Commentary | Letters: Yet more on Obamadness, bushmeat, St. Henri, and monster trucks

You’re not fooling anyone

Re: “Previewing Obamadness” | Commentary | Nov. 17

Oh please. You, the obviously hard-core Republican-wannabe that you are, moved to Canada to escape a Democratic infiltration of your beloved red, white, and blue United States of America? You moved to Canada to escape that “commie, pinko, lefty” Barack Obama and his wily, idealistic, Democratic Party? You moved to Canada to escape to the epitome of what the Republicans are afraid of: some socialist, push-over, make-love-not-war nation?

I think, quite frankly, that you are lying through your teeth. Republicans do not migrate north to escape liberalism.

I also am of the opinion that the human race, collectively, is rather afraid of Anne Coulter, and though she may construe stories that keep Fox News talking for months, I don’t think anyone, in their right mind or not, would call her their “main woman,” unless that was immediately followed by an “April Fools.”

Since it is not April, and since there are so many inconsistencies in your very intriguing letter, I am forced to be of the opinion that this is just some weird Poli Sci project you are working on. Well congratulations, you got a response. Good luck on that when your whole assignment is based on an analogy to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Jordan Graham

U0 Arts & Science

Feminism cheapened

Re: “You can write, but you can’t think” | Commentary | Nov. 13

Any who have followed the letters written in response to The Daily’s recent article on “Meatogyny” may have spotted the bit of hate mail Mr. Kreitner dedicated to me. In it, he attacks my use of honour killings of Indian women in some of the most thoroughly vegetarian societies in the world as a counter-example to Iacurti’s hypothesis that meat eating is tied up with maleness and by that extension with misogyny. Kreitner informs me that examples from other cultures are off limits and are a product of my inability to think.

It is baffling to me that one could speak of feminism, a global struggle, in such parochial terms. It’s as though he believes there exists some cognitive barrier between here and “the East” (where those mystical easterners live), and where there are no real women suffering under patriarchal society. To claim that an assertion regarding the fundamental nature of misogyny cannot be challenged using examples from other cultures is an undisguised appeal to ethnocentrism, a sentiment for which one ought to have no sympathy.

The real ugliness behind the arguments of both Kreitner and Iacurti is that they believe that there is “something sadistic in [male] nature, that…manifests itself in racism, environmental decay, war and class structure.” To say that environmentalism falls under feminist theory is to say that maleness is pollution. To conflate distinct issues with the word “meatogyny” is to cheapen the successes of feminism.

They don’t realize that in promoting the notion that social evils are a result of maleness, they help to lock a new generation of women into the same stereotypes of fragility, victimization, and Victorian helplessness that help to keep them subservient. Freedom includes freedom to do wrong, and one cannot advocate equality while curtailing our understanding of women to the good and angelic, as we would children.

Santiago Perez

U2 Sociology

You should’ve come to me before The Daily

Re: “Intensive English classes should be gun-free” | Commentary | Nov. 17

As the Program Coordinator for McGill University’s Special Intensive English program, I was shocked by the lurid headline “Intensive English classes should b e gun-free,” as well as by the accompanying contents of Mr. Andri Cahyadi’s Hyde Park of November 17. Cahyadi turns an activity where a Montreal police officer comes to speak about his job to students learning English into a threatening presentation about 9-mm guns.

Our program invites many guest speakers from various professions and walks of life. These have included city councillor and human rights activist Warren Allmand, environmentalists, film-makers, representatives from various cultural communities in Montreal, and professional Irish story tellers. We are trying to expose our students to the diversity of Montreal life and culture. One afternoon actvity did indeed include a police officer who spoke about the different levels of policing Quebec and what his job involves.

While Cahyadi admits that many students were interested in the presentation and asked questions, he goes on to call the presentation an “intimidating and unnecessary message to deliver to international students” (though he never says what the “message” is) and implies that he and the other students were forced to listen to it because they were not Canadian citizens.

The teacher who organized the event stated to me that the police officer never took his gun out, but Cahyadi goes so far as to label a presentation about policing in Montreal (and can even the most progressive society do away with policing completely?) as “militarism.”

Normally, when students are unhappy with some aspect of our curriculum, they come to speak with me, and I try to address their concerns. Cahyadi ignored this route and chose instead to air his personal complaint in a public forum. In doing so, he misrepresents both the nature of the activity he describes and the pedagogical integrity of the Special Intensive English program.

Kevin Callahan

Program Coordinator – Special

Intensive English

Waterman, quit perpetuating harmful “African” notions!

Re: “Bushmeat brings disease from African jungles” | Sci+Tech | Nov. 17

Monday’s article “Bushmeat brings disease from African jungles” expressed an extremely poor understanding of the epidemiology of emerging infectious diseases.

