RE John Harkness's review of a Crude Awakening (NOW, March 8-14) is a textbook example of the kind of facile cleverness and dangerous denial and denigration of verifiable fact that so often gets our species into trouble.
He states, "And if you hate real Philip Glass music, the fake stuff will drive you homicidal." Not an unfunny line, perhaps, but a counterfactual one: the film features pieces by Glass purchased from Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc. and published by Glass.
And how do I know? I read the fact book, something your reviewer obviously found either too onerous or outside the bounds of his job description.
As for the rest of his piece, it is as unrepresentative of the film as it is representative of what Harkness would no doubt have had to say about the release of The Limits To Growth had he been there to review it.
Blowing up WTC conspiracy
RE Conspiracy virus (NOW, march 8-14). Few of those convinced of U.S. involvement in 9/11 rely solely on the documentary Loose Change. They look at the peer-reviewed analysis of WTC steel revealing the presence of thermite. They watch live video of the head engineer for the World Trade Center Investigation deny the presence of molten steel in the basements of all three demolished buildings. They learn the specific, irrefutable laws of physics violated by applying the "pancake collapse theory." They examine the overwhelming eyewitness testimony and video footage of the demolitions.
If it's forensic evidence that creates such confusion among mainstream journalists, perhaps they should examine the evidence that supports the means, motive and opportunity of the primary suspects.
Gwynne Dyer's hit piece is peculiar to me because it overtly suggests such silly theories be left for the Arabs.
Checking out 9/11
Curiously, Gwynne Dyer avoids the critical evidence (like last week's video clips from BBC and CNN reporting WTC 7 had collapsed an hour before it actually did). Check out the executive order that silenced the FBI from investigating the Bush-bin Laden connection, instead of checking out the 200 best places to drink your ass off (which will rot the mind).
Spare Loose Change
Kudos to Gwynne Dyer for his much-needed article on the absolutely insipid and irresponsible Loose Change. Certainly, Dylan Avery knew his crackpot movie was an easy sell these days. Our critical thinking skills seem to be deep, deep in the toilet.
I won't hide the fact that I now use this movie as a yardstick by which to measure how gullible my friends are. The results have not been encouraging. I was absolutely shocked to discover how many of them unthinkingly accept this rubbish as "evidence." To many of the people who turned off their brains prior to watching this movie, the 9/11 "conspiracy" has essentially become a matter of faith.
Big car fantasy
Andrew Cash's article on the Auto Show (NOW, March 8-14) was simply misguided. Like it or not, some of the biggest leaps forward for fuel efficiency are coming from the makers of higher-end cars.
Mercedes has an excellent diesel engine, the Challenger and its sister car, the Chrysler 300C/Dodge Charger, can run on half the cylinders during normal driving, and Chevrolet's Corvette ZO6 hyper-car, with a 7.0L, 500-horsepower V8 engine, can return close to 30 miles per gallon, putting it in the company of a number of small cars.
Paul Terefenko's sidebar questioning why police aren't adding hybrids to their fleet of cruisers (NOW, March 8-14) was similarly off the mark. Hybrid cars are slow, small, expensive to buy and prone to frequent breakdowns. In short, they are not fit for police work.
I can't help but think it's just another shallow jab at the loathed Toronto Police Service. Motor on.
Big Auto needs to wake up
Collision course, by Andrew Cash, hit the nail on the head in revealing the auto industry's current disconnect from reality.
It's refreshing to know there are like-minded folks such as Cash who see the lack of foresight and dangerous disregard for the environment as a wake-up call for change.
It's true that suburbanites blessed with no transit still need cars to get around thanks to bad urban planning. The key is to make it mandatory for auto manufacturers to supply vehicles that won't burn our planet into oblivion. I mean, really, how many more front-page headlines about global warming do we need?
Drain on bike lanes
In that being-run-over feeling (NOW, March 1-7), I was quoted as saying in relation to approvals of bike lanes that "councillors have too much power to massage the process and slant consultations." This is true.
Up to this point in time, councillors have had the power to determine when, how and even if consultations take place. In the article, the Dundas East bike lanes were given as an example. Actually, that project had the support of the local councillors, Jack Layton, Laura Jones and Sandra Bussin.
It was a councillor from an adjacent ward, Case Ootes, who tried to throw obstacles in the way. There are many other examples of bike lanes that didn't get built as a result of manipulation of the consultation process.
Council has taken the first steps in developing a better bike lane consultation and approval process by mandating that final decisions be made at city council.
Congrats on a great article on American bore Al Gore (NOW, March 1-7). While it is true that his film has helped to promote awareness of an important issue, it is also important to recognize Gore's boosterism of neo-liberalism that got us into this environmental mess in the first place.
I'm sick of people fawning over the guy just because he's not George Bush. And what country is this anyway? We have our own politicians and activists taking a much stronger and more intelligent stand than Gore people like Jack Layton and David Suzuki.
P.S. Loved the whole issue, but I have a bone to pick with Gwynne Dyer. Cuba switched to energy-efficient bulbs in the 90s, not last year.
Watson's whale of a story
Thank you for your coverage of the ongoing slaughter of whales and the efforts to save these wonderful sentient creatures from virtual genocide (NOW March 1-7). It has been a long battle, one that started in Canada more than 30 years ago when Greenpeace first set sail to "Stop Ahab" by confronting Russians whalers and putting ourselves between their harpoons and the whales.
Paul Watson was among those first rainbow warriors. However, he misrepresents and maligns Greenpeace when he states that Greenpeace "has no problem with whaling in principle only whaling in the Antarctic Sanctuary." In fact, Greenpeace opposes all commercial whaling, including Japan's coastal whaling.
Also incorrect is Captain Watson's assertion that it's okay with Greenpeace to eat whale meat. The video clip to which he refers is part of a discussion with one elderly Japanese woman who remembers eating whale meat in her youth but rarely does so any more. It's part of our efforts to engage the Japanese, as I explained in your sidebar story (www.whalelove.org).
Greenpeace Canada, Vancouver, BC
Homeless on your doorstep
Once again you've shown how inept you are at reporting issues in our neighbourhoods. In Gated Stairway To Heaven (NOW, March 1-7), you report that the Jarvis Street Baptist Church "folded to complaints by their neighbours" when it erected a fence around the front steps.
As a former resident of the area and vice-president of one of the neighbourhood associations, I can tell you that we did not have a problem with having the homeless in our area, only with their behaviours (i.e. shitting, pissing, vomiting, having sex, using drugs, fighting, and the list goes on).
With the largest men's shelter in North America 500 yards from the back steps of the church, as well as numerous shelters and halfway houses in the Allan Gardens/Moss Park area, everyone expects there to be some issues. Maybe we should send them to your front steps for you to deal with!
Green space for sale
RE Bay Street's last patch of green, (NOW, March 1-7). St. Michael's College has not previously sold any of the open space that is currently contemplated for sale.
For many years, the College has had an institutional parking lot on part of the space offered for sale.
J. Peter Venton
Bursar, St. Michael's College
Standing Ten Feet Tall
RE Your nightlife guide (NOW, March 8-14). What about Ten Feet Tall (1381 Danforth, 416-778-7333 )? It was so disappointing to see that we were not mentioned. We have become a hot spot on our little stretch of the Danforth, with great food, live R&B that packs the place on Saturday nights and jazz on Sundays. Have we done something to offend?