There were families in Canada that were prosecuted ... - Memewar

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There were families in Canada that were prosecuted ... - Memewar

Lip Service

Two Cheap Blazers

and no Band To InTervIew:

Backpacking After YSP! WSD!

JIm KnIpFel

presIdenT?

we FInd ourselves sTIll

QuITe unprepared...

Issue 2 Fall 2006

Fear In leBanon?:

The Truths of my

Experience in Beirut


2

Memewar Magazine

Editorial Collective

AJ Ivings

Carmen Papalia

Elliott Lummin

Aubyn Rader

Christina Gans

Missy Clarkson

Amanda Ryan

Thor Polukoshko

Layout

AJ Ivings

Alexis McCarter

Website Design

Mike Hubbard

This magazine was printed

on recycled paper.

Please recycle this mag when you are

finished with it. Give it to family,

friends, strangers,

enemies, or just leave it in a public

place for someone else to stumble upon.


Between the Thought

and the Action

Aubyn Rader

A few years back, I conducted a choir for the church I used to attend. A group of my friends got sick of listening to old Ms. McGillicutty

playing the slightly-off-pitch organ and singing with her slightly-off-pitch opera voice. So we decided to make a band. Jimmy played the bass

guitar in a local punk rock band called GatoCat; his sister, Shannon, played the piano in her high school jazz band; I knew how to play a strange

conglomeration of auxiliary percussion instruments; and Sandra had just learned to play the guitar. Joining us was a rotating cast of friends and

family who sang harmonies. When old ladies weren’t complaining about the indecency of guitars in church, they told us how reverent we looked

sitting at the front of the chapel.

The thing was, I think less than half of us actually believed in anything religious. On Saturday nights we went out, partied, and often drank

ourselves stupid. I also need not mention the tumultuous relationships perpetuated by a bunch of sexually repressed Christians. Come Sunday

morning, I would look down the front pew and see all the choir members with their heads in their hands. I guess reverence and being hung over

are often mistaken for each other.

To some degree, we’re all hypocrites. We present ourselves in a certain way, with certain virtues. As lovers, artists, fighters, comedians, or

spiritual guides. As people who have it together. We incorporate these archetypes into our image: our ideal selves. The hypocrisy is that these

ideals are unattainable. We can’t be an ideal any more than celebrities can be the fictional sex symbol portrayed by the media.

But we aren’t totally responsible for creating this false image. In many ways, the old ladies in the church spent as much, if not more effort

constructing a reverent depiction of the choir. So whereas hypocrites portray false virtuous images of themselves, paying lip service creates a

false virtuous image of others. What emerges is a discrepancy through language, a conflict of defining ourselves and being defined by others.

This conflict is so widespread, that I’m starting to think it’s part of the human condition.

It’s definitely within us at Memewar. We want to be unbiased. We want to have conflicting viewpoints adjacent to each other, but so far, we

haven’t done that. In this issue, we only published critical perceptions of the media, such as Erin Millar’s essay, “Sexy Kids”. In “Fear and Lebanon”,

Amanda C. Lee sees only one side of the Lebanese conflict. With David Suzuki, we present only one side of the environmental debate. We

have several swipes at McDonald’s in this issue, yet did not seek out a McDick’s spokesperson for a rebuttal.

We also published pieces in this issue that contain false self-representation: Elliot Lummin and Carmen Papalia try to portray an illusion of

professionalism in the lead-up to their interview. The Ninjoetry has little to do with ninjas. Then we printed some other completely unrelated

stuff, just thrown in for good measure.

In some way, all of us in these pages are broken, and we present ourselves as whole. Look closely. See the cracks.


Lip Service

Features

36 Fear in Lebanon?:

The Truths of my Experience in Beirut

Amanda C. Lee

Not willing to let the mainstream media tell the entire story of Beirut’s evacuation, an American medical

student subtracts the media’s language of fear, telling her own “strategic departure” from the region.

42 Two cheap blazers and no band to interview:

backpacking after you say party! we say die!

Elliott Lummin

Follow Memewar editors Elliott Lummin and Carmen Papalia across the UK, as they prepare to interview

Vancouver’s You Say Party! We Say Die!

12 WHen did I stop wanting to be president?

Jim Knipfel

Imagine opening your mail and finding out that you are president. It happened to Jim Knipfel.

6 We find ourselves still quite unprepared...

Andrew Lee

The lead singer of In Medias Res presents a poem packed with people, places, and food.


3 Editorial

poetry

14 Ninjoetry Jordan Somers

24 Grizzlar Matt Rader

25 Black Bear Matt Rader

28 Deer Matt Rader

29 Yellowjacket Matt Rader

34 A Chorus Line Missy Clarkson

35 The Next Great Proletarian Revolution Rob Taylor

Stories

30 If you Say Churchill, You’re Lying Neal Kansy

Essays

18 Sexy Kids: Could the Media Coverage of Jonbenet’s Murder be

Child Pornography in Canada? Erin Millar

32 Buying Your Love, One Word at a Time David Suzuki

Reviews

49 You Say Party? We Say Party! A Suitable Title Carmen Papalia

Art

32 Pyramid Lights Brandi Abele


i tumble and crude

i don’t know why

but they had to cut my mother’s belly open

to get me out

was i afraid?

of vaginas or winnipeg?

well i’m out now

if i could go back in

i would

i’d take my 1981 Suzuki GS 650 motorcycle

because it’s good on gas and i look bad ass

and because i can always find parking

i tumble and crude

but we must keep moving

even when feet blister and out of shape and mcdonalds and sleep

and i forgot

Emily why is the truth always slant?

the truth is

i am un-refrigerated eggs

exploding microwave walls

same clothes day everyday

hobo motorcycle

i eat brown bananas

take that

take that brown banana

that banana wilting

out of the compost

pull it right out

i need a snack

6

We find ourselves

still quite unprepared,

and tumble the thing together, letting hurry and crudeness tell

the story better than fine work.

Andrew lee

i always eat too much

it doesn’t matter if it’s uncle willy’s grade 7

or pizza hut lunch buffet until 2:30 saturday

i always eat to my throat

and so

every morning i wake up

and every morning i wake up

i’m full

it’s been so long since i was hungry

last time i was hungry i was being breast fed

and my mother put me down to answer the phone

so now i’m living in vancouver apartment

and there are native kids downstairs who want to beat me up

i’m 14 and i play roller hockey

vancouver

you bullied me during recess and in alley streets

you took the Korean right out of me

so i learned how to fight on Barclay Street

i wish i knew how to fight

vancouver is red lights

it’s bum sweats

sticky backs

it’s fuck you

what the fuck

fuck

four way stop asshole


it’s the homeless and the homeless

and the homeless and we are homeless

it’s squeegee kids

wiping my window

to see

their misfortune

do you have any spare change

no sorry

c’mon on i’ll take anything

sorry

a dollar

sorry dude i’ve got nothing

i’m hungry

i don’t have any money

kick me in the nuts for five bucks

it’s tiny rat dogs

that have penetrated hand bags

i hope they poo in your purse

tiny rat dogs that poo in your purse

my father always told me that as soon as we moved into a house

with a yard

we’d get a dog

now

living in richmond suburb house

i’m 15 and i can’t tread water

no dog

JLS

Joe Lee Styles

you were in winnipeg first

you fought racist in bar nights with cornered beer bottle

swinging and swearing

not because you were afraid

but because that was your style

you are the last of the beats

you took on graveyard security jobs to become tough and fall in love

you fell in love

you fell in love with big Dana

you stood on your head and smoked cigarettes

you spent nights

you spent paycheque

in casino nights

desperate for a high stack

you left mother at minimum wage job

and your first born in cardboard box winter

you only came home with whiskey lungs and debt

the table was going and all you could do was follow

so now it’s 97 and you still lose

you pawn and lose

wedding ring

slr camera

discman

minidisc

nice suits

my first guitar

i was sleeping in bare bed alone as child

when you stole

while you bet

while i became a man

you drank like whiskey breath in lung


you still drive the night looking for your hand

Sean Guinev

i write these songs for you

but they don’t matter

Kurt Cobain

why did you have to go

to 90210

you know

i can’t write this with out you

you left in grade 7 behind manoah steves elementary school

i was in detention

you were in detention

you told me about your neck on Venetian blind

you listened to the Jimi Hendrix experience

i didn’t

you couldn’t play the guitar as well as i did

you wouldn’t play the guitar as well as i did

you left and quit before we even started

your blonde hair and blue eyes

suburban beauty

your big feet and

drinking tea like sophisticated

4/5/1994

contact perforating shotgun wound to head

as a consequence of mouth

your father thinks of you still

your father still driving buses

wearing glasses

to the red dragon and the white shark

what now buddy old chum chief?

