Why defend a hate-monger?
Your cover caption, Jews Can't Agree On Zundel (NOW, March 13-19), is a horrible, slurring statement that feeds into stereotypes about Jews.
Unquestionably, the cover captions must be short and to the point. The kicker for the article, "Jewish leaders clash over arch-enemy" strongly contrasts with the spitefulness of the cover-page caption.
Moreover, I can see no reason for NOW's defence of Ernst Zundel. "Do Zundel's views make him a security risk if he's unlikely to resort to violence himself?" asks the highlighted call-out in the article. Zundel is nothing but a thug. He inspires other thugs to violence.
His views are universally abhorred. Yet we Canadians understand the potential damage of censorship, so we're generally satisfied to ignore Zundel as long as the courts decide he is within his limits. What is NOW's true purpose in defending a hate-monger?
Sheldon Tyber, Toronto
Making Zundel a martyr
According to enzo di matteo, "Jewish groups have been horrified by the media attention" Ernst Zundel's case has attracted. "It's the last thing they wanted," he adds.
On the contrary, Jewish groups are responsible for turning Nazi Germany apologist Zundel into a martyr for the cause of free speech by prosecuting him for disseminating his opinions.
Canadian authorities could not get around our Charter Of Rights and our regular justice system to convict Zundel of anything serious enough to justify so much as a fine, let alone prison or deportation, so they branded him "a threat to national security."
François Bergeron, Toronto
York U's propagandizing
When Sandy Braz approached me for an interview for her article (NOW, March 13-19), she mentioned that she was doing a piece on the issue of free speech at York. I'm writing to clarify the position I advanced in the interview.
We see the threat of a security levy not only (nor primarily) as a threat to free speech. Rather, we see it as racist propagandizing on the part of the York administration.
Playing on latent or overt racism against Arabs and South Asians, the administration is trying to manufacture a crisis that there is an "enemy within" infiltrating the precious and pure York community with some mysterious and dangerous agenda of disorder.
The administration is using the Palestine/Israel issue as a cover to marginalize unions and anti-war activists on campus who are making the links between military spending and cuts to social services.
From our point of view, the only real crisis at York is that the administration is destroying the university, especially the liberal arts, in an aggressive effort to corporatize it.
Neil Braganza, CUPE 3903
York University, Toronto
Playing by cops' rules
re On their guard (now, march 13-19). Why do you continue to print articles by activists who present such reactionary arguments?
The police barred Ken Theobald from entering the meeting because he was recognized as some sort of "troublemaker" at a previous demonstration and they didn't want any trouble inside for Chief Fantino. Fair enough. They didn't bar me -- a 20-something scruffy-looking male in oversized jeans.
And they probably didn't hassle anyone else who wasn't on the OCAP list. If you participate in a demo and you get identified, that's part of the game.
Siad Rushton, Toronto
Give us the nitty gritty
I saw that article about Kyle Rae (NOW, March 6-12) and the issue of his supporting large developments.
Yay, I thought. Finally, I'll get information about the controversy I'm concerned about -- changes to the downtown and keeping the special culture of the city.
The article gives nothing new at all. No factual information to either support or challenge the changes.
Fluff is fine for articles about musicians and actors but not for significant issues in what NOW presented as a heated, important debate. Please, give us more nitty-gritty aspects of these issues. We need to hear them, especially with an election coming up in the next year.
Penny Wise, Toronto
TTC undervalues riders
I fully agree with Helen Armstrong (NOW, March 6-12). If the TTC thinks an ad with its smiling employees is going to grab our attention and win our loyalty, it's not. It's cheesy.
I'd like to see the employees I see every day give me and others good service, starting with their attitude. Right now, taking the TTC to work is just another monotonous part of my day. I wonder if they figure that because some of us need it to get to work, they don't have to treat us as valued customers. That's certainly how I feel.
C. Parkin, Toronto
Promo for unsafe sex
Wondering why, with hiv now on the rise again in North America and abroad, did Joseph Couture not once mention protecting himself in his article (NOW, March 13-19)?
Am I as a reader to assume that all gay men -- and everyone else, for that matter -- are diligent in this regard and STD-free? Isn't sleeping around with multiple partners what made HIV, hepatitus and other STDs what they are today?
Hey, I don't want to come off as a prude, and with war looming maybe there should be more sex in the world. But STDs are real, and no matter how good the current cocktail or creams are, none of them is a cure. Couture's article would have been better placed in the "variations" section in the personal ads.
Todd McCleave, Toronto
The need to scorn peace
Why is it that whenever I read a letter or hear some media pundit talk about the war, there's a need to scorn the idea of being on the side of peace?
You can almost feel them patting you on your naive head while condescendingly saying, "Someday you'll understand, kid."
David Buchanan, Toronto
Lose the PC moralizing
Irreversible is one of those movies that tend to polarize opinion.
On the day I saw it, there were police stationed at the doors and my ticket stub was checked twice before I was allowed to enter. There were probably about 75 people in attendance, and three or four walked out -- curiously, not during the controversial rape scene, but right after it was over.
John Harkness's dough-headed review of the movie (NOW, March 13-19) is about what you'd expect. He wants the movie to have a "philosophical point," as if artistic works somehow redeem themselves if they have "messages" or "something to say." Harkness also objects to the "ugliness."
Lose the self-righteous PC moralizing and make some comments on a film's artistry.
Wayne Jones, Toronto
Pub choices so last century
Sorry, was I reading NOW or the Sun last week? Your Bar & Pub Guide (NOW, March 13-19) made it feel like the latter. Two hundred of the least imaginative watering holes Toronto has to offer. Hooter's, was it? Panorama? I'm truly surprised that none of your choices were revolving. Even the attempt to be cool kept the list extremely last century, with Sneaky Dee's and C'est What? rearing their tired heads.
So that's it, is it? Toronto has flash in the pan or same old, same old. Hmm. I think I'll be reading another paper when next I quench my thirst in style with a luscious mojito or "kickass" martini at Azul.
J.D. Humphreys, Toronto
Faux hip it's not
The good news about Matt Galloway's piece on www.keepmusiccoming.com (NOW, March 13-19) is that he visited the site. While he liked the streamed video, he sure didn't give the project itself a rave review.
I worked with kids who guided us in the development with Ottawa-based Fuel Industries to create the site. It was a terrific experience to hear kids' views first-hand as we sketched out the information that interested them.
The Be A Playa game -- up and running March 25 -- demystifies the industry economics Matt wanted to know more about. If the game's name is "faux hipster language" to Matt, I have to assume he's outside the target nine-to-17 demographic.
www.keepmusiccoming.com explores the idea that when people buy music, they help artists create more music and allow new artists a chance to be heard.
Universal Music, Toronto