COMMENT

MAILBAG

A guide to kava snobbery / A defense of Diefenbaker / A cheer for the NAACP

June 16 1962
COMMENT

MAILBAG

A guide to kava snobbery / A defense of Diefenbaker / A cheer for the NAACP

June 16 1962

MAILBAG

A guide to kava snobbery / A defense of Diefenbaker / A cheer for the NAACP

Tut, tut. Leslie F. Hannon slipped badly in his closing paragraphs on wine snobbery (What wine snobs don’t know about wine. April 21). He alleges that he "tried to cope with kavakava in Suva.” Difficult to do, since the beverage known as kava (just once, if you please) throughout Polynesia is called yaqona (pronounced yanggona) in the Melanesian tropics of Fiji. Anyway, what’s it doing in the story? Yaqona (or kava) isn't a wine by any stretch of the imagination. It isn't even alcoholic. It’s a diuretic, and it is produced by mixing the powdered root of a species of pepper plant with water. That’s all. You can’t get stoned on it. although it can have a peculiarly paralyzing effect on the lower limbs. Incidentally. there are two types of kava: the light and the green. Some people claim that overindulgence in green kava causes the skin to turn scaly and fishlike. However, in the tropics a couple

of bilos (cups) of yaqona each day do help to slake the thirst. Some people claim that yaqona tastes like peppery dishwater, and the custom of

drinking it all down at one draught has been violated by many a palate accustomed to Coca-Cola or Courvoisier. But then, there’s good yaqona and bad yaqona. Now, if you’d like to know about kava snobbery ... - RONALD GRAY. RICHMOND. B.C.

The Diefenbaker image

1 was disgusted with my May 19 issue of Maclean’s when I turned to page 7K and saw the article, Why Diefenbaker thinks the press is against him (Backstage at Ottawa). I can’t imagine any decent-minded person putting in such an illustration. Thank goodness, Mr. Diefenbaker is beyond anything like

that. - MISS B. G. BAKER. NEWBORO,

ONT.

Wanted: a pro for every con

As a longtime reader and subscriber to Maclean’s, I wish to protest strongly a number of articles you have carried recently. Your reports on the Red Cross blood program, the late Dr. Tom Dooley and Moral Re-Armament were all presented in a negative light designed to destroy people’s faith in them, and arouse suspicion. Why not give equal space to telling the positive contribution made by each? There must be many Canadians who were disgusted by In High Places and others who felt the same way about your report on women’s clothes (McKenzie Porter on women’s clothes. April 7). The majority of Canadians do not live on the level at which this article was beamed. There

must be other readers like myself who no longer wish to remain silent while attacks are made on what we know to be good. Maclean's could be the magazine to give Canada fearless, positive leadership in a confused world. —

H. LAWRENCE, REGINA, SASK.

How the mind works

I have just reread the article on phobias ( How phobic fear makes monsters out of molehills. April 21). It strikes me again with particular force that this kind of examination of widely experienced but little known complaints is of

the utmost value — particularly in the light of the recent meeting in Toronto of psychiatrists from all over the continent. To shed light on the little understood workings of the mind is certainly of the greatest importance. — ROBERT

MORLAN, W1LLOWDALE, ONT.

The unborn babies

Canadian citizens will feel keen sympathy for parents of deformed babies who are victims of the drug thalido-

mide. and a certain moral indignation at the manufacturers, the drugstores, the doctors, and the government for allowing such a tragedy (The unfolding tragedy of drug-deformed babies, May 19). However, where is the moral indignation at the sale of drugs which prevent birth itself and which cause abortion and STERILIZATION?-MRS. HELEN ENGEL. LONDON. ONT.

A new Canadian hero

Anne MacDermot’s short biography of Norman Bethunc (The only Canadian the Chinese ever heard of. May 19) is truly inspiring. It is a great shame he is not honored in his own country. Perhaps he was, to some extent, a sinner but in a great way he was a saint and a martyr. Few saints were not also sinners. Such a man is many times more worthy to become a hero to our children than such characters as Davy CROCKETT.-F. H. A. COLLINS, GANGES, B.C.

