So it turns out that our first regular issue of The Voice Magazine for this year is being published on a Friday the 13th. Fortunately, I’m not one that takes many superstitions very seriously. Of course, you won’t catch me walking under a ladder, but that’s more just common sense—I don’t like to have things dropped on my head.
If you read up on superstitions, however, you find many of them make a lot of sense, when taken in context. Breaking a mirror causing seven years bad luck, for instance, came about when mirrors were extremely expensive. A large one could easily cost seven years worth of a person’s discretionary earnings. Then remembering that bad luck is another way of saying hardship, and the superstition makes a lot more sense. If you happen to be in a rich person’s house (as who else would have a mirror) and you accidentally break it, you can look forward to seven years of hardship as you try to pay it back.
I haven’t found such a rational reason for the fear of Friday the 13th, however. Some equate it to Jesus’ last supper, which had 13 people present on the 13th of the month, that occurred the night before his crucifixion on Good Friday, but that would tend to imply Thursday the 13th. There are also a number of different things that refer to Fridays as bad luck, and 13 as an unlucky number, but the joining of them being bad luck seems to stem mostly from fiction.
Which, to me, makes it doubly odd that, of the superstition, it would become one of the most widely known. Perhaps it’s because it’s one we can’t avoid. You can avoid walking under ladders (always a good idea) or breaking mirrors (also not advised), you can even, if you’re quick and attentive, avoid crossing the path of cats (though I’ve always wondered, does that mean don’t cross where a cat is going to walk, or where one already has walked?). And whistling near graveyards is generally considered disrespectful so you shouldn’t be doing it in any event, but there’s really no way to avoid a simple date on the calendar. Which makes it a great scapegoat should anything bad happen to you on that day. It’s not your fault, it’s Friday the 13th.
And suddenly understanding dawns. We love nothing more than a good scapegoat, don’t we? 2016 taught us that, heck, our reaction to the year 2016 should teach us that. But that all said, I still don’t hold that Friday the 13th is better or worse than any other day of the year. Except maybe January 20th, but let’s not get into that.
However, if you are such a person, hopefully this issue will buck the trend. We start it off with our feature article, an interview with The Voice Magazine’s resident philosopher. Jason Sullivan, author of the Fly on the Wall series, has taken some time to tell us what he thinks a person should serve Karl Marx for lunch, and why poutine isn’t the answer, among other questions. We also have an exposé of the hidden lessons that AU is teaching you in Deanna Roney’s article “The Other Lessons” (okay, maybe not an exposé so much as an acknowledgement, but the former sounds so much juicier, doesn’t it?) Plus a look at some of what we may be missing at AU and how to get it in “Engaging the Senses with The Walrus”, and of course we tie it together with a selection of news, reviews, events, and amusements to keep you connected with other
students at AU. Enjoy the Read!
P.S. If you didn’t already know, The Voice Magazine has a Facebook page and a twitter feed if You’re into that kind of thing!