Lady Bird's a Cheater

Lady Bird has been a tremendous box office success since its theatrical release in November of 2017. Though Alice A. Frye, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, remains unimpressed.

In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Frye questions the film’s treatment of academic dishonesty. She points out that “Many characters — including Christine [AKA Lady Bird], the willful, complex, and lovable protagonist — commit numerous transgressions, all of which are judged and/or forgiven over the course of the movie, with one notable exception”  — academic cheating.

Frye resents what she sees as the normalization of academic cheating in the film, as Lady Bird knowingly and willfully cheats on a few different occasions in order to improve her academic standing. And it’s on the basis of this falsified academic record that she wins entrance to an elite out-of-state college.

Frye is offended by the film’s depiction of cheating as trivial, a normal means to an end. And she points to academia’s real cheating problem, with rampant paper mills and collusion hidden in private Facebook groups, exclaiming: “Cheating seems so common and accepted, it is hard to argue that it matters. Perhaps I should just tell my students that it doesn’t matter. Go ahead, cheat. May the most skilled cheater win.”

Here Frye misses a real opportunity to explore something beyond the wrongness of Lady Bird’s cheating: the role of the institution itself in fostering and even encouraging her behaviour. There’s more to this story...


I don’t mean to suggest that any of Lady’ Bird’s teachers condone her misconduct. I do believe, in fact, that there are more than a few stearn and disapproving looks of suspicion. What I mean to ask is the degree to which the film alludes to a growing critique of today’s system of education as a job-training service. In this system, education is a commodity and grades are products, teachers are storekeepers, students are customers and their misbehaviour is shoplifting.

The ideals of a liberal arts education describe a system that’s more akin to a coffee shop than a retail store. In coffee shops, consumers purchase coffee and the privileges of a seat at a table. They linger. They read, work, talk, observe, drink. And they allow themselves to be changed by this experience. It’s this change that they value. And it’s something that’s impossible to steal.

It’s possible that the prevalence of academic misconduct begs the question: what sort of shop have educators established? Lady Bird and so many other shoplifters suggest that the education shop is a retail store. ....

Stephanie Bell

Dr. Bell is the Associate Director of York University's Writing Centre and an Assistant Professor in the Writing Department's Professional Writing degree program. She spends her time devising ways of using critical pedagogy to support students' understanding of and commitment to academic and professional integrity. The podcast course is a result (and continuation) of one such experiment.

Episode Pitch (RE-UPLOAD)

For my podcast episode, I would like to discuss Racism and its systemic infection of today’s society, this being mainly based off of the leadership present in America. However, it is not limited to Americans alone.

An article posted in the New York Times by David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick discussed Donald Trump’s history of racism and his unquestionable bias towards minority groups, compiling the numerous times he has showcased these traits in the past and recent memory.

Trump’s favoritism of members of the American population that are Caucasian along with his recently more prominent distaste for dark-skinned minority groups, which results in but is not limited to the outright slandering of these groups, is shown on full display. Likewise, Trump has supported and associated himself with groups who would take pride in their racist stances, like the KKK and others.

Now why is all of this important? Surely the general population is aware of Trump’s character. But the question people seem to ask and not know the answer to is “How did this happen?” and “How did the world end up like this?”.

The fact of the matter is that Donald Trump’s status as the President paved way for racism to be more socially accepted within realms of society today. When there are people in positions of power who support or are vocal about certain viewpoints, good or bad, it gives the individuals underneath them the “green-light” to express similar mindsets. If you have Donald Trump in office, and he’s a blatant racist, then the people who hear him and his message will assume “Hey, our President’s a racist, it must be okay for me to be a racist now”. So basically, having people in positions of authority and their views have a direct relation to the views and practices of their subjects, so to speak.

Now the flip side of this argument is that it’s not the leaders that give rise to the mob mentality that exists, but question the opposite actually. It is the pervasiveness of racism and bias in today’s world that allows people, individuals like Donald Trump to rise in status and leadership, because they have the support of people who think just like them. If this is the case, which is surely possible, then there must be a reasoning rooted deep within today’s society, and understanding this is likely key to undoing the progression of racism today, one of the most troubling issues present.

To better understand the dynamic of racism and bias in today’s world, I plan on interviewing individuals of various religions, race, and ethnicity to see how they view this situation. Of course, I understand that racism is much more prevalent in America than it is Canada, but racism is all around us. It is important to understand the different viewpoints of all groups available to see how racism has taken form today.

In my podcast, I will discuss the concept of racism, the different avenues and ways it presents itself in society, and how it’s presence in today’s life became to be. In doing so, I will also look into individuals like Donald Trump and others to see how they have affected the presence of racism and why they have effected it in such a way.

Episode Pitch - Political Correctness in Fiction

The subject or opinion piece selected for this episode pitch is political correctness in fiction, as you all know, fiction is a very broad genre, and for the purposes of this pitch... I will consider two cult classic icons, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes. I will also consider the newest Ghostbusters and compare it to the original 1984 release of the same name to establish a reasonable connection to show how political correctness has evolved over time, and what the sociological impacts could be in today's world. Why is this topic interesting? Who should care? Well, these are good questions and let us weigh the logistics.... Are you an adherent to an established franchise? For example, you may enjoy the superhero genre, in particular, let us assume you like Spider-Man, how would you feel, especially knowing from the source material, that your childhood hero, is going to be radically affected by political correctness? As a fan of Spider-Man, I can certainly attest to the fact that I would be very disappointed, and even angry with the decision to alter him in such a way, that he becomes wholly unrecognizable. Alright, so suppose you don't like superheroes, have you read Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? Game of Thrones? How would any of you feel, if a decision resulted in your favourite franchise being made politically correct to satisfy a demographic of people? Would you not feel a tremor of rage? I believe that politically correcting franchises with the times, sullies authorial intentions, unless, the author or the creator of said franchise, gives permission to change their characters' likeness and personalities. This topic pertains geographically to North America, more so than Europe or other parts of the world, for the simple reason being that both the U.S and Canada cater to different cultures. 

Brock Turner: Ex Standford Swimmer

Stanford University. A prestigious academy, known for its top tier students, tough admission requirements and athletes. Yes, athletes. In particular, an ex-Stanford swimmer named Brock Turner. At least, that’s what most of the headlines call him. A ex standford swimmer instead of referring to him by what he is. A convicted rapist.

Brock Turner gained headlines in 2015 when he was caught sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at a frat party. Pretty brutal. Even more brutal was reading the letter the victim wrote to Brock Turner as her testimony. She poured her heart and soul out into the letter, bringing us as readers through a tribal time in her life, as the victim of an assault. There was no denying Turner was the perpetrator. He was caught red-handed by two pedestrians, who called the police and had him arrested. Only problem? This ex Standford swimmer got sentenced to six months of jail time. Ridiculous, right? Not as ridiculous as him only serving three. The impact of Turner’s case goes beyond just the victim. It is a horror story for students, such as ourselves, and our safety within the York community. It sheds light on campus assault and blaming the victim in a university setting.

My proposal is this. Instead of reading off an article describing the horrible effects of what Turner did, and the failed justice system in terms of the Emily Doe, I am going to be discussing an article written by an anonymous male source for the website Medium. The title of the piece reads THE UNPOPULAR PIECE ON BROKE TURNER…so you know it’s going to be good. My podcast will focus on the distinct defence of Turner that is written in this article, and how an article like this can damage a victim’s progress. I will delve deeper into why men (even anonymous ones) don’t seem to completely understand rape culture as a whole and use examples from Turner’s friends and family as they had a huge role in his defence hearing. My goal is to spread awareness, and to earn just a little justice for victims.

Rape Culture & Men

Walton, Gerald. What Rape Culture Says About Masculinity. October 16th 2017.  The Conversation.

This article by Gerald Walton is an important piece in the world of today, specifically due to the Time'sUp and Metoo! movements. This focuses on men's role in the system, and in rape culture, and how necessary it is to teach men NOT to rape, instead of teaching women to NOT get raped. This article also sheds light on how men may believe rape culture exists, but are filled with gaps in terms of knowledge about the actual topic. 

Anonymous. How the Justice System Let's Sexual Assault Victims Down. September 2nd 2016. ABC.

This anonymous written article focuses in on her own sexual assault, and compares it to the Brock Turner case. This is a first hand account on her horrid experience and how victim blaming creates a huge problem for the justice system, the defendant and the mental health of the victim. Victim blaming seems to be a quick way to get out of doing hard time, or reflecting on the pain caused. It is easy to say 'she was wearing too short a skirt," rather than admit that wrong was truly done. There are also phenomenal statistics in this article that show Turner's case is not necessarily a unique one. 

What is art bibliography

Alder, Katherine. “RCMP Gazette.” Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 6 Jan. 2015,

This is a piece written on the Canadian Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which complains about graffiti as ugly. This was important for me to add in contract to the laws of Toronto that accepts graffiti art and understands the difference. Government officials had this posted to their website and it was a blatant disregard to artists whom are respectful and create beautiful creations. In my podcast it will be a contrast to how others view it and an example of how some people don't respect graffiti as an art form.

Barwell, Ismay. “How Does Art Express Emotion?” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 45, no. 2, 1986, pp. 175–181. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This is a peer reviewed article from jstor, it goes very deeply in how art expresses emotion as guessed by the title. This will help my podcast because it will help better understand the function of art, and then therefore will help develop the meaning of an artist. A lot of my podcast is about why emotions are used in art, and this will be able to let me expand on the how as well.

Diffey, T. J. Tolstoy's "What Is Art". London ; Dover, N.H.: Croom Helm, 1985.

Found from the York university website, a university library archives are reliable. This book explores the definition of art from this authors perspective. He talks about what makes art, art, and the intentions behind it. This is helps my pitch because it has one persons respected, and culturally different opinion to myself, and those around me . I use his table of contents to see how he has organized his information, and the different ways an art critic will look at a piece of art.

Geahigan, George. “Art Criticism: An Analysis of the Concept.” Visual Arts Research, vol. 9, no. 1, 1983, pp. 10–22. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This is a peer reviewed article from Jstor. It starts off with “What is it that art critics do when they criticize?" "What should teachers or students do in criticizing?," and “What is the relationship between what critics do and what teachers or students” Which caught my eye because it takes about art criticism from a perspective I did not know. It is another way of criticizing art and it will help me narrow my own opinions towards a final so what answer.

Gough, Paul. Banksy: the Bristol Legacy. Redcliffe, 2012.

This book is all about the famous graffiti artist named Banksy. He is a modern-day artist and adds another layer to the many different kinds of artists there are. This is found in the York University Scott library. For my podcast it is used for the criticism in the back of the book that says he is not an artist. It complicates my message and I am able to use a counter to further my argument.

“Hill Strategies.” A Statistical Profile of Artists and Cultural Workers in Canada | Hill

This website has a whole bunch of statistics based on a survey about Canadian artists. I think it’s really useful for my podcast because it gives exact numbers about artists, and squashes some of the myths people have about them. The one statistic that jumps out is about artists being highly educated which will give my argument leverage about validating artists.

Jeffers, Carol S. “What Happens When We Ask, ‘What Is Art?".” Art Education, vol. 52, no. 1, 1999,  pp. 40–44. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This article is also from J-stor, and it talks about how we define art and whether we are asking the right questions about it before we even start talking. This is exactly what my podcast is and starts off with art history to help explain what he means by “when is art”.

Stillmunks, John. “No, Not Everybody's an Artist (Despite What They May 

Think).”  EmptyEasle, 2011,


 This is my main article that sparked my interest in this topic. I only touch on it once in the introduction of my podcast. He discusses the different types of art that are recognized in the art community, and the ones that don’t deserve to be there. 

Opinion, Lorrie Drennan in Misc > Art. Yes, I am an Artist (Despite what a few may think),

The website is an art website, which holds everything under the sun you need about art. It has option articles, tutorials, products etc. Another one of the main points of this website is to share and create art. This article is a direct response to the main piece I am using called "yes, I am an artist". It is a popular article discussing why her art is valid for all of the reasons the original says she isn't. 

Philinthecircle. “Egyptian Art History .” Edited by From Goodbye-Art Academy, YouTube

YouTube, 12 May 2014,

This is a YouTube video, one of many that I watched for the information I needed on art history. I wanted to post one that explained it is a short video packed of information about said time in history. 


Scheffer, Marten, et al. “Teaching Originality? Common Habits behind Creative Production in Science and Arts.” Ecology and Society, vol. 22, no. 2, 2017. JSTOR, JSTOR,


This is a peer reviewed article from j-stor, so I know it is reliable. It is about the connection between art and science, and the education behind it and how it affects us. This is going to be really useful in my podcast for some facts about science to have hard evidence in a very opinion-based subject.

Suhr, H. Cecilia. Online evaluation of creativity and the arts. Routledge, 2015.

