The MAIL

Still smells like teen spirit

Todd Williams July 25 2005

The MAIL

Still smells like teen spirit

Todd Williams July 25 2005

The MAIL

Todd Williams

Still smells like teen spirit

I loved Jonathon Gatehouse’s story on Paul Anka(“Anka’s back, baby!” Cover July 1). His old songs bring back such great memories. Nicole Foucault, Gatineau, Que.

I just read your opus on Paul Anka. A great profile, warts and all. I’ve never been an Anka fan, but your piece really brought him to life. Congratulations on a real stylistic success. It’s great to read a good piece of writing in this age of sound bites.

‘In Canada, we tend to forget that we have loud obnoxious people too. The Americans might have Don King, but we have Don Cherry.'

Ron Stanaitis, Vancouver

Raising a phoenix

I read the July 1 issue from cover to cover. The changes you’re making are turning a stodgy old newsmagazine into something engaging, fun, interesting and informative. I’ve been subscribing to Maclean’s forever and, until the past couple of months, I often wondered why. There were a number of articles over the past two months that I felt worth writing to you about, and this issue is no exception. I bet you get a record number of letters and emails about that old white guy from Fox News (if you call what they do news). But forget the complainers who liked Maclean’s as it was: you’re raising a phoenix.

Brenda Breedon, Cloverdale, B.C.

Touch, touch back

I agree with Fox News host John Gibson’s column about our anti-Americanism (“Unhappy birthday, Canada,” Canada-U.S. Relations July 1). We Canadians like to pretend that we are morally and ethically superior to Americans, but we just sit back and reap the rewards when they go into places like the Middle East and ensure that the oil keeps flowing to the West. Another thing— if it wasn’t for the Americans and their huge multinational corporations, many Canadians would not be working.

Steve O’Brien, Kitchener, Ont.

Gibson’s arrogance, condescension and bellicosity typify a trend in the American media to eschew civil discourse in favour of puerile

insults. Sure, Canadians have had a proclivity to resent our best friends, but in the past this was mostly due to an imbalance in size. After 9/11, Canada was blamed for letting the terrorists into the U.S. Likewise, when there was a massive power failure two years ago, Americans were quick to point the finger at Canada. When you add up the trade disputes, and Pat Buchanan’s references to “Soviet Canuckistan,” and Paul Cellucci’s remarks about Canada not joining in the invasion of Iraq, you begin to think, with friends like these ...

Tom Thomson, Kaslo, B.C.

All we are saying is give beef a chance. Duncan Knowles, Moncton, N.B.

Hey, Gibby, just thought I’d drop you a line to say congratulations on a successful mission. Let’s call it “Operation Enduring Alienation.” You’re a real class act!

John F. Anderson, Windsor, Ont.

Dear John Gibson, you hoser, take off, eh? Ray Sullivan, Ottawa

I disliked Jean Chrétien much more than I dislike George W. Bush. I dislike the CRTC much more than I dislike Fox News. Ottawa is not Canada any more than Washington is the United States. But thank you, John,

for not mentioning how the U.S. won both world wars all by itself.

EJ. Adams, Regina

Under a prairie sky

Sitting on my patio, enjoying my Canada Day—and the first dry weekend of our short prairie summer—while trying to catch up on my reading, I am given a choice between Preston Manning’s nostalgic vision of building a firewall around every province and turning us into little replicas of the U.S. (“Prairie companions; Big West country,” Centennial, July 1), or Roy Romanow’s idea of sharing my destiny with my fellow Canadians and looking toward a future in which we will try hard to figure out how to live together (“Rich in diversity”). Given the sunny disposition of this day, I vote for Romanow. He gives me hope. Jake Kuiken, Calgary

Roy Romanow’s article was written, not by a lawyer or a politician, but by a poet. He should look into becoming a writer, another Pierre Berton, only more lyrical. As an immigrant myself, I, too, often look back in wonderment at how I have been able to become a valued New Brunswicker. Only in Canada. Mary Majka, Harvey (Albert County), N.B.

If Ernest Manning had stayed in his native Saskatchewan and Tommy Douglas had moved to Alberta, Saskatchewan might well be Canada’s economic powerhouse and Alberta the underpopulated, backward tax ghetto. Fate can be kind, fate can be cruel. Les Longmire, Kindersley, Sask.

Beauty is as beauty does

In your Score Card of June 27 (“Beautiful loser”), why did the Louisiana beauty school students get a thumbs down for defending themselves with curling irons against a gunwielding robber? These courageous students should be applauded. Criminals, especially armed ones, should realize that putting innocent people’s lives in danger could sometimes be a mistake. Or was the thumbs down meant for the criminal?

