Preying on the Pope
Kevin Wilson's schoolboy angst and self-flagellation over his colossal spiritual failures (NOW, March 31-April 6) are as enlightening and entertaining as staring at a pair of soiled underwear.
Catholic-bashing is the real fetish-du-jour, especially for those too weak and too foolish to embrace truth. It is utterly characteristic that the usual suspects in Wilson's circle always avoid mentioning John Paul's stance on Third World debt and capital punishment, his triumph over Communism or his genuine love for the poor.
Anyone who can so facilely mock human suffering is obviously burdened with childish hostility and desperately in need of counselling, education and prayer.
NOW deserves a hard kick in the butt for publishing such nasty drivel under the banner of religion.
Nasty as they wanna be
Thank god some print space has finally gone toward pointing out how rude TTC drivers can be (NOW, March 31-April 6). I can't even count the number of times I've wanted to write [a] complaint letter. But I haven't bothered because it's obvious, as noted in the article, that their lousy complaints system doesn't do anything to actually address the problem.
It's laughable that the TTC lists "excellent communication skills" and "customer service" as the most important qualifications for drivers.
Funding issues and internal problems at the TTC [are no] excuse. They keep upping the fares, but the service and attitude remain as nasty as ever.
Dahn's word to the wise
As someone who has experienced the many Dahn Hak training programs referred to in your article (NOW, March 31-April 6), I offer this perspective. Dahn Hak is an Asian style of training that, in an East-meets-West paradigm, calls upon [us] to let go of our tendency toward critical analysis in order to access wisdom or intuition in different ways. As Westerners, this may cause us to be skeptical.
It is also a business, but in my own experience, I have not found it to be one seeking profit for its own sake. Their perseverance may be received as a hard sell. But Il Chi Li, the founder of Dahn Hak, doesn't need to sell enlightenment; his primary message is that we already have it. Our only decision is how to use it, and that will always be an individual's choice.
I have to say that Hal Niedzviecki's movie commentary on Sin City (NOW, March 31-April 6) is about the most asinine thing I've read in some time. Comparing Sin City to The Incredibles is like comparing a pack of matches to a hive of honeybees. Sin City is not a superhero tale; it's crime noir. It's not supposed to inspire awe and wonder and innocent four-colour action like The Incredibles. Does Niedzviecki even understand what either movie is trying to do? His comments are typical of the ignorant responses too often applied to "comic book" stories adapted to the screen.
Re Butchart Gardens in full bloom (NOW, March 31-April 6). The health and diversity of the urban forests across greater Victoria are being seriously degraded by the invasive plant that the infamous "Sunken Gardens" at Butchart were founded upon.
English ivy has happily spread across Victoria from Butchart Gardens, vegetatively and also prolifically through distribution of seeds by songbirds. It threatens all vegetation levels in our urban parks, forests and residential areas, suffocating flora and fauna along the ground as well as reaching high into our forest canopies.
Jenny Butchart started a lovely garden 100 years ago, but she also unintentionally spawned a monster.
Wow, another week, another douche for your My Style feature. Grant Heaps terms his style "pre-nerd" (NOW, March 31-April 6), but one could define it more as "attention-driven try-hard." Was he posing for a Sears catalogue or what?
You'd think someone whose job is wardrobe assistant for the National Ballet of Canada wouldn't look like some misguided 15-year-old caught in an identity trap. You guys need to get out of the office and hit the streets. Not everyone yearns for the next Arcade Fire show or the new Trews album.
Blaming the system
Talk about placing blame at the feet of others. There's a missing series of events that someone in Eddie Fay's own family needs to explain and take responsibility for (NOW, March 24-30). How did a homeless man get back to Toronto from his brother's house in London when his brother knew "Eddie didn't have long left?"
If I'm ever in that situation and I die, I know who I'll be haunting, and it won't be the state. It will be my family, who in Fay's case appear to have failed him many more times than the overworked staff at Toronto Western. He was clearly crying out for help when he visited his brother's house and "downed a 26er." Stop blaming the system.
All for cormorant crusade
Tim Tiner's excellent article Killer Flap On Leslie Spit (NOW, March 24-30) is a timely introduction to double-crested cormorants, their comeback from severe DDT poisoning and their population increase due to the introduction of non-native fish species.
To inform the public and defend cormorants from ill-conceived "management" plans and a waste of taxpayers' money, environmental groups and individuals have come together to form Toronto Residents for Cormorants and Nature. Together, we'll celebrate and defend the unique natural dynamics of cormorant colonies.
I am one of the 14 young people who contributed to the development of the Stupid anti-smoking campaign. NOW Magazine's article Who's Stupid Now? (NOW, March 24-30) insults the ability of youth to make our own choices. We also know that telling kids not to smoke is ineffective, which is why Stupid was created.
The Stupid campaign understands relevant issues that can turn kids away from using tobacco. Pushing harmful effects doesn't resonate with teenagers, so instead we take relevant issues like how smoking makes you smell like crap, and be funny. Whether adults believe it or not, Stupid works. There've been over 500,000 visits to the Website (www.stupid.ca).
I am a young person, and it is in my nature to do stupid things. Smoking will not be one of them.
A paler shade of black
Cameron Bailey is a keen student of film, so it is somewhat disconcerting that he has not learned from the mistakes of Melvin Van Peebles, the man Spike Lee calls the "godfather of black cinema."
When Cameron writes that Kimberly Elise "looks like... a real black woman, with features darker than Halle [Berry] plus a paper bag" (NOW, March 17-23), he's pointing to a new wave in black cinema. Unfortunately, he only reminds us that Van Peebles excluded the likes of Dorothy Dandridge and Halle Berry from "real blackness." Put bluntly, Bailey's and Van Peebles's attempts to critique Hollywood's shadism ignore dark-skinned chauvinism.
Making pot a problem
Letter writer Chris Turner's rant about pot (NOW, March 30-April 6) reveals a characteristic I have noted in a lot of letter writers who favour prohibition of cannabis. They reason that because they personally had problems with (fill in the drug they are discussing), no one else can use it without also having problems.
The vast majority of pot users do so without causing any problems for themselves or others. Perhaps they fail to recognize that they (the prohibitionists) need to work on their own problems without making them global problems for society.
David V. Lane
Santa Cruz, California
Could somebody tell me why mainstream newspapers, alternative weeklies like yours and even CBC Newsworld pop-culture shows all pretend that the music festival is the only component of South By Southwest in Austin every year? (NOW, March 24-30). Why don't the interactive (that is, Web) and film festivals get any attention? I mean, I was on two full panels at the interactive festival, and I'm from right here. Don't suppose the other locals who attended the two ignored festivals merited coverage?
Odd to see the "swiffer" in your Goods section (NOW, March 24-30). Is this the same magazine that encouraged us not to use disposable paper products in its New Year's resolutions?
Last week's article, Stepping Into The Dahn, was authored by Gordon McGregor.