In the recent past, we as a global community have encountered the emergence of many infectious diseases, including: Avian flu, Legionnaire’s disease, Lyme disease, HIV/AIDS, Ebola virus, human “mad cow disease,” the Nipah virus, West Nile fever, and SARS. In their article, “Risk factors for human disease emergence,” authors Taylor et al. report that 75 per cent of such diseases are zoonotic – that is they were diseases found in animals (birds, cows, mice, etc.) and have adapted to cause infection in human hosts. The expansion of the habitat of the anopheles mosquito (malaria vector) due to climate change or ticks carrying Lyme disease for example, represents a far greater threat to human populations than the trade of “African bushmeat.”

Not only was the “science” reported in the article unsupported, but also communicated no understanding of the complex historical, cultural, economic, and political realities that lead to the spread of the HIV virus from central Africa to North America, and the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. By failing to discuss this history, the article served only to perpetuate harmful notions of “Africans” as inhumane killers and consumers of wildlife. Attributing the emergence of the HIV epidemic to the hunting and consumption of “bushmeat” is reductionism at its worst.

International trade, migration, and travel are characteristics of today’s globalized world. With this comes increased human interaction and the potential for the spread of infectious diseases – however, it would be more accurate to describe fear and ignorance as drivers of diseases such as HIV/AIDS than the “bushmeat trade” out of the so-called “African jungle.” As far as I can tell, this article achieved nothing but to encourage of such fear and ignorance.

Jamie Lundine

U3 African Studies & Honours

Geography

Director, McGill Global AIDS

Coalition

Aditi says hi to Sarah!

Re: “Vice’s wisdom on the working class”; “Please stop laughing” | Commentary | Oct. 27; Nov. 20

Hi Sarah! I’m glad you appreciated my writing enough to shit on it multiple times. Keeping with the theme of my apparent naïveté, you have responded to my article (twice!) with just as ignorant an approach as the one you have accused me of perpetrating.

Being a student who has made the choice to live in St. Henri, I would think it likely that you admire its varied cultural amenities – I am surprised by your disdain for my willingness to point them out. As well, I felt I made a concerted effort to include at least a glimpse of the area’s roots and recent history in my piece. With this in mind, you must acknowledge that “Bursting the Bubble” is a series written for McGill students who are alien to Montreal’s geography and cultural context. What I felt was an outsider’s objective description of a specific manifestation of the gentrification process, you have narrowly typified as “fetishizing poverty.” What’s more, had I written the same thing about a non-working-class neighbourhood, I’ll bet you wouldn’t have flipped two shits.

That Vice quote didn’t make me look like quite the dumb hipster you would insist I am. Your stereotyping is just as dangerous as the mode of thoughtless objectification of history, economy, and social history you are attempting to criticize. Rather than offering a valid piece of insight, you proceeded to “cobble together [80] words” in a thinly-veiled attempt at a clever insult. Nothing more than a cheap shot.

Thanks for the counter-productive criticism, fellow Urban Systems student! Maybe I’ll see you “on your fixie” as I continue on my supposedly ceaseless quest to track the growth of “the Creative Class” in St. Henri.

Aditi Ohri

U1 Women’s Studies and Urban Systems

Dude, I was monsterly disappointed

Re: “Appetite for destruction” | Commentary | Nov. 10

I’d like to respectfully disagree with some of Ian Beattie’s points on Monster Spectacular. There are some important things that people should know:

It is excruciatingly loud. Imagine someone chain-sawing your head open for three and a half hours and you’ll get the idea.

Not enough stuff was destroyed, at least in 2007. Maybe it was better this year, I don’t know. But I didn’t go this year because last year, they only blew up one trailer. They kept asking “Voulez-vous de la destruction?” but they never delivered even though we always said “OUI.”

The first part is woefully boring. It’s souped-up tractors racing against each other. Tractor racing is not a spectator sport.

I know you said Megasaurus was disappointing, but you needed to emphasize it more: Megasaurus is a HUGE let down. They promise you a fire-breathing demon with a fearsome wrath and endless bloodthirst, and you get a robotic doofus that lacks basic motor skills.

I really wanted to love Monster Spectacular, and I’m open to going to another monster truck rally in another city, but I found Montreal’s Monster Spectacular sorely disappointing.

Sean Wood

U1 Humanistic Studies

Information for Manosij

Re: “Clarification for Charles” | Commentary | Nov. 20

I shouldn’t speak on behalf of Charles Mostoller in response to Manosij Majumdar, but I guess I’ll do it anyway.

It could easily be argued that India has colonized the indigenous people of the Andaman Islands off of Bengal. He may have also been refering to the case of scheduled tribes on the Indian mainland. Whether they are being colonized outright seems a little more ambiguous than the case of the Andamanese, but there is no ambiguity in regards to the exploitation of their land.

Brian Webber

U3 Linguistics

A lot more letters were received for this issue than could be printed. They’ll appear in our last issue of the semester, which comes out next Monday. Send your letters to letters@mcgilldaily.com, and keep them to 300 words. The Daily does not print letters that are racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise hateful.


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