Art of cool
I wasn't at the art system "destroyer" event, but reading your account (NOW, November 28-December 4), I wish I'd been. A bunch of people unleashing some creative destruction sounds, notwithstanding the suburban testosterone, pretty right on.
That's why I can't understand the critics in Jen McNeely's article who scratch their heads wondering whether this sort of behaviour is either "artistic expression" or "simply drunken, out-of-control mayhem."
Most of the art shows I've been to lately involve a bunch of people standing around drinking and making an almost deliberate show of ignoring the work.
It's partly a Toronto "proof of cool" thing. But the work itself is often nonchalant and afterthought-ish, as if no one wants to be accused of trying too hard.
The reason so much art is boring and irrelevant is that it doesn't appeal enough to desire and instinct. Smashing the gallery isn't very original, but it sounds a lot more visceral, engaging and fun than most of the cultural events I've been to.
Matt Thompson, Toronto
re whitewashed black studies (NOW, November 28-December 4). Bravo for such a forward-thinking idea, NOW Magazine! I, for one, believe that only black profs should be teaching African studies.
What this world needs is to understand that if you're not "one of us," you can't possibly be up on the inherent genetic knowledge that is passed down through the ages.
As a proud Nubian brother, I feel that segregation may be the only way to keep others from harming our culture. Let us begin by making people declare their race and culture on all official documentation.
Dave Crestman, Toronto
re the full-page appeal to the romance of Buy Nothing Day (NOW, November 28-December 4).
The article offers us a choice between binary emptiness: we can either accumulate baubles or use the anaesthetic that Adbusters has oh so ingeniously created to help us "grin and bear" the pain of a commodity-absent day.
Are our options so barren? Are we so naive as to believe that this strategy will fulfill its safe and vacuous promises?
Buy Nothing Day is not a threat to the system. It is not revolt. Revolt is joyful, it is pleasurable. Buy Nothing Day is unequivocally grim.
A true alternative would be Steal Something Day. Where Buy Nothing Day reads like a resigned eulogy for a still living friend, Steal Something Day would be a reaffirmation of life.
Brad Taylor, Toronto
some of the "cultural weirdness" that Drew Hayden Taylor sees in the Lise Watier Dreamcatcher ad (NOW, November 21-27) can be explained from a woman's perspective.
I, too, see this as yet another case of the exploitation of native culture, but that is where the weirdness ends.
Given the location of the billboard at Church and Wellesley, the model's soft features and androgyny only heighten the ad's gender-bender humour and appeal.
The image depicts a beautiful, earthy young man. What admirers of such youthful brawn wouldn't want this vulnerable man to come squat in their teepee and perhaps perch on the corner of their bed?
In any case, if wearing this scent fails to evoke the depicted man, then perhaps I'll be able to at least catch him in my dreams.
Wasauksing First Nation
What dreams smell like
here's an alternative to drew Hayden Taylor's interpretation of the Lise Watier ad: the figure is an aboriginal male; the target audience is white and female. Reinforcing native stereotypes, the ad presents a virile native male in touch with the natural (and spirit) world, for viewing by non-aboriginal females (and males) who aren't but want to be.
Having the figure be a lean, muscular, youngish male presumably gives the ad sex appeal. The ad is an example of how society polarizes and boxes people in: "native and male" as close to nature, "modern/urban (viewer)" as disconnected from nature and the spirit world.
Drew Hayden Taylor doesn't see things that way, and neither do I. But what a dreamcatcher smells like is anybody's guess.
L.M. Cameron, Kingston
Either expose the maggots...
Josh Matlow declines to name names in Slippery Swap (NOW, November 21-27). That the final interview subject in the piece fancies himself a Soprano character merits no mention.
The editors do themselves no credit by printing such drivel. Either expose the maggots or the kill the story.
Max Blanco, Toronto
Bouquet for Bush whacker
our pm's director of communications, Françoise Ducros, is being raked over the coals for saying what everyone else is thinking, that U.S. President George Bush is a moron.
The reporters who eavesdropped on Ducros's conversation and chose to make it public probably have a string of anti-Bush articles under their belts, but oh, how scandalous! when someone else gets in trouble.
Dan Sturber, Toronto
We think he's a moron, too
to our friends up in canada.
Don't restrain yourselves from expressing your opinion on George Bush. We think he's a moron, too.
Nick Berigan, Madison, WI
We don't do techno
I'm writing in response to steven Davey's review of Le Petit Dejeuner (NOW, November 28-December 4).
Nice review, Steven, but your facts are off. XXX Diner in either location never played techno. If you visit the Web site you will see a list of all the DJs who have played the diner. Somehow, I don't see any techno artists on the list.
Thanks for the mention, but please stay away from topics that don't concern your reviews, because it shows.
Drew DeGeer, Toronto
Sum 41? Puh-leeze
I was embarrassed to be seen reading NOW last week (NOW, November 21-27). You reviewed over 150 albums for your record guide and the best cover story you could come up with was Sum 41? Puh-leeze. Next time, skip the mall punk and put a real band on the cover, someone who actually needs the exposure.
Incognita English, Toronto
It is absolutely disgusting that NOW would glorify those corporate brats S(c)um 41. If Sarah Liss had bothered to do any research on these rich punk poseurs, she would have found they are nothing more than arrogant anti-union jerks.
Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers have been on a bitter strike against the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton for many months.
Many of the strikers are recent immigrants to Canada who struggle to survive and save money for family members in home countries.
Some time ago, S(c)um 41 decided to cross the picket line and perform a concert. Lighting and sound crews respected the line and refused to cross. However, S(c)um 41 not only pelted the picketers with eggs but filmed the assault, presumably for one of their corporate rock videos.
"Classically punk sentiments of social dissent"? Try ignorant cowards determined to stop anyone from getting in the way of their capitalist wet dream.
Kevin Shimmin, Toronto