I'm up feeding my daughter at 5 am and noted the NOW article on the incident in the Dufferin Grove rinkhouse online (NOW, January 20-26). I have a couple of reactions, first to the suggestion that I was "exposing (my) left breast in front of a group of young male hockey players doing up their skates."
This claim is exaggerated. The few children left in the building at closing time were almost exclusively my children and the children of a group of my best friends. There appeared to be a few fully grown men on the other side of the room, but my back was turned to them, so I'm unsure of their exact age.
I'd like to clarify that I was wearing a black maternity T-shirt raised to my neck and a T-back Bravado nursing bra with the left cup snapped down. The bra gives fuller coverage than a swim bikini. I find the fact that I have to broadcast e-mails across North America regarding my bra choices humiliating to the point of tears. This is a terrible violation of every woman's right to breast-feed any time, anywhere, in any manner.
I never intended for this to be a public debate. I simply sent a private e-mail to the city of Toronto and Friends of Dufferin Grove Park asking for an apology and a clarification of policy.
One boob or two?
Your article Breast-feeding Frenzy was intentionally unclear as to what was or was not exposed by Erika Ross at the park. One boob? Two? A chest? Of course, Jutta Mason wants us to believe that Ross was actually baring more than she did. Mason's now stuck in a bind, feeling all this heat, and wants to make the other side look bad in any way she can.
Shocker: it's not a crime
It's unfortunate that even former breast-feeders like Jutta Mason forget that mammary glands do exist for a purpose.
Women don't always use them to sell perfume or titillate men, or even to heckle young hockey players, as Mason suggests. Some women might actually use them to feed their newborn babies! Shocking, I know, but it's not a crime.
I say three cheers for Ross! Thanks for standing up for the rights of breast-feeding women and hungry babies everywhere.
Community left gawking
It must be a slow news week if a minor occurence like the breast-feeding incident at Dufferin Grove Park is one of your major stories.
Dufferin Grove has a policy on this matter, which I am sure Jenny Yuen read at the Dufferin Park Web site. So I wonder why the position of the community did not receive more attention.
Tarnation, that's poppycock
In the review of Tarnation (NOW, January 20-26) your (newly minted) film critic Deirdre Swain writes that "the use of text breaks the first rule of storytelling. (Show, don't tell)."
Poppycock! It's a convention, at best a guideline, and one that's been effectively and beautifully ignored a thousand times. If there were such clear rules, we'd all get a copy of the pamphlet and we wouldn't need film critics.
If Swain actually believes in these rules, she should quickly abandon her (recent?) career as a film critic and take her rightful place at one of our government film agencies, where notions like "rules of storytelling" still unfortunately hold sway.
RE Unspoken Sway, by Izida Zorde (NOW, January 20-26). Why can't Zorde consider that the principal players in the Ukraine elections were the Ukrainians themselves? Perhaps her opinion has been formed by sources promoting the (conspiracy) theory that the revolution was manufactured in Washington or Brussels?
Ukraine's citizens were happy to see her and the many other foreign observers who came for the third round of the elections, not because they believed that the observers were there to get Yushchenko elected, but because the observers' presence would help guarantee that these elections would be as free and fair as possible.
Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Toronto
Pushing kiddie porn
I could not let the American Apparel advertisement on the back page of the current issue (NOW, January 20-26) go without comment.
Natasha Komis may be a self-proclaimed Cuban/Greek New Jersey hustler, but the ad fails to mention that she looks to be 12 years old. Given the composition of the photo featuring Natasha's bottom, with the headline "It fits," I can't help but think of this ad as soft kiddie porn. You've managed to really lower the bar.
Bring me Val Kilmer's head
I live in an apartment on Queen West and one day came home to find Val Kilmer spray-painted on my apartment door! (NOW, January 20-26). I'd seen his face plastered all over the neighbourhood and thought nothing of it.
Now I've become part of this tagging mystery, and I don't even like Val Kilmer! All I'm saying is, I'm fine with whoever is doing this and I don't care why. Go ahead. Make your point. Sell a couple of your indie records. But stick to tagging garbage cans and fences.
How to eliminate poverty
Your article It's a Bloody Disgrace (NOW, January 20-26) about the provincial clawback of benefits to poor families provokes the question, why do we have to have poor people in the first place? A fair monetary and taxation policy guaranteeing everyone a basic living income (not welfare) would eliminate the cycle of poverty.