i throw rocks at the red dragon

at his window

masturbating to illuminated celebrity screen

you didn’t make the cut

you were in the business of sinking ships

you know God is speaking to you through Kerouac

he has his forefinger pointed straight at you

he’s saying

go moan

go groan

go groan alone

go roll your bones

alone

go though and be little

beneath my sight

but you’re so big

and angry

and red

Big Dana my mother

never could receive

so she never gave

never understood

now

we just misunderstood

this family is rooms

just rooms


separate rooms

different floors

trap doors

locked doors

never let out to play

i’m not home anymore mom

i’m in a punk band

on the road

i’m 21

i’m asleep

no driving

a left turn

not turning

not caring

pac man

our only savior

devouring yellow dotted lines i grow stronger

closer to rest

i dream this highway winding through her veins

i drive until sunlight hits my knuckles

vancouver

courtney

merit

kamloops

edmonton

calgary

saskatoon

regina

no one’s out there

the smell in the van is a shot gun

flies tornado around Ash’s angel face

world vision styles

donations accepted here

War and Peace has Steve at page 1036

we hear about each page after he finishes

i have an axe in my hand as i drive

i don’t know why

every city looks the same to ryan

every city is the back of his eye lids

may

june

july

no one’s out there

walked out of edmonton Canadian Tire with a fishing rod in both

hands

walked out with fishing vest in Canadian Tire ottawa

fill and run on the 17 somewhere in ontario around the Superior

Lake

walking out with toronto fishing vest because ottawa vest is too

small

husky station homes

shower me in exchange for 107 dollars in gasoline

we order homelike food

always eating breakfast

i watch the waitress for a thousand years

i think of vancouver and my girl

i want her in truck stop showers

truck stop shower styles

but how is sex an option on the road

my last shower was Thunder Bay

and love is made or not made on the stage

and depending on how bad it was

depends on how much we drink

and it is always bad

pour it all down

because it’s free

because we’ve paid for it

Toronto (Antonela)

Montreal (2 tourist wolf shirts)

St. Bruno (real poutine)

Kensington (border, customs and lying)

New York (hot garbage and fitty cent’s house)

Ohio (taco bell, throwing up, locking myself in trailer)

Chicago (clean streets man)


Minnesota

N. Dakota

Canada (no more KFC buffets)

Allen Ginsberg I’m sorry

i saw the most beautiful mind this side of the Alex Fraser Bridge

destroyed by madness, starving for real, hysterical in bathroom

naked

dragging his hands through triangles in carpet living rooms

through child hood, manhood

through Vietnam father Martha Stewart mom

contemplating systems theory and girls

i watched as he was eaten by his dog

swallowed by shark

being food for his mind

food for the betrayed

looking for patterns

in all encounters

10

ryan flowers is the most underrated of all mythical heroes

ryan flowers saved me summer 2001

he held out his hands and I fell through them

this was the way

we drove the suburb night

looking for local talent and coupons

to fix our hunger

for the good life and the life

whatever the life was

we needed it

we needed a coupon for it

we tried everything

mcdonalds dominos

kfc (spicy crunch)

bobs subs memphis blues (authentic southern barbeque)

kisamos

pho viet kpxl

rueben sandwich


mcdonalds uncle ben’s rice

beefaroni

vegetarian

but all we found was full stomach and full

fat in and around the belly of our mind

we had to get full

so we ate our universe

with our magnificent stomachs

we ate for Neal Cassidy

we ate for Muhammad Ali

we ate Samuel L Jackson

we ate for Forest Gump

one of every burger on the menu at Mcdonald’s

i would not be here if I wasn’t saved

i’d be at the Gap paying 97 dollars and 86 cents

for brand new jeans that look used

i was saved by madness

by the mind of someone who was beat

beaten, beatific

he showed me burgers and babes

taught me the urge to be destroyed

he showed me the blank page

and how to read and write it

so now i’m talking in my own legitimacy

talking and moving in legitimacy

my habit humor hair

no rhetorical heightening

i’m talking to a friend

common and personal

confessed as actual

not literal

it’s the writer and the time

that makes me move

words and lots of them

one after the other

bouncing singing sexing eating licking your mom totting slugging

the quality of our existence is at stake

structure of life is intrinsic

never imposed

ultimately love

for words

will save us

poetry cannot be solely a measure of literary bad ass moves or

blah blah i know this word

but must be addressed as a fundamental inquiry

“how are you?”

“stay away”

from creative writing courses

run far far away and run

become disciplined

they are the homeless asking for your spare change

i believe now

i believe in making this immediate

me

you

reading me aloud

in your head

hearing you

reading me aloud

because this is important

like breakfast

i believe in writers block

i can’t write without the voices

the demons

the lovers

my mother

i believe in the blank page going

and all that white moving

i throw words at it

and if they catch

they catch

i’ll pick up the others later

when they matter

11


When Did I Stop

Wanting to be President?

Jim Knipfel

Given that I wrote for a New York newspaper, and was blind on top of it, it came as no real surprise that I received a lot of e-mailed press

releases regarding recent legal victories in the ongoing battle for disabled rights. Lord knows I didn’t go looking for these things, but somehow

they always seemed to find their way to me. Somewhere along the line, my name must have been punched into someone’s “differently crippled”

database.

Most of them I ignored, as most seemed to involve wheelchair ramps being installed at this or that restaurant chain, or hearing-impaired

grade school students getting some high-tech doo-dad or another. I was never much into the whole Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) business,

and I’ve had nothing but trouble with the assorted blind bureaucracies who’ve contacted me in the past.

Then one day I got another one of these e-mails and, for some reason, took a quick glance at the note attached to the press release. Then I

read it more carefully a second time, then a third. Here’s what it said:

12

TO:

Jim Knipfel

President

American Council of the Blind

FR:

Sven Ludkvist, Esq. (Not his real name, by the way)

Special Assistant to the Attorney General

Civil Rights Division

US. Department of Justice

Hi again, Jim. I am pleased to report another positive development on the disability rights enforcement front. Late last week, on behalf of the People of the

United States, the Justice Department secured a victory for racers and spectators with disabilities who sought access in accordance with federal law.

One by one, barriers to full participation continue to be torn down. As our momentum grows in strength, so does our ability to enhance our effectiveness in

making a difference in the lives of members of the disability community. Best of all, there are even more announcements on the way.

My warmest wishes to you, Jim. Do remember to stay in touch, and keep me posted on how you are doing. In the mean time, you take good care. --Sven

Below the note was a press release announcing that wheelchair ramps were being installed at a raceway in Alabama.


I initially assumed it was just another spam, but some quick research revealed that no, it wasn’t. It was completely legit. I was getting mail

from some bigwig at the Department of Justice. More than that, he was a bigwig who was being awfully chummy. Imagine that.

Now, given that it was legitimate, that this guy was real, many things about this letter confused me. Not only had I never heard of Sven—I had

no recollection of being on such friendly personal terms with anyone at DOJ, though I was admittedly relieved, in these paranoid days, that some

official over there apparently thought differently. Lord knows I’d given them plenty of reasons to feel otherwise.

But that was the least of my confoundments.

I thought about it for a moment and then composed a letter back to Mr. Ludkvist. Here’s what that one said:

Dear Mr. Ludkvist,

First of all, let me congratulate you on your continued and valiant efforts to make life a little easier for people across the country who, like me, have disabilities.

By all accounts, you are doing one heck of a job. So huzzah to you, I say!

But I’m afraid there has been some minor confusion somewhere along the line. Your recent notes refer to me as the “President of the American Council of the

Blind.”

While I am in fact blind, I’m afraid I’ve never heard of the American Council of the Blind. I mean, I may have at one time or another, but there are so many darn

sound alike blind organizations out there nowadays, I tend to lose track of them. And I can’t recall there ever being any reason why I would claim to be president

of such a thing either.

No, I’m afraid I just write stories for a little weekly newspaper here in Manhattan. I don’t think anyone has ever mistaken me for the president of anything. In fact,

I’m really kind of hoping I’m NOT the president of the ACB—can you imagine how much paperwork I’d have to catch up on at this point? A lot!

I do enjoy hearing of your successes, though. I just don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression.

Thanks. Hope all’s well by you, and keep up the swell work!

Jim Knipfel

Not the President

American Council of the Blind

I sent the letter off to the Justice Department, and immediately began kicking myself. First of all, DOJ has not exactly been known in recent

years for their sense of humor. Sense of the absurd, maybe, but I don’t think anyone there has ever been referred to as, say, “jolly.” I began to

worry that something in the letter might be interpreted the wrong way. What if my lighthearted banter was taken as some kind of terrorist

threat? Last thing I needed right about now was a vacation in Gitmo for a couple comedy jokes.

While that fear passed pretty quickly, I still kept kicking myself. I mean, in someone’s eyes somewhere, I was the fucking President of a High

Powered and Well-Respected Civil Rights Organization! I mean, there’s got to be a ton of money in something like that, right? Yet I’d never

received a single paycheck! Not one penny! And even if it’s just one of those figurehead positions without any pay, still—there have got to be

1


1

government grants and the like available to someone running such a thing, wouldn’t you think? Big ones!

I’d blown another golden opportunity, like that time I turned down an offer to do voiceovers for adult diaper commercials. If I had put my

mind to it for at least a couple more minutes before sending off that note, I could’ve come up with something, some way to reap the benefits of a

good ol’ fashioned, true blue American government scam. But no, I took the idiot route.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I haven’t heard back from Mr. Ludkvist yet. But things move pretty slowly in Washington.

