Loopy gay labels
Let's call a spade a spade. The city loves Pride Week (NOW, June 21-27) for its money.
Pride? You're gay. So what? I'm straight. So what? The sooner we evolve beyond all these labels the better.
"Gay," "rainbow," "pride" - alas, these beautiful words have now been monopolized almost to the exclusion of non-gay meanings from everyday language. Yet the homosexual power/pride lobby is such that one risks being branded homophobic for daring to criticize it. C'mon, y'all, let's evolve already.
Anglicans' homo anxiety
The crowds seems to love miss Chris as she slinks down Yonge doing her Liz bit, but talk about reinforcing stereotypes. Pride parades are turning into Mardi Gras.
Seemingly long gone are the days of fighting oppression. Beneath the surface there's still a lot of homophobia, and nowhere is it more evident than in the Anglican Church (NOW, June 21-27).
Officially it's okay to have a homosexual orientation, but that does not mean acceptance of homosexual activity. Some dioceses refuse to employ homosexuals, and many in the church still consider homosexuality a sin.
Some of us gay Anglicans get pretty annoyed with Chris Ambidge, the self-appointed media darling and prima donna, who is not always gracious toward people who hold more orthodox views on homosexuality.
Gays: get over yourselves
RE Your gay pride issue (now, june 21-27). The lesbo-gay-etc scene has become very narcissistic and in love with its own fabulousness.
For years now, the message of gay Pride has been "Love yourself and celebrate yourself." At one one time this was all well and good, but I think it has become very banal.
It's time for the lesbo-gay scene to move from attention to self to making the planet a better place for everyone.
There are umpteen problems crying out for attention. Let's see transsexuals put on their high heels and come up with a cure for AIDS or cancer. Let's see a Dykes for Darfur NGO. Let's see queer men teach in the developing world.
Let's get over ourselves, people. The planet doesn't have a whole lot of time.
Glowing with Pride
Sure, Pride is for some a week of drunkenness and debauchery, but there is a far deeper meaning to it all.
I look around and see people of all races, ethnicities and sexual orientations, with children or without, in leather, cotton or nylon, and of every size. Everyone is walking around eating, talking, dancing and laughing. I realize that Pride is really a celebration of love.
It's about identity, individuality and the safety and freedom to be who we are without judgment or fear.
I have many friends who identify in the LGTBQ community. I love them dearly and am happy we live here in Toronto. It makes me smile to think that amid the craziness in our world, we can celebrate together with love and acceptance.
It is truly an amazing thing.
Nadine K. Mohammed
Before opening now this week, I recalled that the White Stripes album had just come out and guessed in advance that Tim Perlich would spend most of his review (NOW, June 21-27) making snarky non-music one-liners about the band.
Sure enough, he did. I picture Perlich rushing to grab the review copies in order to do everything he can to prevent people from buying it.
It might have been refreshing this time to hear Sarah Liss or another reviewer tell us why she does or doesn't like the band, but I guess that would prevent Perlich from imposing his bullshit on readers.
This arrogant prick is the Rebecca Eckler of music writing.
I read NOW regularly and have always thought of the paper as one of the biggest supporters of the city's independent scene.
This week I read quite favourable reviews of new records by Bon Jovi and Enrique Iglesias (NOW, June 21-27). I have to ask why you even chose to review these very pop CDs?
I don't think I understand your company philosophy any more.
Opening Day Entertainment Group
Railroading Ben Franklin
Your article Breaking T.O.'s Masonic Code (NOW, June 14-20) suggests that Benjamin Franklin's name on Union Station's frieze has to do with his connection with Freemasonry.
Some people find it odd that the American statesman and inventor's name should be inscribed above the station's eastern entrance, but the reason may be much more prosaic.
When Union Station was built, it was intended that the Dominion Post Office would occupy the entire east wing of the building.
The names above the Front Street entrance commemorate individuals who were important in the development of the postal system.
Franklin was the deputy postmaster general for the North American British colonies from 1753 to 1774 and helped establish what later developed into the Canadian Post Office.
Toronto Railway Historical
Patrick Quinn muses that his "experience of unsullied wilderness [in Temagami] will remain with us and keep us motivated to preserve this earth for future adventurers" (NOW, June 14-20).
Unfortunately, Temagami's "unsullied wilderness" continues to be threatened by logging and other high-impact activities like power boat, ATV and snowmobile use.
All are bad news for hikers and canoeists looking to commune with nature.
