Letters

September 19 1977

Letters

September 19 1977

Letters

Sexism rears its ugly—and dumb—head

Had the August 22 cover of Maclean’s been effectively sexual, I may not have been so disturbed. But it’s not sexual. It’s by (ho hum) another dirty old man. The sexism is derived from the fact that she has no clothes on, almost. He does. Look at her. That wooden expression, the surest token of a lack of grey matter, is such old hat. The dirty old man, her counterpart and, by the way, no more positive an image of men, got a fairer shake. His face has some

character. Playboy and Hustler do better because they present nudes in new and different ways every go ’round. Their editors can argue, “Sure, it’s just another nude, but have you ever seen one in this position before?” But essentially there is nothing even remotely interesting about the Maclean’s graphic. Even the color of the bikini is putrid. My point is that if Maclean ’s was considering a lighthearted look at Metric Madness, symbolized by the difficulties we will face determining a woman’s vital statistics, your staff could have done it imaginatively. Sexism is bad enough, but sexism poorly executed—you can’t do much worse than that.

SUSAN G. COLE, TORONTO

If you feel it necessary to show a scantily clad human to depict metric madness, why not an adult male? That way you could measure length and circumference.

CAROL LISACEK, CALGARY

As an “enlightened” magazine, you would not put a Jew on the cover with a sack of m, money and the headline, Inflationary I Problems; you would not put a black per□ son on the cover eating a watermelon with 1 the headline, Agricultural Blight. So why do you put a woman on the cover with a man taking her bust measurement and the headline, Metric Madness? Is it okay to be sexist, but not okay to be racist?

S. OLDFIELD, TORONTO

Robert Miller made a determined, and largely successful, effort to get his metric measures and symbols straight. But his statement that we will “forget all about feet, pounds, watts, etc.” is a mistake. The

watt is a metric si unit and it will be with us permanently. In addition to continuing its present use in electricity, the watt will replace the horsepower as the measure of mechanical power.

IVAN C. SMITH, CHESTER, NS

Getting the treatment

Your interview with maverick physician Jerry Green (August 22) contained the most informative views toward prevention of disease we have been able to read for many decades. Unfortunately, Dr. Green’s nutritional-minded associates in the medical profession are in such a small minority at the national level that it will take many years for any change in treatment of diseases by nutritional foods in place of drug prescriptions. We need maverick politicians in our provincial and national health fields to at least try nutritional experiments for preventive purposes.

A. J. WAGNER, NEWMARKET, ONT.

I realize that baiting the medical profession has become a blood sport of the modern age and that it helps to improve your circulation. However your interview with the so-called nutritionist, Dr. Jerry Green—with its half-truths, distortions, and pure unadulterated garbage—make this particular issue suitable only for removing the last traces of his megavitamins as they exit from the body.

LEON RUBIN, MD„ WINNIPEG

Dr. Jerry Green seems to appropriate to himself a monopoly on wisdom and virtue which many of his targets might well find offensive. However, as with many complex social issues, there are often conflicting and opposing points of view, each with merit in the eyes of its supporters. It was part of the Health Care System that Eli Lilly made the presentation of medical instruments to medical students in the mid1960s. Part of our motivation at that time was commercial, in the same honorable context in which Dr. Green has chosen to advertise his own services. But part of our motivation was also altruistic, to discharge our responsibility, as we saw it, to support medical education. Dr. Green might find it difficult to accept this aspect of the program (so he points out) but deans of medicine across Canada concurred and recognized it as honorable. We continue to support medical education today but in different ways. Both medicine and pharmacy are, in part, knowledge systems of which Eli Lilly is a responsible member. The communication of accurate drug knowledge is part of the pharmaceutical marketing process. The well-trained sales representative is an integral part of that process. In our view, physicians are highly intelligent, independent thinkers by nature; diagnosticians by training; and concerned about their patients by instinct. It is the ultimate absurdity to believe seriously, as Dr. Green implies, that a glib tongue and some slick advertising or a gimmick will convince such a person to use a particular drug to treat human illness.

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Nothing new under the ground

We found A Gem By Any Other Name Still Sells As Sweet (August 8) about “Calcentine” very interesting. But the source of this stone is not a secret. Calcentine is made of the aragonite shell of ammonites. This species of ammonites (shells of extinct squids) is found in the 70-million-year-old Bearpaw shale deposits of Alberta as well as in the Pierre shale of Montana. Ammonite shell has been made into jewelry stones for the past 11 years,under the name of “amalite” or “Alberta opal.”

