she said. - UBC Library - University of British Columbia
FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER, 2005 THE UBYSSEY
"1 can't be patient when I write"
UBC Creative Writing Masters
by Gemini Cheng
It's hard to believe 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 little niche for himself
in the realm of Canadian literature
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
"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
"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 well 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
storyteller. That's why I chose to
write, because I wanted to tell stories.' His study of literature as a child
was limited, but this isn't something
he regrets. Studying literature 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
A WRITER'S LIFE FOR ME Anosh Irani strikes a pose at Lonsdale Quay.
my first novel I felt completely free."
Irani's debut, The Cripple and His
Talismans, was published 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-realism. "I think stories
arise from a physical landscape in a
sense that cities, especially 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 tell stories, why reveal
images everyone can see?" He
believes 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
YINAN MAX WANG PHOTO
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 every time But with a
play, the live element brings both
risk and excitement."
People have been telling Irani
that good skills 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 well," he says. 'I try and
tell stories that have that sense of
Even though Irani is familiar
with techniques to spin all 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 tell a good
story, and also to challenge someone intellectually, to challenge the
way people think Those are the
things that naturally 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
Karma, on the other hand, is
something Irani believes 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 called 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.
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
Everybody's humpin' around
Chan Centre Studio Theatre
until November 26
by Hannah Hardy
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-splitting
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 of ten scenes, each focused on pre
and post coital conversations; each
revealing ten forbidden sexual
liaisons 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 really gets rolling. I
must comment on the fantastic characterizations performed by Keegan
Macintosh and Joann Liu, and the
delivery 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 well-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 follow 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 well with the small
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 well
chosen and contributed to the narrafive 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 text is funny, the effects are
fantastic, and the acting is phenomenal—La Ronde is well worth
going to see. Ng
THE UBYSSEY FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER. 2005
("'IT Ti Ti ITYP
The Doodlebops tot-rock to the top
"A three year old these days is incredibly hip"
by Jackie Wong
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
Say it loud
Were together and were 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 All this while
wearing 3-D glasses, and listening to
psychedelic 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
Such was my mental state after
downing two Doodlebops sample
CDs (Music & Fun, The Doodlebops),
two "in concert" music videos
("Abracadabra," "Get on the Busy),
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 will 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-fiveyear-olds will be heating up the airwaves with choreographed dance
sequences, hilarious mishaps, and
light moral rectitude for the second season of their absurdly-popular TV show, which premieres in
The Doodlebops is a trio of "siblings" who play in a band together.
With pink-haired DeeDee (keytar,
vocals) at the helm, she and cauliflower-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, wellproduced, and awash with more
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 sellers 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
"nika mow," itêtw, "n ika mow
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 clownphobes 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
roll experience for pre-schoolers
by taking everything that's fun and
playful and exciting about flower
power, disco and glam rock and
focusing on all 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 all the lyrics to all
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 will be bigger
than Barney, bigger than Sharon,
Lois & Bram. or Raffi. They will be
the biggest thing to hit this [preschool] age group in music ever,"
claims Michael Hirsch, 57-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 quality.
The Doodlebops achieve this
with the accomplished 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 Its a Wonderful Life. A popular Doodlebop fan site, www.dontpulltherope.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
Doocllebops 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 live 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 posteverything culture laden with the
aesthetic baggage of its more
seemingly glamorous yesteryear.
The result: a hallucinogenic 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
"Sing," he said, "sing:' It was an intimate setting at the First Nations Long house lastThursday as M6tis 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
FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER , 2005
Seeds of change unsown
Is copyright legality or the repression of academic freedom
preventing the release of a documentary on GMOs?
espite its name, a video called Seeds of Change
will 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
truth about genetically 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 viability 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 genetically modified canola. Eventually,
they synthesised these accounts into documentary
form. The research, originally 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
"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 originally developed at
the University of Manitoba, but a substantial amount of
research into genetically modified canola is ongoing at
Both researchers said that the documentary is unbiased and reinforced by peer-reviewed literature, and
no one denies that the film is objective.
