Sook-Yin's ugly ode to arts
Re Sook-Yin Lee riding the Raunchy Shortbus (NOW, August 31-September 6). Yep. Another dystopic, dildo-wielding voodoo doll crawls from our cultural landfill to ascend the creepy pantheon of Istvan Kantor, Alanis, Bif Naked, Peaches, et al., where despite all the nakedness, nothing is revealed.
Horseshit, crybaby tantrums might get Governor General's Awards but in the end evoke horror and resentment. Why are all these creatures so ashamed to be alive?
Humankind's baton of unimaginable beauty was passed to modern hands and our galleries are filled with stained mattresses, piss-covered crucifixes, blood-spattered walls, videos of cat torture and skinny girls masturbating. An effete gaggle of curators and critics has shepherded modern culture away from beauty and smack into ugly. As for Sook-Yin's T-shirt ("All structures are unstable"), is she being self-referential?
N'awlins needs Hezbollah
Re Making a killing on disaster (NOW, August 31-September 6). You know who should rebuild New Orleans? Hezbollah! They are apparently ready, willing and able to rebuild after a disaster (see the bombing of Lebanon), unlike FEMA, Homeland Security, America's insurance companies and George Bush.
Trudeau Iggy's id
Re Iggy Pops off (now, august 31- September 6). You geniuses do not understand history. Do you not realize that your great god Trudeau came within an inch of being defeated by a goofy Nova Scotian after his coronation in 1968?
Do you want to know why? Because he was a "smarmy, preppie prig and all-around prick" and voters knew it.
Why don't you people get real?
Watching the eminent scholar Gwynne Dyer pick and choose from his buffet of historical facts (NOW, August 31-September 6), I find it hard to retain any regard for his profession.
Based on the bizarre comparison of the little country of Italy, nestled next to Western Europe's industrial heartland, with the sprawling Eurasian territories of the former Russian empire, he concludes that the Soviet model deprived Russians of the great wealth enjoyed by a tiny handful of mostly northern states in the 20th century.
He makes similarly dubious comparisons for China, ignoring the most obvious one - India, which, except for the socialist state of Kerala, has maintained a minimal standard of living for most of its people.
Dyer implies that by pursuing socialist policies, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez will be forced to go down the path of a failed totalitarian economic model.
In fact, Chavez, like Chinese and Soviet leaders before him, is trying to develop an original workable model for his country based on the realities of his time, and not on some arbitrarily defined socialist playbook.
Chow sets housing record
Political hopeful Adam Vaughan is correct when he says Toronto city council's record on housing issues is dismal (NOW, August 31-September 6). But he is dead wrong to single out former councillor Olivia Chow and her assistant Helen Kennedy, who is running to replace Chow.
A city staff report in June 2006 notes that there were 343 new affordable homes completed in Chow's riding over the past six years. That makes her record 368 per cent better than that of any other member of council. In fact, there was not one single new affordable home built in 23 of Toronto's 44 municipal wards. Yes, there is blame that should be assigned. But not to Chow or Kennedy.
Awestruck by the awkward
While it is certainly true that not all of the stories published in Love & Sex are literary gems, the column does, nevertheless, always strive to depict sexual encounters from unique and unstereotypical perspectives. This is to be applauded. I wanted to send some kudos Mike Irvine's way for his work (NOW, August 31-September 6). I thought his tale of two individuals' awkward, drunken attempt to get laid resonated with a quirky vulnerability that was touchingly beautiful. I'd love to see more of his writing in the future. Keep up the good work.
George gets brownie points
Re Making the green grade (now, August 24-30). Adria Vasil's article requires some clarification. In summarizing George Brown College's environmental initiatives, she mentions our lack of green space. Even though this is a physical limitation of the college's downtown campus locations, we do have two small and lovely green park areas, one between Richmond and Adelaide and one at our Casa Loma campus, which the article failed to note.
Also misssing from the article was mention of our subsidized monthly TTC passes for staff and students, and our newly completed studio space for the Institute Without Boundaries in our school of design, which was designed and built according to the principles of environmental sustainability.
George Brown College remains committed to promoting a healthy environment through education and resource conservation.
Media Relations Officer
George Brown College
Re Puff go the dragons (now, au gust 24-30). Is it any wonder that waterfront redevelopment is continually stalled? Finally, when volunteers and government come together to construct a world-class facility that starts to build momentum for the waterfront's redevelopment, it gets dumped on. I am shocked that local residents and NOW can't look beyond neighbourhood self-interest and welcome events that draw the rest of the city.
Puff go the facts
I was alarmed to read a quote at tributed to me in Puff Go The Dragons. The implication that there was a lack of community consultation in the months leading to building the waterfront watercourse is incorrect. Both the community's Parkdale Waterfront Group and the Argonaut Rowing Club were specifically consulted at length by the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation.
There were also several public meetings open to all members of the community, giving those members of the community not affiliated with an organization an opportunity to be heard. That's a matter of public record, available on the TWRC website.
I've always been a strong advocate of public consultations (I've hosted more than 60 community meetings in our ward as councillor), a fact that should undoubtedly have been included in the article.
Charities wash dirty laundry
The charity trap (now, august 24- 30) is a really good example of how society is being bamboozled. It's not businesses disguising themselves as charities that we should be worried about; it's legit charities that make money by selling used clothing, which is not considered a receiptable donation under the Income Tax Act.
I prefer to give my used clothes to for-profits, because at least they're clear about their intentions.
Gillis's hair makes me giddy
One modern dance tradition that never seems to die is Margie Gillis "using her long hair to great effect" (NOW, August 24-30). I used to write about her 25 years ago in Ottawa, when she was already swinging it around. She would insist, "I don't choreograph my hair!" But of course she does... to great effect.
Arrest the slobs
I write regarding the ever-growing sickness of Ontarians littering and dumping at large. Those malfeasant slobs dump everything from cigarette butts to bottles to dead animals to derelict vehicles and machinery. It's time the province act as it has with the sickness of smoking.
Slobs are a serious symptom of cultural decline.
The province should pass an anti-slob law to be enforced by a special branch of the OPP. Confiscate vehicles of litterers/dumpers.
Make litterers/dumpers eat a significant amount of their litter. Allow citizens to report dumpers to Crime Stoppers. Do it, please.