What the fuck is wrong with your editorial board? Last weekend our city experienced the largest explosion in recent memory (NOW, August 14-20), leaving behind two dead, with the mayor and regulators playing hot potato over the issue of propane companies locating in residential areas, and all your paper can do is give it three sentences in your UpFront section?
I'm a bit surprised the upcycling issue (NOW, August 14-20) didn't mention all the "upcycling" of bicycles going on in T.O. Few other manufactured products are as durable and easily upcycled. Great recycling organizations such as the Community Bicycle Network and Bike Pirates take many old discarded clunkers and make them into fast, flashy two-wheeled wonders. Most old bikes just need a bit of help with their moving parts and a few replacements to make them serviceable for many years to come.
Herb van den Dool
I appreciated Robert Priest's remaking an impression in NOW's upcycling issue. I'm one of those artists weaving old plastic bags into new, durable fabrics.
I have been weaving the plastic bags for a few years now - basically because there are so many of them around - to give them one last use before they end up in landfill. At the moment, I'm actually busy weaving a bunch for an environmental awareness event in Ottawa. Thanks again.
Regarding a Burning Need To Talk (NOW, August 14-20). I have been to Beijing four times in the past 11 years. Even before the city was selected to host the Olympics, I was impressed by the way it kept growing by leaps and bounds, almost as dramatically as Shanghai, which may have the most exciting new architecture in the world. Once Beijing got the nod for 2008, I knew that the buildings to be built for the Games and the infrastructure would be high in the "wow" response. This is China's opportunity to show the world what it can do, even if the Games and the politics of the Games continued to run along their corrupt lines. I recognize there are problems with the Games and with China, but when a country gets behind its athletes by ponying up the funds for them to succeed, unlike Canada which is saving its money for Vancouver (hell, even our athletes' uniforms were a disgrace), we get to see something very special.
Thanks to Michael Hollett for a Burning Need To Talk. It was a very insightful article, a breath of fresh air compared to the China-bashing that is currently in vogue in the mainstream print media.
Usually I agree with Gwynne Dyer's views, but China's Security Gap (NOW, August 7-13) was filled with sweeping generalizations, unnecessary invocations of fear and simple explanations for very complex situations.
Dyer suggests that Tibet's struggle against the oppressive Chinese government remains inactive. I just came back from Dharamsala (which is where the Tibetan government in exile resides) and can firmly say that every Tibetan there is actively resistant to the Chinese occupation of their homeland. There are nightly screenings of documentaries, huge photographs of Tibetans who have been beaten, tortured and killed by Chinese authorities, people on hunger strike, and every shop has a Free Tibet or similar poster hanging in its window.
The Tibetan government has clearly outlined a framework (the "middle way approach") for a possible resolution between Tibet and China. While Tibetans have not used force or violence (which would go against every teaching of their leader, H.H. the Dalai Lama), they use every space and every breath to create awareness of and resistance to the atrocities that continue to take place in Tibet.
Andrew Van Velzen's letter condemning the Olympics (NOW, August 14-20) smacks of the bitter pangs of someone who was shoved into too many lockers in high school.
The majority of Olympians are not professional athletes concerned with fame and/or money, though what's wrong with pursuing either? Isn't that what most people do in our society?
He's not wrong that those who volunteer or work with the homeless are the real heroes, but why pit the two against each other? In fact, one of the most successful programs for drawing attention to the plight of the poor has been Homeless Soccer. Sport has the ability to raise us all up to higher levels. Olympians inspire. Why create false enemies? Stop the hate!
I have a grudge against the Molson Amphitheatre. In a period of two months, two of my friends have been aggressively kicked out of two different concerts for supposedly inappropriate behaviour.
The first time it happened was at the REM/Modest Mouse concert, where a friend who asked me to buy a beer because he forgot his ID was picked up by security and forced out of the premises.
The second happened at the Radiohead concert (NOW, August 14-20). When the band began to play, my friend decided to smoke a joint. Seconds later, security arrived. He was physically dealt with in a manner that [would have suggested to] a passerby that he was carrying a bomb.
This might seem not too serious to some, but I fear these incidents are examples of how security guards are conducting themselves at large-scale events. My girlfriend and I travelled to Montreal to see Radiohead a week earlier. There was a greater sense of ease and comfort in the crowd.
Kid Cosmic to the rescue
Regarding NOW's review of the SummerWorks musical Kid Cosmic (NOW Online, August 9). I am writing to address accusations of sexism attributed to the lead character, Casey, and by implication the show itself. I am glad to provoke discussion about the gender implications of the superhero/damsel-in-distress archetype, but sexism itself is not my intent. I don't condone the act of turning someone into a gender stereotype; that is precisely the wrong path that Casey must reject at the end of the play. I do, however, think that we can have some sympathy for what Casey is going through, even as his fantasy takes an unhealthy turn.
Editors' note: Daniel Cummings is the author of Kid Cosmic.
I hope letter writer Aliss Terpstra is not cheering for bottled water (NOW, August 7-13). Although I do not deny the problems with fluoride in tap water, there are much more serious problems with the bottled water industry, including the fact that 40 per cent of the bottles are not recycled. Health Canada recommends not to drink bottled water if you bought it over a year ago. If there's something wrong with your local tap water, lobby for changes to that system. Don't support bottled water. Millions have lived without love, not one without water.
Karen Jia-Yun Cao