Alumna breaks down and buys a new car, but not from a sexist

Something wonderful and unexpected happened to York graduate Joanne Stephen (MA ‘93, PhD ‘03) on the way to buying a spanking new 2006 Mazda3 GT hatchback: she had a good time, reported The Globe and Mail June 22. She’d been reluctant to replace her aging Volkswagen Golf for many reasons – including the “arduous” nature of the entire process – but the experience of buying a new car turned out to be not just painless, but pleasant. “Yeah, it became kinda fun,” says Stephen, whose PhD in psychology is testimony to the fact that she knows how to defend a thesis – even one about what she wants in a car, what she wants from a car seller and what that seller should offer on the service side after the deal is done.

Not surprisingly, in an industry dominated by men, Stephen never once came across a female salesperson in all her visits to various dealerships. “But I spoke to a bunch of different men. There was a complete range,” she says. “I never felt condescension but one guy both tried to flirt with me and dominate me. He was just so sexist. So I turned around and left.”

Being glib won’t eradicate chauvinism

Sports columnist John Doyle’s observations on a German train (June 21) are perceptive, wrote York Professor Roger Keil, of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, and York graduate John Paul Kleiner (MA ’04), both of the Canadian Centre for German & European Studies at York, in a letter to The Globe and Mail June 22. His comments become problematic, however, when he points, rather stereotypically, to the danger that might lurk in such behaviour when it takes place in Germany.

In this context, he suggests, history has shown us that matters get easily out of hand and, the next thing we know, a continent will have been conquered by invading Teutonic hordes. It is unfortunate that he has little more to back up his analysis of these dangers than his projections of the reason several older men chose not to intervene to curb the behaviour of the drunken young “fans'” displeasure with a German TV show that patronizes Ecuador, and the comments of a critical yuppie traveller.

Chauvinism, which often disguises itself as patriotism, is an evil to be challenged wherever it raises its ugly head, wrote Keil and Kleiner. But to conjure up German expansionism out of a two-hour train ride is as dangerous and ludicrous as constructing British imperialism out of Wayne Rooney’s behaviour, the war in Iraq out of the US team’s fouls against Italy, or Canadians’ appetite for violence and, well, chauvinism out of diatribes from the country’s highest-paid hockey commentator. Chauvinism is wrong everywhere. Being glib about it does not help to eradicate it.

Living in poverty is most significant predictor of health, says Raphael

The single best predictor of children’s health and their health as adults is the experience of living in poverty; not eating fruits and vegetables, wrote Dennis Raphael, professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, in a letter to the Toronto Star June 22. If Minister of Health Promotion Jim Watson was serious about promoting health he would look to implementing Dalton McGuinty’s promise to eliminate the clawback of the National Child Benefit from children living on social assistance and to raising the minimum wage.

On air

  • TTC Chair Howard Moscoe’s statement about budget limitations that may threaten the city’s contribution to the extension of the Spadina subway to York region were reported on Toronto’s CFRB Radio and Global TV June 21. York student Chris Krikorian also gave his thoughts on the issue to Global.
  • Paul James, master soccer coach at York, was interviewed about how the World Cup has changed since Canada last qualified in 1986 on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Morning” June 21.
  • Scott Fielder, instructor in York’s Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science & Engineering, discussed chemical changes in the body during stress on TVO’s “More to Life” program June 21.
  • Jessica Carrington, marketing director of the Barbados Charity Ball, spoke about how the June 24 event will raise funds for a scholarship to York University on CP24-TV June 21.
  • Stefan Kipfer, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, spoke about the revitalization of Toronto’s Regent Park area on TVO’s “Studio 2” June 21.