Peace to the core
Robert Priest's article on peace is wonderful (NOW, December 22-28). It is thoughtful, sensitive and truthful. Thanks to Robert, this is now my favourite NOW issue. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated Jake Gyllenhaal and all the fodder for dreams that cover provided, but this Peace issue connects to the core, and for that I am grateful. Peace,
Munich feeds terror myth
While Spielberg's Munich has been praised for raising questions about Bush's racist and hypocritical "war on terror" (NOW, December 22-28), the movie nonetheless raises questions about Spielberg's and Hollywood's own prejudices. While Schindler's List was about the typical big, bad Germans killing Jews, Munich is about Muslim "terrorists," again, killing innocent Jews. Where are the Hollywood films about Jewish settlers attacking Palestinians in illegal settlements, or the Israeli Army firing missiles into crowded buildings or stealing land? Does Hollywood believe in the myth of the "chosen people" as much as Ariel Sharon does?
Now that Wayne Roberts has gone über-Calvinist on us, the departure of Don Wanagas has made any reading of NOW's news section a waste of time. Is it because of your botched attack on right-wing nutbar Sue Ann Levy that you're going after mild-mannered Royson James in the UpFront section? I guess his crime is living north of Bloor and really knowing what it's like to be a black parent in Toronto.
Why is your column called Love & Sex? Much of the fiction in it reads like the drunken journals of shallow, horny girls with limited vocabularies and even more limited imaginations. Really, NOW, give your readers more credit. Isn't love an internal process, not just a primal act?
I guess I could lower my creative standards by writing about hard, meaty cocks and hot, wet, engorged, throbbing... (yawn), happening in the usual clandestine environments seedy nightclubs, park benches. That may be erotic for some sheltered 16-year-old suburbanites, but c'mon!
What they say about T.O. is true: it truly is a conservative city. You only reinforce this limited view by not pushing artistic boundaries. Invite some fresh vision. The column is becoming stagnant and pretentious.
Takin' out Tookie
I find it amazing how some have jumped onto the Save Tookie bandwagon (NOW, December 15-21). Robert Priest tries desperately to convince one and all that this murderer deserves clemency, as Jesus should have. I find it obscene he compares the two.
I honestly can't picture Jesus shooting 26-year-old convenience store clerk Albert Owens in the back twice. Nor can I see Jesus wiping out a family of three and telling others, "You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him."
Tookie Williams knew the rules before he pulled the trigger. He knew that killing others might lead to his own death. Could it be that the sudden awakening of his conscience stems from the fact that he got caught and found himself staring death in the face? All he has shown the world is that he's a scared little coward, like most street punks. Unlike Priest, I will mark the birthdate of Jesus by saying a prayer for the families of Tookie's victims.
How old is that Jason Richards guy that you sent to the Simple Plan concert (NOW, December 15-21), 52? Clearly, he wass too old to be there. I'm only 12, and while I wasn't at the concert, I love the band. It wasn't really a review of the concert, was it? No, it was a review of the band, and Richards is simply much too grown up and deep to appreciate them.
The crowd was Simple Plan's target audience and, by his own account, they sure liked the show. They "get the lyrics." Why wouldn't we? When you're 12 to 17, those lyrics make a lot of sense. What did he listen to at that age? Maybe when we're all grown up and mature and cynical and complicated and bitter like Richards, we'll understand big words like the f-word and s-word.
Three reasons to vote NDP
I read with interest and appreciation Andrew Cash's two articles about the Liberal handgun ban (NOW, December 15-21). What baffles me is that the Canadian Sport Shooting Assocation's membership is so single-minded that they will support local Conservative candidates on that issue alone while completely ignoring all the other reasons not to vote Liberal.
Amongst others, my top three reasons for not voting Liberal are: they're investing our CPP money in arms manufacturers like Halliburton and SNC-Lavalin, all the while letting Canadians think we aren't in Iraq; they refuse to increase the age of consent to 16 and are thus failing to protect children living in polygamous communities who are becoming mothers at 14, legally impregnated by 50-year-olds, with Martin's blessing (and perhaps envy); and, finally, they're continuing with a foreign worker program that allows strip club owners to legally traffic in foreign women (mostly from Romania) to perform cheap lap dances.
I'm voting NDP.
Name withheld by request
Big hole in gun trafficking
If Paul Martin is at all serious about curtailing the flow of guns from the U.S., he'll muster the courage to establish extensive surveillance of native reserves in eastern Ontario.
