OPENING NOTES

The Trumps go shopping, Mordecai Richler ruffles francophone feathers, and Gary Hart gets caught short

September 30 1991

OPENING NOTES

The Trumps go shopping, Mordecai Richler ruffles francophone feathers, and Gary Hart gets caught short

September 30 1991

OPENING NOTES

The Trumps go shopping, Mordecai Richler ruffles francophone feathers, and Gary Hart gets caught short

A QUEBEC CRITIQUE

Montreal novelist Mordecai Richter's lengthy rumination on life in Quebec in the Sept. 23 issue of The New Yorker has touched some raw nerves in his home province. Richler is critical of the French-only language laws, which he describes as products of "a disconcertingly tribal society," and he writes about what he considers an inhospitable climate for anglophones. And although for the most part the article is free of his often acerbic pen, at one point he refers acidly to the province's prolific birthrate of a few decades ago. Writes Richler: "This punishing level of reproduction seemed to me to be based on the assumption that women were sows." Le Devoir publisher Lise Bissonnette struck back angrily in an editorial last week.

Calling Richter's "ravings" "vitriolic" and "corrosive," she condemned the American magazine for publishing the piece.

Wrote Bissonnette: "Can you imagine a white Chicago writer proposing to The New Yorker an article in which he refers to the black population as tribal? Would the editors touch it?"

Back together and back to school

Donald and Ivana Trump dazzled clerks and shoppers recently in Pottstown, Pa., 130 km northwest of Philadelphia, when

the estranged couple and their 14year-old son, Donald Jr., went shopping at the local Kmart store. "They just walked in," said store manager David Eaton. “We were extremely surprised.” While Donald Sr. signed autographs, posed for pictures and talked to people, Ivana and Donald Jr., a student at Pottstown’s exclusive 140-yearold Hill School, filled two shopping carts with school supplies and toiletries. The bill, said cashier Kimberly Kemp, was about $400. Fortunately, Trump, who has suffered some recent financial setbacks, was carrying enough cash to pay for the purchases. Said Kemp, who

had to tell Trump that the store does not accept American Express: “I was so nervous, but they weren’t snotty and uppity at all.”

GIVING UP ON GUN CONTROL

Last year, the Los Angeles school board decided to expel all students who were found carrying guns on school property. But the board reversed its decision because far too many offenders just wound up on the streets after expulsion. Board member Jeffrey Horton said that the fíip-ñop merely recognized “the reality that when you expel a child from school, he doesn’t disappear. ” Now, some gun-toting teens will be admitted to offcampus classes that provide greater supervision—giving new meaning to the term “exceptional students. ”

The true nature of Edmonton

When many Americans think of Canada, they think of scarlet-coated Mounties and Christmas trees. Now, critic Mel Gussow of The New York Times has shown what comes to his mind when he thinks of Edmonton. Last week, in his mixed review of the off-Broadway opening of Canadian playwright Brad Fraser’s dark drama, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, which is set in Edmonton, Gussow mused: “For a play that is so concerned with the omnipresence of its setting, it is curious that there is not a single mention of hockey, to outsiders the essence of Edmonton.” He shoots, he scores.

THE DEVIL AND THE TRUE-BLUE NORTH

Chad Miller has shaken the small town of Stewart, B.C., to its roots. Two weeks ago, Miller, 21, who has lived in Stewart, near the tip of the Alaska Panhandle, for 2 Vi years, requested that his satanic church and mail-order business, The Embassy of Lucifer, be granted a business licence and space on the sign outside town that lists Stewart's six other churches. The resulting controversy, Miller says, is unwarranted. Added the high priest, who acknowledges inflicting curses: "People have freaked out at the idea of satanism, but there's nothing evil about it." For his part, Aid. Russell Earl said that council granted the business licence, but added: "There isn't a snowball's chance in hell that he's going to get the church's name on that sign."

A Finnishing touch

The Finnish national team finished a respectable third in the recent Canada Cup hockey tournament that the Canadians won last week. And a little jab that Toronto fashion mogul Peter Nygard threw at the players after their first match against Team Canada, which ended in a 2-2 tie, may have spurred the team on. After the game, Nygard, who was bom in Finland, threw a party for the team. There, he invited the players to take the stage, where each one kissed a pretty young woman dressed in traditional Finnish costume. As the introductions ended, Nygard accepted a two-foot ceremonial knife from the FinnishCanadian Chamber of Commerce. He fingered the blade, turned to the assembled players and announced: “I’d like you all to know that this young lady is my daughter, and she is only 14.” He added: “And she’s got a big daddy with a big knife.”

MAKING AN HONEST MISTAKE

The New York City-based Doubleday Book Clubs may have been too influenced by the controversy that greeted Kitty Kelley's recent biography of former first lady Nancy Reagan. In its latest bulletin to Canadian subscribers, Doubleday features Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography in the same section as novels that included Canadian mystery writer Joy Fielding’s See Jane Run—under a bold headline that says “Fiction.” Earlier this year, many prominent commentators, including New York Times columnist William Safire and syndicated writer

George F. Will, questioned Kelley’s research methods

and suggested that her book was indeed more fiction than fact. But Susan Sandler, editor in chief for the book club’s Canadian division, told Maclean’s that the book club simply made a mistake. Said Sandler: “It was in no way an editorial comment on Kelley’s book, which is definitely nonfiction. The wrong headline was dropped in, and it should have just said ‘recent best-sellers.’ ” But Sandler added that she appreciated the irony. “I’m still trying to find the culprit who did it,” she said. “But I can’t decide whether to laugh my head off or be furious with whoever was responsible.”

A jump on history

When an extramarital affair dashed his presidential hopes in 1987, Gary Hart turned to writing. Now, events have

overtaken his book, Russia Shakes the World: The Second Russian Revolution and Its Impact on the West, which he wrote before the defeat of the August coup. Hart dismisses Boris Yeltsin as a “charismatic malcontent.” He is more astute about the Baltic states, predicting that they will gain independence from Moscow “within a decade.” A safe bet.