Racism runs deeper
[I] reflected on Andrew Moodie's article in Black History, Black Future (NOW, February 23-March 1) but felt there were issues that went unnamed and overlooked. We need to continue moving beyond facile and static discussions of "individual" racism. Rather than asking whether we are "free" to walk down the street of a ritzy affluent neighbourhood, we should be asking, Could members of our community ever afford to live in such an enclave?
Rather than discussions on denied access to a bar or public eatery, let's ask ourselves, Would members of my racial group receive quality service in the establishment? Too often, blacks are misled into believing that racism has disappeared, that the myths of meritocracy and equal opportunity are real. White domination based on racial oppression has not disappeared. It has been transmuted, finding new rhetoric and social practices.
Gang bang for your buck
Re Max Fawcett's Love & Sex column (NOW, February 23-March 1). Fawcett seems to be looking for problems where they don't exist! To me the answer to the "who pays for what" question is simple. If I ask you out on a date, I expect to pay.
If you ask me out, you should expect to pay. If Fawcett is "inclined to assume" that his generosity should lead to something more, I suggest simplifying matters even further and hiring an escort. Then he can be sure of getting a good bang for his buck.
See Emily play head games
Re Emily Haines's Celebrity Spins (NOW, February 23-March 1). I have a tip for Emily Haines: one very positive outcome of the iPod era is that a greater number of people enjoy a wider range of music than ever before. So please stop drawing imaginary battle lines between genres. Your blanket dismissal of dance music as "phony upbeat restaurant music" doesn't win you any cool points. It just reveals you as an unlikeable hipster caricature who doesn't get that there are music fans and musicians with the capacity to appreciate both plaintive acoustic songcraft and a good dance floor workout. (Erlend Eye of Kings of Convenience immediately comes to mind).
I was ready to download your records (legitimately, via the iTunes Music Store), but your attitude puts me off ever wanting to support you or your band.
Mobster ad harmless
Carol Berube's letter (NOW, February 23-March 1) illustrates the dangers of political correctness by complaining about a harmless, good-natured joke in a Jack Astor's ad, comparing it to the Danish cartoons, the publication of which she incorrectly regards as a hate crime. Since every person can be connected to some ethnicity or nationality, it follows that stringent political correctness prevents us from criticizing anybody at any time for any reason. If you criticize President Bush you must be trying to promote hatred of Americans, by that logic. Lighten up.
My Style monkey ride
While I hate to be negative, especially when it's about one's personal style, I simply wonder how you manage to find the most pretentious individuals in Toronto week after week for My Style. Every Thursday I have to read about someone who has more affected conceits than most art school students. A perfect example is actor/filmmaker Chloe Griffen (NOW, February 16-22), who seems to have channelled the spirit and personal style of Dieter from Sprockets on the old Saturday Night Live sketches. Really, who is "into walking through water in a pool painted black"? I was waiting for her to ask readers to pet her monkey.
Re your Upfront item on my criticism of the TTC giving Bombardier the contract for subway cars (NOW, February 16-22). The thinking behind NOW's position, that it's better to buy Canadian, is precisely the kind of thinking that will be used against Bombardier around the world by its competitors to deny it fair access to contracts.
If we intend to preach fair access to contracts, we should practise it here. Doing so at home is good for our taxpayers and good for our businesses around the world.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong
Don Valley East
This gun hard to swallow
I wonder why Kevin Temple -- our Top Gun Complex (NOW, February 16-22) - couldn't bring himself to ask "problematic questions" of military types at the Ontario Science Centre screening of Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag. Was if out of fear he wouldn't get to enjoy the buffet lunch?
He states that none of the other journalists seemed concerned about the film's pro-military message. Maybe they were just as spineless as he was. Or maybe they were also blinded by the free food.
Milk's veal link
In Milk Does a Body Bad? (NOW, February 16-22), Elizabeth Bromstein says she is driven insane by "ethical" vegetarians who eat regular cheese that contains rennet. "You might as well eat veal," she says. Actually, much of the cheese that is produced today uses microbial and synthetic rennet, but this won't get you off the hook. Cows, like human mothers, don't produce milk unless they've given birth. The two industries are directly linked.
Toronto Vegetarian Association
China's mistreatment of animals, further evidenced by its trade in dog and cat fur (NOW, February 16-22), is a nightmare. The U.S. bans their import; Canada does not. A month ago I ate burgers. Today I'm vegan.
People, wake up. Fur equals atrocity. Boycott products made in China. Avenge the unloved.
Scary people, super creeps
What is truly strange and frightening to me is that there are people like letter-writer Naomi Regan (NOW, February 16-22) out there. She paints the entire religion of Islam as having "little respect for any other religion." Do the beliefs of right-wing Zionists represent the entire Jewish people? Does George Bush or Pat Robertson represent all of Christianity?
The Regans of this world are stunned that secular newspapers would care what "religious extremists" think. Well, I am not a religious extremist, but if I see a cartoon, editiorial or advertisement that aims to demonize or vilify an entire race, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, etc, I wonder what purpose publishing that piece serves.
Would Regan be able to see the issue more clearly if it were a cartoon attacking gay people or Jews or ethnic minorities? Or are the liberal beliefs she believes she espouses selective, so it's okay to stereotype and attack people she doesn't like?
I don't wish to condone or excuse the violence that the cartoons have sparked. The response to the cartoons should come in the same form, i.e., in print. But I do take serious issue with people calling me a religious extremist because I care about the negative portrayals of Muslims that abound in the media.
Zealotry and bigotry can come in many shapes and forms, Ms. Regan. Take a good look in the mirror.
Uri gotta be kidding me?
Re Hamas Deja Vu (NOW, February 9-15). Uri Avnery is not the best person in the circumstances to write a piece on the Hamas majority election. Avnery is just a Zionist, after all.
If the Guardian can print a piece by Hamas, then why not NOW? It'd be the first time [NOW would] have an article by a Palestinian spokesperson.
Condos in the 'dale
Thank you for drawing attention to the Bridgepoint Hospital/Don Jail redevelopment (NOW, February 9-15).
You described it well: a poorly planned development that's inappropriate for the edge of the Don Valley. The new development will create pollution, sewage woes and traffic problems all through the area.
There will be condos on this site, but what else? Big-box stores? A Shoppers Drug Mart, perhaps? We've asked city planning, and they've told us they don't know.
As you come along Gerrard East, take a look at the now tranquil and unique site overlooking the city. If planners get their way, it will soon be paved over and gone forever.
Riverdale Area Residents Assoc.
Re The Parkdale Peace Monument (NOW, February 9-15). The monument looks more like a foreboding of things to come: global/Arctic warming. Maybe the globe itself will melt in the heat of the summers in Toronto.
Weird bean scene
It's disturbing to read about a family being displaced because of emissions from Energy Probe's coffee roasting (NOW, February 2-8).
I thought Energy Probe was an environmentally focused charity. It was when I supported it and volunteered there years ago.
This article prompts a lot of questions about how public health is protected.
I enjoyed the coverage of the BENCHmark project and a nice colour photograph of my artwork (NOW, February 16-22). However, I have to point out that my last name was spelled incorrectly as "Arawaka" in the article. Please check your spelling before publishing it. Thank you.