Guest Editorial 10: MeaCulpa – Mariko Tamaki

Bride by Erika Kierulf

NMP brings together cover photographer Erika Kierulf and introduces our very first guest edited issue, care of the amazing Mariko Tamaki. Tamaki selected the theme and the contributors for this 10th issue of NMP and made our first collaborative attempt a true success! Read on and enjoy.

Like all issues of NMP, you can buy a beautiful full-colour perfect bound hard copy of NMP journals online, or download the PDF for just three dollars and ninety-nine cents.

Thanks again to everyone who helped copy edit and assemble this issue and – comme toujours – big love to m-c MacPhee and Dayna McLeod, curators, and editors extraordinaire.

It is with great sadness that we say farewell to Toronto-based queer activist, Will Munro. Please take a few minutes to read his article and the many heartfelt comments and obituaries.

Dear readers, we are still and always committed to bringing forward a guiltless and shameless magazine bimonthly.

Mél Hogan

MEA CULPA: “my fault” or “through my fault, x has happened.”

A mea culpa is an admission of guilt, an offering, of sorts, which may even pose as a sort of apology (“My bad!” “It’s cool!”).  At the same time, a mea culpa is not simply an admission of guilt (or sin) but a/the process of confession, the admission of sin or wrongdoing, post-sin.

It feels like a very weird time to be talking about culpability. In the wake of the on-going BP crisis, and even the recent Toronto Pride censorship debacle, the concept of ”fault” (for actions taken and not taken), seems ever present and yet completely impossible to tack down.  It’s like a fart in a crowded room full of posh people who are sorry for the smell but refuse to consider the possibility that their body could emit foul odour.

So it’s not surprising to me that many of the talented artists and writers in this issue seemed to want to break down and mess with the concept of the mea culpa, to cut it up into little parts and make fun of it.

Writer/poet Billeh Nickerson’s 13 “Ways of Looking at Mea Culpa” takes a poetic approach to this task.

Theatre artist/playwright Lindy Zucker makes a game of the word “Sorry,” which is not surprising, because she is a very silly person.

Artist Suzy Malik’s “Etymology Apology” is an analysis inspired existing illustrations the ASL sign for “sorry.”

Author David Nickle’s short story “Oops” presents an apology-in-apocalypse, which will not surprise readers who are used to his dark twisty ways.

Illustrator Maurice Vellekoop, whom most of us know for his exquisite portraits of queer culture and fashion, delivers a confession and analysis of past faults, although you’d hardly want to call it a “fault,” because, I think, there are a lot of people, me included, who have been a little bit like the Maurice in this comic, as we navigate our way through our lives and careers.

Musical wunderkind Christine Bougie, whose music is the perfect soundtrack for a thoughtful day, has supplied an inquisitive track titled, “Everything you do matters.” Clearly, it does.

Although stef lenk’s fabulously dark hearts, laid out for dissection and twisted in knots, are not necessarily apologetic, I feel like they fit in here nicely, exposing the muscle and emotion we’d like to think is involved in any sort of admission, or understanding of, fault.

Finally, I had the chance to interview the infamously unapologetic, currently Toronto Mayoral candidate, Mr. “Get Over It,” Keith Cole for this issue.  It was an extremely revealing interview.  I can safely say that I know more about Keith now than I ever dared know before. I’m fairly certain now that he really isn’t sorry, at least, not now. Eventually some student studying the socio-political, pop cultural, meaning of the apology/mea culpa, will use this piece for their major research paper.  For now, it’s something to read, especially if you’re considering voting for Keith.  Whether or not this inspires you to vote for him you’ll have to let me know.

Mariko Tamaki

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