Getting lost in the numbers
as one of the demonstrators at the February 15 peace march, does it really matter how many people were in Dundas Square and throughout the march (NOW, February 20-26)? Whether 10,000 or 80,000, the message we sent to the military-industrial death machines of the U.S. and Britain (plus Canada) is that we were, and are, part of a massive global movement to oppose the insane and misguided war on Iraq. This is all about the universal value of life, not numbers.
Julian Bynoe, Toronto
Cheap shot at Rosie
NOW's upfront attack on Rosie DiManno (NOW, February 20-26) was hypocritical. Rosie's relatively benign comments pale in comparison to the "national typecasting" in NOW about Americans and Israelis.
Eric Freedman , Toronto
Not biting hand that feeds
re paranoia in packed clubs (now, February 20-26). Is anyone at NOW surprised by the carnage at a Rhode Island nightclub following a blaze at the Great White concert?
I've been to as many shows as NOW reviewers (maybe even more), and it's no secret that local promoters routinely oversell shows, risking the lives of concertgoers for the sake of increased revenue. Your reviewers must be able to see this at any number of shows in any given month, yet have never questioned this practice. Would Now put the same kind of aggressive questions it routinely asks political and social figures to licensed venues with a history of cramming audiences like sardines?
Or would that be biting the hand that feeds you, since those same outlets dump large amounts of cash in your magazine?
Steven Berketo, Toronto
Put Mel out in the cold
Cathy Crowe's looking for cover (Now, February 20-26) cuts to the heart (or lack thereof) of Mayor Mel's true character. This may not be such a revelation to some, particularly to the 30,000 people who now call the pavement "home" thanks in no small part to Mel's blatant disregard for the human condition. I have a challenge for Mel: live one night as a homeless person; experience the numbness of your extremities, the cutting winds through a tattered blanket and the dispassionate glances of passersby. Then you'll know what it's like to be treated this way in one of the "Great Cities of the World." Daniel Frank, Toronto
I share the rage of street nurse Cathy Crowe and other housing and health advocates. Homeless people are still being killed by the murderous indifference and negligence and human rights violations of this city, this province and its "leaders." Two more deaths to report in the last week: Phillip Toulose, 42, was found dead at Broadview and Gerrard in his sleeping bag sometime during February 11 or 12. He was a First Nations person who froze to death. On Friday, February 21, another homeless man, "Bobby," was found burned to death near Eastern and St. Lawrence. Since city council refuses to open up emergency shelters and the feds refuse to build affordable housing, some of us will do it. Stay tuned for more direct action, like a National Squat Campaign this year.
Don Weitz, Toronto
Working within the system
I don't know what it's like to be a recipient of disability (NOW, February 20-26), but I do know what it's like to work within the system. Trust me, we're not all bad, and more staff than you know disagree with the way it's run. May I offer a bit of advice to anyone who is on ODSP and might not be aware of the benefits available through the program? Call your local office and request a copy of your rights and responsibilities. It briefly outlines all the benefits. More often than not, you will have to make an application. However, at least you will know what's available. Also, kudos to NOW for publishing the article. Dana's story needs to be told.
Name withheld by request, Toronto
All the places I've served
This letter is in response to Eric Brauer's letter (NOW, February 13-19). Brauer states that as a member of the Forces, I would know the difference between peacekeeping and war. I do. The difference? Not much. You have a lot of nerve comparing me or any Canadian to Hitler. Your opinion has been perverted by soft living and indulgent attitudes. I've served in countless peacekeeping theatres, and let me tell you, boyo, did lots of good and shed blood for my nation. What the hell have you ever done except bitch? I never saw you with the Red Cross/Crescent or with Doctors Without Borders or the countless other groups that were extremely grateful for the Forces' presence in all the places I served. Able Seaman Brendan Weber, Toronto
PR paths to war
Last night i watched a cnn special on the latest Gallup poll of U.S. public opinion toward war in Iraq. The report featured statistics on those who want war with UN backing and those who don't feel the backing is needed. The striking absence in my eyes was the missing 30 per cent of the demographic studied who oppose war for any reason. The way the story was framed led most viewers onto a path with only two choices, both of them ending in war.
Tom Pashkov, Richmond Hill
And he's not a racist?
