October 28, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 32  

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Nurses not to blame

Re: "Some private health services would help," Oct. 24, 2003

To The Editor:

I agree with Mr. Macfarlane when he notes the current health care system in Ontario is in need of restructuring, but I believe he misses the mark when he states that we do not need more "lazy, useless" nurses, but instead more doctors. If Macfarlane were a concerned consumer of health services in Ontario, he may recognize that problems with our health care system are not created, but instead alleviated by these so-called "lazy nurses."

The problem of over-consumption is the reason for the long wait times for the coveted MRI machine. We must make an effort to understand our own bodies and why they are ill instead of running to the ER or family doctor for a runny nose.

With fewer unnecessary patients, Ontario's doctors will have more time to spend on patients who really require their expertise. Allowing nurses, dietitians and health educators to do their jobs will also alleviate the strain on doctors from providing services they are not actually trained for.

We do not need to privatize health services for more quality service (this will not follow from privatization as we may note from our current energy crisis), but a more well-informed and frugal base of health consumers. I suggest everyone's medical bills should outline what their casual use of the system costs the taxpayers in this province.

Macfarlane is right: we need change. Ontarians must appreciate the service they receive from hardworking health practitioners and take responsibility for their own health without relying on hospitals and doctors to do it for them. Otherwise, privatizing health services will only separate the rich over-consumers from the poor over-consumers.

Sarah Moore
Health Science IV

Bloody 'ell

To the Editor:

I'm having my period, so what?

I am sick and tired of all the disgusted looks I get when a guy (or sometimes another girl) gets a glimpse of the pink present biology forces me to carry around. I have news for all you grossed out guys: every healthy woman on the face of the planet has done it, is doing it or will do it again. We can't help it; it's a natural process of our bodies. I don't need to be made to feel dirty, disgusting and embarrassed just because it's that time of the month. Women have been menstruating since the dawn of our species, so you guys have had at least a couple million years to get used to it.

Here's another news flash, boys: unless you plan to be a hermit, you'll have to deal with it wherever you go, for I guarantee there's no place on Earth without a ragging woman around. It's only a pad - it won't hurt you and women aren't going to stop menstruating anytime soon.

Stephanie Orendorff
Classical Studies II


When in Rome...

Re: "Media violence and the desensitized masses," Oct. 24, 2003

To the Editor:

Desensitized? Ha!

Although it could be argued the portrayal of violence in the media is much more prevalent than it has been in previous decades (although it could be said nothing today parallels the immense human slaughter that took place during the World Wars), North Americans today are hardly desensitized to violence.

But who among us would actually be able to stand at a murder scene without losing the contents of their stomach? Not very many compared to our contemporaries like the ancient Romans, whose idea of a hot date was a day at the gladiatorial arenas heckling the participants for more gore.

What about violence towards non-bipedal targets? Who could actually stick a knife in a chicken to carve out enough flesh for six McNuggets or slit the throat of a cow and watch it bleed to death? How many of us are mid-chew while reading this, mouth full of a masticated animal carcass?

Musicians, the more outspoken part of our society, clearly show we are just full of smack talk and when it comes down to it, no one actually has the guts to do any of it... unless you're a serial killer, then hats off to you, oh desensitized one.

Beatrice Yu
Classical Studies & Anthropology II

Series still worth it

Re: "Damn you, baseball playoffs!," Oct. 23, 2003

To the Editor:

While strictly speaking, World Series TV ratings do matter and are important, they're not the only thing that matters. Of course FOX is upset, as nearly all baseball fans are, that the Cubs aren't playing the Red Sox right now.

However, a true baseball fan might note it's not very often we see an extra-inning walk-off home run in a Series game (Alex Gonzalez in Game 4). Or it's not often one of the most accomplished starting pitching staffs in recent memory (the Yankees) squares off against a potential-filled, up-and-coming rotation (the Marlins). Or it's even less often those fucking Yankees and their spawn of Satan owner, George Steinbrenner, squirm in late-October.

Yes, there's plenty wrong with baseball, more than can be fixed by this current match-up. But why not sit back, relax and pay attention to a compelling World Series.

Kyle Wasko
History, PhD Candidate

Homophobia by any other name still stinks

Re: "Deep focus," Oct. 15, 2003

To the Editor:

Shona Black asserts that Focus on the Family is essentially "an asset to society." On the contrary, organizations like FOTF are absolutely insidious and do exactly what Ms. Black disputes: they do indeed "repackage homophobia." However, they also go far beyond this simple repackaging: they perpetuate and normalize a vicious and destructive cycle of fear and hatred.

Essentially, FOTF equates homosexuality with all sorts of miseries and explain their attempts to "convert" homosexuals as motivated by love and the possibility of a better life. While this might seem like a nice and loving little package, by teaching that homosexuality is immoral and entails dire personal consequences, FOTF and its ilk in fact open up the conditions in which those consequences can manifest themselves. They may talk love, but their rhetoric makes fear and hatred OK, because, according to them, homosexuals are confused and suffering anyway and are simply too stubborn or too stupid to choose a better way. Through FOTF and the like, fear is only reaffirmed and repackaged, normalized and institutionalized.

This normalization reaches right on to the front page of this very paper. Reporting such absolute nonsense as "Lesbians and blubber a package deal" (Sep. 11, 2003) and repackaging as love what is essentially destructive and harmful fear, does nothing but perpetuate the vicious circle. Archbishop Bruce J. Simpson, from the Benedictine Order of St. John the Beloved, speaking of the way in which gay and lesbian adolescents are taught to hate themselves by anti-gay organizations wrote that these institutions "need to be held accountable for the consequences of their terrorism on impressionable young minds." Likewise, we need to understand and recognize how this "terrorism" perpetuates and propagates itself, if ever we hope to break its unimaginably destructive cycle.