The video, according to the filmmakers, does not
fall victim to either the radical, anti-genetically 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
Mauro said that it is one of the
first, if not the first, publicly funded risk
genetically modified crops in Canada, and as such, it is
"inherently controversial: the vast majority of risk
research conducted of genetically modified crops has
some element of private funding associated with it."
What the University says
Joanne Keselman, vice-president (research), said that
the University was not concerned with limiting the distribution of the video, but rather with issues of intellectual property. Specifically, 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 originally collected as part of Mauro's
graduate research, so the University maintains a legal
interest in it, and technically has copyright ownership
of half of the footage used in the documentary. This
right is unalienable without consent from one partowner or the other—in this case, the University or
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 collective 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.
"We have no issue with the content of th
have no interest in the video itself—our iss
sure that we are conducting our researc tivities in
accordance with the highest ethical principles and
standards," she said. Keselman emph sed that there
st be fulfilled
are two, and only two, conditions th
on-commercialbefore the documentary can be us
ly. The first: a disclaimer, stating e opinions presented in the video are not representative of the
researchers have no
University in any way. While b
y said that the way it
contention with this conditio
ngs more difficult to
is presented might have
agree to than hinted at in
The second of the provisions requires expressly
written permission to u the raw footage from all of
mers interviewed in the
roject. Mauro said that it has
already been done—but
Keselman said that the
University has no documented evidence that
this permission was
tinues to o
in the balance
text by Tessa Vanderhart THE MANITOBAN / UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA
photos by Yinan Max Wang & Laura Tabert
The content of the video
is, however, in high
Mauro said that people
across the world are clamouring to see the video,
including farmers from
Canada, the United States
and Argentina where
products have been
At a conference
by a plant
said that farmers
'booed' the scientist, ask-
ing Mauro to come to their counties and sb, ,the video.
Rene Von Acker is a professor in thétfatulty of agriculture who has conducted some heady research into
genetically modified crops, spec' ally trans-gene
escape, when genetically modifie • ola inadvertently grows in a farmer's field. But, a oted, his research
has mostly stayed under the r, despite having
enormous ramifications on the biotech world, even
outraging the Canadian Whe oard.
nues to be funded by
Von Acker said that he
elp[s] big business,' and,
industry, since his researc
for the most part, pri finvestors recognise the
importance of supporting diverse and real research.
He worries his cone es at Agriculture Canada are
e negative results of biotechless free to dissemi
ademics—which is why univernology than tenure
o publish research that has the
sities are suppos
potential to be unpopular with big businesses.
'Do you w a university? That's what universities
do," said Vo cker. 'Academic freedoms serve a
He's co ed that, by preventing the distribution
of the video, the University is, inadvertently, doing the
community a great disservice by limiting
, and not answering the questions that farmdiscus
ers n answered.
Clark, a professor of genetics at the University
of Guelph, is concerned about the future of academia,
a generation of students "who are only interested in
side' come into the foreground of research on
Sr contentious subjects such as this.
The source of the funding predetermines the outcome of the research; it limits the number of questions
you can ask. Monsanto is not interested in looking at
all of the bad effects. "Farmers are getting smart on
this, and they're realising that there's more to the
story. They have resisted the release of genetically
modified wheat because it will have adverse effects for
them, just as genetically modified canola has,"
One of the primary concerns in the agricultural
community is the potential for genetically modified
canola to contaminate fields. This devalues Canadian
canola, and presupposes that the canola oil that comes
from genetically modified crops is safe for human consumption, which has not been supported by testing.
Clark said that genetically modified crops should be
considered "unsafe until proven otherwise.'
Since the video was prepared, Canadian farmers
have successfully 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.
