Some 10 years ago I paid my first and only visit to Canada. During my stay I managed to look around Quebec, Montreal and the country surrounding these cities, getting as far as Niagara Falls, and I was impressed by Canadian life and the glorious scenery.
My interest in your country has been rekindled since I began to receive Maclean’s each month. Your publication is quite unique — we have nothing like it in England; I particularly admire the superb color photographs accompanying many of your articles, most of which I read with considerable interest.
CANADA’S NATIONAL MAGAZINE
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MRS. V. M. POWELL. NEW MALDEN, ENG
Great God Bless America Issue (November). My God. We are different after all. Their ways have truly become most strange to us.
JAMES DERRY, WINNIPEG
Having recently returned from 15 years of study in the U.S., I wish to congratulate you on having been able to draw a true picture of contemporary America (November).
I cannot remember ever having so enjoyed reading a magazine. Truth is a titillating experience.
DANIEL Q. COURNOYER, OTTAWA
I have read with great disgust the November issue of your magazine. “Canada’s National Magazine” has hit an alltime low by printing all that American garbage. Look, if 1 wanted to read about the problems of the American dream then I would simply purchase one of the 50 or so varieties of Americana on our newsstands today. The only article I have praise for is George Bowering’s Confessions Of A Failed American. The rest is sheer junk. Get back to and stay with Canadian content. Know thine enemy, but for God’s sake let’s not overdo it. MARK ANDREW CARDIFF, EDMONTON
What is Canada’s National Magazine doing publishing issues about somebody else’s nation?
DAVID CAIRNS. CHARLOTTETOWN
Stand on guard
Jack Batten’s article made me want to commit murder — Will The Canadian Football League Survive? (October). He writes as if he were gleefully happy that the CFL will collapse and the NFL move in. However, he overlooks the fact the Canadian public might not like the NFL and that they will be asked to support these teams.
I am a Canadian who believes that the CFL should stay Canadian.
M. MURPHY, WINDSOR, ONT.
Together when it hurts
Milton Viorst — An Analysis Of American Intervention In The Matter Of Quebec (November) — says: “Logic dictates — and precedent deems to confirm — that if that quaint, slightly exotic, friendly Canadian province to the north (Quebec) suddenly turned surly the United States would not sit idly by.”
Well, neither would we! If the U.S. army infiltrated our border, the first to take up arms and join their FrenchCanadian relatives and friends in chasing the Yanks back where they belong would be the English-speaking Quebeckers and then the rest of Canada.
We may have our differences but we can soon close ranks: in gala celebration (Expo 67), in adversity (the kidnapping of James Cross), in sorrow (the wanton murder of Pierre Laporte) and, if necessary, against an uninvited invasion from the south. It wouldn’t be the first time in our history that French, English and Indian Canadians joined forces against our aggressive neighbors. And won. Canadianism is more than ethnic-skin deep.
LORNA NORMAN, MONTREAL
Duncan Cameron, from Toronto, is happy to be the director of the fine Brooklyn Museum — Expatriates Without Tears by Barbara Frum (November). He rightly maintains that art transcends political boundaries. Everything of real value to the progress of humanity — science, philosophy, religion, music, literature, art — is above the plane of nationalistic pride and prejudice.
The true destiny of mankind is not to perpetuate our petty nationalisms but to work together to give every person of every race and nation the opportunity to develop their abilities.
G. G. HARRIS, RAPID CITY, MAN.
Mixed feelings of shock and resignation, shame and pride, contempt and admiration must have welled up in Canadians who read Expatriates Without Tears by Barbara Frum (November). To many, it may be inconceivable that some compatriots relinquished native ties in favor of America, particularly in light of our newly discovered nationalism.
Envy was not one of the conflicting emotions this article evoked in me. Should Duncan Cameron be correct in stating that art resources can be used to make healthier societies, then may the millions of dollars of the Brooklyn Museum Foundation and God’s blessing aid him in his present endeavors. The continued on page 12
Your View continued
U.S. needs him more than we do.
KLAUS LANGER, SCARBOROUGH, ONT.
