I was interested to read your piece on Harmonium (Preview, Oct. 2), but I was surprised to read your cutline under the photo: “Harmonium: a cute accent on propaganda.” Harmonium has never been cute, and they have never engaged in propaganda. On the contrary, they have the rare ability to combine artistic excellence with commercial success. So I assumed Maclean’s had discovered some secret intrigue. Is Harmonium being paid by the CIA to include hidden references to Joe Clark in the lyrics of their songs? I quickly read your article and it did not mention one word about propaganda. It merely stated that Harmonium performed their excellent music on opening night of Quebec Week at Berkeley, California, and that Premier Lévesque made a speech to open this cultural event. Is that propaganda?
ROBERT DAWSON, AYER’S CLIFF, QUE.
Joe Sedative, that’s who
In your interview with Joe Clark, “We Begin to Lose Our National Identity...” (Oct. 30), never have I read such dreary drivel in the name of political observations. Not once did Clark say anything memorable or that could not have been recited by rote by anyone with a highschool education. His stultifyingly pallid prose sent me to grateful sleep. If Trudeau’s visage has been likened to that of a cornered rat, in the same vein and with the same charitable intentions, I would beg to opine that Clark resembles a bowl of runny tapioca pudding-warmed over and with no discernible taste.
TIMOTHY WINGATE, OTTAWA
After reading Tempest in the West . . . (Oct. 23), I would like to know who monitors these Canada Council grants which allow taxpayers’ money to be used for such crap as Bill Bissett’s poetry. I didn’t mind spending $3 for the book A Legacy of Spending, but I resent the thousands of dollars being given to groups such as Talonbooks to spew forth such garbage.
BRENDA SKEÍTH, NEW DAYTON, ALTA.
Thank you very much for the sketch of the assassin’s umbrella in your article on the murder of Bulgarian broadcasters in England, High Casualty Among
the Exiles (Oct. 16). Now I can make one, not to kill, but to inject a shot of truth serum into a few political bottoms.
V. W. GLASHEEN, ROXBORO, QUE.
Why, in the name of all that is good, do you waste two full columns with a color photograph of Raquel Welch wrapped in red, sighing toward the camera with all the feeling of a nuclear submarine
taking air into its ballast tanks before submerging (People, Oct. 23)? This is sexist, sensational journalism of the first order. I feel that we, as Canadians, are wiser than to be really concerned about just what Ms. Welch does on TV or on the stage.
ALEXANDER BRIDGE, VICE-PRESIDENT, HEWSON-BRIDGE ASSOCIATES LTD., OTTAWA
Staking out success
I am surprised and dismayed by the meanness of spirit underlying your lurid piece on Garth Drabinsky, The First Picture Show (Nov. 6). Here I thought you guys were practically the apostles of a new Canadian pride—but no, it turns out you peddle the very same tired, negative, self-doubting and selfdefeating goods as the rest. Small minded? And how. Garth Drabinsky is a creative risk-taking producer who goes first class. Those who choose to travel with him at $25,000 a ride can, and do, avail themselves of all the lawyers and accountants that $25,000 implies. Their judgments in the fund-raising marketplace will far better judge what this entrepreneur’s vision and drive and flair are worth than will Ian Brown’s. It was at Cannes this summer past that Billy Marshall said to me: “In this business, we each have a stake in the other guy’s success.” Made sense to me.
MOSES ZNAIMER, PRESIDENT, OLYMPUS MANAGEMENT LIMITED, TORONTO
Three years’ residency in duty-free Andorra, where Canadian Club then retailed for $2.75 per quart, led me to the same conclusion Marci McDonald reached in her article, At Last, the Reluctant Prince (Oct. 30). The co-principality is indeed the highest inhabited country in the world, but physically falls about 64,000 feet short of the 14 miles mentioned in the story.
DAVID E. SCOTT, LONDON. ONT.
