Obscure illness gets star treatment
Thanks to Selena Gomez's recent revelation that she suffers from Lupus, the world knows a lot more about an illness that once stood like a wallflower at the high school dance of diseases
By Shelley Page
The world’s teenage girls just got a crash course on lupus. Selena Gomez has 34 million Twitter followers, 47 million Instagram followers and 58 million Facebook followers. And she has lupus. Suddenly, the obscure has become front-page tabloid fodder. I feel horrible for her, but oddly happy for those of us who suffer from the fatigue-inducing, organ-destroying autoimmune disease. October is one of those months when there are walks and talks for many major diseases. October is Autism Awareness Month. Ditto for Brain Tumor Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness, Eye Health, Learning Disabilities, Psoriasis Awareness, SIDS Awareness. And Lupus Awareness Month, at least in Canada. It’s an obscure illness that doesn’t attract big banks as sponsors or celebrities ...
The Sick Days: Part 9
The press was powerful and intoxicating
Printing secret crushes fills a last-minute news hole, and opens a young reporter's eyes to the power of shared community a newspaper can cultivate
By Shelley Page
After the latest issue of Monty’s Mouth was distributed, our junior high school’s collective of burnouts, jocks and nerds would spend five minutes smelling the paper it was printed on, hoping for a high off the pungent smelling mix of isopropanol and methanol — the duplicating fluid used in the ditto machine. This was the era when cooking sprays like Pam were huffed out of plastic bags and kids hung out near the pump while their dad filled the gas tank. Working for Monty’s Mouth was like school-sanctioned substance abuse. But I was drawn to the paper because of the intimacy it created. I liked when kids gathered to read about wrestling wins, near perfect foul shot percentages, out-of-town band trips, and overwrought student poetry that sometimes had to be ...
If the election were an Oscar race...
Ex-Press film critic Katherine Monk says Justin Trudeau and the Liberals would walk the red carpet to the podium thanks to campaign spots that banged the magic gong of belief
By Katherine Monk
They can be as intoxicating as a deep whiff of gasoline — a head-rush that makes you step back with a dizzy feeling, and a brief sense of awe. Political ads are high-octane experiences that fire your brain cells with all the engineering of a German automobile, as well as all the crafty deception. The very best ads are a high form of propaganda that can be called art (as long as you’re willing to defend Leni Riefenstahl and Triumph of the Will as a great piece of cinematic persuasion), and as the Canadian election campaign draws to a close and the pundits have had their say, it's finally time time to look at the past 80 days through a slightly different lens: That of the film critic. Sure, I may not have the insights of Chantal Hébert ...
The Skirt for a win
The Sick Days: Part 8
Life as a young reporter was an environment of extremes, both exhilarating and noxious. There were parties, drinking, intrigue and byline counts. It was fun, but often felt icky.
By Shelley Page
After jumping out of the Poison Dwarf’s car to escape his lust-dressed-up-as-apology — which I paraphrase here as “I behaved badly, it’s your fault, and I will make you pay” — I realized I better apply for jobs at other newspapers. I sent out applications to a dozen newspapers across the country, including in the North. I’d always imagined I’d have to go somewhere remote for my first full-time job, and I was fine with that. I also kept research and writing stories in my off hours, while evading the gaze and grip of the PD, my mentor, who I never spoke to for the rest of the summer. I contemplated going to his bosses to complain about his behaviour, but who? It was the ’80s and I was supposed to shrug it off. Around me, my real or imagined ...
Guide to the 2015 Canadian election
The Ex-Press takes its democratic duties seriously, and is happy to bring you this definitive Guide to the 2015 Canadian election. As a responsible media outlet, we feel obliged to offer readers our considered opinion as to the party and leaders best suited to govern our country. Such choices are always difficult. However, we have been inspired by the Globe and Mail of Toronto, which has endorsed the Conservative Party but not its leader, Stephen Harper. “His party deserves to be re-elected. But after Oct. 19, he should quickly resign,” the Globe wrote. Up until now, members of the Ex-Press editorial board did not realize such distinctions were possible. Now that we know, we are pleased to offer you our choice for Oct. 19. Ex-Press believes that the best choice for Canadians is an NDP government, however, with a different leader: José Bautista. Both deserve consideration but surely Bautista’s beard is less flawed than that of the present NDP incumbent, Thomas ...
Mob Rule: Part 10
Mopping up after a bloodbath
The price of doing business in New York City gets pricier by the day, forcing 'family-style' operations to retreat behind the reinforced steel walls of a downtown fortress while the local chamber of commerce hides its anxiety behind a fake smile By John Armstrong
When the first wave of medics had unloaded I went back down and found Meyer and Ricco then excused myself and headed for the nearest washroom, walking briskly but carefully; my bowels were sending urgent messages. Meyer came in while I was still in the stall. “You all right, Jackie?” I was covered in sweat and felt like I might never eat again. “Fine,” I answered. “Just need a minute.” I heard Meyer strike a match and smelled cigar smoke, which was probably a wise idea on his part. “It’s perfectly natural,” he said after a minute. “Survival mechanism. If you crap yourself you’re less attractive to predators. Saw it on a nature program. ...
Movie review: He Named Me Malala inspires
Documentary about teenager who was marked for death by the Taliban — and went on to win a Nobel prize — is a bit of a hagiography . . . . but she deserves one
He Named Me Malala Featuring: Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai Directed by: David Guggenheim Rating: 3½ stars out of 5 Running time: 120 minutes
By Jay Stone
Malala Yousafzai was named after an Afghanistan folk heroine named Malali of Maiwand, who rallied fighters against British troops in 1880. Malala’s name was her destiny: when she was 14, she was shot by a Taliban gunman for the crime of going to school. One bullet hit her in the face, but she lived and went on to become a new kind of folk heroine, an advocate for the education of girls and a fearless fighter for equality. In 2014, she shared the Nobel Peace Prize. He Named Me Malala is a documentary about this remarkable teenager and — as its title suggests — an introduction to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who also risked death by ...
Pop Culture Decoder: Mom Boobs
Laying bare the effects that parenthood can have on the pointer sisters By Misty Harris
You know how after performing a lot of hard work, you exhale all remaining volume from your chest, slump over and just surrender to gravity? The same goes for breasts after having a child. My breasts, anyway. Like weary warriors retreating from battle, they have been deflated. First, there were the rigours of pregnancy, which saw the twins change size more times than Jonah Hill. Then there were nine months of breastfeeding a tiny human, who paid them roughly the same respect a cheetah does a gazelle. And, finally, there was the post-nursing weight fluctuation, which saw my lady lumps take on so many different appearances, they’ve been cast in the next Transformers movie. But because this is a column about decoding, specifics are needed. With that in mind, let’s abandon all propriety and break down the reasons that “mom boobs” are a thing.* Biology: Although breastfeeding ...
Spielberg burns Bridge of Spies with boredom
Movie Review: Bridge of Spies
Cold War thriller warmed over: Tom Hanks shuffles his favourite deck of characters to take on the role of a real life insurance lawyer who ends up tangled in the concertina wire of East-West tensions
Hacking into Steve Jobs
Danny Boyle's biopic makes elegant bid to open Jobs's console
Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet create all the dynamic tension required to propel Aaron Sorkin's minimalist screenplay into epic terrain, but the film is an inspiring success and a frustrating failure at the same time -- much like the man himself, writes Katherine Monk