A couple of times a week, I go to the Redpath Library to read and get some work done— pretty standard stuff, I would imagine. Every few hours, I take a break to drink Coke Zero out of a bottle (the one in my rez cafeteria is totally different, it’s a fountain) and as I do, perhaps out of masochism, I read the McGill Daily. It’s the student newspaper, and it’s infuriating.
There was recently some controversy around the school about the closure of the Arch Cafe, a student-run cafe that was apparently incredible, which was closed by the administration (presumably due to insufficient profits) amid feverish protest. Signs were waved; chants were shouted; activism was activated. It’s been pretty hard to go around campus without seeing at least a few Sharpie-scrawled posters reading “TIME TO LISTEN.” Food services were boycotted… Although the line for falafel and soup looked just as long to me.
(300 students attended the protest below… out of 23 000 undergraduates.)
While community-based passion is not in and of itself problematic, it’s the nature of presentation I find irritating. In the bathrooms of the library, there are posters encouraging a protest against open-pit mining wallpapering the stalls. As I washed my hands, I was left with the overwhelming sense of “is this really any of my goddamn business?”
And then, in the said-same issue of the Daily, I read this.
The motions passed included a mandate for SSMU to refer to itself as the “Students’ Society of The Educational Institute Roughly Bounded by Peel, Penfield, University, Sherbrooke, and Mac Campus” (SSTEIRBBPPUSAMC) for the duration of 2010 […] In response to the administration’s recent movement to disassociate the McGill name with certain clubs and services, the motion regarding liability detailed a plan for SSMU to refer to itself as SSTEIRBBPPUSAMC. Author Eli Freedman defended the resolution, saying, “This is a joke, but it is a joke with a very serious punchline. I personally find [the administration’s actions] to be belittling to the students. … Using the new title will force an uncomfortable conversation with the administration.
Now, I’m sure that Freedman and those who voted in favour of the resolution are intelligent and well-informed people, but just like painting your room black and forcing your parents to call you Starwalker, this doesn’t look like intelligent discourse. This looks infantile and ridiculous, and isn’t going to illicit a response among the Provost of McGill beyond a raised eyebrow, possibly a chuckle, and a joke to the effect of “the artist formerly known as Prince.”
Maybe it’s just a university mentality, but it seems to me that everyone envisions themselves as these magnificent engines for social change, when really, they’re just throwing a temper tantrum. An Iranian protesting a sham of an election amidst gunfire and riots is activism; this is nothing more than self-aggrandizing and feeding egos.
Everyone’s out to “fight the man,” the “great oppressor,” but looking around the basement cafeteria, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find anyone that could be described as oppressed. The residences are devoted to Safer Space (formerly Safe Space, but “no residence can ever be completely safe from harassment”); you are legally entitled to hand in any assignment in two languages; there’s a society dedicated to every ethnic and religious group with enough members to form one; even those douchebags who put Hitler mustaches on Obama and the Queen are allowed to hand out fliers by the gates.
(pictured below: McGill students, suffering.)
No, we are not oppressed: we are narcissistic and self-serving, obsessed with the power to which we feel we are entitled. You’d think that a community of the brightest young minds in Canada would have the insight to understand how little the “rebellious” actions of a group of extremely privileged students (both in terms of quality of academics and quality of life) mean to the administration.
I mean, if the Arch Cafe was so fucking good, why didn’t you eat there more often? Maybe then it would have had the money to support itself.
I probably shouldn’t read the newspaper anymore because it makes me angry.
St. Catherine’s Street smells different from the rest of Montreal— the whole city smells of car exhaust and wet leaves and fat squirrels (autumn, I guess.) Depending on who you ask, the street is named for the patron saint of unmarried girls or firefighters. On some romantic level, I assumed it was just the smell of decadence: of strip clubs and maxi-level-interconnected-malls, of sketchy deps and questionable ethnic supermarkets; the air hangs thick with blue, vaguely dark, magic.
This afternoon I realized that it just smells like cigarettes.
Feeling a tiny bit disillusioned, to be honest.
I play synth; we all play synth
no problem! I love Russell Brand, you love Russell Brand— it was inevitable. :D
thank you! I guess I can start thinking of myself as a song in a major key, or something. no time for metaphors, though! I’ve got a question to answer!
I don’t know much about flowers, but I would probably like to have a big bunch of poppies, some red and some yellow. Number one, because they have no smell, which is good because I don’t like smelly things; number two, because they are cute.
They would make me think of… well, flowers, mostly. But that’s good enough for me. :D