Selling poverty out
While I am pleased that Live 8 sparked enlightening conversations about African poverty such as the ones mentioned in More Than A Feeling (NOW, July 7-13), I still can't help but be cynical. This huge corporate media stunt used poverty as a marketing tool to make money - not for African nations, but for the show's sponsors, including AOL/Time Warner, Volvo, Ford, Nokia and EMI Music.
It remains to be seen whether Live 8 will really help Africa. Making us think is a great first step, but let's not let Live 8 pacify us into believing that all we have to do is sign a list on the Internet or snap our fingers along with Will Smith and Brad Pitt to make poverty history.
Drinking to debt's content
Michael Hollett is right, and since my original cynicism had me ignoring the event in Barrie the other weekend, I decided to make up for it and this weekend dedicated every beer I drank to African debt relief. To recreate the musical lineup, I also made a playlist of the whitest bands I could think of, and since I didn't have Dan Aykroyd to MC for me, I just loaded up a tequila advertisement and put it on repeat. Then, before I was too gone (poverty is history and I've the empties to prove it), I signed an online petition only to realize that I was adding my name to those demanding that softball return to the 2012 Olympic Games. Darn.
So I didn't manage to get the petition right, but I'm going to try the whole thing again next week. Call me an idealist, but I believe that if I party hard enough and rock bad enough I'm going to totally save Africa.
False idols of Live 8
While I have no doubt about Bob Geldof's sincerity, why do so many people need prompting from pop stars? Awareness? How can anyone not be aware of starvation in Africa? Has there been a more self-indulgent group in history than the false idols of pop and showbiz? The thought of receiving moral guidance from them is ludicrous and offensive in the extreme. The real issue is, are we in the wealthier nations ready to make sacrifices to our standard of living and deal fairly with impoverished Africa? I hope so, but I doubt it, since even in the face of environmental disaster we can't restrain ourselves.
Cancer in the grass
RE something's rotten... (NOW, July 7-13). Great to see NOW covering pesticides, but the quote you use from the Canadian Cancer Society doesn't give a full picture of the organization's stance. The Cancer Society also weighs in on pesticides used for ornamental or non-essential purposes. Its position regarding the latter is superb: "Since ornamental use of pesticides has no countervailing health benefit and has the potential to cause harm, we call for a ban on the use of pesticides on lawns and gardens."
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Graphic gore a snore
In spite of your bloody awful review of Graveyard Alive (NOW, July 7-13), I went to the movie and gotta say I'm glad I ignored you. Based on your review, which seems to say it's a bomb, nobody should go see this movie.
That's a shame, because it's much more interesting than Bewitched or Monster-In-Law or Herbie or Mr. And Mrs. Smith, all of which your ratings would suggest are as good as or better than Graveyard Alive.
I don't understand Andew Dowler's rationale for comparing it to Airplane!, except maybe the running time. Even Young Frankenstein barely supports comparison, except for the obvious and superficial fact that both films are black-and-white and based on classic monster movies.
Maybe next time he should just go rent the "graphic sex, violence and gore" movie he wants to see.
Pi in the face
RE On your mark (NOW, July 7-13). Mark Andrada may have a sense of humour, but both he and Glenn Sumi are mathematically challenged to accept that 13 over seven is pi. Twenty-two over seven is closer to pi, but still off by the third decimal place.
Bush's shield no protection
In the wake of the London attacks, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety And Emergency Preparedness Anne McLellan said that Canada did not appear to be under any specific threat, but security forces were on "heightened alert." Does that mean that we have finally taken all the RCMP officers who are on "marijuana grow-op duty" and placed them at the borders, airports and subways where they belong?
Also, could someone explain exactly how joining George W. Bush in his insane plan for a Continental Missile Defence Shield could possibly help protect us from bombs in subways and buses?
Homos need hope
RE Same-sex regress (NOW, July 7-13). I want to thank NOW Magazine for taking an interest in our recent conference. We are aware that our international conference still lacks diversity and inclusiveness for persons in countries less progressive than Canada. One explanation for the lack of diversity is that persons from those countries typically require complete financial assistance to participate. Sadly, we had absolutely no support from the private sector for this conference. Inclusiveness remains a work in progress. But I do take issue with the suggestion of "triumphalism" on the part of Canadians on winning same-sex marriage. I heard no such comments from our delegates. We were careful to point out that things were once very different in Canada, even as recently as under the regime in which our current chief justice was attorney general.
The message of countries like Canada and South Africa is that no matter how bleak the current situation of sexual minorities, wonderful progressive change is possible. Hope is something we all need in queer communities everywhere in the world.
Past President, ILGLaw
Free doesn't mean fair
RE Bono hears boos (NOW, June 30 - July 6). It's obvious to me that Wayne Roberts hasn't actually read any of the makepovertyhistory.ca text. Yes, he makes a good case for being an expert in the field, but his obvious mistake mixing up the words "fair" and "free" when it comes to trade leaves me with little confidence. I'd like to try to clarify this distinction. Roberts states that if we impose North American-style free trade rules in Africa, the same issues facing Canada ("the worst farm income crisis is Canadian history") will happen in Africa.
But what makepovertyhistory.ca and the rest of the movement are stressing is that Africa needs trade justice (read fair trade), not free trade.
But then again, I realize that Bono makes a big target and that negativity moves newspapers. Why don't you just focus on his bad music instead?
Remainders no inside joke
RE Kate Pedersen's review of The Remainders (NOW, July 7-13). Pedersen describes The Remainders as "one tedious in-joke after another," implying that only the performers' friends will enjoy the show. This is not the case. [Katie] Crown and [Ryan] Hays draw on a wealth of older and obscure comedy conventions, such as radio plays, vaudeville and lounge acts, and turn them on their ear.
It's brilliant, quick-moving and challenging sketch comedy that will be appreciated by anyone with a passing familiarity with these conventions, something Pedersen obviously lacks.
As a theatre reviewer, Pedersen should critique the show within her own area of expertise, such as commenting on the performers' stagecraft or delivery (which I thought were admirable), or leave the reviewing of this show to someone more knowledgeable about comedy.
Her dismissal of this show is akin to a Coles Notes reviewer dismissing an adaptation of Shakespeare as "too wordy."
I am thrilled that NOW includes out-of-town events, festivals and other happenings in its summer listings (NOW, June 30 - July 6), but I'd like to give you a short lesson in geography. In the listings for Prince Edward and Northumberland counties, you have included the Red School House Poetry Festival (in Desmond and Colebrook), the Guitar Festival (in Odessa) and the Thousand Island Playhouse (in Gananoque).
None of these are in Prince Edward or Northumberland Counties. Desmond, Colebrook and Odessa are in the County of Lennox and Addington, and Gananoque is in the County of Leeds and Grenville.
Yarker (in the County of Lennox and Addington)
This elephant turns tricks
There is an ad in each and every issue of your paper using a cartoon of an elephant and an expression about turning tricks that I believe to be abusive toward prostitutes and elephants, demeaning both.
I am curious to know its approximate cost, and why it is placed among the escort and sex business ads. This is highly specious, as those ads constitute a large percentage of your income.