Dear Mike, don't leave
Re Dear Peta, We're Through (NOW, September 16-22). Dear Mike Smith, You think we should go our separate ways? I can understand that you might be frustrated that I never seem to give up, like in Toronto when I got kicked out of Dundas Square. But ask yourself why you've always supported me in the past - because you've looked into the same terror-filled eyes of those who are sent to slaughter. If you and I stop speaking for them, who will? I know we have our differences, but I think we also have something special. It's not your passion that I'm after, it's your compassion, that beautiful gem that first brought us together.
I'll never apologize for speaking the truth, no matter how hard it is to swallow, but I do want you to continue to wear my buttons and peel my stickers. If my charms won't keep you by my side, then please, stay with me for the animals' sake
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
I'm naked, not stupid
In response to Dear Peta, We're Through, I am an animal rights activist who has participated in PETA protests wearing next to nothing. I'd like to assure Mike Smith that I've never felt used. As a politically aware woman, I choose to use my body to make a serious point. That doesn't make me a victim. Carol Adams's The Sexual Politics Of Meat explores the links between slaughtering animals and violently subjugating and depersonalizing women into inanimate objects. That is quite a different matter from women compelled by nothing other than their own beliefs using their freedom of expression to convey a message - in my case, animal liberation.
Wendy L. Girard
Santa Barbara, California
Lovin' The L Word
Right on, Susan G. Cole, about the seductiveness of The L Word (NOW, September 9-15). Like you, I found myself occasionally thinking, "Why am I watching this?" Yet I couldn't stop. Never mind the intellectual mumbo-jumbo about the paucity of lesbian representation. We make these feeble excuses whenever we devour "bad" pop culture images of ourselves. Your daughter has it right: it's all about the guilty pleasures of soaps and the fact that a lesbian one is proffered on prime-time TV for our easy consumption.
So have we really arrived, now that we can be as banal as anyone else?
Two states two-way street
In the letter Peace Now on the Case (NOW, September 16-22), Sheldon Gordon of Canadian Friends of Peace Now writes, "We have repeatedly urged the Israeli government to resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority for a two-state solution to the conflict." In 1948, only a few years after the Holocaust, the Palestinians rejected a United Nations two-state solution and along with their Arab allies waged a war of annihilation against Israel.
If the Palestinians and their Arab allies had the military power, you can be sure there'd be a one-state solution, that state being Palestine.
Perhaps Gordon should urge the Arab world to accept the existence of Israel and a two-state solution.
On the welfare record
I'm pleased to respond to Mike Smith's article Smells Like Tory Spirit (NOW, September 2-8) and correct the record on the action taken by the McGuinty government to help the most vulnerable in our society. We are proud to provide a 3 per cent increase to those on the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works - the first increase in more than a decade.
We invested $10 million in a provincial rent bank to help those at risk of losing their homes and created a $2 million Emergency Energy Fund. We raised the minimum wage to $7.15 - the first increase in nine years - and it will continue to rise to $8 per hour by 2007.
We have ended the punitive lifetime ban for welfare fraud.
We recognize that these are first steps and that more needs to be done. The McGuinty government is working to create a social assistance system that helps those who need our help, while at the same time treating them with dignity and respect.
Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services, Toronto
Hurrah for Labour Day
I think NOW missed the spirit of Labour Day this year (NOW, September 9-15). The parade was huge! Over 25,000 union members and their families filled the route from City Hall to the CNE. With banners, balloons, giant puppets and bands playing music of every description, the parade took over two hours to pass through the Dufferin Gates. Each year our Labour Day parade gets bigger and livelier.
Come join us in 2005! Find out why we thousands turn out to say that Toronto is truly a proud union city.
Toronto & York Region Labour Council, Toronto
No shaman? For shame
I've gotten used to John Harkness being wrong about most things, but really, he's gone over the line this time. He claims in his capsule review of Tropical Malady (NOW, September 9-15) that "it's based on an old Thai myth about a shaman, but there's no shaman in the film that I can see."
Anyone who's seen the film knows that there's an extended sequence involving a duel between a disembodied shaman and a soldier. In fact, it's the movie's big finish.
Did he nod off, did he walk out before the end, or is he just a big lazy oaf who wasn't paying attention?
Travis MacKenzie Hoover
Strung out on crack
An image/text in the news in sight article Ever Wondered (NOW, September 9-15) needs further clarification. You're unsure about the meaning of running shoes hanging from phone lines and write, "some say boys lob sneaks... as a rite of passage - after losing their virginity or making the basketball team." This may be, but there's another meaning to this "urban sign."
Running shoes hanging from phone or electric lines mean "Crack cocaine is sold around here. Just hang around, your local dealer will be serving you soon."
I know this because I have a studio in an area where crack dealers are more successful than other businessmen.
Having become acquainted with a couple of them, I've learned the semantics of this trade.
Santiago no serial killer
I enjoyed John Harkness's mini-review of Días De Santiago (NOW, September 9-15), screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
I take exception to his observation that "the impression you get from this movie is that in Peru 'potential mass murderer' is a synonym for 'hottie. '" While it's true that one of the young girls the hero meets at a disco has a fanciful interest in whether he's kept any of his service weapons, she's duly shocked and frightened when he finally and semi-playfully pulls one. If Harkness thinks of Santiago as a potential mass murderer, he and I saw different films.
The hero has a few well-provoked murderous thoughts, but these are directed at his brother and, finally, his father, hardly a "mass."
Re Tim Perlich's review of Björk's Medulla (NOW, August 26-September 1). I was more than surprised to read Perlich's unfavourable review.
In a world where any musical sound can be created, synthesized or altered, Björk has managed to strip her music down to the core: her new CD contains nothing but the human voice. It's vastly nonsensical to judge her songs as "incomplete" when that's exactly what she's trying to achieve.
Maybe it's just me, but TP's review seemed lazy and uninformed, even judgmental. Björk's new CD is a step forward (or backward?) in musical evolution and is conceptually brilliant.
Perhaps Perlich still walks on all fours when it comes to thinking out of the box.