I feel fine/nothing
Drugs are like candy—wonderful in moderation, but also capable of inflicting real, long-term harm. That’s especially true of OxyContin, a powerful opioid painkiller that has become synonymous with addiction and overdose. In “First Do No Harm,” Maisonneuve’s new cover story, award-winning medical journalist and author Ann Silversides investigates the drug-related deaths of two people in Brockville, Ontario—deaths that later prompted one of the most sweeping coroner’s inquests in Canadian history. As she reconstructs the deceased friends’ final days and tracks the progress of the inquest, Silversides comes across an uncomfortable question: how much responsibility do doctors and pharmaceutical companies have for the problem of prescription-opioid addiction? On our cover, photographer Andrew B. Myers and art director Anna Minzhulina toy with this issue by presenting OxyContin in a candy wrapper. Like sweet treats, the image suggests, prescription painkillers are too easy to come by—and it’s too easy to get hooked.
Also in this issue:
Mark Mann investigates the mysterious Buddhist monks who are buying up property on Prince Edward Island.
Claire Prime uncovers the hidden domestic-abuse scandal on Canada’s Aboriginal reserves.
Christopher Szabla on why “going viral” is a more apt choice of words than we realize.
Luc Rinaldi plays the game that’s drawing millions of computer geeks into the forest.
Deni Y. Béchard searches for poetry in Rwanda.
Katherine Ashenburg ponders what to eat at a funeral.
Benoit Aquin photographs Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
Jane Silcott on the semantics of belief.
Bernard Rudny provides a tour of Montreal’s weirdest street names.
All this, plus new fiction by Jacob Wren and Daniel Grenier, new poetry by Deena Shaffer, a new comic column by Ethan Rilly, spot illustrations by John Martz, the Book Room and the Music Room!
On newsstands everywhere March 18. Order this issue now.
The past year has brought a wave of new developments and revelations regarding Toronto’s G20 debacle. People like Hiscocks and Hundert were finally sentenced to prison terms, and a swath of post-G20 papers, like the May 2012 RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police watchdog reports, were released. As the Harper government and Canada’s police bodies intensify their surveillance of environmental activists, now is the time to root through the wreckage of the G20 policing strategy. — “Unmasked: Searching for lessons in Toronto’s 2010 G20 debacle” by Andrea Bennett.
A Canadian soldier on foot patrol during an early-morning operation in Haji Baran, Afghanistan. Courtesy of the Canadian Forces.
There’s little question that the recluse seems increasingly out-of-place in modern music culture. When it comes to performers and artists, we long ago traded a persona of absence for a persona of presence. The information and emotion gaps we once filled with our own imagination are now filled with more information and more emotions. They’re fed, in many cases, directly from artist to fan through social media, and they’re enabled and supported by a digital hit-count culture that can transform any out-of-context quote or tiny insight into a “breaking news” article. — “My Bloody Valentine, Jeff Magnum and the Musical Recluse in the Age of Nostalgia”
Volunteers work in the AGO’s Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Study Centre. Photograph by Lorne Bridgman. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the AGO’s art-storage facilities in “The Place Where Art Sleeps.”
I am saying nothing new in wondering about how to do away with a dichotomy in which one isn’t Taking Up Enough Space and yet is Too Much. The fear that persists, the struggle with that learned longing to please and be loved—these are rather unoriginal confessions, but what if that’s the important thing about them? That I am not the first to say this, but am going to talk about it anyway. I feel uncertain and vulnerable, writing this. There is no data with which to arm myself, it’s all so subjective, but does that mean I can’t talk about it? I want to figure out what Taking Up Space could look like for me, and I don’t really know how else to do that except for out-loud. Even if it’s boring, even if it’s unoriginal, even if I’m less articulate than I want to be, less certain. Maybe I’m already Taking Up Space, just by Talking About It Anyway. — On Kate Zambreno’s Heroines and the silencing of women writers
We rarely see our heroes earn their power. Batman doesn’t dope, but how did he get so strong and flexible when, after years of yoga, I couldn’t dream of being the same? We want our heroes to defy the rules, which, in a way, Lance Armstrong has done. He held a title longer than anyone else while inspiring and fooling all of us, and possibly heading a doping ring of immense complexity. This requires not just cunning and leadership but more vision and discipline than the Tour de France itself. We can at least admire him as one of history’s great super-villains. — “What if Lance Armstrong Were a Literary Genius?”
“It’s a beautiful sign. It represents an era when Montreal had a lot of signs like that,” says Nouveau Palais’ Jacques Seigner. Retro bulbs adorn its border, and yellow-and red-letters spell out “Restaurant” in block type much larger than that of the restaurant’s actual name. “The neighbourhood is really attached to it,” adds Seigner. I know I’m not the only one who has hazy, alcohol-induced memories of being drawn to that sign like a moth to a flame, ordering a steamie or a fried-egg sandwich at four in the morning. Perhaps of the appeal of the retro sign is that it helps generate this nostalgia.
This year, for Christmas, my mother gave me a holiday-themed thong. She gave me some other presents, too—mostly books and kitchen supplies and a few rugs—but none of these gifts could hold a candle to that skimpy piece of Christmas memorabilia, a present my mother asked me to open first. — “The Holiday Thong: A Mother’s Attitude About Her Daughter’s Sexuality Evolves”