In the meantime, I keep listening to the news. And every time I hear about the security and accuracy of the government’s databases and “No

Fly” lists, every time it’s implied that the folks at the Justice Department are really in the know, I have to smile a little bit, remembering my brief

tenure as President.

Ninjoetry

Jordan Somers

The eyes never possessed lose

Their pigmenT bi-weekly

baThed in a sheeT for noT - i can

feel iT pulsaTing now.

This shard of a hearT missing

TeeTh

This accenTuaTed hair line

masquerading me

i am a shadow circumvenTing an

even greaTer shadow. i no longer

wanT her To be mine.


i eTernally enjoyed The noTion of

you previous lovers – caTasTrophic

myriads of Touch…

flurries of pavlovian flavors

subToTaling

The nighTs desire To sTand.

all The while you cluTching for

anyThing resembling Their

opposiTe—

a doppelganger if you musT.

wiTh hair parTed To The righT

or perhaps some Type of slick

mousTache…

i Think abouT your lovers from

Time To Time when i wanT To

sTop myself from climaxing.

when you requesTed

space.

i had no idea you were

planning

To make love To

oTher men.

when i am honesT.

iT is really myself

i deTesT.

he deserves beTTer Than

cherry wood

mingled wiTh sewaT

To be ursurped

each moring wiTh

The grave noTion of

forgeTTing anew

and

once again

he will be reminded—

living never promised To

conTain

much more Than This.

contined on p.22

1


Cereal Junkies:

16

“tHE tROUBLE wITH tiGERS 2 & 3”

Thor Polukoshko


For the complete adventures of the Sugar Bear visit our website @ www.memewaronline.com

1


Sexy Kids:

Could the media coverage of JonBenet’s murder be

considered child pornography in Canada?

Erin Millar

Images of a smiling little girl wearing lipstick and a cowboy hat

were on everyone’s TV screen again this August. A new suspect in the

1996 murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey had been

found. John Mark Karr (middle name included) wasn’t smiling in the

photos they showed on news programs across the continent, and his

pale blue eyes were creepy.

He confessed to Thai police that he had drugged JonBenet, had sex

with her, and accidentally killed her afterwards. He said that he loved

her, that she was his “beauty queen.” The 24-hour news channels kept

us updated with all the relevant information about his flight to face

charges in the US: he drank French wine and champagne, and ate king

prawns.

With great speed, Karr’s past was brought to light. He has had two

failed marriages, both to women under eighteen. One of them gave

birth to two stillborn babies named Innocence and Angel. Karr has a

past conviction for child pornography possession. He had spent most

of the last several years working with children, either in childcare or

as a teacher. A past landlord reported that Karr had bragged that he

was “like a wolf ” sexually and “liked little boys and girls.” We were

told how the guesthouse where Karr was arrested was in a Thai neighbourhood

known for its massage parlours that catered to sex tourists.

“The nine-story hotel offers rooms for as short as three-hour rentals,”

AP reported. Fox News’ John Kasich told us that “he’s a bad guy,” as

though he needed to be so blunt.

But the confession didn’t agree with the forensic evidence which

had been paraded across the TV screen. There had been injuries to the

six year-old’s vagina, but no semen. There had been no drugs in her

system. Her death was no accident. A former prosecutor is quoted as

saying, “It’s hard to imagine a more intentional, deliberate murder than

1

hitting a little girl in the head so hard that she had almost a foot-long

fracture in her skull and then deliberately fashioning a garrotte to twist

until it buries in her neck and slowly stops her breathing.”

Every time we were told another detail about her bloody underwear,

JonBenet’s painted, smiling face was in a box over the newscaster’s

shoulder. Why were the details of sexual violence against a child

forever coupled with her image? Was extensively covering the story

in the interest of public good? Or was it nothing more than taboo

entertainment, rendered permissible by its posture of self-righteous

judgment?

The Broad Strokes of Kiddie Porn Law

Canada’s child pornography law consists of very vague language

that bans much more than many people believe is necessary. In addition

to visual depictions of actual children being harmed, it includes

“any written material or visual representation that advocates or counsels

sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years,” according

to the current code. In other words, anything (whether it be

photographs of real children, drawings, or written fictional fantasies)

that depicts or encourages sexual activity with a person under eighteen

can be considered child pornography. According to this definition, the

JonBenet coverage begins to appear suspiciously like kiddie porn.

Many scenarios can fall under this broad-stroke law. In an interview,

Stan Persky, who co-authored On Kiddie Porn (2001), described

one example of a situation in which a legal act becomes illegal under

the law: “Two people between the ages of 14 and 18 can have sex with

each other and there is no law against that. But if they make a picture of

it, it can become child pornography and that doesn’t make sense.”

Although this example may seem far-fetched, there is a history of


overzealous use of laws like this one that limits freedoms, according

to Micheal Vonn, policy director of the BC Civil Liberties Association.

There were families in Canada that were prosecuted under

the child pornography provisions of the criminal code for taking

pictures of their babies in bathtubs,” she said. “They lost their houses

defending themselves in court and will never get their reputations

back again and have gone through an absolute unmitigated horror

show.” The cases Vonn refers to made it

all the way to the Supreme Court before

Chief Justice Beverly MacLaughlin “clarified

for the country that taking a picture of

your baby in the bathtub was okay.”

If a picture two teenagers take of themselves

having perfectly legal sex and a photo

of a bathing baby taken by loving parents

can both be considered child pornography,

it seems possible that even the media coverage

of JonBenet’s murder could be considered

depicting or encouraging sex with

minors. This means that, technically speaking,

the media’s extensive coverage of this

horrible crime and judgment of Karr for

his alleged sex crime could be considered

to be a sex crime itself. Is a law that is vague

enough to create such absurd scenarios a

good one?

What Is “Harm” Anyway?

The intent behind child pornography laws is, of course, simply

to protect children. As Persky put it: “Ninety-nine percent of Canadians

agree that child pornography is a terrible thing and that we

ought to do everything we can to prevent it.”

Hon. Paul Harold Macklin described that the intent was “mainly

the protection of children against abuse, neglect, and exploitation”

in his introduction to a 2005 amendment to the law that added the

“public good” defense to prevent child pornographers from defending

their work as having literary merit.

Although both men agree that harming children is something to

There were

families in Canada

that were

prosecuted

under the child

pornography

provisions of the

criminal code for

taking pictures

of their babies

in bathtubs”

be prevented, this is where the similarity in their perspectives ends.

Civil libertarians, including Persky, believe that creating laws to prevent

“encouraging” someone to potentially do something undesirable,

is dangerously close to thought-control. If we are concerned

with material that encourages bad actions, we also need to look at violent

cartoons, comic books, and video games. However, according

to civil libertarians, this is a step that unreasonably infringes on our

rights to freedom of expression and thought.

We need to ask ourselves what we really

consider “harm,” said Vonn. She asked us to

“imagine the artists and families and people

along the way […] who have been harmed by

the overzealousness of crown prosecutors and

police looking to, obviously with good motives,

prevent harm for children.” She questioned

whether the potential harm that we are preventing

against children is worth the harm caused by

limiting freedom of expression.

Was the recent media frenzy that labeled

Karr a pedophile guilty of murder in the interests

of the public good? Or did it actually cause

unwarranted harm? Upon Karr’s arrest, many

media sources discussed apologizing to the

Ramsey family for initially pointing the finger at

them. However, by conclusively saying that the

Ramseys are innocent of the murder, the media

is effectively conclusively judging Karr as guilty.

This is the very thing that they feel compelled to

apologize to the Ramseys for. The trial by media

is surely causing harm, both to the Ramsey and Karr families as well

as to the investigation. And, of course, the question remains: are we,

the audience, suffering any harm from extensively subjecting ourselves

to this story of sexual violence?

Soon after the story broke, DNA evidence showed that Karr

didn’t commit the crimes he confessed to. He was simply relating

his sick fantasies. Talking about fictional fantasies of sex with minors

isn’t illegal, but writing them down is. The closest thing to a sex

crime here was committed by the media, who repeated Karr’s words

in print. A law that defines kiddie porn in such a way is a law that

Canadians should consider rethinking.

1


You are What You Eat:

Trends in Consumer Efficiency

Chelsea Crooks

20

“I feel badly about what I’ve done with young people. I was the happy face on something that was horrendous.”

—Geoffrey Giuliano, former Ronald McDonald actor who later became a vegetarian

Throughout history, consumers have looked for ways to make their

lives easier and more efficient. Since every human being must consume

food, it is only natural that this demand for efficiency has made

an impact on the way we eat. This desire for efficiency has provoked an

increase in the amount of food being consumed away from the home,

including fast food and full service restaurants, and in the form of

home meal replacements (HMRs) found at supermarkets. Unfortunately,

meals that are not prepared at home are almost always found to

be lower in nutritional content and quality than meals which are prepared

at home. Even with our increased awareness of healthy eating,

consumers continue to fall prey to the allure of the fast food industry.

