Upside down triangle
RE Selling out Queen West (NOW, August 23-29). It's easy to blame the land use planning system when a neighbourhood evolves contrary to some people's liking.
But let's be clear: the core issue with the Queen West triangle development is the preservation of a particular lifestyle of a small group of people.
If the city's arts scene were to fall to pieces with the displacement of a handful of artists in 48 Abell, it'd be a symptom of a much larger issue and shouldn't be linked to a condo development.
Not all residents at 48 Abell are artists. Further, the structure itself has only marginal significance as a heritage property.
Finally, the portrayal of local artists as downtrodden martyrs does nothing but take the focus away from the heftier issues on Queen West: addiction, crime and poverty, to name a few.
Displaced artists? Puhleeze
RE Selling out Queen West. Just what Toronto needs: another selfish cause.
Displaced artists? C'mon. People lose homes to sadder, less predictable circumstances.
Do developers stand to make money? Yes, of course. Money is not evil.
Refurbishing the core to appeal to folks who might choose midtown or Pickering instead is good for Toronto.
Increased density means better delivery of more affordable services. Development creates jobs and small business opportunities that spill into neighbouring communities, and so on. The benefits outweigh the inconveniences.
Roll with the punches.
Gonna miss that rundown vibe? Pack your shit and head east to Bathurst. Locals don't stray far from home at night.
David Joseph Dunn
Libraries good for our health
Mike Smith's thoughtful article makes a strong case for the importance of public libraries and the disadvantages of the city's attempts to save money there (NOW, August 23-29).
Libraries serve many essential functions. It's a remarkable tribute that about half the city's population have library cards, and our system is considered one of the best in North America.
With its helpful staff, convenient neighbourhood locations and continually widening range of programs, the library model could well be adopted by other local services, perhaps health.
Read 'em and weep
I am so happy you wrote about Toronto libraries. Our libraries are incredible and valuable to our community.
I grew up in Ottawa, and after moving here was in awe at how many library locations we have and how well-run they are.
I'd hate to see service cuts affect that. Libraries are important to every member of this community.
Afghan author a U.S. toady?
Susan Cole in her review of a Thousand Splendid Suns accuses Khaled Hosseini of writing "an eloborate apology for American military intervention in Afghanistan and, by extension, Canada's as well" (NOW, August 23-29).
Apart from noting that Hosseini resides in the U.S. and has "professional connections" to the UN (he was a U.S. envoy in 2006 to the United Nations Relief Agency), she provides absolutely no evidence for such a serious charge.
The reader is therefore left pondering: is a writer of Afghan origin who resides in the U.S. somehow automatically an apologist for U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan?
Harper's sad contempt
So our prime minister thinks it's sad there were thousands of demonstrators outside his private meeting in Montebello with George W. Bush and Mexican president Felipe Caldern (NOW, August 23-29)?
Security forces used chemical weapons and admitted they employed undercover cops as agents provocateurs to discredit the protests.
Harper only met with the heads of 30 big corporations, ignoring any input from civil society groups on a plan to integrate all environmental, military and economic policy in North America.
It is truly sad that Harper has such contempt for democracy.
I am disgusted, but not surprised, that police agents provocateurs attempted to discredit the peaceful demonstrations at the North American summit last week.
I was at the Seattle WTO meeting in 1999 as an accredited observer, and I followed the events there closely.
In Seattle, violence on the part of the demonstrators was so hard to find that for hours TV stations showed a small newspaper vending machine smouldering in a vacant intersection, presumably as a symbol of the non-existent "violence." Meanwhile, police indiscriminately fired tear gas.
Ever since then, demonstrators have been categorized as violent to justify the massive ranks of Darth Vader-clad riot police always deployed against them.
Dicking with my imagery
A thank-you to Leah Sandals for Kantor's Can't (NOW, August 23-29). It's exactly what I expected. She has absolutely made it clear that she doesn't know much about my work, or about the subject of this exhibition dedicated to the ideas of Wilhelm Reich.
Sandals describes one of the installations as "imagery of dicks inserted into cunts of orgasmically arched Barbie dolls."
Where did Sandals see the penises? Maybe the dicks were inserted into her mind and fantasy?
