Jamming up the works
I can relate to the idea of culture jamming. I mean, at video stores for a laugh I’ve moved The Passion Of The Christ into the comedy section. In a fit of rage, I once turned the covers of Ann Coulter books backwards (as if that would somehow make them harder to find).
That said, I’m disappointed and embarrassed at David Silverberg’s overly serious promotion of a social outing as activism (NOW, June 12-18).
Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t find defacing products all that progressive, and I don’t think slogans stickered on Barbie dolls and soup cans are improving the state of social discourse.
I don’t give a crap how bad Paris Hilton’s music is; people still have the right to buy it. I wouldn’t appreciate having a Tom Waits CD I buy replaced by homemade remixes of anything, regardless of quality.
I know disrespect and disruption of consumer culture is exactly the point. However, if Silverberg views Metallica’s Kill ’Em All repeated non-stop on Bush’s iPod as “wisdom,” then we on the left are rightfully going to have to fight the “kook” label for generations to come.
The meagre responses NOW received from Wards 30 and 32 city councillors regarding the contaminated soil along Lakeshore Boulevard East (NOW, June 12-18) are extremely disappointing.
Councillor Sandra Bussin’s reliance upon tired clichés reveals she’s learned nothing about the adverse health effects of exposure to pollutants. How, then, does she explain the increased incidence of cancers, especially among children?
Councillor Paula Fletcher appears to be overwhelmed by the scope of contaminants in the lakefront.
Her statement “…there are lots of different perspectives” is most curious. How many perspectives are there if your primary goal is to protect human health? It would be most edifying if Councillor Fletcher explained how these sites have been monitored and by whom.
One of the most insulting statements, though, is offered by city spokesperson Lisa Boynton, who suggests that what info the city does have from water and soil samples is too technical for lay people to absorb.
This patronizing attitude is an affront to the residents who worked hard and long learning much about soil contaminants and were successful in having the lead-contaminated soil replaced at over 1,000 homes in South Riverdale in the late 1980s and early 90s. We have not forgotten our lessons.
William E. Brown
That fruity feeling
Kudos to the city of Markham for its superb partnership with Local Food Plus (NOW, June 12-18). Buying local is beneficial in a multitude of ways. It cuts greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the distance produce travels, supports regional farmers and protects southern Ontario’s precious agricultural land.
Last summer I was in Owen Sound for a camping trip. Purchasing supplies at a supermarket, I was offered apples from New Zealand but none from Ontario, despite the fact I was minutes from the province’s apple-growing region. This is madness.
By fuelling the market for Ontario-grown produce, Markham is making local fruits and vegetables more available to all of us. I urge other municipalities to follow this fine example of civic leadership.
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Style to wild
Once again you have published a letter that is very critical of NOW without finding it necessary to reply. Immanuel F.L. (NOW, June 12-18) complains that the My Style feature has profiled only four people of colour out of the past 23, thus exhibiting what he deems racial bias.
Personally, I find this a perfectly believable ethnic ratio resulting from a search for interesting fashion without concern for race.
Let me add that My Style is guilty of ignoring Hassidic Jews, who have worked so hard to preserve the fashions of 19th-century Poland, which might otherwise have faded into historical obscurity. Such devotion should be recognized.
CAW killing jobs
Regarding Jim sits as jobs go South (NOW, June 12-18). Welcome to the real world, CAW. Not even Jim Flaherty can help you now. Your union has progressively eaten away at GM’s profit margin for years, all in the nam e of the worker.
You have fought for and won fair wages, lucrative pension plans and job security.
Inevitably, your bubble has burst, and GM can no longer deliver the luxuries you have come to take for granted, which, by the way, do not exist in the private sector.
I suggest you find yourself a job in the private sector; perhaps then you’ll appreciate the lifestyle that GM and other Canadian auto manufacturers have provided for you and your family over the years.
Just one question. When auto manufacturing finally ceases to exist altogether in Canada, to whom then will the CAW appeal?
I hadn’t given much thought to the news that 300 cyclists decided to ride down a stretch of the Gardiner (NOW, June 5-11). But that was before I read first-hand accounts of “freeing the Gardiner” by David Thomson and Mike Smith. I almost burst out laughing. Are these guys serious? Do they honestly have no idea how pretentious, pious and self-important they sound?
Given that neither of them can seem to think of a reason for doing what they did, and that Smith openly concedes that cycling the Gardiner was essentially pointless, they are strangely unembarrassed.
Well, I wasn’t there, so maybe I don’t understand. It certainly sounds like it was a lot of fun. But they really should have waited for the buzz to wear off before taking the word to the masses.
Bizarre Blair defence
Letter-writer G. Lee seems to have misunderstood the focus of the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War’s demonstration at Tony Blair’s fundraising speech for Women’s College Hospital Foundation (NOW, June 12- 18). That such a warmonger, whose shameless lies helped the U.S. war machine cause the deaths of so many innocent people, many of them women and children, would raise funds for a hospital is bizarre, to say the least.
Blair is busily lining his pockets on the talk-and-fundraising circuit, earning up to $2 million American a year. He’s not the philanthropist he’s trying to appear to be.