Six years in the Market hardly makes one a veteran, but the few hundred hours I put in on neighbourhood groups (including the Kensington Market Action Committee) taught me that any meeting in Kensington that doesn't dissolve into shit-talk, slander and threats is a smashing success.
One correction, Richard McKergow (NOW, November 2-8): KMAC's Human Resources Development Canada funding didn't dry up over any federal-level scandal. The money stopped because we barely got anything done! Practically any proposal to do anything in Kensington gets shouted down at meetings as either exclusionary to the poor or harmful to business -- usually by the same critics.
For example, many of the people who opposed the lofts project for not providing affordable housing are now whipping up an absolute shit-fight over any project in the Market that attempts to do so (Brendan Caron, quoted in the article, is the shit-whippingest of them all in both cases).
Let's face it. Kensington is mainly a small-minded, bitter little neighbourhood. The more a person here uses the word "community," the more filled with bile they're likely to be.
Actually, that's too cynical. The Market's generally a friendly place. Just don't go to the meetings.James Julien
Bill Graham OK
As someone who has lived in a housing co-op for more than 11 years, I would like to correct a comment made about Bill Graham (NOW, November 2-8). It was due to Bill's efforts and leadership that the federally funded housing co-ops were not downloaded to the province. I never heard Bill promise the "feds wouldn't turn over responsibility for social housing to the provinces." Bill has also been an outspoken supporter of establishing an agency for housing co-ops to be administered by the co-op sector itself, hardly the behaviour of someone who is useless.Bob Fisher
It made me sad as a lefty and as a frequent NOW reader to find in your last issue the assertion that "no one was allowed to ask questions when American Friends of Peace Now political director Mark Rosenblum spoke at the Kolel Centre"(NOW, November 2-8). You left out a qualification so clearly relevant that your reporter wasn't writing truthfully. I was there at the talk and heard many questions asked. They were written on slips by audience members and read by the event's well-meaning host. Questions continued longer than the opening address.
Seeing first-hand this disappointing mischaracterization -- so obvious that I'm afraid it must have been intentional -- makes NOW look much less credible than I assumed it was.
Left out again
Many thanks for a delightful summary of a singular non-event (the Rebuilding The Left conference), especially your correct observations of a certain non-productive "radical" tendency given, for a time, something to do (NOW, November 2-8). I join you in looking forward to a well-financed array of province-wide demonstrations intended to bring finance capitalism and the Harris government to their respective knees.
We must empathize with the idealism of those feeding from the public service slop pail, all the while brandishing slogans of revolution, including, of course, the hyper-theoretical burghers of York University.
No matter that some individuals hail from most privileged origins, whose experiences of Canada have not involved confinement to either factory or sweatshop.Megan S. Mills
People vs. cops
Re The Chances Of Cop Convictions (NOW, November 2-8). The chances aren't great. We know this. So why does Enzo Di Matteo's questioning of the cops charged in the case of Otto Vass end there? Are we supposed to sit idly by as yet another incident of police brutality and violence passes us by?
That the four officers were charged at all in this case represents a critical breakthrough. The fact that we have gotten this far is a direct result of the work of the community activists and friends and family of Otto Vass, who should all be acknowledged here.
A question better asked here is: if we do not prosecute officers through the legal system, how exactly do we ensure police accountability?
This is a critical time. I challenge NOW to give this issue the continued coverage it deserves.Libby Zeleke
Re Unhealthy Radio by Colman Jones (NOW, November 2-8). It's important to look at the source of funding behind any health-related information, since those who want to sell you their products do have a bias. That said, I've finally decided to call Colman Jones on his pseudo-sophisticated, 20-years-out-of-date criticisms of alternative medicine.
Colman, you imply that pharmaceutical companies conduct controlled clinical studies of their remedies, but that such studies do not exist to support the use of nutritional or herbal remedies.
If you truly believe this, you are inexcusably misinformed about your beat. Thousands of human and animal studies have been done on "natural" and "alternative" remedies, many of them the most rigorous type of study possible -- double-blind, placebo-controlled.
Regarding Terry Polevoy's change of heart regarding alternative medicine, I regret that his partner died of cancer after receiving unorthodox treatments. Sadly, there is no guarantee that orthodox treatments would have saved her life. Lots of people who receive chemo and radiation still die. SIBYLLE PREUSCHAT
Glass in the eyeWhile I appreciate that a living composer is on the cover of NOW (I hope we see more soon), and regardless of the fact that I find it disappointing that Philip Glass (NOW, November 2-8) receives undue attention time and time again, I think that credit should be given where it is due.
Although Glass himself refuses to acknowledge the influence of earlier minimalists, claiming that he developed his style independently while studying in Europe (even though several persons place him at his predecessors' concerts prior to his permanent return to New York), this fact does not earn him the title "the father of minimalism." It is generally acknowledge by other musicians involved in the emerging scene in the late 50s and early 60s that the lineage traces directly back to La Monte Young, influencing composers such as Terry Riley, Steve Reich and our dubiously gifted Mr. Glass (whether he likes it or not). Paul Ruston
DAT wasn't it
Why do we need critics, anyway? To provide the comfortable, cynical point of view that says they just know better.Tim Perlich's review of the Anger Management tour (NOW, November 2-8) is just one more example of how bitterness and self-pity can ruin an obviously good time. I'm 27 and I attended the October 26 Skydome concert with floor tickets and had a great time with thousands 10 years my junior!
Look, I know it's not fun admitting that you like something when it appeals to the masses as well, but don't be so transparent when it comes to assessing it! Not only do you look your age, but it also shows us how bitter you've become in your own life, and your obvious envy to be onstage yourself. And criticizing Fred Durst for being successful is just tired.
I'm sure a Perlich review for Dylan when he went electric would have been similar. By the way, if you weren't perched in the far-away press seats, totally devoid of any true concert experience and fun, you would have noticed that it was the PA giving out and not the DAT! I was close enough to the performers to see that.Dave Gauthier