Sexual freedom my ass
Re Porn pushers or youth pro- phets? (NOW, March 17-23).
Where are these mysterious American Apparel ads of which you speak, featuring "real" "gritty" girls with bikini rashes and pit stains?
The only AA ads I've seen showcase long, lean bodies, defined cheekbones, pouty lips and hungry bedroom eyes.
Please don't try to feed your readership this bull about American Apparel's commendable mission to improve body image. Frankly, it's a crock that one would even suggest these girls do anything to further female self-esteem.
I'm not some crazy plus-sized activist who feels the need to hate all the hot skinny chicks out there.
I'm just surprised that NOW doesn't have the balls to call a spade a fucking spade.
The problem with American Apparel isn't the "real" hustlers in their clothing, but the fact that the company is hustling its own employees.
In order to work at American Apparel, you must go through a group interview where three employees ask questions about whether you agree with the so-called controversial advertising. There's very little pertaining to vertical integration business models or, heck, the product.
After the interview, the employees take a Polaroid of each potential member of the Dov Charney cult. The employees decide who they think is worthy and then send the photos to head office.
Head office picks the people who get offered employment, even though they've never interviewed them!
Even the company employment opportunities website states that you have to send a photo of yourself with your resumé. AA doesn't use models in its ads because it's too busy hiring models to work in its stores.
Re Suspended while black (NOW, March 17-23). During my tenure as co-chair of the Toronto district school board, I observed the children of the most affluent parents skipping a class, unleashing their tempers on teachers or partaking of their first contraband substance on school grounds, all suspension offences. Then these parents would learn what parents in at-risk neighborhoods already know, that removal from school doesn't address the behaviours. That simple truth isn't altered by the colour of one's skin.
An inability to conform to required behaviour can never be addressed by excusing the child or youth from the environment where the standards exist. That simply allows the child to draw further and further away from school life.
Fellow students, whatever their grade, are always ambivalent upon the suspendee's return. They regard him or her as having equal measures of coolness, menace and sheer entertainment value, and thus the suspension cycle begins, as the youngster now has a "rep."
If the minister of education wants to wriggle out of the Safe Schools Act that he knows damn well is wrong, he must find a new statistic to convince his rural and 905 voters. Tragically, race research won't move that particular group of electors. You cannot walk away from a child and expect to change him or her at the same time.
City Councillor, Don Valley East
Winter blah, blah, blah
Great piece on the city's putting up barriers to winter fun (Winter Blunderland, NOW, March 17-23).
I've been trying to get the city and the parks department to clear the Taylor Creek path for years. They do so after a storm on the adjacent E. T. Seton path (behind the Science Centre), and it's dry and usable all winter. They acknowledge that they only maintain the parking lots [at Taylor Creek]. I've seen their pickup, with plow attached, making the run to collect garbage but the plow stays up! Too much.
We have a wonderful network of paths that connect the whole city. Too bad we can't use them half the time.
P.S. You missed my favourite sign, "Beware Of Falling Objects" under the Overlea Bridge, where the kids bomb people on the trail below with giant Burger King drink containers.
President, Ontario Masters
Track & Field Association
Re Hal Niedzviecki's let woody Allen Grind His Axe (NOW, March 17-23). The suggestion that we should value Melinda And Melinda because it is made by an artist, in this case Woody Allen, in a time where celebrities like Madonna are just inventing themselves, is a crock.
Allen's image as a soul-searching existentialist who finds absurdity in modern life is just as calculated as Madonna's.
Why do you think he's still allowed to make movies?
Niedzviecki is the kind of critic who would rather scrape the bottom of the American "art house" barrel than watch the latest Hou or Kiarostami movie, because, ironically, he would find these "foreign" directors were just repeating themselves.
All that jazz
The bar guide issue's cover photo was of no ordinary waitress (NOW, March 10-16). Katherine Bates is an accomplished and versatile musician, by now well known in Toronto's jazz scene.
With a degree in music, she's a jazz vocalist, band leader and arranger. Too bad you didn't make mention of that.