The recent announcement that Monsanto is g
locate its national headquarters
ed in the conSmartpark may also be d ply e area on campus where
industry e U sity collaborate on research.
en to know the details of the agreement
betwe n the 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,'
"We don't know to what extent that private-public
partnership has affected our ability 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 allegations, 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
FRIDAY 25 NOVEMBER, 2005
HUMANITARIAN DISASTERS- ON
CAMERA AND OFF'. Oxfam Canada
is holding a public meeting Saturday,
November 26, at 7.30 pm at Capilano
College, 2055 Purcell Way, Cedar
Building, Room 148. Featuring guest
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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ENGLISH SPEAKER SEEKING
MANDARIN SPEAKER FOR
LANGUAGE EXCHANGE. Write to
Lance at bluedragon900gmailcom
at the University of Manitoba, although the company
may consider collaboration when it takes up residence
on campus in November.
Mauro said that Monsanto was asked to participate
in the documentary, but declined—a fact mentioned
along with the anti-Monsanto opinions in the film.
However, libel 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 collaborative insuring body for
universities, found that the video could be insured,
a single lawsuit would result in the utter collaps
not o y the
University's insurance. Furthermo
farmers—who in part hay- • ed for themselves the future tally modified canola in
e in the content of the video.
A t m 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 all,
or the ability 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 intellectual 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 Oliveri scandal at the University of
Toronto in 1999, saying that the academic freedoms of
all researchers are being contested herein.
The Oliveri 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 parallels between this controversy
and numerous other infringements of academic free-
doms. He also raised concerns over the University's
decision to collaborate with Apotex, who he said is
'internationally notorious' for suing Nancy Olivieri.
"Research on climate 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 n this
respect, the U of M is conformi a pattern which
has called into que • integrity of research, and
universitie , said Schafer.
to Schafer, the success of research
dep s on 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 pulled 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 public,' he said.
"It is legitimate for the University to protect itself
against potentially 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 all of the answers.
working in good faith," said Kes
ss optimistic that good faith
tracts presented, according to Mauro,
en require both himself and McLachlan to pay
the University if the video was sued.
"They wanted us to indemnify the University, so
basically if there was a lawsuit, we would take responsibility for any kind of court costs, and we said no way.
So, we spent a lot of time coming up with this insurance policy, and then they changed their tune again,'
said McLachlan. 'If you look at it chronologically over
the three years, it's exactly the opposite: it's us, always,
desperately trying to come up with solutions...that will
allow us to put out the video.'
"[The conditions outlined in the document] really
restrict our ability to talk about the video, to associate
with the University when we talk about the video; it
restricts our ability to deliver 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
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 will 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
At the end of Seeds of Change, farmers are shown the
partially completed video, and asked what they think of
it. The results of this survey are unambiguously
Mauro doesn't have any more questions for the
University—having asked them all—but said that he
wants the University to make public 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
From a research perspective, questions abound
regarding the affects the video would have: the testimonial of farmers on genetically 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 will the documentary
finally be released?
Finding answers to these questions will take time—
time the researchers say continues to diminish the
relevance of the video. NI
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25 NOVEMBER, 2005 THE UBYSSEY
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 will 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 (Na wide
gamut of strategic priorities," according to
President Spencer Keys).
VP Academic and University Affairs Gavin
Dew expressed his hope that this voluntaryresponse survey will give the AMS more legitimacy in its Claim to represent students when
dealing with the UBC administration.
But will it really?
The proposed AMS survey falls victim to the
same flaw that undermines every voluntaryresponse survey—only people with strong opinions will actually take the time to respond. Ask
any statistician and they will tell you the
inevitable consequence of this method is that the
results will be skewed toward this particular
demographic and is unlikely to be representative
of the student population at large.
