MAIL BAG

February 27 2006

MAIL BAG

February 27 2006

MAIL BAG

'It is hard to see friends living the big life. They all get new stuff. Everybody's doing it, why not me? The difference is that I am very concerned with my debt.'

I had to look twice when my eagerly awaited latest Maclean ’s issue (“Money really can buy happiness,” Cover, Feb. 13) arrived. Paris Hilton? Money does buy happiness? What a major disappointment! Had I wished to be titillated by this shallow American Barbie doll, I would have purchased a People or National Enquirer. With all of the newsworthy issues arising out of the recent election, we do have Canadian content available. Please, let’s see more of it.

Rich and happy

Virginia Morgan, St. Albert, Alta.

Thank you for such an entertaining issue! I laughed out loud when I read “Rich at heart”— it was a humorous article, right? If not, I think I might cry—or refer those young spendthrifts to the Maclean’s Dec. 10,2001, article “The debt bomb.”

Cathy Simpson, Calgary

First Stephen Harper, and now Paris Hilton. That’s two weeks in a row I’ve had to rip the cover off so I can read the magazine while eating breakfast.

Marc Bernard, Elmira, Ont.

I was shocked and horrified by Steve Maich’s piece in defence of the view that money can buy happiness. The crassest remark was Maich’s claim that you have to see the glint of envy in your neighbour’s eye at an expensive toy (here a Mercedes) in order to be truly happy. Also necessary to the good and happy life is having friendly and non-competitive relations with at least some of one’s fellow human beings. Loneliness and enmity kill, however rich one may be.

E.J. Bond, Tamworth, Ont.

Your articles on riches and retirement showed insight, though I felt there was undue emphasis on personal wealth. We put away 10 per cent of our income to help others. Henry Lise, Holland Landing, Ont.

Your article about the debt generation was accurate. I’m 30 years old and I owe $12K in personal debt and $9K for my student loan. It is hard to see friends living the big life. Everybody’s doing it, why not me? They all get new stuff. They go to Europe, Australia, the Caribbean. The difference with me is that I am very concerned with my debt. Unlike the people in your article, I don’t want to keep spending to live my youth. I don’t like the

heavy luggage that I’m dragging behind. Pascal Labillois, Toronto

Cartoons and caricatures

As a Muslim, I condemn the actions of socalled Muslims who, under the banner of Islam, have resorted to violence as a means of protesting the work of some irresponsible journalists. But in her column (“A twilight zone of insanity,” Feb. 13), Barbara Amiel depicts the actions of such Islamic groups as a reflection of the entire Muslim population. By her analogy, then, Nazi Germany, predominantly Christian, should reflect on Christianity as a whole, as should the IRA reflect

on Catholics. The press must be accountable to the collective judgment of the community if they are to keep their readership.

Zarine Noorali Tilak, Toronto

Amiel’s column talks the talk. However, by not publishing the infamous Danish cartoons, you definitely do not walk the walk. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone in democracy. Gerard Pernitzky, Ottawa

So Amiel believes that the only way Canadians can now judge the Muhammad illustration backlash is to view the cartoons? Why? Publishing them again makes as much sense as a child doing something he or she knows is harmful simply to prove that “you’re not the boss of me.”

Cheryl Ernst, High Level, Alta.

Barbara Amiel mentions that some Muslims have made threats to Swedes and Norwegians

as well as Danes, and that to Muslims “all blonds look alike.” Later in her column, she writes that “It is not followers of radical rabbis blowing up trains in Europe.” All Muslims are no more terrorists than all blonds are Danish. They deserve to be treated with respect. Sherill Chapman, Toronto

Mark Molson

I was shocked and horrified when I read the article about my late husband, John Markland Molson (“The end,” Feb. 13). Mark was a kind, caring person who loved all people.

It didn’t matter to him what your social status was or what your religious beliefs were.

He didn’t care what your last name was. He was a devoted father and husband, and he was the No. l bridge player in Canada who made his mark both nationally and internationally. That was the man who should have been honoured in your magazine.

Janice Seamon-Molson, Hollywood, Fla.

Mark Molson was a very good friend for close to 30 years. This piece would lead me to believe that the author knew Mark as long. It captured his essence to a T!

John Gowdy, Toronto

Body language

As a United Church minister who has observed and counselled people for nearly 30 years, I can tell you that Shanda Deziel’s “expert” (“Let me hear your body talk,” National,

Feb. 13) got it all wrong. From head to toe Stephen Harper looks stiff and self-conscious.

His hand gesture seems wooden and unnatural. His jaw is stiff and his eyes seem to be saying, “please take me seriously.” Paul Martin appears vaguely amused and possibly bored by Harper’s pontificating. The positioning of his feet seems almost playful and causes one to wonder if his right foot was trying to keep his left foot from kicking Harper in the shins.

In short, Harper looks like a robot driven by the energy of his own anxiety. Martin looks all too human and fully capable of the selfassuredness that led to his demise.

Colin Peterson, Winnipeg

Crude’s black days

The end of oil (“When the oil runs out,” World,

Feb. 13) will not have all the negative impacts stated. Humanity will find alternate sources of cleaner energy to satisfy our essential needs and more. The transition from oil to cleaner energy will have a positive effect on

the environment. Let’s hope that the world runs out of fossil fuels before they kill us. Harvey Devost, Montreal

'With the appointment of Michael Fortier to the Senate, we see that Harper feels it's okay to appoint friends to high places'

Harper’s accountability

John Geddes’s article (“Not a regime change. A revolution.” National, Feb. 13) might have held some merit if it had not arrived the day after Stephen Harper revealed himself as a true politician. Geddes tells us that prime ministers often rule by rewarding loyalty, but that Harper will give up much of his ability to make patronage appointments in his Federal Accountability Act. With the appointment of Michael Fortier to the Senate, we now see that Harper feels it is okay to appoint friends to high places, with no regard to promises he has made. So much for an elected Senate, I guess. Christopher Smith, St.Catharines, Ont.

Teaching 101

Re: “Teaching the teachers,” (Universities, Feb. 13). Universities appoint professors who have necessary degrees and enough publications. Teaching will improve when it is considered as important as research at times of appointments and promotions.

Lochan Bakshi, Professor Emeritus, Athabasca University, Edmonton

How wonderful that former Harvard president Derek Bok has discovered that professors “don’t know what they’re doing” with regard to teaching their subjects. It is, however, disappointing that Brian Bethune makes no reference to the very different situation in Canadian universities and colleges. There is

a proliferation of teaching and learning centres in Canadian post-secondary education institutions, including the Instructional Skills Workshop network, the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, the Canadian Association of Distance Educators, the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education, the...well, you get my point. Wendy E. Burton, Chilliwack, B.C.

New look needs another look

I suppose with the new tabloid look and feel of your magazine (“The reviews are in on our new look,” From the Editors, Feb.13), it was just a matter of time before Paris Hilton made her way to the cover. Maclean’s now officially looks well positioned between Star and the National Enquirer. The “adjustments to the redesign” cannot happen soon enough. Joel Poissant, Calgary

As if your “new look” was not bad enough. The font and the images are too small, the layout crowded, and there is too much attention paid to entertainment. Young people buy People and Cosmopolitan for their entertainment “news,” not Maclean’s. Stick to what you do best: articulate and informative articles that mean something to mature readers, whether we agree with the views expressed or not. Jane Olivier, Ottawa

I would like to see worldwide news, not stories about wealthy women or about movies. I am a teenager in a big world and I need to know what is happening out there.

Adam Borrelli, Georgetown, Ont.