Congratulations to Wayne Roberts on Taking Us For A Ride (NOW, March 10-16) about government bribes to the car industry. Eye-opening and very sharply written!
Dumb cheap shot
I would like to take the opportunity to address some misrepresentations made in the Upfront item Dumb And Dundas (NOW, March 10-17).
As noted in that column, Yonge-Dundas Square is looking for a general manager.
However, contrary to the insinuation in the article, this staffing change is not due to a flawed approach to managing this public resource. The fact is that the current general manager has tendered her resignation to address some serious personal issues.
This is an unfortunate occurrence for her and for our organization, and it is offensive to see your newspaper taking such cheap shots.
Chair, Board of Management, Yonge-Dundas Square
The phrase "for the entirety of the band's nearly two-hour set it was easy to forget this was Toronto and not some club in Latin America" (NOW, March 3-9) is not the kind of Toronto-bashing statement I need to hear from my local alternative weekly.
Jered Stuffco, next time you think the vibe is repressed, ask yourself, "What am I doing to get this party started?" Are you making eye contact, smiling at beauties, breaking the ice? Are you dancing even if those around you aren't? Why not?
Toronto is a beautiful embarassment of cultural riches, and if you keep putting her down she can't shine. Oh, and I hate to tell you, Jered, but Latin music and dancing are so Toronto!
Earsore on the waterfront
[Describing] the fight about the abusive noise from the Docks as an aural version of the postering bylaw is a total miscasting of the situation (NOW, February 24-March 2).
Obviously, your support of the Docks is in your own interests. It puts huge ads in your paper. But the Docks sound system is the world's largest, and its patio for more than 10,000 people one of the biggest in North America.
Islanders could probably arrange for Michael Hollett and Alice Klein to stay in a house on the Island close to the water for a month this summer. They could experience first-hand what it's like to go without sleep for three or four nights a week.
They could invite their friends out for a nice barbecue and a few drinks on a warm Sunday afternoon only to find out they can't hold a conversation because the MC at the Docks is screaming at the mob to scream to see the tits at the wet T-shirt competition.
It's time we got rid of this earsore on the waterfront.
Ward's Island, Toronto
Dare to rail on St. Clair
Re A tale of two St. Clairs (NOW, March 10-16). Real estate agent Avrom Brown says, "There's a big fear, with the street being torn up and all the downtime [during construction], that St. Clair is not the place to be."
The streetcar tracks on St. Clair are worn out and need replacement, and this often involves tearing up the street, as happened last year on College.
Streetcar tracks used to last 10 years before being replaced; however, with new track construction techniques, new tracks will last 25 to 30 years. Road, sidewalk and track replacements occur from time to time.
Retailers on such streets need to tough it out for a few months.
Re Falun Gong goes to war (now , March 3-9). Although an inveterate devotee of both Zen and Tao, I am not a great fan of Falun Gong, or Dafa, mainly because I consider it too much of a hodgepodge.
Zen and Tao are essentially solitary meditative practices or ways of life, while Falun Gong is more group-action-oriented. This is not gainsaying.
I passionately support Falun Gong in its ongoing battle with the Communist tyrants in Beijing, who use the same genocidal tactics of vilification and torture to silence Falun Gong that they have used against Tibetans.
But wholly unlike the powerless Tibetans, Falun Gong is an indigenous movement directly threatening the powers that be.
That [those powers] should be so intimidated by a group of gentle, peaceful people practising gentle and peaceful acts shows how weak and frightened the Beijing despots really are. Falun Gong has already won the war.
O. G. Pamp
When death is fair game
Re Live stupidly, die young (NOW, March 3-9). Why publish judgmental and unfeeling opinion from NOW letter-writers on a person's tragic death?
My son was an acquaintance of Bryan Zargham. He was somebody's kid. He was an artist, too, although in the problem medium of privately owned surfaces in public view.
As a graffiti artist, he seems fair game to your letter-writer, to a narrow, clichéd characterization of his life and trivialization of his death.
Did you choose to publish Maxim Ivashyn's letter as an example of pettiness? At whose expense? Of his memory, of his family, or of us who might be used by a newspaper if our deaths are a "good story"?