It’s just gr-great
Mickey Mouse At 44 by Tom Hedley (November) was spectacular. I have ravaged my thesaurus, searching for the most appropriate accolade, but simplicity got the better of me. There is so very much to say about the story’s style, its bounce, its cadence and the crisp way it rings true of a certain delicious decadence. Hedley’s piece is — I am at a loss for adjectives or superlatives — inspirational. These are my feelings having read, reread and shaken my punchyprose-loving head at his most marvelous offering.
JOHN P. HARDY, MONTREAL
Your recycled American manqué, Tom Hedley, has a fine ear for the clichés of New York journalism, and he floats nicely on a raft of them for the bulk of his journey down Bleeker Street and environs, but the most interesting thing about his piece occurs when he begins to talk about Canada. “I’m a Canadian but don’t really know what that means. In Canada so much seems futile.” Our own clichés somehow don’t thrill him as much as the American ones do. “[Canadian] people are often ashamed of themselves. And shame is a form of selfhatred. The country is cowardly and impotent.” Americans are specific (even to the derelict he sees on Bleeker Street) and Canadians are general. But shame, cowardice and impotence are specific and they are specifically his, Tom Hedley’s — or anyone else’s who mouths mindless groveling generalities.
Christina Newman has pointed out in a recent Maclean’s that Canadians always want to be other people. And the trouble with being somebody else is that that unattainable reality becomes, in the
acolyte, mere manner. I, too, have eaten with Borges, and would not subject my remembrances of the presence of that particular genius to the demands of style as Hedley is forced to do in his hipchronicler role. Can one imagine a French or English or Italian national, for instance, sacrificing his own precious sensibilities, viewpoint, integrity (and thinking it natural) while considering the American psyche? Besides being dishonest and at least impolite, it is as boring as Rich Little imitating President Nixon.
“There is,” says Hedley, “nowhere to go but back to Canada under the circumstances.” The implication being that if the hip had continued to become hipper he could have stayed, but now the show’s over he must come back. Without having sweated out becoming either a Canadian or an American he is now somehow an expatriate. Po three manqués make a reality? Obviously not. My own three years in America, at roughly Hedley’s age, were during the McCarthy era, a time when considerable wounds were inflicted on that country by itself. Perhaps without the muffled violence of that time, there could never have been the explicit confrontations of the Sixties between right and left. Both McCarthy and the Sixties were, in impact, generalities; now specifics have reasserted themselves. Right or wrong, their South knows what it wants, their “ethnics” have put their votes where they think their actual interests lie and the radicals (who know themselves well enough to know that they have to lose or it’s all up) are still giving two general cheers for democracy. The old checks and balances theory has worked again without denying the inevitability of change. At the end of the McCarthy era a similar demand for stability appeared. When I left, my feeling was that I’d come away from a place of great energy and specificity, which may be one of Hedley’s feel-
ings too. But there was, then, none of the honest searching and positive nationalism that Hedley has returned to. Outside CBC radio and the NFB the view from here was there.
The privilege we have is that we must choose to be Canadians; that means concentrating on the local, the specific. Which in turn, means designing a life for ourselves. Living — to be bloody pompous about it — is local, but the art of living is a communication, the thing that says Canadian. To live in America and reside in Canada is part of an historic insanity with which we’ve been afflicted; we did it before when we lived in Britain and resided here. Perhaps we are getting over it; George Bowering’s failure as an American may be a good sign — Confessions Of A Failed American (November); Margaret Laurence’s failure as an African was our gain; AÍ Purdy, God bless him, never had to walk through that fire, nor did Atwood, nor a generation her age and under from whom we haven’t yet heard. It is important, this writing that is going on now, because it is local and specific and gives voice to residence here. Maclean’s should perhaps concentrate on that and let the Hedleys sweat it out a little longer until “failure” becomes possible. ROBERT HARLOW, WEST VANCOUVER
An Aussie groan
What a pity Alan Hughes’ “luxuriating imagination” wasn’t so dampened that he returned home to his palm-tree-less Toronto and so spared us the agony of reading his atrocious article. — Australia Beyond The Clichés (September).
The illustration of one of the world’s largest rocks at the head of the article was as colorful as Hughes’ poetic prose. As an Australian I feel I should refute some of his more ridiculous comments about Australia.
I don’t really think that the so-called real Australia consists of “troppo drongos” pouring lemonade over nauseating North American tourists. Nor do I feel that 70% of Australians do not look upon themselves as real Australians simply because they do not live in the outback. While petty nationalism has not, thank God, reached the absurd depths in Australia that it has in Canada, such statements will certainly help the movement.