Only 50 per cent of Temagami's old-growth pine is protected from logging. The rest is up for grabs by logging companies, and much of it is harvested in massive clear-cuts. The logging companies try to hide these by leaving a small band of trees along waterways. To make matters worse, the province is about to release a new recreational management plan that will allow motor vehicles into Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park, Temagami's only wilderness-class park.
People who value the region's remote wilderness character should ask the government to give this little piece of paradise the protection it deserves.
Earthroots Forest Campaigner
Cops' cycling double-cross
It's not easy being a cyclist in this city (NOW, June 21-27). City Hall's loosey-goosey commitment to biking has provided many fewer bike routes than are actually budgeted for.
This morning I waited to turn left as I do every day from Gerrard to the River Street bike lane, only a police officer was installed to ensure that traffic stops while pedestrians cross. So I waited for the officer's signal before proceeding with my turn, only to be grabbed and informed that I had failed to yield to pedestrians. The crosswalk was clear.
He demanded to see my driver's licence and told me that "asshole" cyclists like me were exactly the reason he had been assigned to the intersection. Cycling in Toronto is a brutal and dangerous undertaking. Now it seems that we have to worry about bored police officers who are pissed off about being assigned to crosswalk duty.
Father Miller preaches
Don't place much stock in what "Father" Miller has to say about the genius of his narrowing ventures on Lansdowne south a few years ago (NOW, June 14-20).
The word on that should come from the area's residents. Last time I checked, the run from Dundas to Queen is regularly packed with cars and congestion. There's little "calm, beautiful or green."
Toronto Lansdowne Residents
Lowdown on Lansdowne
The real problem in the Lansdowne and Bloor area is its lack of everything that is good and healthy.
Instead, there is too much crime, drugs, prostitution, fear and darkness.
I've seen three councillors in this ward in my lifetime. None has had the guts to take on the monumental task of cleaning up the area.
If I had the $2.5 million planned for ripping up asphalt to add some flower beds that will die within days of being planted, I'd use it to give real incentives to business in the area and repair roads and broken sidewalks.
As for your reporter, she needs to walk around Bloor and Lansdowne at night or use the area's laneways to understand what people here are freaking out about.
Middle East perspective
Letter writer Josh Frohwein, who accuses Dan Freeman-Maloy of not knowing Middle East history (NOW, June 14-20), is either ignorant of it himself or, more likely, doesn't want to know.
It's true that Gaza and the West Bank used to belong to Egypt and Jordan. (Legally, I suppose they still do.) But neither ever kicked the inhabitants off their land and replaced them with their own citizens.
Neither did they prevent them from earning a living, planting and harvesting, buying and selling, going from place to place or sending their children to school.
They didn't demolish their homes, schools, hospitals. They didn't take their water.
As for the supply of weapons, piles of them, along with tens of millions of dollars, are coming from the United States to pro-Fatah militias, especially the "Preventive Security Force" headed by U.S.-favoured strongman Mohammed Dahlan. This is being organized by Elliott Abrams.
Remember him? He was convicted of perjury in the Iran-Contra affair.
Michael Andrews may have problems with Indigo's Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz donating money to Heseg (NOW, June 14-20), but I don't.
In fact, at a time when so many ignorant Jews dump on Israel and too many other members of the Jewish community are reluctant to proudly stand up for the Jewish state, it's refreshing to see two high-profile Jewish businesspeople/philanthropists go out of their way to support Israel and organizations like Heseg, which, NOW's alarmist report notwithstanding, merely helps integrate new Israelis into their adopted home. See you at Indigo.
Regarding your Avril Lavigne cover (NOW, June 14-20).
I get that she's young, cute, blond and (regrettably) homegrown, but come on, on your cover?
Putting aside the well-documented fact that her "punk" persona and subsequent morphing into just another vacant-eyed pop tart were engineered by a management team, Lavigne makes a shitty role model for young women.
Her recent topless pics in Blender just underscore her central message - that being the centre of attention is all that young women should aspire to.
I can think of far better cover candidates, like flamboyant former porn star/educator Annie Sprinkle, who has actually challenged pop culture norms.
Oh, and I did bother to read the interview with Lavigne. Yawn.
It appears that you made one of those deals with your Avril cover: an exclusive interview in exchange for putting the subject on the front of your publication. "I am a motherf*ucking princess"? Pretty pathetic stuff. When did NOW become a teen magazine?