This source is from the York u library website therefore it is a reliable source. It is called Online evaluation of creativity and arts. It is about the influence social media has had on art and creativity. This includes new art forms that are created because of these new forums have appeared as a new platform for artists. This will be good for my pitch because it explores the birth of art even in today’s world, and how the definition is changing by day. It looks at a new world of art than the ones traditionally looked at in the art community.

Toronto, City of. “Graffiti Management.” City of Toronto, 25 Jan. 2018,

Toronto laws about graffiti, which are all inclusive. This was a pleasant surprise to find that the city is so open minded and embraces a new art form. It draws a line between art and vandalism and is educated on this.



What is Art?

When I was in high school we did an art project where we painted fish going up the stairs for my towns local salmon festival. The class wasn’t your typical art class, it was urban arts, a class made for at risk kids to express their creativity in a better way. SO, the fish we made were created with spray paint and we learned this beautiful street art style typically associated with graffiti or vandalism. The first thing my principal had said to my art teacher after we were done is how long would it be up before we covered it?


The opening in “not everyone’s an artist despite what they may think” by John Stallman’s  the first painting that pops up is this really fat person laying on a couch and he asks you is this art. In my head I think yes of course, their body proportions are right and their technique although not absolute realism is amazing. He goes on to say,

“Probably not, based on what I’ve seen at the juried shows. And that’s a shame, because art isn’t always beautiful. . . or “cute,” “clever,” “interesting,” “nifty,” or “matches what I already have on my wall.”


Now another thing I have learned from my high school art teacher is his hatred for the word just. And that is what made me question this article, because although he is trying to build up one side of art is also tearing down the other side of art.


I understand what he’s saying here is that these people clearly are artists, who aren’t painting to social standards blah the whole “I’m-an-artist-I-am-deeper-than-you” talk but he goes on to imply that these people who paint to be cute clever interesting or nifty aren’t artists either. Or that people who are vendors who paint to make money aren’t artists. And I couldn’t help but think of my principal not taking the fish swimming up our school stairwell seriously.


There has been this fight in the art community for years. Generations before always have always has something to say about the upcoming generations of artists. Now we live in a time where abstract and non-objective art are recognized as art forms, many people do not respect these in the art community. Myself personally will never be able to fully respect Jason Pollock for his splatter paintings. Or famous artists such as Banksy who are known for their risky juxtaposition graffiti, who have really changed the face of art in the modern age. As someone who firstly paints and draws in realism, I myself become judgemental to those who do obscure versions of these things. But also discovering your own style, and going beyond reality is something I have yet to master.


What does it take to be an artist? as Stillmuck says “Despite the low standards and diminished knowledge about genuine artists and fine art, there are thankfully still people who understand and “get it” when it comes to art.” But that is to say my parents who have bought about 30 paintings of lighthouses and couldn’t draw you a stick person nor name a famous artist don’t “get it”



So ultimately this article left me with Who gets to choose what is art and to do that I had to rethink my definition of art.


Is it about the subject matter?

Is it about the context in which it is made, and the intention of expressing emotion and not simply to sell art?

Is it about being deep, or can it just be something that makes you happy?

Is it technique or talent?

Is it the response of your audience?

Or it is the ability to be original?


Let’s take a look a little deeper into the art world and history and see.

Episode Pitch

   As if to mark the start of a fresh school year, on September 20, 2017, Globe and Mail journalist, Margaret Wente released an opinion piece. In which she cries for Canadian Universities to “ stop treating university students like fragile flowers”.


In it she argues that back in her day students were given no compensation for the mental and cognitive obstacles they faced so why should you?


Instead of counselling or extended test hours, students today just need to ‘smoke a joint’ or ‘ eat a jelly donut’ to get rid of those pre exam nerves. Afterall it worked for her, so it’ll definitely work for you too.


Obviously the claims from Ms. Wente are ridiculous as she calls for the destruction of generations of progression because she equates it with babying.


She speaks of therapeutic options like therapy dogs and extensions as if they were something to be ashamed of. Though she mentions the growing academic pressures and increasing competition for employment, it seems as if she could not be farther from understanding them.


If you are or wish to become a university student then great! And don’t worry, Wente made sure to say she doesn’t mean to offend anyone seriously struggling with mental/ cognitive disorders. However,  if you a current or to be university student and suffer from said disorders maybe take a few steps back as Wente ponders whether you really belong there.


All this leads to the question of how relevant  is mental illness to Canadian youth? Is it an epidemic or a fad? And if the former, how much should we have to do about it?


It should be noted that in Wente’s s piece she quoted professor Bruce Pardy if Queen’s University, who agrees that this aid has just gone too far. While it can sometimes be helpful to reach for the opinion of a professor, in a case surrounding student life and wellbeing it can’t hurt to hear from some actual university students. Let’s start there.

Can we appreciate art made by bad people?




In light of recent and continuous events in Hollywood, including numerous allegations of sexual assault, an article in the New York Times written by Clyde Haberman addresses probably one of the most important questions in the midst of all this uproar. “Can we appreciate art even if it was created by someone who behaved deplorably?”

A lot of us draw our lines at different points depending on our personal moral compass. Some would set their limits from a legal perspective and others might do it based on their personal opinions.

While Haberman acknowledges the wrongful acts that people like Kevin Spacey or Caravaggio have committed, he argues that people might still have the desire to access and enjoy their art.

This is true for many who wish to separate art from the artist, but what happens when our hearts simply aren’t able to feel the beauty in their work anymore?

 It is the belief that appreciating their work reflects who we accept in our society. It is the discomfort of being aware of what they’ve done. It is our values speaking, taking over our love for art.

However, is it possible that as a result of our fascination and never-ending love for art, we end up perceiving artists as ideal, moral and perfect beings? Perhaps we should zoom out and redefine what an artist is.

On the other hand, there are many valid reasons why one’s personal values would take over a piece of art. Whether it is because we do not wish to support them financially or because we refuse to preserve their status in society.

It is also interesting to see that art is a value on its own that people choose to prioritize by sacrificing whatever judgment they hold against an   artist.

Let’s take a look at what role art and our personal values play in our ability to separate a work from its artist or not.  

First, here’s what people from the film industry have to say on this matter.






















Active Bias Embedded within Today's Society

Park, Madison, and Eliott C. McLaughlin. “North Carolina Repeals 'Bathroom Bill'.” CNN, Cable News Network, 30 Mar. 2017,

This CNN article by Jason Hanna, Madison Park and Eliott C. McLaughlin discusses the changes to the controversial HB2 law (bathroom law), which forced individuals in government-run facilities to go to the bathroom in their assigned gender in North Carolina. While Gov. Roy Cooper, who signed off on the repeal, noted that the new law was “not a perfect deal, and it is not my preferred solution”, that it was a step in the right direction. GLAAD and other LGBT groups were upset and stated they felt that the new law only countered parts of HB2 and failed to protect transgendered people from discrimination.

This article is a prime example of the unjust prejudice and bias that is still prevalent in today’s modern society. While it is indeed a step in the right direction, the laws passed do not address the ongoing issue of discrimination. In today’s day and age there should be by-laws to protect individuals of any gender spectrum.

Neel, Joe. “Poll: Most Americans Think Their Own Group Faces Discrimination.” NPR, NPR, 24 Oct. 2017,

Joe Neel’s piece talks on the status of majority and minorities in America, and the statistics of how minorities, specifically African-American individuals, feel prejudiced and discriminated against in American society. The stats given show that since arriving in America, African-Americans have felt high levels of discrimination in interacting with the police, buying a house, voting, and other common actions of the average American. The information also showed that reports of discrimination were much higher in majority-black areas than in non-majority black areas. The stats also go into detail on bias in pay-grade, opportunity and environment.

This article is very educational as while these stats may not directly co-relate to the levels of discrimination, but it does give insight to how the African-American population may feel in regard to how they are treated by the rest of the populace. The amount of discrimination and bias are still at a high level especially in American mediums, and is proof of how bias is embedded in society.

Should people change themselves or their habits when searching for potential life partners

Haseltine Ph.D., E. (2018). How to Find a Husband if You Only Have 60 Seconds. [online] Psychology Today. Available at:  [Accessed 29 Jan. 2018].


The How to Find a Husband if You Only Have 60 Seconds article on Psychology Today website is all about how when looking for a life partner we can judge a book by its cover. Haseltine Ph.D., E. says we can do this in 60 seconds because Statistics show a positive correlation between intelligence and physical characteristics like; Hairiness, nearsightedness, head shape and height. He says that this can help give shallow insight on the person, but it won’t go deeper than that. I included this article because I wanted the single ladies who may not yet been married to maybe understand that if the method of how they chose their partner is similar to this it could be a possible reason why they aren’t married yet.


Anderson, L. (2018). Finding a Great Husband Doesn't Just "Happen". [online] Today's Christian Woman. Available at:  [Accessed 29 Jan. 2018].

This source is about the five things the author wished her mother told her about dating and preparing for marriage. Women hope to just get married and expect for it to just happen and when it doesn’t they wonder whether it will happen. Left to wonder whether they are physically or mentally unattractive or not and are left looking back at their past mistakes they’ve made. I included this article because I wanted people to understand that marriage isn’t just some magical thing that just happens, sometimes if you don’t put in the work you can end up stuck in the same spot.



Episode Pitch


This episode will be responding to the article written by Shenequa Golding on the topic titled, Ciara ticks off single twitter with Instagram post urging women to ‘level up’. Ciara made the trending list when she went onto her Instagram to post a clip from pastor John Gray, where he tells women what they should do to find a husband. The video clip led people, single women in general to feel like she was blaming them for being single because they were only settling to be ‘the girlfriend’. People were confused on how a single man has the right to tell woman how they can get a husband. Ciara going from failed relationship to failed relationship to being newly married and happy wanted to help others out there searching for the same happiness but may have gone about it the wrong way.

 There was betrayal felt by fans who were hurt by her words, maybe because what she said was true or partly true. Others supported her claim and took it for common sense. Should single people have an opinion on why other’s relationships aren’t working? What is the proper way of upgrading from girlfriend to wife? Should there be rules or requirements for women to be a wife? Should there be requirements for men? Unfortunately for women who want to get married but can’t, it could be that their partner just isn’t ready to either settle down or they see marriage as being tied down or a way of control.


Racism In America and Its Ignorant Head (Post 2)

Rapaport, Michael. “LeBron James Responds to Donald Trump's Tweet Rescinding Stephen Curry's White House Invite.” Sports Illustrated, 23 Sept. 2017,

Rapaport’s article covers Cleveland Cavalier’s superstar LeBron James and his tweet criticizing President Donald Trump, who withdrew his invitation to the Golden State Warriors who had won the 2017 NBA Finals. Typically a tradition to invite champion teams to the White House, Trump went to Twitter to withdraw his invitation after Warriors star Steph Curry discussed how the team felt uncomfortable going with Trump in office, to which James tweeted “U bum!” and such, referring to Trump.

I believe this piece is important not only to the sports portion, but how this piece highlights a much larger piece of the racial issue in American sports and America. Trump has been known for his racially insensitive comments and views, and having an individual at the helm of a country with such views can encourage said behavior in his subordinates and denizens.

Hannable, Ryan. “Tom Brady on K&C: 'I Certainly Disagree with What [Donald Trump] Said'.” WEEI, 25 Sept. 2017,

Ryan Hannable’s piece discusses President Trump’s comments pertaining to the peaceful protests occurring in the NFL, and Patriot’s QB Tom Brady, who had been known to be friends with Trump, and his comments. Trump had voiced his opinion against the protests and wished NFL owners would fire players that protested, similar to Colin Kaepernick. Brady, however, stood in support of his teammates and colleagues around the league who protested.

This article again reveals a flaw in American society pertaining the American President and racism. President’s Trumps comments set the precedent for future racial input, and discourage activism against it, which I believe is a key flaw in the rise of racism.

Cultural Appropriation is Not Fashion

Episode Pitch

In the world of fashion, trends come and go faster than the seasons change. Designers are always looking for whatever is new and exciting in order to keep their audience coming back for more. This has allowed for the field to often be first in line to push the boundaries of self-expression and societal norms. The influence that fashion has on us is enormous, but sometimes, that influence can be misguided. In their efforts to push boundaries and sell their products, designers are capable of using fashion as a vehicle for racism.

I am proposing the creation of a podcast that examines one specific case regarding the ethics of fashion. More specifically, I want to ask the critical question: Are people who wear hoop earrings, who are not black or Latin American, participating in cultural appropriation?

This question is significant because it takes a hard look at the harm that cultural appropriation can cause. It’s one of the forms that racism takes. That alone makes it a topic of importance, especially today, when cultural appropriation is becoming of serious concern.

I will take some time to investigate what cultural appropriation is and what the potential harms are. Then, I can narrow in on the problem of hoop earrings and what people on both sides of the question argue. There is an interesting case of a mural at an American college created by some students protesting the cultural appropriation of hoop earrings, so investigating the reactions to it will provide some great insight. In general, I wish to take a critical look at the fashion industry’s handling of cultural appropriation and ask whether it is appropriate or not.