Regardless of the known health consequences and despite the fact that

consumers are well aware of the benefits of eating healthy and leading

healthier lifestyles, there will always be a simpler and faster alternative:

fast food.

The total expenditure on meals eaten away from home has nearly

doubled in the last ten years. In 1992 the total away-from-home spending

by North American consumers was $263 billion, while in 2002 the

total amount was nearly $415 billion. 1 When viewing the percentage

of the total food expenditure of the average North American household,

we see that in 1970, 26% of the expenditure was spent on eating

out, while in 1996 this number increased to 39%. 2 The United States

alone spent nearly $500 billion on eating out in 2005, accounting for

48.5% of their total food expenditure. 3 Studies continuously show that

consumers are spending less on ingredients to prepare meals and more

on meals prepared outside of their home, in restaurants or supermarkets.

But why such an increase in dining out? Possibly because of the

infatuation with the “hectic lifestyle” of the modern consumer, timesaving

products are becoming more and more in demand. In response

to this demand, fast food services are not only increasing their overall

presence in urban life by multiplying the number of vendors, but fast

food corporations are locating their stores in places where people are

already occupied by other activities, such as shopping or working. For

McDonald’s restaurants this is a common occurrence: “McDonald’s

wants to have a site wherever people live, work, shop, play, or gather”. 4

When looking at the figures, the results are startling; twenty years ago

there were 9000 McDonald’s in 44 of the world’s countries - now, this

number has jumped to over 31,000 McDonald’s worldwide, occupying

119 countries and spanning six continents. 5 These restaurants are not

just limited to wealthy, industrialized countries; in fact, even though

the number of McDonald’s restaurants in the United States is far larger

than anywhere else in the world, the overall growth rate of the restaurant

chain is much greater in developing nations. Currently, over 1600

restaurants grace the cities of Latin America – as opposed to the mere

100 McDonald’s that existed in Latin America in the early 1980s. 6

The growth of the chain can be attributed to today’s busy society,

where people do not have the time to prepare meals, or in some cases,

may not even know the simple steps involved in cooking one. Consumers

want to be able to prepare a meal at home that doesn’t require

a lot of ingredients or extra work, or they want food that can be picked

up fast and brought home. 7 From this trend, a term has evolved to

coincide with the progressive laziness of today’s society: McDonaldization.

This concept refers to the “ways in which the principles of the

fast-food restaurant operate in an increasingly wide array of social settings

(such as the work place, higher education, and health care)”. 8 In

this type of a society, jobs require little or no skill, and minimal think-


ing. The consumer has become a product of the fast food industry and

the convenience that is associated with it.

Supermarkets and convenience stores are now also selling products

that are more efficient for the consumer. These goods come in the

form of pre-cut and pre-washed fruits and vegetables, and pre-cooked,

ready-to-eat foods, also known as HMRs. These meals resemble homecooked

meals while remaining convenient and affordable, and are very

similar to fast food. But grocery stores are not just changing their

products, they are also changing the physical layout of their stores.

Each department is laid out for easy access to a specific section (i.e.

the meat or vegetable department) without having to walk through

each of the other departments. 9 Much like the “one-stop shopping appeal”

that superstores such as Walmart and Costco offer, supermarket

consumers are able to shop for everything they need at one convenient

location. Likewise, grocery stores are beginning to sell not only food

products but also general merchandise, including household items and

clothing. 10 Even more so, they are incorporating banks, florists, video

rental, and pharmacies into their designs. 11 In the near future, there

may no longer be a need to do one’s shopping at more than one location.

As the well known phrase goes, “you are what you eat” – it is ultimately

the consumer who decides what is and what isn’t important in

their diets. Do they choose the more efficient path of fast food or the

more nutritional path of preparing foods at home? Even with consumers’

increased awareness of healthy eating and the countless statistics

showing the impacts of fast food on the environment and a person’s

health, eating foods away from home is still a large part of the average

consumer’s diet. If society played a larger role in promoting healthy

eating, improved diets may actually save billions of dollars each year in

health care costs, premature deaths and missed work. 12 Sadly, if the

fast paced life of the 21st century consumer continues on its current

path without the proper education, the trend of fast foods and prepared

meals will inevitably continue.

1Stewart 1

2 Guthrie 1

3 USDA

4 Jekanowski, 11

5 McDonalds

6 Ghezán 400

7 Kinsey 1187

8 Zayani 628

9 Kinsey 1189

10 Clauson 13

11 Kinsey 1189

12 Guthrie 2

Works Cited

Clauson, Annette, and Alden Manchester. “1994 spending for food away from home

outpaces food at home.” Food Review. 18 (1995): 12-16.

Ghezán, Graciela, et al. “Impact of Supermarkets and Fast-Food Chains on

Horticulture Supply Chains in Argentina.” Development Policy Review. 20

(2002): 389-408.

Guthrie, Joanne, et al. “Away-From-Home Foods Increasingly Important to Quality of

American Diet.” Agriculture Information Bulletin. 749 (1999): 1-22.

Jekanowski, Mark. “Causes and Consequences of Fast Food Sales Growth.” Food

Review. (1999): 11-16.

Kinsey, Jean, and Ben Senauer. “Consumer Trends and Changing Food Retailing

Formats.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 78 (1996):

1187-1191.

McDonald’s Website. 26 July 2006 .

Stewart, Hayden., et al. “The Demand for Food Away from Home: Full-service or Fast

Food?” Agricultural Economic Report. 829 (2004): 1-20.

United States Department of Agriculture. “Food CPI, Prices and Expenditures: Food

Away From Home as a Share of Food Expenditures.” Total Expenditures.

United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. 9

June, 2006

Zayani, Mohamed. “The McDonaldization of Society: An Investigation into the

Changing Character of Contemporary Social Life.” Criticism. (1997):

628-632.

21


22

...continued from p.15

TipToe now—

for some reason you are noT

a child any longer

and This appears To presenT

problems.


i have never paid renT

now ThaT The walls appear

To be The proper color.

we have very liTTle lefT

To live abouT.

continued on p. 30

2


2

GRIZLAR

Matt Rader

So rare there is nothing left

to do but shoot it and bring it in

for further inspection in the name of

science, Chinese medicine, Canadian

Conservation officials. Crucified on the crosshairs

of a rifle, rumour has it such beasts exist

north of Loch Ness, Sasquatch, the Lord God

Bird recently resurrected on closed-circuit

camera in the Arkansan woods. Good

money goes to bagging less exclusive species

for gallbladders, beaks, talons and tusks,

ground down to a dust and used to treat

impotency, schizophrenia, homosexuality,

or displayed on a mantle as a sign of power,

but ideas like this one rarely walk right

out of that translucent arctic white,

like a wayward ghost of the mind into

the waiting weight of the sights, where

the bullet makes no distinction between

mundane and magical: what was living

and can be proven with a shot to the sternum.


BLACK BEAR

Matt Rader

A surprise fare. The cab on its way

from here to there—we’ll call it the middle

of nowhere, meaning north of anywhere

in particular—we’ll call it a night

like the cabbie might have had he not been out

there in the first place, had he not been

minding his business, business being

to ferry from one locale to another, other

part of town, if you could call it that,

to be fair, more a clutch of homes and streets,

separated by what is, to most minds,

empty space—precisely the place the cabbie was

paid to navigate—So it was then,

moon smothered under cloud-cover, when

to turn off the headlights is to disappear

altogether to the naked eye, to dematerialize

into nowhere, as it were, to be neither,

nothing, nada—When out of the blueblack

envelope of evening, a bear

barreled like a bad mood, like terror

into the taxi’s sideview

mirror.

2


2

DEER

Matt Rader

Trip a switch somewhere and there he is

like flame on a matchstick or a coin

tricked from behind the ear: a deer,

or the ideogram for a deer, blazing

in the lowlight of your evening garden,

a vision foreboding the end of your roses

or something colder, a backhanded compliment

on your efforts to rope wilderness, the fence

of freeway that keeps predators

in check around the village, your own hunger

to encounter the edge of another

dimension and be stopped in your tracks,

caught staring at a creature who materialized

before your very eyes and now stares back.


YELLOWJACKEt

Matt Rader

A stowaway in southern freight,

space junk, coagulated fall-out

from some former Soviet state,

or a wingnut even off a CIA spymachine,

the wasp ambles idly

in the shale as if trying to piece it

together again: the endless papers

of rock, all that cold geological redtape,

requiring age, weather patterns,

ecological history. While in Iqaluit

no word will surface to stamp

the winged visitor with a name.

2


If You Say Churchill,

You’re Lying

Neal Kansy

0

If you could meet any historical figure, dead or alive, who would it be?

Most people say Einstein or Ghandi or some stuff like that. I tell you who I’d meet. It’d be Al Baxter. Don’t recognize the name? You’re

probably trying to figure out what he accomplished. Nothing. Al Baxter is a useless piece of crap who never did one worthwhile thing his whole

goddamn life.

