced taste and quality, reduced maturation time, increased nutrients, yields and
stress tolerance, there is also the potential to
negatively affect the environment.
Though no major long-term studies have
been conducted on the effects of GM food on
humans and the environment, risks could
potentially include the production of new
allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance
markers, unintended transfer of trans-genes
through cross-pollination, and loss of biodiversity, according to Health Canada.
Because of the soft labeling policy in Canada,
weighing the pros and cons is as futile as chasing a carrot dangling from a stick.
Even if we wanted to scratch off the bio-
engineered foods from our grocery list in honour of Buy Nothing Day, producers and manufacturers are not obligated to provide us with
information that would enable us to do so. $
Point/Counterpoint
KATHRYN FLYNN, THE CORD WEEKLY
WATERLOO, ON (CUP)-In between
the holidays of Halloween,
Thanksgiving, and Christmas is
November—and no one likes it all
that much. It's pretty bleak and could
use a good holiday.
Fortunately, there is hope.
Today, I will celebrate Buy
Nothing Day and extricate myself
from the vicious cycle of consumerism. Politically active warriors unite!
Even if you've never heard of
Buy Nothing Day, have you ever
given a lot of thought to your purchases?
I chose not to work this year. I
don't have the lenience in my wallet and I've had to make sacrifices,
but I am a happier woman for it.
I've been freed from the burden of
spending time each week shopping. I support local designers in
the area and actually get to see the
person who made my clothes.
I'm no longer swipe card
happy, and I'm reducing my ecological footprint as well as saving
a heck of a lot of money.
I tend to go through consumer
awareness phases. The more I
realise I need to sell myself at university and in the working world,
the more I seem to sell out.
For most of high school I said
no to consumerism and purchased
second hand clothing. I've been
labeled a hippy before, but I'm far
from it because I realised that
hippy is just urban slang for "someone that cares more than me."
I do visit the dark side and I
have outfits made by the fingers of
child labourers. Dissonance is a
potent communicator with advertising companies and clothing
manufacturers, but many voices
are louder than one.
Do   you   think  that   all   Gap
BY MARK CIESLUK, THE CORD WEEKLY
employees are as happy as your local
cashier? According to responsi-
bleshopper.org, a Cambodian Gap
worker was shot to death in 2003
while protesting working conditions.
Justify it to yourself however you like,
but that's blood on your crew neck
sweater and on my hands, and we're
not doing anything about it
As a consumer, you drive the
economy. As students we're a target market; we have large expendable incomes and we're unaware
of how cozy we are in the advertising industry's grip.
I am guilty of not caring
enough and I question my inaction. Idealism comes easily to
those of a middle class upbringing, but action is key.
I encourage you to think your
consumption patterns through.
Even if Buy Nothing Day isn't your
cup of tea, please consider a few
things in your daily fife.
Ask yourself if you only buy
what you need. Ask yourself where
those products came from, who
made them and if you would want
to work in those conditions. Most
of all, ask yourself what you're
doing about it and if that's good
enough.
Hopefully by the end of the day,
you'll have an answer and some
hope. $
WATERLOO, ON (CUP)-The clock
strikes mid-November and the past
begins to slide away, allowing us to
become (until next year anyway)
bUssfully ignorant of the heartbreak of midterms and the excesses of Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving
and Halloween.
Christmas looms on the horizon as a plastic-fantastic Madison
Avenue caricature of the true spirit of the holiday.
And, as surely as any of these
other annual traditions, the halls of
Wilfrid Laurier University ring with
the left-wing alarmism that seems to
fester on university campuses the
world over. It rises to a pitch every bit
as shrill and annoying as the cold
winds that howl outside.
It seems ironic that those who
call the loudest for thought and
introspection often fall into a hypocritical trap of not having considered the ramifications of their
own pronouncements.
The world is a place full of ugly
truths and unfortunate realities that
are too easily swept under a cloud of
pot smoke and good intentions.
Please, before you all rev up the anti-
consumerist campaigns this pre-hoH-
day season, consider, if you will,
what you are actually saying.
Issues as complex as Third
World underdevelopment and
child labour are only the tip of the
iceberg that the ultra-lefties claim
to have easy answers for because
they do not grasp the complexity
of the problems.
