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During 1999's infamous Battle of Seat- tle, where thousands of youth, trade unionists, environmentalists, anarchists, human and animal rights activists and others gathered to demand global social justice from World Trade Organi- zation delegates, media outlets stum- bled over themselves trying to cover the circus of confrontation and chaos which grew larger and more unruly by

ON THE COVER: . Director Todd iy. Haynes talks about how he discard- % ed irony and embraced Douglas Sirk melodrama with his mas- terful new film « Far From Heaven © 43

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PLUS:

Slicing into Perfect Pie 48

the hour. At the New York Times, one of America’s oldest and most respected dailies, editors juggled news and rumours for days from dozens of fronts. Some of those editors, keen to ensure their prestigious, high-paid reporters weren't missing anything, regularly surfed through the Indymedia website. Organized by various independent and alternative media in advance of the protest as an electronic clearing house for writers, videographers, photogra- phers and radio reporters, Indymedia provided up-to-the-minute, grassroots reports and documentaries of what was happening in Seattle.

Palagummi Sainath, one of India’s most respected and controversial free- lance journalists, learned about the Times-Indymedia connection during an informal visit with Times editors about two years ago, a meeting he described as one of the dullest in his memory. Sainath, the subject of Joe Moulins’s film A Tribe of His Own, was in Edmonton recently for a sold-out screening of the film at the Global

SEE PAGE 8

NOVEMBER 21- NOVEMBER 27, 2002

6 Media Jungle 7 Three Dollar Bill 9 Vue News 9 VuePoint 10 Tom the Dancing Bug

12 MobyLives

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15 Travel: Yucatan Peninsula 16 Style: George Clinton 21 Snow Zone

18 Dish Weekly

30 Martin Sexton

32 Music Notes

34 Music Weekly

37 Afro-Cuban All Stars 37 Classical Notes

38 BPM

Pannu testament

As a sociologist, scholar and late-in-life politician, Raj Pannu has a natural interest in mass media. It’s one of the things that prompted the Alberta New Democrat leader to attend the Global Visions screening of A Tribe of His Own about Indian journalist Palagummi Sainath, a man Pannu first met during a book tour in 1997. The film pro- voked much thought for Pannu about his home country, about the impact Sainath is having on the Indian popu- lation and about the state of main- stream media here in Canada. “Journalism and the press—televi- sion, radio or the printed word—must remain autonomous to the powers that be in the economic arena and the political arena, and the religious arena, for that matter,” he says. “To be able to report things the way a journalist sees it is exceedingly important to the health of democracy. | am concerned about the growing lack of autonomy and independence of the fifth estate in

as oP ET erger F

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48 Proof

49 The Collected Emotions SO Theatre Notes

61 Arts Weekly

THE BACK

52 Events Weekly

52 Astromat Horoscope 54 Classifieds

55 Hey Eddie!

relation to other powerful interests.”

For a man who came of age dur- ing India’s independence in 1947 Pannu understands the world into which Palagummi Sainath was born and the society that shaped him. “Those were very exciting times, great opportunities to learn, to be a new political citizen, not subjected to a colonial empire,” says Pannu. But India failed to realize that greatness when successive leaders, who prom- ised to rid India of British colonial institutions and its own insidious caste system, abandoned those promises for other priorities like capitalism, world trade and personal wealth. And so India’s media followed suit.

“{Sainath‘s] work holds the mirror of India to itself,” says Pannu. “The people are jolted into realizing how serious and how grand that failure has been. He has done an enormous serv- ice to India—those in power, those outside of power and those marginal- ized by power. He paints a picture that is very frightening.” —Terry PARKER

By RICHARD BURNETT EAL LAT SE EES

Pain in the butler

The story goes that Britain’s King George VI made sure that most of the common folk hired to staff the House of Windsor’s palaces and castles were gay men because he didn’t want any men cruising and hustling his two young and beautiful daughters, princesses Margaret and Elizabeth.

That gay men filled the royal court didn’t matter a whit to any dull normal—much less reporters—until this month, 50 years after Elizabeth was crowned queen of what was left of the British Empire. And that’s because of the recent non-trial of Paul Burrell, longtime butler of the late Princess Diana of Wales. After a Lon- don court earlier this month dis- missed charges that Burrell had stolen many of Diana’s personal belongings, Burrell sold his story to the tabloid Mirror and is now making the rounds of U.S. talk shows.

