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THE MAIL

October 3 2005
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THE MAIL

October 3 2005

THE MAIL

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Letters to the Editor letters(~)macIeans.ca

‘I have never laughed so hard in all my life. It was refreshing, for once, to read about a politician who was saying what was really on his mind.’ -waynestockton,Reg¡na

‘Mainstream skankification’

I cannot tell you what a relief Judith Timson’s article was for me (“Girls gone raunch,” Cover, Sept. 26). The increasing loss of selfrespect among young women is a phenomenon I have been noticing more and more, and I seriously thought I was the only one. At 25,1 don’t consider myself to be a prude or to have outgrown popular culture, but I am shocked at such self-denigrating behaviour. Jennifer Chauhan, Ottawa

Please tell me you had this girl’s permission to use her picture on the cover of your magazine. It’s one thing to act slutty for a girlie video; it’s a whole other thing to act slutty on the cover of Maclean’s. Most of us have done things in bars that we wouldn’t want revealed on newstands everywhere.

Tarah T. Reesor, Calgary

Where are the chic, articulate and genuinely humorous women? Until they are held up by society as role models, we can only expect this “meat market” mentality to thrive. So, as I wait out this uninspiring trend, please girls, hold down your six-inch skirts amidst the urban gusts of wind, because I am sick and tired of seeing your asses.

Jill I. Jamieson, Mississauga, Ont.

Fourteen years ago my 16-year-old was sent home from school because she was wearing an off-the-shoulder dress, which covered her from collar bone to kneecap. Today, I see teenaged girls come out of their high schools with pants so low they have to shave their pubic areas. What are their parents thinking? I think there is a refusal on the part of their mothers to accept their own aging. Everything has to be sexy or it’s rejected as dowdy. Ingrid Kolbe, Hawkestone, Ont.

Many women I know have been alarmed for years about the mainstream “skankification” of women, young and not-so-young, through overtly sexual behaviour and eyepopping (un)dress. Until both genders reject the use of sex as a commodity and source of power, too many of our daughters, sisters,

wives and even mothers will resemble dimestore hookers. A good start in this cultural shift would be for publications like Maclean’s to exercise pictorial restraint.

Judy Kealey, Ottawa

The underbelly of political life

Who knew that Brian Mulroney had a sense of humour and such a scathing view of his political contemporaries (“The secret Mulroney tapes,” Cover, Sept. 19)? Finally, an unguarded, unscripted look at the underbelly of Canadian political life. Bravo to Peter C. Newman for his book The Secret Mulroney Tapes: Unguarded Confessions of a Prime Minister, and to Mulroney himself for having the guts to tell it as he really saw it. His status as one of the major leaders of our time has been enhanced, not diminished, by his frankness. Harper move over, bring back Mulroney. Tom Beyer, Ajax, Ont.

Newman says he and Mulroney were friends. I say, with friends like Newman, who needs enemies? It will be a long time before anyone discusses anything of importance with him again.

Paul Dekker, Listowel, Ont.

Mulroney needs to realize that the reason most Canadians did not, and do not, like him is because he walked around like he

was king of Canada when, in reality, he was riding on the failures ofTrudeau’s Liberals. This excerpt just showed how much of an arrogant ass the man really is.

Eric James, Windsor, Ont.

The excerpt of Newman’s book only confirms that Mulroney earned the right to be the most despised politician in Canada. While he decried the vindictiveness of Trudeau, he revealed his own malice. It’s not the words that make him vulgar, but the tainted persona; he is Richard Nixon’s true soulmate, harbouring grudges, settling scores, and imagining himself other than he is: a petty man who looks in a mirror and sees a general.

Frank A. Pelaschuk, Richmond, B.C.

Reading your excerpt certainly hasn’t changed my perception of Brian Mulroney as one of the better prime ministers in the past 40 years. My respect for Newman as a journalist, however, has been greatly diminished. Imagine that, Peter, a politician with an ego.

David Rose, Thornbury, Ont.

How could you stoop so low? Is this some sort of Mulroney witch hunt? If I was interested in reading Newman’s book, I would buy it. But to waste nine pages by printing such drivel is beyond belief. You have insulted my intelligence.