Even the seemingly simplistic
issue of environmentalisin requires
layers of interconnection and a systematic shift in values rather than
knee-jerk alarmism. Even David
Suzuki admitted that his crusade
failed when he placed emphasis on
trees over loggers, instead of solving
the problems of both
Similarly, the simple statement
"no child should have to work to survive,* is understood quite viscerally
to be correct, but since many find
themselves unable to eat otherwise,
how does taking their job (and lifeline) away help? We surely must at
least build them an alternative
before we take what Httie they have.
Simply choosing to fall for feelgood, do-nothing publicity stunts like
Buy Nothing Day does nothing to
solve these problems. It is a well-
intentioned gesture, but also shallow
and ultimately selfish. It accomplishes nothing but an ego-stroke for those
involved while belying what seems to
be a fundamental lack of comprehension as to the nature of the problems themselves.
Starting from a position of 'you're
wrong and what you're doing is evil'
is not a fantastic way to convince anyone of anything. The fight for global
equality and an end to mindless consumerism must be framed in terms
of positives, not negatives.
The time has come to play up the
many tangible benefits,of environmentalisin, human equality and
ethical and sustainable consumption. It's far better than raging
blindly against a global machine
that is utterly unconcerned with the
defiance of a small segment of the
privileged middle class.
But on Buy Nothing Day I implore
you to think..positively, independent
ly and logically, not just because^
Adbusters told you so.
Stop trading consumerist for anti-
consumerist culture and acting as
though blind adherence to one is
soiriehow better than to the .other.
At the very least stop assuming
that everyone who stands in opposition to your bandwagon is ignorant or a bad person—you just
might find that more of us would
be willing to listen. 88
Religious leaders practice Buy Nothing Day all year round
BY SARAH BUCK
It's Buy Nothing Day all year round if
you're a Catholic nun in Toronto, a
Hindu swami in Vancouver, or a
Buddhist meditation teacher in
Halifax. No need to give up your
worldly goods to gain some wisdom
on money matters, though: Sister
Susan Kidd, Swami Lalitananda and
Brian Callahan are happy to share
their insights.
They're generous like that.
For Sister Susan Kidd, taking a vow
of poverty was a conscious decision
that "money isn't going to be the be all
and end all of my life." She says that
entering the sisterhood after finishing
university made taking her vows easier. "I didn't have any money anyway."
But she says 'vow of poverty' isn't
quite accurate. "I own nothing but have
the use of everything," she says, speaking about the house where she Hves
with five other nuns who are part
of Toronto's Catholic Congregation
Notre-Dame.
For her, the vow of poverty is a very
real reminder that "God provides me
with what I need" and that "I cannot
meet those inner longings by going
and buying something."
AU the same, Sister Susan does see
value in giving gifts as an "opportunity
to show people they're important in
our Hves." Plus, "people of religion are
pretty intense, so it's nice to have some
fun." For Christmas, the five women
she Hves with at Notre-Dame will draw
names and buy each other a gift. And in
the forty days leading up to Christmas,
she will try to do kind things for people,
which she says is "sometimes harder to
do than buying a gift."
Her advice for people who want to
be more careful consumers: "Find out
what's reaUy important. What are the
values you want to share with people?
Let the gift reflect that."
Swami LaHtananda, a Vancouver
yoga instructor and renunciate in the
Hindu tradition, knows something
about "affluenza," the land of spiritual
sickness that comes from excessive
consumption. She says she's seen "the
emptiness of trying to get souled up
with things. It doesn't work."
In becoming a renunciate nine
years ago, Lalitananda says she didn't take a vow of poverty as much as
she took on a "determination to be
free," or giving up the desire for the
"What are
you here for?
When does
purchasing
things become
an attempt to
fulfill a desire
that cannot be
fulfilled?"
-Swami
LcditancMidoy
world to fulfill her desires. "It
requires discrimination—non-attachment to poverty and to wealth, trying
to discern appropriate action in the
particular circumstances I'm given."
Her advice for becoming a more
mindful consumer is to think about the
big questions on Buy Nothing Day.
"What are you here for? When does purchasing things become an attempt to
fulfill a desire that cannot be fulfilled?"
