Wearing terror blinkers
Like all conspiracy theories, Terror In The Details (NOW, June 8-14) hangs together an assortment of factoids and knee-jerk skepticism in a constellation of suggestion that only looks like anything when squinted at through blinkers that deliberately exclude other facts. The public has been prejudiced? The suspects can't get a fair trial? The police keep national-security-related evidence under wraps? The defence has been hamstrung? Exactly what level and kind of evidence would NOW consider both probative and fair?
I happen to know Michelle Shephard personally and I will go on public record stating that she is a competent, intelligent, trustworthy and fully credible reporter.
That some of her cases "didn't amount to anything" is par for the course in any field of investigative reporting, as NOW's own people should well know.
News flash for NOW: paranoid inferral and reflex suspicion do not make a valid counter-argument. Maybe next time your Reality Check could have some actual reality in it.
Stephen J. Barringer
Left's loony blame game
So police arrest 17 suspected islamic militants who allegedly plotted to blow up targets in Ontario, and the reaction over at NOW is one of concern for the accused and fear of how this all plays into the hands of Stephen Harper and the police. Big fucking surprise. If a terror attack ever does hit Toronto, the loony left will probably accuse the government of letting it happen in order to suspend civil liberties and drag us into a fascist police state.
Fighting back in Afghanistan
You have written that it is grotesquely wrong for our prime minister to express satisfaction at the arrest of 17 terrorism suspects and the prevention of the acts of terrorism they were allegedly plotting. Because if not for his own error in continuing the Canadian military effort in Afghanistan, Canada would not be an attractive target for terrorists in the first place.
However, let us remember that the theocratic Taliban in Afghanistan were harbouring the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Sometimes you do have to fight back.
We war and tell them not to
While you are right to note our role in Afghanistan in contributing to the threat of attacks in Canada, the much larger reason for a threat is the fact that we are being economically coerced into contributing to a religiously-based "war on terror." Apart from Afghanistan, we are contributing to this new crusade by arresting Muslim men here, letting planes carrying torture victims use our soil, putting all organizations that the U.S. says are terrorists on our list.
We are shamefully contributing to a war while hypocritically telling Muslims not to wage one.
Warning to Muslim youth
Warning to any disaffected muslim youth who gets e-mails about defeating the infidels in Afghanistan, invitations to meetings at Tim Hortons (LOL!) and all-expenses-paid trips to training camps where you can pose with various confiscated weaponry: you've been played.
Make access to water a right
I just read the article on water rights (NOW, June 8-14). What happens when those companies wreaking havoc in the developing world start grumbling about privatization of once public water rights here? Any future privatization of water rights in Canada will probably be as smooth and painless as the "privatization" of Ontario Hydro has been. I suggest we enshrine public water rights in the Charter so that all future Canadians will have access.
Organics as elitist luxury
I'm a bit troubled by Wayne Roberts's recent critique of Wal-Mart's foray into organics (NOW, June 8-14). While one can't deny that his predictions hold some degree of likelihood, they don't do much to convince skeptics that organic food is a viable replacement for today's conventionally grown global food supply. In stressing the delicate uniqueness of organic farming, Roberts effectively alienates any potential for mainstream success.
Waxing poetic about handling produce is fine when you're feeding a niche clientele willing to pay a premium. But when the numbers inflate to $6 billion and counting, your only realistic option might be to just throw them on the fucking truck.
Roberts and his organic posse should be acknowledging the legitimate difficulties of feeding a planet while adhering to an increasingly costly and time-consuming method of production. Refusing to do so makes organic food seem less a saving grace and more an elitist First World luxury.
Three-breasted beer bad
We're all used to seeing ads using sex to sell. It doesn't bug me that much, and I don't panic much about the objectification part. But the three-breast thing in your betterthanbeer. com ad (NOW, June 8-14).... You can't pretend, "Hey, it's just an attractive woman, that's what people like." It's more like, "Hey, this is weird - stare at these!" And it's actually kind of disturbing. Not good.
Black Xmas a 70s classic, too
In his excellent review of the Omen (NOW, June 8-14), John Harkness asks, "Are there any major 70s horror movies left to update"? He overlooks the much-underrated Black Christmas, an unnecessary new version of which Glen "Final Destination 3" Morgan will be bringing to the screen later this year.
The 1974 film originated so many horror film tropes that if Morgan's film is faithful to the original, it will be dismissed by jaded moviegoers as a retread. If it changes the story, it will be just another slasher movie.
Either way, I imagine the reaction of audiences will be like that of the disappointed theatregoer walking out of Hamlet, shrugging, "That was just a bunch of clichés strung together."
While i'm a big fan of Tsui Hark's Once Upon A Time In China series, Andrew Dowler's contention that the closer "may be the best martial arts movie ever made" (NOW, June 8-14) seems to have been rewritten from the festival press release. Even if I cruelly skip over Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and restrict myself to Hark films, the best would be Seven Swords, which played in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival but was not released widely in North America.
It has it all: exquisite cinematography, a haunting soundtrack, an airtight script that puts every character through the wringer and none of the camp of the China series.
As a life-long martial arts movie fan, black belt and documentarian of the arts, even I was floored by the final sword fight between Donnie Yen and Sun Honglei in the tight confines of a stone passageway.
In China, fans are waiting for the six promised sequels. They're calling it the Chinese Lord Of The Rings. I'd be happy to share my DVD with Dowler, just to see his jaw drop to the floor.
Summer's cold comfort
I loved Sheila Gostick's column about hibernating in the summer (NOW, June 8-14). What a laugh! I don't necessarily feel the same way, but there is something comforting about being inside my shady, cool house on a hot day.
Bias in Trinity diatribe
Re The Hex On Helen (NOW, june 8- 14). When did NOW turn its news section into Glenn Wheeler's editorial column? There were plenty of interesting stories to be had on the NDP nomination race, written for a progressive audience, like who could better represent the ward, an Asian woman or a queer white woman. Instead, you chose to give Glenn Wheeler not one, but two full articles to vent his obvious bias. Frankly, it's below the quality of work most readers expect from NOW.
Souring on Olivia and NDP
Your article on the NDP nomination in Trinity-Spadina (NOW, June 1-7) is correct in quoting Winnie Ng saying the NDP doesn't appreciate the depth of ill feeling that lingers after the Goossen defeat. As a long-time supporter of both Olivia Chow and Tam Goossen, I was perplexed about why Chow chose to campaign so vigorously against Goossen!?! No doubt Chow benefited from Goossen's dedication and long-time support during the last federal election. This kind of intervention and power politics really sours me on the whole nomination process. I, for one, as a grassroots supporter of the NDP, will certainly remain silent during Chow's next federal campaign.
Michael C.K. Ma
Chinese Canadian National Council, board member
Dandelion, it's a miracle
I'm a little late in responding, but I just wanted to thank NOW for introducing me to weed - dandelion, that is (NOW, June 8-14). Since reading the article a few weeks ago, I have been cooking and eating the flowers, leaves and roots in various forms, including jams and salads. It really is a miracle plant! I can't say if my overall health has improved, but since it's a commodity that is not only abundant but also free, my grocery bills are certainly healthier! And funnily enough, no one seems to mind you digging up the little "pests" from their yards!