Why there's a spitting law
thanks for another stimulating issue. On the subject of Colin Johnson's unpleasant experience with the police (NOW, July 19-25), being rebuked for having spat in public, it would be very unfortunate if this had been racially motivated, as perhaps it was.
However, there does exist a good reason for people to refrain from spitting in public (even aside from the one offered by superintendent Ron Tavener, that spitting is degrading and repugnant), which is that public spitting can increase the risk of transmission of certain diseases.
Public coughing is also a health risk, which is why it's considered good manners to cover your mouth when coughing, although this is not mandated by law.
Of course, we have no reason to believe that Johnson is ill or spreading any disease. However, there's also no reason to take the chance that he may be doing so.
David Palter, Toronto
A poor example for kids
i find it sad that colin johnson had such an experience with the police. But maybe he should reconsider the example he sets for his children and neighbours when he feels the need to spit in the neighborhood, anybody's neighbourhood.
Paul Gogan, Toronto
Spit won't change world
"look, man, i spit on the street. What's the problem?" You can't clean up a neighbourhood by spitting on it. With no respect of your home, your children's school or the other children and parents, the community cannot start to heal.
I have no doubt that racism touches everyone, but Colin Johnson's "shame for being black" is the second strike against his possibility of being a positive role model. Congratulations for spitting on the community you support.
Kevan Maddison , Toronto
Best to look before you hork
y'know, sometimes i hork in the street, too. It happens. But I wouldn't dream of horking one up near any moving object, so I always have a really good look around before I let 'er rip.
Colin Johnson doesn't mention whether or not he saw the police car whilst planning his hork. It "just happened to be driving by." To me, that seems like an important detail to omit. Is it possible he purposely provoked the whole incident, or is he just guilty of wanton and reckless horking?
Kenneth Kinnear, Barrie
Sergeant Spit was missed
last thursday i was sitting across from Fire Station #8 at College and Borden reading Colin Johnson's story about getting harassed by Sergeant Spit for spitting on the road. As I was reading, a fire engine pulled out to do its duty, but returned soon after.
One of the firefighters hopped out of the truck and began to pick up loose newspapers blowing around the parking lot and the sidewalk. What a good man he is. Then, to my utter shock, he let out a huge hoogie.
Where was Sergeant Spit then -- and would he have hassled the firefighter as much as he hassled Johnson?
Being a regular spitter myself when I run, ride my bike or when I just plain have something in my mouth that I don't want there, I thought this whole thing was a little excessive and, frankly, a big waste of everyone's time.
Tammy L. Hinsche, Toronto
Thanks for slave debate
congratulations to now for furthering the debate on black slave reparations (NOW, July 12-18). While certain statements stretch credulity, the article contributes to demythologizing Canada's pre-Confederation history and poking a hole in our well-crafted sense of innocence.
In the United States, perhaps the most "winnable" approach would base the claim for reparations generally on official segregation and specifically on the broken promise of 40 acres and a mule. In Canada, arguably the most glaring breach of contract occurred in the distribution of land to black veterans who fought for the British during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Specific promises of land were made. In only a minority of cases were they honoured.
Today, the absence of a critical mass of descendants of blacks enslaved in Canada makes a class-action case for reparations unlikely. However, the historical record clearly indicates that withholding land from free blacks rendered them de facto slaves. Descendants of this majority community are far more easily found.
One editorial quibble about Dalton Higgins's article. The opening paragraph states that black activists were "miffed" by an edition of CBC Newsworld's counterSpin on the topic that "overlooked the issue of compensation here and Canada's own 200 years of slavery." In fact, two of the four panelists were Canadian, and one of them, Clarence Mumford, was quoted extensively by Higgins.
Wise man on compensation
bless blaine andrew white for his intelligent and commonsense attitude regarding compensation for blacks (NOW, July 19-25). The Chinese people could take a lesson from him regarding the "head tax."
