World’s biggest star a tattooed munchkin preoccupied with fame? Ouch.
Wax and Wayne
Regarding Lil Wayne versus Clipse, Rap's Battle Royale (NOW, January 15-21). Pusha T of the Clipse pulled up Lil' Wayne's skirt for the world to see his feminine parts (NOW, January 15-21). That tattooed munchkin's preoccupation with money and fame is the prime reason hip-hop music is in such a fucked-up state. I'm baffled by how a rapper can record shitloads of pop ditties and then have the nerve to boast about it.
Bank gift rapped
Alice Klein gets it wrong claiming that tax-free savings accounts (TFSA) are a gift to the banks (NOW, January 15-21). Almost all money going into a TFSAs is money that's already in banks, just in a different account. The banks have to offer a competitive TFSA product just to keep their existing customers from opening an account elsewhere.
If this is a gift, then it's of the white-elephant kind. I'd suggest the Harper government created TFSAs for two reasons: an economic and ideological opposition to capital gains tax; an apology to investors for the curve ball thrown on income trusts.
For the sake of argument, if Klein is correct and Canadians take cash from their mattresses, delay their purchases, and bank deposits go up, that's not such a bad thing.
Increased deposits allow for increased bank lending (with significant leverage). Most regard an increase in bank lending as another important part of our economic recovery.
Promise of change in U.S.
I am writing on this very cool and historic Saturday, January 17, as the Obama-Biden train is about to leave Philadelphia for DC. Many Canadians will also be en route. The promise of change in the U.S. has captured the attention and hope of millions.
Steps are being taken to stop and prevent unbridled greed. I'm not so sure that our federal government yet understands that rules need to be enforced to avoid a repeat of the U.S.
There are those who want to establish a Federal Securities Regulator similar to the SEC, but one has to question the wisdom of that for ordinary Canadians. The provincial regulators, with the exception of the Ontario Securities Commission in Toronto, are not to blame for this crisis.
The current situation with the banks and Bay Street might be worse if the provincial regulators had not been in place. Americans are saving again. I hope Canadians will do the same and stop living on credit.
Israel lobby fix
Letter-writer Mike Rand is quite correct that there is no all-powerful Jewish cabal controlling politics in Canada (NOW, January 15-21). There is, however, a powerful Israel lobby that effectively controls Canada's policy toward Israel.
It's true that not all Jews support Israel (I don't), but most do. And it's true that there are more Muslims than Jews in Canada, but they are not as well organized (not yet, anyhow).
It's also probably true that a majority of Canadians oppose Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, in addition to its assault on Gaza. But for most of them it's not a make-or-break issue. For pro-Israel Jews, it is.
The Israel lobby can destroy a politician who does not give unconditional support to Israel. And the politicians know it. Israel's "self-defence" is less important to them than defending their own political lives.
All things Jewish on Gaza
I appreciated Glenn Wheeler's article about the recent pro-Israel rally at Beth Tzedec (NOW, January 15-21). But I was upset that you chose to use "Jewish community" as your subject heading for the article.
I am Jewish and do not associate myself at all with pro-Israel rallies or with what the state of Israel is doing in Gaza. In fact, I and many other members of the community are working hard to denounce what the state of Israel is doing to the Palestinian people in our name.
It is imperative that the media and the public understand that there are different perspectives within the Jewish community. The media must reflect these different views or they are perpetuating a stereotype that all Jews think alike.
York U strike out
I like NOW magazine. I do. While NOW tends to focus on major news items with an alternative perspective, I find myself wondering why it has neglected the current strike at York University.
In a neo-con environment of cuts to spending on the arts, many cultural producers seek refuge in the education sector, and York is one of the largest educational employers in the Toronto area, so some coverage is called for.
I think the city would benefit from an alternative perspective on a strike that has merited 93 articles in some of the biggest media outlets in Canada, many of them plugged into the administration's PR machine, which incidentally accounts for a much larger chunk of York's budget than the salaries of striking CUPE 3903.
Slummin' with Slumdog
I can't understand how anybody could enjoy Slumdog Millionaire, much less award it prizes (NOW, January 1-7). It was the worst movie I've ever seen - contrived, manipulative, commercial, disgusting.
To think that a quiz show contestant would be tortured for knowing the answers is bizarre, absurd, ridiculous. Apparently, people are so desensitized to torture and violence that such excesses are valid situation devices. The scene of the boy holding his nose and dropping into a well of shit, then running across the field covered head to toe in it told me what an exaggerated, overdone movie this was going to be.
The views from crazy angles just because technology allows added insult, and I soon walked out.
Margot C. Rosenberg
From your year-end review: "although it's been hailed rapturously by the blogosphere, Zane Caplansky's Montreal-style house-cured smoked meat sandwiches are not the second coming of Schwartz's" (NOW, January 1-7).
Zane has never claimed his restaurant is the second coming of Schwartz's. It's not even Montreal-style smoked meat, for starters. The only similarity between Caplansky's product and Schwartz's (or The Main or Smoke Meat Pete) is that both pickle the meat naturally, albeit with a very different blend of spices.
Zane uses hickory and mesquite smoke; Schwartz's does not. Zane offers a homemade (with Chimay beer) mustard; Schwartz's does not. Caplansky's offers a boffo poutine with smoked-meat gravy; Schwartz's does not. When I want Schwartz's, I buy their spices and pickle my own brisket. When I want to enjoy an excellent smoked meat sandwich prepared by someone with a passion for his craft, I go to Caplansky's.
I read your magazine weekly. Like many people, I always read Savage Love first. Sorry to your opinion columnists, but I like to indulge my base mind on the subway.
But every time I flip over the back cover, all my pleasure evaporates in the blink of a disgusted eye when I find myself staring at another American Apparel ad featuring girls near the age of majority dressed in the skimpiest combinations and looking as though they'd rather be anywhere else.
I don't know why these ads are popular. I don't know why they haven't provoked an investigation. And I especially don't know why a left-wing magazine that sets itself up as a proponent of the rights of the disadvantaged and minorities would demean itself by keeping a long-term contract going with such an advertiser.
Please, before I provide NOW with some unexpected publicity by vomiting on your magazine on the bus someday, discontinue the American Apparel ads.