Prof cool to finding that divorce can ease turmoil

The tension and turmoil leading up to marital breakdown are more harmful to children’s mental health than divorce itself, according to a new Canadian study that throws into question the wisdom of parents staying together for the sake of their children, reported The Globe and Mail Dec. 14. The University of Alberta research, which is published in the current edition of the Journal of Marriage and Family and was also released by Statistics Canada Tuesday, found that, on average, children from highly dysfunctional families actually do better after their parents part ways. But Anne-Marie Ambert, a sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts who specializes in studying divorce, noted that for some children, news of marital breakdown comes as a “big shock”. As well, she said many youngsters suffer negative effects brought on by divorce, including living in poverty and getting caught in custody battles.

Music on the cutting edge

The musical saw has undergone something of a renaissance in indie rock circles in recent years, reported the National Post Dec. 14. North America’s only group of live saw players is found in Toronto: The Singing Saw Shadow Show is surely one of the most original products of a widely celebrated indie music scene. In its current incarnation, it features seven sawyers, a cellist and a drummer who play in a heptagonal tent created by a 15-foot umbrella and two bed sheets sewn together. The musicians are seen only as silhouettes while the tent is rotated by lighting expert Elisha Lim, creating a magic-lantern effect. The group’s music is alternately celebratory, melancholic, and playful. Compounded by the bed sheets, the sound of the saws inevitably brings to mind ghosts. The various twentysomething members found themselves joining the group for widely disparate reasons. Shayna Stevenson, a first-year English student at York, remembers: “I thought it would be ridiculous to turn down learning an instrument for free.”

On air

  • Thabit Abdullah Sam, history professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, was interviewed about the election in Iraq, on CBC Radio One’s “Metro Morning” and the South Asian edition of “OMNI News” on OMNI 2 TV Dec. 13.