I enjoyed reading your article Sierra's Population Bomb (NOW, April 8-14). In a democratic, member-controlled organization where membership is open to anyone, you have to live with the consequences of democracy and majority rule. I remember chatting with a left-wing activist, granola-crunching friend of mine back when Mike Harris announced he would step down as premier. I pointed out that if the members of OCAP and all the other organizations that hated the Tory government swallowed their pride and paid a few bucks each to join the Tory party, they could have chosen the next premier and implemented policies they wanted. Of course, insight and intelligence are not often found in the professional protestor caste. They would much rather wave signs and chant slogans than succeed.
Seeing through plastic
I am alarmed at the barely mentioned existence of recycled paper bags in NOW's Insight, Toting Trouble (NOW, April 8-14). Upon seeing the cover blurb "Plastic bags choke the city," I judged the article would mainly focus on alternatives. (This is an alternative weekly, yes?) But lo and behold, there was barely a peep about anything paper-related! Instead, NOW suggests taxing practically every single retailer in Canada, which would even further increase the cost of operations, quite surely taking money out of employees' pockets.
Asshole managers already claim that budgets are tight, and all they need is yet another excuse not to give retail employees a decent income.
RE Major Cop-out (now, april 8-14). I found Paul Ikeda-Douglas's article on no-show cops interesting, but I almost didn't read it because of the sexism in the first sentence. I'm confused about why the author found it necessary to write female bike cop. (I was equally confused last week when my doctor told me the male nurse was coming to take my blood.) How is the officer's gender or sex relevant to either her job or the author's charges? She wasn't mentioned in the rest of the piece.
NOW's repeated publication of sensationalized anti-Israel coverage, selective silence and naive leftist First World pacifism have fostered anti-Jewish local public opinion, contributing to anti-Semitic hatred, marginalization, discrimination and violence, sympathetic with genocidal terrorism. From NOW's twisted Globe citation of neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel (NOW, March 18-24) to coverage of Adbusters' U.S. neo-con Jewish conspiracy in the same issue, NOW subtly promotes, with mild criticism, the most hateful anti-Jewish slander on the Adbusters Web site.
NOW's cynical report of B'nai Brith's killjoy challenge to Urban Outfitters' marketing of the Everyone Loves A Jewish Girl T-shirts enjoyed by atypical fun-loving young Jews (NOW, February 26-March 3) promotes anti-Semitic materialist stereotypes.
Need I mention that virtually every NOW article on Jewish issues in the past three years has used an insinuating tone and graphics to publicly defame Israel and mainstream Jewish interests? NOW's documented bias belies any conscientious claim of "we're not anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist."
Your article Rough Ride, by Eli Shupak (NOW, April 8-14), caught my eye. I'm currently taking a caregiving course and believe this work is my calling. I was thus saddened and sorry to read about Shupak's difficulty with his caregivers. He is, after all, their employer and has every right to evaluate their work. I will give my teacher a copy of this article. Perhaps Shupak would consider coming to our class or future groups to talk about his expectations of our profession. It would certainly animate, complement and complete our learning.
Name the scum
I enjoyed Emily O'Sullivan's article Pawn Scum (NOW, April 8-14). But why not name the pawn shop that was trying to sell her stolen bike?
In your last few issues, not a lick of attention has been paid to the Imponderables comedy troupe. You'd think that the first troupe invited to perform on Second City's mainstage in its 30-year history would be deserving of some attention. Of course, your curious "comedy columnist" Glenn Sumi did manage to slap them on his worst-of-2003 list earlier this year. Clearly, selling out Second City's mainstage at 11 pm is a task reserved for the city's worst.
For the sake of Toronto's wonderful comedy community and your readers, please hire someone who can pay attention to what the hell is going on.
I suppose he doesn't need to be fact-checked because he runs the place, but Michael Hollett hereby joins the roster of NOW writers overly influenced by American media, who somehow think downloading music is illegal in Canada (NOW, April 8-14). It hasn't been since 1998, when the Copyright Act was amended to make "private copying" of phonographic works a non-infringing act. As I keep reminding NOW in semi-annual letters to the editor, the Canadian Recording Industry Association lawsuit concerned distribution, or "uploading," using peer-to-peer networks. They lost that one and will likely continue to lose the inevitable costly appeals. Hollett, get a haircut and do your research.
