Cruel twist on torture
RE Kevin Temple's Top Art Shows of 2004 (NOW, December 23-29). [Linda Feesey's Casuistry: The Art Of Killing A Cat] was not an exploration of why a soulless person would torture an innocent creature to death for kicks. Rather, it was a way to give Jesse Power and his cohorts a way to explain themselves. It wasn't a look inside Power's twisted, perverted mind.
What the film asked was [whether] Power's reason for killing the animal made sense. It did not pass judgment on this cruelty. It was just an idiot forum for other idiots to discuss torture and cruelty.
Your journalists should do a little research before they denigrate the work of the compassionate few who chose to speak out against the celebration and publicizing of a senseless and unspeakable act of cruelty.
RE 2004's Biggest Musical Disappointments (NOW, December 23-29). Wow. Björk's Medulla is third on your list. What does an artist who writes a song like Oceania, about the evolutionary relationship between the sea and humankind, and then performs it to an Olympic audience of 4 billion people, possibly have to contribute in these terrible, terrible hours? Prick up your ears!
Port's other missing link
RE Your UpFront prediction that the Toronto Port Authority will build a bridge to Pearson Airport in 2005 (NOW, December 30-January 5). The Toronto Port Authority (then called the Toronto Harbour Commission) built Pearson Airport in 1938 as a backup to the Island Airport. The federal government took it over in 1957. Perhaps if they were still operating it, we would by now have a rail link to the airport.
Rocking the Cradle of Peace, by Leonard Desroches (NOW, December 30-January 5), was inspiring, in keeping with the message of the story of Jesus and the spirit of this season of celebration. It is rare to find a life lived so consistently in the way of love, so it is reason for inspiration when we do.
J. Kirby Inwood's letter (NOW, December 30-January 5) correctly details how police officers in Canada who face disciplinary or criminal charges are suspended with pay and financially protected from the ramifications of their actions even if they're found guilty. As a member of said goon squad, I'd like to make a couple of points.
Do you think we just wrote that contract ourselves? Hardly. We are powerful, but not that powerful. We know what we want and we ask for it. You got a problem with the conditions of our contract? Talk to your MPP or MP.
Chief Fantino has brought disciplinary charges against more members of the TPS than every other chief. Do you think Fantino - or any of us, for that matter - likes that rogue cops are so well protected by the terms of our contract?
The objection that the chief has to senstivity training, and that is shared by a great many officers, is that we are already doing it and it is unnecessary for the vast majority.
If I am not allowed to characterize a certain ethnic or racial community based on the activities of a very few of its members, then I would respectfully request that Inwood et al. refrain from characterizing me and my fellow officers using the same criteria.
Michael H. Foster
RE Denial on The Beat (NOW, December 30-January 5). So let me get this straight. Tasers are bad? Why? Because they offer a less lethal means of ending a confrontation?
Let me ask you this: How many people have been killed by tasers in North America? Now how many people have guns killed? Lots more, I'm willing to wager. Would you rather be confronted by Glock-armed police or taser-armed police? Seems like a no brainer to me.
Taking it like a pro
It sounds to me as though letter writer Mark Adam is one of those "angry little punters" of whom he is complaining (NOW, December 23-29). Maybe a little self-centred and whiney, too.
There is such a thing as taking criticism with dignity, Mark. You know, like a real professional.
Punditry a parody
While using dull grade-school puns and jump-rope rhymes like Mack Knifed and Dore's A Bore for unfavoured comics can be seen as hilarity itself (NOW, December 23-29), I suggest that dear, sweet Glenn Sumi move his less than credible reviews to a parody newspaper.
Y'know, like the Onion or the Toronto Sun.
Jako the most wacko
I faithfully read your paper every week and mostly agree with your reporting and opinions. But this time you've gone too far with an obvious omission and error in judgment that I cannot permit to pass without comment. I'm referring to the Man, That's Low piece on all the "dumb-ass dirty deeds in 2004" (NOW, December 23-29).
