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SimonThibault.com

Journalist. Food Writer. Producer.

Filtering by Tag: Vice

Have some munchies

I recently was contacted by Munchies, Vice Media's sister site, to do a bit of writing for them.  Karon Liu,  Munchies editor in Canada, and I had a great chat about some possible stories for the site, and here are the first two. 

The first is a story about that most hallowed of haligonian foods, the donair. I have to admit, when Karon mentioned writing about it, I was hesitant, but he asked me to discuss the dish in a different context - how the donair is part of Halifax's culture, from high to low brow.

The second started as a conversation about fish maw, that lovely delicacy found in chinese groceries.  I mentioned to Karon that up in St. John's, chef Todd Perrin was playing with cod sounds, the very same swim bladder that is so prized. I ended up talking to Perrin about not just cod sounds, but how important it is to prize food traditions, and the knowledge - epsecially sustainability - that is found therein. 

As well as working for Munchies, I was recently asked by Atlantic Books Today to write a few reviews of cookbooks for them.  It's a tasty job, and someone has to do it.

Also on the magazine tip, I teamed up with Saltscapes for a story about Ted Hutten from Hutten Family Farm in Lakeville, here in Nova Scotia. Hutten has made himself known amongst food lovers and chefs in Halifax and much of the Annapolis Valley for his amazing produce, especially his devotion to asian greens and herbs. The story appears in the March/April issue of the magazine, and is on newsstands now. 



Telling, not exploiting a story

The month of January is barely half done, and yet there have been some major news stories about the lives of trans people. 

There was the story of Cece McDonald, a transgender woman who was imprisoned for 41 months after stabbing a man who attacked her. McDonald was imprisoned in a men's institution - even though she does not identify as such- but was released after 19 months.  Orange Is The New Black's Laverne Cox had been championing McDonald's cause for quite a while, and McDonald's release could not have come at a better time. 

The reason is that Cox had just been a guest on the Katie Couric show. Along with guest Carmen Carrera, Cox took the opportunity to discuss why it is inappropriate to focus on one specific part of the experience of some transgender people: namely, the state of their genitals. 

As it happened, within days of the Cox/Couric/Carrera interview, a story I had been working on for a few months for Vice was published.  The story detailed how more and more transgender people are accessing crowdsourced funds to help pay for costly sexual reassignment surgeries, or SRS. 

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In an op-ed I later wrote for Daily Xtra, I confronted the issues around discussing the lives of trans people. It is often too easy to exploit the subject of a story, rather than simply tell it, especially when one can justify a certain line of questioning - and exposing - by stating that "a general audience would not understand."  It's too easy to limit not only the scope of the story, but the breadth in which a writer can tell a story. And when we as journalists do this, everyone loses. 


Grip Like A Vice

On Thanksgiving weekend in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, a man named Scott Jones was stabbed in the back and had his throat slashed. The story became national news for many reasons - the violence of the crime,  the small town location - but one of the main ones is because friends of Jones believe that he was targeted because he is gay.

Whether or not Jones was attacked because of his sexuality has yet to be proven, but the story did gain traction nonetheless. I was approached by Vice magazine to write a column on the subject of wether or not Nova Scotia (and Halifax, by extension) is a violent place to live.  

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An excerpt: 

 When Taavel died, I wrote and talked about the case in local and national media. It was nerve-wracking. As a journalist, I wanted to tell the actual, factual truth of the matter. But as a gay man, I also held a sense of responsibility to the queer community that I belong to, to say what mattered: we will not be frightened. 

You can read the rest of the story, here.