To refute the most popular myths concerning Australia, the “fearfully arid emptiness” of the Australian desert does not begin on Sydney’s western city limits. Australians do not turn to America with an uncritical enthusiasm; nor do hamburgers flood the land on a sea of Pepsi. Sydney’s Australia Square does not refer to a round building, but to the square on which the building is. I have never seen more garden gnomes and continued on page 14
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Your View continued plastic trees and flowers (in fact, plastic everything) than I have in Canada. I’m sure Canadians were impressed with Hughes’ apparent discovery, surfing, but I feel bound to tell Maclean’s readers that one would never hear a kookaburra’s “axe-murderers convention” laugh on Manly Beach.
My final comment is that Hughes should have taken his dark sunglasses off and moved out from behind his movie camera long enough to see a bit of Australia as it is to Australians.
P. MATHEWS, CALGARY
I believe Marian Engel is the best writer in Canada — Fighting Boredom In Cyprus (October). Her accounting of current conditions in Cyprus is a gem. I will probably never see Cyprus but she brought it to me in all three dimensions. JACK HINDE, OWEN SOUND, ONT.
We need sex too
For the past few months I have enjoyed Heather Robertson’s column greatly, but when I read her November article — Here Come The Meatheads And Weirdos — I had to disagree. Possibly sex is new to MASH’s American audiences, but to British audiences, and those Canadians fortunate enough to get good British comedies, it is not terribly new.
Perhaps it’s about time Canadian television recovered from its infatuation with American comedy and started broadcasting a few British comedies from coast to coast. Some of these may be too vulgar for North American audiences, but isn’t it time we realized that Canadians have outgrown The Partridge Familyl
DAVID C. MARRIOTT. RED DEER, ALTA.
Pipelines, Protest And Power Politics by David Ablett (November) typifies the predatory eastern-Canadian attitude toward the West and the North.
Albertans know very well that easterners are paying Alberta producers only half what their gas is worth. This was clearly demonstrated last summer at extensive hearings before the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board. It means lower royalties for the Alberta government and poorer job opportunities for Alberta residents. The situation arises because the National Energy Board, on behalf of eastern consumers, has arranged for a pipeline monopoly to control prices and forbidden further export sales to the competitive market, despite large uncommitted reserves in Alberta and huge new gas discoveries in northern Canada.
Eastern greed channels all available capital into Ontario and Quebec manufacturing industries so that they can sell the products to the West at a high, tariffprotected markup. But westerners make their living mainly from natural resources and have the same rights to capital; capital investment in northern pipelines will result in huge government revenues which can be used to help the native peoples.
The federal government is very much aware of the necessity of Canadian pipeline control and environmental protection. Let us get on with the job of development for the benefit of all Canadians — quickly.
JAMES LAW, CALGARY
If I read any more articles like Jack Ludwig’s — In Search Of The Peaceable Kingdom (November) — I will become a Richard Nixon fan. What is such a mindless, factless diatribe doing between the covers of a general interest magazine? Especially disgusting was the way that Democrats who chose to support Nixon instead of McGovern were smeared as opportunists and traitors. George Meany, one of the best friends the Democratic party has had for the last 25 years, suddenly becomes a “labor hack.” Sammy Davis Jr. is pictured as some kind of an idiot. Why do you print such partisan articles at a time when it is so important for Canadians to have a true picture of politics in the U.S.? JOHN B. ALLDREDGE, TORONTO
A creepy cop-out
After reading the articles on the Canadian Armed Forces (October) and having served several years in the Air Force, I have concluded that we are no longer of any use in Europe and are still there only because our government hasn’t the nerve to pull out. As for our peace-keeping efforts, we have no business meddling in another country’s internal affairs. Even at home we don’t achieve very much. Is it justifiable to spend two billion dollars per annum to keep 80,000 people employed? To quote one member, “It’s a lot better than being on welfare.”
A. LECLAIR. MONTREAL
The Storming Of The World by Bruce Hutchison (September) is the most profoundly sensible article I have ever read. It is my fervent hope that the leaders and candidates in the election will have read it and pondered the content.
Thank you for an excellent publication. Keep on telling it like it is! FLORENCE HAVILL, MATTICE. ONT. ■