Monolith is a work intended to directly reference Reich's Orgasmic Formula, the orgasm he defines as a healing force for the body.
It has nothing to do with male sexuality, as Sandals suspects. Reich's work focused more on the female orgasm or, rather, he approached orgasmic function from therapeutic aspects designed mostly for female patients.
I don't really consider myself part of the mainstream male society. I'm a hyper-trans-sexual-kinetic-centaur-non-plus-ultra-vampire-techno-queer.
I also see myself as a female with a cunt inserted into my brain that fills the empty space of the lobotomy performed on me during the 60s in the Eastern Bloc. The X that I wear tattooed on the side of my head marks the spot.
Bowing to Buddha
RE Buddha Dog's big waste (NOW, August 23-29). Apart from the quality of the food, how about the name Buddha Dog!? Surprised your writer, Graham Duncan, did not comment on that!
Aside from the fact that many Buddhists are vegetarian, the restaurant's choice of name leaves a lot to be desired. Can you imagine the storm of protests if this hot dog restaurant had been called Jesus Christ Dog or Abraham Dog?
Is it because Buddhists are essentially non-violent and not prone to protest that this restaurant's owners decided to poke fun at them?
Cluck, Grunt & Stumped
After reading the Food & Drink section, I have a burning question: what's up with critic Steven Davey?
I'm referring to his bizarre review of Cluck, Grunt & Low (NOW, August 23-29), a spot with a strange name "but the barbecue's hot."
It received a NNN rating. This means "Recommended, worthy of repeat visits." But why?
Davey was definitely not impressed with most of the food. The beef ribs were "slightly greasy and mostly bone"; the pork ribs were "slathered with overly saccharine barbecue sauce"; the rotisserie chicken was "all 12 ounces of scrawny little bird"; the Caesar salad "an abomination."
On his second visit, Davey discovered that CG&L's two best dishes never make contact with a grill: chef Marc Thuet's mac 'n' cheese ("like Kraft Dinner on steroids") and his apple pie.
So this deserves a triple-N rating?
Shame on you, NOW magazine, for using a whole issue to promote the rapist delight known colloquially as "ice cream" (NOW, August 16-22).
Surely, you're aware of the millions of bovine slaves all unabashedly drained of their nectar without consent?
Beautiful cows forced to give up their natural bounty so a few slouching hipsters can coo and groan over the flavour of pain. Disgusting.
I hope you think of their bulging, panicked eyes every time you lick the streaming vanilla teardrops that run down the sides of your cones.
Enjoy it, you fucking enablers.
Maybe I'll actually read an issue of your "progressive" rag after you've stopped promoting wholesale animal abuse as a way to "get into the season."
Noting their upcoming gig here, I was reminded of a chance meeting with the band Poison (NOW, August 23-29). In 89 we sat next to them on a domestic flight in Australia.
They tried oh so hard to convince those nearby that they were certified party animals. They behaved like jerks, rude and offensive to passengers and attendants alike. Pretty pathetic. None of us were impressed.
That night, at the opening gig for that Oz tour, the guitarist tripped badly onto his face as he tried to make an entrance running down a stage ramp. Poison were so out of it during a subsequent TV talk show interview that the host cut them off.
Kinda makes one proud of our hometown heroes Rush, who have consistently refused to pose in that whole BS "rockstar as badass" scene.
Lohan's six degrees
RE Letter-writer David Maharaj's response to Mustafa Mutabaruka's thoughts on his own sister's tragic life being mirrored Lindsay Lohan's (NOW, August 16-22).
Do our lives have a connection to the tragedy of friends and strangers, or are we, like Maharaj, born to live our lives with no sense of responsibility to others?
There are thousands of daily events to disprove Maharaj's belief that there is the "obsession with not judging," including his letter.
He says Lohan's parents should have judged her as a child, though perhaps her father had little time, with his own history of crime and punishment.
Since his recent conversion to self-appointed preacher, he has now found time to judge his daughter.
Mutabaruka is disturbed by the perverse delight some people [feel in] tearing the stitches of those already wounded.
The death of his sister by suicide should be met with understanding.