Mezzrow's is alive and well!
The rumour of Mezzrow's demise has been greatly exaggerated! In Lisa Paul's critique of Higher Grounds (NOW, November 23-29), it was incorrectly stated that the previous incarnation of Higher Grounds was "the sports bar Mezzrow's." The truth is we are still here, alive and well, thank you very much! For your information: 1) Mezzrow's has existed for 11 years at 1546 not 1564 Queen West; 2) Our establishment is a jazz bar, not a sports bar.
The ramifications of this erroneous information are that a number of people now believe we do not exist, and many have been phoning our successful establishment to see if we are still operating.
This is quite intolerable, and cannot be abided.
NOW should get its facts straight before dinking around with people's businesses.
Owner, Operator & Dictator for Life
Don't diss Haifa U
RE activists crash Haifa U gala (NOW, November 30-December 6). It's ironic that groups protesting the occupation chose to target Haifa University. As they must know, both the city and the school have a reputation for reasonably amicable Arab-Jewish relations. A good friend teaches philosophy there. He told me that during the Lebanon war, the university's academic staff donated 50,000 shekels and distributed food to help civilians in northern Israel. Significantly, the university made a point of assisting not only Jewish, but also Arab and Druze villages.
It's certainly right to condemn the occupation, but this knee-jerk view that every Israeli institution is somehow culpable demonstrates crude and shallow thinking.
Behind the picket
As a member of the new Toronto group Not in Our Name (NION): Jews Against Israel's Wars, I want to clarify the purpose of our information picket at the Haifa U gala event. The Haifa University fundraiser was for an institute studying anti-Semitism and racism. The tribute committee includes the staunchest Canadian supporters of Israel, people who do not brook any criticism of Israel. What we want to clarify is that Haifa University is not about plurality and free expression: what is studied is racism against Jewish people, not racism perpetrated by Israel.
The information picket turned protest when the Jewish Defense League showed up. The FBI calls this group a "right-wing terrorist organization." Ironically, they chanted over and over that "Israel is a Jewish state" and that is the apartheid problem.
Irony-man strikes again
So Gwynne Dyer finds Michael Ignatieff a dubious candidate for the Liberal leadership because he hasn't lived in the country for many years (NOW, November 30-December 6). I can only assume that Dyer is delivering his byline from London, Ontario, and surely not London, England. Otherwise, Dyer has no more business in Canadian politics than Ignatieff does. While I am no supporter of Ignatieff, I always enjoy a new episode of Irony-man.
Mexican politics are full of irony, farce and sometimes tragedy and chaos. The piece Demo Backs Oaxaca Strike (NOW, November 23-29) is a case in point. Despite its media spin in the West as a defender of justice, APPO (the acronym of the ironically named Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca) is an anarchist organization that cynically used the teachers' strike to mobilize the poor and uneducated to gain power in the name of overthrowing an unpopular democratically elected governor. APPO does not represent the majority of city residents who were held hostage for five months by their tactics. The violence in the streets, beatings, curfews, burning of historic buildings, occasional closure of the airport, occupation of hotels, and barricades throughout the city (which APPO charged residents a toll to pass through) shut down tourism and much of the rest of the economy.
Federal forces were finally dispatched last month, and as a result order has been restored to the city of Oaxaca. The teachers are back on the job, but without a pay increase. Students have lost five months of their school year. The education system is less able to afford the changes needed to improve it. The tragedy is that nothing has been gained from the APPO occupation, and much has been lost.
RE Green with envy (now, novem ber 30-December 6). Anyone who believes that "the NDP may be comforted by the prediction that Greens are likely to suck up more blue votes than orange" is smoking some strong green plants. In the London North Centre by-election, the Green vote rose by more than 20 percentage points relative to the 2006 election, and the NDP suffered the largest loss of any party - nearly 10 percentage points.
I want to comment On Law Students Charge Flaherty (NOW, November 30-December 6). Because I teach a course on native rights, I am aware of the importance of the Law Commission of Canada and the Court Challenges Program to the advancement of the rights of aboriginal people. From 1927 to 1952 it was illegal to raise money to pay for litigation by aboriginal parties. Lifting the prohibition did little for those parties who could not afford to litigate. The sources of funding for aboriginal litigation are so limited that some courts have begun ordering the Crown to pay costs in advance of the result. The Court Challenges Program was one of the few sources available for aboriginal parties who wanted to raise issues in court.
I think it is important to let Flaherty know that some of us feel that raising and discussing controversial issues is an important part of the democratic process: one which strengthens the fabric of this nation.
Osgoode Hall Law School
Get a sex ad, will ya?
What is up with now's love & sex column? Every week this column gets more and more misogynist and insulting. The article When I'm A Temp (NOW, November 30-December 6) was such stock, titillating drivel, I thought I'd just opened up some cheesy Harlequin novel from a grocery store rack.
If working as underpaid eye candy for the corporate monoculture is the only career this writer aspires to, perhaps she should just take out an ad in the back of NOW. At least she'd earn a higher wage.
Pandering to the bland, boring white-collar echelons that dominate us all is so backwards and lame. What is wrong with you people?
Who are you, Tony Ianno?
I am writing to complain about the reference to Olivia Chow in Glenn Wheeler's article (NOW, November 16- 22). He inferred that she will not do a thorough job because she is married, and that she would rather criss-cross the country with her hubby. I thought this was a progressive urban magazine. You just set us all back 50,000 years.
The worst part of it is that I don't think these are Wheeler's words. They sound like something the Tony Ianno mafia fed him over free drinks.
Journalism is supposed to be unbiased, and you crossed the line. It would be better if someone else covered this stuff.
While I consider myself a pro-feminist male, I can't figure out Valerie Smith's quixotic pursuit to curb HMV's selling of misogynistic hiphop music (NOW, November 30-December 6). What about other forms of music that also degrade women, like country & western, rock, pop and the blues? (Let's not forget classics like the Rolling Stones' Under My Thumb or Miles Davis's Bitches' Brew.)
Are they on Smith's hit list as well, or is she just going after the ones that get the most airplay in stores and top 40 and urban stations? I agree that popular music and culture hasn't always treated women with respect, but this seems like an attack on freedom of speech and expression that as an artist I can't really back.
If you find that music being played on the radio or in stores offends women, Ms. Smith, simply don't buy those albums. Better yet, spend more of that energy on educating the public on the subject instead of wasting time trying to get the courts and the Ontario Human Rights Commission to apply what looks like censorship. Yet it's kind of ironic that a culture activist like yourself would engage into something like that.
No indie in BMV
I applaud you for choosing a used bookstore as your best bookstore of 2006 (NOW, October 26-November 1), but why not select a superb little store like She Said Boom instead of a chain like BMV? BMV sells huge numbers of "used" books that are obviously new copies of new releases.
Did no one think to question where these books come from and what their low prices might do to writers and publishers?
Why cheer on the opening of a BMV in the Annex, right near indie stores like Book City and Seekers?
If BMV is selling the same books for lower prices, we can all guess what will happen to Book City's sales.