What the fukhouse?
I find it appalling that you chose to put Fukhouse on your cover (NOW, July 25-31).
As someone who works closely with the Toronto Board of Trade and earns a living from tourism in this city, I found it completely insulting to the hundreds of thousands of visitors here last week for World Youth Day.
Hey, I have nothing against Ian Guthrie. I spent many nights at Industry pumping a water bottle in the air, soaked in sweat, enjoying his Fukhouse events.
But your championing this underground subculture during a week that Toronto was on the world stage was unscrupulous.
Just remember, all those Christian pilgrims had to eat and stay somewhere. Imagine if they had not been alienated by your publication's cover -- all those restaurants that advertise in your paper might have benefited from their reading about the many fine eateries hidden in your pages.
Someone at NOW needs their head examined.
Pope silences the faithful
The last time I paid much attention to a papal visit was 1983. I was working in the Central America solidarity movement and Pope John Paul II was in Nicaragua, the same shameful visit Robert Priest recently described (NOW, July 25-31).
That was when the Contras, trained and funded by the Reagan administration, were attacking farmers, schoolteachers and health-care workers with the aim of destroying Nicaragua's revolution.
Cardinal Obando y Bravo of Nicaragua was silent at best and, at worst, supportive of the Contras. The Contras had murdered another 17 young Nicaraguans. But during the mass the Pope celebrated in Managua, he had nothing to say about the Contras' murderous assaults. Instead, he stressed obedience to the authority of the church hierarchy.
When it became obvious that he was going to voice no sympathy for the most recent deaths, the crowd began to chant, "We want peace!" Mothers of the 17 begged John Paul for a prayer for their dead children. The Pope's only response was to shout them down. "Silencio! Silencio!" he repeated. They were far from the first, nor the last, of the faithful to be silenced by this Pope.
Salt Spring Island
Brainwashed by the Church
Re my catholic secret, by Enzo Di Matteo (NOW, July 25-31). My poor, dear Enzo!
I hope you're admitting to yourself that even you, the sophisticated indiemedia type, have been brainwashed! Yup. You know the old Church saying, don't you? "Give me your children for the first five years and I will give you Catholics for life!"
I'm a recovering Catholic myself. As a gay, pro-choice, socialist, pro-union anti-capitalist, I know that neither this Pope nor any pope-in-waiting is going to be welcoming my kind any time soon -- even though I know the whole mass inside and out! And I'd wager he'd feel the same about you.
But Enzo, that's OK! Free yourself from your upbringing, comrade! Become the savvy, guilt-free intellectual you usually portray yourself to be! And for Pete's sake, break the cycle, my friend -- fund the public school system with your hard-earned money!
The Church above all else
Re Praise The Lord (NOW, July 25-31). Leah Rumack describes as being "on the side of the angels" a number of people who challenge some of the most basic theological and philosophical tenets of the Catholic Church.
For a balanced view, shouldn't Rumack have celebrated the charitable work and activism of people who wholeheartedly believe in Church dogma instead of profiling the clichéd leftist rebels whose histrionics have become so predictable?
Being Catholic is more than just putting a personal gloss on Catholic doctrine. It's about sharing faith, putting aside our personal pride and submitting ourselves to teachings that transcend personal and political views.
Give Catholics a fair shake
I've always liked the sense of fair play and tolerance that guides NOW's editorial spirit.
But in Holy Favouritism (NOW, July 18-24), your Harper's Indexesque summary of the city's bankrolling of what you call "Vatican, Inc.," you go too far.
Somehow, I doubt you'd be calculating how much money the city was forking over if it were His Holiness the Dalai Lama rather than the Pope who were visiting.
Were you to attach the "Inc." label to another religion, say Judaism or Tibetan Buddhism, you would be crucified, and rightfully so.
Disabled made charity case
I watched the opening ceremonies for World Youth Day on television and was shocked and upset to see that two young adults with disabilities were showcased in a less than empowering way.
