Look who's whining now
who are these assholes i've been reading about recently who claim to be disillusioned by Heather Reisman's commercialization of Chapters (NOW, March 28-April 3)? Jesus, where have these twits been?
Both Chapters, under Larry Stevenson, and Indigo have been ruthlessly gutting the publishing and bookselling industry from day one. They aren't booksellers. Reisman is a micromanager, more interested in selling candles and throw blankets than books.
And Stevenson is on record as saying he only chose bookselling because he could dominate the industry. Five years later the public is whining because they can't sit in Roots chairs.
Where the hell were they when all the independents were being driven out of business?
Shaun Smith, Toronto
Taking book biz elsewhere
removing comfortable couches from the book-buying experience at Chapters is a slap in the face to this iRewards member and all others like me.
Having comfortable places to sit and the ability to peruse books and magazines over a cup of coffee is what made the idea of the book superstore such a wonderful concept. Knowing that I could spend a quiet Saturday afternoon browsing in such a comfortable, inspirational environment was the reason I went in the first place.
I think it's time Heather Reisman remembered why she wanted to develop Indigo Music & Books.
In the meantime, I'm taking my business to independently owned, neighbourhood bookstores where I can browse without being made to feel that I have to buy something.
Christine Bode, Scarborough
just read the article in now about surveillance cameras at Dundas Square (NOW, March 28-April 3). Here in Peterborough, the police chief is also very big on them. A local electronics dealer with a camera pointing out to the main street has managed to catch an assault and four suspects in a purse snatching incident -- plus a lot of dogs pissing on utility poles.
Steve Guthrie, Peterborough
Gratuitous show of force
there has been some talk lately by chief Fantino about misguided youth and giving police more powers in regard to demonstrations.
After witnessing the Toronto police's performance at last week's rally and march to the Tory convention (NOW, March 28-April 3), the evidence would suggest that the change in legislation should include serious sanctions against the police for employing gratuitous violence when making arrests. This would include the neglected duty to wear ID numbers that are easily read.
Why should the community bestow the right to use deadly force and not insist the wielders of this enormous power be fully and clearly accountable? And what's with the balaclavas? Why would you miss your opportunity to display what must be such a marvellous collection of mustachios?
Alan Carlisle, Toronto
Posters nothing but a mess
while living for many years on Queen at the top of Portland I found posters to be a major annoyance (NOW, March 28-April 3).
Finding the pieces strewn all over the street in the morning reduced my quality of living, but I can't say the last time I saw a piece of billboard or neon sign at my doorstep.
As far as giving voice to the common man, why not try getting a company to put up shiny aluminum message boards at corners like they did with garbage containers?
Leave the poles alone. They're just trying to do their job.
Christ Palmos, Toronto
Bylaw costs big bucks
what lauren carter fails to bring out in her postering article is that the proposed fine under the new postering bylaw is $60 per poster.
On the average, bands playing at clubs print 500 posters minimum per date. That means the potential fine is $30,000. No one in this scene has pockets deep enough to be able to afford these fines.
Admittedly, members of city council confess that the new laws are toothless since the city does not have the person power to enforce them. They may be toothless for now, but once they're on the books they can and eventually will be enforced.
Reg Hartt, Toronto
My misspent youth
john griffin's piece sticky green (NOW, March 28-April 3) takes me back to the early 70s when I lived in Amsterdam.
The difference is that I was arrested for having overstayed my welcome after almost three years residence in a "cracked house," a condemned and abandoned property that we fixed up. I was employed to write music for a play when I was finally brought in for questioning.
During my interview with immigration officials, I kept dropping the name of someone from the foreigner police I had met some time earlier. The next day I was set free and allowed to pay 300 gulden for my very own legal residence permit. So I did, and the play was a success, too. These are some of the fondest memories of my misspent youth.
Harry D. Fisher
Woodland Hills, CA
No influence-peddling here
with regard to campus crusade (NOW, March 21-27). Having read the quotations attributed to the chief returning officer and chair of the elections committee, we realize that they were taken out of context. We stand by our efforts to run a fair election.
Lindsay Tabah, VP Education
Mike Foderick, chief returning officer and SAC Elections Committee, U of T
Double health standard
re jennifer wien's response to to Who Cares by Dana Borcea (NOW, March 21-27).
It's wonderful to see how well people are treated in the Ontario health care system when they are near death. But in the past two years, both my mother and my mother-in-law were seriously injured and subsequently treated irresponsibly and with a complete lack of care by said system. (I won't go into details.)
Perhaps if they had been brought in immobile and unable to respond, the level of care they received would have been appropriate. After all, taking care of a talking, breathing, in-pain and occasionally irritable human being is so much more work.
Joseph Madden Toronto
So blatantly offended
i was so insulted by don wana gas's statement "the kettle calling the pot black..." (NOW, March 21-27) that I couldn't finish his article. This and similar references have long been identified, and repeatedly so, as racist. It doesn't require a high level of critical analysis to understand why. Can black, African and other people of colour expect not to be so blatantly offended in this way in the future?
Adonica Huggins, Toronto
Those darn Israelis
"what a mess!" kent wilkens writes upon finding his friend's apartment strewn with bullet holes and trashed furniture in the "free fire" zone of Ramallah (NOW, March 21-27).
Boy-oh-boy, those Israeli soldiers sure sound like a bunch of insensitive slobs. But they sure can't beat the mess those darn Palestinian suicide bombers leave behind. Perhaps Mr. Wilkens ought to check out an outdoor pedestrian mall in Jerusalem after a Hamas terrorist has blown himself and dozens of innocent Israelis to bits!
L. Namredib Toronto
The need for dialogue
a magazine that expresses no opinions would be terribly bland, yet one hopes for balance and fairness as well from NOW.
A notable exception occured when you implied that Christie Blatchford's recent pro-Israel comments (NOW, March 21-27) must be motivated by a desire to ingratiate herself to her Jewish boss.
Apparently, you are assuming that anyone expressing such sympathy must have a dishonest reason.
Were I to apply that kind of reasoning to you, I would have to conclude that your own anti-Israeli stance must result from some deep-seated anti-Semitism on your part.
But I know that NOW isn't that shallow. Some of your journalism has been truly excellent. For some reason you seem to reserve your worst innuendo for the Upfront page. In any event, Ms. Blatchford has perfectly legitimate reasons for defending Israel. Your attack on her character is truly unworthy of you. We need dialogue, not personal attacks. You are not helping.
David Palter, Toronto
Greasing war wheels
i recently viewed black hawk Down after reading John Harkness's glowing review (NOW, January 17-23) and expected a realistic portrayal of war.
What I saw, aside from the flashy camera tricks and gore, was a vile, one-sided view of a conflict whose context was never explored.
The film, which was supposedly based on Mark Bowden's book of the same name, conveniently leaves out key information. In the weeks leading up to the battle, the Rangers had earned themselves the enmity of Mogadishu's civilian population when Black Hawks harassed the city's residents by flying along the streets below roof level three times a day.
This activity was popular with the Rangers, who told Bowden it was like riding a roller coaster. Sometimes they would hover low over flimsy shacks, blowing them apart. Bowden is very candid about the extent of civilian casualties. He describes how the American troops mowed down whole crowds.
In Ridley Scott's film the Somalis are nothing but faceless, screaming hordes. Nor does Scott admit, as Bowden does, that the Rangers went to pieces under fire and that their discipline broke down. Of course, these facts would have gotten in the way of what Harkness calls Scott's "tribute to the soldiers' courage."
When critics like Harkness fail to challenge these distortions, they help lubricate the propaganda machine for future wars.
Joe Silvaggio , Toronto