The results of NAACP’s work

As a former Washington, D.C., resident, I thank you for Jan Sclanders’ account of the good, solid and rewarding efforts made by NAACP members in the United States (How the NAACP plots the Negro revolution. May 19). They are to be praised and admired. Their task meets unfailing opposition, but NAACP has punched a sizable hole in this barrier of RESISTANCE.-JOANNA

HART, MONTREAL

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MAILBAG

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How the Russians determine what the West will do Doctors, druggists and the sleeping pill tragedy

If we Canadians “have no cause for smugness about political ethics” (Backstage in Ottawa, May 5), it appears from Peter Newman’s comments that we might also question political imagination. Apparently Mr. Diefenbaker and Mr. Pearson feel that their most important function is to oppose communism. If Mr. Khrushchov is in favor of land reform in Cuba, then we must be against it. If Russia backs a corrupt political leader anywhere in the world, we are obliged to support the perhaps equally corrupt leader who opposes him. If Pravda attacks Mr. Pearson as a “running dog of American imperialism” and Russia vetoes his appointment in the UN. then Mr. Pearson must be a loyal Canadian democrat. Must we always wait for Russia to make the first move so that we can move in the opposite direction and feel sure that we arc right?—I). THOMSON, EDMONTON

The majority’s rule

I was truly amazed at your editorial (Why we won't join the blockade to starve Castro out of Cuba. April 21). You said that the majority of Canadians approved of the government policy. If that is true, then the majority of Canadians are ignorant of the nature of communism or else they are quite willing to let the communists take over CANADA.-J. COUGHLAN. WINDSOR, ONT.

Realizing how wrong Castro is. I think starvation would be a minor punishment compared to the one he deserves . . .-HETTY ANN DIEM ES, WIND-

SOR, ONT.

A French situation

I read with interest the story by Hélène Pi lotte (OAS: How 1,500 men are warring on France, Mar. 24) ... General de Gaulle said, when restored to leadership in 1958: “Algeria is organically French soil now and forever. I have understood you ... I constitute the French army with its loyalty, honesty and discipline, the guarantor that the word of France will be honored.” This is typical of the history of France and is a purely French SITUATION.-CHARLES

HREC.KON, MOOSE JAW, SASK.

More memories of the Nabob

The article about James Goad (The most agonizing hour of the war at sea. Nov. 18) with particular reference to H.M.S. Nabob was indeed of great interest to me. I was the first Canadian naval paymaster ever appointed to an aircraft carrier—in November, 1943— and the vessel was H.M.S. Nabob or CVF 41. I was secretary to the commanding officer. Captain Horatio Nelson Lay. O.B.E., now a rear admiral (retired) and I served in the ship from very early November until after the torpedoing on August 22, 1944. The ship was taken to Scapa Flow and, after emergency repairs, was sailed to Rosyth. At Rosyth she was put in dry dock and the bodies were removed. A mass funeral was held in a nearby cemetery. Upon my return to Toronto in late October, 1944, 1 was able to visit Jim Goad’s parents and acquaint them with his amazing luck. Jim stayed over on the other side for another appointment.— GEORGE HULME, TORONTO

Thalidomide and the government

The article by June Callwood (The unfolding tragedy of drug - deformed babies. May 19) does a real service to the Canadian public. It points out that it took the Canadian government five months to do what the U. K. government did in five days; and that some of our Canadian druggists and doctors seem to think they are a law unto themselves.-C. R. SEAL, PORI ARTHUR. ONT.

^ People have been sleeping for tens of thousands of years without sleeping pills. People who work hard, get plenty of exercise and lead a disciplined life arc often asleep as soon as they hit the pillow. As for the rest, they can compose themselves to sleep—real insomniacs are a negligible quantity—if they

so desire. Users of sleeping pills arc aided and abetted by their doctors., many of whom arc little more than “pushers” for the big drug companies. -CHARLEIS WILSON. ALMONTE.. ONT.

Elmer Fairfield’s readers

When editor and publisher Elmer H. Fairfield (Background. May 5) decided to publish controversial subjects to “foster his paper’s readability." he stooped to maligning Ottawa citizens and calling peace-workers communists and going as far as challenging a person to sue him if he wasn t. An appeal was made to 21 ministers of religion in the Ottawa South area where Fairfield’s South End News was distributed, asking if they could advise as to what should be done about this situation, but no action w.as taken. I. personally, pointed out to these ministers that this was—and still is—a community problem, making trouble between citizens on a large scale. The April issue of S.E.N. carries an article by that notorious informer Igor Gouzenko. Is there no law on our books whereby these traders in hate can be prohibited? Or is it one of the torments of democracy we are privileged to enjoy? Or bear? Or suffer?-MRS. EDITE! HOETOM, OTTAWA

B. C.’s animal kingdom

It would appear that Evelyn L. Eriksen was carried away in a poetic trance (Mailbag, May 5). W. A. C. Bennett is a terrific politician, very crafty and cunning and always three jumps ahead of the opposition. When an adversary molests him, he squirts them in the eye. With one exception, he has selected men of remarkable inability for hi:; cabinet, thus leaving the way clear for the master mind to govern. Possibly Evelyn was there to CHEER?-E. HARDING, VANCOUVER

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A lesson from the west for wildflower protectors Why there is still work for Toronto's social workers

