Facebook, get real
RE Facing My Facebook Self (NOW, February 14-20). The best alternative to Facebook is not a more truthful version but rather turning off your computer, going out and actually socializing with other people. Online social networks may be useful, but they can also be detrimental to our social skills. The answer is for people to live in the real world for a change.
A rat in Withrow rink
RE Icy Stickhandling (NOW, February 14-20). Watching the Leafs at Withrow, I was struck by the irony of the sizable company logos affixed to the rink boards when the largest contributor by far to the building and maintenance of city ice pads is us, the local citizens. I prefer no logos, but if we’re to have them, where’s ours? Even the city of Toronto’s would represent us by proxy.
In his article Forget That He’s Black (NOW, February 14-20), George Elliott Clarke says, “Some assert that Hillary Clinton faces more of an uphill battle because she is a woman. That’s likely so.” Having conceded this point, he then goes on to say, “Yet white women seeking office usually have more voter appeal – despite sexism – than persons of colour in either the U.S. or Canada.”
During her 1970s bid for the presidency, candidate Shirley Chisholm, who was both black and female, claimed that being female was more of an obstacle in her run for the White House than being black.
In a time of virulent anti-feminist backlash, when condemning racism is virtually mainstream while speaking of gender discrimination is still contentious, it’s probably still true.
Choking on token
RE Failing Black History (NOW, February 14-20). Congratulations, NOW! You’ve just given black kids their first bad review in the art world by a “serious” art critic.
The presentation among the books of their peers at York Woods Library was not to be judged as an exhibition. It’s only one part of a longer project involving artists and youth connecting with their community.
No Black History Month tokenism, here. Black Creek United is the latest in a series of educational initiatives Allyson Adley has developed with artists for the Art Gallery of York University in Jane and Finch secondary schools and community centres.
Our programs are more than a drop box in Jane and Finch for ready-made attitudes.
Art Gallery of York University
Nine still too high
This letter concerns the article Body of Evidence (NOW, February 7-13) on the ban on gay organ donations.
It says that “only a small number of gays in Ontario are HIV positive – roughly 9 per cent according to a 2004 study.” Only a “small number”?! I consider this to be quite a high number.
Perhaps this comment meant to convey that 9 per cent is a small figure compared to other provinces or countries, but if so, this was not made clear.
Nine per cent isn’t a number with the same shock value as, say, 45 per cent (the figure given for the proportion of new HIV cases who are gay men), but it’s unfair to downplay it.
It sends the wrong message to sexually active homosexuals, who should be very concerned about and aware of the risk of contracting HIV.
Family Day for charity
The new Family Day is a great and much-needed paid break from work. However, I would like to suggest that the name be changed to Charity Day.
Having a paid non-working day dedicated to charities would serve as a reminder to donate time and/or money to causes that are even more important than family.
Families could participate together, thus accomplishing much more than just spending time at home. People could also elect that a portion of their pay for the day off be donated directly to the charity of their choice.
These initiatives would economically negate much of the day’s lost productivity by benefiting those who need help the most.
Voters missing class act
Last evening I attended a Chinese New Year banquet hosted by Jack Layton and Olivia Chow.
And as I listened to their fluent Chinese and pondered their intelligence, charm, beauty and social conscience, it occurred to me that if the Canadian public had a modicum of enlightened self-interest, given the fact of China ascendent in our world and the state of our economy, Layton would be our next prime minister and Olivia would be the best ambassador Canadians could hope for.
What readers are saying on nowtoronto.com
I am very concerned about the practice of using chemical agents like Avitrol to get rid of pigeons (NOW, February 14-20). It’s an inhumane and cruel method of pigeon control that should be replaced with alternate methods causing less harm.
Pest-control companies claim that corn kernels soaked in Avitrol and other products are bird-dispersing agents.
The chemical in Avitrol is poisonous to all vertebrates, and the birds suffer for days and die in agony. Their offspring are left to die of starvation in the nests.
We should also be concerned about inquisitive children getting very sick if they play with the disoriented poisoned birds.
There are many effective humane methods to deter the pigeons from perching. They include the use of sonic devices or installing slinky coils available at most dollar stores.
I’ve been working as a nurse for 20 years now and have never encountered anyone with a pigeon-related illness. I agree with M. Merchant. People should be more concerned about the birds they eat than the peaceful pigeons who help us naturally control rodent populations by eating the food we discard in the city streets.
A few years ago my budgie died. In the middle of winter, what was I to do with the body? I wrapped its little body up in a plastic bag and put him in my freezer until spring, when he could be buried.
When I told my co-workers, they were disgusted with the idea of a dead bird in my freezer. They seemed to forget that they also had plastic-wrapped dead birds in their freezers – birds that lived in bacteria-ridden warehouses and would have died of infectious diseases had their throat not been slit.
Interestingly, they were about to cook, salivate over and eat these birds, something I never contemplated doing with my bird!