Summer issues tend to be either very interesting or very dull. This is because a lot of the things that usually drive The Voice Magazine writers, if not the writers themselves, are absent. Convocation is over, the university itself slows down as so many people take summer holidays that many committees don’t meet, so changes are few, even AUSU will often find it’s too hard to get everybody together for a meeting, what with vacation schedules. On top of that, most of the visiting students, who take one-off courses to supplement their traditional studies, are done and off to find summer jobs.
And it’s often harder to get yourself worked up enough about something to write about it when the day is warm, the sun bright, and the plants and flowers in bloom and inviting.
Which means that sometimes the issues are prosaic, as some writers will seek to just dash something off so that they can get back to better things in the outdoors. Meanwhile others find it harder to drum up excitement for the learning journey when the journey of outdoors beckons.
Sometimes, though, it leads to an interesting issue, as writers may push themselves further afield in search of inspiration, and I think this issue is one of those. Why else would you find a poem in praise of, of all things, a desk? Or a piece that seems intensely personal, almost private, even as it invites us in to experience a mood, a time of reminiscence, of the author?
However, as much as I’ve enjoyed the oddities that comprise this issue, right now it seems my mind is taken up with the issue of the Calgary Stampede, having just suffered its third death this year. I find it difficult to understand the people who choose to defend the chuckwagon races. Sure, some find the races entertaining, with the excitement of intense competition and the unpredictability of the event, and sure, the animals are definitely treated well any time they’re not actually in the race, but really, what does that matter?
Why on earth do we continue to host an event where it’s almost assured that at least one of the participants in it will be killed. There have been only four years in the past 30 where an animal has not died in an event during the Calgary Stampede. Imagine any sporting event where you could almost guarantee that at least one person involved would die every single time the event was hosted. Would this be tolerated? Would it be celebrated as the Calgary Stampede is?
I’m not against having events with animals involved. But certainly we can find an event with a lower mortality rate that will get people excited. Or is it that chance of death that makes it popular? It’s an ugly thing to think about, but it can’t be ignored. Where else, after all, can you now go with a good chance of seeing something die that you won’t be chastised for enjoying it? Maybe that’s why it continues to be popular. Which is yet another reason why it should be stopped.