MAIL BAG

‘I suggest that you were very unfair to Prince Charles. His views are not all wild.’

December 8 2008
MAIL BAG

‘I suggest that you were very unfair to Prince Charles. His views are not all wild.’

December 8 2008

‘I suggest that you were very unfair to Prince Charles. His views are not all wild.’

MAIL BAG

RAH-RAH, OBAMA

JUST AS MANY of us were losing faith in our neighbours to the south, they reaffirmed their status as a land of freedom and opportunity with their election of the new president (“Obama,” World, Nov. 17). In fact, Obama is the first step toward saving the United States. That’s not to say that he will be able to accomplish this on his own; rather he is a man who is willing to make the changes that are necessary to get his country back on track. Hopefully he fulfills his dream of reuniting a country whose politically faithful are bitterly divided. Kyle Faulkner, Waterloo, Ont.

NOW THAT the 2008 U.S. election is over, significant challenges lie ahead. Presidentelect Obama must temper the unrealistic expectations of his supporters in the face of the difficult times his country faces. But the largest challenge is perhaps the media’s. It must now find a way to take the overexposure and deification of Obama and his family to new heights.

Marc Adams, Halifax

YOUR EDITORIAL drawing a link between Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy is disturbing (“A JFK for our times,” From the Editors, Nov. 17). Anyone with a cursory knowledge of JFK knows that he was a figment of his father’s Faustian imagination and ample bank account. JFK wasn’t so much “a quick study on foreign policy” as he was the visible symbol of a powerhungry, morally bankrupt family who stirred up a Communist hornet’s nest in Cuba. DavidJ. Brown, Cambridge, Ont.

OUR FLAG-WAVING, ultra-patriotic American cousins, who never miss an opportunity to stage a political event of truly epic proportions, forked out some $1.5 billion to fund the 2008 presidential run-up to the White House. They have outdone themselves this time around.

William Eady, Edmonton

YOU WENT OVERBOARD on the U.S. fete. In fact, you had so many photos, you might have considered putting the Obama package in the centre of the magazine, so enamoured Canadians could have kept it with their JFK and Clinton memorabilia. I was surprised that you did not offer free T-shirts or baseball caps. Shela Breau, Annapolis Royal, N.S.

CANADIANS ARE ASKING, “Where is our Barack Obama?” Where is the young politician who can capture the imagination of our young people and get them involved in politics? He’s right here in Parliament. His name is Justin Trudeau.

Bob Thompson, Victoria

CROWD PLEASERS

IT WAS TELLING that your writer Nicholas Köhler compared a Barack Obama rally of 175,000 to a Stephen Harper rally of 2,000 (“Why Canadians don’t like rallies,” National, Nov. 10). And, let’s face it, the lack of warm

bodies at a Canadian political event has nothing to do with cold weather, the length of elections, campaign finances, party friction or busy schedules. The primary reason is a lack of inspiration in the party leaders paraded before us over the past 40 years. I attended a packed rally at the old Civic Stadium in Hamilton for Pierre Elliott Trudeau before I was old enough to vote. The youth’s enthusiasm was infectious and contributed immensely to his first majority, just as the youth in the U.S. propelled Obama to prominence in the Democratic primary. Lester Pearson gave us a national identity (as René Lévesque did for Quebec) and Trudeau gave us an international identity. Since then we have been given nothing but a bunch of spiritless party manipulators who rise to prominence, not through oratory or insight, but through backroom deals, prevarication and outright deception. Daryl Cowell, Tobermory, Ont.

EMPATHY FOR THE PRINCE

ALTHOUGH I HAVE no leaning toward the occult and don’t hold with quack cures, I suggest that you were very unfair to Prince Charles, starting with the first photograph in your story, carefully chosen to fan the image of a potty prince (“Happy Birthday. Please no speeches,” Fame, Nov. 17). Charles’s views are not all wild. In fact, some of them are shared by sensible people. For example, a great many consider much of modern architecture unsightly, without necessarily condemning all of it. The prince is hardly alone in “railing against modern Christianity,” or the concept of child-centred education. As to “modernity itself,” he is opposed to the way in which post-industrial society has exalted technology and economic growth in an unhealthy, unbalanced way, often denying humanity and feeling. So are many others. The whole green movement, the search for organic foods and the questioning of the health, safety and sustainability of industrial agriculture are also concerns that many share.

