The Don of city politics
i am deeply disappointed that you hired Don Wanagas to write about city politics. I had, up to the moment of his hiring, been able to avoid reading your miserable pinko rag but now find myself obliged to do so every week.
Don's the best in the biz. Smart move.
National Post, Toronto
War and peace
"the outcome of violence is violence," says Atif Kumbersi, president of the National Council on Canadian Arab Relations (NOW, November 22-28).
This notion has been repeated ad infinitum lately, but it makes no real sense. If you believe it, then there's no point in opposing the war, since "the only outcome of violence is violence," as Kumbersi says. Logically, there will never be peace.
By their actions in opposing the war, protestors are showing that they don't believe that violence necessarily causes more violence.
I think the historical dimension is more complex than people realize. War sometimes has brought peace (or at least relative peace). The longest period of peace in Europe's history followed the second world war.
Andy Patton, Toronto
Ins and outs of snobbery
I appreciate nigel lezama's frustration (NOW, November 22-28). The oafish parasites who attend events like the Windsor Arms Hotel reception used to be called "snobs" by the nobility (from the Latin sine nobilitate, or without nobility). They were tolerated in noble circles for their ability to entertain.
Today's snobs are newspaper columnists and public relations types who are tolerated, fed and sometimes clothed because of their ability to generate free publicity for upmarket goods and services.
But whereas yesterday's snobs hung around crowned heads, today's hang around the simply rich, and their manners have of course degenerated.
But please, please, leave Marie-Antoinette out of this. Not only did she never utter the phrase everybody in the English-speaking world assumes she uttered, but she was quite literally a martyr to good manners.
Her last words, after stepping on her executioner's foot on her way to the guillotine, were "I beg your pardon, sir. I didn't do it on purpose."
Benoît Racine, Toronto
Cop bully boy needs taming
the more i read about police union goon-boss Craig Bromell trying to unseat Chief Fantino (NOW, November 1-7), the more I re-experience the terror I remember when Bromell tried extracting cash from citizens for his True Blue campaign.
Craig Bromell is at large. Only the rank-and-file officers of Toronto's "finest" can vote him into oblivion.
If you know a cop, I suggest engaging him/her on the subject of this embarrassment named Bromell and reminding him/her that it's the responsibility of every Toronto cop to vote as an individual in the upcoming ballot of non-confidence in the chief.
Not to vote is an assurance that the bully boy will prevail.
Mendelson Joe, former Torontonian
Bread not bayonets
the news tells us canadian Forces are being sent to Afghanistan (NOW, November 22-28).
If they are carrying guns rather than food, help and understanding of the Afghanistan condition, Canada's name will be besmirched in the final analysis. Please don't let that happen. Send Canadians for humanitarian purposes. We must stop terrorizing the victims. Be well and prosper.
In peace, bless you, bless us all.
Brother Michael J. Baldasaro
Brother Walter A. Tucker
Church of the Universe, Hamilton
Canada worse than U.S.
crayons and ping-pong next? Lauren Carter's criticism of the shocking Elita bus-shelter ads (NOW, November 15-21) is totally wrong.
The only "brainwashing" around here is the demonization of America as a pseudo-fascist superpower threatening the poor underdog Canada, our land of peace and freedom in the north, with the temptations of money and promiscuity.
Yet is it not true that wealth in Canada is even more severely concentrated in the hands of the few than in the notorious USA? It should be remembered that Americans have given us not just KFC and Coca-Cola but also Public Enemy, beat writing and Noam Chomsky.
It was only after I had done a bit of travelling myself that I realized that to be a Canadian is to be a citizen of the most conservative and repressive of all the western "democratic" countries.
However, I will agree with Carter that the Elita ad is pretty awful. My first thought was that the model couldn't be much more than 13, and what kind of 13-year-old girl can afford designer underwear?
Jan Wright, Toronto
U.S. war is ours, too
interesting speech by gwynne Dyer (NOW, November 15-21). I agree with his prediction that Canada will send troops to aid the U.S. in Afghanistan.
However, there are some very odd implications in that speech. If Canada refused to send troops, American retribution "would be extremely painful," while if we do send troops we may be subjected to terrorist attacks and there would be a "significant possibility of Canadians dying" either at home or abroad.
And this, we are told, is not a pretty picture. How so? If we give in to the U.S. we are cowardly, but if we give in to terrorism we are merely prudent?
The most important reason why Canada can't say no to American requests for help in this conflict is that it is also our conflict.
We would be very stupid to pretend, as Dyer seems to do, that it really has nothing to do with us.
David Palter, Toronto
Questionable Afghan allies
although i'm not a muslim nor shedding any tears for the Taliban's harsh rule, I nonetheless find it deplorable in the wake of the Northern Alliance's advances in Afghanistan to see the West so gung-ho behind people who are no more than war criminals.
George Bush and Britain's Tony Blair no doubt did not foresee these new developments in which the Alliance is beating, running over with tanks and summarily executing prisoners.
And it must be remembered that it was Bush who released these killers without due supervision and allowed them to run wild before his administration finally expressed faint concern about them.
If there are any lessons to be learned, they are that you can't use murderers as weapons and then claim a higher moral position than those you oppose, and that no civilization is worth defending that allows its government to let others do its dirty work.
Robert Mladzinski-Smith, Toronto
News's pro-bombing slant
I personally found enzo di matteo's recent article on news censorship (NOW, November 8-14) to be rather naive.
I don't think anybody had to hear about a letter from a CNN boss to know that war coverage is being "contextualized."
Everywhere you look, from the cover of the Sun to the Tonight Show, extremely pro-American and pro-bombing stances are being taken.
Now, this approach may be taken not because some higher power told them to do it, but what difference does this really make? We're still being bombarded by pro-bombing opinions nonetheless.
This may not last long, though. The Northern Alliance seems to be taking over Afghanistan (or so they tell us), and general opinion can change quickly. Remember Vietnam?
Paul Erlichman, Toronto
Bin Laden versus evil
Like the ones before him, bin Laden was sent for a mission. Now that he has successfully delivered the mortal blow against the forces of evil and corruption, sending the devil into a state of complete paranoiac berserk-ism, on a tumbling journey to an eventual collapse, it's not important whether he dies on a cross or in a more civilized electric chair.
September 11 will be marked as Remembrance Day on millions of calendars by the oppressed, humiliated and abused worldwide, to be celebrated for centuries to come.
Rudolf Manookm, Toronto
thank you for your expanded record reviews (NOW, November 22-28). You have once and for all proven just how old and out of touch your magazine has become.
How could only two heavy metal releases make the cut? Not only that, but those two were Slayer, which came out months ago, and Grade, who aren't even metal!
You almost had as many zydeco releases as you did metal, and you only reviewed three punk albums. What's up with that? Congratulations on becoming completely irrelevant. I hope you seniors enjoy your golden years in the Annex.
Entertainment editor, the Ryersonian
Record reviews a yawn
i was pretty disappointed in the NOW Record Guide.
You claimed to have found "the discs that will earn you the undying admiration of those on your gift-giving list," but more than half the included albums received mediocre if not outright negative reviews.
It might be nice if the reviewers actually liked the music they were describing.
Even three-N reviews were filled with snarky comments about the artists or their albums.
Why not give us a guide actually filled with the best music of the year? Additionally, why not support local musicians by giving us the best stuff by Toronto artists instead of (yawn) Jewel, Garth Brooks and a Pink Floyd compilation?
Ellie Avishai, Toronto