Re Hiphop Goes On Trial (NOW, November 3-9). Excellent article, and I am pleased that it was pointed out that more than just hiphop music should be targeted. I would suggest Valerie Smith do more research. Some of the biggest names in music are just as culpable when it comes to promoting violence against women. How about Britney Spears's [Hit Me] Baby One More Time? I'm A Slave 4 U? I think the titles speak for themselves.
What about her ex, Justin Timberlake: "Bet I have you naked by the end of this song"? Has anyone noticed how the video for Cry Me A River glamourizes stalking? The guy breaks into her house, damages her belongings, leaves creepy videos of himself making out with other chicks and then watches her shower? That's criminal behaviour, the last I checked, and not the type of action teenage boys should think is acceptable.
For every bad rapper there's a good one. See A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jurassic 5 and Common, just to name a few.
Hop along hiphop
As with much of the left these days, NOW's anti-oppression analysis in Hiphop Goes On Trial seems to exclude sexism. Anti-racist, anti-corporate, gay-positive, sex-positive yes, but feminist? How else to explain an article that tries to be "fair to both sides" by suggesting of some hiphop music that "the lyrics are hard to defend outright, but some sure do cut a hell of a groove?"
Re Noise Addicts, by Daniel Vila (NOW, November 3-9). Whaaaa?!? Even though NOW writers have always flaunted their so-hip-it's-annoying style, at least they used to make sense. Who on earth read this and said, "Hmm, yah, I love it. Run it as is"?
Cops' double gun standard
According to the Police Services Act, police are not allowed to participate in political activities. Many not only showed up at last week's police union demo, but did so in uniform and carrying their guns. "Are demonstrators allowed to carry guns in Nathan Phillips Square?" I asked security. They don't know. Police have the authority to lay criminal charges against those who carry unregistered firearms. So why are they allowed to demonstrate as civilians while in possession of firearms owned by the force? Double standard or no standard?
Snit? Who's in a snit?
Must I invoke my constitutional right to high drama to clarify NOW's snippy synopsis of my leaving Kyle Rae's office "abruptly - and in a snit"? (NOW, November 3-9). Doesn't NOW do nuance any more? It's not like I left because he took my stapler without asking, or didn't take his turn cleaning the coffee maker. I've worked for a former premier and several cabinet ministers and MPPs, demanding people all. And Kyle's no pushover either. I hung on working for the NDP government even after they dropped the ball on same-sex spousal rights in 1994, which saw Kyle tearing up his membership card. My fuse isn't that short.
There was, however, a breaking point. Isn't there always? The councillor's vigorous fellatio of developers, "L'Oréal" Square at Yonge and Dundas, to name two. But the straw that broke this inveterate camel's back was his seeming lack of interest in the beating death of Paul Croutch, a homeless man with severe mental disabilities, at Moss Park.
I gave up a handsomely rewarded job to make that point, and you've reduced it to a "snit."
Boycott based on animus
I find it interesting that some churches have singled out Israel for their obloquy (NOW, November 3-9). Presumably, lots of other places might elicit equal if not harsher wrath: China, for oppressing the Falun Gong; Sudan, for allowing Arab janjaweed militias to murder non-Arabs; Jordan, for turning a blind eye to the murder of young women killed by male relatives seeking to restore their family's "honour." The list is endless. A cursory glance on the Internet about Sabeel, the Palestinian Christian organization pushing hard for a boycott of Israel, helps shed some light on the subject. While Sabeel styles itself as a non-violent group dedicated to countering Israel's military might, its animus toward Israel is clear.
Mindy G. Alter
Applause for heritage
This is to thank you for including the Community History Project as "best defenders of our heritage" in your Best Of Toronto issue (NOW, October 27-November 2). On my own account and on behalf of the volunteers with whom I work in the field and who have more than 300 reasons to love our city, I send word that your listing inspired a round of applause at last week's meeting of the Toronto Preservation Board.
President, Community History Project Toronto
Amazing maze praise
Thank you, thank you, thank you! On behalf of the Toronto Public Labyrinth Network, I am writing to tell you how happy you made us by choosing the labyrinth at Trinity Park as the best place to people-watch! It was brilliant. You're wonderful. Love,
Napoleon raises art bar
I was very glad that you voted the Cameron House the best bar in Toronto. But what makes the Cameron Art Bar stand out as the best and what the copies don't have is Napoleon Brousseau's red ants!
Since 1982, Brousseau's sculptures have been crawling all over the building. As an art piece, they're a Queen Street and Toronto landmark. He deserves to be credited as the artist who put the art on the Art Bar.
Swain's a pain
Re Deirdre Swain's Calendar Leaves review (NOW, October 27-November 2). Clearly, the twist the reviewer was waiting for was there and over her head. I don't see how people like that who practically slander the movie should be allowed to publish articles.
Too Savage for love
While I'm a fan of Dan Savage's to-the-point and take-responsibility-for-your-life advice, I feel his "fuck other people" recommendation to Desperately Seeking Anything (NOW, October 27-November 2) oversimplifies this gentleman's dilemma. Sure, it's an option, but I'm sure there are other solutions relating to her treatment that may actually address DSA's wife's lack of libido.
Furthermore, Savage's clandestine solution may be the rocket fuel necessary to trigger something far more debilitating with respect to Mrs. DSA's mental health, and the long-term effect on DSA may be just as detrimental as he grapples with the guilt that seems to be already looming.
Dada, dumb, dumb
John Sledziewski's letter is a truly beautiful work of art (NOW, October 27-November 2Jon Spencer
Broken Social scream
Does letter-writer J. R. McConvey (NOW, October 20-26) not realize that Sarah Liss could well have been complimenting the new Broken Social Scene disc by calling it "a difficult collective mess?"
Part of the beauty of BSS is the band's willingness to take risks, to be a raw, unpolished cacophony of sound. There is, after all, a reason they're called Broken. BSS are indeed the "darlings of Torontopia," and deservedly so. This classy collective has broken new ground with their innovative approach to music, and their live shows are a thing of unabashed joy.
So what if their latest release was a little self-indulgent? If listeners like McConvey get stuck at the album's initial inaccessibility long enough to dub it a "major disappointment," they clearly haven't given it enough of a chance to discover the layers of brilliance underneath.
We support local farmers
I am the owner of Front Door Organics, one of the organic home delivery companies mentioned in NOW's organics issue (NOW, October 13-19). I'm writing to clear up a couple of things about our company.
Since I am both personally and professionally committed to organics, I was thrilled to see an issue of NOW dedicated to organic food, especially one that emphasized the importance of locally produced food and fair wages for farmers. At Front Door Organics, we do our best to support local farmers and also to connect issues of social and environmental justice by donating a large fresh box every week to a Toronto women's shelter.
I felt concerned that this information was missing from the blurb about us. Also missing was the fact that the Front Door Organics delivery service offers over 100 different grocery products in addition to fresh fruits and veggies.
I would appreciate your passing this information along to your readers.