Jerking off on latest fad
Re When Art Imitates Art (NOW, April 6-12). While it is disgusting to entertain shopping mall art, Kevin Temple betrays his elitist pretensions. Anything done on canvas is considered déclassé by all the Toms, Dicks and Fannys fresh out of art school. All the money in the "high" art world goes to installations. Where did the installation fad come from to begin with?
Nobody seems to remember that it was Marcel Duchamp's "urinal" that blew the art world of his day out of the water. The difference between Duchamp and his modern-day imitators is that he was pissing on the art world and not jerking off on the latest fad.
Re Parking it in Parkdale (NOW, April 6-12). I applaud the people behind the sit-in in Parkdale for wanting to make a difference, but couches were left behind on the street. Not only is that littering, but guess what? The very next day those couches were being used by the homeless and drug dealers, just like the Parkdale BIA said would happen. Did anyone really think that leaving old couches on the sidewalk was a good thing? Some people see Parkdale's inevitable gentrification as the major problem, but they clearly overlook the substance abuse, prostitution and crime that are still happening every single day.
A rose by any other name
While acknowledging that Sophie Scholl and the White Rose movement represented the height of German resistance to the Nazis (NOW, April 6-12), John Harkness goes on to denigrate it by saying that even the "futile and fatal" armed resistance offered in Warsaw and Vilna was "more impressive... than that of a handful of idealistic students with a mimeograph machine." Typically, Harkness assumes that violence, even failed violence, must be more effective than merely distributing pieces of paper.
Yet Scholl biographer Hermann Vinke notes that the Munich Gestapo set up a special commission purely to search out those producing the leaflets. To be as dismissive as Harkness is minimizes the immense power of merely speaking the truth in a nation both paralyzed by fear and misled by constant misinformation.
Adidas's China syndrome
What I found most offensive about your piece on the anti-Asian caricature on Adidas's new "Yellow" line of shoes (NOW, April 6-12) was the knowledge that most Adidas footwear sold in Canada is manufactured in China by people who no doubt work under horrid conditions and for meagre wages and no benefits.
Pam's big boob boo
The press has made it appear that the public is only angry about Pamela Anderson's "controversial" attack on the seal hunt (NOW, April 6-12). As a woman, I can tell you that I am furious that CTV hired a pornified bimbo to host a once-respected awards show. Anderson degraded women in the process by wearing impossibly low-cut, sheer shirts. She had on a dress/shirt that barely covered her crotch at the end of the show. Anderson giggled during her opening "speech" while making reference to her ridiculously huge plastic breasts. I am mortified that the press hasn't recognized Pam for what she really is - a "sex object."
As a sessional instructor at Ryerson, I commend Marusya Bociurkiw (NOW, April 6-12).
Universities and colleges are happy to overwork and underpay highly educated, well-researched PhDs. They also slap us in the face by telling us we are "part-time workers."
When spring and summer arrive and the courses offered lighten, there is often no work for us. On top of that, we are not eligible for employment insurance. Most sessionals easily work 40- to 80-hour weeks depending on the marking load, on top of the reading, research and preparation. Worse yet, we have no guarantee of work for the next fall. The transient nature of the sessional life is a measure of the inequitable, short-term thinking that will continue to doom Canada's colleges and universities.
Department of English, Ryerson University
Third crop from the sun
The article Canada Sows Evil Crop plot (NOW, April 6-12) was shoved onto the bottom of page 18. Attention was drawn to it on the cover of the magazine (Are we eating birth control with our food?). But this story deserves to be a cover story. Everyone I've spoken to who read it wants more information. Toronto cares more about how agri-biz is messing with our food supply than about some ex-sitcom star's newfound indie-pendence. If you're worried about what photo to use on the cover spread, how about a post-apocalyptic urban nothingness with starving, three-armed humans?
Carpal tunnel vision
I love Elizabeth Bromstein's Alt-Health column, but I was amazed not to see massage therapy included in her list of treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome (NOW, April 6-12). Massage therapy, including joint mobilizations, has great benefit for carpal tunnel and thoracic outlet syndromes, and many others, too.
Glenn Sumi's semi-scathing review of CanStage's theme-park revival of Hair (NOW, April 6-12) didn't go far enough. This piece of crap's only reference to modern events is a three-second cameo by a Muslim woman setting some Buddhist monks on fire. Seriously! The real capper is the nude scene, where not only are most of the boys finely groomed, but more than a few landing strips make an appearance. It's flatly staged on an idiotic set that only allows the cast to go up some stairs and then slide down a pole to rejoin the cavorting hippy-fakes waving around fluorescent flowers we can't see properly through a chain-link fence lowered from the heavens. If staged right, it could have something to say about, umm, war and, umm, resistance.
Loney an embarrassment
One can't help but feel sorry for James Loney (NOW, March 30-April 5). It must be pretty embarrassing to be rescued by the military forces he so despises. Even worse was having to cover up his sexual orientation for fear of what his Muslim captors would do to him if they found out. Apparently, a certain religion of "peace" and "tolerance" is ferociously homophobic.
Why not out gay hostage?
The Globe and Mail recently reported that NOW Magazine, at the behest of Christian Peacemaker Teams, removed an online article in which James Loney revealed that he is gay. The Globe reports that news editor Ellie Kirzner suggested that the act of removal was "one of these no-brainers," because the "safety issue was huge." How did the editorial department come to determine that Loney's homosexuality put him at risk?
No danger of flights crashing
It is disappointing that NOW has chosen to distribute the same misinformation that CommunityAIR has been promoting about the proposed use of Q400s at the Island Airport (NOW, March 30-April 5).
The Q400 has landed many times at the airport. It is true that the Q400 cannot land in crosswinds above 60 kilometres an hour. Environment Canada weather data for the period of 2000 to 2005 shows that winds in excess of 60K occur less than 1 per cent of the time.
CommunityAIR's charge that Q400 use is a violation of the Tripartite Agreement is wrong. The Q400 is actually more capable than the Dash 8-100 originally approved for operation at the airport.
As we have stated many times in the past, we do not require runway extensions, we are not proposing jet service and our departures and arrivals will respect the limitations on community noise and operating hours. CommunityAIR implies that the airport is unable to respond to emergencies. Any additional services required can be moved by ferry.
President and CEO, Porter Airlines Inc.
Cop Charter kvetch a stretch
In order to make his point in Cops Not Playing By Book (NOW, March 30-April 5), Alan Young upbraids Deputy Chief of police Tony Warr for claiming that the Charter Of Rights And Freedoms is a contributing factor in "the declining efficiency of murder investigations."
I am assured categorically that at no time did Deputy Chief Warr say that the Charter was hampering police investigations. He was referring to the impact of the Supreme Court's Stinchcombe decision to explain its implications for human resources, preparation of evidence, timeliness of trials and the ability to obtain convictions.
Warr was referring to a fact of life that compliance with the disclosure rules resulting from Stinchcombe has, on the one hand, stretched police resources and, on the other, often made trials very long.
The need to comply with the disclosure rules does involve considerable amounts of investigators' time. Likewise, the disclosure rules have had an impact on the length and outcome of trials, due to the many pretrial challenges brought by defence. In order to meet the challenges successfully, police must comply fully with disclosure rules; to do so, investigators must be diligent and painstaking in preparing the evidence in accordance with those rules. Warr was merely drawing attention to this reality.
Vice-chair, Toronto Police Services Board