The VIU Mace

The Mace

During the Middle Ages, the metal-clad wooden mace was an effective weapon in battle. As newer and more powerful arms were developed, its military significance diminished, and it was transformed into a symbol of authority. Today, the ceremonial mace is used in many government assembly locations, such as the British and Canadian Houses of Parliament, and is carried before ecclesiastical dignitaries and in university ceremonies such as this.

The mace used for VIU’s convocation was designed and created by retired art instructor John A. Charnetski in 1994. The metre-long mace is made of stainless steel and gold-plated cast bronze. It features four guardian eagles and enameled medallions bearing VIU’s coat of arms and arbutus emblems. At the convocation ceremonies, the mace is carried by a retiring member the VIU community to honour his or her contribution to the University.

More here.

In January 2020 our son, Dr. Steve Lane, will be the mace bearer for the graduation ceremony.

Congratulations, Steve!!

Island NO. 2

Years ago now Malaspina College created a literary magazine called simply “ISLAND”. The early ones were edited by two poets, John Marshall and Stephen Guppy. Over time several more Canadian writers offered poems and short stories for publication.

Because Bob was the Managing Editor I have chosen one of his poems from the second issue to share with you here. (with his permission)

No longer in print, copies are available at VIU’s library and at UBC’s library.

The team spent many hours working on the magazine – often at the Occidental.

On Certainty

Certainty as Demonic in Religion, Science, and Society

by Lex Crane

Certainty is easily accessible

and is

impossible to achieve.

This paradoxical circumstance has nurtured demonic forces in human life, which, in turn, have found expression in violence, destruction, and death on a massive scale. The forces are within us and in our institutions. They must be transcended if we are to ensure the survival of our own species, as well as that of countless others.

Easily accessible certainty is rooted in need; the unreachable is based on knowledge of reallity. Thus there is subjective certainty on one hand; and objective cer-tainty on the other. Since subjective certainty emerges in response to need, it is always available in the amount required. (Wheelis 81) The deeper the need, the more intense the certainty that develops. All humans have a need for some degree of certainty in order to feel secure in a contingent existence.

Read the paper here and respond!

Submissions?

CALL FOR PAPERS – from a recent email:

KEANU REEVES

Special Edition of Celebrity Studies Journal, edited by Renee Middlemost and Sarah Thomas

Since his emergence as a teen actor in the 1980s, Keanu Reeves has been an enduring, yet elusive celebrity who continues to fascinate and frustrate in equal measure. Despite his unwavering popularity, in recent years his lower public profile has seen Reeves assume the status of cult or folk icon; yet slowly the world appears to have fallen for Reeves all over again.  USA Today declared June 2019 ‘The Summer of Keanu Reeves’ with the release of John Wick 3, Toy Story 4, the announcement of his role in X Box game Cyberpunk 2077, memorable cameo in Always Be My Maybe, memes, magazine features, the first ‘KeanuCon’ film festival, and high profile fashion brand ambassador spreads (Saint Laurent). With the latest instalment of Bill and Ted (Bill and Ted Face the Music) due for release in 2020, this special issue of Celebrity Studies will be a timely exploration of the resurgent Reeves in the transmedia age.

Often discussed as an emblematic star of 1990s postmodernist cinema and queer sensibilities with a liminal, endless screen presence that stood between the margins and the mainstream of contemporary filmic texts (c.f. Giarrantana, 2002 and Rutsky, 2001), even now twenty years on from The Matrix (1999), Reeves remains an enigmatic icon straddling boundaries of fixed identity and meaning. His 21st century stardom has extended beyond the Wachowski’s ground-breaking series and his other key roles of the 1990s, and Reeves’ performances and star persona continues to reflect the wider ages and identities he lives through, endlessly being rewritten, rebooted and reinterpreted.

His success in the John Wick series, from cult hit to global franchise phenomenon, has partly reinvigorated interest in his screen work, conceptualising the change from the physically beautiful youth (Rutsky, 2001) to the ageing, effortful labour of action role and star. The character of John Wick further mythicises the always ‘extraordinary’ Reeves, whilst his ‘ordinariness’ has been embraced by transmedia digital cultures, such as ‘sad Keanu’ meme which draws on the perception that Reeves’ tragic personal life has never been fully resolved, or viral fan encounters that emphasise an authenticity to his unstarry behaviour. His cameo in the recent Netflix production Always Be My Maybe brought questions of race and transnational identity back to the forefront of his star image, with his appearance reflecting an overt desire by the filmmakers to claim Reeves as an Asian-American icon (Yamato 2019) – as aspect also explored by Nishime (2013). Beyond this, the ongoing commercial appeal of the Bill & Ted series and his partnership with Winona Ryder in Destination Wedding (2018) reveals the significance of Reeves as a point of reference for exploring 80s and 90s ‘cool’ nostalgia.

We seek original, truly ‘Excellent!!” essays of 7-8000 words that address the celebrity of Keanu Reeves, particularly reflecting on and exploring his career and image post-2000. Revisiting Keanu Reeves offers a timely discussion around key contemporary media landscapes, from franchise, reboot and remake cultures; multi-media, transmedia and technology; nostalgia and memory; participatory fandom and online cultures; racial identity and transnationalism; changes across the mainstream, the independent and the marginal; ageing; narratives of contemporary celebrity authenticities; and the continuing persistence of mythic and elusive stardom.

Topics that the articles may address include, but are not limited to:

*Keanu, the 1980s and nostalgia

*Keanu as Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan – rebooting Bill and Ted

*Keanu and his relationship to other iconic 80s performers (Winona Ryder)

*The figure of ‘tragic Keanu’

*Keanu online – Keanu as meme

*Keanu and masculinity

*Asian-American identity and transnational cinemas

*Keanu and ageing stardom

*Stuntwork, physicality and labour

*Keanu and genre (action, romance and science fiction)

*Keanu and cinematic innovation

*Keanu and cinematic franchises

*Fan responses to Keanu

*Queer identity and star image, especially post-2000

*Keanu as ‘reluctant celebrity’

*Transmedia Keanu

*Keanu as producer, or from a production studies perspective

*Acting and screen performance

*Authenticity and ordinariness

*Keanu and video game cultures

*Presence, affect and ‘being’

Please send proposals of 300 words and brief author bio/contact to Renee Middlemost reneem@uow.edu.au and Sarah Thomas S.K.Thomas@liverpool.ac.uk  by 1 December 2019.

Thoughts on the news

Politicians often criticize the print media when it prints a piece that is critical of them. We are bombarded by cries of “Fake News” (and, of course we are bombarded by fake news). We must learn to use all methods available to check the veracity of stories we read. We have discussed the topic here before. Do a search for “fake news” to find those discussions.

But also, what about the tendency of the newspapers and other media to write about what someone might say in future testimony?

Wouldn’t it be better to report AFTER the person has spoken or testified? So many stories seem to open with “Inside sources claim that X will say Y when s/he testifies next week. . .”.