You talkin' to me?
I find it amazing that you can print an item slamming the Western Standard (NOW, February 16-22) for running the anti-Muslim cartoons (which is a hate crime and for which it should be punished), but in the same issue print a full page ad for Jack Astor's promoting a cartoon stereotype of Italians as mobsters!
The cartoon consists of a green crayon stick man drowning while two angry-looking stick men in suits watch from their boat. The caption reads, "The Viva Italia Festival is on now. Don't make us tell you twice."
Your editorial hypocrisy is glaring. Jack Astor's is very much to blame for creating such a hateful ad, but your magazine shares equally in this hate crime by choosing to publish it.
Contempt for the Koran
Naomi Regan's letter, Cartoon Controversy A Laugh, (NOW, February 16-22), is an excellent example of how comfortable many people feel showing disdain and contempt for an entire people.
Since when does feeling injured when your faith is mocked and caricatured make you an extremist?
Since when is secularism a licence to abdicate your responsibility to act with respect, compassion and integrity?
Just because it is not illegal to mock cultural, religious and national symbols doesn't make it right. Don't wait until your god/flag/ceremony is insulted before you show respect for those of others.
Re Mr. Sub Indian-style (NOW, February 16-22). It disappoints me that you would allow Steven Davey to submit an inappropriate personal attack under the guise of a restaurant review. Davey's agenda was clearly to belittle the success and ingenuity of Veda and its owner, Jared Ross.
My wife and I are investment bankers with busy lives. We have long awaited the arrival of a new healthy concept like Veda in our neighbourhood.
We were thankful when the restaurant opened and have had Veda cater two of our dinner parties.
We agree that the naan is nothing special, but Davey failed to mention that it comes free with your meal. Talk to Ross and you will immediately get a sense of his passion for cooking and Indian food, not just for business. Based on the swarms of people in line in front of us each time we arrive, Veda is on to something
I give Ross credit for leaving the cushy world of banking for the risks of entrepreneurship.
Let's hope Davey's prediction is correct and we can get Veda's grub on any street corner like Starbucks soon.
Love & Sex regrets
We attended your Love & Sex Party at Spin Gallery (NOW, February 16-22) and were surprised to find ourselves at what must have been the limpest event of the year so far.
From the letter X inscribed on our wrists in blue ballpoint pen at the entry to the DJ who continually overloaded the P.A. and the stone-faced burlesque performers, the general impression was of a high school dance with hookers.
The $5 charged for bottled water hardly made things better, and to top it all off, the room was freezing. Totally un-sexy, completely without love and not much of a party.
John Copping, Laura White
Swain's Red scare
Deirdre Swain's review of the must-see doc Why We Fight (NOW, February 16-22) was surprisingly facile. Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki's key idea is simple: the American system is hardwired for war.
Swain criticizes Jarecki for ignoring "other reasons for war," for example, that "many in the government honestly thought communism was a global threat." This misses the film's point in a very big way.
Modern U.S. actions and foreign policy have been dominated by the way the American military and its supporters look at the world.
The alleged "reasons" for wars are merely spin and pretext providing the political green light.
Hip to be fur-free
I read about the skinning of dogs and cats in China for the fur trade (NOW, February 16-22). Sometimes human beings do very stupid things. Sorry, make that most of the time. Take leather - usually the skin of cows. Yet leather has become so mainstream that no one raises an eyebrow.
It's good that the activist movement creates awareness. However, awareness doesn't change things, action does. I've been involved with a start-up firm called EpicGreen, made up of progressive university students who want to replace animal skins with eco-friendly fibres. Their business model is unique: they want to make eco-friendly hip. People don't buy things because they are sustainably manufactured. It's hipness that drives consumer purchasing.
Soon the Don will be gone
Re Snow Good Solution (NOW, February 16-22). You use the unfortunate phrase "global warming types" in this item about the hazards of snow dumps. Are you implying that one has a choice of worrying about global warming or not? You mention other eco activists concerned about toxic discharges into the Don River. Well, tell them they needn't worry. Thanks to global warming, soon there won't be a Don River.
Slippery slave suggestion
In her review of Afua Cooper's The Hanging Of Angélique (NOW, February 9-15), Susan G. Cole comments on Cooper's unearthing of the "counterintuitive fact" of active Jewish involvement in the slave trade. This seems to suggest that Jewish involvement in the slave trade was somehow disproportionate. Indeed, Cooper carefully indicates that such may have been the case.
We disagree with this conclusion. In fact, there is really no way of knowing the extent of Jewish involvement in this tragic episode of human history. While significant documentary evidence exists to show the negligible extent of Jewish involvement in the slave trade that emanated from the British Empire, such documents are completely absent in Portugal.
Historians must rely "primarily on the records of the Iberian Inquisitions, an evidentiary world of statements extorted by techniques designed to deceive, exhaust and terrify subjects into unreliable confessions of identity."
In other words, if we do not know who was a Jew, then how can we know the extent of Jewish involvement in the slave trade?
National Director Community Relations Canadian Jewish Congress
Fare hike bothers
The TTC fare increase upsets me a lot (NOW, February 16-22). The last fare increase before this pushed me out of the TTC and onto a bicycle.
But then someone stole my bike, and I couldn't afford another, so back I was on the TTC.
And then this week, there it was, $2.75 per ride. Outraged and quiet as a mouse, I took my King streetcar to Dundas West station on my way to work. What could I do, take my frustration out on the streetcar driver? What does he have to do with it? Should I shout to other passengers that we have to do something when the only thing folks who take the TTC want is to be left alone?
Got milk, got problems
Although milk is often touted as the perfect food, it really has no place in a healthy diet (NOW, February 16-22). Milk is full of sugar, fat and cholesterol, and diets rich in fatty foods can contribute to an increased risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Contrary to popular belief, drinking milk will do little to prevent osteoporosis. In fact, studies have shown that the best way to build strong bones is to eat a varied diet of fruits, calcium-rich vegetables, whole grains and legumes in addition to getting sunshine and doing weight-bearing exercises.
Sarah Keating, M.D
Globe artist left out of loop
Re Parkdale's Ode to Paranoia (NOW, February 9-15)
In 2001 the Parkdale BIA invited me to submit a design for a globe sculpture beside the library as a companion piece to my 1990 installation of copper trees at the Masaryk-Cowan Recreation Centre. Over a six-month period I produced design sketches and site models, for which I was paid a single fee of $4,000 that barely covered my labour, production expenses and travel costs. Once my drawings entered the city's bureaucracy, I was never consulted about the globe's fabrication and believed the project to be dormant until the fall of 2005, when I was informed, on very short notice, that the project was to be unveiled.
I am named as the artist, but do not accept that title since I had zero involvement with the globe's physical construction. I am, however, the owner of the design concept. As such, the globe is currently an annoyingly unfinished brown ball lacking my proposed blue-green copper patina and, more importantly, etchings of the word "welcome" translated into every world language spoken in Parkdale. This must be addressed.
Author Kate Zankowicz is wrong in implying that I am responsible for the rumoured $300,000 price tag. But I agree that the lack of public seating is silly. The globe is a place for people to hang out, chat, feed birds (whose poop is kick-starting attractive green patches on the copper) and, maybe in the future, ponder the array of languages found in the community.
Next time I'm in town, which is often (I'm a former Queen West resident), I will happily pull up a lawn chair and chat with Zankowicz about these issues. To study the relevancy of the globe design to my art practice, please go to www.dykhuis.ca.