Politics over personality
Re Election Dumb-down (NOW, December 15-21). The backlash against Michael Ignatieff is not at all about Ignatieff's "personality," as letter-writers Barbara Sternberg and Carla Rose Shapiro suggest.
It is mostly about the facts behind the personality. I'm sure Ignatieff wishes some of his past pronouncements could be buried under his personality. Canadian society is not bettered by the thinking on torture from this "leading figure on human rights and ethical intervention."
Rent's supreme melodrama
Re letter writer Lee A. Castoro's "shock" at Glenn Sumi's review of Rent (NOW, November 24-30). As a nascent homo during the mid-1990s, I was susceptible to its heartfelt, if specious, East Village mores of tolerance and alleged bohemianism. But I now find it hard to see beyond its sophomoric sentimentality and supreme melodrama. I still blush for my taste in music whenever people notice the cast recording of Rent in my CD tower (with all due respect to Jonathan Larson).
Bucking for public transit
To achieve the Kyoto targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions (NOW, December 8-14), how about a simple and popular policy: limit transit fares across Canada to $1 per trip or a $30 monthly pass, using provincial and federal subsidies? This would encourage more transit use, which would encourage more routes, which would encourage more transit use, and so on.
With increased ridership, the subsidy wouldn't be horrendous. It would certainly be less than the cost of road acquisition, construction and maintenance, which is largely a subsidy to motorists.
Limiting transit fares would have an immediate positive effect on the working poor and students, and make transit an attractive option for all.
Wells war remake no classic
All of the films I wanted to see were out at my local video store, so I thought I'd take a chance on War Of The Worlds since Andrew Dowler had given it three Ns (NOW, November 24-30). Naturally, the special effects aren't as impressive on TV, but please, you'd actually recommend this?
Cruise's character is so unlikeable, we can't wait for him to get blown up by aliens. Alas, this never happens.
Dowler complains that the DVD loses "the shades of Tim Robbins's performance" and that the "nuances contain hints of the child molester and the cold calculator." Yeah, we get that anyway, but what has that to do with the alien invasion? Give the movie two Ns for special effects and forget the rest.
Pinching a lefty loaf
Baking a Revolution (NOW, November 24-30) pretty well sums up this city's "left-wing" misguided revolutionary standards: spaced-out, beggarly and Third World.
Transforming government and making government work to improve one's lot in life, that's what the real class revolution was supposed to be all about.
Herbert de Souza's spaced-out and soporific do-it-yourself solution to poverty has no place amongst bona fide activists, true leftists and authentic revolutionaries.
But obviously it sits well with Toronto's so-called progressives who are applauding the inauguration of a dilapidated outdoor baking oven in the rundown and abandoned ruins that form part of the "revitalized" Wychwood Barns site.
Hard at work at the Old Nick
I feel I should respond to Darlene Besant's letter about her experience at our restaurant (NOW, November 17-23).
The Old Nick is a small neighbourhood pub with a small kitchen. We have been very fortunate to have the exceptionally talented Michelle Bellerose creating her organic brunch for us every Saturday and Sunday.
We were absolutely delighted to have her hard work recognized by NOW, but were overwhelmed by the response. However, we did and continue to do our very best to make every customer's visit enjoyable. Unfortunately, as with any business, not every patron can be pleased despite our best efforts.
Michelle is amazing. She puts all of her attention into every plate. Her food speaks for itself.
General Manager, The Old Nick
Straight on Jewish Pride
For the record, my quote in No Pride In A Free Ride (NOW, November 17-23) is an incomplete representation of my views on Jerusalem World Pride (JWP) and quotes me out of context.
When I spoke to your reporter, I articulated my concerns on how Israel would use JWP and LGBTQ issues as a public relations smokescreen to mask the human rights violations against Palestinians by Israel in and outside of Israel.
I also articulated Salaam: Queer Muslim Community's support for a boycott of JWP called for by Salaam ally ASWAT: Palestinian Gay Women. My position with respect to the boycott remains unchanged. The position of Salaam: Queer Muslim community with respect to the boycott remains unchanged.
That EGALE, working with the 519 Church Street Community Centre, has chosen to work with the Canada-Israel Committee to offer a free junket for the crème de la crème of Canada's queer activists in order to help Canadians realize Israel 's respect for human rights, including gay rightsâ I find problematic and offensive.
Coordinator, Salaam: Queer Muslim Community