I suppose it's commendable that Susan G. Cole is keeping alive the superannuated and discredited "feminist" anti-porn movement (NOW, May 12-18). But it's rather irrelevant to my own life, since none of the porn I like has any women in it. And none of the porn Cole probably likes has men in it, does it?
Now, if straight people came along and tried to contend that gay porn is oppressive and degrading, we'd tell them to take a hike. So could we have a bit of consistency here? If Cole is committed to advancing contrarian causes, here's a hypothesis for her to work with: dykes should shut up about straight porn. Discuss.
Dworkin's moral grind
I'm a pornographer of the writ ten kind, and according to the feedback I get, pretty good at it, too. Most of my friends are erotica writers.
We represent a wide range of people: a lesbian Southern farm girl, a lesbian couple, two PhDs in physics, several lawyers and quite a number of housewives.
Needless to say, we all discussed the passing of Andrea Dworkin. Although none of us took any joy in her death, you couldn't say we were sad to see her go. We all wondered how we would fit into her rather simplistic moral grid.
There's an ancient Taoist saying, "What you resist, you become." I'm afraid I regard Dworkin as an example of this.
This soloist a creep
Can the creepy Ren McCormak honestly wonder why he's single (NOW, May 12-18)? The first thing he mentions is desperately trying to catch the eye of any woman he considers to be of average beauty.
Then he goes on to say that all hot women are likely psycho, and businesswomen are sexless dullards. He mentions his college years, when he really racked up the "numbers," and finally says women who frequent darkly lit pubs are trying to conceal their homely looks. Hey, aren't you there, too, asshole?
Hey, Ren, the reason your friends don't want to dish the private details of their sex lives to you is because.... Oh, fuck it - you don't get it, which is exactly why you're single and they're not.
I applaud the protestors who oppose SNC Lavalin's role in helping the U.S. military subjugate the people of Iraq (NOW, May 12-18).
How ironic is it that when Iraqis were fighting for independence from Saddam Hussein a few years back they were labelled "freedom fighters," but now that they use violence to fight the illegal rule of Americans they're "terrorists"?
Evil in retrospect
RE Hitler wasn't the only mad-man (NOW, May 12-18). I survived the second world war. I was 10 years old when it all began.
From a child's viewpoint, it was difficult to grasp. We spent all day and night in a school shelter or under a heavy round table in our living room. At night, looking out my bedroom window, I could see a ruddy glow. It was London burning. We had the radio, but we never really knew what was happening. It was only recently that I discovered more of what really happened during those six terrible years. That there was so much evil.
For the past two weeks, I've sat through docs on the war. Saw the bodies in the Nazi camps stacked up like statues. Saw young men not much older than I at the time being given their last rites.
I wonder why it all happened and ask, why was I spared? I am the only survivor of my original family.
Just another war story.
Joseph William Lea
TV the madman
Mike Smith's Hitler Wasn't the Only Madman posits that people use Hitler's crimes against humanity as their only determining factor of the evil of war.
Vietnam and Rwanda, with many between, have been constant reminders of the brutality of power. The war in Iraq is not a question of media blackouts but more the case that television has become the medium of unreality, to the point where people watch the news and actually believe they're watching some Hollywood war film.
Television, which was created to inform by both word and picture in the moment, has become the numbing drug of major media outlets.
U of T's ethical dyslexia
RE Great minds, dead bodies (NOW, May 12-18). We live in a country that according to a recent poll now places ethics above health care. An entire government may fall because of it. But at U of T, no ethical guidelines exist that deal with research partnerships.
So when U of T provost Vivek Goel says, "We're not into weapons of mass destruction and bioterrorism," it's very similar to saying, "We're not into fetishes," but we all know what happens behind closed doors.
People Against Militarization of OISE-UT
Hunter becomes the hunted
As I read Adam Disotell's nasty little letter questioning why Bob Hunter ran for the Liberals (NOW, May 12-18), waves of anger swept over me. My first thought that went beyond four letters was "Who is Adam Disotell and where does he come by the gall to trash the memory of a giant who did more for this planet on any day of his life than Mr. Dis will manage if he lives to be 100?"
Then I focused on the real source of my anger. What was NOW thinking when it provided ink for this horribly timed, petty piece of excrement? I remember NOW criticizing Case Ootes for his tasteless comment on the death of Tooker Gomberg. This same thought should have come to you before you chose to print this bit of Dis. By the way, how many coal plants did the Rae government shut down?
Global warming a choke
RE Kyoto discord (NOW, May 5-11). Manmade global warming is more overrated than terrorism. Of course, climate is warming! That's what happens when the earth emerges from the 500-year "little ice age" that turned Greenland from green to iceberg and destroyed its medieval Viking settlements.
The crux of the current global warming hysteria is the belief that we can accurately predict long-term climate trends by looking at no more than 150 years of detailed data. That's a little like spending a couple of hours by the sea watching the tide come in and concluding that we'll soon be under water.
Crashing the cannabis party
I have to say I'm very disappointed with your coverage of the Million Marijuana March (NOW, May 12-18).