I was most gratified to read in your May 19 issue the Preview article by Fred Bodsworth reporting the proposal of Mr. Malcolm Kirk and the Ontario Federation of Naturalists to preserve as a wildflower sanctuary a section of the western shore of the Bruce Peninsula (Preview. May 19). As one who owns one of the beautiful Georgian Bay Islands and each summer returns there for a brief holiday, even from the green loveliness of Victoria where I live, I well appreciate the value of this conservation effort and sincerely trust it will succeed. T he thought of the broad sand beaches of the Bruce Peninsula being converted into another Wasaga Beach truly appalls me and 1 know that the speed with which these summer slums can develop is little less than frightening. One statement attributed to Mr. Kirk requires correction and that is that the proposed wildflower sanctuary will be the first of its kind in Canada. This statement is obviously mere unverified conjecture and perhaps springs from the attitude far too common in Toronto publications that Canada finishes at the head of the Great Lakes. In the vicinity of this city of Victoria there are two such sanctuaries already well developed, namely Thetis Park Nature Sanctuary and the Thomas S. Francis Park, both representing areas of unspoiled natural beauty which have been rescued from the land butchers by the vigilance and prompt action of conservation-minded private citizens. —P. .1. CROFT, VICE-PRESIDENT, THETIS PARK NATURE SANCTUARY ASSOCIATIONS; PRESIDENT, VICTORIA NATURAE HISTORY SOCIETY; SECRETARY-TREASURER. THOMAS S. FRANCIS PARK BOARD, VICTORIA, B.C.

The work of social workers

I am writing to protest the serious misstatement made by Lawrence Zolf (New job for social workers: helping rich people. Background, May 5). He has me by implication calling the clientele of the family agency in the Jewish community “well-heeled.” This is ironic because the Jewish community is known to have retained its financial supplementation program to indigent clients despite pressure not to do so. Over the past thirty years there has been a steady change consonant with the changes in our general economy so that for fifteen years at least, about one third of our clients have required, and continue to receive, financial assistance, while the other two thirds of our caseload has required services of a family counselor, a child placement worker or an adoption worker. These people are far from rich. And if the family life is disturbed as well, they are far from being in a position to plan the best use of their money RESOURCES.-JEROME D. DIAMOND,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. JEWISH FAMILY AND CHILD SERVICE, TORONTO

Tong rule and public welfare

When one reads Alan Phillips’ enlightening article on the Chinese in Canada (The Criminal society that dominates the Chinese in Canada. April 7), one finds it hard to believe that our political system can be so powerless against tong rule, and that some of our politicians can bow so low for votes! When our law-abiding average earning Canadians, who duly pay their income tax, see our

government remit family allowances and old age pensions to those thousands of Chinese impostors, one can imagine the FEELINGS.-PHILIP GRENIER, NEWVII.EE, P.Q.

W hy Bassett was wrong about Toronto

If John Bassett believes his Sunday Telegram died because Toronto wasn't ready for Sunday newspaper reading, he isn’t as smart a publisher as Eric Hutton paints him (How John Bassett, businessman, became a celebrity. May 19). As almost everyone knows, Toronto has changed so radically in the past decade that we now demand things which once were alien to use, like supper clubs, Broadway shows and real restaurants. I believe Bassett’s Sunday paper failed for three main reasons. His timing was bad: his Sunday paper arrived in the spring when Torontonians had other things on their minds. Its price was too high; we might have paid 15 cents had we been used to paying 10

cents for our dailies, but we were still nickel-minded. His newspaper wasn’t one. There were precisely two pages of news. The rest of that bulky mass of newsprint was largely the syndicated U. S. junk that fills almost the entire second section of Bassett’s daily newspaper.—GEORGE HARRY, TORONTO

Where the music comes from

Whereas it was gratifying to note your acknowledgement of Conductor Boris Brott's abilities and zeal (The new wave in Canadian music. May 19), it was rather unfortunate that your choice of words may be subject to misinterpretation. To quote, “A couple of years ago he (Brott) raided the McGill Conservatorium and the Conservatoire to put together a scratch youth orchestra which won top honors in everything it tried at the Ottawa Music Festival (though some losers grumbled that Brott’s group included a couple of ringers — from professional orchestras).” This statement is entirely incorrect. Teen-age students were invited to form and administer a Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. They came from Conservatory, Conservatoire, convent, seminary and high school. Everyone of worth was accepted and the results of their efforts in competition speak for themselves. Furthermore, this youthful aggregation of prospective musicians conformed entirely with the entrance requirements of the Ottawa Music Festival, otherwise they would neither have been considered nor ACCEPTED.-CLAUDIA LABERGE. FORMER SECRETARY. PHILHARMONIC YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF MONTREAL if