Martina Schroer, Huntsville, Ont.

The real exclusive in your Sept. 19 issue was not the Mulroney article but James Deacon’s piece on Arnold Palmer (“At play with a golfing god,” Sports). What a contrast to the story on Mulroney! No question that both men accomplished a lot, but I much prefer the gentlemanly way Palmer gained his success.

Kim Shikaze, Oakville, Ont.

Getting worked up

Steve Maich relies on statistics provided by the American Enterprise Institute to tell us that workers are happy with their jobs (“The workers’ paradise,” All Business, Sept. 19). The AEI is a bastion of ff ee-market, privateenterprise-loving conservatives. Furthermore, those who take surveys can frame questions that elicit answers that appeal to the people who pay for them. Soft questions

like, “Do you like your job?” would yield the same kind of response as, “How are you today?” If these same people had been asked what would happen if they became sick and unable to work, the answers would have been different. For Maich to make a connection between this seeming worker euphoria and declining union membership is the worst kind of disingenuousness. The reason for the declining numbers isn’t that that workers have left the unions, but that jobs have left the workers.

Patrick Heenan, Mississauga, Ont

More kudos for Katrina coverage

It is a wonderful surprise to read such excellent articles by Joseph Boyden on New Orleans (“The drowning of New Orleans,” Cover, Sept. 12; “ ‘We need to go home’, ” Katrina, Sept. 19). Kudos to the Maclean’s editorial staff for featuring such a unique angle and touching personal stories—this is clearly the best hurricane coverage we have seen, on either side of the border. Boyden’s juxtaposition of images and descriptive narration allowed us, for the first time, to really piece together what was previously a series of disjointed media images. We hope Boyden’s friends, fellow faculty members and students are all safe and sound wherever they may be. Ian and Hilary McLean, Boston

No matter how helpful they are, moms should be left in the waiting room, and birthing should be left to the pros

Good for Boyden for going back home to New Orleans to try to do something for the people and the city that remains, and for finding ways to keep us and his friends connected and informed about the real situation in the Gulf area. And good for Maclean’s for including the stories of this wonderful author. Georgina Cordoba, Toronto

Reading Boyden’s articles brought tears to my eyes. I too went to university in New Orleans and I still yearn for the scent of night-blooming jasmine that permeates the city’s evening air as I sit here in my L.A. office. When I am asked, I always say I was dragged out of New Orleans kicking and screaming. I raise my glass to the host of regulars there.

Kate Monette, Los Angeles

Thank you to Paul Wells for an insightful article about the true spirit of New Orleans (“A miracle of geography,” The Back Page, Sept. 12). His overview of the city’s history with all its sweet sounds and wonderful palate-pleasers serves to remind us that the calamities of today are just that.

Nora Jenkins, Victoria

Happy at the Habbo Hotel

I have never written to a magazine before, but I felt I must after reading your story on the Canadian Internet meeting place for teens, Habbo Hotel, by Danylo Hawaleshka (“ ‘I’m engaged in online foreplay’, ” The Internet, Sept. 19). As an aunt of a teenage girl who regularly plays on Habbo, I was very upset by your depiction of the site. Yes, there are disturbing things on the Internet, but Habbo should be the least of your worries. I really think you’ve misrepresented a truly wonderful environment. Quite frankly, I would much rather have my niece playing on Habbo anytime than learning how to shoot a person’s head off through the creations of the traditional video game industry.

Tanya Gosnell, Toronto

A guy thing or a girl thing?

It is so encouraging to see accuracy, understanding and compassion without sensationalizing in the press (“Why be just one sex?” Life, Sept. 12). I too consider myself more in between sexes, though I did transition from male to female with hormones, electrolysis, a name change and surgery.

Still, I did not buy into destroying my past completely. (Why give up one set of rigid rules for another?) It’s hard to define what is a guy thing or a girl thing anyway. Some days I am quite androgynous, although I know it really throws some people off if they can’t peg me as male or female. The important thing is that I can define myself in any way I choose.