Let them eat cement
Further to your article on the cement factory being built in south Etobicoke (NOW, January 20-26).
You should know that the OMB is fast-tracking to get the operation up and running despite calls from the neighbourhood and (sleeping-on-the-job) city politicians.
With respect to Mark Grimes, his actions may seem suspect, but I do believe both he and his office were deceived by the heavy hand of powers who answer to no one. I, for one, have made my stand and have asked our fearless Mayor David Miller to come up to the plate and show us his true mettle.
Obviously, the standard letter was sent to appease the serfs of the area, but I cannot comprehend in this day and age of communications that government still looks upon citizens generally as mindless peasants.
Holes in greenbelt
RE Chain Reaction (NOW, December 16-22, 2004). The new Ontario Greenbelt may be "the best in the country," according to Wayne Roberts, but it has serious shortcomings that render it inadequate and ineffectual.
First, it's too small. Second, car-dependent sprawl will leapfrog the belt. Third, the Greenbelt will do nothing to improve land use within its boundaries. What good is greenspace when it's wall-to-wall freeways, golf courses, parking lots, big-box stores and factory farms?
Frank de Jong,
Leader, Green Party of Ontario, Toronto
Sudan soft sellout
Your article concerning Canadian foreign policy in Sudan (NOW, December 16-22, 2004) revealed the weakness of a policy based purely on soft power.
However, I disagree that Canada has to be involved because a Canadian company happened to drill oil in the region. Talisman did not direct that money be spent on weapons to kill Sudanese in the west and south. Such choices are entirely those of the government. Nor will impovershing the nation by discouraging further investment be a solution.
Nations that embrace mutually assured (economic) dependence have the lowest instance of violence. In addition to helping prevent future genocide, this would reduce the number of Sudanese refugees and the likelihood of Sudan being a haven for terrorists. It is very much in our interests to take immediate action.
Pseudo Chinese medicine
RE June Ann Kelly's statement that Chinese medicine advocates heating cold in the ear (NOW, January 13-19), with the implication that sticking a burning candle in the ear (ear candling) achieves this, is faulty reasoning.
In over 15 years of study and practice of traditional Chinese medicine, I have never seen a recommendation for such a procedure, nor anyone formally trained in Chinese medicine do this.
It's interesting to note that naturopaths have maybe a couple of hundred hours of training in Chinese medicine and are then set free to use (or misuse) it as they please.
Would you go to a conventional doctor who has about 200 hours of training in Western medicine, rely on his or her diagnosis and then take his or her treatment (pharmaceuticals, surgeries, etc)? Ah, probably not....
I wonder, then, if anyone should follow the "expert" advice espoused by June Ann Kelly?
Practise whatever you want, but keep your pseudo-medicine to yourself, thanks!
Rosedale Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic
The media have been criticized for paying so much attention to the tsunami disaster (NOW, January 20-26). Perhaps this will help us all understand the dimensions of human suffering, poverty and displacement, the lack of clean water, shelter and medicine that exist in so many countries throughout the world.
Too many in the West for too long have ignored the ongoing and repetitive nature of the suffering and hardships in Southeast Asia and Asia. Perhaps we need to evaluate our own lifestyles in the Western world? What can we change in our own way of living that will relieve the suffering of so many others?
We hope the change will focus on a new awareness of the value of human lives, communities and the environment over the superficial glitter of materialism. Thank you for caring, and please continue to do so.
Buddhist Peace Fellowship Toronto
Martin's McKenna muck up
Paul Martin needs to put his people before the almighty U.S. dollar. The bottom line is this: Frank McKenna is deeply connected with hawkish elements of the Republican party, including the Bush family, and he is involved in promoting the arms industry and profiting from the war on terrorism (NOW, January 13-19).
Is he the appropriate choice for the next Canadian ambassador to the United States?
Anyone who saw Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 will remember the segment about the Carlyle Group and its connections to Osama bin Laden's family, who were in Washington, DC, coincidentally, for a Carlyle Group meeting the morning of September 11, 2001.
The Carlyle Group also has deep links with the Bush administration and is run by former politicians and power brokers from the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA.
Tosca Hidalgo y Teran