Bike lane at reasonable price
don wanagas provides a breath of fresh air in the stale debate about the road improvements on Dundas East (NOW, January 8-14). The few minutes of additional time folks from outside the community spend driving this residential street are a reasonable price to pay. On top of the many benefits of the narrowed roadway, let me add another, recently pointed out by a friend who walks his children to school along Dundas every day. In slushy conditions, speeding cars in the curb lane made the sidewalk especially hazardous.
With bike lanes, school children and other pedestrians stay clear of dirty splashes from uncaring motorists.
Case Ootes, the most strident among the uncaring motorists on council, is calling attention to himself in an unseemly way in his opposition to the lane. No doubt Ootes was put off by the yahoos impeding his speedy access to City Hall via Dundas East from his ravine-lot home on a traffic-free street.
Maybe what Ootes really wants is a helicopter.
That would suit his babyish desire to "save time" at the expense of others. Now that he is on the police services board, perhaps he can follow in Norm Gardner's footsteps and get a "loaner" from a contract-seeking manufacturer.
Jacob Allderdice, Toronto
Canuck film worth mention
just did a quick scan of the 50 Essential DVDs (NOW, January 8-14) and not a Canadian title in the bunch! What about Mon Oncle Antoine, The Fast Runner, I Love A Man In Uniform or Rise And Decline Of The American Empire, just to name a few? Are they not available or do they just not come to mind amidst the avalanche of American film culture? (I did see a few other notable film nations included.) It just breaks my heart! Oh, Canada! Jenny Dean, Toronto
CJC makes no apologies
re censorship high (now, january 8-14). Mike Smith wasted much valuable ink and paper to pose a rhetorical question: did the Canadian Jewish Congress's intervention contribute to principal Bob Milne's decision to cancel the showing of the propaganda film Jenin, Jenin? We certainly hope so. CJC makes no apologies for its intervention in this matter. While we support the discussion of sensitive issues in schools, we continue to hold the position that hateful propaganda films such as Jenin, Jenin do not represent the best way of doing so.
Most readers will notice how hard Smith had to work in order to write a negative article. Certainly, there was nothing in the quotes attributed to Bernie Farber, Bob Milne or myself that supported Smith's contention that CJC's involvement was inappropriate or censorial.
Completely absent in Smith's article, of course, is any real consideration of why the Israel Defense Forces launched their incursion into Jenin. We are led to assume that Jenin was simply a part of Israel's hopes for an "ever-expanding military solution." No mention is made of the murder of Jewish men, women and children in a terrorist attack at a Passover seder in Netanya a few days before.
The one point in Smith's editorializing that holds merit is his observation that the pain of the survivors is real. Quite so. Their pain is as real as that of Israelis who have been injured or have lost loved ones in countless terrorist attacks that target dance halls, shopping malls and restaurants.
Len Rudner, Canadian Jewish Congress, Toronto
In pursuit of cynical agendas
once again, now magazine's coverage of Mideast issues betrays a disturbing bias and an insinuating framing of issues, opinions, and facts. While it may be the uninformed opinion of one student, Max Silverman, that CJC's intervention at Northern Secondary was motivated by a desire to censor "opinions contrary to what the CJC wants (students) exposed to," interviews in the article as a whole suggest that this was not the case.
Why, then, does NOW's subheader for the article ask the insinuating question, "Did call from Canadian Jewish Congress push principal to nix Jenin film?"
Why does Mike Smith claim as a statement of fact that students "aroused the anxieties of lobbyists," thus characterizing CJC, a well-respected human rights organization, as a propagandistic lobby group? Could it be (gasp) a continuing anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias?
In a postmodern universe of sensationalist, opinion-based journalism, it is not surprising that under-informed students and NOW reporters, in pursuit of their cynical agendas, mix fact and opinion or attempt to reduce all claims of inconvenient fact to differences of opinion in their continued desire to smear the Jewish community, Israel and organizations with which they disagree.
Joanne Cohen, Toronto
Kick butts with hypnosis
i saw the articles in now about quitting smoking (NOW, January 1-7).
