All hail—then all flail—the conquering hero

February 21 1977

All hail—then all flail—the conquering hero

February 21 1977

All hail—then all flail—the conquering hero


It is fascinating to watch the process of the self-fulfilling prophecy. In one issue of Maclean’s (January 10), Judith Timson begins a story on Justice Thomas Berger by describing a taxi-grabbing incident at Ottawa airport. The judge is recognized by a taxi occupant and after some conversation is warned, “Canadians always turn on their folk heroes.” In the next issue, in a review by Barbara Amiel (Books, January 24), clomp comes the other shoe. Berger, alas, has “impeccable credentials” for the job and “great personal integrity,” but did you know that before he was appointed to the Bench he was one of the country’s leading native rights lawyers and a card-carrying member of the NDP? Gotcha! Another Canadian folk hero bites the dust.

Amiel seems disturbed that my book, The Past And Future Land, dwells on the community hearings of the Berger Inquiry. I make no apology for it because the community hearings were what made this inquiry refreshing and unique, a quantum leap from the pap turned up by other inquiries into bilingualism and biculturalism, the plight of women, poverty—ad nauseam. She even brings up that red herring of “southern” Canadians daring to write about the “north.” When will we ever outgrow this one? Canada is the only country in the world with this curious reverse snobbery, as if there is some Mason-Dixon line along the 60th parallel, or is it from just north of Saskatoon, or the tree line? If the Berger Inquiry accomplishes one thing, let us hope that it convinces us that Canada is a northern country and that (sorry, Barbara Amiel) we all are northerners.


Judith Timson’s Berger Of The North was one of the best pieces of reporting on northern development that I have ever read. Judge Berger has set a new standard for the holding of public inquiries in Canada. He has been fair, impartial, open and incredibly patient. But, as Timson so ably shows, the Judge is only one man, and he is in an impossible position. To some people he’s a savior, to others a scapegoat.

In the North, we do not wrestle with problems of personality alone. We wrestle with principles and the facts of an incredibly harsh land. The Berger Inquiry has shown the psychic split that runs right through this nation—between civilization and the wild, between nature and nurture, between centralism and separatism, between traditional ways and modern technology, between development and conservation. This split reflects two different ways of looking at the world, and the search in the future must be a synthesis that cuts down the human cost of development.


All the Hughes that’s fit to print

In your Newsmakers Of 1977 issue (January 10) you cited James Phelan’s book, Howard Hughes: The Hidden Years, as being published by McGraw-Hill-Ryerson. Not so. It has just been published by Random House of Canada Limited.



Hell hath no fury, etc...

I feel that your presentation of your interview with me (January 24) is a perfect example of the media’s sexist cheapening of important women’s issues. Although my

work has been hailed in most major forums as a very important breakthrough in the study of women’s sexuality, comparable to the breakthroughs by Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, you, in your introduction, label it “pop sexology.” You then go on to state, “the author contends that women, generally speaking, get much more sexual satisfaction from masturbation than from intercourse.” This is distinctly not what I have said, as a reading of my book or any of the accompanying press material would have told you. Then, even more sloppily, you go on to refer twice to my “survey” when just a few paragraphs later in the interview, I carefully explain that it is a study, not a survey.

The most blatant form of misrepresentation of my work, and of sex discrimination on your part, is to have edited the interview so that it started with the question, “Let’s talk about your background. You were once a model, weren’t you?” This was not the beginning of the interview and it implies a certain sexist bias on your part to have put it first. It implies that you can see me basically only in terms of my body.

I am deeply offended—both for myself and for all women.


For years I have been reading your articles and I was proud of Maclean’s. Last week I .picked up your magazine on the table in the hall and just turned over a page or two. I was shocked to read about a woman (Interview, January 24) who must be out of her mind—a sex maniac. Your fine magazine has gone pornographic. Shame!


Subscribers’ Moving Notice


New Address

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A small stop (backward) for womankind

While I find most of your articles well written, for the first time I feel obliged to comment. Shere Hite said that her aunt admitted to orgasm and Hite considers that a step forward. Does she get her jollies by discussing her aunt’s sex life in public? And she gets a best seller from stuff like this?


An unhappy reader writes...

Your January 24 issue fails dismally in maintaining your stated objective of becoming “Canada’s Newsmagazine.” First you have three pages of lurid sex more suited to Playboy. Then two pages of columns by irresponsible journalists that are little short of disgusting. If Walter Stewart has to stoop to such vulgarity as “suckhole” while he proceeds to disparaging criticism of every appointment to the new Carter cabinet, he totally destroys any vestige of cordial relationship with our neighbors. To cap it all, you print a page of an interview with Ted Sorensen as director of the CIA, 10 days after his rejection and withdrawal from that appointment.


Not what he said, not what he does

Unfortunately, your reporter used my name in a quotation concerning earthquake risk in the San Francisco area in the story The Earth In Upheaval (January 10). The quote was taken out of context and included a statement he knew was facetious.