How could you possibly exclude Tom Jakobek from your list? He lied, he stole, he dragged his family into his web of deceit, and did all this publicly and apparently without shame. Councillors Micheal Walker and Glenn De Baeremaeker should only get honourable mention in such a list, because their "wackiness" was but situational.
Jakobek's was long-term, far-ranging and done with the righteousness that can only be sustained by the truly mad.
Who's the dumb ass?
I greatly enjoyed the kicker for Man, That's Low: Off (sic) all the dumb-ass dirty deeds in 2004 ." I have to agree with the stupidity that follows. Any job openings for proofreaders down there?
A safer Sudan strategy
Calls for some sort of intervention to stop atrocities in Sudan are well intentioned (NOW December 16-22) but simply not practical.
The UN can't solve the problem, since China will veto any resolutions in order to protect its oil investments, and we certainly can't call on the U.S., because that would be imperialist.
As for nations like Canada launching a (gasp!) illegal military intervention, there's the tiny problem of Sudan being run by Islamic fundamentalists.
Since any Western intervention would be seen as a "war on Islam" or another lame Zionist plot to steal Sudan's oil or dirt, I somehow doubt Canadians would be willing to take the risk of having car bombs blasting their streets. It's much safer to just keep talking about how much we care and hope it makes a difference.
Suffer evil, don't do it
To Julian Reid, who wants to send Jeremy Hinzman home (NOW, December 23-29).
Socrates said it is better to suffer evil than to do it, an opinion with which leaders in many religious traditions have concurred. If it is true - and I think it is - then Hinzman and others like him who want to escape from being made to do evil are at least as deserving of our protection as refugees escaping from being made to suffer evil.
Matt's a groan, Lynda, too
Boy! you people! You sure don't miss a trick. Whether it's reminding us that "breast milk is natural" or pointing out that Case Ootes is right-wing, you can always count on NOW to be on the ball. That's why it surprises me to open up Toronto's institutional circular and see that you're still printing the syndicated comic strips Life In Hell and Ernie Pook's Comeek.
The former, by Matt Groening, has not been worthwhile since 1990, with the exception of a couple of mid-decade aberrations. As for the latter, by Lynda Barry, contrary to popular belief, no lesbian on earth reads it.
Now, I don't attribute this behind-the-times oversight to editorial navel-gazing on the part of your publication. In all fairness, NOW's offerings are miles better than that other Toronto weekly's masturbatory M@B and Weltschmerz, a comic that only close family members of the author have ever politely laughed at. But that's not saying much.
While it's true the comic strip medium is dead, there is Carol Tyler's Story Minute and Bill Griffith's Zippy The Pinhead, both of which are outstanding and would contribute to keeping NOW the bastion of progressive social and political journalism you pride yourselves on being.
In any case, whatever you decide to do, please, please take the two current strips you publish, out behind the barn and shoot them.
Can't you see they're suffering?
Poems, if you please
I'd love to see a weekly poem in NOW. The possibilities of humorous, thought-provoking, political, erotic, multicultural, spiritual, experimental, beautiful and uniquely Torontonian expressions are endless! It would be an easy way for NOW to expand from primarily covering art to actually containing it. I (and I'm not the only closet poetiphile out there) would be as eager to check out poems as I am to see what Brezsny and Savage are offering. And how cool it would be if the feature spawned local interest in this ancient, populist art form!
It was a dreary Tuesday morning when I turned on my computer and noticed an e-mail from NOW informing me that I won a prize for entering the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) contest. The prize: two coffees at Starbucks! It must be a mistake, I thought. Prizes offered in the past have included dinners for two, double movie passes and concerts. I checked, and, yes indeed, I won two coffees at Starbucks (a sponsor of the IFOA), with a side note saying that the prize is worth $8-$10 if one were to choose a latte. Well, that gave me a bigger jolt than any caffeinated beverage. Who knows? Perhaps next week I may be the proud winner of a pair of NOW magazines (to be picked up during office hours, ID required).