Pierre Lamoureux, New York City

The memorial in a minefield

I object to the danger spin Brian Bethune gave to his story on the Vimy Ridge memorial (“It’s sublime and deadly,” History, July l), and I worry that his talk of unex-

ploded ordnance will deter Canadians from visiting. Unexploded ordnance is a problem all across Europe, and Vimy Ridge should be preserved as it is. The sight of shell craters so close together and mine craters big enough to hide my house left me slackjawed. I don’t know if there is another place on Earth like it. Moreover, Vimy Ridge is not killing people, except for the pair who drove away with that gas shell a few years ago. Yes, there are potentially dangerous areas, and they are clearly marked with signs and roped off. Persons dumb enough to ignore those signs will only improve the gene pool. Tom Hughes, Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.

No happily-ever-aftering

What a cruel and disrespectful description Jonathon Gatehouse wrote about Robert Goulet’s physical appearance (“Mr. G’s wild ride,” Show Business, June 27). It is clear that Gatehouse did not enjoy his assignment, variously describing Goulet’s blue eyes as “more water than ice,” his hair and moustache as “thinning and bottle-blackened” and then remarking on “liver spots [that] dot the backs of his hands.” Goulet is 71. I, too, am a senior. I, too, have liver spots on my hands. Aging can do this to anyone.

Marg Coll, Ottawa

The aftermath of murder

I was shocked that Maclean’s chose to publish the Reuters TV photo of Martin Michalik carrying the body of his two-year-old son, Maxim, who was shot to death by hostage-takers at the Siem Reap International School in Cambodia (Up Front, June 27). What a callous invasion of the Michalik family’s privacy!

Seeley Munro, Vancouver

Science vs. Business 101

Paul Wells’s article (“Our mad scientists,” Research, June 27) did justice to the perspectives of some of our nation’s top bioscience researchers regarding the challenges of cofunding and management for large-scale research in Canada. There is a strong rationale for Canada to invest aggressively in R & D, and while the co-funding model is hard on academics in light of the multiple pressures they face, dropping the co-funding requirement may not be the solution. I have had the opportunity to manage a crop genomics project under Genome Canada funding. Genome Canada’s co-funding model represents a creative response to the challenge of determining how to fund research and promote science-based industry. Many Canadians may be unaware of the gap between Canada’s superb research and Canada’s capacity to commercialize those research results. In 2002, the federal government reported that while U.S. universities have 14 times more research dollars than Canada, the U.S. universities actually receive 50 times more in licencing

Given the sunny nature of this day, Romanow’s idea of all Canadians sharing one destiny gives me hope

THEMAIL

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revenues. Co-funding shows that someone needs the proposed research, and gives the co-funder an incentive to turn research results into new products and processes. John Argall, Executive Director, BioAtlantech, Fredericton

Genome Canada is a major reason why Canada leads internationally in some areas of genome research, and why we have attracted and retained a group of accomplished scientists. Genome Canada is not without its faults. Your article points to one of them: the co-funding requirement, which recently has excluded some of our best young scientists from consideration for support. There are other problems: the need to file detailed progress reports every three months, a concentration on rigid milestones, an emphasis on organizational structure, and the sense that short-term results are important. The sum of these requirements creates a level of

diversion that takes time and attention away from the job of scientists: to do research and to teach students. And these requirements make virtually no improvements to the quality of genome research.

James Friesen, Professor Emeritus,

Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto, Toronto

Everyone in this business knows that if you want funding, you have to play by the funding agency’s rules. With increasing pressure to divert funds from research into other programs with more immediate and apparent benefits to the public, it is up to the scientist to provide whatever is requested by the funding agency, not to lament the lack of funding agency foresight. The expectation of no-questions-asked funding is unrealistic. W. Grant McGimpsey, Director,

WPI Bioengineering Institute, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass.

MACLEAN’S® | FROM OUR PAGES

We knew them when: Atwood, Young and Cronenberg redux

SURPRISING THINGS ABOUT CANADIANS who have gone on to fame are revealed in Maclean’s articles from decades ago. In 1969, Margaret Atwood made her debut in our pages as one of three poets we asked to commemorate the first manned lunar landing. Her poem contrasted a child’s fantasy moon, an oasis of “glass trees with seaweed fronds,” with the “black arctic” landscape that had appeared on everyone’s TV set. Curiously, Atwood’s brief bio noted that her endeavours ranged “from puppeteering to teaching English,” but failed to mention that her first volume of poetry, published three years earlier, had won a Governor General’s Award.

Neil Young was 25 and already a star when Maclean’s profiled him in 1971. The article, co-written by his brother, Bob Young, disclosed that the rocker had plunked out his first

tune at age 13 on a plastic ukulele. The piece also mentioned that when he was slightly older and had switched instruments, his mother made a deal with him: “Neil could play the guitar all he wanted as long as he stopped biting his fingernails.”

In 1979, director David Cronenberg had a film called The Brood, a bargain-basement horror flick starring moppet gymnasts in white fright wigs as murderous life forms. He has bigger budgets and more critical acclaim now, but his views haven’t really changed. “Horror films are not escapist, they are confrontations,” he said back then. Today he still wants to make his fans chew their nails. - Pamela Young