CLAUDETTE M. VANDERVELDE FOR THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, BANFF, ALTA.

Where they stop, somebody knows

Burning In The Rain (July 11) made reference to a statement by Environment Minister Roméo LeBlanc that he considers the phenomenon of large-scale movement of air pollutants over North America to be a potentially serious environmental problem. This is correct. More than a year ago the Department of Fisheries and the Environment started a major new scientific program called the Long-Range Transport of Air Pollution Program (LRTAP). This program is designed to assess the nature of environmental damage in Canada which may be caused by the low dosages of air pollutants associated with their long-range transport. Acid rain is of particular concern in Quebec, the Atlantic Provinces and parts of Ontario because these regions receive the fallout from pollutants carried long distances from central Canada and parts of the United States. It is for this reason that the major effort within the LRTAP program is focused on eastern Canada. For some time now our department has been pressing for the adoption of a policy of containment at source for all pollutants. This entails the removal of pollutants before they reach the atmosphere rather than relying on dispersion from tall stacks.

ROBERT D. IRVINE, SPECIAL ASSISTANT, (ENVIRONMENT), OTTAWA

By its deeds shall you know it

There is no question of recognizing the “independence” of the Communist Parties

from Moscow as David North points out in Eurocommunism (July 25). Similarly, there is nothing new in the thesis that “Marxism has to be adapted to national realities.” But the idea of the separation of Communists is a new concept. This version was launched in the West by those who for a long time have wished to see Communism divided, splintered and in the end, extinct. I think British Foreign Secretary, David Owen, is quite right in his suspicion of the term Eurocommunism because it implies that there is “something common between the Communist Parties.” Communism is the same everywhere, if we mean the principled ideas and purposes of Communists:

to create a society where there would be no oppression of man by man and where the concept “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” will triumph.

IGOR LOBANOV, ASSISTANT PRESS ATTACHE, USSR EMBASSY IN CANADA, OTTAWA

In A Loss Of Faith (September 5) by Hubert de Santana, the author’s meaning was reversed in a crucial passage by an editing error. De Santana had written that French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre “stubbornly continues to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. ” Somehow this came out “stubbornly refuses. ” Protestant editing, no doubt.

Speaking in tongues

In Canada’s Problem Is Not Too Much French... (August 8) Gordon Sinclair puts all Canadians of French, Scotch, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian and all other backgrounds on equal footing. How, then, can he conclude that Canada is lucky to have two official tongues and cultures? Why not at least six or eight, including North American Indian? Sinclair seems confused between “preserving” and “demanding.” I don’t think Americans are “a bit shamefaced about stamping out French.” I’m in favor of the worldwide trend to simplify communications and improve understanding within and between nations. Such progress is delayed when you shore up ancient language barriers between people.

CHARLES LONG, VIENNA, VA.

I hate to contradict Gordon Sinclair but I think Spanish is the most beautiful language in the world; beauty in this case is in the ear of the listener. The French of “les Canadiens”is not French but a patois, as any continental European will tell you.

S. J. CARR, VALEMOUNT, BC

We need more French in western Canada like we need a hole in the head. I was born in Ontario, brought up in Manitoba and I learned to speak French during my four years in the First World War. For 50-odd years I have been living, working, preaching, and teaching in western Canada and not once, repeat, not once, have I ever been called upon to speak a word of French. It’s about time that people in eastern Canada wake up to the fact that there is a lot to Canada besides Toronto and Montreal. One day you’ll find that Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver will be great cities and they won’t talk in terms of French courts and they won’t need French on their cornflakes boxes either.

GEORGE H. HAMBLEY, WINNIPEG

Canada’s biggest problem is the fact that there are not enough Gordon Sinclairs. How refreshing to know that there are still many Canadians who are ready to try to understand their fellow French Canadians.

MARCEL F. RAYMOND, MONTREAL

If Gordon Sinclair insists on being “Scotch,” I must conclude that he is “overproof.”

LYNNE MOODIE-OWFN, REGINA

It was both refreshing and encouraging to read of Gordon Sinclair’s emotional and sentimental understanding of the Québécois situation. Anglos-Francos unite!

