Reaching for the stars not inspiration enough for 2009.
Grit foodie cooks up hunger
MP Carolyn Bennett wants to do something around ending hunger (NOW, January 1-7)? Whatever.
But does she understand that institutionalized inequality creates hunger, an inequality enforced by the world's militaries, Canada's included?
This is doubtful. It's estimated that the cost of ending hunger and malnutrition worldwide is $19 billion, slightly less than the Canadian war budget that Bennett supported.
Her party's vote to extend the Canadian military occupation of Afghanistan has only worsened a hunger crisis harming millions of Afghans this winter.
Unless she can connect these kinds of dots, her "new" foodie policy will be as empty as the bellies of Afghans whom she and her fellow Liberals have condemned to years of future misery.
I read Joshua Errett's resolution to spend more time off-line (NOW, January 1-7) with sympathy and interest. However, electric consciousness may be irreversible - until the power goes out.
Marshall McLuhan has been stunningly vindicated. We've traded intimacy with our family, friends, neighbourhood and the entire natural world for superficial, multi-sensory interconnectedness with a gigantic network of remote or programmed sources that govern our lives.
Even if it is a human being we're interacting with, it's more likely to be someone we will never meet. This is the long-term result of the economic realignment around the microchip.
Younger children who grow up taking all this cyber-multimedia for granted have even poorer prospects for depth of intellectual development, meaningful social life, attachment to the natural world.
Dyer delivers thumb-sucker
I found Gwynne Dyer's 2009 forecast (NOW, January 1-7) to be dry, wishy-washy and utterly lacking in insight.
It's not so much that I disagreed with anything he said, but that he said so little as he flitted around the world from crisis to crisis.
Such superficial thumb-suckers are the stock in trade of the mainstream media, but somehow one expects more from an alt weekly.
Next year, why don't you take Wayne Roberts off the food beat for a few minutes. I bet he could tap out something way more informative.
Running for cover
May I suggest NOW consider commissioning Toronto artists/designers/illustrators/photographers to do covers?
It's a challenge to both attract readers and engage them with content, but the current design tactic just isn't working. The look and feel has a noisy discount vibe that cheapens the information.
I must say that for all we're hoping for in 2009, the design this week (NOW, January 1-7) is weak and uninspiring. Give it some thought. I'll do a cover pro bono.
Peace for war resisters
Thanks for the coverage of possible deportations of U.S. Iraq War resisters (NOW, January 1-7).
Here's a brief update: Cliff Cornell, who was going to be deported just before Christmas, has won a delay until January 22.
Kim Rivera, who was shown in your pic, will hear a decision on possible deportation this week. Kim and her husband just had their third child, Katie, in November.
Patrick Hart, his wife, Jill, and their son, Rian, are supposed to be deported January 26, Dean Walcott January 30.
Finally, Jeremy Hinzman will have a hearing in Federal Court on February 10 on his appeal against a deportation order from last summer. Matt Lowell is waiting to hear if the Federal Court will hear his appeal.
We appreciate the support of NOW and many of your readers. Please keep it up. We're going to need it! Peace.
War Resisters Support Campaign
Terrorism or self-defence?
Isn't it interesting. Hamas launches rockets into Israel and it's called terrorism. Israel bombs and blockades Gaza with the results being hundreds of deaths, and it's called self-defence. The hypocrisy is stunning.
Andrew van Velzen
So the cd format is dead, huh (NOW, January 1-7)? Well, before you guys at NOW decide to toss away your Discmans for iPods, let's reconsider a few things:
True, there were a billion music downloads last year, but that only accounts for pop, rock and hip-hop. Genres like jazz that don't get regular airplay still rely on CDs to get heard.
Even indie groups can't depend on the Internet alone. Has anybody ever heard of an MP3 release concert/party?
With CDs, you can read the information on the entire album and view the artwork with your own hands. Try getting that when you're dialling through your digital files.
Remember the death of vinyl? Last year vinyl sales were up 38 per cent, compared to 32 per cent for digital sales. The CD may be down; it's not quite out.
Blind to science
There's a glaring omission in the Top 10 Books of 2008 selected by Susan G. Cole (NOW, December 25-31): no books of popular science.
If one thing is going to get us out of the mess the world's in, it's science, not artsy novels about artists (why not bus drivers and accountants?) falling in and out of love (why not the difficulties of earning a living and raising a family?).
Coincidentally, there's been a wave of lucid books on science, often beautifully illustrated, for children and adults, discussing the perils we face, from global warming to famine, and describing the wonders of our planet, including the importance of fascinating water.
One disingenuous Priest
Regarding Burn After Reading (NOW, January 1-7). What elite lifestyle does Robert Priest lead to have heard the words "disingenuous," "the narrative" or "the conversation" mis-used to the point of meaning something entirely, well, disingenuous?
Karen Jia-Yun Cao