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McGill Memes’ Last Letter to McGillians

April 29, 2014

Montreal, Quebec

Dear McGillians,

My past four years at McGill have been challenging, exasperating, frustrating, and rewarding. I want to thank all of you who have provided me with material over the years, either knowingly or unknowingly. Your support has given me hope that one day this school will find a comedic voice, and has encouraged me to exercise my own.

Unfortunately, my time at this university is coming to an end. So I am leaving you with these parting thoughts in the hopes that they may provide both amusement and guidance upon my departure.

To all those who endeavor to parody McGillian life, I encourage you to study in great detail the Twitter account @LotsWifeMcGill. To know the brilliance, subtlety, and hilarity of this former McGill Daily editor may just provide a cure to this school’s aversion to humor.

There is unparalleled wit in good natured observation, and it need not come at the malicious expense of groups or individuals.

Un message pour les étudiant(e)s francophones: Vous êtes plus nombreux que vous pensez. Je vous encourage d’exiger les services en français que vous méritez. L’AÉMU et les autres associations étudiantes vont continuer à vous ignorer à moins que vous exprimiez votre opposition. Bien que McGill ne soit pas une université bilingue, elle a une obligation d’assurer que tous ces étudiant(e)s sont représentés. Dans la même veine, cette université est une île anglophone isolée par choix dans une ville francophone. Avec votre aide, les étudiants anglophones peuvent vraiment découvrir tous que cette ville, cette province, et leurs habitants, ont à offrir.

To the incoming SSMU Executive: You are coming into office on the heels of the least competent SSMU Executive in recent memory. While the bar may be set extremely low, take care not to trip over it. To hold an additional referendum on an issue that has been decided by a clear and well-informed majority would be insulting to those of us who understood the extent of the previous Executive’s failure to negotiate a favorable lease and decided to hold them accountable for it. I urge you to call McGill’s bluff, terminate the lease, and return to the drawing board to rectify what is truly the worst decision the Society has made in the past four years. Barring such a verdict, I would counsel you to avoid misleading students in order to paper over the mistakes of the forerunning Executive. Attempts to frame ratification of the lease as a means to save Gert’s and to continue providing space to other valuable student services would be laughably transparent and wholly disingenuous. Should you choose to continue with this flawed agreement, the projected deficit that it generates could be covered through the abdication of your respective salaries, the termination of the Library Improvement Fund (a responsibility that is McGill’s alone), and the reinvestment of SSMU’s portfolio. Do not perpetuate the failures of your predecessors, and I truly wish you the best of luck in the coming academic year.

To perspective students: Your decision to attend one of the world’s elite universities is not one to be taken lightly. While this school will provide you with a phenomenal education, it is loath to give you any of the tools that might enable your success. To succeed at McGill requires a significant degree of self-motivation. If you are willing to take the initiative to persevere with little outside guidance, then you will go far here. And while you will learn a great deal on campus, I urge you to engage yourself as much as possible in the city of Montreal. Despite its central location, there is very little interaction between McGill’s student body and the greater Montreal community. I would also advise you to eschew living close to campus, as the added inconvenience will certainly enrich your experience at one of Canada’s premier institutions of higher learning, and give you a chance to explore one of North America’s cultural capitals.

To those of you not yet graduating: Accept no bullshit. Under no circumstances should you vote to fund the disastrous lease negotiated by the SSMU. Nor should you allow the university to unilaterally curb access to the most frequented library on campus. McGill is predictably frustrating, but I urge you to counter this trend by imbuing our soon to be alma mater with some much needed common sense.

And finally, to my fellow graduates: Let the healing begin.

My friends, McGill is a school full of bright and gifted people, and I urge each of you to explore and cultivate your own talents through laughter, study, and engagement. Humor is better than senseless one-upmanship. Blues Pub is better than Bar des Arts. Blackader is better than McLennan. So let us be humorous, tipsy, and studious, and we’ll change McGill.

All my very best,

Daniel Braden

Four Years in Review

The SSMU Lease (2014)

The SSMU has an illustrious history of monumental incompetence, but this year’s executive really takes the cake when it comes to screwing over their constituents. The grotesquely lopsided and expensive lease that they signed is a master class in abdication of duty, and this drink is dedicated to them. 

$230,000 in cash
1 bottle of Bacardi 151

Douse the money in rum and set in on fire. Tell students they were too stupid to understand the process, and ask them to pay for the charred and forfeited revenue. Repeat as necessary.

