I think I should start a critique blog of mcmaster university’s publications because they are so
awesome, and really aim on exploring ideas in a meaningful way.
The new issue of Incite magazine is out. Let me preface this by saying that Incite is not cheaply made. Each mcmaster undergrad pays 0.88 cents for incite magazine as part of their tuition. So at roughly 20 000 undergraduates, they net a budget of $17 600. They get a net budget of $17 600. Incite has a net budget of about $17 600.
We often think that free things are, well, free. Going by the underground’s price list, the newest double issue of incite at 30 sides of 11x17 (if you pick it up, and open it, 8.5 x 11 magazines are folded and stapled tabloid sized pages) would cost about $22.50. They probably receive some sort of bulk deal beyond 100+ copies, but let’s conservatively estimate it cost $10 to print each issue.
Is it worth $10? No.
Incite is an incredibly boring publication. The newest issue has a lot of boredom, and apathy that adorns its glossy pages. Visually, it’s enticing. I am bored reading it, too bored to even finish it.
The most controversial (and racist) piece of the magazine comes from the article 8 ways to add 8 days to your life which is about Sandra Duffey’s trip to Kenya.
The premise is that every new thing you try adds 8 days to your life. One of her new “experiences” was the following:
- Be the first white person an African baby looks at.
There aren’t many white people in Kenya, so sighting a white person is kind of a big deal. Most adults politely say “Hello, mzungu.” and walk on, but little kids stare at me like I’m an exotic creature. For some, I am. Consider African babies. Their world is black, black, and more black – seeing a white person is almost as rare as snow. For African babies, people only come in black, so seeing a white person freaks their freak. The first African baby who saw me initially cried. You can imagine what a boost this was to my self-confidence. The baby was soon soothed by his mother, yet curiosity got the best of him and in a moment of calm, where I offered a friendly smile anda larger-than-life finger, the baby stopped and sucked on my arm. I guess he was trying to eat it the only way a toothless child can. After straining in vain, he eventually gave up, probably satisfied that I tasted the same as a black person. So, yeah. We were cool.
I don’t really know where to begin on this. Given the historical and current racism experienced by many Africans and people of colour, I’d be pretty fucking scared of white people too.
The only thing I can think of is that this magazine is going to look good on someone’s CV as being “part of” or “contributing to” something.
I am of the perhaps old fashioned school of thought that print means something. I envision radical pamphleteers distributing pieces of paper with concepts that were controversial-likely sexist and racist. But, at the same time, they believed it. They believed in something so much that they took it upon themselves to print, hand out, and distribute something to as many people as possible.
Incite has the distribution, the funding, and the glossy pages, but something to me is missing.