So, why do I want to meet him? Because he friggin’ owes me 200 friggin’ bucks, that’s why! Yeah, that’s right. He’s a guy that sublet my place

for a couple months ‘bout 4 years ago. He moves out, says he’ll mail a cheque for the 200 bucks he still owes me. What does this loser do? He

writes no cheque, which he puts in no envelope, which he doesn’t mail. I should know, I check my mailbox. I’m not one of those people, you

know the kind, they don’t check their mail. I do. I know what’s what. So I’d love to meet this guy Al Baxter and ask him “Hey! Where’s my 200

bucks? What did you do, stick your ass in a microwave?”

Yeah, yeah, I know Einstein and Ghandi did some pretty amazing stuff, but unless they can tell me how to find Al Baxter, I’m not interested.

Don’t get me wrong, Ghandi and Einey are great guys and if they have 200 bucks they wanna give me, they can call me anytime.Yeah, their

thoughts on the universe and world peace might be interesting, but I wanna know Baxter’s thoughts on why he screwed me on my 200 bucks. I

swear, I’d like to get civilly disobedient on his ass. Oh, and Napoleon, don’t think I’ve forgotten about that weed whacker you borrowed.

...continued from p.23

The senseis of your youTh have

led us asTray

once again-

The nervous sysTem is noT

simply a

machine

buT insTead a five poinTed

hollow

dagger

denoTing

fear.


wiTh The dojo in ruins.

who buT me

To defend This lack

parading as a hearT-

These lone six hundred years

or so.

mosTly of no inTeresT.

see These idle ThreaTs as

feeble

aTTempTs

To connecT The poinTs of some

neurological schism

misfiring

habiTually and frighTened.

1


Buying Your Love,

One Word at a Time

Science Matters

David Suzuki

2

May 26, 2006

When words get in the way of your agenda, what do you do? You change the words, of course. Even if you have to make up new ones.

It’s part of what communications strategists call “framing” - the way they present messages to the public to make them more palatable. And it’s

become a big part of how the new Conservative government plans to win you over.

Think tax relief, not tax cuts. Think climate change, not global warming. Think responsible development, not sustainable development. These

words and phases are not casual alterations. They are deliberate, tested and designed to sway public opinion. And they work.

Recently, Prime Minister Harper invited American pollster and political strategist Frank Luntz for a visit. It was a telling move, given Mr.

Luntz’s impact on discourse in the United States. In fact, Mr. Luntz’s efforts have been credited in part for President Bush’s re-election. While

Democratic candidate John Kerry should have had a field day with Mr. Bush’s poor economic, environmental and military leadership records,

Kerry blathered on in the language of specialists, leaving the public cold. Meanwhile, George W. talked the plain language of the people, using Mr.

Luntz’s carefully crafted words and phrases, and repeating them over and over until they became accepted as the norm.

Like Canada’s Conservatives, the Republicans were perceived as uninterested, even hostile, to environmental conservation. Mr. Luntz helped

reverse that perception by changing the language and the way Republicans talked about the environment. These changes made it seem as though

Republicans were indeed concerned about the environment and were presenting solutions that protected nature, even though their policies often

did the exact opposite. Programs to increase logging became “healthy forests” projects. Relaxed air pollution rules became “clear skies” initiatives.

Under Mr. Luntz’s tutelage, it comes as no surprise now in Canada to be hearing talk by the Conservatives of a “clean air act” and a “made in

Canada” plan instead of the Kyoto Protocol. This last phrase, used to describe the Conservative’s upcoming and yet unseen climate change plan, is

a classic piece of spin. The name implies that whatever came before it was made outside of Canada and is therefore foreign and scary.

In fact, the previous government’s plan - which Mr. Harper has systematically eliminated, including such things as scrapping the Energuide

program, which provided rebates for homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient (thereby saving money and reducing emissions)

- was also made in Canada. And Kyoto itself contains a wide variety of measures demanded by Canada to make it easier for us to meet our targets

and reduce global warming.


Then again, you won’t hear Mr. Harper talking about global warming

in any case. When he mentions the issue, which is rarely, he sticks

to “climate change” - the specialist’s term. Why? Simple, because it isn’t

scary. It takes the disturbing idea of an entire planet heating up and turns

it into something that sounds more like a change of seasons.

Is Mr. Harper lying by using these terms? No, but he’s playing on the

fact that Canadians don’t have the time to figure out what they mean.

The words sound good. They sound like something positive. After all,

who doesn’t want to be responsible and clean? Who doesn’t want something

that’s been made in Canada?

Mr. Harper is banking on the public not figuring out what these

things really mean until after the next election - where the possibility

of a majority government looms tantalizingly within reach. So close, in

fact, that the prime minister must be feeling like - well, I don’t know the

word, but I’m sure Mr. Luntz will help him make one up.


A Chorus Line

Missy Clarkson

Morning:

Umbrellas sprout from heads

along gridded sidewalks

of the business district,

grey and black banners of

our muted indistinction.

They increase our diameter,

cripple our peripheral;

Two rather than six shuffle

side by side in leaden haze.

Those conscious raise theirs

through crosswalks like

conductors’ batons;

a jumble of convex steps

above us, leading to

traffic lights and ruffled crows.

I hope we break out in song

flouncing in perfect choreography

sashaying across the streets

soaked through our suits

lipsticked smiles

wet hair clinging

umbrellas swinging

jazz hands top hats but

instead we lumber listlessly

to jobs that don’t fit.


The Next Great

Proletarian Revolution

Rob Taylor

It will be lead by Dilbert.

He will begin at his office by

tossing the pointy-haired boss out the window

and, swinging a letter opener in the air,

declaring the seventeenth floor a workers’ paradise.

He will then slash through the bottom of panel four

dropping on to Snoopy’s dog house, where,

through a broad-based leafleting campaign,

he will whip the Peanuts into a revolutionary fervour

ousting Charlie Brown’s cruel canine food rations

and Lucy’s abusive monopoly on psychiatric consultations.

The uprising will spread across page D12.

The members of the Family Circus will break from their coffee-mug prison

and rally with Calvin and Hobbes

and Marx and Engels

on the spacious lawns of Capitol Hill

that lie nestled in the upper right hand corner

of Doonesbury’s third panel.

Finally, the funny page revolutionaries

will tear down all the borders and titles and by-lines

and with the pieces build one large panel

in which they will gather

chanting and dancing

throwing their three-fingered fists in the air.

And we will chuckle to ourselves

folding them up and sliding them

into our purses and overcoats

as we squeeze into the subway train,

the winter chill clinging to our ears and socks.

We’ll pull our collars up to the cold

smudging new wardrobes with the dark ink of the revolution

and cursing our misfortune,

wondering what on earth we will wear to work tomorrow.


Fear in Lebanon?:

The Truths of my Experience in Beirut

Amanda C. Lee

From the time I first took an interest in studying the Middle East,

people have looked at me in either a baffled or bemused manner. Baffled

because according to the politics of ethnicity in the US, shouldn’t I

perhaps be more interested in China or Japan? Bemused is the reaction

mainly saved for when I’m in the Middle East. What is this Japaneselooking

American girl doing here, speaking Egyptian Arabic with a

5-year-old’s vocabulary? Why does she of all people want to ask questions

about young people’s sexual health?

Surprisingly, nobody shirked in horror or threatened me with fatwas,

but in fact, readily opened up to discuss the otherwise taboo subject.

Once again, the reaction I normally bank on from Middle Easterners

came through, one of hospitality, ease, and ultimately safety.

Yes, safety. Although I realize how oxymoronic that must sound

given my recent unexpected departure from Lebanon.

I went to Beirut in June to conduct research for my MSc dissertation,

to examine the issues of sexual and reproductive health for Lebanese

young people. The next question that usually pops into people’s

minds is: “why Lebanon?” Even the Lebanese I interviewed asked me

this question, but more out of a ‘why the hell?’ sense than any other.

It was logistics and practicality more than anything else. My contacts

came together at the right time. Language was not going to be

a major issue since most of the population speaks Arabic, French and

English. And Lebanon is a small country, so it seemed feasible to tackle

my research in the time allotted.

Also, given the cooperative nature of the programs I read about

in my preliminary research, I knew contacts in one program would

open up access to other contacts elsewhere. As is true for many things

6


in the Middle East, networking is key. In Beirut especially, everyone

knows everyone in one context or another. This wasn’t always a beneficial

phenomenon, but it did provide a certain local flavour and detail

to my research.

I translated these local details into the openness and pride with

which those I interviewed spoke about their work. These were not foreign

Non-government Organization (NGO) staff, but actual Lebanese

program managers and directors whose familiarity with the complexities

of their culture and society was often in conflict with international

funders’ agendas. Yet with their self-awareness and sensibility they

would develop their own ways towards providing effective programming

for young people.

This was how I was introduced to Lebanon rebuilding herself, a

country coming out of a protracted civil war with lessons learned.

This sense of excited renewal and optimism appeared on the face of

nearly every person I met. Even in the architecture of Beirut with the

bullet-riddled relics of the civil war standing next to restored traditional

houses with their triple-arched windows, with building cranes

merging with towering glass office buildings and hotels adorning the

Corniche - this was a city bursting with new energy. As I confirmed to

a friend, construction was definitely a booming business in Beirut.