The AMS conducted a similar voluntaryresponse survey this past February, asking
students via email if they would like to fill 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 filled out the survey were
people from a low-income family demographic. This group is likely to have a harder time
making tuition payments, and will 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 will
undoubtedly be plagued with a similar problem. We can be sure that the main group of
students filling out the survey will be those
who have strong opinions—this time about
ARE YOU GOING TO
CELEBRATE BUY NOTHING
"I'm not going to buy anything bUt
— TJ Chung
"I probably won't buy anything anyways. I don't have any money.'
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
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 lazy to go and find
out what their constituents actually 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
"Yes. I feel like doing my small
The more I think of the movie, the more I am dissatisfied
by Liz Green
I felt compelled 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 "fantastically 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 all 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 will concede that it had its funny moments. I
even found myself giggling more than once. So,
make the movie and call 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 equally 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
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 all, I'm fairly certain there's no
mention of them in the book. So why the cows?
Why all the geese? And what the hell 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 symbolically 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 actually 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
romantically 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
— Vikash Nand
"I didn't know about it until now.'
Computer Engineering 4
—Streeters coordinated by
THE UBYSSEY FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER, 2005
25 NOVEMBER, 2005
COORDINATING EDITOR Jesse
CULTURE EDITOR Simon
se Eric Szeto
PHOTO EDITOR Yinan
PRODUCTION MANAGER Michelle
A MAN APART: Bored with your bicycle?Trade it in for a mountain unicycle!
by Megan Smyth
BUY NOTHING DAY SUPPLEMENT
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 all students are
encouraged to partidpate.
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 indude
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.aFreestylesif 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 clarity.
Think that unicycling is only done
during circus performances? Well,
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 counties 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, I 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 12th 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
Even though he didn't mountain
bike himself, Holm's first entry into
the industry as a professional was
through mountain bike promotion.
aI 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
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KRIS HOLM
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 carry
a few, but we've got the most models,"
said Davis. Cambie Cydes carries
Torker unicycles in three styles ranging in price all the way up to $400.
"It's really exciting to see the
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.
Room 24, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
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business office: 604-822-6681
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AD DESIGN Shalene
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 Wong'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
Yinan Max Wang
L V Vander von Axander
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.
University Canada Post Sales Agreement
An event brought to you by your student society and the UBC Library
sport growing as fast as it is right
now," comments Holm on the
increase in unicycle sales in the last
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 currently 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
unicyclist. 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
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
directly 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. 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. et
FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER, 2005 THE UBYSSEY
by Jesse Marchand
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
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 accofint. 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
"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 it was 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 activisists focused on creating more resources and
encouraging volunteering in the DIES.
"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
"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." II
MOMENTOUS OCCASION: Alan Baker, Stephen Owen and Nabil Barto discuss Middle Eastern peace prospects.
"Partners in peace" come together at UBC
by Robert P. Willis
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 thronei dialogue and cooperation, with Canada acting as the catalyst."
Security personal were out in full 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 throne)) 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
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
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
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." II
"Lapse in communication" causes event kerfuffle
Organisers disgruntled after
crowd denied entry to
by Eric Szeto
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
SORRY: VP Manj Sidhu issues an apology during AMS council.
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
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
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-
MICHELLE MAYNE PHOTO
for 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 cluborganised 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."
,p . ...•• •
YINAN MAX WANG
Watch what you buy: Problems with over-consumption
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 lifecyde, 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 of a 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
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 pove
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
Food for thought: Lifestyle changes in a supersized society
there, fiapei Yedv, ye& tfier&
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 in 1970 to 2,757 calories in
2003, an increase of 23 per cent. Waistlines
have grown as a result, leading to a host of
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 live 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 billion a year. The cost is high because diabetes is
associated with numerous other health complismall Coke (890 calories) separately than to
cations, including blindness, heart disease, kidbuy the Quarter Pounder with Cheese large
neyproblems, amputations, nerve damage, and
Extra Value Meal, which comes with a large
fries and large Coke (1,380 calories). And
But why are we are eating so much? According McDonalds charges customers more to buy a
to Dr. Darren Dahl, an assistant professor of smaller, lower-calorie meal.
marketing at UBC, 'everyone's to blame."
