Mitchel the clown
Good on yez, now, for giving homely homeboy Mitchel Raphael a petard to hoist himself with (NOW, July 10-16). This isn't My Style, it's My Self-Parody. Odd how some feel the need to gussy up like Krusty the Klown. True beauty remains beautiful even in sackcloth and ashes, or its 21st-century equivalent - Gap khakis and a second-string Polo shirt from Winners. Joe Clark, Toronto
Bring back bear hunt
While I agree that the Ontario government has made some questionable choices on the environment, the bear hunt is one area where criticism is unwarranted (NOW, July 10-16). It always has been illegal to hunt adult females in the spring, and we have a name for those who do it - poachers. Poachers are already breaking the law if they hunt female bears. Did you really think a new law would stop them?
I moved to the city from Thunder Bay two years ago, shortly after the bear hunt was cancelled, but I saw first-hand the detrimental effects of that legislation. Not hunting males in the spring means the available food in the wild becomes exhausted quickly.
Then hungry bears come into town to get food, and the police end up having to shoot them anyway. Many others die of starvation because they can't find a garbage can. Other more remote communities now have hundreds of nuisance bear complaints every summer since the hunt was cancelled.
If the hunt is reinstated, the bear population will stabilize and there will be enough food in the bush for them again.
Dean Thatcher, Toronto
Tour de force - sort of
Matt Galloway's tour of Tour de France Web sites (NOW, July 10-16) reminded me how much I enjoy the Tour itself. It's a tremendous piece of sport, filled not only with "Machiavellian team tactics" but also with extraordinary bits of in-sport generosity found nowhere else in a major activity. Several years ago, one day's not inconsiderable cash prize was donated to the widow of tragically killed Fabio Casartelli. The six teammates were allowed by the peleton to take the day's stage as a further tribute to a dead colleague.
However, if I have to see a gritty, grit-faced and determined Lance Armstrong growling one more time for Subaru - "...driven by what's inside..." - I'm going to have to seriously consider withdrawing my fawning over the Van Gogh sunflower landscapes.
Geoff Rytell Toronto
It's a sad sign of the times when even normally perceptive folks like Naomi Klein have succumbed to the masterful Canadian propaganda that Canada actually took a stand against the war on Iraq (NOW, July 10-16). In addition to 900 navy personnel aboard three Canadian warships providing "safe escort" for U.S. and UK warships, from which hundreds of cruise missiles were launched, Canadians played a role aboard the AWACs, at central war planning in Doha, Qatar, and on the ground as "embedded" forces.
This is not to mention the massive amount of Canadian components in the U.S./UK arsenal, as well as Canadian uranium in depleted uranium shells whose radioactivity has again coated Iraq. When asked to condemn the war, Chretien et al. simply said it was not the role of Canada to make such statements.
If there were a Nuremberg-style tribunal tomorrow, Canadian leaders would be indicted for aiding and abetting war crimes.
Matthew Behrens, Toronto
Take this job and shove it
Asking taxpayers to clean parks for free to deal with a looming labour shortage (NOW, July 10-16) may seem like a fresh idea. Our parks and streets do need cleaning. But on my daily walk down Yonge Street I find myself trying to avoid all manner of strange garbage, including blood and vomit. I doubt anyone would want to pitch in to clean that mess. Douglas Helliker, Toronto
SARS nurses deserve zero
Am I the only one who feels health care workers deserve nothing from this recent SARS outbreak? Isn't dealing with sick people their job? Isn't this a bit like a fireman refusing to go near a fire because it got a bit too hot? In my opinion, the only people who may be entitled to any compensation are the tourist industry workers, many of whom have lost their jobs.
I can only suggest to health care workers, if you don't want to deal with sick people, don't work in the field.
Alan Moffat, Toronto
Harkness's poison my meat
I'm glad I didn't read John Harkness's summation of Hiroshima Mon Amour (NOW, July 10-16) before I watched the film, or I may not have enjoyed it as much as I did. Actually, I was deeply affected by Hiroshima Mon Amour, watching it back to back with Night And Fog. Certainly, the two films make perfect cinematic bookends. Both struggle with memory and the validity of sharing an experience no one can adequately or truly imagine.