How could anybody who claims that "Muslims are more violence-prone than other immigrants" (NOW, February 13-19) and that "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned people cooking strange foods" not be a racist? If that's not racist, then I'm Osama bin Laden. What amazes me even more is the quasi-sympathetic, almost uncritical tone that Enzo Di Matteo adopts to talk about a man who would take the actions of a few individuals and outrageously tarnish an entire community with them. The way Muslims are portrayed in mainstream North American media is already unbalanced enough. We don't need supposedly alternative mags like NOW to make matters worse by publicizing boneheads like Daniel Pipes, especially at a time when Muslim societies are being subjected to brutal repression and near-genocide. What Pipes wants has nothing to do with academic freedom. Academic freedom should be claimed by those who have the ability to use it wisely, for the betterment of humanity and other life on this planet, not by those whose interest, as Pipes's own Web site states, is the procurement of "a stable supply and a low price of oil" and who are willing to denigrate and deprive a large segment of the world's population in order to get it. B.N. Khan, Toronto
Lies in guise of free speech
I just read your article on daniel Pipes and thought you might find it interesting to know that some of his supporters were found to be passing out flyers that had been formatted to look precisely like the ones being handed out by protestors who opposed Pipes's appearance at York U. Of course, the information these flyers contained was radically different -- things like "We oppose the existence of the state of Israel" were substituted for statements describing what Campus Watch is and how it threatens the very freedoms Pipes maintains he seeks to guarantee. Apparently, his supporters see no problem or irony in publishing outright lies in the name of democratic freedom. Anyhow, thanks for the article, many more like it are needed. Eric Newstadt, Toronto
Thanks for love and sex
I've been meaning to write you about the Love & Sex Guide, of which I now own two archival copies (NOW, February 6-12).
Thanks for your photos of three unbritneyfied people looking playfully, tenderly sexual and friendly with each other. There's far too little positive imagery of sexuality in this world. And though I don't need to be protected from the sight of genitalia, I'm kind of impressed that you were able to pull it off with less nudity than you'll see in your average museum exhibit. Thank you, too, for putting two black people looking happy with each other on the cover -- another all too rare image. And for flipping the script by pairing a lighter-skinned man with a darker-skinned woman instead of the all too familiar reverse. Thanks for taking a chance with that issue. Sure made me sit up and pay attention.
Proctologist for Liss
It's unfortunate that Sarah Liss's desire to be "edgy" has caused her to be hard of hearing. It's also unfortunate that, as a "journalist," she has forgotten the rule of unbiased reporting. To be clear, I am not a churchgoer, I am far from virginal, and Guinness is about to award me the "consumer of the year" award (I can feel it). And yet (gasp) I maintain that Miranda Stone's 7 Deadly Sins deserved better than a petty anti-Christian soapbox rant (NOW, February 20-26). There is genuinely creative and original songwriting on the album, and far from being full of kitschy clichés, Stone's lyrics are refreshing and thoughtful. Guest musicians (aside to Stone: who plays horn on track 8?) add well-placed colours and textures, and the entire venture is entirely palatable. So I'm surprised. For all the engaging ways that NOW has helped to expand my thoughts and opinions, Liss's review seems ignorant and narrow. Ms. Liss, your proctologist called. Good news! He's found your head.
Ben Bowen, Toronto
RE Tim Perlich's "review" of the Ginger Minge and 20 Miles (NOW, February 20-26).
Perlich has a long, well-documented history of being a miserable slag. The Ginger Minge want to get to the root of the matter. Submit your theories on the source of Tim the Wimp's bitterness in 10 words or less to email@example.com. The winning entry will receive two free tickets to our show with the Soledad Brothers at the Horseshoe March 13!
Steve Smith The Ginger Minge
In your review of the movie the Crime Of Father Amaro (NOW, February 13-19), you say the movie is based on a 19th-century Mexican novel. Sloppy research on NOW's part.
The film is based on a 19th-century Portuguese novel by José Maria Eça de Queirós, itself an interesting fact. With over 100,000 Portuguese Canadians in the Toronto area, we are tired of being subsumed under our Spanish-speaking cousins, so please take care not to repeat this kind of gaffe. And the same goes for any other ethnic group, for that matter.
Ilda Januario, Toronto