Another root cause of over-consumption is
'It's a tough question that everyone wants to
that people are so busy making money, that
simplify,' Dahl said. 'People want to point fintime has become precious. "That's a big part
gers: 'Oh, it's that rotten food industry,' or 'it's
of the rise of poor eating habits, truthfully.
personal choices, but it's not that simple.'
Lack of time," said Dahl. After a long day at
Dahl said one factor is the 'value for money
work or school people don't want to spend an
mindset that drives many decisions. "People
hour making a meal, so they pick something
want more for their money,' he said. "If you've
up on the way home, he continued. 'People
got five hamburger stands on a corner, what
are cognitive misers, they're physical misers—
happens? Each one offers more fries! And more
they want the easiest thing!'
fries!' The competitive nature of the food indusThe easiest thing, unfortunately, is not usutry is the root cause of the move to larger porally the healthiest thing. According to Wister,
tions and increased caloric intake.
about 25 per cent of the food Canadians eat
For a perfect example of 'caloric value for
comes from the "other" section of the Canada
money,' look no further than the fast food food guide. "Those are simply the things many
giant McDonalds, where it costs eight cents
people love to eat potato chips, pies, snack
more to purchase a McDonald's Quarter
food," said Wister. "Pop consumption has douPounder with Cheese, small French fries, and bled [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 overconstunption," 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 lives 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, 'Oh yeah, the blue box but 20 or
30 years ago, that would be like, 'Are you crazy?
You want me to separate my 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!" $
FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER, 2005 1 2 UBYSSEY
A whole lot of nothing
a dds up to sorneth
73 Me/thing '10 zoos:
leo,ta it all started and cafiero it i& n¢(19
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
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
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.
NA 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. A dbusters 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
A010 149 2.t
controls people through advertisements
Adbusters, then, seemed to share
111". WOO 1.;$7114 1.
Dave's concerns about society's psychoYINAN MAX WANG
logical 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 mothers" who don't even have enough for people to take part in a Zenta Clause to make their own gifts rather than
meditation session in front of a depart- buy them," he said, "that's a successful
been staging demonstrations and pranks money for food.
Her brochure promotes the global ment store. And members of the Toronto campaign."
against consumerist culture.
Dave agrees that the aims of Buy
Brian Highley, Adbusters Buy Nothing "Whirl-Mart Day of Action", started by the forum are talking about organizing a
Nothing Day are not huge. It's not a move"zombie walk" through the Eaton Center.
Day Coordinator, says that Buy Nothing Breathing Planet Troupe and coming up
The idea behind Buy Nothing Day is ment meant to overhaul capitalism.
Day has grown bigger, even, than the this Buy Nothing Day. Groups wearing
international magazine. People have Walmart smocks will push empty carts that it has a different meaning for all its Rather, Dave explains it's "a way of looking into your own wallet and saying,
through stores to "mimic the absurd shop- participants.
taken matters into their own hands.
According to Highley, some join for 'Okay, now how much am I going spend
Washington State based Kirsten ping process," Anderberg explains.
One of Adbusters' roles is to link all the environmental reasons. Others want to today, and what exactly am I going to
Anderberg, for example, sent Highley a
spend it on and why?"'
brochure called 'Santa is Satan to Welfare networks of people organising protests on return to a more spiritual Christmas.
Their hope is that all these small
People like the Zenta Claus and Zombie
Mothers." Over the phone, Anderberg Buy Nothing Day. The magazine's website
explained that parents who send children hosts city-based forums through its protesters make shoppers turn their actions will add up to Dave's original idea
heads, and that's what matters, says of "people living as if their dreams had
to school with expensive gifts are "creat- JammerGroups link.
