A little while ago, I rode the subway late at night. As I got on at College station, feeling reflective after an evening of indulging in bad wine and good conversation, I found that I was the only passenger on the train. It was simultaneously eerie and empowering to occupy a public space in such solitude. In a strange way, it felt intensely private, and my mind began to wander.
Where do our thoughts go in our most private moments — when we leave behind the baggage of our day-to-day lives and reflect honestly? Much of the time, the product of these intimate moments is not something that we would express freely to a parent, close friend, or anyone at all.
We are constrained, for a whole host of reasons, from breaching taboos.
This issue of The Varsity Magazine is themed “taboo,” but it does not attempt to make any particular judgments or assumptions. Its chief purpose is to make you, the reader, think. Taboos can form mysteriously, define political and social landscapes, and eat away at our individual psyches. Sometimes discussing them produces unease or anger, at others, immense relief or pleasure. The visual aspects of this magazine, overseen by Creative Director Margaux Parker, reference the intensity of these topics through a minimalist approach, and by using bold, contrasting colour schemes.
The contributors of this magazine tap into taboos from varying perspectives. Salvatore Basilone presents a piece on the experiences of students living with mental illnesses (page 38). Malone Mullin explores the emerging push for basic income, a movement inspired by daily hardships (page 26). Jacob Lorinc asks how we should consume art when we know its creator to be morally debased (page 52). Meanwhile, Linh Nguyen assesses the role of pornography in society, particularly among those whose sexual education has been insufficient (page 6).
Wherever you are geographically, temporally, and personally when reading this, I hope that you find yourself provoked, challenged, and inspired by the content of this magazine. For whatever it is worth, I know I have been.
— Alex McKeen
The Varsity Features Editor, 2015–2016