Annotated Bibliography

“A Message From the Latinas Who Made the ‘White Girl, Take OFF Your Hoops’ Mural.” Latino Rebels, 14 March 2017,

This published email provides new insight on the controversial mural created at Pitzer College. Sent by the original artists to the Latin American news website, they defend their creation of the mural and explain the reasoning behind it. My chosen opinion piece is concerned with the cultural appropriation of fashion, mostly in reference to hoop earings, and references this art piece and the backlash it experienced from white girls who do wear them. The piece according to the artists does more than just call these white girls out. It was meant to highlight how misunderstood and invisible women of colour and feminine non-binary people are. This article highlights that the issue is not merely one of thievery or plagiarism of fashion, but the erasure of racial and gender self-expression. My understanding of cultural appropriation has expanded as a result of gaining a better understanding of the mural artists’ intentions.


Dordick, Elliot. “Pitzer College RA: White People Can’t Wear Hoop Earrings.” Claremont Independent, 7 March 2017,

This article was released by Pitzer College’s school newspaper to cover the mural ‘White Girl, Take OFF Your Hoops’. After a white student expressed confusion about what it meant, the artist released an email statement explaining her reasoning. This article takes a more conventional route to understanding cultural appropriation. The mural according to this article is about protesting the act of taking subversive forms of self-expression and defiance by people of colour and turning them into mainstream, inaccessible forms of white plagiarism. The mural by this account is more of a simple call out of cultural appropriation, without the nuance of the artists’ statement. It is still a valuable article for looking at how most of the student body was exposed to the piece, and how they have had it interpreted.


Pivet, Ruby. “Hoop Earrings Are My Culture, Not Your Trend.” Vice, 10 October 2017.

This article provides greater insight on how hoops are both revered and reviled as a fashion trend for white people, and a sign of Latina heritage respectively. Pivet’s article is directly quoted in my source article, and discusses the same subject with more of a focus on the hypocrisy of cultural appropriation. In short, white fashionistas are happy to wear Latina fashions, and enjoy other aspects of their culture, but turn a blind eye to racism and social injustice that Latinas and Latinos suffer from. Moreover, they are being praised for the fashions when they did not invent them, and think of them as trends to be discarded when the weather changes. Meanwhile, Latinas see them as an essential forms of connecting with their heritage. All in all, this article elaborates on the problem of the cultural appropriation of hoop earrings, and the Latina perspective in a very clear manner.


Grigoriadis, Vanessa. “The Eyeful Tower.” Vanity Fair, September 2013.

This article discusses the life and work of André Leon Talley, a black fashion icon who is referenced in the opinion piece. In the piece, he says that hoop earrings are associated with black culture as well as Romani people. These two groups are highly marginalized, and his statement indicates he is sympathetic to him. However, “The Eyeful Tower” establishes Talley as a wealthy man who participates in white high class fashion, the group responsible for the cultural appropriation of hoops to begin with. His extravagance is noted as characteristic of him, and his close history with Vogue raises eyebrows, since Vogue is one of the worst offenders of cultural appropriation in fashion. This article has helped to make me aware that it is entirely possible for marginal people themselves to participate in the system that steals from their culture.


Young, James O. “Art, Authenticity and Appropriation.” Frontiers of Philosophy in China, vol. 1, no. 3, 2006, pp. 455–476. JSTOR,

This article takes a sceptical approach to the subject of cultural appropriation. Young is concerned with trying to decide if being artists who participate in cultural appropriation can produce aesthetically good artworks. His stance is ultimately empiricist, concluding that the background of the artist and such things as intentions or significance do not decide if a work is aesthetically good. Work that is borrowed in style or content from other artists and cultures can be extremely aesthetically pleasing. While I personally believe that the harms of cultural appropriation fail to be seriously considered and are often misrepresented in this text, it is a useful work for understanding the point of view opposite of mine, and can be used for my podcast.


Matthes, Erich Hatala. “Cultural Appropriation Without Cultural Essentialism?” Social Theory and Practice, vol. 42, no. 2, 2016, pp. 343–366. JSTOR,

This academic article takes on the problem of cultural appropriation in an effective manner. Matthes defines it as the “compromis[ing] and distort[ing] the communicative ability and social credibility of members of marginalized groups” (p.354). Cultural appropriation harms by creating a credibility deficit, and its goal is social marginalization. It counters the problem of  cultural essentialism, which can be an argument against cultural appropriation by stating it creates a morally objectionable insider/outsider divide. It also establishes cultural appropriation as a systematic harm because it “is because of underlying systematic social inequalities”, we don’t need to identify the oppressor’s background to call them out, making essentialism a moot point (p.363). This article provides interesting arguments regarding cultural appropriation that I believe can be useful to consider in my podcast.

Genre Analysis Exercise

  1. A)

In Operation Match, the major topic is introduced in the beginning section of the podcast. The host discusses the role of matchmaking apps in connecting people who otherwise would have never met, but also that this has not led the woman being interviewed, Andrea, any closer to finding someone to share a long-term relationship with. I would say that this is good, because it helps to pull the audience in right away to the story and discussion that follow, and so grabbing their attention immediately.

In A Place for Passion: Hitting the Books, the major topic is introduced in the beginning as well, though there is some set-up before the Children’s Book Bank is discussed properly. It does work as well, although I found myself waiting in boredom for the first minute or so while a rather cheesy story is used to introduce the ideas of books and reading. The story itself is fine. If the story were worded in a more compelling way, I would have been more invested from the beginning seconds, rather than the beginning minutes.


I learned of the topic in Operation Match through the narrator. He flat out says at the beginning that the podcast will focus on dating apps, and solidifies it through Andrea’s story of attempting to use them without success. It works well to grab and hold my attention.

In Hitting the Books, the topic is also introduced through the narrator. He does the set-up through the story, and establishes the focus on the Children’s Book Bank. It works just as effectively as in the professional podcast.

2. A)

The significance of Operation Match is the underlying implication is that dating apps may not help in actually finding a romantic partner, and so could be a waste of time and money. By using Andrea’s story as an example, it shows that dating apps do not guarantee you will meet your soulmate, or even someone worth dating. It does a very good job of persuading me to continue listening, to see if by the end a conclusion going one way or the other about dating services is reached.

The significance of Hitting the Books is the idea that children with access to books are better equiped and more likely to succeed, and children without access to books need places like the Children’s Book Bank to help them. The importance of reading is discussed in the middle, where for example, the host discusses the lack of resources available to immigrant families and the role reading plays in helping children grow into their new communities and schools. While the argument is good, it is introduced so late that I felt myself becoming bored while waiting to be persuaded.


The significance of the topic in Operation Match is established early, through Andrea’s story of using dating apps. If she wishes to pursue a long-term relationship, and she does, then Andrea needs to meet someone she connects with. Dating apps would seem to be the best way to do that, but she has had no luck for years. It is a very good strategy, and helps to keep the history of dating services rooted by a common thread.

In Hitting the Books, the importance of reading is stated at the outset, but the significance of the Children’s Book Bank is covered more towards the middle. There is more set-up at the beginning to establish what the Book Bank is, what it does, and the reactions of people and children in the area to it. While the podcast is good, I found the beginning sections rather boring without the significance being present. It felt too close to a commercial trying to sell the Book Bank as a charity than an informative and persuasive piece. If the significance were established at the outset, it would have been more compelling at the beginning.


Operation Match makes the argument that dating services will not guarantee that you will meet your soulmate, but they do make meeting new people to date easier. That being said, I do feel that it leaves room for the listener to make their own decision regarding dating apps. It presents the stories of both a couple who met through one and are now happily married, and of Andrea who has had no success. The listener might choose to continue to believe in dating apps or to dismiss them completely, and the narratives told by this podcast would not go against them. While it goes for a neutral ground between the two extremes at the end, I do feel like I got to keep my agency.

Hitting the Books by contrast makes an argument in favour of supporting non-profit organizations like Children’s Book Bank and expects you to agree. This podcast makes several points regarding the importance of access to books, such as pointing to research indicating that immigrant families benefit greatly from alternatives to public school for educating their children. It all builds to painting the organization in a sympathetic light to inspire the listener to support it, and others like it. While I felt that I did not have much in the way of choice, it did not bother me, as I felt that the purpose of the Places for Passion series anyway was to persuade you to agree.


The person interviewed throughout Hitting the Books was Mary Ladky, the executive director of the Children’s Book Bank. She was introduced in the beginning alongside the organization, and continued to give her input frequently for the entire podcast. There is a back-and-forth between the narrator and Mary Ladky, though not as a question and answer sequence. The narrator provides links between the Book Bank and the overarching problem of child illiteracy, while Mary Ladky provides an insider point of view. For example, Mary Ladky describes the organization as a part of the community, and the narrator expands on the web of services that it is a part of, and leads into a story of the importance of these services. The lack of direct interaction between them makes the podcast less dynamic than it could be.


Hitting the Books looks at secondary sources related to the statistics and research surrounding childhood literacy, immigrant families and education, and how books affect all of these. The narrator directly discusses these at key points during the podcast to drive home the point of how essential access to books are to children’s development and chances of success later in life. For example, when Mary Ladky says that children with access to books are better off in school later on, the narrator backs it up with an Israeli study that this is true, and that they do especially well if they read the same book over and over, which gives a sense of ownership, and thus implicitly, confidence. These sources helped to advance the conversation around books and childhood literacy by backing up the podcast’s claims, and by adding extra information that expands the argument.


A moment of insight in Hitting the Books is also the strongest point in the podcast. The narrator and Mary Ladky had been saying over and over that books were important to children, and backed it up with research, but it has no emotional resonance until they talk about the children themselves. When Mark Grant, the narrator, recounts seeing a class sitting for a reading, he connects their joy with his own as a child, when he did the same. For the first time in the podcast, the Book Bank is not just about hypothetically giving kids a better chance. It becomes about their emotional experience, and we hear how it improves their lives right now, and not in a hypothetical situation. Moreover, it is numbered at 350 kids, so the numbers speak to how important the Book Bank’s success is to the community.

It occurs at then middle, when the gears shift from just picturing the Book Bank’s importance to considering how it relates to the real people who use it. Right after the insight, they look at the good effect it has had on immigrant families in the community. The change is marked by Mark Grant’s tone. He sounds overjoyed himself, and a bit nostalgic, when he speaks about the kids listening to a story. It marks how emotionally significant these moments are, and how important books are to the children, not as tools, but as experiences that make them happy. On the whole, this insight is very effective.

Are Men Really Clueless About Sexual Harassment?

Drexler, P. (2017) Are men really clueless about sexual harassment?, CNN.

Peggy Drexler's article delves into the societal impact of men who are included in sexual harassment, specifcally the TimesUp movement, and the role they play as both victim and perpetrator. In terms the male gender,  Drexler explores the idea that men could be programmed by society and it's standards into a rooted sexist perspective and are forcefully ignorant. The idea of 'boys will be boys' is explored in the article as well. It is not blaming men, merely trying to understand the general behaviour of men in situations that call for action against violence, rape and assault. 


Blow, C. (2017) This is a Man Problem. 

Charles M Blow's article is written much like Drexler's, only from the perspective of the male gaze. His article confronts toxic masculinity and it's play in today's world, in terms of rape culture and the responsibility of both men and women. He also talks about society's pressure upon men, without making them the victim or taking away the seriousness of sexual assault survivors and how we, as a group, must recognize that women are not responsible for men's behaviour, despite wearing too little, smiling a lot or being intoxicated. 






CEO (Canada's Executive Oligarchy)

Elsie Mahendran



It happens every two weeks like clockwork - your blood, sweat and tears deposited right into your bank account. But the joy is momentary. You’ve got bills to pay, mouths to feed, and a car that needs gas. Minimum wage does nothing to ease the pain of working a 9-5 job on the daily, giving up weekends and nights so you can take on as many overtime hours as you can. A 48-hour work week for what – just so you can have the necessities? All the while Mr. and Mrs. CEO over there are enjoying making your yearly salary in a fraction of a day. And so, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s called executive compensation, and it has to stop!

In his opinion piece for the New York Times Joe Nocera detailed the biggest err in CEO paychecks was that most of them simply didn’t deserve it. He quotes Nell Minow who discussed her dismay towards the 1993 bill introduced by American Congress to cap executive compensation at $1 million dollars – not bad right? But there was one exception, this did not include performance pay. And so began the era of scapegoating executive compensation with the excuse of performance. It’s a slap in the face to hard working employees who are the real foundation of these companies, giving an arm and a leg to meet deadlines and solve the day to day problems that arise.