Rachel McArthur
Faculty of Arts III


To talk or not to talk?

Re: "Don't be a Twit," Oct. 22, 2003

To The Editor:

Kristen Isnor, I think we may just be soul-mates. I also hate the incessant phone calls, off-topic questions and brainless conversations happening around me.

As if all these distractions aren't enough to make you want to transfer to Trent, I've got the question askers around me: "Did you hear that?" Usually I did hear that, whatever that was, but now I've missed the next thing and we're both screwed.

Worse than the question askers are the answerers. You know them, they're the people who loudly "whisper" the concepts back and forth and answer all the professor's rhetorical questions. To these people, I kindly ask you to SHUT UP!

Teach your friends and whoever else wants to listen after class; I already missed the last concept because of you and now I can't hear this one. Please people, I'm begging you to be considerate. If your tuition/education means nothing to you, then don't come to class.

Kristen, if you ever need to rant to someone, I'm the girl in the fourth row bubbling over with rage.

Rachel Schoon
Science II

To the Editor:

I couldn't help but realize this letter was partially directed towards myself. First off, I agree with everything Ms. Isnor says about ringing cell phones. I too find it rather annoying.

Now, concerning the issue of conversation during class... I personally love to chat whilst listening to a sub-par lecture. If she cannot hear the lecture over our conversations, I do not understand what exactly is keeping Ms. Isnor from moving to the plethora of open seats at the front of the class. You pay thousands of dollars to be here? Guess what? So do I.

And guess what else Kristin, you will not have to worry about my friends and I chatting about Thanksgiving any longer. We have moved on to bigger and more important issues like Christmas and New Year's.

Jim Wilkins
Biology II

In poor taste...

Re: "Trent "Suicide Week" only of its kind in Ontario," Oct. 23, 2003

To the Editor:

When I realized what the picture was on the front page of the paper, I was horrified. The picture that was altered and placed on the front cover was in very poor taste. This photo was simply not needed for the article's message. Suicide is very prominent in young adults and so nonchalantly placing this picture on the cover was disgusting and terribly inconsiderate.

I understand freedom of the press, but some consideration should have been made when taking into account the appropriate photo to present with the article. For those people on campus who may have known someone who took their life or for those Western students who may be considering suicide, the picture presented a gross message. Suicide is not a laughing matter and I simply felt the photo seemed to trivialize and humorize a very touchy topic.

Michelle Michiels
History II


To the Editor:

I thought the picture of someone wearing a Trent University T-shirt with slit wrists was in extremely poor taste. It was insensitive to those with friends and family who have dealt with suicide or self-mutilation and it added nothing to the subsequent article on Trent's fall reading week.

It is ironic The Gazette would print a picture so obviously taken for shock value in the same issue as an editorial criticizing an art exhibit for "providing a juvenile attempt at shocking the Western community, with no clear purpose and no redeeming message." I understand The Gazette often pushes the envelope in order to make a point or to try to be funny, but in this case the paper went too far.

Nora Casson
Biology & Environmental Science III


To the Editor:

As a habitual reader of your paper, I was disturbed by the way you chose to represent your story about Trent University "Suicide Week."

A close friend of mine attempted to take her life in the same way you have so vividly displayed for us. She suffered from depression resulting from a chemical imbalance in her brain. Her pain was caused by an illness out of her control, not just a bad choice for post-secondary education.

It's one thing to make fun of an institution, however it is quite another to promote humor about a tragic reality such as suicide. I respect your paper's right to publish uncensored material, but I urge you in the future to fully consider the consequences of such choices. I am compelled out of respect for my friend and anyone else who may have the misfortune of dealing with such a horrific experience to ask you to consider the pain such an image could evoke.

You may deem it an embarrassment to go to Trent or Brock, but Vol. 97 of The Gazette makes me ashamed to go to Western.

Courtney Watson
Social Science I


...and unfair

To the Editor:

It is clear I am a suicidal, yet blissfully ignorant student unable to:
a) manage my time
b) make objective assessments about anything
c) attain any level of education exceeding kindergarten

I am, after all, a graduate of Trent University.

If you'll pardon my impudence for a moment, however, I would like to share my thoughts on The Gazette's response to The Globe and Mail's survey. The first editorial I read, entitled "Trent? What the fuck?" starts off by making the correct (though obvious) point that The Globe survey is, stupid. But it's all downhill from there.

OK, I thought, there's a journalist at The Gazette who didn't do their research. No biggie. But this was followed by more Trent bashing in the "Survey ranked non-existent schools" article. And today? Today was the kicker. A nice picture of a "Trent student" with slashed wrists and a caption reading "You'd commit suicide too if you went to Trent... " This time, someone actually bothered to call Trent and ask them about "Suicide Week." Kudos. Unfortunately, the answer was completely ignored and the article continued to suggest Trent had an extra reading week because of a high suicide rate.

For the record: Suicide rates by university can be obtained from "A Statistical Portrait of Canadian Universities... ," a 1996 report by Statistics Canada. Trent, it turns out, is about halfway down the list for Canadian universities, with such fine academic institutions as Queen's University and McMaster University well above it. Strange that none of The Gazette staff bothered to consult this report.

I tell you, it sure is hard being a Biochemistry PhD candidate at Western with only the equivalent of kindergarten level education.

Derek Wilson
Biochemistry PhD Candidate II

Ed. Note: Writing Trent has a kindergarten-level education was a joke. We're sure it's at least Grade 5.



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