Racial typing non-blacks
I see that Bairu Sium is at it again (NOW, November 24-30). Now he's attacking the police. Does he really believe that he is helping the black community by promoting stereotypes of the non-black community?
David L. Shanoff
Cops tight with their info
Ah, the irony! Police want members of the black community to come forward with information about crime, but police are pretty tight-lipped themselves when it suits them. My husband died of a heart attack in front of police headquarters last year as he was passing the building on his way to a gardening convention. It took police almost nine months to identify the officers who found him - they were originally identified as civilian bystanders. Many aspects of the case are still hard to believe. It's time we reminded them that information must flow both ways.
AIDS not yesterday's debate
I was rather shocked to read Glenn Sumi's review of Jonathan Larson's masterpiece, Rent (NOW, November 24-30).
You noted that the film seems outdated, more like a bad 80s rock video. My question for you is this: is AIDS outdated? In fact, 3 million people died of the disease this year alone.
Rent is right up to date with the issues we all face. It portrays the struggle, the challenges and the heartache we all go through. It offers hope to a generation that's becoming more complacent and sexually irresponsible despite AIDS. If Rent influences one man or woman to act more responsibly, then the film is a huge success.
Lee A. Castoro
New York, New York
Tim Perlich's review of the excellent new live Wilco recording Kicking Television (NOW, November 17-23) really has me confused. Granted, being a fan, I feel a little defensive when I hear a powerful musical force being casually rebuked. My confusion arises from the statement that Wilco have been embraced by the jam-band scene. That may or may not be true, but thinking back to their last Toronto show, I'd be hard-pressed to recall even the slightest scent of patchouli in the air or anyone in hemp clothing, let alone any hacky-sacking going on. More importantly, though, I take issue with the references to Wilco's self-indulgent wanking. This band generally use their "wanking" to create tension and atmosphere as opposed to just busting a nut. And any wanking is far outbalanced by their incredibly creative arrangments.
We treat Roma like trash
Noreen Farooqui's Roma Get No Refuge (NOW, November 24-30) is a shining example of what separates mainstream from alternative media. The lead case concept and the crisis the Hungarian Roma experience at the hands of the Canadian government have not been covered by the bigger papers. Canada has been treating the Roma like garbage since their arrival.
Tourists invited to slum tour
I would like to clear up something in Jenny Yuen's otherwise fine article about the Parkdale Tenants Association (NOW, November, 24-30). We have nominated David Miller and John Gerretsen for Lord of the Slums, given to the public official we feel has most contributed to the increasing slumification and ghettoization of Toronto.
Our new campaign targets the roots of the problem - municipal and provincial governments that allow the situation to continue while tens of thousands of tenants, especially immigrants, are forced to live in squalor.
We have launched a new agency, called Slum Tourism Toronto, and a new website, www.torontoslumtourism.com, designed to shame the city and province into finally taking meaningful action.
We will be taking tourists on a Slums Unlimited bus tour of some of Toronto's worst neighbourhoods to show visitors a side of Toronto missing in the glossy brochures.
Parkdale squalor not Delhi's
As a Parkdale tenant of many years, I am not happy with the landlords here, but to compare our housing to the slums of New Delhi, as the Parkdale Tenants Association website does, is absurd to say the least. I was born there.
PTA spokesperson Max Wallace would do better by us tenants to provide us with our needed legal services, as they are paid to do by Legal Aid Ontario, instead of turning most of us away and blaming it on the government and urging us to write letters to have their funding increased.
The PTA should start providing the legal services it is supposed to give us tenants, and stop using us as tools in its political games.
Ad setback for fem rights
Your weekly critical views on political and social issues are insightful and often dead on. Your socially conscious outlook on things that matter to Torontonians makes me think you're a paper that actually cares about people and the environment.
But absolutely none of what you say matters when you throw dirt in the faces of most of your readership with those sleazy-ass kiddy porn ads by American Apparel.
Don't insult our intelligence by claiming to be "hard-hitting and progressive" when with every ad like this you take women's rights 100 years back.
Teresa full of grace
The woman on the cover of last week's paper (NOW, November 24-30) is the most gorgeous person I've seen on your cover. Teresa Pavlinek, you've got my attention.
Wild fish chase
Inspired by and relying on the information in your review of Harbord Fish and Chips (NOW, November 17-23), I drove there recently.
Instead of "crisp fish... and gargantuan sides of fresh-cut fries," I was forced to swallow the fact that they close, and have for some considerable time, at 9 pm, not 10 pm as indicated by your reviewer. Now I am left wavering about the accuracy of the rest of the review.
More importantly, perhaps you could update and correct this information to save others of your readers from such a wild fish chase!!
Cash no native son on film
Sadder than the film Walk the Line's made-for-TV quality (NOW, November 17-23) is the fact that it makes no reference to Johnny Cash's relationship with native Americans.
You know, like campaigning for the civil rights of native Americans or recording Bitter Tears (which included The Ballad Of Ira Hayes) in 1964, during the same time period the movie covers. Oh, there was one reference in passing - the scene in which Cash scores drugs while a group of native Americans walk by his car.
Maybe the scene should have been changed so that Joaquin Phoenix could take some Lakota, put on a native headdress and, as in the current ad, play some golf.
Naomi Klein's article on the indigenous resistance in Colombia (NOW, November 10-16) draws attention to the process of indigenous mobilization in Latin America.
But it's not entirely correct regarding the situation in North Cauca in Colombia, nor with respect to Bolivia or Mexico. It makes the mistake of treating indigenous mobilization as separate from other movements. All major campesino organizations in Colombia have just published a statement affirming that "campesinos and indigenous are not enemies, but allies" and also connected with the Afro-Colombian communities.
It also has to be noted that in Cauca the assault on indigenous land occupations comes from the government. In fact, the well-known human rights organization Justicia y Paz has just stated clearly that the guerrilla is non-existent in the area.
Professor (Emeritus), University of Toronto
Greens soft on immigration
I would like to congratulate you on your recent piece on environment commissioner Gord Miller (NOW, November 10-16). I, and I suspect more than a few others, am struck by the absolutely deafening silence emanating from the Green Party on the whole issue of immigration and population growth and environmental sustainability. It is truly remarkable.
A parting shot for car hack
I knew Ryan Carriere as a warm, generous and wonderfully talented individual. On his behalf, I would like to respond to the sadly misguided rage and aggression of letter-writer Andrew Matheson (NOW, November 17-23). Mr. Matheson, you are a cunt, sir.
Mokuba gets blue ribbon
I just read the piece on Mokuba (NOW, November 17-23) and really enjoyed it. I work with crafts a lot. Thanks for putting me on to something that sounds great.