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April 9: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Shock and awe

It seems to me that Defence Minister Peter MacKay ought to be grounded right away.

His penchant to succumb to flights of fancy (MacKay Puts F-35 Price Gap Down To A Difference In Accounting – online, April 8), no matter whether they're in Coast Guard helicopters or in the ledgers of the F-35 debacle, is proving just a shade too costly for Canadians.

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Bill Engleson, Denman Island B.C.

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The sinking by the U.S. Coast Guard of an empty Japanese fishing trawler set loose by last year's tsunami (Cannon Fire Blasts Trawler Adrift in Pacific – April 6) is a reminder of the awesome effectiveness of today's modern armaments and those who use them. It only took nearly a day, using cannon fire at close range, to put that rusty wreck under.

Just imagine what Canada could have done with an F-35, whose supporters had promised “state of the art” destructive capabilities to protect us from, well, perhaps something empty. Just like the rationale to buy them.

Jon Swanson, North Saanich, B.C.

Power of the gaze

According to Margaret Wente (The Male Gaze, And Why I Miss It – April 7), the “SlutWalk argument” is “that women should be able to dress as provocatively as they wish without being ogled or desired by men.”

SlutWalk began in response to a Toronto police officer's statement that women who don't want to be sexually assaulted should avoid “dressing like sluts,” implying that, if a woman expressed her sexuality through her appearance, it would somehow make her complicit if she became a victim.

Not wishing to be unjustly accused of bringing sexual violence on yourself is a far cry from not wishing to be noticed or desired by men.

Glenn Milchem, Toronto

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I have been gazing at women since my eyes first opened 80-plus years ago. I still like the same type I first had a crush on when I was 10. I married one, and have two beautiful daughters. Men describe them as “ladies” by how they dress, walk, talk and present themselves.

Ladies can be sexy to meet the requirements of the moment and be, as Margaret Wente writes, “hot” regardless of the age of the woman and the gazer.

A “lady” is like a smart storekeeper who doesn't put all the best goods in the window; it should only draw you in to reveal more treasures.

Marvin H. Siegel, Toronto

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As we used to say as teenagers: There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

Ian Johns, Toronto

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You know you're old when, while on the subway, you glance down to admire an attractive woman – and she offers you her seat.

Rob Burbank, Toronto

Titanic truths

This month's 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic contains a warning for us all.

In 1912, some of the world's wealthiest people were enjoying the maiden voyage of a ship described as unsinkable. Steaming at full speed into an area known to contain icebergs, her captain was more interested in a fast sailing time than safety.

When disaster struck, there were not enough lifeboats, and the chances of survival depended on whether you were travelling first class or third.

In 2012, the world is sailing full steam ahead, with our captains assuring us that our way of life is unsinkable. Wealthy nations continue to enjoy their luxuries, unable to imagine why they should consume less.

Yet, Mother Nature has given us warning signals in the form of rising global temperatures and extreme weather events, all of which we choose to ignore. And we still pay insufficient regard to Steamship Earth's poorest passengers.

So, should we reduce speed and change course, or just carry on?

Dave Carson, Dundas, Ont.

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Although survivors of the Titanic disaster have described her last moments, there were no photographs of the sinking. So it's no surprise that illustrations of the scene often show a common flaw: smoke pouring from the rear, dummy smokestack.

An excellent example of this faux pas can be seen on the cover of Hugh Brewster's RMS Titanic (Thousands Drown, But Great Anecdotes Survive – Books, April 7).

Carl Abbott, Halifax

Haggadah heritage

As a way of weaving your Saturday trinity of stories about the Passover Haggadah (The New Jewish Literature – Arts), the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian war (Blast Survivor Fled To Canada To Escape Bosnian War) and sacred spaces (Divine Finds – Globe T.O.), it's worth noting (as outlined in Maria Rosa Menocal's The Ornament of the World and Geraldine Brooks's novel People of the Book) that the Sarajevo Haggadah was rescued by a Bosnian Muslim librarian as shells rained down daily on Sarajevo's museums and residents.

Let all Canadians celebrate these symbolic victories in times of peace and war.

Shahzad Siddiqui, counsel to the Islamic Society of Toronto, the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and the Chinese Muslim Association of Canada, Toronto

Naked hoopla

Aviva Rubin's insightful article (Yes, I Am Naked Around My Children – Focus, April 7) raises a major question: the age of children when they and their parents must wear clothes at home.

Some say 3, some 8, some puberty. The real answer is, there isn't one. Even though children may determine it, they may also sail through puberty without a compulsion for them or other family members to cover up.

Dismay at that possibility may rest on the assumption that nudity must involve sexual activity. Aside from being incorrect, that belief may imply a phobia that's involved in several socio-sexual pathologies, including body dysmorphic disorder and violence toward women.

Being comfortable in one's own skin has implications for a deep acceptance and confidence that are missing from many lives. Nonetheless, nudity itself matters less than the attitude toward it.

Paul Rapoport, Ancaster, Ont.

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The hoopla Aviva Rubin generated reminds me of the Christian missionaries who threw shawls over tribal women who walked around with their breasts exposed. Lighten up, people.

T.J. Machado, Mississauga, Ont.

Transit hoopla

Will a study of the St. Clair West streetcar line quiet critics such as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (Don't Fight Over St. Clair West. Survey It – Globe T.O., April 7)? Given his “subways, subways, subways,” unlikely. Forget the study; let the street speak for itself.

Jim Cooney, Toronto

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Transit-loving Christians should celebrate the Resurrection of both Jesus and Toronto's Transit City. Yes, the stone has been rolled aside from the Transit City tomb. The Ford brothers thought they could bury the light-rail lines forever underneath Eglinton and Sheppard. But light-rail cars have risen to the surface where they can roll in radiance until they're taken up to Heaven (or reach Scarborough). Hallelujah!

Simon Jacques, Guelph, Ont.

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