Editor's Note

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BB’S LAST WORD

Authors

I have never been so nervous and excited about an Editor’s Note.

Over the last three years, I have felt so seen. I came to Discorder having had my passion exploited by independent media organizations and nonprofits for years. The gift of leading a publication, mentoring contributors and collaborating in good faith has filled my spirit and emboldened me to share this magazine with other people and communities that have felt excluded or ignored completely. When considering what will be regarded as my legacy as Editor-In-Chief, I hope that people will acknowledge the transformation of Discorder Magazine while I’ve been Editor, but I believe the credit for that transformation belongs to the entire masthead, which is the strongest team I have known. I expect that my individual legacy lies somewhere in these beautiful-weird Editor’s Notes.  

I’ve said this before, the purpose of an Editor’s Note in Discorder is vague. I’ve used this space to comment on issues outside of the magazine that resonate with readers, to amplify the topics whispered about at shows and parties and in the offices of CiTR 101.9FM. To every person who has ever thanked me for the content of these notes, I am so honoured and grateful to you for reading them. I wrote these words, but they were inspired by you. I hope that I’ve done you justice.

There’s a certain symmetry between my arrival and my departure, which in a lot of ways is long overdue. Three years ago, Discorder was the antidote for cynicism that resulted from having my passion exploited; today Discorder is the cause of cynicism from having my work undervalued.

The job posting for Editor-In-Chief is public, so it’s no secret that the position pays $16 per hour for 21 hours per week, no benefits. This is not a starting wage, but the same wage that I receive now after three years. When I began, I was paid $400 per issue. An hourly wage is an improvement, but it’s far from a liveable wage. In 2015, I burned for recognition and for the opportunity to prove myself. But now, at 29-years old and confident in my capabilities as a writer and an artist, glory isn’t paying my fucking rent.

I bring this up because I know that I am not the only person in this position. I know that most readers are young professionals and creatives working precarious jobs that are often not in their chosen fields, or students uncertain about their futures. Well, you deserve better and I deserve better and the next Editor-In-Chief deserves better.

To CiTR’s credit, the workplace culture is one that encourages critique and the constant reevaluation of priorities. As an organization, it’s fluid and responsive to its community. A remarkable example is the development of the Sexual Violence, Bullying and Harassment Policy over this past year, voted into existence last month. Like a lot of smaller nonprofit arts organizations and campus-community radio station, CiTR does the best that it can to support members and staff.

If you’re feeling undervalued, it is not exclusively the fault of your employer, but a flaw of the society that we exist in — where people will pay $300 to see Beyoncé and Jay-Z at BC Place but they won’t pay $20 to see lesser-known bands at a local venue; where some promoters / gallerists / publishers / boards will put women, non-binary people, people of colour and Indigenous people on lineups / in exhibitions / on mastheads / on committees for the sole purpose of ensuring that they’re not called out for continuing to favour white men; where people will tolerate alleged sexual predators in positions of influence because it’s easier than dealing with the privilege that put them there. It’s all part of the same puzzle of misguided values and corrupt reward systems.

It may seem overly ambitious, but I believe that every one of us can work to effect change on a grassroots and larger scale. You may not be in a position to speak up for yourself, but you can speak up for others, especially for those who produce the cultural content that entertains you. You can ask questions and choose to engage in conversations around wage and compensation. Artists and cultural workers literally cannot afford to keep these topics taboo any longer.

At the time I write this, a new Editor-In-Chief hasn’t been hired yet and CiTR has extended the deadline because there are so few applicants. I wish the lack of interest is because my shoes are too big to fill, but I know that it’s because the pay is shit. What I will say is that the opportunity to work with Discorder’s Art Director, Ricky Castanedo-Laredo almost makes up for it. Ricky has shown me so much patience and trust, and I am incredibly thankful to have been paired up with such a talented artist and to call him my friend.

Ricky should be paid more, though, along with everyone else who make this magazine possible.

I hope you like this issue as much as I do.

 

A+ always

BB

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VICTORIOUS

author
Brit Bachmann

“Victory” defined by Merriam-Webster is:

the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist
achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties

What does victory mean to you?

At the end of every summer, CiTR / Discorder and partners throw the Victory Square Block Party, a free outdoor music festival that for all purposes, has nothing to do with “victory” except that it is the name of the park. When people consider the concept of “victory” in relation to Victory Square, most associate it with war, the cenotaph supposedly marking the exact spot where people would have enlisted for World War I when that site was still a provincial courthouse. I read about it on Wikipedia, as one does, and learned that it used to be called Government Square. The southwest corner of the park was the location of the first survey stake by which L. A. Hamilton mapped out the street system that is now Downtown Vancouver. And in that context, victory is not without a colonial underpinning. I read that Victory Square was once West Coast rainforest and that a small creek used to run through it.

As I write this, the Federal Court of Appeal has just ruled that in approving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the Trudeau cabinet did not adequately consult with Indigenous nations or consider the consequences on West Coast marine life, and that work on the project must stop. For many people, this ruling is a victory.

Since becoming Editor-In-Chief, the way I perceive being victorious has changed. It isn’t the publication of a single piece of writing, but the receiving of validation over time. The fact that people continue to read the magazine and find value in the content we produce, and that Discorder Magazine continues to publish in an era where magazines are phasing out print, is a victory.

Victory belongs to those who endure.

In this issue of Discorder Magazine, you’ll read about the collaboration between improvisational artists, Katie Duck and Ben Brown; Andrea Warner’s experience writing Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography; the founding of Commercial Drag; the News Collective’s podcast, Seeking Office; the making of Sean Devlin’s film, When The Storm Fades; and plenty of reviews of live shows, albums and books.

A+
BB