Hooray for militarism
Thanks for pointing out that the Canadian Commercial Corporation was awarded $370 million in U.S. Defense Department contracts (NOW, July 8-14). It's always nice to find out about some of the more useful initiatives of the Canadian government. The U.S. "military-industrial complex" played a major role in the defeat of the most destructive ideology of the last century, Nazism. It also played the major role in the defeat of Japanese militarism, and the containment and defeat of Communism, ideologies that killed over 100 million people.
Recently, the U.S. military defeated two of the most brutal dictators in the Middle East and is in the process of helping Iraq and Afghanistan enjoy more freedom and economic opportunity as well as a consensual government.
Thus, I applaud the CCC for helping Canada indirectly partake in America's defeat of Islamic fascism and efforts at rebuilding a more democratic and humane Middle East.
No means no - end of story
L. Ipsum's "I have just experienced sex in the grey zone" piece (NOW, July 8-14) has done nothing to promote thoughtful discussion about consensual sex. On the contrary, the writer quite eloquently, though I suspect accidentally, has helped perpetuate one of the oldest myths that has allowed male violence against women to continue to escalate year after year. Men, and sometimes women like Ipsum, speak of this "grey zone" as if it were an unspoken truth about sex. But in fact, it's a lie. There is no grey area "between utter and absolute consent and all-out rape." A woman either consents or she doesn't, regardless of the excuses men or their partners may offer.
I have worked in the anti-violence movement for the past two decades, and I have some unsolicited advice for the writer, who has clearly been traumatized by this so-called "open relationship." This man who you say loves you and respects you and whom you value in spite of his "abhorrent" behaviour toward a mere stranger needs to be kicked to the curb.
Anne Marie Aikins
I love the Fringe Festival and see as many shows as I can. I really appreciate the great coverage and reviews. However, I am very angry with NOW for Shows To Skip (NOW, July 8-14). To give a show one N says it sucks. Isn't that enough punishment for the poor theatre companies? Do you have to put them on display as the crappiest in town? Now, that's twisting the knife. Shame on you.
The reviewer of Lunatic van Beethoven has surely almost outstayed his welcome as a critic. (Glenn Sumi's) review (NOW, July 8-14) was a hatchet job, the lowest form of ad hominem argument and way off the mark on all accounts. I saw the play and was moved by Cutler's performance, as I always have been, because he aims at the mind and en route hits the heart and funny bone. The audience expressed the same positive reactions. Sumi's obvious personal animus against Cutler is his own petty business, but it should not intrude into his review.
Divine Heretic a teaser
I saw a performance of the Divine Heretic last night (NOW, July 8-14). True, it may have been a little vague and confusing at times, but the reason was that the show had been chopped down from its original form, not because it's in need of a narrator. The program notes let the audience know that this was an abridged version of a full-length musical that centres around not just Joan's mother, but three women in total.
Heretic is not meant to be taken as a full show. People should know that the idea is to give them a taste of what it's about.
On a recent trip to Toronto, I explored the alley south of Queen for some good urban art, graffiti and inspiration. I discovered the beautiful swing that was mentioned in Sheila Gostick' article (NOW, July 8-14) on Toronto's Enchanted Enclaves. I snuck through the hole in the fence and had a delightful swing.
I felt like I'd discovered a hidden gem, a gift, in this big wonderful city. I want to thank the person who put this swing up, as it made my day.
Mayor David Miller states that Robert Deluce's $505-million lawsuit "is thicker, in terms of paper, than his company is" (NOW, July 8-14).
And the only thing thicker than his lawsuit is Deluce himself, with his pitiful attempt to extort money from the City of Toronto.
The decision to kill the bridge to the Island Airport directly reflects the citizens' will. That Deluce places his own avarice above the will of the people says much about this individual.