William D. Grant, Ottawa

HOCKEY ON TRIAL

THE TRIAL OF former hockey coach and NHL agent David Frost is one minor illustration of our head-in-the-sand attitude toward our national game (“Rink rats on trial,” Justice, Nov. 17). As a high-school principal, I witnessed the emotional destruction of Grade 9 girls as junior hockey players systematically sought out and had sex with them as a rite of passage. Your writer Charlie Gillis quotes Bob Hooper, the commissioner of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, as saying “hockey doesn’t condone this stuff.” However, in my mind, ignoring the behaviour is tantamount to condoning it. Once, when I attempted to address an incident of drinking on a school sports trip, parents objected to the sanctions imposed by the school on the grounds that “they do it on hockey trips.” Hockey trips were always an excuse for missing school, but when marks flagged it was the school’s fault because we weren’t supporting the team by making allowances.

I was an ardent hockey fan in my youth, but many of my experiences with the game as an adult have sickened me to the point that I am fearful for my grandson who loves

to play. What if he becomes a mindless, sexist goon under the influence of the hockey mentality?

Gail Conrad Davey, Lac du Bonnet, Man.

TURN DOWN THE VOLUME

THANK YOU for Jaime J. Weinman’s story on the overuse of tunes in television shows (“Pushing it with the Daisies score,” TV, Nov. 17). It certainly underscores how so-called music becomes a cacophony and irksome noise to the listener-viewer. The background racket that too often becomes a foreground distraction has interfered with my enjoyment of TV and movies for some time now. Is TV noise another manifestation of imposing constraints on witless citizens who are unable to think and feel for themselves? How do we get the noise-makers to back

off? Now, where is that good silent book that I’ve been reading?

Howard A Smith, Hartington, Ont.

WHEN THE MUSIC is louder than the dialogue and the actors are mumbling anyway, all meaning is lost.

Judy and Vern Shute, Bracebridge, Ont.

TRUSTING YOUR GUT

YOUR IN-DEPTH LOOK at the seriousness and pervasiveness of gastrointestinal problems talks about the price people will pay for not seeking medical help due to “modesty” (Special Report, Health, Nov. 17). But there is another more sinister reason that many people choose not to pursue medical treatment. There is a subset of doctors that works on a fee-for-service basis with group health insurers and who are well-paid to take a hard line with these patients. These doctors are constantly suspicious and have a habit of labelling patients who suffer gastrointestinal problems as fakers and malingerers looking to use a bogus disability claim as the road to an extended vacation.

Brian Francis, Caledonia, Ont.

I WOULD LIKE to enlighten readers who could relate to the litany of gastric symptoms. There is a physiological explanation for many of these symptoms, both physical and emotional, just one doctor’s appointment away. It affects one in 100 Canadians and enjoys a diagnosis rate of only three per cent. Ask to be screened for celiac disease.

Ellen Bayens, Canadian Celiac Association, Victoria

I WAS DELIGHTED to see the articles on inflammatory bowel disease as my daughter,

husband and sister have Crohn’s disease and my niece has ulcerative colitis. I was puzzled, however, at the failure to mention the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada. This national organization (■www.ccfc.ca) provides support and education for IBD sufferers, including information packages for the newly diagnosed, and raises money to support research with the eventual goal of a cure. They have designated November as “Get Gutsy Month.” For our family, the CCFC has been an invaluable resource.

Judy Fair, Kingston, Ont.

‘SUPERHUMAN’ SPAT

THE DESCENT OF a Canadian landmark magazine into the vocabulary of the National Enquirer is startling. I was stopped short by the headline promoting an excerpt of Peter C. Newman’s book on Israel Asper, Izzy. You use “Clash of the titans” (Business, Nov. 17) to describe the tension between Asper and Conrad Black. Now really. My dictionary defines a titan as a “person of superhuman size, strength and intellect.” Have we debased our language to this extent? Or, on the other hand, if we can accept the pettiness of the mean affair Newman chronicles as representing a quarrel of Canadian titans, our society has truly lost its way, as well as its vision.

Robin Marlatt Farr, Mississauga, Ont.

IN PASSING

Clive Barnes, 81, critic. The British-born writer became New York City’s most durable critic, writing on dance and drama for the New York Times in the 1960s and ’70s. Often described as the most powerful man on Broadway, he authored numerous books on dance.

Boris Fyodorov, 50, banker. He advised Russia’s first post-Communist president Boris Yeltsin on matters of financial reform, becoming his minister of finance in the early 1990s. He later rose to be deputy prime minister and went on to found one of the country’s first investment banks, UFG, and was a powerful backer on the natural gas company Gazprom. He died of a stroke.