This year, the Kyoto forum is calling Highley. "If five people are inspired been marketed back to them." *
ing a horrific situation for children and
• •,;44,.., ;*
xr" • •
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'
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
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 hand, 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
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
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
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 bioengineered 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. $
a UBYSSEY 6,uppleme,nt
I FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER, 2005
fleNge/far tfi& fididayz/ with/ Buy/ 7Vatrukg 70
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
100# cd(Willata, 6-elficVA
BY MARK CIESLUIC THE CORD WEEKLY
employees are as happy as your local
cashier? According to responsibleshopper.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 life.
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
Hopefully by the end of the day,
you'll have an answer and. some
WATERLOO, ON (CUP)—The dock
strikes mid-November and the past
begins to slide away, allowing us to
become (until next year anyway)
blissfully ignorant of the heartbreak of midterms and the excesses of Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving
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
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 anticonsumerist campaigns this pre-holiday 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 environmentalism 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 little 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 wellintentioned 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 environmentalism, 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, independenk,
ly and logically, not just because
Adbristers told you so.
Stop trading consumerist for anticonsumerist culture and acting as
thong blind adherence to one is
somehow 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 youjust
might find that more of us would
be willing to listen. *
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
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 lives
with five other nuns who are part
of Toronto's Catholic Congregation
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
All the same, Sister Susan does see
value in giving gifts as an "opportunity
to show people they're important in
our lives." Plus, "people of religion are
pretty intense, so it's nice to have some
fun." For Christmas, the five women
she lives 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 forpeople,
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 really important. What are the
values you want to share with people?
Let the gift reflect that."
Swami Lalitananda, a Vancouver
yoga instructor and renunciate in the
Hindu tradition, knows something
about "affluenza," the kind 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
YOU HERE FOR?
AN ATTEMPT TO
FULFILL A DESIRE
THAT CANNOT BE
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 Callahan 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 lies. I lived 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.
Callahan 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'll be hooked
on the feeling S
FRIDAY, 25 NOVEMBER, 2005 I CU UBYSSEY
Organic makes a difference
'With/ the realizatialit tfiat canventialfanniwl/
Tnetfuick are nit dudtainablo and and negative4
esect yaw fiealiA oxganical4 groanT foe& aro ot
BY KRISTINE THIESSEN
The UBC Farm sits at the south end of
campus, past the B-lots and the ice rink.
Here students can purchase organically
grown produce picked fresh that day.
Marya Skrypiczajko, the author of BC: The
Organic Way, recommends the UBC Farm
"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 well, 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 political
science student Steven Meurrens remarks,
'As far as I can see, people seem to be living
just fine with non-organic."
_David Klein disagrees. The certified
milittionist's own health was restored once
he changed his diet. 'People may think that
they are enjoying life, eating all 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 organically grown products. 'There's some really,
really nasty stuff in the conventional food
industry, practices that really 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
The UBC Farm also sells 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
YINAN MAX WANG
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.
Still, price is an issue for many students. A quick trip to a local Save-on-Foods
for a little 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 organically grown products does
not have to be expensive, and that cost was
a concern of hers when she first starting
changing her eating habits.
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
In the end whether you sacrifice the
time and money to purchase organically
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.' $
neAvia c Rvary, Willman: A enpfradictnry campaign
BY HEATHER TRAVIS
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
call 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 really what is going on here?
What is this dialogue really saying? Dawn
Currie, professor of sociology at UBC,
believes that media and advertising give
value to women, based on their appearance.
'The media is so pervasive and contributes
to the naturalisation [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 lessthan-efficient at structuring the dialogue to
encourage only positive commentary. A better option would have been to remove the
voting polls so that they do not fall 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 mutually 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."
7.173C Trel'esdar e Sociology,
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 still equally 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
But how much are they really helping the
Dove is not telling consumers to stop
buying products; they are promising that
their more natural products can still be
used without covering up any natural beauty. This is not a new campaign idea. Currie
says that historically women have been targets of commercialism 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 commercialism 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 line.
'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." *