Let’s put it in perspective, Canada’s top paid CEOs earn 200 times more than the average Canadian employee. Canada’s top paid CEO has a base salary of $1.3 million – on top of that he brings in over $81 million in compensation – giving him a total salary of approximately $83 million per year. Ridiculous right? But, unlike Nocera’s article, this issue goes far beyond unequal pay and whether or not they deserved it. Put simply, it’s the misdistribution of money. Its equality vs. equity.

Let’s look at the bigger picture – our education system and the price of tuition, the ridiculous amount of money wasted in non-profit organizations, and what about our tax money? Where does our money really go? This cycle of executives getting away with fat pay checks has to stop.

What is Executive Compensation?

Kuepper, J. (2006). Evaluating Executive Compensation. Retrieved from Investopedia.

Kuepper focuses on the point of view of an investor (not a worker or CEO), and what executive compensation should mean to potential investors of a company. He goes on to evaluate the different types of executive compensation, how to find out a CEO’s pay within company filings, how to understand it and evaluate it. Furthermore, he discuses “Pay vs. Performance”, explaining that “comparing pay to stock prices can help [an investor] determine whether executives are over paid or not”. He also states that investors should always keep in mind what “industry peers” are making as a good comparison. Lastly, he discusses the laws around executive compensation. Kuepper uses a relaxed tone and breaks down the concepts so they are easy to understand – this was a highlight of his article. Overall, he was very informative, but as this was not an academic source it will be considered as secondary research.

Reh, F. J. (2017, August 14). Take a Look at the Issues with CEO Compensation. Retrieved from The Balance.

The Balance is a personal finance website – an offspring of – making it a secondary source in my research. Throughout the article Reh explores numerous perspectives on the issue of executive compensation. He draws on statistics from Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the Economic Policy Institute, both of which are non-academic sources. Reh is very fair in how he represents both sides of the debate, underlying possible biases in the statics, stating “data and metrics have the potential to paint the picture you want to paint”. Some topics he discusses include how CEOs are compensated, what they do to earn that money, if they worth all that money, and the issue of CEO compensation becoming contentious. Reh makes some very intriguing points throughout the article. His analogy between a CEO and a star player tested my beliefs on CEO compensation and broadened my perspectives.

Not Just Wall Street

Garner, J. L., & Harrison, T. D. (2013). Boards, Executive Excess Compensation, and Shared Power: Evidence from Nonprofit Firms. The Financial Review, 617-643.

            Garner and Harrison research the correlation between CEO pay in non-profit firms and the success of the firm. They compares the effects of a single executive (CEO) versus a board of executives on how a company is run in terms of salaries, executive compensation, funding towards projects and company achievement(s). Their research details that a CEO is likely to misdirect money, have larger compensation and not meet goals. In comparison, a group of executives will keep each other in line, keep fair salaries, lower compensation and divide work thus accomplishing more. Their research was very in-depth, but the extensive use of math over-complicated the information presented. Overall, I found the source quite helpful in providing me a solid foundation for further research and a pointing me in new directions. As this is an academic source it will be a primary source in my research.

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. (2015). The Ontario University Funding Model in Context. Government of Canada.

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario released a document detailing Ontario’s university funding model. Ontario supports its public universities through grants from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The document details the other forms of funding universities receive (student tuition, federal funding, MTCU funding, and other Ontario Ministries) while listing the combined amounts. While this document was very useful in understanding the funding received by universities, it did not explain what that funding was used for – a topic I plan on researching. I would like to understand what percentage of this goes to salaries and how much is used for university programs for students. This document, being a government source, is a primary source in my research.

Con-Artists and Big Hearts

Flannery, T. P. (2002). Executive Compensation: Guidelines for Healthcare Leaders and Trustees. Health Administration Press.

The first chapter within this textbook details that healthcare providers do their job under the ethics of “to help ones neighbour”, but that they also deserve reward and recognition for their services through the benefits of compensation. Flannery explains that these compensation packages are created by the board of directors who closely consider reasonable compensation and the relationship between performance and pay. He goes on to explain that within healthcare institutions board chairmen are seen as completely separate from the CEO. The chairmen is given the job of watching over the CEO carefully, making sure their every move benefits the hospitals and that their performance is directly effecting their pay. A strength of this source is its focus on the health care system in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. It allows for a good comparison between the set-up of their compensation systems and why they are created as so. This is a primary source within my research as it is an academic source.

Hall, B. J., & Liebman, J. B. (2000). The Taxation of Executive Compensation. The University of Chicago Press Journal, 1-44.

            This is an academic peer reviewed journal article, and will be a primary source in my research.  Hall and Liebman examine the taxation of CEO compensation and seeks to answer whether or not the policies surrounding it are effective or if they are being exploited. They also look into the sudden increase in CEOs’ receiving their compensation through stock options leading them to conclude that this is a tactic to circumvent tax law and save the CEOs money. By doing this, tax advantages that come from owning stocks have nearly doubled compared to that of the 80s. The other possibilities for this shift is for CEOs to retain more control of the company they oversee, meaning that if they cause the company to do well they directly profit, creating incentive for increased performance on behalf of the CEO. They also shows us that CEOs are willing to go to great lengths in order to maintain their eccentric paychecks by evading tax laws and acquiring it through other means like stocks. Hall and Liebman help us examine the mentality of the CEO which directly correlates to why compensation policies are ever increasing.  


Long, R. J. (2014). Strategic Compensation in Canada. Nelson Education Ltd.

Throughout the first chapter of his textbook, Long brings up numerous perspectives I have not seen in any of the articles I have read over the past few weeks. He discusses the importance of a reward system in a company – emphasizing the psychology behind them. He asks the question of how do we design a compensation system that produces the behaviors we want. Long states that many companies underutilize compensation packages. They’re either paying too little, promoting low job performance, or more likely than not, both. Furthermore, Long hints at the complexities of a CEO's job directly relating them to the complexity of compensation packages. He connects this to the broader picture stating compensation packages are not one size fits all; every company and every CEO will require something different. Long emphasizes the importance of companies understanding how these packages work within an organization and suggests keeping a careful eye on how they benefit or disadvantage the company. Overall, Long pushes the conversation away from the cost and reasoning behind these pay packages and towards understanding their importance in helping an organization prosper. As this was an academic source it will be a primary source in my research.

Long, R. J. (2014). Strategic Compensation in Canada. Nelson Education Ltd.

In the second chapter of his textbook, Long underlines the importance of continuously adapting the compensation package to changing circumstances. Many companies fail to do this, underestimating the impact it could have. He further emphasizes that compensation packages are a two way street; they must entice the CEO with benefits that suit their need which promotes them to work in favor of the company. An interesting point he brings up is that the needs and wants of the CEO should reflect the desire of the organization. For instance, both should want increased security, a high status within their community, achievement, recognition for these achievements and growth. Long goes on to explain the differences between a reward and incentive; he enlightens the reader on the use of each in manipulating the CEO. A highlight of this textbook is the multiple points of views it takes and its focus on Canadian polices and companies. The psychology aspect of the text is easy to understand and quiet interested also.


Long, R. J. (2014). Strategic Compensation in Canada. Nelson Education Ltd.

In the second half of chapter three Long details all organizations big or small (excluding voluntary) must deal with compensation issues. In small organization the job of creating a compensation system resides with the owner or CEO. In larger organizations the job of compensation is divided up for those who work in HR, the head of the department bearing the most responsibility. Though approval is required for changes made to compensation strategies by other top executives. He goes on the explain that within HR they are specialized roles - job analysts; benefits specialist; compensation analyst; compensation managers – who help control compensation. At a certain point a company will enlist outside help by hiring compensation consulting firms.

Long, R. J. (2014). Strategic Compensation in Canada. Nelson Education Ltd.

In the first half of chapter three Long begins by describing that an optimal reward and compensation system must contain eight main criteria. He adds that these eight pieces each must fit together and support each other. He also states that to create a system where these pieces align you must understand the managerial strategy within the company. Once a company is able to check all these boxes they can produce a system that adds the most value to their organization. While realistically it may to be hard to produce a system that is completely equitable within these eight sections - once a company is able to do so it gains a competitive advantage. With even one part out of loop, this can deter a company from full efficiency. Long does a good job of outlining the pieces necessary to build a sustainable and helpful compensation system.

Donald Trump and Ban on Trophy Hunting Imports

Week 2

Hall, Carla. “Trump's best decision so far: Doubling down on banning elephant trophies.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2017,

This opinion piece, written by Carla Hall, published on November 20th, 2017 to the Los Angeles Times, outlines (and commends) U.S. President Trump's decision to preserve the Obama administration's legislation that curbs trophy hunting, especially on elephants. The article briefly mentions Trump's angle on the practice (i.e. horrific), discusses illicit kills and methods by poachers (e.g. using drones to scour elephant territory), touches on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's initial intention to rescind the previous president's embargo, the animals' recurring plight, and cites Lara Trump's (whose husband, Eric, Donald's son, has been an avid hunter himself) potential advocacy against the activity. Furthermore, the article conveys bias, which evidently censures poaching and speaks out against the notion that poaching facilitates conservation. Though not laden with significant detail, these points provide prompts for depth into the politics, involvement, discord, and advocacy of the differing standpoints on the matter. 

Lowry, Rich. “Trump Is Right about Trophy Hunting.” National Review, National Review, 21 Nov. 2017,

This opinion piece was written by Rich Lowry, published on November 21st, 2017 for the National Review. It accentuates the predicament of African elephants in Zambia and Zimbabwe regarding their ensnarement in endangerment and proximity to extinction. Lowry cites the substantial scope in the decline of the species' populations (i.e. from approx. 10 million to around 350,000 today). It briefly discusses (or rather questions) the view that endorses hunting as a means of conservation, and touches on the Zimbabwean government's involvement. Being an opinion article, it is gravitated towards forbidding poaching and importing the animals' body parts, deplores the practice, asserts that elephants are intelligent and emotional creatures, and favours economical alternatives of profit, such as wildlife tourism. These are viable prompts to investigate the nature of the topic in depth, political influence, respective convictions of opposing parties, and matters on ethics.

Week 3

Patel, Neel V. “Lifting the Ban on Elephant Trophies Will Probably Help Save Elephants.” Slate Magazine, 16 Nov. 2017,

This article was written by Neel V. Patel, published on the State magazine platform on November 16th, 2017. This article attempts to posit that trophy hunting, in the context of Donald Trump's contemplation on reversing the Obama administration's ban on trophy kills from Zimbabwe and Zambia (preceding his subsequent decision to keep the ban), can potentially contribute to elephant conservation practices. Evidently backing the nature of the commerce, the article cites the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which suggests that hunting that is meticulously regulated can accrue revenue that can be put back into conservation. Patel contends that hunting can control the elephant populations (despite studies expounding the critical decline of the species), and claims that bureaucratic procedures enacted by the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments (such as hunting quotas and regulatory mechanisms) can help facilitate the revitalization of healthy elephant populations.

Pacelle, Wayne. “Interior Department to allow imports of elephant and lion trophies from Africa, reversing Obama policies · A Humane Nation.” A Humane Nation, 16 Nov. 2017,

This blog post was written by Wayne Pacelle for his blog A Humane Nation, on November 17th, 2017. The post discusses the situation of the African elephants being threatened in Zimbabwe and Zambia, with the animals listed under the U.S. federal Endangered Species Act (which stipulates that hunting trophies can be imported only if the federal government deems their killing as conducive to the species' survival). Pacelle addresses the corruption that pervades the Zimbabwe government, touches on the erstwhile president Robert Mugabe's condemnation, and enumerates a few problems with Zimbabwe's elephant management plan. The blog calls out the Department of the Interior, who overlooks the scientific evidence substantiating that much of the elephant endangerment status is attributed to trophy hunting. Pacelle also mentions the subtexts of trophy hunting, of how the usual perpetrators are affluent, white people, and he contrasts their intentions (premised on ego and greed) and the local people who hunt the elephants as part of their livelihoods, which are undermined by the former group who hunt animals solely for trophies.

Week 4

Cruise, Adam. “Is Trophy Hunting Helping Save African Elephants?” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 17 Nov. 2015,

This article for Natural Geographic was written by Adam Cruise on November 17, 2015. The article argues the point that trophy hunting endorsed by governments does not facilitate the elephant conservation campaign. The premise that trophy hunting will help alleviate elephant endangerment is elucidated by organizations, such as The International Union for Conservation of Nature, saying that hunting that is well-managed can generate revenue that can be used for conservation purposes, as well as for subsidizing poor local communities in African countries. However, some rural villages in Zimbabwe attest that community projects like CAMPFIRE, do not give them any money.

Paterniti, Michael . “Should We Kill Animals to Save Them?” Poaching and Conservation, Natural Geographic, 20 Sept. 2017,

This magazine article was written by Michael Paterniti for Natural Geographic. This online piece discusses the morals people hold regarding trophy hunting. People, such as government bodies, demonstrate support for the activity due to economic revenues. People who are for trophy hunting may express indignation towards people who are against trophy hunting, saying it is not fair for people from another nation to criticize how people manage their wildlife. Others suggest that there should be a middle ground for hunting. The article also mentions certain practices, codes of honour, and policies that have been upheld by hunters, such as not hunting certain female animals. This article is a viable start to delving deeper into the ethics surrounding trophy hunting.