Iraq fast and loose
Just a year ago, I recall president Bush and Donald Rumsfeld assuring all of us that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators by cheering and elated Iraqi citizens (NOW, March 25-31). American troops are seen for what they are - unwelcome invaders. Let's call a spade a spade. A democracy imposed is not a democracy. The entire Iraq fiasco was a shameful ruse from day one. I recall nothing in the U.S. Constitution that allows a president or his advisers to get away with mass murder.
Bruce A. Gorcyca
Standing on guard for thee
Since I wrote a letter way back (NOW, January 29-February 4) supporting Councillor Michael Walker's anti-terror snitch line, I have become persona non grata with some. But you see what's happening in Iraq as I write? They've declared war on us in the West again, a holy war. So why shouldn't we be wary of what we may see occur in Toronto and beyond?
Joseph William Lea
Shite with your cereal?
Anyone accustomed to pale imitations of real writers can be forgiven for misinterpreting Sarah Liss's review of Andre Ethier's solo album (NOW, March 25-31). This review is a good complement to a bowl of shit for breakfast. Its super-casual attack on artists who make their living making art instead of deriding it is low. Unfortunately, it's not her last effort.
RE Skater Haters (now, april 1-7). More disturbing to me than skateboarders are bilingual signs with mistakes. Unless a new kind of skateboard has been invented that I'm not aware of, the word "skateboard" is "planche à roulettes" and not "palanche à roulettes," as the sign you photographed outside the Macdonald block states. Word up.
Deportee got just deserts
The article deportee's Last 96 Hours, by Sami Khan (NOW, April 1-7), bothered me so much, not because I sympathize with Fahim Kayani's deportation, but because Khan wanted to paint Kayani as a tragic character when in fact Kayani defrauded Citizenship and Immigration Canada by claiming to enroll in a bogus "business" school! It makes me so sick to know that there are literally thousands of applications from people from foreign countries wanting to enter Canada legally while there are those who wish to defraud our system and government by entering the country illegally.
Hundreds of thousands of people living in North America go back and forth from either Canada or the United States to go on vacation, visit family or conduct business in Pakistan, never claiming that going there will risk their safety.
But then the Canadian government wants to deport a Pakistani who illegally entered our country and now everyone says he faces state persecution.
Why? For lying and entering Canada illegally? No, they would question him because he is quite simply guilty of something bigger.
I am glad Kayani is gone from Canada. Our system works. And it's only fair that he be sent back to Pakistan. If he wants to come back, he can reapply like the rest of those who do so legally.
I too can attest to the city's poor performance regarding snow in bike lanes (NOW, March 25-31).
In February I tried to use the 338-SNOW number to point out streets where snow and ice had built up in the bike lanes.
I followed up my telephone call with an e-mail. Disturbingly, I was informed that these bike lanes were clear of snow when in fact they were not.
A series of back-and-forth e-mails followed, in which works and emergency services unconvincingly tried to explain how they got this wrong and provided me with many excuses for not being able to clean the bike lanes. I called Olivia Chow's office to discuss this situation. After some phone tag, her office never followed up with a call to address my concerns.
Obviously, the city all round needs to take its commitment to cyclists more seriously.
Leaving wrong impression
Thanks for printing my letter on designated bike lanes a couple of weeks back (NOW, April 1-8). How does one go about inserting an "in my opinion" after the fact? My friends at CAN-BIKE remind me that we actually support Toronto's bike lanes and spend a good portion of a CAN-BIKE course (you think my original letter was long?) teaching the ins and outs of using all traffic lanes, including bike lanes, safely.
I'm afraid my grammar wasn't up to my thought speed and I blew the last (and most important) paragraph, leaving the impression that I feel bike lanes in and of themselves are dangerous and that I was speaking for the CAN-BIKE program.
CAN-BIKE instructor, Toronto
Regarding your article on salvia (NOW, April 1-7) . I was the bookkeeper for probably the largest Internet sales company of herbs that stimulate the senses. The company purchased maybe 100 or more gallon cans of acetone every week, and soaked the salvia and other plants for days in this stuff before drying them out and selling them globally.
No wonder those who take salvia report hallucinating.
Ney, NOW, what happened to the Arts section? I remember a time when there used to be stuff in it, but recently it's dwindled down to - let's be honest here - nothing. Most of the section is filled with ads and listings. Come on. You allocate more paper to regurgitated movie reviews than you do to one of the country's largest and most vibrant arts communities.
Why not try doing some short interviews, shotgun reviews, or - gasp - a real column.
Christ, if Perlich can get so much space, I'm sure there must be room for an underemployed, burgeoning writer like myself to fill the void in the pages of NOW.