Letters to the Editor: May 2022

On immigration bureaucracy, sexual health, online reputations, and more

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Give Me Your Tired
A society should be judged based on the way it treats the most marginalized people. While Canadians can be proud of the country’s immigration numbers, we should remember that the immigration process is geared nearly exclusively to economic interests. Annie Hylton’s “Endless Exile” (March / April) outlines how the Kafkaesque bureaucracy in Ottawa is putting the brakes on a clear humanitarian immigration case. In the process of denying immigration to an oppressed person, the Canadian government is keeping a family apart and demonstrating its true colours.

Jonathan Brun
Montreal, QC

Much To Be Desired
In “What Women (Still) Want” (January / February), Sarah Barmak illuminates medicine’s ongoing apathy toward women’s sexual health as well as the efforts (some promising, others more troubling) to fill in significant knowledge gaps around female desire. Where we place our hopes—in an ill-conceived pharmaceutical drive for a “pink Viagra,” a sprawling cannabis market of tinctures and gummies meant to stir arousal, and more alarming procedures like the “O Shot”—tells us much about where we’re at in our conception of women’s desire today. Which is to say, not far along at all, running headlong for a fix without pausing to consider the basics of “what’s happening when desire goes missing,” as Barmak writes. Absent from many of these efforts are the realities of sex: how desire percolates in the brain, how entwined it is with women’s contexts and the stressors in their lives. For years, the implicit message has been that women’s desire is too complicated, too finicky to be managed in any meaningful way. Now, women are demanding better, not only of their partners but of their health care practitioners, who remain mostly clueless or patronizing on the subject. Barmak, an expert at highlighting our collective illiteracy, insecurity, and desperation around intimacy, shows there is hope on the horizon.

Zosia Bielski
Toronto, ON

Bad Reputation
In “Damage Control” (January / February), Paul Gallant looks at the at times shady, semilegal work that reputation-management companies do to scrub defamatory content off the internet. He also explores the legal precedents that allowed this situation to escalate to the point where we have a multimillion-dollar cottage industry dedicated to making people look better online. The entire situation is symptomatic of the internet writ large: a never-ending content machine that continuously needs feeding and reflects humanity’s worst instincts. It isn’t just that libellous and lurid content is available at the click of a button—it’s that there’s an insatiable demand for it. And I don’t think this genie will ever be put back in the bottle.

Akshay Kulkarni
Vancouver, BC

Reading Steph Wong Ken’s article “TikTok Has Become a Recipe Box for Traditional Chinese Cooking” has confirmed what my friends and I have been saying since last November: traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is making a comeback. I stumbled back into TCM as a young adult after a two-month period of random sinus infections, brewing myself pear soup and herbal tea when Tylenol and chicken broth failed to noticeably change my health. The broader return to TCM falls in line with a pattern I’ve noticed of diaspora children returning to the esoteric, often unexplainable cultural practices that soothe. Simply put, tradition feels good these days. And it can taste pretty good too.

Katia Lo Innes
London, ON

“The time has come,” The Walrus said, “to talk of many things.” Send us a letter or an email (letters@thewalrus.ca) or tag us on social media. Comments may be published in any medium and edited for length, clarity, and accuracy. Mail correspondence to: 411 Richmond St. E., Suite B15, Toronto, Ontario, Canada  M5A 3S5