Ryan Fernando Podcast Pitch


Week 4

Peter A. Lindsey, et al. “Trophy Hunting and Conservation in Africa: Problems and One Potential Solution.” Conservation Biology, vol. 21, no. 3, 2007, pp. 880–883. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This is a conservation biology journal article written in 2007 by Peter A. Lindsey, L. G. Frank, R. Alexander, A. Mathieson and S. S. Romañach. This article argues the point that trophy hunting in African nations, such as Mozambique and Zambia, accrues revenue, which can be poured into local communities in order to provide incentives for conservation. The article contends that managed trophy hunting can contribute to the conservation and rehabilitation of endangered species. The article also asserts that other alternatives of tourism may not be as effective in the context of conservation, since more resources are exhausted. Problems, however, emanate from irresponsible and corrupt governments and institutions that do not give back to local communities or permit these communities ownership of wildlife.

Gunn, Alastair S. “Environmental Ethics and Trophy Hunting.” Ethics and the Environment, vol. 6, no. 1, 2001, pp. 68–95. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This journal article on ethics and the environment was published in 2001, written by Alastair S. Gunn. In abstract, the paper discusses the general discourse surrounding the ethics of trophy hunting. It provides perspectives pertinent to those who are against hunting and those who are for it. However, this article seems to veer more towards the justification of properly managed trophy hunting, but posits that killing animals is generally viewed as acceptable only if the context is not meant to kill indiscriminately. Given this, the article suggests that hunting in general does not threaten biodiversity and trophy hunting, if it contributes to circumstances like population control, has a degree of merit. The article does mention how people who wish to kill for pure enjoyment may have desires for control, power, and a chance to boast, which is regarded as reprehensible, even by the hunting community.  

Week 5

Cousins, Jenny A., et al. “Exploring the Role of Private Wildlife Ranching as a Conservation Tool in South Africa: Stakeholder Perspectives.” Ecology and Society, vol. 13, no. 2, 2008. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This ecology and society journal article was written by Jenny A. Cousins, Jon P. Sadler and James Evans, published in December of 2008. This journal article discusses how public park dealing with wildlife ranching are faced with a dearth of funds and must resort to private landowners. The article focuses on the advantages, obstacles, and limitations with regards to private wildlife ranching as an agency of species conservation in South Africa. The article provides arguments that are premised on the idea that maintained game hunting can be a viable means of conservation if done properly. However, the article also talks about limitations that the industry faces concerning such conservation practices. There is also discussion of how many businesses espouse the approach that is inclined towards profit as opposed to bona-fide conservation. 

Cruise, Adam. “CAT - The effects of trophy hunting on five of Africa's iconic wild animal populations in six countries – Analysis.” Conservation Action Trust, 12 Feb. 2018,

This article was written by Adam Cruise for the Conservation Action Trust company. The article touches on the premise that well-managed trophy hunting can be used as a means to accumulate revenue and engender incentives for people to engage in campaigns for animal conservation so that lands can be maintained, populations can be restored, and species can be safeguarded from the harms of poaching. The article does point out that trophy hunting can be a contributing factor to the decline of species such as elephants, lions, cheetahs, rhinoceroses, and leopards. It also expounds that there is a correlation between legal hunting and poaching. The piece also discusses how trophy hunting does have the potential to be a driving force for corruption and that there is unfair distribution of the profits generated, which are purported to be allocated for communities in order to spur conservation awareness.

Week 6

Weisberger, Mindy. “Hunting Big Game: Why People Kill Animals for Fun.” Scientific American, 28 May 2017,

This article was written by Mindy Weisberger for Scientific American, on May 27, 2017. The article touches on the incentives that galvanize proponents of trophy hunting into paying exorbitant amounts of money to shoot down animals, especially large ones, for recreational purposes. Weisberger expounds that among such hunters, there is an impulse for power and to flaunt status. Also, there is the idea that trophy hunters who travel to foreign lands (which entails costs of travel and other expenses) want to assert that they can handle financial costs, which ties back to status. Evidently, there are subtexts of insecurity among practitioners. Exploring the mentality and reasons behind trophy hunting can further develop the discourse of the general ethics surrounding the activity.

Mallet, Xanthe. “Why we may never understand the reasons people hunt animals as 'trophies'.” The Conversation, 27 Feb. 2018,

This article, categorized under health and medicine for The Conversation was written by Xanthe Mallet. The gist of the article is not meant to provide a conclusive or concrete exposition as to to exactly hunters hunt for pure sport, for the reasons are disparate and apt to subjectivity. The article does present several points that constitute a trophy hunter's mindset through a more psychological standpoint. Mallet posits that sometimes, the need to kill animals in adulthood emanates from early childhood experiences of hurting animals. The article mentions that many infamous killers, such as Jeffrey Dahmer, attributed a portion of their sadistic behaviour to abusing animals in their childhood. Asides from this potential and tentative reason, it is suggested hunters kill for the sake of power and dominance and possess three distinct traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and, psychopathy. These set of traits should be scrutinized more in order to conclude if trophy hunters meet this profile.

Week 7

The Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Society International. Trophy Hunting by the Numbers; The United States' Role in Global Trophy Hunting. Feb. 2016,

This is a journal authored by the Humane Society of the United States, as well as by the Humane Society International. The journal provides statistical data and information pertaining to how American hunters influence certain wildlife in global contexts. The study gleaned data from countries such Canada, South Africa, Namibia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Tanzania, Argentina, Zambia, and Botswana. The journal encompasses scrutiny on sundry animal species from their respective homes, such as elephants in Africa, which the population of the animal has substantially declined (around ten million in the thirties and there are around 433,999-683,888 as of 2016). The journal also discusses policies of trophy hunting practices in the indicated countries. Statistical information is an effective agent that is conducive to broadening the scope of perspectives, because it is too simple to make allegations of animal population decline, increase, or equilibrium. However, data, undoubtedly, can corroborate such claims. In the context of ethics, numbers bolster insight and demonstrate if trophy hunting practices, regardless of legitimacy, takes a toll on animals or not.

“Issuance of Import Permits for Zimbabwe Elephant Trophies Taken on or After January 21, 2016, and on or Before December 31, 2018.” Federal Register, Office of the Federal Register, 17 Nov. 2017,

This is a U.S. government document issued by the Office of the Federal Register, which provides an overview to the premise, postulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that a systematic killing of trophy animals in Zimbabwe, most notably African elephants, can demonstrate prospects of species survival (which is referred to as enhancement finding). In order for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to retain trophy hunting legislation, they must substantiate the claim that sport-hunting can serve as a mode of conservation. They also must review the status of the elephant population and the total management program for the elephants in each country to assure it is advocating conservation. The document in general delineates policies and organizations that seek to reconcile trophy hunting demand and conservation. For example, the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) discusses the source and amount of revenue that is accrued through programs and the revenue used in communal areas. There is also the Zimbabwe National Elephant Management Plan (EMP) and the Tourism Receipts Accounting System (TRAS), which tracks revenue obtained via trophy hunting. TRAS registers authorized hunts and captures data such as client information and origins, the value of the trophies, and the area of the hunting. The document also suggests that the collaboration between organizations, NGOs, land owners, and safari concessionaires can ameliorate elephant management and anti-poaching campaigns. This document provides some context to claims of policies and management alleged to be conducive to helping the crises met by endangered animal species, such as African elephants.

Lartey, Jamiles. “Trump Sons' Hunting in Focus as US Lifts Import Ban on African Elephant Trophies.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Nov. 2017,

This is a news article written by Jamiles Lartey, published on November 16, 2017 for The Guardian. The article discusses how the Trump administration's initial decision to revoke the ban on importing sport-hunted animal commodities incited backlash from vocal vox populi. People who were against this decision resorted to dredging the U.S. president's son's (Eric and Donald Jr.) penchant for trophy hunting. People on twitter including celebrities like Mia Farrow, reproached the Trump family by posting photos of the sons posing with dead animals, including an African elephant and an African leopard. This article demonstrates a modicum of the outcry faced by both the Trump administration and family, which is indicative of the conviction of animal welfare proponents. This provides further context for Trump not lifting the imports ban and provides subtexts of the ethical debate of trophy hunting. 

Bale, Rachael. “What the Ban on Elephant Trophies Means.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 18 Nov. 2017,

This article was written by Rachael Bale, published on November 17, 2017 for National Geographic. It discusses President Trump's decision to keep the ban on importing game trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Days prior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under Trump's administration opted to lift the Obama administration's ban on imported trophies. This was announced on November 15, 2017 at the Safari Club International event, which elicited substantial backlash. The Obama administration decided to impose this ban due to findings that the status-quo of hunting did not contribute to the survival and longevity of African species, especially elephants, whose population has declined 11% since 2005 due to ivory poaching. The article touches on hunters' claims that their hunting fees are pooled into local communities, which allegedly creates incentives for conservation campaigns. There are also concerns of people exploiting legal hunting policies and using them s alibis to hunt animals illicitly. Despite the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke's statements that hunting can help endangered or threatened species, he said that import permits would be put on hold. This article provides context and introduces the onset of this whole issue. This initial issue will segway into the broader topics of trophy hunting and the sentiments held by certain people. 



Do we want machines to take all our jobs?

Week 9: March 11, 2018

Source #16:

Sokal, Joshua. “Why Self-Taught Artificial Intelligence Has Trouble With the Real World.” Quantamagazine, 21 February 2018, Accessed March 16, 2018.

In this article, Sokol looks into how creating game-playing machine algorithms can and cannot improve researchers chances at developing general artificial intelligence. Researchers have been working on robotic algorithms that can compete in games like chess, checkers, and more complex roleplaying games. The end goal is to create general artificial intelligence (AI that simulates human intelligence in its ability to solve multiple problems and interpret hidden data) by mimicking real world settings within game settings and by having each new machine prototype play against its predecessor. The problem, however, is that researchers cannot create a perfect model of the real world for AI to practice within. Also, algorithms require an “objective function,” which means they need a singular end goal to aim for in order to be effective. Creating an objective function for game play is easy enough, as the goals are simple and the data isn’t hidden, but in the real world things are not so simple.

Source #15:

Bollegala, Danushka Dr. “I lost my job to a robot.” Vice Unlimited, 1 August 2017, Accessed March 15, 2018.

Bollegala doesn’t actually lose his job to a robot, but discusses the possibility of all human beings eventually losing their jobs to automation. He thinks it’s the inevitable outcome; however, he doesn’t believe this spells doom for humanity. He notes that machines can be useful tools, and allowing them to run society would leave people free to do what they’ve always wanted to do. He acknowledges humans will always be better at interacting with other human beings; people will have to intervene in cases where human compassion is necessary. He proposes an AI tax (taxing businesses that use automation instead of human labour) that would allow governments to fund Universal Basic Income. During his final take-away, Bollegala warns that the biggest challenge humans will face in the future isn’t a machine takeover, it’s overcoming our egos enough to accept something that does our jobs better than we do.

Week 8: March 4, 2018

Source #14:

Ardagh, Arjuna. “Is Technology Good For You?” Huffington Post, 18 August 2016, Accessed 3 March 2018.

In this article, Ardagh prompts readers to think about the long-term effects technology could have on our health, relationships, and minds by asking a series of questions. Some of these questions include, “Does it make you more Self Reliant or more Dependent?”; “Is this device or software improving your health, or negatively impacting your health?”; “Is technology in general leaving you with more time to relax and do what you really love, or is it taking time away from you?” He looks at the ways technology might impact people from multiple angles—and concludes that technology isn’t going anywhere, but we should make sure advancements in this area align with our human values and goals. That means creating tech that doesn’t interfere with our abilities to socialize and grow as happy, healthy, mentally sound beings.

Source #13:

Lay, Stephanie. “Uncanny Valley: why we find human-like robots and dolls so creepy.” The Conversation, 10 November 2015, Accessed 3 March 2018.

With this article, Lay explains what ‘uncanny valley’ is and how it works. Uncanny valley is the feeling of disgust and unease people experience when they encounter a robot/animated character/doll that looks and/or behaves in a human-like manner but isn’t quite right. This feeling should fade once a human-like object attains more appealing and acceptable human-like qualities. One theory is that uncanny human-like entities remind us of those with psychopathic traits. The sensation of uncanny valley may only be a symptom of this particular point in AI history or may be something humans continue to deal with well into the future.

Week 7: February 25, 2018

Source #12:

Snow, Richard E. “Aptitude development and education.” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, vol. 2, no. 3-4, 1996, Accessed 24 February 2018.

