Like Noah Richler, I disagreed with much of what Robert Fulford wrote in Toronto Life about the Walrus (NOW, October 28-November 3). But at least Fulford did his homework. Richler appears to have talked only to Ken Alexander and accepted uncritically Alexander's version of events. This is bad journalism.
In the first place, Alexander did not "establish" the Walrus; he lent his financial support to a project dreamed up by the man who is still listed on the masthead, the last time I looked, as the "founding editor," David Berlin. Berlin, incidentally, was the second and last of Alexander's "swift sackings."
Everyone else, myself included, resigned because we could not continue to work with Alexander. Moreover, almost all of the writers and stories Richler cites as Alexander's contribution to the magazine were brought in by the editors who subsequently resigned.
Had Richler talked to the writers whose pieces were "nudged... toward timeliness" by Alexander's "intuitions," he might have discovered instead a band of very unhappy professionals who are unlikely to work with him again.
Paul Wilson is a former editor of the Walrus Magazine.
VJ Georgie Quick
I was surprised that G. Stroumbo was selected the best local TV personality (NOW, October 28-November 3). I frequently see him on MuchMusic. He speaks so quickly that I am amazed viewers understand what he's saying. Trying to understand him is like trying to find and sort all the letters of the alphabet from a bowl of Campbell's Soup. Obviously, it works for him. I mark it up to white male privilege. Whether or not he's understood isn't important. It's assumed that he's knowledgeable, that he's speaking from the perspective of an expert. He speaks quickly because to slow down for us, the viewers, would be an insult to his intelligence.
Re Arabesque Academy, best place To See Several Women Shaking Their Asses. Needless to say, belly dancers are outraged. This article is the same as telling people to check out the School of the National Ballet of Canada where you can get a full view of women's crotches as they kick up their legs. Our telephone has been inundated by calls from men who want to pay the $20 to watch "the dewy, nubile young thing and the voluptuous matron shaking their asses."
Arabesque Academy and all belly dance schools are popular right now because they are places where women feel safe while cultivating self-esteem by exploring a new appreciation of their bodies.
These few lines in NOW have set back the hard work of educating the public on this ancient art form. The Middle Eastern community as well does not appreciate yet again another part of their culture trivialized and misrepresented.
Artistic Director, Arabesque Academy
Every year I look forward to your Best Of Toronto readers poll issue. But this year I was shocked by the first-place finish of so many national and international franchises. Perhaps in the future you might consider excluding chains of any type that started outside of our city.
Sweet fears on Halloween
You mention in your Halloween Eco-holic column (NOW, October 28-November 3) that "processed fructose" bears "no resemblance to fruit sugars." Wrong. Fructose is the sugar primarily found in fruit. Although it's assimilated into the body more slowly than white sugar (glucose), fructose has essentially the same nutritional value. End of story.
Guys who don't go down
Girls should definitely watch out for "I am not ready to have sex yet" guys (NOW, October 28-November 3). It usually means he's a porn addict. "I do not like oral sex" usually means he doesn't want to give you oral sex. I'm sorry, but if he's not ripping your clothes off after several dates, "it" won't be rocking your socks off when it finally happens either!
Congratulations to Paul Carlucci and NOW for High On Gas Boot Camp (NOW, October 28-November 3). A rep from one of those private gas utilities actually forged my signature and signed me onto a "plan" at an astronomical rate.
When I challenged the forgery, the utility backed off, without an apology. The same utility resorted to sending me a so-called $50 rebate, which upon redemption automatically signed me on to a two-year plan. I would have had to read the fine print to find that out. Our gas rates have shot up 300 per cent since privatization.
No wonder they're talking BMWs and Guccis.
Public art getting noticed
Great that Toronto's public art (private and public commissions) is being noticed - and both loved and hated (NOW, October 21-27). With city planning's public art program in place for more than 15 years, there is more accountability, more due process and, ultimately, more civic enjoyment of public art than ever before. The deadline to apply as a volunteer member on the Public Art Commission is November 8. Contact Jrichar3@toronto.ca. Get involved!
Chair, Public Art Commission
City of Toronto
Condo ad a fake
I am writing in regard to the ad placed by Concord Pacifica for a new condominium (building) called The Gallery (NOW, October 21-27). I was infuriated by their use of the names of important visual artists to sell condos.
It's unbelievable to me that they would try to suggest that a Mark Rothko or Francisco de Goya might be as inspiring as what is, in the end, a glorified apartment.
Junkies' holy Trinity
I know you guys don't like the Cowboy Junkies (not quite hip enough), but you did yourselves a major disservice when you urged folks to attend their show at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre, where "the country blues stalwarts revisit the church that produced their lovely Trinity Session disc" (NOW, October 7-13). The infamous Trinity Session album was recorded at the historic Church of the Holy Trinity (now swallowed up by the Eaton Centre) on November 27, 1987, by Peter Moore, using a single Calrec Ambisonic microphone.
Che it ain't so
What the hell were you thinking when you plugged that Che Guevara jacket (NOW, October 21-27)? I was completely pissed off when I saw the overexcited blurb you ran to promote a jacket styled like the one legendary Cuban revolutionary Che wore. What's more appalling is that it costs more than $700.
This goes against everything Che stood for. It's bad enough that his face has been screen-printed on thousands of T-shirts and underpants, made readily available to be snatched up by 14-year-old giggle girls.
I find you encouraging the same moronic consumer behaviour you so often whine about.
Bin Laden kills conspiracy
Now that Osama Bin Laden has taken credit (again) for 9/11 in his latest video, can all the annoying conspiracy theorists out there please shut the hell up with the constant nonsense? The Jews and CIA did not stage 9/11, the towers didn't crash from explosive charges, and no missile struck the Pentagon. (They're right about Bush being a dick, though).