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The defamation game
Bad News for Good Books . . . (Oct. 2), has confused the issues surrounding the “banning” of books on school curricula. The Writers’ Union deplores the fact that Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners and other books have been banned by a few school boards. Authors, however, cannot require that their books be on a school curriculum, and the Writers’ Union has not contemplated trying to “fight the bannings in court.” An author is entitled to his or her good reputation, and it is defamatory to call someone a pornographer or a writer of dirty books. In any discussion of whether particular books should be on a curriculum, people are limited in what they may say to discredit a writer by the law of defamation. It is this which could result in a lawsuit.
MARIAN HEBB, COUNSEL TO THE WRITERS’ UNION OF CANADA, TORONTO
I was surprised to see that five books I have already read appeared on the list of titles banned, or currently under attack, in public schools. I am now in Grade 9, but I read all but one of the books while I was still in public school. There may be something wrong with the ones I haven’t seen, but I can see nothing wrong with those I have seen. In fact, if what I have read is representative of the list proposed for censorship, they may as well make the list complete and censor Alice in Wonderland.
LISA HOLIK, BURLINGTON, ONT.
A scar is bom
Your article, Carr’s Art: Poverty’s Scars are Showing (Oct. 2), was both maddening and frustrating. As a former resident of Victoria, I have felt the strong influence of Emily Carr’s paintings. It amazes me that the B.C. government is unwilling to come up with $100,000 for restoration, when the Parti Québécois can easily afford $125,000 to promote a rodeo for le Festival Western (Chez moi, chez moi on the range, Oct. 2). If the cultural development of Quebec is more important than that of British Columbia, I suggest the Emily Carr collection be sent to Quebec where it will be better cared for.
BILL BRADLEY, CALGARY
Them that hasn’t, shouldn’t
Barbara Amiel states that “All that a nation can offer posterity ... is its best thoughts and emotions expressed
through the works of its artists,” in her column, How to Live With Cuts in the Arts ... (Oct. 16). Unfortunately a good deal of Canada Council grant money has been squandered on “artists” who cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to be expressing the country’s best thoughts and emotions. These grants would certainly not have been approved by the taxpayers whose money it was, had they had any say in its disposal.
IVOR C. GUEST, BEAVERLODGE, ALTA.
As the world turns
I appreciated reading your article on Grand Prix car racing and Gilles Villeneuve, Villeneuve Triumphs at Monaco North (Oct. 23). However, it was somewhat inaccurate for your writer to state that, “A Canadian champion appears to be in the making.” A more accurate statement would be, “A world champion appears to be in the making.”
DON HENRY, LONDON, ONT.
Objets de dégoût
After reading your article, Those Not: So-Obscure Objects of Disgust (Sept. 25), ! I find it very disturbing that a man like
Mark Prent is given any money whatsoever to practise his art, and that our national magazine donates space to his disgusting creations. I plead with you to exercise a bit more discretion in deciding which stories to cover. Just because you correctly call his art “objects of disgust” does not relieve you of the responsibility.
REV. WARWICK COOPER, FORWARD BAPTIST CHURCH, TORONTO
No fear of flying solo
Ian Wakefield begins his article on adventure tours, Ulysses, Robinson Crusoe, Dr. Livingstone . . . and You (Oct. 16), by stating that Thomas Cook founded a travel company “devoted to satisfying the Victorian gentleman’s desire to visit faraway places ...” But I have read that Cook instead discovered that women made up the majority of travellers who signed up for tours, and that these women often travelled alone.
CECILE SUCHAL, OTTAWA
Anyone feel left out?
It’s a pity William Casselman couldn’t work a few more mindless stereotypes into his column, Where are the Males of Yesteryear? . . . (Oct. 9). Anyone who comments on shyster.lawyers, flacks for Sappho feminists, and pantywaists might also want to talk about shiftless blacks and tricky Jews. Perhaps he will be able to work these groups into his next article.
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