Laughing Matters, Opinion

Scenes from a conference

To prepare their readers for online conferences, The McGill Tribune unearthed scenes from various breakout rooms and class discussions over the last five years

Gender Studies

Yeah, I mean, and this is just speaking from experience, Judith Butler might be projecting a bit, don’t you think? Like we get that you perform as a member of the diverse LGBTQ community, but there’s got to be deeper meaning there. I actually used to do improv on Thursday nights at the Second City, the one in Toronto; it’s pretty exclusive if you run in improv circles, so performance is just in my blood. Here are my questions: Who is Butler performing to? Can I get a ticket to see them in action? And that obviously connects to moving hands from chest to head the world around us because there are stages and gender and women, of course.

History

No, I don’t know the date when the Treaty of Paris was signed, but I’ll tell you something more useful. I totally recognize my position of influence as a student of history, because like we study the wars and the fights for justice. It’s not just the past—it’s the present, it’s the future. I’m not so sure everyone knows that, we aren’t that simple, right. One thing I’m becoming increasingly aware of is that just because colonialism ended doesn’t always mean that it has though. So, what do we need to do? I’ll leave you with that food for thought. Maybe you could look at our history and get back to us?

English Literature

Toni Morrison, wow what an author? Right, guys? And what a name? Toni? Must have been a risk in the 1970s. polite laughter. So what was up with that woman killing her baby or whatever? That’s child abuse, and that is wrong. Period. Full stop. I’ve supported children my entire life, always taken on this sort of proto-father role, no exceptions. Did that just happen in Ohio or is that an American thing? The movie was good though. Did you know Oprah’s an actor and not just a Black woman who likes butter in her coffee? And she has a book club?

International Development Studies

We have to be reasonable here. If we accept that the purpose of development is to enact change, we have to reconsider what change and development actually mean, wouldn’t you think? What if there are some reasons that inequalities are in place? Like, that’s the economy? Isn’t that just inevitable? My point is, who am I to interfere, right? I’m, of course, only talking about Europe. That’s not true of the Middle East, Africa, most of Asia, and South America though, as they need us! If you remember correctly and pay attention to the news, you would remember that we as Canadians, as citizens of this country, set the best example for the world. 

Political Science

If I could just––and I’m not going to say play the devil’s advocate, that’s bad now, I guess liberals just get what they want––speak to another perspective that is much-needed in this setting and in this cultural milieu, or cancel-culture environment if you’d put it that way, is that politicians make mistakes. Makes eye contact with every member in the conference. That’s life. That’s reality. That’s, therefore also, what politics is. Just to kind of circle back to my own life, I’ve started to realize that, like what noted theorist John Rawls says, dramatic pause we live in a society, and that hurts politics, because society links to politics and back to society. 

Philosophy

I’m not going to lie, I had a pretty busy weekend. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was in the audience when Slavoj Zizek debated McGill alum Jordan Peterson, so I’d consider that an extraordinary reason for not doing the reading. I’d beg this question: What if there were 500 people instead of 5 people in the trolley problem? I’ve seen The Good Place a few times, even though I don’t think Jameela Jamil’s funny, and thus I’d argue that numbers and ethics matter in real life, especially when we are alive.

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