Now that Burrell has publicly charged gay rape between royal ser-

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vants on Prince Charles’s staff, all of a sudden, half a century later, the world media is agl.ast at the number of gay staffers in the British royal court. Day after day the tabloids are filled with allegations of gay rape, Parties and orgies.

“Will gay secrets bring down the House of Windsor?” royal pundits are asking. Never has royal intrigue been, well, this intriguing. Now, | love a gay villain as much as anybody else—and lord knows there are plenty of gay ass- holes out there. But the worldwide press coverage, from the British tabloids to Canadian television, has been deliberately or unwittingly fueled by homophobia.

Contrast this with the hundreds of gay and lesbian heroes and victims who died on September 11. They were largely ignored in post-mortems worldwide, as the media coverage of grieving wives, husbands, their chil- dren, friends and families unwittingly or deliberately heterosexualized the victims and heroes of September 11. When | kvetched about it publicly, straight folks everywhere admonished me for distinguishing straight victims and heroes from the gay ones. “After all,” each and every one of them told me, “what difference does it make?”

The difference, of course, is that media-worthy heroes are almost never gay but villains always are. Don’t believe me? Just talk a look at the recent media coverage of the two accused Beltway snipers, John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old John Lee Malvo. The November 12 cover of the National Enquirer screams, “Snipers: Their Secret Gay Life and Why It Made Them Kill.” Inside a team of Enquirer

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journalists report the “Beltway snipers were lovers—and their gay secret fueled the terrifying rage that left 10 victims dead.”

“Muhammed always surrounded himself with kids, which also made me suspicious,” his former friend Felix Strozier told the Enquirer. “He seemed to be unusually attentive to young boys. And | was always suspicious of his relationship with young Malvo. They were always whispering to each other and giggling together. The rela- tionship just didn’t seem healthy.” To drive the point home, the Enquirer also reports “a top federal law enforcement officer revealed that authorities are investigating the gay relationship between the two men and a shocking connection with for- eign terrorists in ‘Canada, Seattle and two other cities.’”

In other words, it’s the same old story: simply being gay is enough to make you psychotic. Gays are sexual predators and killers, and when they don’t kill, they rape servants and have orgies in the royal palace. Well, I’ve just about had it with flaming, self- avowed heterosexuals. What these homophobes really need is to get roy- ally fucked—preferably up the ass.

Meanwhile, in England last week, Sir Michael Peat, private secretary to Prince Charles, announced a royal inquiry into Burrell’s allegations of gay rape. Which is a great idea. Anyone who has sexual abused or assaulted another human being is a criminal and should pay the price. But what I'd also dearly love to see is a royal com- mission on the rampant homophobia that drives the media to play up our villains and ignore our heroes. ©

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PREPARATION FOR UNIVERSITY

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Media Jungle

Continued from page 6

Visions film festival and spoke with Vue Weekly about the strengths and weak- nesses of Indymedia.

The fact that some of the most influential editors in the United States were consulting a site fed by young amateur reporters proves how desper- ately hamstrung mainstream media felt during those events, Sainath says, and how far removed from street-level jour- nalism their reporters had strayed, But it also says something about Indymedia, now a worldwide network of engaged young people recording the events of their time. It showed that educated, middle-class youth—that elusive demo- graphic ceaselessly pursued by main- stream newspapers—did care passionately about the media, he says. Just a different kind. “They are bringing new energies to a suffocating, often stu- pid media culture,” Sainath says. “It is bringing sensitive and thinking people into the simple act of communication. They’re looking. They’re writing. It’s

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back to journalism’s origins.”

After three short years, Indymedia now boasts media centres on every continent, with 11 in Canada, including one based in Calgary (alberta.indy- media.org). According to the main indymedia.org site, “Indymedia is a col- lective of independent media organiza- tions and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coy- erage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accu- tate and passionate tellings of truth.” What that means is anyone can post stories and clips to Indymedia regard- less of whether they have a journalism degree. That kind of press freedom frightens some people. Critics accuse Indymedia contributors of being activists posing as journalists presenting one-sided rants supporting an anti-cor- porate agenda. Sainath wonders why mainstream reporters who rewrite cor- porate or government press releases with no context or balance are never accused of that same one-sidedness.

So what is journalism? Sainath asks.