In this academic article, Snow argues intelligence development (which is best measured by IQ score) can be improved. Snow’s findings suggest IQ is not static and may be influenced by environmental factors and education. People, if given a rigorous amount of education, can experience a surge in intellectual development. However, education must be tailored to individual needs in order to effectively enhance IQ. Other factors—like poor nutrition and impoverished living conditions—should be factored in and addressed, in addition to meeting personalized educational needs, when attempts to increase IQ are being made. Overall, intelligence can be developed, but doing so isn’t necessarily easy.

Source #11:

Winthrop, Henry. “Some Psychological And Economic Assumptions Underlying Automation, I.” American Journal of Economics & Sociology, 1958, Accessed 23 February 2018.

Winthrop’s academic article counters the optimistic predictions about job automation expressed at a 1956 symposium: namely, the ease of retraining employees and increased job satisfaction after upgrading. Winthrop is concerned with the practicality of these predictions. He worries semi-skilled and unskilled workers won’t have the IQ necessary to be retrained for the skilled jobs that will replace lower-level jobs as technology enhances. He also argues placing unskilled or semi-skilled workers (or those with lower IQs) in positions that require higher mental capacity and concentration won’t lead to higher job satisfaction and will increase anxiety levels. Workers of any intellectual category also may not feel more job satisfaction, seeing as the pool of new jobs available may not be to the personal tastes of individual workers.

Week 6: February 18, 2018

Source #10:

Dowd, Maureen. “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse.” Vanity Fair, 26 March 2017, Accessed 17 February 2018.

This article provides an in-depth analysis on what Elon Musk, leading entrepreneur in the technology field, has to say about AI. Musk believes AI could one day be the cause of humanity’s demise. Not every expert agrees with him, though. Some accuse him of being a sensationalist who has seen one too many dystopian sci-fi movies. Some accuse Musk of stirring up fear to promote his own “safer” AI business ventures (OpenAI, one of Musk’s companies, for instance). Musk proposes AI would be safer if it were merged with the human brain—if we focused on the creation of cyborgs, rather than the creation of autonomous artificial intelligence, which would give human beings more control of advanced technology. Musk argues human beings are already cyborgs anyway. Overall, Musk seems to want to play a part in the development of AI, but wants to find ways to minimize the potential dangers and the possible obsoletion of the human race.

Source #9:

“Brian Cox on Q&A | Artificial intelligence a ‘real threat to civilisation’ | #qanda #ai #briancox.” YouTube, uploaded by News Bite Global, 13 November 2017,

Brian Cox, a physicist and professor at University of Manchester, for the most part answers questions about the future of harvesting resources from outer space in this Q&A video—but he does briefly touch on his predictions for AI in the first few minutes. He warns people not to leave complex, moral decision-making to machines and algorithms, believing people are better equipped to make these difficult choices. He also advises governments to build a system—in response to growing automation of work—that replaces old, soon-to-be outdated jobs with new ones and provides funding for career retraining programs. He believes governments have a responsibility to prepare citizens for new types of jobs, seeing as we can’t “hang onto the old jobs” as technology expands.

Week 5: February 11, 2018

Source #8:

Basl, John. “The Ethics of Creating Artificial Consciousness.” Northeastern University, n.d., Accessed 10 February 2018.

In this scholarly report, Basl examines how researchers might apply the concept of moral patiency to an artificial consciousness if such a being were ever created in the future. He argues that the treatment of the artificial consciousness should be relative to the circumstances, without strictly adhering to any normative value structure. The consciousness may be intelligent, but have different needs and interests than any current moral patient—and therefore require different treatment than a human being, dog, chimp, or any other creature considered worthy of moral patiency. The consciousness may be worthy of moral patiency, but be too important for research to have this status honoured. The way an intelligent artificial consciousness should be treated raises difficult ethical questions and sparks debate.

Source #7:

“Philosophy of Intelligence with Matthew Crosby – TWiML Talk #91.” This Week in Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence from Sam Charrington, 21 December 2017.

In this podcast, guest speaker Matthew Crosby—a researcher from Imperial College London—talks about his Kinds of Intelligence Project. Crosby’s research takes a look at intelligence from a philosophical point of view, including studies into “predictive processing” and “controlled hallucination,” with a special focus on applying these theories to AI. This podcast provides insight into the differences between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, as well as the differences between human and machine communication and language use. Crosby also mentions the idea of “moral patiency,” an ethical concept that questions how intelligent a machine needs to be in order to be considered worthy of moral consideration (in other words, if machine intelligence began matching our own levels of intelligence, would using these machines for work be considered slavery?)

Week 4: February 4, 2018

Episode Pitch:

Whether we like it or not, the structure of the job market is changing in response to developments in robotic tech. Fears machines will take every job available to people, and therefore render human beings obsolete and useless, loom on the horizon. Panic is already in the air—but Ben Dickson, a contributor at TechFinancials, is optimistic about the future in spite of this growing cultural anxiety.

Dickson wants the machines to take our jobs. Not only does Dickson highlight potential reduced prices to the goods we need to survive, after human labour costs are dropped, he also believes humans will be freer to express their individual creativity and connect with other people. Dickson’s view is nothing if not positive—and I, too, am inclined to hope for the best possible outcome here.

Automation is a new frontier for humanity. The discussion is home to more questions than answers. Some people, possibly the majority, worry a robotic revolution will signal the end of the human race. Other people believe automation is the key to our salvation. No matter which side of the debate you’re tempted to lean toward, there’s no question we are in the beginning stages of a massive transition. And maybe this transformation is exactly what we need.

Nobody is saying this revolution is going to be easy, or painless. It’s incredibly terrifying, especially when nobody can deliver any concrete answers concerning the final outcome. We’re just picking sides out here, either warning our fellow humans of the upcoming dangers or dreaming of utopias. We’re questioning if capitalism will falter and die, where our jobs might go. If all our jobs are gone, then what are we going to do with ourselves? Are we building a utopia or a dystopia? These questions are already springing up. The discussion has already started. This isn’t some sci-fi scenario; it’s happening right now. We’ve got to talk about it. It’s our future. It’s our present.

Dickson’s article struck a chord with me. From what I’ve gathered, most people aren’t as optimistic as he is. I appreciate his point of view. I’m an idealist at heart, and I believe the utopia is within our grasp. But how do we make this happen? How do we control the outcome? Well, I don’t believe I know. But I can speculate. Further speculation isn’t going to hurt us, not in a debate where guesswork is all we have. Why not join the discussion?




Source #6:

Silman, Victoria. ““Ghost in the Machine” debates AI.” Excalibur, 31 January 2018, p. 2.

Silman’s article recounts the debate points covered at the “Ghost in the Machine” event hosted by York’s Lassonde School of Engineering. A group of industry professionals and academics gathered together at this event to discuss artificial intelligence and how it could impact the future of work, particularly for students. The overall tone of the event was overwhelmingly optimistic; multiple experts agreeing that AI would likely benefit humanity and that any risks it posed could be contained. When asked about the future of work, the experts at the panel advised students entering the workforce to strengthen their critical thinking abilities and other soft skills, all of which make human beings unique from AI technology.

Source #5:

“Artificial intelligence, robots and the future of work (Encore September 13, 2017).” Ideas from CBC Radio, 31 January 2018.

This podcast from CBC Ideas explores the ways in which human society could change as automation tech progresses. The general belief expressed in this recording is that the nature of this expected change is uncertain. Change will happen, but it’s not known yet if it will be a positive change or a negative change. The end result is entirely dependent on humanity’s responses to growing technologies. There’s no question that the job market, economy, and social values will be affected by robotic technologies, but whether the end result will be something we’ve never seen before or something reminiscent of the past is yet to be determined. History shows that as technology changes, the job market changes; new jobs are invented. Some scholars don’t believe increased automation will destroy capitalism, but can only change the nature of work—with more focus on environmental, social, and technological jobs. Other scholars are not sure history can even repeat itself this time, seeing as developing AI technology has the potential to outperform human beings, thus making them obsolete. Both optimism and pessimism fuel this discussion.

Week 3: January 28, 2018

Source #4:

Manyika, James, et al. “What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages.” McKinsey Global Institute, November 2017, Accessed 27 January 2018.

This statistical data from the McKinsey Global Institute aims to predict future job trends in the face of automation. The central finding is about 50% of jobs, or at least certain elements of several jobs, could be automated by 2030. The statistical findings do not indicate that the job market will be fully eradicated in the near future, but does advise workers to develop new skills in areas that involve social interaction, creativity, advanced logic, and technological innovation. Jobs that involve these particular skills will still be in high demand by 2030, since they require a human element that is beyond the capacities of present or predicted robotic technologies.

Source #3:

Beckett, Andy. “Post-work: the radical idea of a world without jobs.” The Guardian, 19 January 2018, Accessed 24 January 2018.

In this article, Beckett explores the perspectives of “post-workists,” a group of theorists who dream of a future world where jobs don’t exist. They envision a utopia where office buildings are turned into community and art centres, where family and other social connections are not overshadowed by the demands of capitalism. In recent years, in light of increasing unemployment (which can partially be blamed on automation), select members of younger generations have adopted a more cynical view of working culture. The heavy burdens of working so-called pointless jobs, and the negative health effects that come along with this type of stress, are being called into question. Alternatives to present work conditions, such as 15-hour per week work schedules or a society based entirely on leisure, are being considered. Beckett (as well as a number of scholars and politicians), however, is hesitant to believe all jobs will ever be fully eliminated. He acknowledges that careers often bring a sense of meaning and purpose to people’s lives, and post-workist ideas of utopia greatly resemble what’s already being practiced in modern working society. 

Week 2: January 21, 2018

Source #2:

Chan, Kelvin. “Robotics company working toward building trust between humans, robots.” The Toronto Star, 19 January 2018, Accessed 21 January 2018.

Chan’s article reminds us that we still have a long way to go before we successfully build a robot that functions like a human being and blends in perfectly with human society. The first step is to build trust between humans and robots, as well as find ways to decrease feelings of uncanny valley that people currently experience when dealing with realistic humanoid robots. Hanson Robotics, the creator of Sophia the robot, is attempting to build the perfect social robot (for the purpose of taking care of human beings) that wouldn’t elicit fear in people. Sophia, their most famous social robot, is constantly being refined to look and behave in the most lifelike and socially acceptable fashion.

Source #1:

Istvan, Zoltan. “Will capitalism survive the robot revolution?” TechCrunch, 29 March 2016, Accessed 21 January 2018.

Istvan’s pop science opinion piece suggests that capitalism as a global economic system will not survive the growing robotic revolution, seeing as machines will be able to outperform humans in almost every field one day. A new system will have to be put into place and society will have to adopt different values in order to move forward, but Istvan urges us to keep an open mind while forming solutions, considering that currently developed models may not hold up when the reality of a fully automated world bears down on us. He does offer a bit of speculation, though, when he imagines a society built around the exchange of knowledge as currency—even going so far as to bring up “the singularity.” Istvan further asserts that for all their work in technological innovation, human beings deserve a life of luxury and pampering at the hands of their robotic creations.


- Luke M.

Melting Pot: Ethnic Cuisine Culturally Appropriated or Appreciated?


By: Natalie Cheung

This podcast will investigate the melting pots within our countries and kitchens, question the boundaries of cultural appropriation, and examine the symbolic significance of food in our identities.

Episode Pitch

Can food be seen as a political weapon? Food as a builder for social construct? Food as a means for segregation and isolation? Perhaps, food as an extension of our identities? Have you ever considered the possibility of food being an object for racism? In North America, globalization has opened gateways to widen the exposure of ethnic foods. As food for thought, we may not think much about what we actually eat. Food is a personal matter, yet food choices affect everyone around us, including the representations of ourselves. As culinary historian, Massimo Montanari says, the cultivation, preparation, consumption and distribution of food are all acts of culture. As we share our food, we are simultaneously sharing parts of our identities and preserving our cultural pride. What happens when the wholesomeness of food is taken away and a recipe’s ethnic origin becomes socially objectified? In the Toronto Star article, “Please Don’t Appropriate My Burrito,” columnist Vinay Menon investigates cultural appropriation based the burrito cart shutdown controversy in Portland, Oregon. Two American owners of Kooks Burritos, were forced to close their business amid raging accusations of racism, exploitation and cultural appropriation.  Menon argues that although he has a neutral stance on the situation, weaponizing a burrito has thrown the debate off tangent. Menon says that the tolerance for cultural appropriation in food has become so restricted that we might as well say that all master chefs are committing crimes by travelling the world for food inspiration, all fusion restaurants should be taken down for profiting off another culture, and that all supply chains and production processes should be inspected for authenticity. Menon argues that food is dynamic and that all ethnic cuisine has been influenced by a hybrid of cultures at some point in time. Food should be seen as a culturally unifying factor, and not an object of crime against humanity.  

