Student newspaper terrorist

This column appeared in The Gauntlet on April 12, 2012.

Since the beginning of the fall semester, in September of 2011, the University of Calgary’s independent student newspaper, the Gauntlet, has been held hostage by a lone ultra-left terrorist who goes by the simple pseudonym “Remi.”

The founding member of the terrorist network the Coalition for a Revolutionary Alberta Society, Remi has single-handedly managed to capture and control the Gauntlet’s nine section editors, as well as countless numbers of the paper’s volunteers. Adopting the title of “opinions editor,” Remi has transformed the previously arch-conservative student newspaper—once the springboard for Canadian right-wing heroes such as Ezra Levant and Stephen Harper—into an ideological tool for a terrorist message of “pro-autonomy” and “pro-dignity,” ideas that are clearly dangerous to the health of sensitive Albertan minds.

Having precipitated several violent incidents on the university campus, Canadian security and peace enforcement agencies having been pooling their resources to capture, kill and end the strife he has caused.

‘Remi,’ as he is known to allies and enemies alike, commandeered the student newspaper on September 3, 2011, and seized the title of “opinions editor.” The opinions section previous to Remi’s takeover maintained a small but humble position near the back of the weekly  issue of the Gauntlet. While maintaining his reign of terror over the paper’s real editors and volunteers, Remi has successfully expanded the opinions section to take up most of the paper, and through the section he bombards University of Calgary students with a weekly barrage of horrifyingly new ideas. As student Emily Hamilton, member of the Delta Upsilon Mu sorority observed, “The newspaper [the Gauntlet], like, used to be, like, totally fair and balanced, like the Calgary Sun is. Now it’s basically like mostly opinions from that hipster fag Remi or whatever his name is.”

As of the March 28, 2012 issue of the Gauntlet, a total of 300 students have claimed serious injury after having been exposed to an issue of one of Remi’s signature articles or illustrations.
One political science student Sam Bloom, remembers all too well how he obtained his injuries.
“I was walking down the hallway just leaving professor Flanagan’s class, and I saw the Gauntlet. I used to read it all the time. It was way better in my day. But I hesitated picking it up because it had something I totally didn’t like on the cover,” Said Bloom. “I flipped it open and it was just ultra-leftist filth everywhere. Some of the art was even communist looking. Then I started to read this article by that boy Remi. There were words that I didn’t like, like ‘passion,’ ‘vitality of life,’ ‘apparatus’ and ‘wherefore.’ I barely got through the first paragraph when I felt this terrible pain fill my head. Next thing you know I’m in the hospital for an entire day. I wasn’t even allowed to go to ThursDen that night. Like what the fuck. Remi is so pathetic and stupid.”

No one has yet to successfully discover the identity of “Remi,” although the Canadian Security Intelligence Service believes Remi’s gender is of a male-like variety, as one Gauntlet hostage reported as having seen, “A large phallic-like object,” which supposedly came out of Remi’s pants once during a  visit to a bathroom. Remi’s elaborate use of disguise, including a tangled mess of hair, crafty and distracting glasses and a penchant for shadows has allowed him to avoid recognition. It is thought that Remi is capable of producing fake newsmedia as a tool for deception, as well as writing about himself in the third person (generally considered an extremely masturbatory act) as to dumbfound and irritate his detractors.

The Coalition for a Revolutionary Alberta Society was, according to the group’s website, founded by Remi in late 1988, apparently not long after “Remi’s” supposed birth. Since that time both Remi and cras have grown considerably and have forged powerful relationships with various terrorist groups. Yet Remi has retained his anonymity since day one. Even fellow terrorists involved in Remi’s terrorist ‘Front’ or affiliated groups in his terror network apparently know nothing relevant about the ultra-leftist’s identity or origins.
In late 2011, members of the West Albertan Nationalist Guerrillas and the Socialist and Anarchist Coalition who had participated in terrorist acts of “discussion of political alternatives” alongside Remi’s CRAS, were apprehended by the Royal Canadian Peace Enforcement Agency and were subsequently coerced into revealing details behind their terrorist network. The coercion undergone by members of WANG and SAC revealed startling information about the level of penetration perpetrated by the terrorist connections here in Alberta and abroad, but failed to reveal anything significant about Remi. Even Remi’s Facebook profile is incredibly vague and misleading, claiming that Remi is, “In a relationship” and “Likes” such topics as “reading” and “music.”

With a love for violent “debate” and the use of frightening tactics such as “critical thinking,” Remi has successfully kept the editors and volunteers of the Gauntlet student newspaper hostage. Current Gauntlet editor-in-chief Eric Mathison, who has managed to maintain a level of connection with the outside world, stated in one letter that, “most of the time we are subjected to his [Remi’s] constant discussions of ethics, politics or metaphysics, as well as hour-long diatribes about the proper accents on ‘Slavoj Žižek.’ But he has allowed me to go for the occasional coffee and washroom break, and every now and again my wife is able to bring me in some vegan cupcakes.”