In this vein, the Jews should claim compensation on behalf of tens and thousands of Jewish refugees who could have been saved during the second world war were it not for the "one is too many" policies of the Canadian government.
I am also pissed off by the many black groups who stated that Mel is not welcome at Caribana because of the silly joke he made about boiling in the pot. Where were these self-righteous people when a while back one of their own, school trustee Stephnie Payne, made some viciously anti-Semitic statements during the Show Boat controversy. Not a peep out of them then. A pox on them all!
George Davidson, Toronto
Sperm man misses point
as an offspring of artificial insemination by anonymous donor, I found Jeremy Parkes's article (NOW, July 19-25) infuriating. He bangs the equal rights drum to bitch that the sperm bank doesn't provide gay porno and won't hire gay "donors" (which is, by the way, not an accurate word for people who sell body tissue for cash).
Parkes claims he, too, should be allowed to make his $70 bucks to sire children he will never see or give a thought to, children who will never know what illnesses Parkes might develop in later life that they have inherited with his genes -- children who are deliberately and forever deprived of what most people take for granted: the identity of their biological father.
Maybe that's an aspect of human rights Parkes should think about next time he jerks off into a jar.
Barry Stevens, Toronto
Right on about Olympics
scott anderson has it right on the Toronto Olympic bid (NOW, July 19-25). He needs a couple of points of elaboration. First, he should insist that someone prepare a financial analysis that is real. Add up the incomes from hotels, the Games and all related income streams and then deduct the government debt and profits for the "entrepreneurs" and see if what is left is meaningful.
Anderson failed to list the cities that have held events like this that have lost big time. Sydney, Montreal, Atlanta and others lost, and who pays after the party is over and the gold has gone home? The taxpayer for many years.
I was a supporter of the idea for the past two attempts. Now I'm very disillusioned by the process of "winning" support ("nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more").
Anderson's piece is required reading for all citizens of Toronto, Ontario and Canada who don't want to see a massive debt burden in the future. This idea has been run up the pole for over eight years. It's time for it to stop.
Jan Normandale, Toronto
IOC rewards corruption
the pigs are at it again, stroking one another's backs instead of making effective reforms and turfing out the criminals in their midst.
The International Olympic Committee has lionized Juan Antonio Samaranch. He presided for years over a corrupt dinosaur of a committee, with all four of his feet in the trough. For this he's been awarded the IOC's highest honour and has been made an honourary life member.
This disgraceful man should have been pilloried, but instead he has been made out to look like one of the greatest reformers of the Olympic movement. What an insult!
Michael McCartney, Toronto
Susur Lee can do without
that steven davey assumes a chef of Susur Lee's stature would heed his advice is grand illusion on his part (NOW, July 5-11). Davey writes that he complained to Lee that his generous prix fixe was too filling, and believes that his whinging played a part in Lee's decision to serve the entrees first, tapering off to smaller dishes and then dessert.
He ends his self-congratulatory drivel with a condescending "Any time, Mr. Lee."
Davey should get over himself and stick to giving advice and four-N reviews to the hip and mediocre diners he loves so much.
Dick Snyder, Toronto
Facts over the balcony
i have just been alerted to your recent review of Corinne Carlson's work on my balcony (NOW, June 28-July 4 ) at NOW's Web site. The balcony is not now and never has been a "moonlight" or "pilot" site for Art Metropole. It is and always has been funded entirely by myself and the artists involved.
Our only connection to ArtMet is that they have graciously offered us space on their Web site.
Along with this most fundamental misprint, it should be noted that the quotation you have attributed to the artist concerning "poetic relief from the sheer architectural torture that is Toronto," which you presumably extracted from the Web site, should have been attributed to the Web site rather than the artist, who has never, to my knowledge, represented her work in this way.
As a resident of Toronto, I find it extremely tiresome to be regularly subjected to the ill-informed pap that passes for art journalism in your paper.
Imagine then, how thoroughly exhausting it is to think that it's now available for the whole world to read on the Internet!
James Carl, Beijing