Second best is simply not good enough

February 20 1978


Second best is simply not good enough

February 20 1978


Second best is simply not good enough

Reading The Miracle Worker (January 23) it becomes painfully obvious that Robert Miller’s interests are pro-NHL and that he knows (or reports) little of the WHA. Miller

says that “Gordie Howe is having the time of his life. He’s also playing some excellent hockey, albeit in what is a somewhat lessthan-excellent league.” I’d bet my bottom dollar that, were the NHL and the WHA to merge, you would not find one of the present WHA franchises in any of the last four places in the new combined “super league.” In a quote attributed to Don Cherry, Boston Bruins coach, Miller says: “The age of the superstar, except for Guy Lafleur, has passed.” I feel that Bobby Hull is playing the best hockey of his long career now. And what about Winnipeg Jets’ two super-Swedes, Ulf Nielsen and Anders Hedberg, the two players the NHL clubs are climbing over one another to sign? Miller also makes reference to the NHL’S “Super Series ’78.” Does it not say something

when Iron Curtain club teams can emerge victors, more often than not, against the supposed best professional league teams in the world? Miller neglected to mention that the Winnipeg Jets did walk away with one well-earned victory.


Reporter, heal thyself!

I don’t believe that I am unduly thinskinned about criticism but I am dismayed by what seems to me to be a deliberate and rather unfair attack against The Gazette in David Thomas’ No News Is Bad News (December 12). The section of the article which purports to assess Montreal’s English press by ignoring the larger English paper implies that the editor of The Gazette, by committing the unpardonable sin of coming here from Toronto, is an ignorant, stupid and insensitive yahoo who has no conception of the French milieu in which his newspaper operates. The piece is riddled with inaccuracies and distortions. Item: Thomas asked me about the “crisis” of the Quebec press and reported that I replied, “What crisis?” This, he observed, reflected my “bewilderment.” He neglected to note that my full response was: “What crisis? I don’t believe it’s a crisis.” In short,

I was not “bewildered.” I was simply declining to accept his hypothesis. Item: Thomas writes that reporters who left The Gazette in the past year were replaced by recruits from Ontario: “bilingualism an asset but not essential.” Not true. Precisely 15 reporters have been hired in the past year. Of these, two came from Ontario and both were not only bilingual but were native Quebeckers. Item: Thomas refers to “the inability of Gazette management to

read competing newspapers.” Not true. Virtually every member of The Gazette's management group is either fully bilingual or can at least read the French press with comprehension. This specifically includes senior management in the newsroom, including the editor. Item: The cutline beside the photo of me reads: “Harrison: intemperate language in the pursuit of anglo-Quebecker rights is, seemingly, no vice.” The clear inference is that I am prepared to tolerate, if not encourage, extreme language in The Gazette if it is aimed at the PQ. Not true. I indicated to Thomas that since Premier Lévesque often used intemperate language to describe his critics, he should not be surprised if some of his opponents responded in kind. But there was no suggestion that The Gazette resorted to use of such language. Anyone who knows me would surely scoff at the notion that I am prone to favor intemperate language. The Gazette's editorials, indeed, have been consistently moderate and low-keyed in assessing the Lévesque government.

I might have been tempted to believe that Thomas’ article was simply a case of sloppy reporting were it not for the fact that he is a former member of The Gazette reporting staff whose views on what constitutes fair political reporting were quite different from mine. I must also ask whether your readers were not entitled to know that Thomas was so stalwart a supporter of the Parti Québécois that he was invited to seek—and seriously considered— a PQ nomination in the last provincial election.



Subscribers’ Moving Notice

Send to: Maclean's, Box 9100, Station A, Toronto, Ontario M5W 1V5

I’m moving. My moving date is___

old address label is attached. My new address

is on this coupon. (Allow 6 weeks for processing)

Please remember that your postal code and apartment number (if applicable) are essential parts of your address.



I also subscribe to ( ) Chatelaine and/or ( ) Miss Chatelaine and enclose old address labels from those magazines as well.

How to read your Expiry Date 1. Circle the last five dighs in the top code line of the address label on the cover. 2. The first two digits indicate the year of expiry. i.e. 78 means 1978. 3. The next two digits indicate the issue of expiry. i.e. 26 is the 26th issue. (The fifth digit is not used) Thus, this sample subscription expires with the 26th issue of 1978.

That’s not funny, that’s sexist!

So Maclean’s finds it “sad” that trivia such as having a woman appear on the U.S. dollar coin are “taken seriously” (Preview, January 23). You imply that this is made sadder by the fact that the woman chosen might even turn out to be a suffragette (Ye Gods!). Presumably to alleviate its readers’ shared grief in the perverse state of today’s priorities, it then deems it fit to reward us with a lethal dose of comic relief by juxtaposing a “Let Lis Now Praise Famous Women” title with a tongue-incheekish “In Goddess We Trust” coin upon which a mockingly modest Marilyn Monroe is frantically trying to hold onto her petticoats. What was really exposed in these purportedly witty lines, however, was none other than Maclean’s almost obscene lack of sensitivity in the treatment of its female readership’s intelligence.


Six years to 1984—and counting

The full implications of Viewdata, as you describe it in What’s On The Tube Tonight, Dear? Everything (January 9), have indeed yet to sink in. With this “marvelous” piece of technology, here is my prediction for the “marvelous” future. With everything shown on Viewdata’s screen no one will have to go anywhere to get information or news. People will have more time on their hands and boredom, often the seed of crime, will set in. There will be no jobs for postmen (“electronic mail”), newsmen (“the door-to-door newspaper is dead”), and countless other little and big jobs which provide people with money and a feeling of worth will be gone. Isn’t modern technology wonderful?


In the same space

I left the film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Films, December 26) feeling like an alien. The critics loved the film; the Toronto reviewers were unanimous in their praise and my friends urged me to go. Sloppy was the first adjective that came to mind—followed by vulgar, slapstick and saccharine. Was I in fact alone in considering this “film of the century” a trite soap opera, illuminated only by neon and Plexiglas special effects? No. My compliments to David Cobb for panning the picture. We are not alone.


The strafing of the President

While I’m not the world’s most ardent backer of Jimmy Carter, I was nevertheless astounded at Walter Stewart’s assessment of Carter’s first year in office in A Critical Look At Jimmy Carter’s First Year (January 9). To call Carter’s staff’s pay increase “secret” and to say that his human rights campaign left “nothing behind but the corpse of the SALT II agreement” is absurd. Also, to attack savagely almost every major national politician of the past 25 years

and then offer Adlai Stevenson as the lost savior is questionable reporting and judgment at best.


Don’t bank on it

Allan Fotheringham’s Why Keeping Your Money In An Old Sock Is An Increasingly Better Idea (January 23) on banks is bunco top to bottom. I suggest he send six young men without university degrees to any chartered bank looking for a job and see how many get past a receptionist’s desk. Their chances of getting work are very low. To some degree this also holds true for females, although their chances

of being hired are a little better.


A sentence in Allan Fotheringham’s column on banks disturbed me; “That is Canadian banking; the teller mentality with the boardroom salary.” A teller is a public relations person with a tough job. One must deal pleasantly with persons constantly whatever the circumstance; he/she must be accurate with all cash and bookkeeping transactions. The work is physically demanding as well as mentally exhausting. I wonder what Fotheringham meant?