BRENDA SWICK, OTTAWA

Is Gordon Sinclair about to cut another platter on souped-up flag-waving? Very well for him to rhapsodize on the nicety of the French language in this country, particularly in Quebec, but there are more important things to reckon with. For example, the economy, education, justice (for instance, respect for minority rights) and so forth. Unfortunately, a score of non-French families is leaving every day for other parts of the country because of the inconvenience and unfairness of unilingualism as currently practiced in this province.

FRANK B. RICARD. DORVAL, QUE.

Never having been a Gordon Sinclair fan and having listened to a lot of his gulf with disgust, I have to admit now that, for once, I agree with everything he says in his contribution to the Referendum Debate.

FRANK W. MERCER, DARTMOUTH, NS

If this is craziness, he’ll take vanilla

The writer of Canada, You’re Still Crazy After All These Years (August 8) wisely didn’t identify himself. The “preoccupation either with taking off or putting on clothes,” referred to as being the attitude of Canadians this summer, seems rather to be the preoccupation of the writer of this article. It was disappointingly boring. I’m sure more interesting and unusual events have taken place throughout Canada recently.

H. RAZZO, EDMONTON

I was very much angered by your photograph accompanying Canada You’re Still Crazy . . . showing the horse lying on the ground. This was not the subject of a joke and this poor animal did not just decide to lie down—he collapsed from sheer exhaustion. Several of these horses have collapsed and died from heat exhaustion and overwork.

NICOLAS GENIS, QUEBEC CITY

Boss beefs, scribes squawk, Sun sizzled

Mark Nichols’ Blazing Typewriters (August 8) reminds me that some newsroom dwellers have been derisive and divisive but that they’ve never corrected my grammer (sic).

J. D. MACFARLANE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR,

THE TORONTO SUN, TORONTO

We, the staff writers at The Toronto Sun, enjoyed reading Blazing Typewriters about The Toronto Sun, a newspaper with the same name as ours. We enjoyed learning that this other Sun has columnists with the same names as ours: Rimstead, Worthington, Sutton et al. But our newspaper is different; it has reporters. Judging by the Maclean’s report, it has none. Most of us never saw Mark Nichols. Obviously he didn’t want to speak to any reporters, nor did he seem interested in what really makes the Sun tick.

There are a couple of unfair representations we would like to clear up. In a passage about editorial director J. D. MacFarlane publishing an Assessment Notice (AN) of the paper’s performance, we are described as an “anti-MacFarlane contingent” because we began publishing our own Alternate Assessment Notice (AAN). Had Nichols taken the time to speak to a few reporters, he would have realized we are anything but “anti-MacFarlane.” The AAN was created initially as a parody of the official AN and to serve as a voice for the reporters. Mainly because we don’t need a Guild and, secondly, because most of us are certifiably insane. We laugh at management and we laugh at ourselves. We are allowed that freedom. MacFarlane is one of our biggest boosters. He reads the Sun every day. Simply, the anti-MacFarlane tag lacks a basis in truth.

Seconds after your photographer took the picture of the “Sunshine Boys and Girl” to accompany the article, the forgotten reporters and deskmen had their own picture snapped in the same setting. Management loved it and a copy is enclosed so that you might see what your photographer missed by leaving so quickly. Perhaps our top-rated news stories don’t make as good reading as Rimstead’s reasons for not writing, or Porter’s bathroom humor, or publisher Creighton’s love of martinis; they do, however, make the Sun tick.

THE AAN EDITORS, THE TORONTO SUN,

TORONTO

I have read and reread the article on The Toronto Sun but nowhere can I find the terms “excruciating,” “pandering,” “base,” “maudlin,” “not since Hearst...,” or “lobotomy.” Instead Nichols cheerfully informs me that Toronto is “one of North American’s few remaining three-newspaper cities,” which, of course, optimistically assumes that the Sun is, indeed, a newspaper. The punishment for painting an even marginally complimentary portrait of the Sun is both severe and unavoidable. Malvolio, the flame thrower please.

CHRIS DORNAN, TORONTO

The Jonases work in mysterious ways

When Barbara Amiel did the think-piece on the Collingwood poetry festival (June 13), I expected a flood of comments from enraged fans. The thudding silence has been ominous, with, two months late, only a comment from husband George (August 8). One would think that he could have slipped her a note at breakfast, or perhaps called her on the blower, or written an obscene message on the bathroom mirror.

DOROTHY LOTT HANSTEIN, BROCKVILLE, ONT.