My thin obsession
thank you for printing the article from the book Nerves Out Loud regarding one girl's experience with an eating disorder (NOW, August 30-September 5). I am all too familiar with the nightmare of living with this illness -- counting every calorie, exercising to excess, promising yourself that you will stop just as soon as your weight reaches "x"number of pounds. I originally told myself I would stop when I reached 105 pounds. That changed to 100, then to 90, a weight I am just two magical pounds away from now and no doubt will still not feel is low enough when achieved.
People must understand that much of the time an eating disorder is not just about a superficial desire to be thin. It may start that way, but when you are in the midst of it, it becomes more about obsession and control. It's very often a way for the sufferer to deal with stress and anxiety from external sources.
And it's certainly not restricted to teenagers, who may feel pressure from their peers and the media -- though, again, this can be a trigger. And telling us to "just eat," as many of my well-meaning friends do, will simply not work.
Anorexia and bulimia are horrific, frightening diseases that have a devastating effect not only on the sufferer but also on those who love and care for them. I would urge anyone who feels that they may be vulnerable to it, or who are already in its grip, to seek help immediately
Thanks again for bringing this important subject into the spotlight.
F. Jordan, Scarborough
Conspiracies all around us
it's sometimes hard to figure out where you folks stand and whether you have the right to enjoin your readers to "Think Free."
I usually enjoy the sarcastic wit of your UpFront section and find it relevant and funny.
Your cheap shot referring to Maude Barlow as "wacky," and likening her to Ally McBeal (NOW, August 30-September 5) does a great disservice to the important work she and the Council of Canadians are doing to protect democracy.
The sorrows, injustice and institutionalized insanity of our times are all derivatives of a ruthless and calculated plan to install a New World Order controlled by those who care only about money and power. We are merely their serfs. But, of course, I'm just a "wacky" conspiracy nut.
One of the three main secretive groups that meet regularly to plan our fate is the Bilderberg Group. Among those who were invited to attend their 1996 meeting, hosted by Conrad Black in King City, north of Toronto, were Jean Chretien and Mike Harris. If you are thinking free, what does that lead you to conclude about the sham of democracy?
You'll have to forgive Barlow if she felt a need to try to challenge (what was) Black's growing media monopoly and for her continuing efforts to work with those who care enough to take back control of our destiny from these "elites." Instead of slagging Barlow, why not give her a hand? The truth is out there.
Michael Aerhd, Toronto
Insulted punk spits back
your mag insults punk fans everywhere by claiming that "Toronto punk veterans Bunchofuckingoofs are laying claim to the title of longest-running, loudest-talking, brashest band in Canadian history" (NOW, August 30-September 5). My Canada includes the West, which also has punk bands. Longest running is probably DOA, going strong since 77. DayGlo Abortions have disgusted people since the 70s. NoMeansNo got together in 81. So did SNFU.
Sara Minogue, Toronto
Israel exists thanks to U.S.
i just about snorted my morning Wheaties out through my nostrils when I read L.J. Lev's letter (NOW, August 30-September 5). Just what planet has he been living on?
The U.S. more or less subsidizes both Israel's economy and military defence to such a disproportionate degree that without this support Israel wouldn't have lasted five years, or five months, for that matter -- let alone the 50 years since its official formation.
Surely, 50 years of being surrounded by openly hostile neighbours should have taught Israel something by now -- namely that if you're insular, no one will know you well enough to care about your well-being.
To maintain that the Nazis perpetrated their horrific acts for no reason (as so many seem to naively profess) is foolish in the extreme. Jews were not only a racial scapegoat, they were convenient for the very fact that their communities had not integrated with non-Jewish communities to any large degree in early 20th-century Europe. So who was gonna defend them? Their neighbours? They became an expedient (and defenceless) target of fascist hate.
It's very sad, too, that Israel refuses to attend the UN racism conference. If it had shared in the dialogue, it may well have countered some long-standing prejudices. It sure wouldn't have hurt that much to endure some criticism, deserved or not, for the sake of progressive dialogue.
C.R. Hope, Toronto
Canada should be ashamed
I have had a hard time accepting the hypocrisy that the U.S. and Canada show when dealing with Israel. If it were Kosovo or Bosnia and not Israel, Canada would not sit on its hands while tanks fire on people throwing rocks at them. The Palestinians don't have the resources Israel does -- it's a very lopsided conflict. Now the U.S. and Canada are threatening to boycott the World Conference on Racism because Israel is on the agenda. Unbelievable.
That is exactly where they should be -- at the table discussing issues like rational human beings.
Instead, they choose to bury their heads in the sand and hope the problems will go away. I cannot believe the UN, the U.S. and Canada tolerate assassinations by missiles from helicopters.
At this rate, I will not see peace in the Middle East in my lifetime. How very, very sad.
Name withheld by request, Toronto
i was looking at the adult classifieds on your Web site, and it struck me as odd that a liberal newspaper would print an add declaring "whites preferred." Since when did prostitutes become segregationists? I can't decide if I find this sad and pathetic or comical.
Kevin York, Toronto
Cops' car crackdown PR
i was cycling along dundas west near Kensington Market recently when a car door suddenly flew open in my path, dealing me a painful blow on the right thigh.
About an hour later, I was making my way back east. In the stretch between Spadina and University I observed no fewer than three vehicles sitting motionless in bicycle lanes.
Moments later, a motorist directly behind me began impatiently blowing his horn, apparently completely oblivious to an elderly pedestrian making his slow way though the crossing in plain view of both of us.
Until the city gets serious about restricting (or even outright banning) private automobile traffic in the core, incidents like these will be commonplace.
We're talking about a situation that carries the possibility of serious injury or even death.
Crackdowns by the cops on careless motorists are no more than an expensive publicity stunt.
Graeme Bacque, Toronto
Grits' armchair ecology
liberal mpp david ramsay (timiskaming-Cochrane) and Manitoulin MPP Mike Brown voiced favour for a bill in provincial parliament that would open up hunting for the double-crested cormorant.
While I'm certainly in favour of such a move, it leaves me wondering how nervous this must be making their Liberal counterparts in southern Ontario. It was these same Liberals who clamoured to abolish the spring bear hunt.
They, and their animal rights movement allies, pressured the Ontario government to bring about the spring hunt closure.
How will these same armchair ecologists react to demands by their own Liberal MPPs that full-scale gunning take place to remove the cormorant menace?
Ontario Liberals have left themselves wide open to attack from their own supporters within the animal rights movement.
Peter E. Sticklee, Thornton, Ontario