Brian CaHahan teaches Buddhist
meditation in Halifax. He says his three
years at Gampo Abbey, a Tibetan
Buddhist monastery in Cape Breton
"pointed out very directly where really
happiness Hes. I Hved in a three meter
by three meter room, like everyone. I
had a few books, the food was simple,
everything was essential." Now he says
he finds he needs "less and less.*
Still, self-denial is not the answer.
CaHahan says the essential Buddhist
desire is to generate a good heart, and
that spending money should be seen in
that context "The secret to a happy life
is to be generous to other people."
He says he also tries to keep track of
how much garbage he generates. *A
minimal amount of waste means, I'm
not purchasing more than I'm using."
Callahan has some suggestions for
consumers who want to take control of
the impulse to spend. "If you were really bold, you could start giving things
away. Good things, not just the junk."
He thinks fewer things lead to
fewer complications. And for those
who might not be so bold? 'Pay attention to how you feel when you don't
buy.* He's betting you'U be hooked
on the feehng. %
hu^fy noytfangy days PAGE FOUR
Friday, 25 November, 2005 I Ox UBYSSEY (Supplement
Organic makes a difference
IViBrH/ ttfi& reatizatiwv tHab cmwLentialfannam^
lnaetfoad&s ar& not 6U6tainabl& and maty negatuzelty
effect y&w ftealtfiy, argxmicaUty groxwvfaad&ar&Os
"fiigfircla&&" aheriaatmes.
BYKRISTINETHIESSEN
The UBC Farm sits at the south end of
campus, past the B-lots and the ice rink.
Here students can purchase organicaUy
grown produce picked fresh that day.
Marya Skrypiczajko, the author of BC: The
Organic Way, recommends the UBC Farm
for students.
'Even the chickens are fed organic
food,* says Skrypiczajko. 'And it's locally
produced, plus you're supporting the students.*
The question of whether it is worth
your money, your health and your time,
purchasing organic food is something people are starting to think about given recent
revelations regarding conventional farming methods.
The trend toward organic farming is a
result of growing concern over the sustainability of conventional farming methods,
which destroys the soil needed to continue
producing in the years to come. As weU, the
use of pesticides and chemicals to generate
mass quantities of food is a health concern
for many consumers.
The detriment to one's health can be difficult to pinpoint. As fourth-year poHtical
science student Steven Meurrens remarks,
'As far as I can see, people seem to be Hving
just fine with non-organic*
-David  Klein   disagrees.   The   certified
nutritionist's own health was restored once
he changed his diet. 'People may think that
they are enjoying life, eating aU kinds of
modern foods—pizzas, subs, cooked meat,
beer, junk food and stuff like that—but it's
going to catch up with them,* says the editor
of the raw food magazine Living Nutrition.
"It's not something that's glaring," says
Gavin Wright, the Outreach and Education
Coordinator for the UBC Farm. "If you go out
and eat a pepper that's sprayed with pesticides you're not going to keel over and die."
Wright believes that it is worth students'
money, health, and time to consume organicaUy grown products. "There's some reaUy,
really nasty stuff in the conventional food
industry, practices that reaHy are rapidly
destroying the planet and definitely destroying the soil system," he says. Wright is currently completing his master's degree in
Land and Food Systems.
Students can purchase freshly harvested
produce from the UBC Farm every Saturday
between the months of June and
September. But now that we have entered
the winter months Wright says that students should "definitely get hooked up with
Sprouts," a health food store in the SUB
basement.
The UBC Farm also seUs produce to the
Sage Bistro on campus, and to restaurants
in Vancouver such as the Provence
Mediterranean Grill and West Restaurant.
Wright sees a trend in middle to high-class
restaurants  where   chefs  are  purchasing
organically grown foods. "The chefs, the
people who really have an attachment to
food and know what food is about, are all
going organic now," he says.
StiU, price is an issue for many students. A quick trip to a local Save-on-Foods
for a Httie comparison-shopping revealed
the price differences between organic and
non-organic produce. The price of tomatoes, yams, celery and romaine lettuce
would cost about a dollar more a pound if
they were labeled "certified organic*
However, Skrypiczajko says that purchasing organicaUy grown products does
not have to be expensive, and that cost was
a concern of hers when she first starting
changing her eating habits.
YINAN MAX WANG
Skrypiczajko recommends buying fruit
and vegetables in season when they are
cheaper, and then freezing them for consumption in the winter. She also suggests
contacting local farmers, saying that "getting close to the farmer is the trick to getting lower costs.* She advises UBC residents to organise themselves by floor so
that they can purchase from a farmer in
bulk.
