The Mail

The Mail

March 26 2001
The Mail

The Mail

March 26 2001

The Mail

Leaning to the left

The problem with Naomi Klein is that while she has no problem fighting globalization, she doesn’t really explain what she’s fighting for (“Naomi and the new left,” Cover, March 12). Corporations aren’t going to be scared off by protesters. What will scare them is people not buying their products. As a former “mall rat,” Klein should realize that consumer culture is the problem. Despite her dismissal of the tendency to “boil everything down to a shopping issue,” companies supply goods because our materialistic society constantly demands more. Klein should put her money where her mouth is and forgo that Starbucks coffee.

Shannon Gillies, Burlington, Ont.

Has Naomi Klein ever considered the fact that sweatshops employing children—a detestable condition— have, however, in many instances, enabled their families to avoid starvation? Is she so busy feverishly running from continent to continent to even take the time to evaluate the politics and economics of such societies? Or does she block out the fact that these societies are often left-wing, modern-day feudal economies? Macleans article on Klein suggests that this new left is akin to

mother’s milk, but the Reform/Alliance ideas and philosophies, which were every bit as activist, were dropped into the nearest wastebasket. Over the centuries, democratic capitalism has been the only ideology to have created the ideas and conditions that raised human beings to unparalleled heights of freedom and superior living standards. Klein is a hypocrite, but what is even more frightening, an extremely articulate one.

NI. J. Drozd, Edmonton

I was struck by how

absurdly misleading the term “anti-globalization” seems when applied to this new movement, which is essentially a global movement dealing with global issues. Maybe it should simply be referred to as “the movement,” with the membership determined by the shared values and attitudes of people who do not want to live in a society where cultural identities are homogenized into a single bland global monoculture and who reject the trends towards unlimited consumerism and the alarming escalation of power wielded by transnational corporations. Karel Peeters, South Slocan, B.C.

I sometimes think that the far right keeps democracy honest and the far left keeps it sane. Perhaps this is so. But are the tools of modern society—all products of large global corporations—

Power of reviews

Last year, I read your review of The Sarantine Mosaic series (and other works) by fantasy writer Guy Gavriel Kay (“The man who sailed to an alternate Byzantium,” Books, April 3). Your focus was on his newly released second book of the series, Lord of Emperors. In any event, a trip to the library the following week found my name on a reserve list for it—I was No. 137!

In the meantime, I got the first book out, Sailing to Sarantium, and had to wait nearly two months for the second one. They were incredibly wonderful. More recendy, in the Feb. 19 issue, you reviewed David Starkey’s Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne (“Little queen lost,” Books). Off to the library—am I surprised that I am on the reserve list, this time No. 121? Coincidence? Or do you realize the wonderful effect you are having on book readers?

Gall Bennett, Toronto

somehow not the products of the same oppressed masses? Is there some subtle shading of philosophical pragmatism that escapes me? Once again, the far left demonstrates its facility for sucking at the proverbial teat while vociferously decrying the sow’s existence.

Demetreus Blakemore, Burnaby, B.C.

You didn’t label Klein the Pin-up Revolutionary, but treated the subject matter so as to imply it. I was hoping for more.

John Craig, Edmonton

Let’s just set some facts out so that your readers can come to some sort of understanding about how our planet

actually works. At present, more people are alive on earth than at any other time in history, more people are well nourished than at any other time in history, and more people have access to health care than at any other time in history. I could go on for a very long time without fear of contradiction. The reason for this state of alfairs is, well, reason. More people are literate than at any previous time, and literate people seem to become democratic people. Democracy increases individual freedom, which leads to making people free to decide for themselves how they will create wealth, which creates the possibility for more people to enjoy the fruits of—dare I say?—the market economy. So please spare us the platitudes of a young woman who chooses not to see the wealth that actually exists without giving us the other side of the coin.

Tony Warren, Edmonton

The down-with-the-system crowd is becoming something of a brand unto themselves—perhaps they should think a little less globally and act a little more locally.

George Case, Burnaby, B.C.

Quite a juxtaposition: Naomi and the new left next to Alexa [McDonough] and the old (“Protest or politics,” March 12). I was struck by the fresh new ideas of Klein and the tired old ideas of the NDP and say, thank God for Naomi Klein.

Jim Geiwitz, Victoria

Justice or revenge

It shouldn’t come as a great surprise that, given the victims issues left unaddressed even in light of recent government action, at least some measure or desire for vengeance comes to the fore (“Hard-time crusade,” Canada, March 12). Forgive me if, in choosing between the perpetrator and the victim, the bulk of my sympathy goes to the victim. I try

to be fair, but I cannot seem to grasp the concept of unmitigated forgiveness without some measure of responsibility, or accountability. And so maybe, just maybe, rehabilitation should be accompanied by a good strong and swift kick in the —s.

Leo VandenHeuvel, Lethbridge, Alta.

Let’s talk about it

If it’s true Eminem’s lyrics are objective reporting of unpleasant things, and not a reflection of the rap star’s personal views (“Much ado about words,” Charles Gordon, March 12), then Anton Chekhov probably would have been comfortable sharing the recent Emmy awards stage with Eminem and Elton John. In a letter to Alexey Suvorin in 1888, the famed Russian dramatist declared, “The creative artist must not set himself up as a judge of his characters or of their opinions, but must be an impartial witness.” In other words, don’t shoot the messenger or the artist, be he Anton Chekov or, possibly, Eminem. Peter Reynolds, Toronto

Charles Gordon is absolutely correct when he states that we must “send our kids a message of trust.” We can’t possibly hope to protect our children from all the negative influences of society, but we must give them the tools necessary to make good decisions. As a mother of one teenager, with three more waiting in the wings, I can see the benefits of having an open and caring relationship with my child.

Sylvia Duncan, Langley, B.C.

Exposed

Regarding all the letters (“The naked truth,” The Mail, March 19) about the nude woman on the cover of the “Redesigning work” cover story (March 5): get a life, people. Did you consider that it is possible to satirize stereotypes? Markian Hlynka, Edmonton