Unfortunately, it still will be once the aftermath of this current assault

is assessed. Once we can say we have reached the aftermath.

Upon completing the majority of my research in the wake of the

bombings (one missed interview due to the evacuation of the UN

building), I returned from Beirut with a sense of irrelevancy to my dissertation.

Even the title of it had to be changed because I was no longer

looking at a post-conflict population of adolescents in post-conflict

Lebanon. They were now a conflict-ridden and internally displaced

demographic with new needs and issues to address.

I did attempt to contact a couple of my interviewees to ask the

preliminary question of ‘what now?’ I have yet to receive a response,

but I imagine that concerns include the essentials: food, clothing and

housing. And then perhaps schooling. Oh, and perhaps that small problem

of unexploded cluster bombs down the street. What priority does

sexual health have in an environment like this?

And yet, it can be of particularly important relevance. People tend

to exhibit higher risk behaviour, particularly adolescents, during times

of conflict. I don’t want to imply a rampant STI (sexually transmitted

infections) outbreak is about to happen, but it’s best not to ignore the

fact that human nature enacts in strange ways when the physical environment

causes panic and instability.

Further, Lebanon has one of the highest ages of first marriage in the


Middle Eastern and North African region. On average, Women marry

at 27 years of age and men marry at 31 (UNFPA). This phenomenon

means there’s a wider space of time during which ‘things’ can happen.

I certainly don’t think any of the Lebanese young people I witnessed

were card-carrying, ring-bearing abstinence pledgers. While there may

not be a direct translation for ‘hanky panky’ in Arabic, kids will be kids

wherever they are.

The ways in which their sexuality displayed itself were sometimes

enough to make me blush with girls squeezed into body-hugging

clothes and boys equally feeling the pressure to ‘look the look.’ The

public health officials I spoke with were not in denial about the possible

prevalence of premarital sex, but they realized the challenges of

approaching not only young people, but also their communities at large

on this topic.

In the national political context, these issues become even further

complicated. Lebanon has not had a census since the 1950s (or even

since the 1930s depending on which source is quoted) because to know

the exact numbers within each of the 18 different religious sects would

lead to political suicide for some.

It’s also hard to ignore that nearly

20 years of civil war was caused

by tearing apart the delicate balance

between these sects.

While I’m not privy to completely

understanding and demarcating

the underlying sectarianism

of Lebanese society, I

can see its effects in the incapacitated

government and in the selfblame

felt by some Lebanese for

not being more aware of what

was happening within their own

borders. I can see its effects in

their fear of rekindling of civil

war divisions and in the concern

of which areas would be hit first

once all the foreigners had evacuated.

We hear its effects in the

speech of Nasrallah when he says

he didn’t think the kidnappings

would plunge the whole country into conflict. We see it in the strategic

placement of Hezbollah flags throughout the country, yet this reaches

even beyond Lebanon’s borders.

While external bombardment and internal divides were on the

minds of the Lebanese, my family and friends were concerned about

my safety and capacity to leave. As an American passport holder, I

had no options by which to depart outside of holding out hope that

the Israeli army would stop creating potholes in the Beirut airport’s

runways. Syrian visas were only possible from the Syrian consulate in

the US (how handy!) and the only other bordering country is, well,

Israel.

Despite warnings against making hasty decisions in a presumably

hostile, anti-American environment, I ultimately crossed into Syria

once I’d heard they were allowing US citizens passage without prearranged

visas. Once again that reassuring feeling of ease and safety followed

me through to this decision. For a country in cahoots with the

‘axis of evil,’ Syria certainly wasn’t acting like the ‘baddie’ the current

US administration attempted to perpetuate (although Syrian presi


dent Bashar al-Asad’s moustache is a bit Hiter-like in my opinion). My

greater fear would’ve been being trapped for up to ten hours on a boat

filled with hysterical countrymen.

Terror begets terror, but that’s the last thing I felt as I strong-armed

my way through the chaotic Syrian border, crossed and wandered the

streets of Damascus where the flags of the World Cup football teams

were being replaced by those of Hezbollah. It’s also not what I felt as

my Syrian airline agent told me they were open even on Fridays to

handle the influx of foreigners and Lebanese displaced by the assault

occurring next door.

Of equal note is the fact that very few Western media outlets or

diplomats discuss the terrorizing force the Israeli military placed on

the Lebanese people. Yet I find the individuals I come into contact with

in the Middle East to be the least paranoid or fearful. I think in part

because they’re all treated as suspects. They’ve been through the worst

in realizing they’re feared or deemed suspect by others. My Middle

Eastern friends take these attitudes in stride for two reasons: hoping

that one day people will learn and because they simply see it as igno-

rance. Ignorance can be fixed. If people are willing.

When the Fox news correspondent asked me if I was afraid to be in

central Beirut (I was apparently one of few Americans she could still

find in the immediate vicinity), I didn’t know how to answer. I knew

my hesitation implied ‘no’ and that didn’t correlate with the American

media’s image of the Middle East. It also wouldn’t have been fitting to

say the most terrorizing country in the region is in fact Israel, yet that’s

also where the most fearful and paranoid population lives. Funny how

that happens to a country that doesn’t care to understand its neighbours

or seemingly know how to act in a neighbourly fashion.

Instead, perhaps the news correspondent should have asked about

feeling powerless, faithless in the competency of my own government

to handle this situation appropriately. But perhaps that was too complex

of a sound bite for the evening news.

I could sense the US administration knew something more (and nobody

perhaps doubted the carte blanche they would provide to Israel in

this most recent offensive) when I visited the embassy in Beirut. They

were only having citizens fill out

their registration forms while

still carrying out full consular duties

to the Lebanese, from green

cards to non-immigrant visas.

There was no sense of panic. Yet

there was also no sense of needing

to keep people apprised of

the situation. The lackadaisical

attitude with which my queries

were met made me think they

knew something I didn’t and left

me with an unsettling sense of

security. They were tight-lipped,

keeping ignorant those who

didn’t need to know anything

further.

What I despise the most is

the attitude I know I’m subject

to, i.e. ‘why does none of this

surprise me?’ The US provided

its arsenal to Israel to continue


0

its offensive; ignored UN requests to provide safe

passage for aid and for escaping Lebanese; turned a

blatant blind eye on humanitarian law; used excessive

force which supposedly only targeted Hezbollah

strongholds, yet had body counts that painted

a very different picture; gave a simple ‘slap on the

wrist’ to Israel which basically said ‘don’t do that

again, but if you do it’s okay.’ And the list of frustrating

disgust goes on and on.

None of these are surprises, but all parties

involved, outraged and witnessing the above, are

castrated of any ability to influence or change the

course of events. This is what makes me lose faith

that there will ever be peace in the Middle East,

or at least not any peace designed by those actually

living in the Middle East, because it is being

apportioned out via plans that very few actually

are actually privy to, but from which we can all

too readily guess who it is being orchestrated by. A

lack of transparency accompanied by a full view of

the players involved.

The rebirth of Lebanon has been aborted.

While I believe in the resilience of the Lebanese

people and their capacity to rebuild their

country yet again, who am I to say that? And my

high regard for their character shouldn’t serve as

compensation for the onslaught that Lebanon has

endured, for the imposition of fear on yet another

generation.

I’ve apparently taken on a new identity since

my return from Beirut. Wael, one of my impromptu

hosts when the assault began, told me I

was Lebanese. Ultimately, what I think he means

by this is that we share an understanding and sentimentality

(or lack thereof) about the situation and

about the Lebanese. The greatest efforts should be

made towards humanizing and I think that’s where

recovery in the Middle East needs to begin.


Photograph by Brandi Abelle

1


Two Cheap Blazers

and No Band to Interview!:

Backpacking After You Say Party! We Say Die!

By Elliott Lummin

London – May 23, 2006

When I thought of going to see You Say Party! We Say Die! (YSP!) in

London, I pictured very bored British patrons, numbering maybe six

or seven, tiredly sipping beer at the back of the bar while Carmen and

I belted lyrics back at the band on stage. Nothing going on here. Just

some Canadian band and some degenerates that seem to know them.

Instead, it’s an hour before the show and we find ourselves in a “queue”

outside Madame JoJo’s (historical brothel turned punk club) in Soho.

“Wow. Uh. Who’re you here to see?” I ask the girl ahead of us.

“YSP!” The answer is quick, as if it were Grade 1 arithmetic. “They’re

headlining.”

“You’re not serious. You actually know them?”

“Oh ya. They’re a Canadian band that’s been getting some good play

on the radio lately.”

I give a bewildered look to Carmen. No fucking way. Suddenly, the

interview we have scheduled with them in Dublin is no longer on the

same level. It’s not fledgling magazine meets Canadian band struggling

to make it in Europe. They’re already a success.

These feelings of inadequacy are not put to rest once we’re in the

2

club. We make it in time to catch the last opening act and oddly enough

the voice, the lyrics, and the Indie pinup girl vocalist are all familiar.