In the end whether you sacrifice the
time and money to purchase organicaUy
grown products depends on your priorities
says Skrypiczajko. "It's a vote for what you
believe in. If you believe in being good to
your body and to the environment it's
worth it." $
Dove's Ev@ry Woman: A contra
BYHF^ERTMflS	
Maybe she's born with it, or maybe it is
just the products that we convince her to
use to be beautiful. Year after year women
flock to the store to buy products to
'enhance' their natural beauty. This is not
counting the numerous women looking to
professionals for permanent options, like
plastic surgery and tattooed make-up.
On November 22, Dove is hosting a casting
caU in Vancouver to find 'real women', unlike
the professional models or actors that are usually in the ads, between the ages of 20-50+ to
star in their Campaign for Real Beauty ads.
"The Dove Self-Esteem Fund is helping girls
overcome life-damaging hang-ups by putting
the beauty world into perspective," states the
Dove campaign website.
But is there a problem with a corporation
that produces beauty products starting a
campaign to re-define what a 'real' woman
is? Visitors to the Dove website have already
started talking about what they think real
women look like. In the "what do you think*
forum, women (and a few men) are debating
just what the campaign is trying to combat:
what is real beauty?
The website provides pictures of the
'Dove girls' for viewers to vote whether they
think of the women—"fat or fab?* "grey or
gorgeous?*—in a attempt to promote positive female body images.
But is this reaUy what is going on here?
What is this dialogue reaHy saying? Dawn
Currie, professor of sociology at UBC,
beHeves that media and advertising give
value to women, based on their appearance.
"The media is so pervasive and contributes
to the naturaHsation [of images of femininity] and becomes like the air we breathe,*
said Currie. 'Women themselves are some
of the most severe sensors of each others
dress and appearance."
Although Dove's intention may be as
pure as their soaps, they have to be less-
than-efficient at structuring the dialogue to
encourage only positive commentary. A better option would have been to remove the
voting poUs so that they do not faU into an
anti-campaign trap of stereotyping beauty.
"This particular girl is attractive because
of her fat,* said forum participant SD, from
Ontario, in the discussion about the 'fat or
fab' woman. *I take issue with the two
check-boxes next to her that imply that "fat*
and "fab,* so to speak, are mutuaUy exclusive events.*
At the time this article was written, the
votes  for  the   'fat  or  fab'  woman  were
"THE MEDIA IS SO PERVASIVE AND
CONTRIBUTES TO THE NATURALISATION
[OF IMAGES OF FEMININITY] AND
BECOMES LIKE THE AIR WE BREATHE."
-TDomnx Curri&
ZCBC Trofe&sw ofSoriofogty
73,2528 votes for fat and 78,0161 votes for
fab. So what does this say about women's
perspective on body image? Women and
men alike are stiU equaUy split about what
they want women to look like.
Dove's contradictory campaign is donating 25 cents for every email that is sent
about the fund to the National Eating
Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) and
the Quebec association for assistance to persons suffering from anorexia nervosa and
bulimia (ANEB).
But how much are they reaUy helping the
cause?
Dove is not teUing consumers to stop
buying products; they are promising that
their more natural products can stiU be
used without covering up any natural beauty. This is not a new campaign idea. Currie
says that historicaUy women have been targets of commerciaHsm because they have
been stereotyped as 'consumers* and men
as the "breadwinners.*
Women are not the only target; men are
starting to feel the pressures of commerciaHsm with many companies developing
male product lines. Consumer ideology
itself can be highly exclusionary, with many
companies offering a variety of products
that reinforce concerns about aging and
body image, but only if you are willing to
pay for it.
The idea of 'looking natural,' without
using an excess of product or surgery may
be the appeal of the Dove product Hne.
"It is a good marketing campaign," said
Avital Kline, AMS/GSS health and dental plan
office assistant and part-time student, "because
they [Dove] are not showing the stereotype of
what Western society thinks is perfect"
Although there may be profitable
motives behind Dove's real women campaign, they must be recognised for promoting alternative looks for women. "You aren't
any less of a real woman if you have an
imperfect or different body shape," said
Kline. "I think that being a real woman is
something on the inside." $

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