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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Guest Post! Live From NASH!

Lance Sports Editor Ryan Rogers checks in with some dirt on what's gone down at this week's National Conference of Canadian University Press.

We made it into Ottawa after a 12-hour trek across the province, from the southern corners beside our American friends, to the eastern limits beside our francophone neighbours, to reach our National Conference. Abbreviated to the simple Nash, this will be the 70th time the Conference has been held somewhere around the country.

Last year in Vancouver was a touching first-time-out onto the journalism landscape for me, where there are a few things that people might not know about student journalists; they're in a league of their own. Voracious, brow-beaten, cynical, under-appreciated, addicted to a legion of uppers, and conceited, there’s no more diverse or outspoken crowd to be associated with.

Think feminism, meets environmentalism, meets political pundits, meets jaded columnists, meets Dr. Nick Riviera. It’s thousands of shattered psyches all put back together like Frankenstein’s Monster, which is then fired up to go and cause shit in their respective communities.

I know a lot of you have been to conferences of some sort, and indeed the agglomeration of different people into one community under one title (in this case CUP) has all its role players. Imagine a high school prom collided with a Star Trek convention, and also with some people from Saskatchewan, all on an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and that is Nash.

There are a lot of people who have been to a lot more of these CUP Conferences than I, but I've clearly noted a pat tern within the crowd.

The Tenets of Nash:

  • There will always be a true gentleman, who reminds you of Lieutenant Columbo if Columbo were Forest Whitaker - awkward much?

  • "20 minutes," NEVER means just 20 minutes.

  • Roberts Rules will be followed closely, but it won't help a single damned thing. You can't fake sick during plenary.

  • If you get in the shower first, it will help you win.

  • You'll be able to identify all those people who love(!) the sound of their own voice.

Seriously, though, we've had some outstanding guest speakers and key notes. I had the incredible opportunity to meet Stephen Brunt and Ian Mendes, and was privy to key note addresses from Juliet O’Neill, Ken Alexander and Jack Layton ;)

Which brings me to the issue of the day, for me anyhow, of parodies and spoofs. The CUP Daily, is an overnight two-to-four-page paper that recaps the keynote from the night before, and addresses the highlights of the previous day’s goings on.

This year, someone (or paper, not sure which) decided they’d lampoon the CUP Daily, and created the ‘CUP a Feel’ to the ire of our president, Amanda McQuaigg, who gets called out in it most regularly.

At dinner, she addressed everyone indicating that she felt that the publication was in poor taste, and that everyone should stop to think about why they laughed at it, first of all, and second – for those who were writing the publication - to elevate their humour.

Good on her for not condemning the publication altogether, and rather encouraging them to do better work. But, to agree with her, the ! title story for the Juliet O’Neill recap was tremendously tasteless. If you review her link above, even for a short browse, it is plain to see what she has had to struggle through while trying to preserve her integrity as a journalist was an emotional intrusion on her life. But McQuaigg felt that the daily rag had more harsh statements to be made about sexist and racist comments, in particular anti-bilingual comments that seemed in poor taste.

If McQuaigg really wanted the spoofing to stop, she got quite the opposite. In response, this morning there were two spoof editions for us to peruse. Apparently ‘CUP a Feel’ didn’t impress many people (its first edition was notably poor) so another team decided to create the ‘FuhCUP’ Now, FuhCUP was alright, but the competition definitely put the pressure on CUP a Feel, who brought their A-Game for their second edition. So now there are two francophone-bashing spoof editions circulating. CUP a Feel proudly boasts “100 c opies. (Mine’s bigger)” on its cover.

Their critique of our fellow CUPpies during question period after key notes and guest speakers warrants a post:

"You know you’re a windfucker when …
  1. Your question is composed of fragmented and irrelevant information that you weave together with slow, confident pauses.

  2. You begin talking before you have been chosen to ask a question.

  3. Your question is a three minute statement.

  4. You address jack Layton with: “I interviewed you last year … I don’t know if you remember.”

  5. Your question educates the audience on your drinking activities last night.

  6. You’re not interested in the answer to your own question … windfucker.
**Windfucker: a Shakespearean term identifying someone who beats the wind with their voice. In other words, a windfucker is someone who talks because they enjoy hearing their voice."

If you’ve been to conferences, you know exactly who the above-mentioned ‘windfuckers’ are. CUP a Feel put it better than I ever could have paraphrased, and point 3 makes me laugh out loud, as consistently as getting Rick Roll’d. I digress.

I guess the moral of the story is: If you bitch about jokes you don’t like, you make yourself an easy target, and could possibly just make things worse. McQuaigg certainly didn’t prevent herself from being the subject of any of their articles.

No, probably not what she was looking forward to when she woke up this morning from our long night out.

Hey, I interviewed Jack Layton once. And I guarantee he doesn't remember!

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