Your article, though positive on the surface, brings up a lot of questions. Did you interview the poor guy you call a "bagman"? It's funny that the way you portray the organizers and Puff Mama is the same way the general media sees them.
No one made any money on this event except insurance companies insuring the march, the city of Toronto through permits, taxes and levies and of course the police who were guarding the parking lots.
Your recent visual feature art or Eyesore (NOW, May 5-11) really caught my attention, especially when I read that the city is planning to cover up these beautiful works of art.
I'm currently in grade 12 at Victoria Park SS, where I take a photography class. This year, as we've done many years before, the class took a trip downtown to take photos.
We documented many things, but it was the graffiti that definitely stood out. We all love the works of art. They make the city so much more interesting and beautiful.
By covering up the graffiti, we are taking away a part of our culture. I am forced to ask the city which they would rather have, a bunch of kids running around getting into trouble and causing major damage to our city streets or a bunch of kids painting beautiful works of art on our walls and making our city more colourful?
Dog and pony show
RE One dog of a cellphone (NOW, May 5-11). First, Shannon Clarke leaves her parents' number as an emergency contact, then she wonders why the phone company is so desperate to contact her.
Secondly, what is the big deal about being called Mrs.?
It's an honest mistake - get over it. And so what if you can't get reception on your cellphone inside your own house? That's why Bell invented the house phone. Your mobile is for when you're not home.
Bottom line: Clarke is probably with Fido because it's the only company that would accept her. Don't bite the hand that feeds.
Letter writer Dennis Nytra says, "There's no such thing as race. When we say race, we are actually talking about population groups" (NOW, May 12-18). Really!
I think Don Cheadle was referencing some of the issues the movie Crash raises about PC ideology.
Namely, that people say what they're supposed to, but don't mean it, keeping their racism hidden and not dealt with.
Eradicating the concept of race will not wipe out hatred and prejudice. People will still hate for other reasons: class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, political affiliation.
Hot Docs shocks
At a time when cultural and academic boycotts are being called for worldwide against Zionism, Chris McDonald, executive director of Hot Docs, happily accepted tainted contributions from Israeli government agencies (NOW, April 28-May 4).
These actions have undermined Hot Docs' integrity. It must be noted that such sponsorship offers the Israeli government a liberal platform to justify its actions.
Pho Hung big letdown
Since you keep harping on and on about just how great Pho Hung is (NOW, April 28-May 4), I finally wrote down the name and address and went for a cheap eat - chicken soup. Boy, was I disappointed in a big way.
I've been thoroughly frustrated that NOW always seems to revisit Hung, along with other Chinatown haunts, but always seems to overlook my favourite, Saigon Palace. There's not a single point on which Saigon doesn't roundly trounce your fave, Hung, except possibly that Hung adds some lovely basil to its broth.
The selection of rice noodles. The slivers of finely shredded chicken are flavoursome and perfect - no fat, bones, skin. Hottest peppers in town, too. I challenge anyone to use all those that are given them. I never can. The only thing missing is some cilantro.
With Teeth has bite
It sounds as though Elizabeth Bromstein, who reviewed the new NIN CD With Teeth (NOW, April 28-May 4), may not actually have listened to it. Shame on her. With Teeth is a great disc, both musically and lyrically. A person may never hear again sounds that they hear on this disc. The flow from one track to another is almost seamless. I guess I'm thankful that I truly understand what I listen to.
Loving lakefront desolation
Thank you for your article on the Gardiner Expressway (NOW, April 28-May 4). Don Wanagas provided some excellent insight.
I've always felt a sort of desolate feeling when down at Harbourfront. And maybe that's what I like so much about it. I've worked and lived in the area, and now I take my 15-month-old daughter there to see the camp kids she's not quite old enough to play with yet, explore the Musical Gardens, look out at the water, feel the cool breeze on our faces and feed the birds.
When was the waterfront ever supposed to be part of the downtown core? I'm thankful for the concrete curtain of condos and those railway lines. They help the city live up to the metaphor of the other side of the tracks.
Paying for wisdom is dumb
I was interested to read Cheryl McClellan's letter (NOW April 7-13) in which she explains that the reason why Dahn Hak calls upon us to let go of our tendency toward critical analysis is so that we can access wisdom.
Critical analysis is not an impediment to wisdom; rather, it is a necessity for making wise decisions.
The wisdom you access may not be as wise as you think it is if you're paying for it. My own inner wisdom tells me McClellan has been had.
Keepin' it contemporary
I read now every week, but I'm a little dismayed at the lack of coverage of contemporary music groups and composers. With the exception of opera and musical theatre, NOW rarely runs previews of contemporary music concerts or profiles on Canadian composers.
This season, works by Heinz Holliger, Henri Dutilleux, Jo Kondo and Toshio Hosokawa have been featured in Toronto concerts. No cover photos, no flashy bylines. Trio Fibonacci, one of the best ensembles in the world, swooped into the Music Gallery. Not a peep.
NOW has shown that it has the courage to promote indie rock groups and techno artists who have not yet reached the public eye. I encourage NOW to make itself even better by giving up-and-coming composers more exposure.
Artistic Director, Toca Loca