SEE PAGE 10

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EDMONTON—It’s one of the many undersides of the Alberta advantage: when the economy is strong and salaries are high, the open market isn’t exactly oriented towards providing housing for people at the low end of the income scale. Such is the case in Edmonton, where the affordable housing situation has never been worse, according to Jim Gumett, executive director of the Men- nonite Centre for Newcomers, one of the roughly 50 organizations that com- prise the Edmonton Coalition of Housing and Homelessness.

“The different agencies that try to previde housing have waiting lists in excess of 2,500 people,” says Gurnett, aeding that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has pegged Edmonton’s vacancy rate at one per cent for much of the past year—but those are mostly units that rent for $800 to $1,000 per month, out of reach for people with limited incomes. With hun- dreds of low-rent apartments converted into higher-end properties every year and others lost to demolition, Gurnett says the public sector has to help. But the Alberta government hasn't invested in social housing for the last nine years, a failing that will be addressed at a pub- lic gathering and one-day conference on Canada’s “national housing day of action,” Friday, November 22.

The noon-hour event in the out- door plaza between the Stanley Milner Library and Westin Hotel downtown will see thousands of signed postcards handed to provincial Seniors Minister Stan Woloshyn, whose portfolio also includes housing. The postcards call on Alberta to match the $65 million the federal government has vowed to spend on affordable housing for Alber- tans over the next four years.

Edmonton’s latest homelessness count will also be announced on Friday and Gurnett says it’s significantly higher than the 1,200 people recorded two years ago in the city’s last count. In fact, he says the numbers and situation in Edmonton are comparable to Calgary, where the homeless crisis has been likened to Toronto’s epidemic increase 'n street people. “In both of these main Alberta cities, in a strong economy, you still have jobs at the bottom,” says Gur- nett. “You still need housing for people at the lower end.” —Dan RUBINSTEIN

Anti-Kyoto pundits for hire

OTTAWA—The gulf between science and Politics was front and centre last week in the latest round of Kyoto sparring.

First, a team of scientists exposed the “myths” of climate change at a

press conference dubbed “Kyoto’s Fatal Flaws Revealed” in the nation’s capital. The eight skeptics, among them former Environment Canada research scientist Madhav Khandekar and high-profile American anti-Kyoto crusader Fred Singer, were joined by more than a dozen other experts ready to talk to reporters over the phone. The next day, Greenpeace Canada picked up on an under-reported fact: the scientists weren't directly paid to speak out, but the Ottawa event was funded by a coalition of companies like Imperial Oil and Talisman Energy. Greenpeace also noted that Singer has received funding in the past from ExxonMobil, which owns 70 per cent of Esso parent Imperial Oil. “Esso keeps rolling out the same professional skep- tics to spout lies about Kyoto,” said David Fields, who runs Greenpeace Canada’s StopEsso campaign. “Esso says don’t ratify Kyoto. They said it in the United States. They said it in Aus- tralia and now they've come to Cana- da using the same cast of characters.” Second on the list of scientific poli- ticking, Alberta's Energy Minister Murray Smith put his foot in his mouth by blaming increased greenhouse gas emissions on the planet’s population growth. “People breathing out and pro- ducing carbon dioxide is a major reason for the emissions,” Smith told a business audience in Calgary, sparking responses like “utter nonsense” and “grossly irre- sponsible” from dumbstruck scientists. Thirdly, perhaps inspired to be more honest by this faux pas, Smith conceded that the Alberta government didn’t do its science homework before devising its made-in-Alberta alternative to Kyoto. “No, we never studied the effects on cli- mate,” Smith said to the Calgary Herald after his revelation during a speech at

the University of Calgary. “We cannot tell _

you what the effect would be to the cli- mate, either in Alberta or globally.” Fig- uring out the ramifications of the Alberta plan, Smith suggested, should be left to scientists at the province's universities. Where they stand, however, will no

