NDP leadership questions
If the ndp is the spearhead of diversity, why did they just pick a middle-aged straight white male as their leader -- ahead of a pack of other middle-aged straight white males?
Robert Aterman, Toronto
Having it both ways
Chris Phibbs is trying to have it both ways (NOW, January 23-29).
On the one hand, she quit the NDP because Bob Rae put the gay rights bill (Bill 167) to a free vote. On the other hand, she hopes "the NDP would choose not to run a candidate against an openly gay resident." So Phibbs is asking for NDP support without committing herself to the progressive NDP platform, when there are plenty of queer conservatives out there.
Yes, the Rae government made a serious mistake in 1994 that deeply hurt gay and lesbian supporters like me. But that was nine years ago.
The NDP is a gay-positive party, and if Phibbs truly wanted to contribute she'd rejoin instead of playing the outcast. Her statement that political parties have no place in municipal government is downright naive.
Milly Weidhaas, Toronto
Lost in the mix
I was a bit surprised that Don Wanagas wrote a column about the inevitable council race in Ward 30 and didn't bother to mention the only currently nominated candidate -- me!
It certainly is disappointing to see Toronto's progressive paper ignoring the young Green candidate who has been working with the community on the waterfront, planning, health issues and economic development.
Greg Bonser, Toronto
Anybody can be a critic
I'm glad to see Mel still has some fans (NOW, January 16-22). But I'd really like to see some of his critics who think they know sooooooooo much, like Don Wanagas, run for public office.
Anyone can be an armchair critic.
H. Jackson , Toronto
There were many news clips last week marking Martin Luther King Day. One local station showed a police officer's visit to an elementary school.
There the officer was, talking encouragingly about the pointlessness of hate, all with the butt of his service revolver in plain sight.
Surely, the weapon could easily have been locked up by the principal or left with a fellow officer or back at the police station. A paper airplane or spitball would hardly rate as a credible threat.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Big names missing in action
Is it just me, or have all the big name artists gone "missing in action" at this time of global crisis?
Where are Sir Mick, Sir Paul and Sir Elton? Their silence is almost deafening. Classic rock? Try classic sellout!
And how are our Canadian artists expressing their feelings? Shania Twain and Celine Dion performed at this week's Super Bowl. Shame.
David Zapparoli, Toronto
Colossal waste of ink
As well as being a colossal waste of ink, Ode To Billy Van (NOW, January 16-22) is quite simply one of the dumbest pieces of writing I've ever read.
What point the article's manifestly uninformed and sub-literate author struggles to make, one can only guess.
However, this much is certain: What he says hardly passes for insight and scarcely qualifies as journalism. Or English, for that matter. Where does Now continue to find these talentless sacks of human excrement? DeVry?
Peter Hegel, Toronto
No excuse for fur
re Adria Vasil's pelt patrol (now,January 9-15). The excuses of wearing fur for warmth and status are no longer valid.
The fur industry realizes this and is cleverly trying to disguise fur by changing its colour, texture and weight so people no longer connect the product to the animals they come from.
But no matter how much the end product does not resemble it, fur is still a product of great cruelty.
Animals trapped for fur still suffer excruciating pain and continue to be killed by inhumane methods.
Carol L. Edwards, Waterford
When white kids get busted
what should be pointed out in any discussion on marijuana is why the drug was ever made illegal in the first place. It wasn't until the 60s, when (gasp!) white kids started going to jail, that people started looking closer at the situation and began realizing what a farce it was.
Jan Burton, Toronto
Unimpressed with Sasso
Dear Julia Sasso: I was interested in seeing your Beauty onstage until I read your interview (NOW, January 23-29).
You're not the high-and-mighty choreographer you think you are!
Do some valuable research and spend five nights at the premiere in March of Grupo Corpo.
After watching Rodrigo Pederneiras's beauty in motion, you may learn what perfect composition and balance of a group of dancers onstage looks like.
It's much more than just a lot of very pretty movement.
Jamie Good, Toronto
Forget the moral outrage
Susan G. Cole complains that she loved the writing in Alissa York's Mercy but hated the content (NOW, January 23-29). She wants the author to be outraged at the characters who do bad things, and thinks the mere fact that the writing is good is no recompense.
That criticism might have seemed more relevant about 150 years ago, but it's an embarrassment for Now. Moral outrage is for politicians and daytime talk-show hosts.
Writers have no responsibility to be outraged at anything -- or to demonstrate it in their fiction.
A writer whose point of departure is a moral lesson is likely going to produce the most maudlin and tediously didactic prose imaginable.
Wayne Jones, Toronto
Sanger's rare artistry
glenn sumi damns richard san ger's play Two Words For Snow (NOW, January 16-22) because it supposedly has too many themes and ideas. Complexity is clearly not a virtue for Mr. Sumi.
Some of us, though, go to the theatre looking for precisely this quality, which is so lacking in our popular culture.
It's Mr. Sumi who should "focus," not Mr. Sanger, who interweaves his ideas and his symbols with total dramatic artistry, irony and humour.
Rui Afonso, Toronto
Thank you for the excellent write-up on the tragic Elia Suleiman film Divine Intervention (NOW, January 9-15).
That the Academy would not permit the film to compete for an Oscar on the idiotic grounds that Palestine is not a country would be funny were it not so sad. Arabs lived there for centuries.
Suleiman's film should be compulsory viewing for all Israelis, if only to show them what their governments have made of this once beautiful country.
Mariam Abileah, Toronto
Iranian film gripping
In John Harkness's critique of Samira Makhmalbaf's Blackboards (NOW, January 16-22), he doubts whether Iranian cinema will have an impact. Movies are a billion-dollar industry, and I suspect there will always be a market for the "big, stupid, violent, explosion-laden" movies Harkness seems to pine for at the end of his review.
On the other hand, Iranian movies are a bit more down-to-earth. Consider the boy who tries to return homework to a friend who lives in a neighbouring village in Abbas Kiarostami's Where Is The Friend's Home?, or the man who portrays a famous Iranian director to insinuate himself into a wealthy family's home and then gets charged with fraud (Kiarostami's Close Up).
An Iranian film might be slow going at times, but it can also be gripping, the same way our own lives are. Many have extraordinarily beautiful moments that stay with you.
The impact Iranian cinema will have is not measured, as Harkness implies, by whether Hollywood pitchmen will make assisted suicide one of their storylines.
Daniel Stein, Toronto
McHollett a fraud
Walking down yonge on my way to work this morning, I saw something that disturbed me -- your publisher, Michael Hollett, in McDonald's stuffing his face all by his lonesome.
Now, of course, one has the right to choose what and where to eat, but this is the preacher who owns NOW Magazine! The man who can't claim ignor-ance! We all know what NOW says it "stands" for, but does Hollett? I might as well have seen the publisher of AdBusters run past me in a Nike jogging suit, McMuffin in hand.
Considering the editorial he stamps his approval on every week -- the endless articles on proper nutrition, the evils of capitalism, the wrong-doings of slaughterhouses and labour issues -- wouldn't you think this man would practise what he preaches?
Then there was the sporty name-brand attire he was wearing.
Of all people, shouldn't McHollett be leading by example? Instead, he's just taking the money earned by your righteous magazine (and some of its not-so-righteous advertisers) and sticking it right back into the hands that you supposedly oppose.
Marie Lass, Toronto