Four Years in Review

The Farnangate (2013-2014)

What can I say that hasn’t been said already? When Vice President Farnan issued that infamous apology, he proved that nothing at McGill is too small or too petty to be taken as offensive. Coverage of the debacle also lent credence to the notion that SSMU’s missteps can truly reach international proportions. This cocktail is crafted in honor of President Obama, whose 52 years of age and unruffled demeanor epitomize youth and the overwhelming stress that accompanies university midterms. 

2 oz. Koloa white rum
2 oz. Koloa dark rum
2 oz. Mango juice
1 1/2 oz. Pineapple juice
3/4 oz. Lime juice
1 tablespoon grenadine 

Fill a hurricane glass with ice, then add the liquor and fruit juices. Drizzle the grenadine over top to create a cascading effect. Garnish with seasonal fruits.

Flirting on Spotted: McGill Library

I’m dynamite in the SAQ, by which I mean my behavior in Quebecois liquor stores is explosive and unpredictable.

Four Years in Review

The Madeleine Parent (2012)

The naming of the Madeleine Parent Room is the first and only lasting accomplishment of a SSMU GA. While seemingly petty in its inception, the re-dedication of the Breakout Room proved to be an important and non-controversial step in asserting (short-lived) student control over the SSMU Building, and in honoring the legacy of a visionary union activist. This drink is dedicated to the fruitful and productive outcomes that could have been had these GA’s ever met quorum. 

2 oz. Dry gin (I prefer Bombay Sapphire or Plymouth)
1/2 oz. Lavender simple syrup
Juice of half a lemon (NOT a plastic lemon, you know who you are)
Fresh mint

For the lavender syrup: In a saucepan, simmer one cup of sugar with one cup of water for five minutes. Remove from the heat and add two tablespoons of culinary lavender and steep for ten minutes. Strain and cool. 

Muddle six or seven fresh mint leaves with a pinch of sugar in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and the remaining ingredients. Shake for 30 seconds then strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with soda and garnish with a lemon wedge.

What kind of poorly dressed hipster teas…

What kind of poorly dressed hipster teas…

Did anyone else see the oddly smokey Easter egg hunt at Parc Mount Royal yesterday?

Did anyone else see the oddly smokey Easter egg hunt at Parc Mount Royal yesterday?

When there’s material on the final that you didn’t cover in class

Quatre ans en revue 

Le printemps érable 

Ça fait deux ans depuis le début du printemps érable, et bien que j’aie quitté le Québec avant la folie de l’été 2012, j’étais assez chanceux d’être à Montréal pendant la grande manifestation du 22 mars. Ce cocktail est inspiré par les manifestant(e)s qui ont débordé la rue, ainsi que le sirop duquel ce mouvement a pris son nom et le carré rouge qui a servi comme son symbole.

2 oz. Cognac 
1/4 oz. Vermouth rouge
1/2 oz. Sirop d’érable
2-3 Gouttes des amères 

Remplir un verre “old fashioned” avec de la glace et ajouter l’alcool et les amères. Garnir avec une cerise marasquin.

Four Years in Review 

(Trigger warning: This post contains content related to the Arts Undergraduate Society, and may induce nausea and/or psychological trauma) 


March 2012 marks the only point in McGillian history where there was both genuine interest and mass participation in the politics of the Arts Faculty. Those who attended this six hour house of horrors, or watched it online, recall with anger and exasperation the staggering (and continuous) incompetence of the AUS. This cocktail is designed to help erase the harrowing recollections of that fateful strike vote.

3 oz. Rye whiskey
1 oz. Becherovka or Jagermeister 
1/4 oz. Absinthe 
3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters (don’t be tempted by small batch artisanal bitters, they’re an expensive sham)
1/2 teaspoon of sugar

In an old fashioned glass, muddle the sugar and bitters with a splash of water until the sugar dissolves. Fill with ice and add the remaining ingredients. There will not be enough room in the glass for the liquor, so steal another one from an unsuspecting student organization. Drink until student politics become bearable.

I wonder if McGill knows that it’s against fire code to block emergency exits, even passive aggressively.

I wonder if McGill knows that it’s against fire code to block emergency exits, even passive aggressively.

Four Years in Review

The #6Party

Of all the crazy shenanigans that took place during my time here, #6Party constitutes the undisputed pinnacle of McGillian activism and ridiculousness. I therefore dedicate this beverage to the occupiers, protesters, counter-protesters, and the “silent majority” who made 2012 a year to remember.

1/2 oz. Rye whiskey 
1/2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Triple sec
1/2 oz. Drambuie (use honey whiskey if unavailable)
1/2 oz. Dark or spiced rum
1/2 oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice (NOT from a plastic lime)
Ginger beer

Fill a Collins glass with ice, then add the alcohol and lime juice. Top with ginger beer, stir to combine and garnish with a lime wedge.