More than familiar. A taste of home.

“Holy shit. Is that Metric?”

“Oh my god. Metric is opening for YSP! – that’s so backwards.”

Energy levels go from 0 to 100 at this realization and I sing along

with the girl I’ve dreamed of saving from post-punk depression, “Dead

disco, dead funk, dead rock’n’roll!” Then I look around. The Brits are

having none of it. Evidently, music appreciation involves only listening

here. No physical response.

I believe it for a time; the Brits are just uptight. But, my theory is

dashed when YSP! takes the stage.

“What the hell? They’re actually moving now.”

“Maybe the beer is kicking in?” Carmen suggests.

Although tired from exerting ourselves to Metric, we rise. We can

actually dance more comfortably now that the Brits have deemed it

socially acceptable. I sigh, now having to fight for a spot by the stage.


YSP! has what it takes to get the British moving. This is the group we have

to interview in less than a month and we don’t even have any questions

down on paper yet.

Manchester – May 25, 2006

We are in Manchester. So is YSP!. They’re even playing a show at High

Voltage, but we need to get our act together and actually come up with

some semblance of a plan. This morning we picked up the largest music

magazine in the United Kingdom: NME (New Musical Express). Guess who

has a review of their album featured?

We’ve got to stay calm, professional. Carmen has expressed some

concerns about this.

“We’re recording their responses with an iPod and this thing that plugs

into it. They’re going to laugh at us,” he said.

Face down in the pillow of my hostel bunk, I wasn’t very responsive.

After all, there are other problems. Like how we’re going to look.

Manchester has a lot of vintage shops; maybe we can pick up some

cheap blazers. They’re so going to wrinkle in our packs.

Newcastle – May 28, 2006

We’ve missed the Hi-Fi Festival and another chance to snoop on

the band. They’re still getting press in NME.

We need to write up some basic questions, but we’re fucked. We

haven’t got access to a computer here, which means we’ll have to

wait until we get to Ireland. Our buddy, Mark, has a computer at his

place in Bray, but that’s two days before

the show. We don’t even know

what to ask. They’re political right?

Maybe we can work that angle.

Dublin – June 7, 2006

Temple Bar. Nightlife central

in Dublin. We’re stuck outside The

Hub with a loose list of questions,

two cheap blazers, and no band to

interview. Evidently, the bouncer

hasn’t heard that we’re coming.

Fortunately, Becky appears at

the door and she takes us to the

back to meet the rest of the band.

Carmen and I consider dropping to

our knees Wayne and Garth style.

Truly, we are not worthy. But, the

iPod goes on without any laughter

from the band. In fact, they...


Becky Ninkovic - voice

Krista Loewen - keys

Derek Adam - guitar

Stephen O’shea - bass

Bruce (borrowed from Fun 100) – former drummer

…mention the iPod is cool and the interview gets underway.

Memewar: You’ve been described as ‘post punk,’ ‘new

wave,’ and ‘robo riot disco.’ Who influenced you toward

this genre?

Becky: Alvin and the Chipmunks!

Krista: Ariel.


Becky: The Chipettes too. Britney.

Bruce: They never even did any punk covers.

M: You’re a band that claims you’ll play anytime, anywhere.

Krista: No, no.

M: You don’t like this policy?

Krista: We used to.

Steve: When Derek joined the band he coined this phrase for us. Because

at that time, we were playing anywhere, anytime, anything. But

then, this guy interviewed us and said: “So would you play at Hitler’s

birthday party?” That’s it. We were done. But we definitely like to play

all kinds of gigs, all ages.

Becky: Like playing kids’ birthday parties and basement shows.

M: Any really strange shows?

Steve: We’ve played a lot of birthdays. One all the way out in Hope

once.

Bruce: We played a show in Abbotsford with Joey, these forty-year-olds

who played Tom Petty covers.

M: These birthday shows, how would you book something

like that?

Krista: Well, we played an all ages show at the Ukrainian hall in Vancouver

and this kid just asked us jokingly to play his birthday. But we were

like, ‘Yeah, we’ll do it.’

Steve: Our attitude is just ask us and we’ll probably do it.

M (Carmen and Elliott in unison): So, yeah, we’re having a

release party for the next magazine.

Steve: Time and place?

M: October 19th at the Marine Club.

Steve: Aw, we’re probably on tour. We’ll be playing with Thunderbirds

Are Now!

M: That’s about when you’re releasing the Fall EP, right?

Becky: Yeah. Bummer.

M: In terms of promoting, how have you found things here

in Europe? We’ve found that people handing out flyers here

are a lot more aggressive. There just seems to be a lot more

music, a lot more artists that wouldn’t get the time of day

back home.

S: You walk down Granville on any given night? They’re always handing

out stuff.

M: Granville Street, for sure. But, promotions are everywhere

here.

Steve: Yeah, the infrastructure here in the UK and Europe is impressive.

Becky: They have a totally different advertising system.

Steve: We played Berlin and we were told that they weren’t able to

put up posters, because it costs $400 dollars just to put one up in one

subway station. So it’s all internet and word-of-mouth.

M: And yet you guys have had such a good response over

here. We were at your show in London.

Steve: Yeah. It’s so refreshing here because people are so excited about

music. Of course, soccer...football comes first. But music is second. I

find music takes such a back seat in Vancouver. There are a lot of other

things that hold a higher priority.

M: Like what?

Steve (laughing): Multiculturalism.

M: Damn that multiculturalism.

Bruce (speaking directly into the iPod): For the record, we are totally


against multiculturalism.

Steve: What I mean is that it’s just neat to see a culture that orders its

values a little differently. Plus, it’s one that seeks out music in live venues,

whereas North Americans might just get it off MTV.

Becky: Back home you wouldn’t meet an average 55 year old out at a

show.

Bruce: That lady last night was 55? She told me she was way younger.

We all make fun of Bruce and his British cougar until talk eventually

turns back to the European music scene.

Steve: It’s totally different. Back home, it took months after our album

came out before the Georgia Strait even wanted to do a story.

Becky: Of course, in Canada it doesn’t matter if you’re a Canadian

band or not. But over here, it’s such a huge thing to be Canadian. Everybody

knows The Arcade Fire.

Krista: Everybody here always asks us if we know them. I always tell

them that they’re East Coast. We’re thousands of miles apart.

Time to bring out the big guns. The political stuff.

M: Listening to your album, we got the sense that you’re politically

motivated. Part of the new optimism that’s been lost

in a lot of music. Do you see yourselves as revolutionaries?

Steve: No, no. We’re just kids from the suburbs.

Krista: Somebody talked to us about this the other night. We’re not

revolutionaries; we’re just being ourselves.

Insert the sound of a toilet flushing, because that’s our entire angle

and the entire interview going straight down the chute. I look

at Carmen and I know he’s thinking what I’m thinking: throw

down smoke-bombs and make a quick getaway.

M: Wow. Really. Uh, because we thought the lyrics in “The

6

Gap” and “Rise” were really an example of this.

Steve: Well, of course, we see the injustices out there and we want to

make a difference. We’re definitely aware.

Krista (questioning Steve’s answer through laughter): What?

Steve: It just isn’t what we’re all about. See, The Gap was an original

idea that Krista and I had when we were both poli-sci majors. But

when the five of us got together, we couldn’t ask Becky to sing the

lyrics that we were writing for her. Besides, Becky’s lyrics are subtly

political. More personally political.

M: Funny, because that’s the one song that everybody seems

to know you by. It was the first track that I heard.

Steve: Oh, of course. My fear is that people will hear the single and

say, ‘They’re a political band’, then listen to the rest of the album and

be like, ‘Where is it?’. We went through a year and a half of growth,

which was when these songs were written. So, it really isn’t an accurate

portrayal of who we are now. We’re five really different people in

one band. When we voted on whether we should be a political band or

not, it was three against two.

There we have it. Our exact mistake described in precise detail.

M (to Bruce): Do you have anything to add on there? You

looked like you wanted to speak. And since you’re such a

democratic band...

Bruce: Just the part about revolution, I don’t necessarily think there’s

anything revolutionary about us.

Krista: Well, we’re definitely about the optimism.

M: We’d describe your version of resistance as optimistic. It’s

bubble gum punk. The militant packaged in a bubble gum

wrapping.

Steve: People don’t want it crammed down their throats. In that sense,

we’re reaching more people, the ‘mainstream people,’ with the bubble


gum packaging.

M: But then is there anything lost from the message? Was

there anything more that you wanted to cram into that song

to make it more hard hitting?

Bruce: I’d be surprised if most people even cared about the political

message in that song, rather than it just has a dance beat.

Steve: For the Gap video, I wanted to go absolutely extreme. Every

time the words “the gap” were mentioned, I wanted to see an image

of the store and then, when we said “the poor”, a picture of starving

people and the homeless. But because we’re a democratic band, I was

out-voted.

M: Ah, so you’re the one with the narrowed vision. The crazy

one.

Steve: I’m extreme with two X’s.

Krista: No. You just speak in absolutes.

