Commentary | Letters: Vacuum existence, hippies, apartheid, Masi, Ann Coulter, cats, and pills

I’m so over it, really

Re: “Women in red rated sexier” | Sci+Tech | Nov. 17

I’m sick of the pursuit of knowledge being framed as ideologically innocent. Hello! Neither the researchers, nor their hypotheses, nor their methods, nor their conclusions exist in a vacuum. They are not insulated from the societal norms that have been inculcated – to the point of invisibility – into all of our tiny brains.

Apart from providing some over-educated assholes with a wad of cash and perpetuating the naturalization of desire and heterosexuality, how the shit is this study useful? The last thing we need is more research supporting the truth of the reproductive imperative and the subsequent violence it imposes on non-conforming bodies.

This statement, “The stereotype claiming men are prone to primitive instincts is partly right,” is just fucked up. What precedent does a claim like this set? Maybe one that legitimizes male sexual violence. The word “partly” does not absolve one of the responsibility for the consequences of their research or your journalism.

Stop publishing this crap. I’m so over it.

Lisa Miatello

U3 Women’s Studies

Addressing the Public Editor’s confusion and naivety

Re: “Addressing The Daily’s uniform content and uninviting nature” | Commentary | Nov. 20

While Marc Selles’s criticism of The Daily seemed articulate and thought-out, reading through it a bit deeper we can see that it’s just a bunch of confusion and naivety piled up so high that it appears grandeur.

Selles spoke of “diversity of students of McGill” in a very abstract and philistine manner, criticizing The Daily for failing to represent this diversity. He dreams of an ideal news outlet that is purely objective and representative and exists in vacuum from the unequal power relation we have in our society. Concretely, what Marc asks is that The Daily also becomes the news outlet for the prejudice perpetuated by the current mainstream media and tone down itself so that it become a powerless media in the face of the status quo.

If the chatter around campus is that The Daily alienates (or irks) different section of students and the McGill community, then The Daily has done its job very well by rattling the cage of prejudice in our society. For every person that the paper alienates when it covers a certain topic, there are ten who are on the fence and are willing to pick up The Daily to learn more about the issue from an alternative perspective. If The Daily ever becomes a newspaper that represents the diversity of McGill community as Marc dreams of, then it ceases to become a media that recognizes the unequal power relation in our society.

Is The Daily biased? Yes, The Daily is the news outlet for the marginalized ideas and it should be proud of it. We have to understand that all media and education are biased and cater to certain sets of ideas. Those who claim to represent the diversity of the society are using the cloak of objectivity to stuff their ideas down our throats, and the ruling elite of status quo is fond of doing just that.

Ted Sprague

Master’s II Chemistry

Stop polluting environmental discourse

Re: “The pollution of hyperactive environmentalists” | Commentary | Nov. 17

I’m not particularly convinced that Ricky Kreinter’s commentary about the over-romanticized hippy, supposedly running rampant on McGill, adds anything new to the discussion. The time for this kind of comedic treatment of environmentalism is long past. I’m no journalist, Ricky, but I have an eye for quality and this did not fit.

Sure, “environment,” “sustainability,” and “green” are overused buzzwords, and yes, moral alarmism makes me nauseous too. But then let’s treat these trends as positive and criticize them with superior information, not a hey-get-off-my-back-man attitude. What does buying a carton of milk have to do with your “guilty conscience?”

As an example of the maturation of this sometimes juvenile process, I offer our own campus. Having spent three years among geography and environment students and a year at Macdonald Campus, I can confidently say McGill churns out nothing but self-examining, sometimes disillusioned, but always striving environmentalists. Because that’s what academia does – stomps down idealism with realism. As Christopher Green tells his students in Economics of Climate Change, “In this class, you have to keep your nerve, or get out.”

Cuba is still trendy, right? Organic farming and top-rate health care? Well, my dad was born in Cuba, and my grandma had to haul buckets of hot water to the bath and he’s been careful about wasting water since. Does he make other people feel bad about their habits? I’m not trying to water board your humor Ricky (because I don’t know you), but this gets right at the heart of the matter: trying to reduce waste and want in a culture and economy that resist should be commonplace pursuit – not a fad.

Elan Spitzberg

U2 Geography

Mookie’s mincing words

Re: “Culture Shock should embrace both sides” | Commentary | Nov. 20

I’m not about to argue over the truth of whether or not Israel is indeed an apartheid state, but Kideckel’s characterization of the use of the word “apartheid” in human rights discourse as “throw[ing] around buzzwords” is extremely ignorant.

Apartheid is not a “buzzword.” It’s a crime against humanity defined by international law – please refer to the 1973 Crime of Apartheid Convention – and thus can be legitimately applied to cases other than South Africa if it is considered that the evidence exists.

