Missing human tragedy
I believe that your magazine demonstrated a serious failure of moral judgment with Wayne Roberts's coverage of the London bombings (NOW, July 14-20). First of all, it is disrespectful of those affected by this tragic event to [use it as an occasion] to trot out criticisms of the G8, Bush, etc. I strongly believe that such stories should be covered in a sensitive manner, with a focus on the human tragedy rather than on political agendas.
The first task should be to cover the story, not to try to make the story "mean something" in relation to political and ideological debates.
Secondly, there is simply no moral equivalence between the London bombings and the actions of the G8. Attempts to argue that there is demonstrate an astoundingly shallow moral sensibility.
Terrorism: time to pay up
I couldn't agree more with Wayne Roberts's analysis of our mistaken approach to so-called terrorism. Terrorism is a response - in the only way some people feel they have, by stealthy suicide bombings - to the crushing high-tech military power of the industrialized countries, particularly the U.S., that has given us Shock and Awe and the murders of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. I believe that all of us who want a secure, peaceful world must see that the war machine that invades where it wants to is just as much the enemy of peace and security as the middle-class organizers and bombers of al Qaeda.
Murray D. Lumley
Field of trampled barley
Arthur Neslen's article at war in The Fields Of Barley (NOW, July 14-20) seemed to paint an image of peaceful protestors quietly walking across the pastoral hills of Scotland, pitted against unnecessary policemen who were more urgently needed in London. My heart went out to the farmer who had to watch his livelihood trampled and torn up by people who claim to care about world hunger. I guess the protestors' motto was "Think globally, destroy locally."
Savage love and hate
Why do you allow Dan Savage to spew such hateful nonsense about bisexual people (NOW, July 14-20)? If he were saying dismissive and disrespectful crap about people of colour or lesbians, would you allow it? Why, then, is it okay to attack bisexuals? I am the editor of a beautiful new anthology called Getting Bi: Voices Of Bisexuals Around The World, which features 184 people in 32 different countries (including 10 from Canada) talking about their lives and identities. People wanting to learn more about bisexual people would find their time much better spent reading this new book than reading the illogical rants of a very obnoxious man. We have enough homophobes out there attacking all of us: we don't need to attack each other.
I see the neo-con AOntario government is more committed to saving money than to providing humane, community-based alternatives for kids in crisis (NOW, July 14-20). No doubt the planned Greater Toronto Youth Assessment Centre (GTYAC), a supermax version of the former Toronto Youth Assessment Centre (TYAC), will trigger more alienation, more madness, more violence, more suicide. As Paul Weinberg points out in the article, TYAC closed after a rash of teen suicides, including the tragic cell hanging of 16-year-old David Meffe. I know something about the caging and abuse of children in crisis because I worked as a consulting psychologist at the notorious Pine Ridge Training School for "delinquent" boys in Bowmanville for a year around 1968-69. I used to visit and try to comfort severely traumatized kids. Nothing has really changed in youth corrections during the last 30 years, except the youth jails are getting bigger.
Engel tribute blooms on
We at the Toronto Public Library are always pleased to be recognized in your paper. However, we must point out an inaccuracy in Sheila Gostick's recent article, Murmur To A Scream (NOW, July 14-20) Marian Engel is one of Canada's most beloved and respected writers. And she lives on not only in our hearts and in the vast collections of the Toronto Public Library but also, in spirit, in the Marian Engel Garden in a sunny locale at the northeast corner of the Reference Library at Collier Street.
This tribute garden was never "destroyed," as Gostick alleges.
The garden was moved to its current location as part of a renovation/addition of the library in 1996 and is now maintained in part by the Writers Trust of Canada.
Manager, Toronto Public Library
Chief of cheap shots
I believe the majority of Torontonians would take exception to the cheap shot taken in UpFront about former police chief Fantino being Bill Blair's "much-hated predecessor." The only ones who hated him were those misfits and cretins who suckle at the teat of society and feel that the city is their own private playground. I know that it is trendy to be obnoxious and outrageous, but those are the attributes of children, not responsible adults.
Rich white switch
I cannot for the life of me figure out what kind of drugs Jon Kaplan was taking when he saw Rich White Bitch to come up with a review that's so off the mark and downright cruel. Kaplan's online review (www.nowtoronto.com/minisites/fringefestival/2005) calls Rich White Bitch "a therapy-and-preaching session masquerading as autobiographical theatre." Huh? Kaplan missed the irony, a funny performance and a powerful message. Judith Cockman does use a few stories from her life to convey the importance of overcoming our traumas in order to become better parents and spouses and give our children something this world is in desperate need of: healthy, present parenting.
She also warns us against the dangers of power and perception when used by those in positions of power and so-called authority to demean and debase others, which is exactly what Kaplan did from his frustrated pulpit, virtually destroying Rich White Bitch at the box office with his small-minded opinion.
Underwear ad crosses line
As a downtown resident, an engaged citizen and filmmaker, I've long relied on NOW's coverage of the arts, local news and changing social and political trends. You were even kind enough to allow me to film your editorial meeting with then mayoral candidate David Miller during the making of my documentary about his election. I've supported NOW and the right of freedom of the press on several occasions, but I'm very concerned about the direction NOW has taken in its advertising policy. I'm speaking specifically of your decision to publish the extremely questionable American Apparel ads (NOW, July 7-13), not hidden inside the magazine like the adult classified ads, but clearly visible on the back cover.
Could NOW advise me how I should explain to my six-year-old daughter why the young woman is posing topless in her underwear kneeling over a couch while gazing blankly into the camera? Any thoughts, Susan Cole?
I understand that NOW loves playing the role of rebel, as do many of your readers. But many of us grew up and now have children and still rely on NOW for local info. We still live downtown, hate Stephen Harper and support social justice and free speech. But you crossed the line.
Thanks to Greyhound
I've just finished reading Stephen Humphrey's Greyhound Bust (NOW, July 7-13), and I find his reportage kind of sad. The story is so obviously biased. True, you run into some odd ducks on the buses. Witness the guy in Dallas who tossed his hotel room keys on the floor in front of me while I was loading up a locker, or the circus labourer with the wandering hands. But overall, my five Ameripass trips (three weeks to a month each) were an excellent value.
I've never been back to many of those cities and towns, but I remember Wheeling, Nashville, Portland, St. Louis, New Orleans, Waco, Atlanta, all thanks to Greyhound.
There's no better way to see the USA if you have the time and can just go with the flow.
Don't be so squeamish, Stephen. There are lots of clean, upstanding folk riding the buses along with your "fucked-up-looking people doing fucked-up-looking shit."
Moscoe: I'm here to stay
Contrary to Don Wanagas's unfounded speculation, I am alive and well and raring to run in the next municipal election (NOW, July 7-13). I have not written my political eulogy and expect not to have to for a good number of years to come.
City of Toronto Councillor
Juice freshly squeezed
RE Jason Richards's review of Juice (NOW, June 30-July 6). From a tape to a radio station to a record deal - that's fairly amazing for any artist. If only Richards knew exactly how far Juice, aka Rochester, has gone. Richards sounds like a seethingly jealous wannabe who still records demos on a 4-track. This is so typical of Canadian critics, so much so that most artists leave the country, only to make it big elsewhere and come back to fame and fortune. But Juice, aka Rochester, is an exception to the rule. We all know it. Richards doesn't.
For a critic who was so "swept away by the story of young romance between two young girls in the English countryside," you'd think Lori Fireman could take a little more time and effort to identify the main characters correctly! (NOW, June 30-July 6). Mona (Natalie Press) was the "sassy redhead" to the dark-haired Tamsin (Emily Blunt), not the other way around.