M: You’ve mentioned that the political element to your music

was inspired by injustices you saw. Were these local Vancouver

issues?

Krista: Well, the problem is that it’s everywhere. But for me anyway,

the sentiment for “The Gap” came from time spent in international aid.

I worked for an organization called Hope International which works

with communities at the grassroots level.

M: Alright, giving up on the politics, what can we expect

from the Fall EP?

Bruce: *Burp*

Steve: That’s it pretty much. But maybe a baser burp.

Becky: We really don’t know what to expect either.

Steve: We borrowed Bruce from Fun 100 and Devon from Cadeaux will

be our new drummer. The plan is to do about six songs. We’ve got

three written already. So, the Fall EP will be the beginning of that transition.

It’ll be what it is when it’s done. Just like the current album. It

exceeded our wildest dreams.

M: Now, a lot of Vancouver bands are really jealous that

you’re doing this European tour – and they’re jealous of

your success in general. I mean, Metric opened for you in London!

Any tips for making the transition to over here?

Steve: It was so peculiar because Metric is so huge back home! Something

like that would never happen in Canada. They’re really such nice

people. About the Vancouver bands...we genuinely feel bad because

it’s not like we did anything right. All we can do is recommend that

you submit your album to as many university radio stations as possible

and tour like crazy. That’s the only way to make it in Canada. But as

for abroad…

M: What’s the first step?

Steve: It’s so much easier. Everything just seems to happen so much

faster. The response from the crowd was just unexpected. Travelling

is the big difference. The drive from Vancouver to Calgary is 12 to 14

hours. But to drive into another country here is just 2 hours. Also,

we were just lucky. We played Pop Montreal, which we thought we

were lucky to get into. That lead to us getting to South By Southwest,

which we thought we were lucky to get into. And the British press saw

us there and we got invited over here. Everything has just been pure

luck.

Krista: Well, a lot of people do deserve the credit, but we did have to

believe in ourselves –that we could do it and pull it off.

Steve: When we got together the dream was to play Abbotsford and

maybe play Vancouver one day. Now, there’s talk about releasing our

next album in Japan. It’s the suburban dream and we don’t know why

we’re the five lucky people who got it. It’s just been the culmination of

the five of us coming together.

With the interview winding down, we didn’t waste any time on

apologizing profusely for endlessly driving at the angle of the opti-


mistic political band. The iPod off,

Steve revealed that the band’s “any

time, any where” policy had undergone

further revision since the

debut of their album. Abbotsford,

their hometown, was now the only

place they could name shows off the

beaten path. A byproduct of good

music, evidently. Success breeds exclusivity.

Still, it was good to see, in spite

of the new policy in place, that YSP!

truly was the group of suburban

kids they claimed to be. We talked

hockey and America’s Funniest

Home Videos. They even hooked us

up with drink tickets. After parting

ways, Carmen and I shared our

relief at not facing a band drunk on

success, but one still thanking their

lucky stars for the chance to play.

Later, when the band took the

stage, we were fortunate to see their

democracy at work. It was interesting

to watch as Steve, the one who

had been the most vocal during the

interview, take a back seat role on

stage. Instead, it was Derek, the guitar

player who had wandered in and

out of the interview without comment,

that, together with Becky,

worked the crowd. It was an Irish

crowd this time, one that took the

British enthusiasm farther; farther,

even, than my own enthusiasm.

They had the lyrics memorized and

they sang them back to the stage.

I couldn’t hear myself as I tried to

keep up with Becky, “You Say Party!

We Say Die!”


You Say Party?

We Say Party!

“Hit The Floor!”

A Suitable Title!

Carmen Papalia

I was listening to the radio a couple months ago and this caller was spouting off about Vancouver’s

indie scene. He used words like “dismal”, “lethargic” and “non-existant”, then chuckled

and concluded it must be due to “their shitty weather.” He continued, “I mean, what’s the

last good CD that came from a Vancouver band? Everything’s happening out east—The Arcade

Fire, Wolf Parade, Broken Social Scene.” With this, I proceeded to shut the radio off and sat writhing

in annoyance.

The answer that leapt out of my chest was You Say Party!, We Say Die!’s “Hit The Floor”. At that time it had been in my CD Player for a good six

weeks and I was already humming tunes in elevators. “The gap, the gap, the gap, the gap” blared out of my headphones on the 135 up to SFU. As

I shuffled through YSP’s short, but oh so sweet, energy-infused tracks, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something “crying to be let out” of

the band’s 2004 full-length.

The CD begins with an intro that establishes mood and perhaps the temperature of the band—church-bells and angelic voices are broken by

an explosion and crackling tongues of fire. Then bouncy synth taps and bass provoke a momentum and excitement that bleeds into the next track,

“Cold Hands, Hot Bodies”. Becky Ninkovic launches into a high-powered “rallying of the troops” and we hear a hungry crowd, knocking pints,

ready for a sweaty rock show. I recall Becky’s game-face as she guns off a set of routine gymnastic stretches—a reminder to her audience that

tonight dancing is manditory. “Heat, I got heat for you,” she repeats, and prepares the crowd for “Stockholm Syndrome Pt.1 and 2,” two tracks that

build to magnificent guitar-driven crechendoes. “Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, break it, break it, break it, break it!” and you’re fuelled with

the good stuff and ready to burn. Then three very sing-a-longable tracks follow—the bouncy “You Did It”, the militant “The Gap”, and the sexy

“Midnight Snack”. However it is “The Gap” that gets crowds of hipster kids shouting punk politics as they rock the dance-floor in black sneakers.

Note: If you are fortunate enough to both own the CD and live in Vancouver, travel across any bridge while listening to “The Gap”. You just might

be physically crossing the “gap between the rich and the poor”.

“Love In The New Millenium” follows as YSP switches gears, giving listeners just enough time to breathe, but only for a second. Then the quick

and glitchy, repetative guitar of “Jazz Crabs” picks up the pace once again, and the energy behind “Rise!” inspires an inextinguishable motivation.

The CD closes with “Don’t Wait Up” a track that begins with playful synth beats that quickly melt away into heavy guitar, transforming the song

into a hard-hitting stomper—Perhaps telling listeners to hurry the fuck up and catch the train, because this band won’t wait up!

There’s a reason why You Say Party! We Say Die! feels the need to cram in as many exclamation marks as they can—Hit The Floor!” buzzes with

a brand of energy that most bands lack these days. Be sure to pick up their disc and catch a show if you can, and remember—for maximum enjoyment,

crank it loud, sing-a-long and dance like a maniac!


0

Submit your work

or vomit

Art, Photography, Poetry, Essays, Fiction, Creative-Non Fiction,

and Creative Combinations

memewar@gmail.com

Upcoming Themes

Issue # : Gender

Deadline November 1 th

Issue # : The Future

Other themes

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Altered States

Image by Ryan Flowers www.memewaronline.com


you’ve been

Brandi Abele lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a parttime

student at ECIAD and is currently exploring art though the forms

photography and dance.

Chelsea Crooks is a Geography student at Simon Fraser University.

She is currently sleeping with one of the editors of Memewar.

Ryan Flowers is an artist, musician and postman that gives it 100%

in a musical group called in medias res. He is currently investigating the

next evolution of humanity. He is also in search of a wife.

Neal Kansay is originally from the Okanagan. He has done sketch

comedy, written fiction, authored essays and chopped mushrooms.

Jim Knipfel is the author of “Slackjaw,” “The Buzzing,” and some

other books, too. He is presently in search of gainful employment.

Amanda C. Lee has travelled to and from the Middle East for the

past five years. She collects master’s degrees with the longest possible

titles. She hopes to continue her work examining the reproductive and

sexual health behaviours of young people and is open to researching

regions with shorter names.

Andrew Lee is one bad mother fucker. He studies English and Art

& Culture at Simon Fraser University. He has a pet tortoise, a motorcycle,

and a girlfriend. Andrew also has aspirations to change the world

by playing music in the punk rock outfit in medias res. www.imr.ca

Lip Served by:

Erin Millar makes her home in the gaybourhood of Toronto,

though her heart lives in Vancouver. She got her start in publishing as

the editor of the Cap Courier at Capilano College and is now the president

of the Canadian University Press. Although her bachelor degree

is in jazz music, Erin freelances when she can, is a columnist for Canadian

Dimension magazine, and enjoys spicy salami and a good strong

cheese.

Matt Rader is the author of Miraculous Hours, a book of poems.

He lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and daughter.

Jordan Somers is Ninjoetry –he was Valentino The Robot and

very shortly he will return to just himself. A tad boring perhaps, a tad

bruised, but not down for the count –just yet.

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and chair of

the David Suzuki Foundation. He is an officer of the Order of Canada

and a recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for science, the United

Nations Environment Program medal, and Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is

Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver

and holds 14 honorary degrees from universities around the world.

Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife, Dr. Tara Cullis, and family in Vancouver,

BC.

Rob Taylor lives in Port Moody and recently released a chapbook,

Splattered Earth. You can buy a copy and read a bunch more free poems

at rollofnickels.blogspot.com.

1


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