doubt be influenced by where their funding comes from. —Dan RusiNsTEIN

12-year-old “made-in-Alberta” Kyoto plan unearthed

EDMONTON—This just in: Klein may be a big fat liar. Okay, so that probably isn’t much of a surprise, but high-fives were exchanged amongst proponents of rati- fying the Kyoto accord following the chance discovery of a rather damning 12-year-old document that disproves Klein's claims that there hasn’t been enough research done on the impact the environmental accord to implement it. The document, entitled “A Discus- sion Paper on the Potential for Reducing CO2 Emissions in Alberta,” was complet- ed by the Energy Efficiency Branch of the Alberta Department of Energy in Sep- tember of 1990—back when Klein was the province's environment minister. And its 350 pages detail exactly what changes need to be made in every sector in Alberta, from the oilsands to residen- tial districts, to reduce the province's greenhouse gas emissions by up to seven per cent—one per cent more than the Kyoto protocol calls for. The plan proposes that this reduction could be completed at a cost of $6.7 billion, with a rate of return of 30 per cent on every dollar invested within three years or less. Local environmentalist Brian Johnson and political mainstay Tooker Gomberg discovered the paper late last week. In a press conference on the steps of the Leg- islature Building on Monday, Gomberg expressed disbelief that Klein had not brought the document forward to chambers earlier. “We believe that this document answers the question ‘Can we make Kyoto work in Alberta and Cana- da?’” said Gomberg. “Now that this info exists, and it can be done, why would this plan not be implemented?” Following the press conference, Gomberg and company attempted to walk up to Klein’s office and confront him with the document, but didn’t

get beyond the front desk. The pre- mier was not reachable by phone, but an assistant did receive the document from Gomberg and confirmed that Klein was “probably familiar with it.” —Cnris Boutet

MEDIA

High-profile U.S. ad slams SUVs

HOLLYWOOD—A couple of Hollywood's heavy hitters are combining their talents in a PR effort to convince Americans that Middle East oil sales, not drugs (as previ- ously suggested by the Bush administra- tion), are funding terrorist groups.

_ Producer Lawrence Bender—who has worked on Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fic- tion and Good Will Hunting—is team- ing up Laurie David, the activist wife of Seinfeld writer and creator Larry David, to produce a series of commer- cials that urge Americans to give up their gas-guzzling SUVs.

With contributions from American activist/columnist Arianna Huffington and ad man Scott Burns (known for his “Got Milk?” campaign), the ads will spoof last year’s series of government- sponsored spots in which actors pos- ing as drug users divulged their grief in knowing that their illicit spending was aiding Al Qaeda activities.

The ads are meant to send the message that oil profits are the major source of terrorist funds, not drug money. According to a sample script obtained by the Washington Post, the ads will portray SUV drivers belting out the same lines from the govern- ment sponsored anti-drug ads in an entirely different context. The sample script: “SUV drivers will be shown in their vehicles looking out the window, cheerfully saying: Person 1: ‘I helped hijack an airplane.’ Person 2: ‘| helped blow up a nightclub.’ Person 3: ‘I funded a terrorist training camp in a foreign country.’ And then in unison, they'll say: ‘And we did it all just by driving our SUVs.’” —STEveN SANDOR

By DAN RUBINSTEIN

tals

Not-so-free verse

It's easy to criticize governments for wasting money. Whether it’s CBC Television spending too many of our tax dollars to buy an “exclusive” interview with Princess Di’s ex-butler, or Klein’s Tories spending millions on an ad campaign to convince us to see the Kyoto accord their way, our money is often out of our hands. But even in those rare cases when the cause is admirable, why should we blindly bear the cost? | don’t like dumping on Ottawa over every nickel they devote to one pet project or another; that’s what the Canadian Taxpayers Fed- eration is for. But the feds appear to have put the irrelevance back in irreverence by appointing George Bowering as Canada’s first poet lau- reate. Bowering, who got the gig thanks to a bill introduced by a Lib- eral senator and was on Parliament Hill this week to check out his new office, is a former prof at Simon Fraser University and two-time win- ner of the Governor-General’s Award with nearly 50 books under his belt. He’ll receive $12,000 a year for the next two years plus $10,000 annually for travel expens- es. And his job duties would make jerry Seinfeld smile, because there's nothing that Bowering is required to do as our poet laureate. Nothing.

“We are all a little in the dark,” Bowering says about his new post. “My role has really yet to be deter- mined. | like that. It’s the way poet- ty should be; nothing is for certain when you set out to write it.”

Bowering expounded on that notion when he met the press this week. Oh, he's got his opinions: the national anthem sucks, attack- ing Iraq sucks, Paul Martin sucks, Jean Chrétien is cool, the Kyoto accord is cool. He just doesn’t think he should be treated like a hired pen and be compelled to write on command.

