COLUMN

Letters—admiring and otherwise

Allan Fotheringham December 25 1989
COLUMN

Letters—admiring and otherwise

Allan Fotheringham December 25 1989

Letters—admiring and otherwise

COLUMN

ALLAN FOTHERINGHAM

It is the season of goodwill. Peace and blessings to all personkind. It is time to bind our wounds and to forgive our enemies. With that in mind, it is only right and just that those who have been aggrieved over the past months are made happier. We aim to please. Therefore, fair as always, we open the page to some of my raving fans.

R. M. Dykes (Mrs.) of Edmonton: “You really are a despicable old goat who writes idiotic columns just to put others down and thereby annoy everyone. I do not appreciate your philosophy, never have. But blaming Mrs. Thatcher for the soccer tragedy is utterly ridiculous, unkind and malicious. You enjoy maligning others, don’t you?”

Ivo Tyl of Osoyoos, B.C.: “Even before PingPong diplomacy took place I have read Maclean ’s by a Chinese way, from the back to the front, because your page where I started was confirming that Canada is still alive and with witty media. Now I feel that either you are tired and prefer to write only about an ‘old blue machine’ where nothing is said, or you feel unspoken pressure to write only as the owner of the magazine will allow. I am afraid that your type of writing and a possibility to present at least two points of view slowly evaporates from Canadian media as these are more and more owned by the owners in the true sense.”

M. James of Moose Jaw: “SHAME ON YOU FATTY FOTHERINGHAM. I have just finished reading your column ‘A confused agenda for selling the country’ and have lost all faith in your reporting ability—referring to the Duchess of York as ‘Fat Fergie’ detracts immeasurably from your credibility. I suggest you get those Coke bottles you wear over your fat eyes changed. You are insulting someone who had a weight problem in the past. You yourself do not look like you have turned down too much food, unless you happen to be one of those unfortunate people who have an emaciated body and a fat face, in which case I apologize. Such misunderstandings could be cleared up if writers would publish a full-length picture of themselves on their columns, preferably wearing a

bathing suit so the ‘ordinary public’ could tell at a glance who is entitled to throw (fat) stones at whom.

“Would you like to have a picture of toothy Mila in a bikini on the currency? What is wrong with the Queen? She is a symbol of all that is good and stable and right. The Queen is short, I am short, short is good. If you were here I would grab you by the fat neck and make you take back your ‘Fat Fergie’ remarks. This may well be the only letter you have ever received about your writing, and for that matter I may be the only one in all of Canada who reads you (and admired you—note past tense) besides your mother, so your loss is great.”

Rae Ellingham of Gibsons, B.C.: “Your column ‘Sorry, it must have been the gin’ was badly written. It did not have any real thread to it. The thing was confusing. My mind kept wandering. (In your case it must have been some homegrown combustible refreshment.)

Thank God Peterson had a funny picture to keep me focused. You should have written this piece at the END of your holiday, not at the start just to get it out of the way. While I am having a meanspirited go at you, please delete these worn-out phrases from the appropriate wordprocessor disk: 1. Bill Vander Slap (1984?) 2. The Village on the Edge of the Rain Forest (1975?) 3. Harold Ballard (You have a fixation on this man.) There, I feel better.”

Dennis Foth, dean, faculty of extension, University of Alberta: “I decided to write you 18 years ago. Unfortunately or otherwise, I did not do it. My objective for writing you then (and now) was to let you know that there is a real Dr. Foth—unless I am a figment of someone’s imagination. My bona fides may be established through the University of Alberta, the Edmonton electors’ list or other bureaucratic inventions such as Revenue Canada. For all I know csis may have a file on me. I readily acknowledge that I have generally benefited from your alter ego. The one exception occurred a few years ago when The Vancouver Sun ran an article with the heading ‘Foth sued for libel.’ My mother’s worst fears about her son’s career as a university professor were confirmed on that day.”

Jo Dermody (Mrs.) of Endicott, N.Y.: “I saw you interviewed by Bryant Gumbel. My step-grandfather was from Canada and through the years I met members of his family who had not migrated south. My husband served two combat tours in Vietnam. My brother and brother-in-law went to Vietnam. We were not the type of people to sit and

0 enjoy the fruits of freedom

1 and never give a hand to t someone else who wants to

be free. We lost all respect for Canada when your country took in our draft dodgers and deserters. We found that action to be rather despicable. Many of us in our family have travelled to Canada since the war. We have found it to be very clean and interesting. We do not agree with your socialized government and work daily to keep that system from growing in our country.”

J. McLean (Ms.) of Winnipeg: “I saw you on the Today show. I have to say that I found your attitude and comments to be somewhat derogatory to Canadians. You seemed to be putting down Canadians. I have met Americans here and abroad, and they are a most stupid and illiterate bunch. I think you have spent too much time down in the States. You don’t seem to think like a Canadian or better yet an impartial.”

Antoinette de Villers of Quebec: “Oh! for crying out loud, Fotheringham, what a bleeding heart you are. Surely you jest.”