Winston belongs in square
RE Getting a fix on the square (NOW, May 19-25). A very well-done article on an area off the radar screen even for those of us who live near Nathan Phillips Square. Why on earth would we spend free time there? It's dismal. It shouldn't be, but thank you for reminding us.
However, I think you were nitpicking when you suggested replacing the statue of Sir Winston Churchill. So what shall we do, tear it down? Besides, you called him an icon for the English-speaking world. Well, Toronto is a major English-speaking city in the world.
Poking Wolf Eyes
I don't make a point of remembering reviewers' names, but Jered Stuffco usually covers the bands I know and like, so I'm often forced to read his articles. Somehow he makes cool people seem a bit embarrassing and always manages to take the focus off the actual music.
I don't want to listen to my music knowing that the "caveman" in Wolf Eyes (NOW, May 19-25) thinks he's conjuring up the male of prehistory (dragging women around by their hair, huh?).
Stop hate/loving your bands. Don't write down every last thing they say and pick the most outrageous shit you can. It's way too tabloid.
As someone who doesn't usually write letters in response to articles, I wouldn't have to Virginia Slams' (NOW, May 19-25) except that she ended her column with a call, a plea, for virgins not to be an anomaly. Being one myself, I couldn't help but do for you what you've done for me - make me feel much less alone.
I am in your position. Aside from the fact that I'm turning 25 shortly, our situations are almost identical. What frustrates me in most articles about virginity is that they often present virginity as a choice, either moral or religious, and then I feel lonely again.
I call myself an accidental virgin (coined by a friend of mine who was a virgin until she was 25; curse her for leaving me behind!), a virgin because of circumstance, not choice.
I'd love to have sex but haven't had the opportunity. I hope I can make you believe that I am an attractive young woman, intelligent and very socially competent, and not some oh, I don't know, someone you'd expect to have more excuses for not having had sex.
Basically, life has been cruel, but even crueller is the stigma attached to being a virgin. It hurts. I think about it every day, and I hate that I think about it every day.
Name withheld by request
Monument to abused kids
RE Cast in Shadows (NOW, May 19- 25). Just wanted to drop a note to say that I was deeply affected by Debbie O'Rourke's article on the statue dedicated to child abuse survivors.
These locals no yokels
While anybody who's anybody nerdy will acknowledge that comic books are an American creation, it's also true that tonnes of the heroes of the modern-day comic book industry live right here in Hogtown.
No disrespect to Brooklyn-based indie comic hero Gary Panter (NOW, May 19-25), but, golly, it sure would've been nice if an influential Toronto-based comic book artist had been the focus of Kevin Temple's cover story. I'm sure Temple really wanted to spotlight a local artist, but Seth, Chester Brown, Bryan O'Malley, Dave Sim, Ho Che Anderson, Kagan McLeod and Darwyn Cooke were all just too darn busy drawing funnybooks to do an interview.
Who's the terrorist now?
Letter writer Gord Ruddin's observation that it's ironic that Iraqi insurgents are referred to as terrorists (NOW, May 19-25) is typical of those who wilfully ignore the obvious in defence of their own closely held beliefs (in his case, I'd guess, that everything the U.S. does is wrong).
The legitimacy of the U.S. invasion notwithstanding, a majority of the Iraqi people braved incredible violence to vote. However one may want to spin this fact, it remains a clear rebuke of the insurgents, who are trying to impose their will through terror.
Does Ruddin need reminding that the insurgents aren't limiting their mayhem to foreign soldiers? Their preference is to murder policemen, aid workers, clerics and ordinary citizens. Just what kind of social order do they have in mind, given their (to put it mildly) disrespect for the majority?
Silence an injustice
RE Last of the Barflies (NOW, May 19-25). Sheila Gostick recounts a recent incident in which she witnessed the beating with a cane of an unarmed "thin, streety fella." Her companions joked about the beating taking place just outside a barroom window but were also "a bit appalled" by it.
Apparently, a wealthy "bully" had recently moved into the rapidly gentrifying Parkdale neighbourhood and objected to someone sheltering in his doorway. When the beating proved ineffectual, he called the cops, who arrived at the bar, apprehended the streety fellow and took the bully's complaints, including one against the bar. Gostick complains that this ruined her evening, worrying that the incident threatens the viability of a favourite watering-hole.