Using poles and several assistants to lift a woman in her wheelchair up and down flights of stairs to greet the Pope is perverse.
Perhaps the desire of organizers was to keep people with disabilities in the subservient position of recipients of charity.
Tracy Ann Warne
Policing gone haywire
After reading about the police homeless sweep last week (NOW, July 18-24) and now the Catholics-for-prophylactics incident, I find myself wondering what happened to the idea of the police being professional.
I called my councillor to complain and was told that I needed to talk to the police services board.
I called them up, and they told me I had no complaint, as I was not one of the participants at the demonstration.
I explained that the abrogation of a fellow citizen's constitutional rights is by extension an abrogation of my own. They told me there was nothing they were willing to do, so I phoned the mayor's office. I was told by them that I needed to contact the police services board.
Who can we go to to protect our democratic rights?
I would complain to the police directly, but they have made it clear that anyone who criticizes them is their "enemy." This is not the "free country" I was taught about in school.
Name withheld by request Toronto
O.G. Pamp's letter, The Real Enemy Within (NOW, July 25-31), is breathtaking in the purity of its offensiveness.
His statements to the effect that anti-Semitism is caused by Israel's actions in the Middle East and that therefore acts of violence and hate crimes against Jews are "provoked" are vile.
I can well imagine what motivated Pamp to write these words, but I cannot fathom what motivated NOW to print them.
Canadian Jewish Congress
Re The Real Enemy Within. Has O.G. Pamp some "inside information" that others are unaware of?
It seems that Pamp concludes that some acts of murderous violence against innocents can be understood, and to a certain degree even legitimized, due to political reasons.
The argument that Jews are being "punished" for the "sins" of Israel is nothing but cheap anti-Semitic propaganda. Surely, Pamp would not apply this logic to Canadian Arabs and bin Laden?
Dr. Oded Lowenheim
Munk Centre for International Studies
Smells like misogyny to me
I am writing in response to the letter Man-Hating Feminism, by Steve MacDonald (NOW, July 18-24).
Poor, misinformed Steve rails about (the origins of the phrase) "the rule of thumb" as a "thoroughly debunked myth," "propaganda" and the work of "man-hating feminism."
Good grief, Steve! Been dumped lately? I did a bit of research on "the rule of thumb" a couple of years ago with a lawyer friend, and I think Steve should look up The State v. A.B. Rhodes, dated January Term, 1868.
In this assault and battery case, the defendant was indicted for an assault and battery upon his wife, Elizabeth Rhodes. (After considering) the evidence submitted to them, the jury returned the following special verdict: "We find that the defendant struck Elizabeth Rhodes, his wife, three licks, with a switch about the size of one of his fingers (but not as large as a man's thumb)."
His honour was of opinion that the defendant had a right to whip his wife with a switch no larger than his thumb and that upon the facts found in the special verdict he was not guilty.
But really, Steve! You talk about man-hating feminists? While you're looking up The State v. A.B. Rhodes, you should check out Webster's take on "misogyny" and add it to your repertoire of failed attempts at sophisticated language.
I can't believe you cut up my letter (NOW, July 18-24), you dorks! You even took out the word "lame-o"! That was pure gold. What a missed opportunity. I bet never in the entire future of now magazine will you get the opportunity to print the word lame-o. That was it. You missed the boat.
I've decided to shame you for cutting my letter so ruthlessly by sending it to all the artists I know. I mean, I can't believe that you cut my letter to print some LAME-O crappy letter by Ryan Howard complaining about chalk on the sidewalk and music being played in the streets. Yay, Ryan!! Aren't you the super-special cop-caller corporate police man. What a difference you've made.
It's surprising that so much press has been generated by the National Alliance's participation in the anti-G8 demonstrations in Calgary (NOW, July 11-17).
In addition to Now, the professional fear-mongers at the Centre for New Community and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York have spoken out on this issue.
The National Alliance was present in Calgary, just as it was present in Ottawa for the Take The Capital demonstrations.