Also, it’s not anti-Semitic to question certain Israeli policies. Kideckel takes a huge logical leap when he writes that characterizing Israel as an apartheid state amounts to denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, because it does not. It amounts to denying the Israeli government the right to contravene international law.

Vladi Ivanov

U2 IDS

Volumes of administrative silence

I have to say that I’m disappointed in the McGill administration. I sent in letters to the editors of The McGill Daily and The McGill Tribune that were published several weeks ago (November 13 and 11, respectively) regarding Provost Anthony Masi and the issue of the independence of McGill’s ombudsperson.

I wrote that Masi was responsible for preventing then-ombudsman Norman Miller from testifying before a Quebec Labour Tribunal on behalf of Dr. Norman Cornett, whose classes were previously cancelled “for the good of students.”

As I said, it’s been several weeks and several issues later, yet it appears as though the administration is simply ignoring the matter. There has been no response from the administration to my letter in either paper, and their silence speaks volumes.

However, since they haven’t responded yet, I’m asking them point blank for an answer. Did Anthony Masi prevent Norman Miller from testifying before the Quebec Labour Tribunal? If not, say so. If yes, justify it. Keeping quiet won’t make the issue go away.

Aly Jivraj

BA ‘07 IDS

To our dismay, Zoog reappears

Hello Daily, Hello All, Hello World (to be read in a sombre tone):

I have uncovered a REAL conspiracy this time: McGill classes line up all important assignments/exams/etc. at the same time in order to induce depression and psychotic episodes in the student body. Students then RUSH to McGill Mental Health, thus giving $$ back to McGill in the form of medical insurance. But seriously, all my friends are either teetering on the edge of sanity or too far gone to be saved. Can’t The Daily do anything about this? Can’t ANYONE do anything? I feel helpless in a world of unfinished essays, over-the-phone suicidal dilemmas, alcoholism, and anxious self-torture. Where has all the love gone? Where has everything gone? This campus has been taken over by zombies!!! If you’re beginning to feel infected, write Zoog at devon.welsh@mail.mcgill.ca.

I wanna be sedated!!!!!!!!

Love, Zoog

Devon Welsh

U2 Religious Studies, Drama & Theatre

Don’t you dare talk about my main woman like that

Re: You’re not fooling anyone | Commentary | Nov.24

Two things, Jordan:

First of all, your statement that “Republicans do not migrate north to escape liberalism” is fundamentally flawed. As my esteemed roommate Elliot brings up, a maverick such as myself cannot be held to such conventional patterns of human behaviour. Even I don’t have any idea which direction I may be migrating on any given day.

Secondly, you can insult me all you like. Call me a liar again. Go ahead. I’ve got thick skin. But don’t you dare speak ill of Anne Coulter! Not only is she my main woman, she’s a woman of wealth and taste! And to defend her honour I would normally challenge you to a duel. However, I’m feeling pro-life today, so I’ll give you the choice of settling things the old fashioned way: on the dance floor. Know that should you accept, you best be bringing your A-Game, because my Charleston will blow your mind.

Jordan, let me modestly propose that the next time you write a letter, design it a little more intelligently. Because you did a whole lot of assuming in your last one, and all it did was prove the old saying concerning assumptions.

Conservatively yours,

Logan Clark

U2 Political Science

Enough with the cats

Re: “Rosemont borough institutes a three-cat limit” | News | Nov. 24

I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand this newspaper. I’ve tried, I have read The Daily on a regular basis during my four years at McGill, but I just don’t get why the editorial team feels that an article about limiting the number of cats per household in a Montreal neighbourhood is front page news. Yi Ariel Liu, you are a clear and competent writer, but this article doesn’t deserve to be on the first page of the section.

Liu’s article, in my opinion, highlights a bigger problem concerning the scope of The Daily. You are a campus newspaper – why are Ryan Mackeller’s article on SSMU workers and the itinerary for World AIDS Week pages behind the cats? Articles concerning issues and events on campus deserve more attention from The Daily.

At this point, I read this newspaper when I want to be entertained by the bizarre and mundane articles masquerading as news. When I want to know about what is actually happening on campus, I read The Tribune.

Allison McNeely

U3 Political Science

Doing crosswords = crazy pills

Re: “Musical Misdemeanors” | Compendium | Nov. 17

Am I the only one who noticed that the clues for this crossword don’t match up with the squares? And that they are in fact the exact same clues as Monday the November 10’s “Themeless?” I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

Zoe Belk

U1 Linguistics

[Ed’s note: Yep. We printed the correct crossword, clues, and solution in the November 20 issue.]

Thanks for sending The Daily your letters this semester, everybody! Now, for the last time in 2008, feast your eyes on the mighty Post-Letters-Blurb: Please send your 300-word-or-less letters to letters@mcgilldaily.com. The Daily’s doesn’t print letters that are hateful in any way. Peace.


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