Michelle Scott, Saint John

I have a family member who recently told us that she is transgendered. She was born a boy but she feels more comfortable as a woman, though she has not undergone surgery. I was very shocked by this. I found it very difficult to understand how someone could be unhappy with such an important part of who they are. However, I now understand the importance of not hiding how you truly feel. Gloria Kim’s article has really opened my eyes to how different everyone is and how much we need to embrace this difference.

Kathryn Chadwick, Toronto

Life after death

I read your story about presumed consent as a means to increase the pool of organ donors with interest (“I take that as a ‘yes’, ” Health, Sept. 19). In 1999, my niece, Andrea, died in a car accident, one month before her fifth birthday. She was brain damaged from the accident and my sister, knowing her daughter had no chance of survival, chose organ donation. We don’t know who the people are who were saved by this life gift. However, we do know a girl in Ontario received a liver transplant, two people received corneas and were able to see for the first time, and two people with severe renal failure were given kidneys. Heart valves were also donated. Andrea helped many people she didn’t know, and a grieving family was able to come to terms with a senseless accident. Life can come from death. Mary Obstfeld, Grande Prairie, Alta.

Every once in a while, public proposals are brought forward that appear to have such a surfeit of common sense, one wonders why there would be any debate or delay in their implementation. The presumed consent initiative is a perfect example. If provincial or federal leaders cannot legislate such a change in the current session, then truly our democratic

bureaucracy has grown beyond belief. Improved health care, reduced waiting times, better quality of life: what is there to debate? Neil Phillips, Toronto

While it’s unfortunate that there are many people waiting for an organ transplant, receiving an organ from another person is not a right. Rather, it is a privilege of modern medicine. The notion of presumed consent reminds me of a marketing trick where you are assumed to say “yes” to a product or service unless you state otherwise. Inderjeet Bhamra, Amherstburg, Ont.

Special delivery

Your article on mothers in the delivery room was very interesting (“Not a good time, mom,” Life, Sept. 19). I was able to have the wonderful experience of being in the delivery room with my daughter when my grandson was born. My daughter, who was single at the time, told me she would not have been able to make it through the delivery if I had not been there.

Carole Greensides, Melville, Sask.

I can’t recall a more vile example of motherbashing. I can only imagine how saddened the mothers mentioned in this article are about seeing themselves identified this way. The doctors who have strong opinions about whom a woman chooses to have (or not have) with her during labour and delivery have an inflated view of their self-worth. Who cares what they think? They should stipulate that the coach or spectator not physically interfere with their job, but remember that it is about the mother and her child, not them.

Penny Christensen, Calgary

Having my mom in the delivery room when I had my first was the best thing ever. Actually, there were nine people other than the nurse and the doctor. My mom and dad were my coaches, with my mom’s mom, my dad’s mom and dad, my brother, my best friend, and the biological father and his mother. Having all those people in there was actually more relaxing than not, and the delivery was a breeze.

Miranda Beaupre, North Battleford, Sask.

Birth is a deeply personal event between you and your partner, and you need some

time to process the enormity of what has happened. I think there needs to be some privacy for the new parents to marvel at their new baby together, no matter how helpful or well-meaning mothers and mothers-inlaw are. Moms should be left in the waiting room and the birthing should be left to the professionals.

Kayti Taylor, Winnipeg

Peace and the pocketbook

Luiza Ch. Savage presents arguments that Canada should formally participate in the U.S. ballistic missile defence system (“That loud BMD slap,” Defence, Sept. 12.) Had she written a balanced article, she would have explained why Prime Minister Paul Martin declined to sign a memo of understanding in support of the project. Canadians are opposed to it. There are many reasons, such as a proliferation of weaponry does not encourage world peace. If the U.S. deploys more missiles, wouldn’t other nations, such as China and Russia, follow suit? And a BMD system could lead eventually to placement of missiles on satellites in space. In fact, the Bush administration has requested that money be put toward developing and testing such missiles. Armaments in space would add a new dimension to weaponry. Furthermore, the BMD system is expensive. If Canada signed on, wouldn’t it be realistic to expect that we will be asked to contribute financially?

Richard Ellis, Winnipeg