Windows a disjointed mess
I'm astonished that you gave Facing Windows five Ns (NOW, July 8-14). I went with a companion to the sneak preview; we walked out of the screening shaking our heads at this over-inflated, sugar-coated opus. The leads turn in excellent performances (kudos to Giovanna Mezzogiorno's expressive doe eyes), but it's all to very little effect. I suspect a better film may have been left on the cutting room floor.
What's up on the screen is a disjointed mess. The film never explains why Simone/Davide is sitting in confusion at the outset - it's sketchily tied in with a flashback Holocaust story that fails to infuse anything profound into the main storyline.
Eventually, Simone, after disappearing from Giovanna's home for no apparent reason, reappears triumphantly as Davide. Only problem is, we don't know why we should care.
Pubes victim of media hype
I'm not sure if Stephen Reid was really expecting to receive an answer to his questions about the disappearance of women's pubic hair (NOW, July 1-7), but I happen to have studied exactly that as part of my master's thesis (on body hair norms). Basically, Playboy centrefold models began "grooming" their pubic hair in the late 1980s, and by 2000 pubic hair had all but disappeared, with only a tiny strip remaining (aka the Brazilian wax).
Reid makes the unsubstantiated claim that women shave "because their sexual partners prefer them that way," and while there is some truth to this, Reid neglects to explore the ways the media shape our desires and ideals as much as they reflect them. When hairlessness is presented as ideal in virtually all visual media, we begin to see our body hair as excessive, distasteful, unattractive, etc.
Our consumer culture more or less depends on our feeling bad about our bodies. The more our bodies are a "problem," the more products and services we'll buy to "fix" them.
Bike lane wasting my time
It would appear the writer of Boomer of A Bike Lane (NOW, July 8-14) has more imagination than the person who put Case Ootes on a bike! While I can't speak for the whole length from Kingston Road to Broadview, I know the piece of Dundas between Pape and Leslie at the top of my street is solid cars between those streets going west in the morning and east in the evening. I also know that turning onto Queen takes considerably longer at any time of any day! I'm not even sure I see more bikes on Dundas now than I did in years past! I'd say the bike lanes have been a big waste of money and a continuing inconvenience (and danger) for those of us who live in this part of town.
Health care catastrophe
re Why Is Food Not A Health Issue? (NOW, July 8-14). Wayne Roberts makes a lot of insightful comments, and our elected officials need to be reminded that we should be investing in the health of our kids now or pay exorbitantly later.
Health care costs are not just for hospitals and doctors. I think it a travesty that preventative care was not in the political debate during the election, while budgeting for more and more hospital beds was. The ad men dish out syrupy messages that everything's all right. The politicians just look away. Time for us all to pull up our socks and get kids active. It's the only way to avoid a health care catastrophe.
Social conservatives we hate
In all the post-election analysis, too many people missed the one man - Joe Clark - who predicted precisely what happened long before the sponsorship scandal. When that rat Peter MacKay broke his promise and agreed to merge with the Alliance, Clark said eastern Canada would see this as an Alliance takeover and were against most of the new party's social values; the vote splitting that had occurred would remain, with most of the former core PC voters shifting to the Liberals. Well, lookie what we have here. Albertans bitch and whine that we refuse to accept a PM from their province. It's not Albertans we hate, it's social conservatives.
Greens scapegoat for Chow
re Green Party Poopers (NOW, July 1-7). I wanted to see Olivia Chow win in Trinity-Spadina, but when she failed it seemed only a matter of time before NDP supporters lined up the Green party as the target for their blame. If people really need a scapegoat for why Chow lost, why not pick on the more than 23,000 (3,000 more than in 2000) people who voted to re-elect Tony "Worst MP in Toronto" Ianno, and leave alone the 2,200 or so who voted Green.
Michael J. Doran
I used to like the My Style column, when random cool people on the street were featured. Lately, though, the photo shoot format is way too set-up, predictable, commercial. I feel like there's always an ulterior motive for featuring these way-too-cool-for-school trendoids. What exactly are you trying to sell? I'd love it if you reverted to the old format, with truly real cool people. That's what made it interesting.