I just wanted to offer an unsolicited endorsement of hypnosis.
That's how I quit after trying gum, going cold turkey and the patch, but the problem with those is that they rely on your willpower. Hypnosis doesn't.
Andrew Harris, Toronto
Review needs blowing up
i read nick flanagan's review of Blow Up's eighth anniversary party in horror (NOW, January 8-14). Please, NOW, if you're determined to be condescending, at least have the decency to send a reviewer who doesn't have to resort to pulling out every tired old cliché in the book. Flanagan clearly took off before the party got into full swing. That was his first mistake. His second mistake was reviewing the Blow Up party as a straight-up concert. The bands were just a special treat, the icing on the eighth anniversary birthday cake, so to speak. Nick himself described Blow Up as a "Britpop/retro dance night."
A mention of Rob Bailey (incidentally, one of the biggest names in the 60s scene in the world), seemed almost an afterthought. And Mr. Love's stellar set wasn't mentioned at all. For shame! Flanagan did Blow Up an injustice with this pathetic review.
Julie Jeschke, Toronto
Telefilm trashing sad
cameron bailey's trashing of Telefilms Canada's commercial film policy (NOW, December 25-31, 2003) saddens me. Should Telefilm only fund art films? I thought the art councils did that job. Because one film fails at the box office, you deem the policy a failure.
Are you telling filmmakers that they should give up the idea of trying to make films in Canada?
Derek Rogers, Toronto
NOW ignoring small press
i always enjoy reading your best-of lists; good to review the strides made by various cultural communities. However, as a Toronto writer, I look to the Books list for some relevant summary of my own community's activism and intelligence. Books editor Susan G. Cole gives only a regurgitation of her fave 10 novels (NOW, December 25-31), culled from her reviews over the past year, mostly big-press favourites that have received more than their due in the mainstream media all year.
Where is the hats-off to the local facilitators of Toronto's small press, poetry readings and thriving spoken word hiphop/rap scene?
The absence of these observances is much more than "disappointing." It's what keeps NOW from being a truly great paper. I hope you can bring new editorial interest aboard in 2004, to pay an underreported sector its due on a weekly basis. Best wishes.
Margaret Christakos, Toronto
Satirist's cut the deepest
sheila gostick, as anyone who knows her can say (and I have known her since 1981), has never dismissed welfare mothers, as the letters by some readers (NOW, December 11-17, December 18-24) in response to a recent column suggests. Nor has she ever been part of the artsy-fartsy community in the downtown core. She is one of the brightest and sharpest minds in this country. Of course, everything that is bright is hated by the dark, and the dull always envy the sharp.
Sheila has lived in close companionship with poverty. What she does not live in close companionship with is self-pity. What is crystal clear from the "poor folk" who took offence to her in your letters pages is that they do.
I am, however, suffering from poverty - the poverty of not seeing enough of Sheila either in your pages or in the flesh in her incredibly rich performances. There are many who claim to be satirists. Sheila has never made that claim, but, by God, she cuts the way a genuine satirist should.
Reg Hartt, Toronto
Download away - it's legal
when underpowered video game apologist Matt Galloway writes that "illegal" downloading on sites like SoulSeek, LimeWire and Kazaa will continue in 2004 (NOW, January 1-7), does he understand that these are in fact not "sites" and that downloading of music is not illegal in Canada? As I keep reminding NOW whenever Galloway reiterates this falsehood, Part VIII, Section 80 of the Copyright Act makes "private copying" of sound works explicitly legal. Download away. It may be illegal somewhere, but we don't live in that somewhere. Joe Clark, Toronto
Flag faux pas
a now letter writer recently took issue with downtown merchants stocking Confederate flag swag (NOW, January 1-7). The movement to have the Confederate flag recognized as a form a hate speech may ultimately result in the passing of legislation.
Until then, NOW readers can console themselves with the fact people who choose to adorn themselves with the Confederate flag tend to be their own worst enemies.
Peter Mumford, Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia