October 2 1978


October 2 1978


Same school of thought

Your interview with Lloyd Dennis (Sept. 4) was not only timely, but interesting and thought-provoking. The Hall-Dennis Report probably did more to blow fresh air into a stuffy education system than any other single publication in Canada. In spite of the inevitable chill produced in these times of economic and academic restraint, it is encouraging to note that the truths espoused by that report live on. I thoroughly enjoyed basking in the light of Dennis’ responses to Maclean’s important questions, and I was relieved to see that 10 years of “realism” have not blunted his message.


Staying power

Your article, Theatre of the Absurd (Sept. 18), contains a misleading statement: “Since leaving (the NFB, Brittain) has received eight Etrogs, an Oscar nomination and an Emmy.” Although my primary employer now is the CBC, all my award-winning films have been done for the NFB on a free-lance basis or as CBC-NFB coproductions.



A most welcome guest

After reading your piece, Guess Who Might Be Coming to Dinner, Maybe (Preview, Sept. 4), I must indicate that President Sadat expressed regret and not chagrin or displeasure in reference to an earlier invitation to visit Canada. It was not from him that I learned of the regrettable tardiness in the invitation to him to visit Canada. In my valuable and pleasant conversation with Sadat I was convinced that he genuinely would welcome a visit to Canada and I expressed the view that such a visit would be valuable and worthwhile. I conveyed this view to the prime minister and to the secretary of state for external affairs immediately upon my return to Canada and I have no reason to find fault with the response of either of these gentlemen. The aftermath of the Camp David meeting would be anything but a propitious time for an invitation to be acted upon. Regrettably my advice on this matter was not heeded. The announcement that Prime Minister Begin is to come to Canada in the near future underlines my conviction that Sadat should be invited so that Canadians may have a fulsome view of the Middle East situation.


The view from the top

In his column, The Temptation Is Great, Sometimes, To Line Up With the “Sexual Oppressors” (Sept. 4), Mordecai Richler complains of being tired of the protests of women and gays. If he would stop to consider that the strength of one’s cry of protest may be related to the degree of injustice one has suffered, he might see that in writing of women and gays as “grim injustice collectors” he makes light of the real pain which underlies their struggles. Equality of opportunity is still more a goal than a reality for Canada’s minorities, and it is to Richler’s shame that he chooses to be indifferent to the need “to beat so loud and insistent a drum.”


I would like to thank you for Mordecai Richler’s column on sexual oppression. It contains much calmness and common sense on a subject usually treated with hysteria. I must take exception, however, to one line, in which he says, “I would rather my 10-year-old boy were not taken on a weekend camping trip by an avowed gay.” There has never been any evidence that homosexuals are attracted to boys as sexual partners more than heterosexual men are to young girls. On the contrary, there is a growing body of evidence that heterosexuals are more prone to pederasty than homosexuals, in spite of the fact that reports of child molesting involving gays receive more front-page attention in the media (presumably because it will sell more newspapers). I would also like to suggest that Richler might be more anxious about a “closeted” gay teacher than an “avowed” one. Surely repressed sexuality is more likely to burst out in a harmful way than sexuality which is recognized, understood, and enjoyed.


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The land that time forgot

I must be a sharp-tongued critic for I dare to bad-mouth the Discovery Train after reading your article, If You Can’t Visit the Nation ’s Past, It Will Visit You (Aug. 21). Never having seen it, I cannot criticize its displays, but I can criticize the fact that it will never be discovered in Newfoundland. The “spirit of Canadiana” may well be preserved on the mainland but it has failed to reach our shores. It is little wonder, since the gulf seems to be far wider than we think.


Money rears its ugly head

While reading your interview with Erica Jong (Aug. 21) I had to glance at the cover again to see if I had picked up Playboy instead of Maclean’s. Giving further exposure to the sexual sensationalism that is gripping the media and filling young minds with the idea that human relationships are based on primitive animal urges can do nothing but further destroy the basis of civilization: the family. It is sad that authors, moviemakers, etc., will trade their morals and their souls for the almighty dollar.


In her interview with Maclean’s, Erica Jong says: “I was going to say all the

outrageous things that women are afraid to say.” What Jong fails to know is that women (and men) of social sensitivity and decent good breeding do not broadcast their sexual fantasies or liaisons, not because they are afraid to do so, but because such intimate disclosures strip man-woman relationships of a cultural refinement, a preciousness. These disclosures are also a conversational bore.


In order of importance

In the article, All the President's Boys (Aug. 21), William Lowther is beating around the bush. I feel he doesn’t describe the real political faults of Carter’s administration, but rather illustrates “the boys’ ” irrelevant habits. The detail is fantastic, but in the wrong place.


Rolling Blunder

Your notes on Bob Dylan’s and Bruce Springsteen’s latest albums in For the Record (Aug. 21) have brought this reader to the brink of tears. Your reviewer would have us believe Dylan to be the old master, returned to us as in the halcyon days of Nashville Skyline', whereas Springsteen is some sort of renovated James Dean. I feel Bob Dylan’s record is nothing more or less than a somewhat sadly obvious effort toward making lots of money without really having to try. Springsteen’s effort is an album of uncompromising honesty. He has dared to sing his naked truths in a fashion that is musically unparalleled in these hellish disco days.


Hell no, he won’t go

While I respected Barbara Amiel’s constructive criticism of the excesses of cultural nationalism, I felt that she was overplaying the role of devil’s advocate in her column on the arts in Canada, These Foreigners Ought to Thank Us for Helping Them Suffer for Their Art (Aug. 21). The facts are quite obvious, and it is time some action is taken. For too long we have been led to believe, mainly by the giant propaganda machine south of the border, that we are strictly bush league. We spend so much time falling over each other being nice guys that we fail to see the reality of the situation. Canadian artists’ organizations are telling us in no uncertain terms that the arts in Canada are indeed a natural resource vital to the economy and spirit of the nation. I am tired of people who ingratiate themselves with the proponents of cultural genocide because they see it as a foregone conclusion.


Mrs. Dick? Is Moby home?


flobert Plaskin’s piece, A Problem of Mammoth Proportions (Aug. 21), on damage by whales to Newfoundland fishermen’s nets and gear well illustrates the gulf between the grim reality of making a living from the sea and the utopian dreams of Greenpeace. We are eagerly awaiting their practical solution to the problem. No doubt they will try to blame our fishermen for daring to set their traps where whales want to gambol. Claims have been made by environmentalists that they can communicate with whales. Now is their chance to prove it. Let them get on the blower pronto and communicate like crazy to let the whales know fishermen’s gear is out of bounds. If the whales don’t get the message and more cod traps are destroyed there will be more whales for the killing around our shores.


Fertility rights

Your article, Ladies of a Certain Age (Aug. 7), on older women and younger men was incredible. First you categorize women of 35 as “older,” and then you go on to make the statement that one thing older women “cannot do is have children.” I wonder how many women in their late 40s and early 50s still struggling with birth control, wish it were so.


A quick whistle

I was very disappointed to discover your short article on the Commonwealth Games, All the Fine Young People (Aug 21). I was looking forward to reading a longer, more in-depth article about the athletes and an evaluation of the facilities.