It’s been one of those weeks…
September 23rd, 2010

It’s been one of those weeks… too much wind blowing through here, too many disruptions, interventions, and complications, and so I am exploiting this blog space to send a few notes.

To Tom Hollett, the owner of Jiffy Cabs who wrote a thoughtful letter to the MUSE editor this week– nicely put. Your graceful apology to the offended MUN community is well received, at least by me. I only hope you understood my sarcasm when I said in my earlier blog that it was socially acceptable to circulate misogynist ads. Of course, I meant it was a scandal that it would be acceptable to anyone in society. Wish you hadn’t highlighted me as for the ad, which completely misses the point. Anyhow, I now believe we are on the same page about all this—right? I hope your own employees and the editors at the MUSE learn from your example. I am rethinking whether I’ll ever step foot in a Jiffy again. Give me some time to think about it.

Where was I?
September 20th, 2010

Where was I? I delayed writing this week’s blog until after our annual orientation for graduate students. Last weekend, on a grey Saturday morning, over 200 incoming students assembled for a lively half-day session. Sure, some of the appeal was the chance to win a brand new iPad, but I would like to think most of them sacrificed their sleep time for the opportunity to hear some advice and good will about the study and research paths they have chosen. At least 80% of the students were from places outside Canada, some having landed here only two or so weeks ago. If I had traveled all this way from Nigeria, Brazil, Austria, or Texas, I would be attending orientation, too. Locals probably don’t think they need any advice or guidance for graduate school, but the most common observation I heard after the event from panelists who had graduated, and from others in the third year or so of their programs, was that they wished they had been given the same orientation opportunity.

So, right there on the bottom of the front page..
September 9th, 2010


So, right there on the bottom of the front page of the first semester issue of the student campus newspaper, The MUSE, is a banner ad for Jiffy Cabs, a popular local business. It’s hard to miss. The ad features a collage of images of provocatively dressed young women looking, well, heavily plastered, or certainly obliviously deep in party mode. Jiffy’s call number is 722-2222. The tag line? “Even drunk girls can remember two digits.”

Even drunk girls can remember two digits? Bada bing. Are you laughing yet?

Do you remember this bad old joke:

How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
That’s not funny!

Well, I am a feminist with a healthy sense of humour and I both ardently defy the tired cliché of humourlessness and find the Jiffy Cabs ad decidedly unfunny. In fact, the ad is really lame, with a lot of bad taste written all over it. What were they thinking? Who thought this was an acceptable message for a university crowd? For any crowd? I can only imagine what the parents of Memorial’s female students might be thinking when their eyes fall over the ad. Who endorsed this kind of thing? I should disclose I am a member of the Board of Directors of the MUSE, but the Board does not oversee the editorial content or preview the ads. No, we tend to have to speak to complaints after the fact, as I imagine I will have to do in this unpleasant example. (more…)

And so it’s the beginning of a new semester and soon to be the end of a decade…
September 3rd, 2010

And so it’s the beginning of a new semester and soon to be the end of a decade, old and new doing their dance, as usual. Students returning to Memorial in the fall of 2010 will certainly face the old: parking remains hideous; bottled water is both banned and conspicuous; the food court is too crowded and you still can’t get a decent salad there; the Science Building is, well, still the Science Building.