March 3, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 79  

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Readers defend the Sex Issue

Re: “Taking Issue with the Sex Issue,” Feb. 18, 2004

To the Editor:
The Gazette’s Sex Issue is only annually printed, so for the minority of people who are offended, don’t read it.

Was the Sex Issue pornographic? Maybe. The definition of pornography is rather ambiguous: “any printed or visual material that is intended to stimulate sexual excitement.” However, it was by no means similar to hard-core porn. The Sex Issue was tame compared to other media outlets (TV, magazines, etc.) that are easily accessible to the public and intended to stimulate sexual excitement too.

“87 per cent of convicted rapists admit to regular use of porno.” So what? Should porn be banned? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that stat is correlational at best. It does NOT mean porn causes people (men) to rape others. There may be a spurious third variable related to both rapists and porn (i.e. genetics) or it could be a directionality problem (does porn cause rape or rapists just view porn). Excuse the generalization, but I bet there is a link between rapists and drinking water, masturbating and putting one pant leg on at a time — it’s all correlational and doesn’t show any cause and effect. It’s even been argued porn has a cathartic effect and releases pent-up sexual tension.

And why do people like Ms. Lowe and Mr. Wilcox believe they speak for everyone when they suggest The Gazette’s issue was “despicable and completely unnecessary” and that pornographic material “affects the attitudes of those who view it, resulting in a callousness toward and disrespect for women?” Are you so full of yourself that you actually believe you know what 30,000 Western students should view?

Matt Siren
Psychology II

To the Editor:
The backlash against the Sex Issue has just confirmed my suspicions that people on this campus take themselves too seriously. I, for one, was excited to read the Sex Issue and it did not disappoint. Far from being offensive and tawdry, I found it amusing, fun and a welcome diversion. The nasty letters The Gazette received hardly came as a big shock, since humour is virtually non-existent in some people.

In particular, the reader that makes the inane assumption that porn causes rape particularly irked me. Rape and sexual violence against women has existed since the dawn of time while mass-produced porn is relatively new. Porn is not evil — narrow mindedness is.

I’m a feminist who loves porn in all its delightful mediums because it is fabulous and provides sexual release. The real enemy is vanilla-wafer academic feminism and its useless statistics and overblown theories. My advice is to get out of the library and spend some time in the real world embracing the hedonistic side of human nature.

So, congratulations to The Gazette, especially the creators of the delightfully seedy Sex Issue. Pay no heed to uptight whiners who can’t deal with a little S-E-X.

Kate Taylor
History IV

To The Editor:
The women who wrote in to complain about the pictures presented in The Gazette’s Sex Issue didn’t really stop to look at the pictures. The girls chosen were all very beautiful, normal people. There were no skinny blonde Western Girls to be seen. I thought their representation of sexy brunettes was a wonderful change. And they all looked healthy and like their “parts” were REAL.

How can they judge something to be hurtful when these girls looked so much better than anything splashed across our TV screens and magazine covers? I loved it! And I’m a feminist.

Meghan McCallen
Arts III


To the Editor:
I was in the running for Arts Councillor, but after missing the first mandatory meeting, I was notified I was no longer an eligible candidate. One who can’t remember to go to the first meeting certainly shouldn’t be running for positions of power anyway, but apparently being ineligible is University Students’ Council-speak for eligible. Withdrawing wasn’t enough to dissuade them from keeping me, because my name was on the ballot.

What was surprising was that people actually voted for me. I was ineligible, I withdrew from the election and did no campaigning whatsoever. Result: 86 votes. My other friend got 154 votes with no campaigning.

What does this prove? Voter apathy. Most students (or at least 240 of them) don’t give a damn about the USC. But do I care? Not really. I just find it amusing I was voted for.

Kyle Malashewski
Arts I

Pool party

To the Editor:
I had the pleasure of visiting campus recently since graduating in 1995 and thought I would point out a few noticeable things.

The first thing I noticed is that both of Western’s campus pubs were still open, but all but dead. The emptiness makes sense since most students aren’t reaching drinking age until their third year. We knew this would happen and discussed it often during the University Students’ Council presidential race in 1995. Why hasn’t someone realized it’s time to pick a bar and convert the other to something else?

Here’s a tip: We used to have this really profitable business called the USC Pool Hall. It made about $150,000 a year on table rentals and was a great non-alcoholic atmosphere where you could hang out with your friends. Leadership sometimes means you actually close some stuff.

Tim Bernard
B .A Economics 1994

The Locust

Re: “The Locust,” Feb. 18, 2004

To the Editor:
Arlee Rosenberg’s review of the latest album by The Locust, although based on personal opinion, lacks any real critique of the musical and cultural merit of the band.

The reason the songs are barely a minute long is because they have condensed tracks to develop a layered effect of sheer musical brilliance.

These songs are a confused and angered response to urban decay and a feeling of authoritative betrayal. The Locust itself has one of the largest cult followings in the hard-core scene, putting on incredibly tight live shows. Their insect-luchadore stage costumes have become a pioneering force in “punk fashion,” graciously co-opted by our malls. Who do you think brought back the cocaine-white belts that many “rockers” wear these days?

In a publication rooted in critical thought, I’m ashamed to read a review in which a “headache” garners two stars while the locomotion rakes in four.

Toben Alexander

Cars beware

To the Editor:
A note to all drivers: if you are going to drive on campus, remember that in our little world, a pedestrian’s regular rules of the road don’t apply. We have the right of way at not just green lights, but any other damn place on campus.

The jaywalkers will continue to give dirty looks as you almost hit them. The nuts carrying on a conversation in the middle of the road will continue to do so. We will all walk across the Talbot College intersection on an advanced green without looking both ways before crossing the street. We don’t have to. There are more important things to think about than living in the constant shadow of cars and the insane drivers behind the wheel.

Colin Edington

The USC: not just for taking up office space

Re: “The USC: money-thieving and useless?” Feb. 19, 2004

To the Editor:
In his Feb. 19 letter, Warren Chan asked what exactly the University Students’ Council does.

The USC provides all full-time students with a low-cost bus pass and health plan. We run the University Community Centre Flexible Child Care Centre for students trying to balance academics with parenting, and a Food Bank for students who just can’t make ends meet. There’s also Queerline, an invaluable source for information on queer-related issues, and the Women’s Issues Network. We belong to two lobby organizations that were instrumental in achieving the tuition freeze and that continue to lobby for a more accessible post-secondary education system.

Aside from The Wave and The Spoke, the USC also owns and operates The Used Book Store, InPrint, PitStop, Western Film, InfoSource, Varsity Authentics and the Postal Outlet. In addition to providing cheap food, books, course packs and movies, these operations employ over 700 students on a part-time basis. We also own and operate our three campus media outlets: CHRW 94.9 FM, TV Western and The Gazette.

The USC offers a diverse range of programming, including Orientation Week Homecoming, Coming Out Week, Model Parliament, Charity Ball, Festival of the Arts and Cultural Caravan, just to name a few. This year the Living Campus Program also brought you Western Idol, as well as many speakers and debates. Our production of Cabaret starts next Thursday in conjunction with the Faculty of Music. Additionally, our clubs run hundreds of events every year that wouldn’t be possible without the infrastructure offered by the USC.

If you have any further questions about how your student fees are spent, I encourage you to attend our annual budget meeting on Wednesday, Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers (Rm. 315, UCC).

Liz Berman
USC Communications Officer

To The Editor:
For Mr. Chan to ask what the University Students’ Council does for him obviously proves he is just not looking hard enough for answers. The USC provides many services to students including The Used Book Store, The Spoke, The Wave, PitStop, QueerLine and the USC Food Bank (to name a few).

I admit the University Community Centre has aged slightly, but it is far from crap. If it was crap, why would so many students be using its services each day? Mr. Chan stated that The Wave and The Spoke are “always losing money.” The Wave, in fact, turned a profit this year and has ever since it obtained the Western Meal Card. The only reason The Spoke is losing money this year is due to the large group of underage students and the ending of the Wet/Dry Program. As a first-year student who did take advantage of Wet/Dry before its demise, The Spoke and The Wave were far from “complete dumps.” Their staff work hard to keep things moving and provide excellent food.

In regard to his comment on the USC lobbying the government, Council tries its best to make an impact on government policy, but in politics, the government doesn’t always listen to its constituents. Our current VP-education Dave Ford and various other commissioners under his portfolio have worked hard this year to influence the legislation brought forth by provincial and federal governments, as well as representing Western at various conferences held by the Ontario Undergraduate Students Alliance and other organizations.

I invite Mr. Chan to address his concerns at the next USC meeting with the group you elected into office. Any USC member would be glad to answer any of your questions, either at the meeting or at the USC Front.

Jason Goncalves
King’s History/Catholic Studies I



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