My name is Natalie Cheung and on this episode, Melting Pot: Culturally Appropriated or Appreciated Cuisine, I will tackle both sides of Menon’s argument on the cultural appropriation of food. How much do we capitalize watered downed, society friendly versions of the ethnic minorities’ recipes? Have chefs approached ethnic cuisine with open respect or have they completely butchered centuries’ worth of tradition to cater to a few months’ worth of culinary trends?  I will discuss the melting pots within our countries and kitchens, question the boundaries of cultural appropriation, and examine the symbolic significance of food in our identities in several perspectives.

Works Cited

Menon, Vinay. “Please Don't Appropriate My Burrito: Menon.”, The Toronto Star, 27 May 2017,

Montanari, Massimo. Food Is Culture, Columbia University Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,



Brillat-Savarin, Jean Anthelme. The Physiology of Taste. Ebooks@Adelaide,

Brillat-Savarin’s The Physiology of Taste is arguably the single most important book ever written about food. Brillat-Savarin is a French lawyer and politician, and regarded as the father of the gastronomic essay. This scholarly source is widely cited in many papers and articles on gastronomy, and is seen as a historical and philosophical masterpiece. The Physiology of Taste is a collection of reflections, recipes, and anecdotes in pursuit of the science related to gastronomical pleasure. His voice is witty and humorous, and he executes all works with artistry. As a pioneer of the food writing genre, Brillat-Savarin talks of everything and anything related to food (how, why, when and what to eat) in this exuberant volume. This source is essential in understanding the culture behind gastronomy and provides the reader with a thorough understanding of the art of eating. This historical, philosophical and cultural approach by Brillat-Savarin towards gastronomy is ideal for this podcast. Many analogies and anecdotes may be drawn from this source in order to give depth to different topics and background on the variety of perspectives in the podcast.

“Consolidated Federal Laws of Canada, Canadian Multiculturalism Act.” Legislative Services Branch, Government of Canada, 1 Feb. 2018,

This is the Canadian Multiculturalism Act in Canada’s Justice Laws Website. The act is described as “an act for the preservation and enhancement of multiculturalism in Canada”(“Consolidated…”). This is a scholarly source. According to the preamble, there are several acts that are against discriminatory behaviour. It most importantly enforces status, privilege, and power equality across all ethnicities and backgrounds regardless of origin. All persons that belong to ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities should not be denied the right to practice their culture, religion and language under the Canadian law. The Multiculturalism Policy of Canada was implemented by the Government of Canada to recognize and promote multiculturalism, preserve multicultural heritage and language, enhance the understanding of diverse communities, eliminate cultural barriers and stigmatization, and advance and foster the appreciation and evolution of multiculturalism in Canada. This podcast is a good source of knowledge for any listener worldwide, but there are many aspects in which Canadian listeners will relate to as it is stationed in Canada. There will be several cases in discussion that are based in Canada. Understanding the Canadian multiculturalism laws is essential in determining the political and social landscape that shapes Canadian food culture. Perhaps understanding the laws that structure our society may further enhance our understanding on the acts of discrimination and prejudice. In investigating cultural appropriation, applying the laws to the case may provide a new perspective as to deciding what constitutes as cultural appropriation or appreciation.

Cwiertka, Katarzyna J.. Modern Japanese Cuisine : Food, Power and National Identity, Reaktion Books, Limited, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Dr. Katarzyna J. Cwiertka is the Chair of Modern Japan Studies at Leiden University and is a recognized expert on food history and culture of Japan and Korea. In this scholarly source, Cwiertka illustrates her research on food as a catalyst for social change, as a representation of the Japanese identity, and as consequences from Japanese colonialism and imperialism. With the growing rise of popularity of Japan cuisine, Cwiertka explores its major contributions in the evolution of Western gastronomy. Her research consists of comparisons between early and modern Japanese cuisine and the changes that shaped Japan’s culinary history and culture. It examines the generalized Western adaptations of Japanese food (e.g. California roll) and the shifts and replacements in traditional Japanese diet and practices as a result of modern imperialism. The source provides detailed research of Japanese military, home and urban culinary practices that will create a new perspective in this podcast. Japanese cuisine plays a significant role in today’s culinary and fusion trends, all prominent topics of this episode. Its booming presence in urban gastronomy in North America will certainly be a fascinating investigation in terms of reflecting the Japanese identity and food origins, and establishing issues on social stigma and the Japanese marginalized community in Western society.

“Eating Yourself: We Consume Identity Through Food?” Culture Decanted, 19 Oct. 2014,

This popular source is an article in Culture Decanted, a blog exploring cultural and social trends. “Eating Yourself: We Consume Identity Through Food?” discusses how what you eat constructs who you are. The article argues that we consume our identity through our own food choices. Specifically, what we choose not to eat is deeply linked to health, cultural and religious beliefs, forming our identities as a result. This article discusses in great detail, using different analogies, examples and quotes from scholarly papers, the interesting role food plays in constructing our identity. Several different perspectives are explored in the article with the author’s abundant variety of scholarly, philosophical and social research. In turn, the papers and people cited in this article may be explored in greater detail for this podcast. Food is explored in relation to themes of language, social and cultural structures, class separation and individuality, political solidarity and equality, and segmentation and distance. This source provides an in depth analysis of food and identity in different interesting perspectives that is crucial to the foundation of this podcast’s main theme. It answers many questions regarding the role food plays in constructing one’s culture and character using modern examples and scholarly analogies to appeal to all audiences.

Edmiston, Jake. “The Dark Side of Poutine: Canada Taking Credit for Quebec Dish Amounts to Cultural Appropriation, Academic Says.” National Post, 29 May 2017,

“The dark side of poutine: Canada taking credit for Quebec dish amounts to cultural appropriation, academic says” is a National Post article written by Jake Edmiston covering Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet’s “Poutine Dynamics” graduate paper. This popular source covers Fabien-Ouellet’s opinion on poutine’s status in Canadian culture. Fabien-Ouellet, a Montreal-born graduate, will be presenting his paper, “Poutine Dynamics” at the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Ryerson University. The graduate exposes “how the Canadian culinary identity is constructed and construed by means of cultural appropriation processes”(Edmiston). He claims that while eating, cooking or adapting poutine is not cultural appropriation, the status of the poutine is culturally appropriated by Canada. He insists that poutine is Québécois, and its popularity has been Canadianized and appropriated into Canadian food culture. “’The dish should be, ideally, labelled explicitly as a Québécois dish,’ Fabien-Ouellet writes, ‘and not a Canadian one to further underscore the cultural context to which it actually belongs’”(Edmiston). Fabien-Ouellet will receive the Canadian Association for Food Studies’ Student Paper Award at the Congress. Poutine is seen as a statement cultural dish in Canada that is well talked about. Edmiston’s article on Fabien-Ouellet’s paper develops a unique point of view of Canadian food culture as well as the composition of Canadian identity.

“Globalization and Fusion Cuisines.” The Great Courses, 2013. Kanopy. Web. 5 Mar. 2018.

“Globalization and Fusion Cuisines” is part of Kanopy’s The Great Courses, Food: A Cultural Culinary History video series. This scholarly source features Ken Albala, a professor and food historian at University of the Pacific and author and editor of 25 books on food. This 30 minute episode discusses the drastic changes to global eating habits due to globalization, economic expansion and exploration. The video highlights globalization, the most important event in human history since agriculture, and humanity’s desire for spices that eventually connected the globe. It explores the history of the Portuguese and Venetian trading empires who paved routes to the Spice Islands. The episode examines the Spanish conquest of the New World and the “Columbian exchange.” The “Columbian exchange” is the global transportation of plants and animals from five continents, resulting in a global culinary revolution. This source provides a thorough summary of some of the largest events that shaped culinary history and will give the podcast a historical perspective on the formation of global and fusion cuisines.

Hui, Ann. “Whose Food Is It, Anyway? How Chefs Can Approach 'Ethnic' Cuisine Respectfully.” The Globe and Mail, 12 Nov. 2017,

National food reporter Ann Hui investigates the cultural authenticity of food and how to respectfully approach ethnic cuisine in an in-depth article for The Globe and Mail Toronto. Hui provides an extensive account of several ethnic cuisine restaurants in Toronto. In this popular source, she interviews the head chefs and questions their opinions on the awareness of racial and cultural differences and the effects of ethnic privilege and struggle. Amid the sensitivity towards cultural learning, borrowing and sharing, the chefs highlight the importance of educating themselves to avoid cultural appropriation and to “remember where it came from.” Hui discusses the differences between “ethnic” and “exotic” foods, the stigma that surrounds certain cultural cuisines, and the offences of “borrowing” from marginalized communities. Does food really belong to anyone? Or has "ambassadorship" become blurred with exploitation? This detailed article provides a local view on cultural appropriation in cuisine with a variety of primary perspectives influential to this podcast.

“Immigrant Cuisines and Ethnic Restaurants.” The Great Courses, 2013. Kanopy. Web. 5 Mar. 2018.

“Immigrant Cuisines and Ethnic Restaurants” is part of Kanopy’s The Great Courses, Food: A Cultural Culinary History video series. This scholarly source features Ken Albala, a professor and food historian at University of the Pacific and author and editor of 25 books on food. This 30 minute episode discusses the significance of immigrant cuisine and its effect on American eating habits. The video focuses on Jewish, Mexican and Italian ethnic cuisine in particular and its movement into the American diet and establishing mainstream popularity. It explores how ethnic cuisines represent the social phenomenon of immigration and investigates how food culture shapes its norm through adaptation and import in America. This video provides insight on America’s culinary history and shares an important perspective of how immigrant cuisine shapes the North American food scene. It shows the power of food and how it impacts immigrant lives on foreign land as well as being a solid source of representation, diversity, unity and even stigmatization through its process of becoming an American dietary norm. This source will surely add depth to the podcast with its perspective on the American ethnic food scene.

“Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity: Key Results from the 2016 Census.” Statistics Canada, Government of Canada, 1 Nov. 2017,

Without doubt, immigrants play a crucial role in developing Canada’s multicultural social, economic and linguistic landscape. This scholarly source is the 2016 consensus from Statistics Canada released at the end of 2017 and is an essential primary source in research. It is thorough in profiling and representing all ethnicities in the Canadian population with concise descriptions, clear charts and diagrams. The consensus covers a multitude of topics relating to Canada and its population, but the immigration and ethnocultural diversity category is the most relevant to this podcast. The statistics in the consensus provides the numbers on diversity in Canada from an economical and geographical point of view and will be relevant in the podcast when hard facts are needed. Relevant topics include statistics on the ethnic and linguistic cultures, origins, locations of residence and the age groups that are representative of the immigrants and permanent residents living in Canada. This source will be useful when the podcast touches on the ethnocultural aspects of food identity and the origins of cultural cuisine in Canada.

Menon, Vinay. “Please Don't Appropriate My Burrito: Menon.”, The Toronto Star, 27 May 2017,

Are we what we eat? In the Toronto Star article, columnist Vinay Menon approaches the highly sensitive topic of cultural appropriation surrounding ethnic cuisine. In this popular source, Menon’s opinion is based off the Kooks Burritos controversy in Portland, Oregon. The two owners were accused of having strong opinions on racism and exploitation during an interview concerning their trip to Mexico that “inspired” their burrito recipes. Their burrito cart, Kooks Burritos, was promptly shut down after multiple headlines remarking their disrespect, insensitivity and ignorance of committing the crime of culturally appropriating Mexican cuisine. Menon compares the case to many inconsistencies, such as Taco Bell’s global expansion, cultural hybridization and the rise of fusion cuisine (a.k.a. the growing empires of the sushi burrito and Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl). He argues with irony that every master chef and fusion restaurant must be taken down because travelling the world to find food inspiration “now qualifies as a crime against humanity.” Menon states that all cuisine is dynamic and has “benefited from regional cross-pollination at some point in history.” He believes that something as simple as food should be culturally unifying, and should not be viewed within such narrow cultural lanes that seems more racist than its intention.

Menon’s witty and engaging voice provides a fascinating outlook and opinion on the widely debated topic on the cultural appropriation of food. Inspired by his article, this podcast will question the fluidity of what constitutes as appropriation and appreciation.

Montanari, Massimo. Food Is Culture, Columbia University Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Food is Culture is a book tastefully written by distinguished professor of food history, Massimo Montanari and published with Columbia University Press. This scholarly primary source provides a thorough overview of food culture and identity that is necessary knowledge to produce this podcast. The book’s underlying premise is that food is culture. Specific food choices by a community determines, and is determined, by society, environment and economics.  Montanari argues that the processes of preparing, eating, cultivating and sharing food are all acts of culture. He shares his musings as a culinary historian through an enriching series of reflections, narratives and analyses. The book includes chapters on the creation of one’s own food, the invention of cuisine, the pleasure and duty of food choice, and food as linguistic, social, political and religious identity. The book ends with a statement on the evolution of food culture and its history and origins. His musings contain the symbolic significance of certain foods, the distinctive powers of traditionally selected foods, the attitudes towards types of food, the relation between cuisine and class, and the interpretation and transformation of food with civilization. The culturally rich history of food that is found in this book is an ideal source for composing vignettes based on culture and representation, and will add insight on the derivation of ethnic food culture and cultural appropriation.

