Peter Ferguson's facile arguments in praise of Frank Gehry's "Big Dumb Box" (NOW, February 5-11) sound more like management directives than an architectural critique. His rant against the "avant-garde," with its predictable appeal to anti-intellectualism, has all the grace and wit one would expect from an apparatchik of the culture industry.
But maybe Ferguson is right. Maybe we have become so alienated that we can identify with those very forces that seek to strip us of our humanity. In which case the Big Dumb Box would be the truest reflection of our sensibilities.
ROM potshots idiotic
re peter ferguson's article about the inherent beauty of "boxiness." Was the point to champion Gehry's design or take potshots at Libeskind's ROM make-over? I'm not quite sure, because I couldn't extract any coherent strain of thought in Ferguson's article. First and foremost, Gehry's Bilbao project was a pivotal moment for the "new sculptural school" so maligned in Ferguson's article. Using a muted work by Gehry to set in direct opposition to Libeskind's ROM design doesn't make much sense.
Secondly, Ferguson's critique of the ROM and descent into an ill-informed art history lesson were idiotic. Please force Ferguson to use some of whatever cash you paid him to buy a first-year university art history textbook.
Cops should stop moaning
re bad timing (now, february 5-11). Cop union boss Rick McIntosh is quoted as saying, "We experience burnout working these kind of hours," to explain why police are opposed to longer shifts.
Well, judging by the huge numbers of uniformed and armed cops standing around construction sites all over the city day after day doing absolutely nothing, these "burnt-out" cops certainly pick an unusual way to unwind from the stresses of their jobs. Perhaps they view the fabulously easy money they get moonlighting as good therapy. Please spare us all the moaning. The really overworked and burnt-out people in Toronto are taxpayers like me who have to shell out for the high salaries and benefits of cops, many of whom, it's been noted before, don't even live in Toronto.
To the mayor, city budget chief David Soknacki and the police services board I say: Get on with your work. Cut where necessary. Make the changes. Remember, you are the piper, so call the tune.
Name withheld by request
the scheduling and management of police services is a serious problem. At the October 31 Critical Mass there were as many as 10 police officers for approximately 40 cyclists - probably not the best use of an already short police force on a night as busy as Halloween.
On December 4, a police cruiser sat idling for the better part of a day at the intersection of Huron and Willcocks as two officers ticketed one student cyclist after another for failing to come to a complete stop at the four-way stop.
I am always surprised by the number of officers I see who are busy ticketing pedestrians for jaywalking, hassling cyclists and leaving vehicles idling all morning rather than preventing more serious crimes.
What will the extra $53.6 million the force is requesting this year be spent on?
Down on sex and bestiality
i need to write this letter because if I say nothing then I am giving in to complacency. I am disgusted and appalled by your Love & Sex Guide (NOW, February. 5-11). In your follow-up to the sex survey, in a portion regarding modes of masturbation, you felt that printing a response condoning bestiality was somehow funny and acceptable. Why is this?
To include sex ads from 1) Ron Jeremy and 2) Hustler magazine perhaps seems like a natural progression to you?
To me it's not about being cutting-edge but depravity spawned by patriarchal fuckheads!!!!
"enjoy the moment and fuck them all." The best line to come out of your Love & Sex issue. So good I just had to cut it out and put it on my fridge. Damn right. Megan Marshall
Hope for U.S. pot refugees
it is disheartening to think that Canadian authorities could become a party to what might literally be a death sentence for Steve Kubby (NOW, January 29-February 4). However, there are small glimmers of hope on the southern side of the U.S.-Canada border. Most encouraging is the fact that U.S. courts are increasingly making it clear that U.S. drug czar John Walters and his colleagues in the Bush administration have no authority to "nullify" state medical marijuana laws.
In October the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a federal appellate court ruling that barred the U.S. government from punishing physicians who recommend marijuana under the provisions of these state laws. And in December the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes most of the far-western U.S., issued an injunction barring the federal government from raiding and arresting patients and providers whose non-commercial medical marijuana activities do not cross state lines.
The battle is by no means over, but slowly but surely the forces of sanity are winning.
Marijuana Policy Project
Dumb half-poets society
i wanted to address letter writer Stuart Ross's comment that his greatest success as a poet was the notoriety he gained from the abysmal Poetry On The Way program sponsored by the TTC (NOW, February 5-11).
Upon further reflection, the greatest success he, or any other poet that belongs to this Toronto clique of half-poets, could attain would be to stop writing and make way for voices with depth, intelligence and hunger. (Now, if everyone at Insomniac Press would just go to sleep....)
How parents treat kids
re robert priest's "swift injustice" (NOW, February 5-11). I found the parallel drawn between the Farah Khan case and the potential result of not-strict-enough spanking laws somewhat illogical, in that beating your child to death is a type of violence that is obviously already illegal. Wouldn't this case seem to prove that, anti-spanking laws or no, ultimately a child's safety rests with his or her guardian's personal judgment?
In order to alleviate domestic violence against children, it's important to identify risk situations on an individual basis and provide support to those involved, not focus on the specifics of legislation that may or may not affect parents' real treatment of their children.
Honderich hit on the head
well, at least you gave us an inkling of how loathsome and mediocre Star publisher John Honderich really is (NOW, January 29-February 4). As a former Star staffer, it's always amazed me how this completely untalented heir to Joseph Atkinson has been left unscathed by the media. If there is a single Atkinson ethic remaining at the newspaper, it's well hidden under layers of self-righteous bleating, deliberate bullying of those who don't adhere to the party line and condescension to the white working class.
The writing, as you say, is dreadful.
Name withheld by request
City policy betrays Canada
i read with alarm and dismay your article referring to City Hall's proposed abandonment of its Canada-first purchasing policy (NOW, January 29-February 4). If, as stated, doing business with domestic companies is an inconvenience for staff at the City Hall (and I think this is a red herring), what are the direct and indirect costs to our Canadian infrastructure of dropping this policy? Has anyone at City Hall commissioned this kind of study?
The city of Toronto spends significant sums in contracts to businesses. Denying this revenue to our Canadian companies not only screams of betrayal, but it also sends out the clear and disheartening signal that Toronto is abandoning any leadership in supporting a future for Canadian initiative, entrepreneurship and vision. I question why this story is not being carried in our "mainstream" media?
i recently read your review of peter Pan (NOW, December 18-24), and I must say that I was surprised at Wendy Banks's negative response to this film. I have seen it several times, and the children in the theatre have had a very positive reaction to it. I grew up with the Mary Martin production and as a child was grossed out when I discovered that a woman was playing Peter. If you want to talk creepy, think about that one. Jeremy Sumpter nails Peter in a wonderful and heartbreaking performance. The young actors have true chemistry, and their story of first love is sweet and sad. The fact that your critic found this creepy is an indication to me that she can't remember the feelings of first love. This is not a movie for a cynical mind. It should be judged for what it is, beautiful and touching. I feel truly sorry for anyone who can't embrace the magic of this film. Cal Courtney
Tossed Salads man
i was reading some back articles on NOW's Web site and came across your review of the Salads CD from February of last year. Are you a moron? What the fuck is up with your so-called newspaper? Ever since the Salads became remotely popular, NOW has done nothing but discredit their musical ability and popularity. This is of course to be expected from someone who has no clue as to what is takes to make it in a band or the sheer talent these guys have. You say their songs are weak. The only real weakness I see is in your paper's crappy, high school writing style. When the Salads hit the big time, this is one fucking paper that they will certainly not give the time of day to. Lisa Ziemba