Frankly, I am more than a bit appalled by Gostick's attitude and behaviour. While I can understand why she might be a bit jaded, why did she not call 911 when she first witnessed the attack? Why did she not come forward to give evidence when the police did arrive? I know it's sometimes hard to convince the police to uphold the rights of the poor and marginalized, but at least officially that is still their job. Keeping silent in the face of injustice helps no one.
MacKay gets comeuppance
Seems patently obvious that be Linda Stronach is interested in one thing: becoming the leader of a significant Canadian political party. Since the Conservative party currently has a young leadership, her chances there are minuscule. But the Liberal party's aging leader is somewhat tainted by scandal. It's a no-brainer.
There is some ironic justice in all this. Stronach was supposed to be Peter MacKay's girlfriend. Stephen Harper was bemoaning how she unceremoniously "dumped" MacKay during her recent change of allegiance. Yet MacKay himself became a traitor and liar when he promised (in writing yet) David Orchard that he would not seek unification with the Alliance party in order to gain the leadership of the PC party. It took MacKay only a few weeks to break that promise and turn into a traitor. So he had it coming.
H.E. (Ernie) Schreiber
Only rapists need porn
I am a skinny, sexually active woman in my 50s. I don't use pornography, because I don't need it. I am able to become aroused and experience sexual pleasure from the touch, look and sound of my real-life lovers. I don't feel entitled to pornography or see it as an issue of free speech. Pornography is a form of social control, just like rape. I don't need it, but I did need Andrea Dworkin (NOW, May 12-18).
Dworkin put form to feeling. She asked for a day off from rape, identified sexual assault as a human rights issue. Pornography is dangerous and damaging to those who create it and those who consume it. I am really troubled that gay pornography is not considered exploitative because women are not represented. Everyone is hurt by the commodification of sexuality.
The feminist movement and the gay rights movement are closely connected. As a feminist, I consider gay men my allies in the struggle for sexual liberation. Pornography is not about sex , it is about power.
If Mike Smith is going to feverishly criticize "outpourings of love and grief" for Canadian soldiers as being "light on history" (NOW, May 19-25), he should try to get a few of his basic facts right.
The "uppity Soviets" didn't cross the Rhine. If they had, they would have had all of Germany, not just the East. And about the only historian who claims that "hundreds of thousands" of civilians died in the ghastly Dresden raid is the pro-Nazi David Irving. (The likely figure is about 35,000.)
But much worse, Smith's rabid romp over recent history argues that there is no difference between present-day bankers and Nazis and that globalized capitalism is equivalent to Auschwitz.
This sort of adolescent raging deeply insults those who lived through those terrible years, which were somewhat worse than putting up with Wal-Mart.
Andrew Cash's obsession with the Catholic Church (NOW, May 5-11) is becoming disturbingly close to hate literature.
Stop mocking my feet
An anonymous letter writer complained about the song Fat And Greasy in CanStage's Ain't Misbehavin' (NOW, May 5-11). Isn't it time, the writer asked, that we stop publicly mocking people who are fat?
Elsewhere in the very same show, the song Your Feet's Too Big is a supposedly amusing complaint by a man about the ugliness of his lover's oversized feet.
For years, I have been self-conscious about the size of my own pedal extremities. When are we as a society going to stop publicly mocking size 11- and 12-ers like me?
While we're at it, let's cut Why Can't The English ? from My Fair Lady, which unfairly mocks those millions of people who don't speak English correctly.
Hand over that pizza now
Could we please know the name of the pizza company asking for the right to view credit information on a job application (NOW, April 28-May 4)? If we know who it is, we can call or write and tell the company that unless it reverses that policy it will not get any of our orders! There are a lot of honest pizzerias in this country, and we don't need to patronize those that help to marginalize students and others without a credit rating! Tell us, so we can boycott the bastards !!
Get a grip on that tax cut
Let me see if I have this straight: NOW's beloved federal Liberals cut health and education transfers to Ontario by $9 billion a year and spend the money on HRDC, the gun registry, sponsorships, off-books foundations and god knows what else, but Ontario's $6-billion deficit is a result of Tory tax cuts (NOW, April 14-20)? Get a grip, guys.
Port Perry, Ontario