This incident is particularly regrettable in view of the delicate nature of the subject matter, and also because I had informed the reporter that I was not a seismologist and so did not wish to be quoted.





The Return of Frankenstein

The subject of genetic research has always raised the spectre of biological abominations, with dedicated but slightly batty and always fanatical scientists, shuffling around their laboratories, muttering to themselves and their bugs—mindless of the unspeakable danger to innocent townspeople (dedicated scientists never consider the danger to themselves). Many of these great figures are well known to us: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre.

I have not yet succumbed to the hysteria that usually attends this issue. However, it does give me pause to read in Things Best Left Alone (December 27) that Dr. Mark Ptashne, with his facile, blatantly dishonest arguments directed at what he obviously regards as a witless public, is one of the chief advocates of recombinant DNA research. Incredibly he is quoted as saying, “You tell them that Harvard is building a $500,000 facility to do research that isn’t any more dangerous than keeping a pet

cat, people don’t believe you.” Did he really make that ludicrous comparison? Hopefully, he is quite right and no one will believe him.


Man cannot afford to wait regarding DNA research. When I think of the countless numbers of lives that have been saved through open heart surgery, vaccine, transplants, bone grafts and chemotherapy, I know that it all seems worth it. Ten years ago people were shaking their heads in opposition—today these same people are being kept alive, made stronger and are standing in line to reap the benefits of such

discoveries, DNA experimentation must continue.


Strong language, mighty strong language

Once More Into The Booth? (January 10) quotes an unnamed aide of Premier William Davis saying that “the Premier is thoroughly disgusted with the way the Liberal leader [Stuart Smith] attacks programs to aid bilingualism at the federal and provincial levels, while simultaneously calling for Ontarians to show ‘tolerance’ to keep the country together.” This is as mischievous a distortion of fact as I have read in a long time. It implies that

Smith, although fluently bilingual himself, opposes bilingualism per se. Utter nonsense. What Smith does oppose is the misapplication of the federal bilingualism program to adult civil servants instead of to children. In the case of Ontario he attacks the provincial government for failing to provide French services in a meaningful way for francophone Ontarians.



Yeh, well that’s easy for her to say

I think it’s just too, too mean of Barbara Amiel, blessed as she is with peerless intel-

lect, flawless beauty and exquisite tastes, to take a shot at “the horsey, horse-faced scions of royalty” (Books, January 10). Tut, tut, Miss Amiel, it is graceful for those of us who are perfect to cultivate compassion for souls less fortunate than we. After all, “There, but for the grace of God . . .” LEX LANDON, LYNDHURST, ONT.

There seems to be a bit of a discrepancy

Sunny, Cloudy, Unsettled (January 10) was ajoke. Your reporters suggested that many Manitobans dislike and distrust Progressive Conservative leader Sterling Lyon. What hogwash! In the last 14 months the membership in the PC party of Manitoba

has risen from 9,000 to 27,000 and is still climbing. Such would not be the case if Lyon was disliked and distrusted as your reporters suggest. They went on to state that Premier Schreyer is “still popular among farmers.” Since when? In the last two elections the PC party has won more rural seats than the NDP or the Liberals combined. Lyon himself won a rural seat in a by-election last year by an overwhelming victory. Schreyer and his party have never captured an appreciable chunk of the farm vote at any time.


If force Is needed It won’t be PLC force

In Suburban Guerrillas (Preview, December 27) it is stated that the Pacific Life Community helps people to learn how “to scuffle with the police.” In addition, an unnamed “PLC convert” is quoted, by way of a conclusion, to the effect that “force will be needed.”

Having had some extensive contact with the Pacific Life Community, we can agree that its members are militant, but, equally certainly, militantly nonviolent. This is a central part of their beliefs, a commitment to which they have adhered in the face of extreme provocation.


Shrug and shrug again

I was utterly floored to read your interview with our Prime Minister (January 10), wherein he states matter of factly that “we have to put an end to rising expectations,” and, further, “to put an end to our love for our parents or old people in society, even our desire to give more for education and medical research.” What the hell is happening to Canada when our leader tells us not to strive, not to desire, not to care? When a people’s hopes and concerns are dissolved, what is left but meanness, commoriness and boredom with life? Life is concern, it is hoping, it is knowledge.


Honor? How dare Israel talk of honor!

You speak of dishonor to France in the Daoud Affair (January 24). North Americans and European news media display extraordinary hypocrisy and double standards in international ethics. No mention is made of the fact that Daoud was in Paris to attend the funeral of the Palestinian Mahmoud Saleh, murdered by Israeli agents while bringing down the shutters of his bookstore in Paris. Why has no one suggested that Interpol should issue orders to arrest the Israeli fighter pilot and his leaders (Golda Meier and her cabinet) who gave him the orders to shoot down in cold blood the Libyan airliner (February, 1973) killing 108 passengers including its entire French crew? Is it dishonorable for France to support, if such support exists, the cause of the Palestinians attempting to regain part of their own homeland from which they were evicted by Israeli terror?