What exactly Bowering Will do in his new office (both literally and figuratively) remains a mystery for now, In the meantime, coincidental- ly, November 25 to December 1 is international AIDS Awareness Week, and U of A English department post- doc Diana Davidson has a few thoughts about how poetry can make a tangible difference. David- son, who edited a booklet called Blue Streaks: A Collection of Poetry About HIV/AIDS when she worked as a counselor at the South Peace AIDS Council in Grande Prairie five years ago, is now putting together an anthology of creative writing about HIV/AIDS by Albertans. “Writing,” she says, “enables people to form arguments, provide testimony, break silences, trace histories, expose inequities and injustices and imagine new. ways of relating to, loving, and desiring each other.”

Imagine what she could do with Bowering’s poet laureate

paycheque. ©

Media Jungle

Continued from page 8

Is it confined to “legitimate” news sources? Does legitimate mean main- stream? Who makes the rules about things like taste and balance? And who is entitled to call themselves a journalist? According to Sainath—who quit a well- paying job and a promising career with the Times of India to write freelance sto- ries about his country’s poorest, most oppressed people—anyone can. “Any citizen who wants to participate in a media debate should be able to do so,” he says. “A journalist is a generalist.” There are some dangers with an outfit like Indymedia. All this freedom of speech for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can pro- vide venues for hate, profanity or, worse, long-winded sanctimony, he says, where content is read by the con- verted and ignored by wider audi- ences. While he supports the free and democratic structure of Indymedia, Sainath urges aspiring journalists to develop skills and internal codes of

ToM tne DANCING Bus

Sainath language: Re-writing government press releases Is

xactly balanced jour-

nalism, says muckraking Indian journalist Palagummi Sainath

conduct so they have the tools to craft interesting, honest portrayals of people and issues they feel passionate about. “One of the greatest qualities of alternative journalism is irreverence,” he says. “Freewheeling journalism is very good, but you also have to learn from your experiences. You need disci- pline. After all, you want people to lis- ten.” That means learning how to do reliable research, how to use a camera, how to interview people and develop-

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ing areas of specialty. But that’s easy, he says. What can’t be learned is the passion, the will and the sense of duty toward democracy. That comes from the heart. “They’re coming. out of movements,” he says, of Indymedia contributors. “The best journalism will come out of movements, because you stand for something.” What remains to be seen is whether Indymedia, born out of Seattle, can exist and grow beyond the movement. ®

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OPEDALS. NEITHER

ISABRAKE. NICE. |

december 5, 2002

7:30pm Horowitz Theatre SUB, UofA

tickets $10 available at: HUB, SUB and CAB Info booths

Every month another voice will come to campus. Speaking on topics ranging from human rights, to environmental justice, globalization and current cam- pus issues, We will explore, inspire, confront and create.

for more information, call 492.4236

or www.su.ualberta.ca/speak one 3 es , f P Activist and acclaimed feminist author, Inga Muscio’s

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Ms Muscio’s lecture is the evening before the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

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By DENNIS LOY JOHNSON RRR A EEE

Pi in the face

You’ve got to admit it’s an unusual premise for a book: a little boy sur- vives a shipwreck and winds up shar- ing a lifeboat with a large, predatory cat that talks. Sound familiar?

Well, if you’re thinking it’s the premise of one of the most talked- about novels of the year, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, last month's winner of the Booker Prize, you're right. But it also turns out to be the plot of book called Max and the Cats, by esteemed Brazilian writer Moacyr Scliar... which was pub- lished in 1981. Stranger still, Martel even thanks Scliar in an author's note in Pi. And, in interviews, when jf asked how he dreamed up such a plot, he readily points to Max and the Cats.

"This is how it hap- pened,” Martel writes in an e-mail interview with Orin Judd at BrothersJudd.com. “Ten years ago. Review-in New York Times Book Review by John Updike of a Brazilian novel by one Moacyr Scliar.... Nota good review. Did nothing to Updike. But premise siz- zled in my mind. | thought, ‘Man, | could do some- thing with that.’”

And do he did, chang-

NOVEMBER 21- NOVEMBER 27, 2002

A) Sa

Mahal,” says Rohter. That one got set- tled out of court. “Similar complaints of plundering have been expressed here about pop artists ranging from Paul Simon to Talking Heads,” adds Rohter. But it’s one thing—one fairly obvious thing—to steal a tune. Is it a crime to recycle literary ideas?

Clearly, Martel thinks it’s okay. He told his hometown newspaper, the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, that he doesn’t “feel like a fraud.” But, as if aware of how fine a line it is, he also claims he’s never read Scliar’s book.