“Multiculturalism.”, Government of Canada, 10 Dec. 2017,

Canada’s government website has a rich archive of publications pertaining to Canada’s identity and society. The government website provides plenty of information for newcomers as well as citizens, and encourages the preservation of ethnic culture and cultural pride. There are numerous sources that educate Canadians on historical figures and events that played a key role for multiculturalism in Canada. The most requested sources are related to Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month and the Holocaust. The Canadian government uses a great amount of effort to guarantee that immigrants are given a sense of place in the new country. Through numerous funding programs, heritage campaigns and endeavours to educate citizens, Canada is a country that encourages preservation and integration of multiculturalism, “ensuring that all citizens keep their identities, take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging” (“Multiculturalism…”). The publications relating to the various ethnicities that make up Canada’s cultural mosaic are important scholarly sources for this podcast. It represents Canada’s values and expectations from their society as a whole. The fact that multiculturalism is highly valued and prevalent in Canada plays a large role in the food landscape in the podcast’s stationed city. Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, is home to one of the most diverse and innovative cuisine cultures. Taking information from this source will certainly focus my topic on an area that Canadian listeners can relate to. I hope to tackle ethnic cuisine in Toronto as well as the rise of fusion and hybrid food phenomena.

Tucker, Rebecca. “In Food Culture, Is Appropriation Actually Possible?” Bay Street Bull Magazine: Luxury Business and Lifestyle,

This popular source is written by Rebecca Turner on the Bay Street Bull blog. Bay Street Bull is a Toronto-based business and lifestyle publication for professionals that covers the latest topics on food, culture, business, fashion and technology. In the article, “In Food Culture, Is Appropriation Actually Possible?” Turner explores the acts of borrowing and swapping recipes in Canada. She references Fabien-Ouellet’s “Poutine Dynamics,” the Kooks Burrito case, trend-focused foods and examples pulled from hybrid cuisine and questionable legitimate ethnic restaurants. She questions the authenticity of fusion cuisine, such as sushi burritos and butter chicken perogies, the free exchange of ideas that lead to cooking innovation and the economics and politics behind food creation. Turner interviews several prominent North American-based ethnic cuisine chefs, gourmands, bloggers, professors and podcasters on their views of cultural appropriation and minority food identity. Not only is this article straightforward and outlines the opinions questioning food appropriation, Turner shows a considerate amount of research that supports her article. Her references will be good sources for this podcast, and she writes with a Canadian point of view. One interesting interviewee is Dan Pashman, the host of the American podcast, “The Sporkful.” The podcast focuses on food politics, with an early series named, “Other People’s Food,” which focused on cultural appropriation in restaurant kitchens. Pashman’s statements show his in-depth knowledge of the political food industry that will give an interesting American perspective to this podcast.

Valentim, Rodolfo. Portuguese Food in Toronto: Exploring the Relationship between Food Practices and Ethnic Identification, York University (Canada), Ann Arbor, 2003, Dissertations & Theses @ York University; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global,

This scholarly source is a dissertation thesis submitted to York University’s Graduate Program in Social Anthropology by Rodolfo Valentim. Valentim’s thesis “explores the relationship between food and ethnic identity; that is, the role of food in the process of defining an ethnic identity” (Valentim). Specifically, he focuses on the food practices of the Portuguese immigrant community in Toronto. Valentim’s thesis study answers the core question, “What is the role of food in maintaining Portuguese ethnic identity in Toronto” (Valentim), and evaluates the food practices and establishments as a creator of the Portuguese identity in Toronto. The variety of food practices are unique and its differences are indicators of the diversity within ethnic groups. Valentim displays extensive research on the Portuguese immigrant community’s culinary practices that form their sense of self, and are representative of their cultural heritage. When living in a new land, the preparation and consumption of food gives them a sense of mental and physical connection to their homeland. Food has symbolic qualities of belonging, and different foods allow the association with different groups. Finally, Valentim examines two Portuguese ethnic restaurants in Canada and its contribution to the presence of the Portuguese identity and cultural validity in Toronto. As one of the visual minority groups in Canada, the Portuguese immigrant community is an interesting perspective to add into the podcast. Especially with this source being based in Toronto, Canada, it focuses on an area that is relevant to the audience and creator. This thesis will certainly be useful as it examines a major theme in the podcast: the ethnic minority’s culinary practices and its relation to cultural identity.

Got Milk? Get Cancer. - anna dc

Campbell, Thomas. “12 Questions Answered Regarding Vitamin B12.” Center for Nutrition Studies,  26 Jan. 2017,

As the title suggests, this article written by Dr. Thomas Campbell answers 12 questions regarding vitamin B-12, such as how it is produced, what foods contain the vitamin, how animals obtain it, and the health consequences of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. This article is particularly important to my episode because it addresses a major argument in the "fake news" article ("Dangers of a vegan diet") I will be critiquing for my episode. "Dangers of a vegan diet" claims a vegan diet can lead to a B-12 deficiency. However, Campbell's article suggests a simple solution to prevent this concern: eat fortified foods and in particular, take a B-12 supplement. More importantly, "Dangers of a vegan diet" ignores the fact that vitamin B-12 is not produced by animals, which makes vegan diets seem unnatural to the human body. However, Campbell's article states B-12 is actually produced by "anaerobic microorganisms" (a.k.a. bacteria), which is found in types soil, some fungi, seaweed, algae, and the guts of ruminant animals, or animals who digest feces. In other words, like humans, animals absorb B-12, not produce it. This article is an online secondary popular resource.

McBride, Judy. "B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought." United States Department of Agriculture, United States Government, 2 Aug. 2000,

This USDA article, a secondary governmental source, is based on a study led by Dr. Katherine Tucker, a nutritional epidemiologist at Tufts University. The study found that based on a 3,000 sample of men and women ranging from 26 to 83 years-old, nearly 40% of Americans are close to being vitamin B-12 deficient. This finding is important because it suggests that vegans should not be the only people concerned about their B-12 intake, as vegans obviously do not make 40% of the American population. Furthermore, Tucker suggests fortified cereals and dairy as good sources of B-12. She speculates that although meat contains B-12, it is not absorbed by the body as well as the B-12 in fortified cereals or dairy. This article debunks a false claim in "Dangers of a vegan diet"; everyone, vegan or not, must be conscious of their vitamin B-12 intake.

[The following two resoures were posted on January 28th, under a different blog called 'beware of lettuce. (part 2)']

Davis, Garth. Proteinaholic. HarperOne, 2015.

This book, written by Dr. Garth Davis, discusses the protein myths in our society. He claims that we are obsessed with protein, especially animal protein; Yet, animal protein is actually unhealthy, as it is linked to various diseases and weight gain. He also states that Americans in general consume more protein than they actually need. As long as an adequate amount of calories (2000-2500 for example) is consumed, the average person will meet their required protein intake. This includes people on a plant-based, vegan diet. This resource debunks another false claim in my "fake news" article: "Lack of protein" and "Be careful of protein shakes." It disapproves that vegans lack protein or have to be especially concerned about it, as "Dangers of a vegan diet suggests"; vegans can get meet their protein requirements exclusively from plant sources, even without protein powder. Proteinaholic is a secondary source and Dr. Garth's conclusions are supported by primary source academic studies.

Greger, Michael. "Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?." YouTube, uploaded by, 6 June 2014,

This YouTube video discusses a 2013 academic study which determined the nutrient profiles of vegetarians (vegans included) and meat-eaters. The study showed that every group exceeded their protein requirement of 42 grams a day. In fact, both vegans and vegetarians exceeded their protein requirements by 70%. 97% of Americans are getting enough protein; The 3% who are not, are not eating enough calories, Greger assumes. He also states that Americans should be more concerned about their fibre intake rather than their protein, as less than three percent of Americans meet the recommended minimum (meeting only 15 grams a day on average out of the 41 grams recommended). On the other hand, vegans typically receive triple the average American intake of fibre. This video is another secondary source that debunks the "Lack of protein" claim in my "fake news" article. It proves, through multiple academic sources, that protein deficiency is not a concern for vegans. Instead, it is meat-eaters who should be concerned about their fibre intake.


"How big government helps big dairy sell milk." YouTube, uploaded by Vox, 2 May 2016,

This YouTube video uploaded by Vox Media explains how the dairy industry influences the American government to promote milk consumption to its citizens. Dairy companies pay politicians thousands of dollars to include dairy in government dietary guidelines, which in turn, leads the American people to believe that dairy is an essential, rather than an optional component in a healthy diet. This source adds a unique angle to my episode. Instead of debunking a faulty health claim like the purposes of my previous sources, this source addresses a different, but related question. Rather than answering "Can a vegan diet be healthy?," it answers "Who decides what is healthy?" Essentially, it is the dairy industry who does. This video undermines the authority of the claims made in "Dangers of a vegan dietsince it shows an obvious bias towards the dairy industry in health and nutrition guidelines. I will need to investigate more on this topic because Vox does not provide a reference list and I am not completely certain how accurate their information is. However, this popular secondary source is a good starting point for further research.

Moodie, Alison. "Before you read another health study, check who's funding the research." The Guardian, 12 Dec. 2016,

This article from The Guardian exposes the problem of food industry-funded research. Referencing various academic research, it claims that many food and health-related studies are funded by soda, juice, meat, dairy, etc. companies, which create a bias in the research. In other words, the supposed health benefits of these foods found in the research may not actually be true. For example, it references a review of 206 studies that looked at the health benefits of milk, soda and juice, which found that studies sponsored by a food or beverage company were four to eight times more likely to show health benefits from consuming those foods. This resource functions similarly to my previous resource from Vox Media.  It too answers "Who decides what is healthy?" (the food industry) and thus, undermines the authority of the claims made in "Dangers of a vegan diet" because it also reveals a bias towards certain foods in scientific research if they are sponsored by food companies. This article is a popular secondary resource. I will also be citing the academic articles it referenced.

Michelle St. Pierre. “Changes in Canadians’ preferences for milk and dairy products.” Statistics Canada, Government of Canada, 21 Apr. 2017,

This is a secondary statistical source from Statistics Canada is a series of graphs showing the milk and dairy product trends among Canadians from 2015 and prior. In summary, from 2009 to 2015, all forms of dairy milk (standard, buttermilk, skim, flavoured, etc.) sales have been declining, and the amount of dairy milk available for consumption has been declining since 1980, with the most noticeable decline from 2009 to 2015. Furthermore, from 2011 to 2015, while traditional milk sales were declining, almond milk sales were rising in the U.S. Because no Canadian data is available regarding almond milk sales or consumption, Statistics Canada included American statistics in this report. I presume almond milk sales trends are similar in Canada. Because this source includes fairly recent data (2015), it provides relevance and significance to my episode. Although declining traditional milk sales and rising almond milk sales does not necessarily mean a rising vegan population, these stats indicate a growing acceptance to plant-based alternatives. In other words, this data shows the audience the relevance of my topic since more people are opting for vegan-friendly milks, which means more people are either on a vegan diet already, or that almond milk consumption may provide a segue to adopt it.

Le, Lap Tai, and Joan Sabaté. “Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts.” Nutrients, vol.6 no.6, 2014, pp. 2131–2147.

This academic paper reviews data from three studies and compares the health benefits of vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous diets on three Adventist groups in North America. Overall, the authors found that vegetarian and vegan diets were better at protecting against “cardiovascular diseases, cardiometabolic risk factors, some cancers and total mortality,” than omnivorous diets, while vegan diets alone provided additional protection against “obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular mortality.” Although this secondary source does not debunk a specific claim in my “fake news” article, its conclusions provide additional support for the general falsehood of “Dangers of a vegan diet,” especially because this paper reviews multiple studies with all three pointing to the same conclusion. Therefore, according to this paper, vegan diets are not only harmless, but they are also more beneficial than omnivorous ones.

T. Collin Campbell and Thomas Campbell. The China Study. BenBella Books, 2006.

The China Study is a book based on the China–Cornell–Oxford Project, a 20-year study led by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Chen Junshi. Although it is a popular secondary source, it is based on an academic study. The study examines diet and disease patterns in China and concludes that the closer people ate to a vegan diet, the lower they risked chronic diseases. The book also discusses other studies that supports the findings made in China. For example, in Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn’s study, all 18 of his patients’ coronary disease stopped progressing after eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. It debunks multiple claims made in “Dangers of a vegan diet,” from protein deficiency to the villainization of carbs. Furthermore, The China Project, in which the book is based on, is one of the largest and “most comprehensive” studies of nutrition and diet ever conducted. I have yet to find a similar study with as many participants and variables, nor a study as lengthy, time-wise. It is written by and cites many scholars. Not only does its content support my argument, but its reputation alone appeals to the ethos aspect of persuasion.