Rather than signifying a shift in direction for the National Alliance, our participation in anti-G8 demonstrations is consistent with our worldview and desire to reach out to members of the radical left who may be receptive to our message.
Buying into biotech hype
Having travelled from New England to participate in the Toronto BioJustice events in June, I found your reporter's account (NOW, June 20-26) of these to be superficial, ill-informed and downright insulting.
If your reporter had spent some serious time at the BioJustice teach-in, he would have discovered some important facts.
For example, that biotech claims to feed the world are wholly fraudulent; that activists in the so-called developing world see biotech agriculture as a potentially fatal blow to people's ability to feed themselves; that doctors at some of our most prestigious hospitals are pressured by corporations to withhold information about the side effects of new drugs; and that the biotech industry is fuelling a new biological arms race.
Yes, we had a picnic in Grange Park with lots of music and street theatre. But we also nearly filled the St. Lawrence Centre downtown on Friday evening to hear speakers representing India, indigenous First Nations, people living with disabilities and others explaining why the biotech hype is simply not to be believed.
Brian Tokar Institute for Social Ecology Plainfield, Vermont
Flip-flopping on Mumia
In his not-so-recent article on Mumia Abu-Jamal (NOW, June 13-19), Enzo Di Matteo claims that my views on the case have taken "quite a leap."
In fact, it is Di Matteo who has taken "quite a leap" in his continuing quest to undercut efforts to obtain a new trial for Mr. Abu-Jamal.
Contrary to your report, I fully support all efforts to overturn the verdict in Abu-Jamal's trial.
The trial, to be blunt, was a circus. As even Di Matteo now comes close to admitting, the "confession" that was heard by the jury was almost certainly manufactured by Philadelphia police.
Even discounting the dozen or so other legal errors made by the trial judge, the introduction of a concocted confession in itself justifies a new trial.
So how is it that Di Matteo concludes that support for Mr. Abu-Jamal is, in his word, "delegitimized"?
For the record, I have supported a new trial for Abu-Jamal since the mid-1980s, when I first read the trial transcripts, and still do. There has been no new evidence produced that alters that opinion.
Noni a real life-saver
Re your article on Noni juice (NOW, July 18-24).
Where did you get your information from? I have been using Noni for three-plus years and have had great results, and would by no means stop taking it. I have heard many doctors and specialists talk about it in my quest to learn more, and I am convinced it is the most important natural health discovery in decades!
Certified Iridologist and Nutritional Counsellor
Cuban rhythms unplugged
Matt Galloway's review of Harbourfront Centre concerts by Quinteto de la Trova and Sintesis was very perceptive (NOW, July 25-31).
I was one of many who danced and clapped to the superb rhythms of Quinteto, but for Sintesis I stayed only long enough (20 minutes) to know that loud, highly amplified delivery of the subtle complexities of beautiful Cuban rhythms does not work.
Galloway seems to think that becoming more modern is a must for the new generation of Cuban musicians, and again in his review of the new CD from the Cuban group Maraca he praises the modern sounds of the group for offering "...a glimpse of the future."
The idea that there's a need for Cuban musicians to modernize -- meaning to amplify instruments, add fancy light effects, energize their sound, perform theatrics and strut and have an "attitude" onstage -- is misplaced.
The beauty and delight of traditional Cuban music like son, bolero, guaracha and rumba cannot be enhanced by supposed modern improvements to attract new listeners.
Thinking with your dick
I just caught up with Scott Nisbet's piece, My Friends Call Me A Slut (NOW, June 27-July 3).
Nisbet tells us he was a sweet, innocent, closeted and sexually unaware gay man who realized he was gay when another man kissed him.
Then he turned himself into a naughty gay man, cruising men at the local grocery store, on the street and in clubs, ready to drop his pants wherever.
Nisbet couldn't care less about the consequences of his sexual behaviour for other people.
I don't see him as a sexually liberated gay man. Missing from his piece is any sense of self-awareness. He lets his dick run his life because it makes him feel good to do so. End of story.