Hiroshima Mon Amour further translates that struggle into the realm of personal relationships, where people's lives and very being are defined by geography - Paris and Hiroshima - and not by personal names or experience. Hiroshima Mon Amour was my meat, JH's poison. So be it. That's art. The debate will never end. Isn't that what art is all about?
Rob Walton, Toronto
From Down Under with love
I'm a Canadian who has been travelling through Australia for the past six months. I would like to bring to light a fact that I have realized on previous journeys but never expressed. Toronto is a very lucky city to have a publication like Now. I have yet to see a paper that offers as many relevant and entertaining stories as Now. Similar magazines in other cities end up resembling one big review of local music venues, clubs and CD reviews. What's missing is the insightful articles and the less mainstream views on most issues.
Thursday afternoon is a great time to abuse my current employer's Internet access. The only bad thing is reading about all the great events I'm missing back in T.O. (Canada rules.)
Daniel Antonios Sydney, Australia
Appalling show of art
as a visual artist fond of cultural pursuits in our city, I went to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (NOW, July 10-16) expecting to see art. Some of it was majestic and inspiring, and some of it was incredible. It was the remaining 85 per cent that I found utterly vapid. The quality of work was appalling, like what one finds in a high school locker or flea market.
I wonder about the integrity of the jurors who selected them.
As an artist highly critical of my own work and a juror for a local gallery, I simply cannot fathom the concept of having dilettantes ruin the ambience of what could be T.O.'s version of the Venice Biennale.
Perhaps next year a new section can be named CRAP.
Robert Farmer Toronto
As a relatively new resident of Toronto, I was looking forward to my first Celebrate Toronto street festival last weekend. But despite the great music, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth courtesy of MOJO Radio. A number of my favourite Canadian acts, not to mention my own band, played the Yonge and Eglinton stage. While I saw a lot of A-one performances, most of my time was spent trying to ignore the MOJO Radio jocks set up directly across from the stage on Saturday.
Whether they were ogling and commenting on female passersby, talking sports or just acting typically male (or so they would like us to think), their amplified chit-chat (often during the performances) was nothing short of ignorant, annoying and undoubtedly offensive to many.
Matthew McQuaid Toronto
OM preaching to converted
re Splendour In The Grass (NOW, June 26-July 2). Festivals like OM put off a lot of concerned citizens from being more involved in current issues because they make it seem that to be environmentally conscious you have to be a hippie. Environmentalism should be inclusive. Earth-friendliness should be promoted among SUV drivers. The OM Festival and others like it will never effect any real change. They're just another way for hippies to isolate themselves further. Irme Chan, Toronto
CBC's honky ways changing
I don't think it's any secret that the CBC has been dominated by white men for most of its long history (NOW, June 12-18). It makes sense that any display celebrating that history is going to be rife with honkies. However, things are changing. Employment equity stats are publicly available on CBC's Web site, as are all the pictures and profiles of (members of) visible minorities hired at the CBC since 1997. David Seguin, Toronto
Cole's dyke fixation
I took much caution in wading through Susan G. Cole's sexist "pop" argument on Charlie's Angels (NOW, July 3-9). Why does she feel compelled to intellectually justify her visceral reaction to such junk? Cole should simply admit she likes to look at sexy women rather than pretend there's some elevated subtext in such an aggressively shallow movie. It's charming that she believes the producers intentionally courted the powerful dyke market. Yep, turns out Aaron Spelling was actually pioneering bold, postmodern visions of women rather than jump-and-jiggle television. I can't wait for her Marxist reading of Melrose Place.
But what do I know?
According to Cole, my gender will not allow me to appreciate the dyke sensibility.
So for all of those who can't appreciate the profundities, take your $12.50 and plop it down for Morvern Callar, Respiro or Whale Rider, three films featuring complex "full-throttle" female characters, with nary a high-kick in sight.
Dave Gibson, Toronto