However, not all students or Gauntlet members have been overcome by Remi’s takeover. A post-Trotskyist student organization, a campus-based anarchist association and various pro-human rights activist students have all asserted their solidarity with Remi and CRAS. Additionally, current Gauntlet news editor, Amy Badger, has, according to one hostage mediator, fallen ill with Stockholm Syndrome.
According to Mount Royal University psychologist Evrin Ting-Halvoff, Stockholm Syndrome is “a paradoxical psychological condition where hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, occasionally to the point of defending their captors.” Badger is believed to currently be involving herself in sexual relations with Remi, although this has neither been confirmed nor denied by either party.

The Royal Canadian Peace Enforcement Agency has been unable to infiltrate the Gauntlet and arrest Remi. RCPEA commissioner Dic McIver stated in a recent press conference that, “we, the law enforcement agency of this fine city, have been unable to capture Remi. As it stands, we have been heavily preoccupied with meeting our quotas for speeding tickets, parking violations and agitation of undesirables.”

When questioned as to what changes might aid the RCPEA in their hunt for Remi, McIver claimed that an increase in peace officer funding and powers would enable the organization to “finally rid the city of its unwanted elements,” at which point the capture of Remi, “would become our top priority.”

With the student newspaper under Remi’s control, the ultra-leftist terrorist has been able to offend and horrify the delicate minds of University of Calgary students. With a large proportion of upper-middle class students attending the institution—all of whom are succeeding through their own rugged individualism—the terrorist demands of Remi’s, which include the “proliferation of genuine autonomy” and “respect for the dignity of all people,” have erupted into obscene ideological violence.

Feces? Gross

This column appeared in The Gauntlet on March 31st, 2011.

Having grown up in rural Alberta, I have been witness to numerous attempts by eccentric country-folk in starting up “zoos.” This strange phenomenon was often unsettling and left me with uncomfortable emotions toward the unnecessary containment of non-livestock animals. However, the cages and pens of GuZoo Zoo — located out on the prairies just a few kilometres north of Three Hills, or an hour and a half from the steel cages and concrete pens of downtown Calgary — are an exception. GuZoo has been successfully licensed since 1990, which is often not the case, and is humane, too. Undoubtedly, this claim may come as a shock, as the GuZoo Zoo and Animal Sanctuary has received an immense amount of media attention this past week regarding supposed neglect and cruelty to animals. It is my contention that the accusations of cruelty and neglect are both uninformed and hypocritical. I do not wish to suggest that I, or anyone, should ever take animal rights lightly– the issue is of utmost moral concern and deserves due consideration. It may even be the case that GuZoo Zoo does indeed sit in violation of Alberta’s zoo standards, in which case their license should be revoked.

The primary criticism regarding GuZoo is that the animals have negligent and appalling living conditions, as is supposedly seen in the photos — posted on Facebook by self-proclaimed animal lover, photographer and professional photo-manipulation artist, Nic Burgess — that started the media firestorm. As well, in 2007 Zoocheck Canada, a private lobby group, claimed that GuZoo had violated over 100 standards including “psychological endangerment” to contained animals, a “flat and featureless” bear pen and “rusty old farm equipment,” despite being a country farm. Having both personally visited the zoo on previous occasions (and several other zoos just like it) and seeing the photos, I find the claims uninformed. Those who seem to think that the animals’ living spaces are terrible base their concerns on misdirected assumptions. That is, they wrongly wish for animals to be given human desires and not the desires of animals themselves. The rustic look of the GuZoo zoo, although not very appealing aesthetically, has spaces that are, according to Alberta zoo standards, both large enough and providing of appropriate shelter and other needs. Life on a farm for both animal and farmer will inevitably, but wrongly, be considered unsanitary by people who cannot see beyond their cul-de-sac.

Any purported injustices committed by the GuZoo Zoo pale in comparison to injustices that occur much closer to home — especially in light of the 24,000 people signing an online petition to eradicate the zoo and a deluge of calls to the Calgary Humane Society, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and to GuZoo itself, prompted largely by Burgess’s photos online. Calgary is home to its own massive and troublesome zoo (consider practices like the ‘zoo lights’ and the mass death of stingrays). One of the world’s largest rodeos, the Calgary Stampede, occurs annually (21 horses have died between 1995 and 2005). It is on these grounds that I find the claims against GuZoo Zoo to be hypocritical.

GuZoo Zoo’s license is up for renewal with Alberta Fish and Wildlife on April 1 and the SPCA is investigating independently. It is possible that certain standards have been violated. Also, I am more than willing to consider the position that both the GuZoo Zoo and some of the ill-practices of Calgarians and their city are equally detestable and should thus be uniformly condemned. Giving such widespread and significant moral consideration to animals throughout Alberta is a far more appropriate position than the massive and premature outcry that has erupted towards a small prairie zoo. But a line of equal concern is not the one being delivered. Instead, what we find are arguments against GuZoo Zoo that are uninformed and hypocritical– rashly formed opinions about a way of life that is staggeringly foreign from that of your average city dweller.