Frontlines

Blood is thicker than English

October 29 1979
Frontlines

Blood is thicker than English

October 29 1979

Blood is thicker than English

Frontlines

LETTERS

Why does Maclean's in The “Federalist Separatists” (Sept. 17) persist in calling those of us who do not speak French “English Canadians.” I am a sixth-generation Canadian and there is not a drop of English blood in my veins. Please, if you must differentiate, call us English-speaking Canadians.

FRED S. SAUNDERS, NANAIMO, B.C.

Only in Canada, you say?

Peter Newman’s ritualistic put-down of American television, Perhaps U.S. TV Needs Only to Entertain, but Canada's Must Claim a Higher Mandate (Sept. 24), sounds as stale as the line, “I don’t watch television, but did you catch that sitcom last night?” Decades of audience research have concluded that the leading function of television is to entertain through fantasy-escape. After dismissing American TV Newman recites the goal of Canadian television: to promote a national identity. This is a truly admirable objective, yet the application of Canadian-content regulations have merely become a sophisticated snow job, more accurately entitled censorship. I fear that Canadian-produced programs are broadcast simply because they are Canadian. Excellence in the arts comes from the free flow of ideas and talent, not from artificial government barriers.

ALLAN COATES, ST. LAMBERT, QUE.

It was with some amazement that after heeding the words of Peter Newman that Canada’s TV networks should ac-

cept as their mandate the transmission “from one end of the country to the other some sense of the Canadian reality,” I read the People section and found not one single Canadian featured there. Surely Maclean 's, in its role as Canada’s weekly newsmagazine, has responsibilities similar to those of the TV networks.

R.P. FLUTE, HALIFAX

Apocalypse then

I am flabbergasted at Lawrence O’Toole’s article on Francis Coppola, Descent into Hell (Aug. 27), and on Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now. Let us be honest and declare that it is a film that is good for an American film and that Coppola is good for an American director. None of the techniques is new or applied in a different way. The film is a series of repeated and prolonged closeups, superimpositions and intercuts. Although it presumes to be an episodic movie of the European type, it is quite linear. My reactions as I watched were whispered in three names: Antonioni, Pasolini and Bertolucci. I feel all of Coppola’s techniques and themes are present in the works of these directors. Apocalypse Now is an interesting movie, but only because of its antecedents, which were more masterfully done and more unitary.

L.T. MCCORMICK, DEPT. OF ITALIAN STUDIES,

ERINDALE COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, MISSISSAUGA, ONT.

Brain feud

In your recent article The Honorable Flora (Sept. 3) you quote someone as telling me, “You’ve just blown your brains out” when I fired Flora Mac-

Donald from the Progressive Conservative party office. I doubt if anyone can recall what alleged poetic gems may have passed for wisdom at the time, some 13 years ago now. But I thought your readers might like to know that my skull is still intact, and its contents have been in use daily with a modest degree of success.

JAMES JOHNSTON, PUBLISHER, COBOURG DAILY STAR, ONT.

The skin trade

Hurrah for your article on the strippers’ union, Strippers of the World, Unite! {Sept. 3). It’s about time someone presented a realistic picture of our business. Apparently, other dancers agree with me, because I’ve seen the article posted in clubs all over Toronto. We are tired of reading about fantasy creatures, all in feathers and rhinestones, or about dumb girls—the victim trip. Actually we are just working women earning our bread the best we can.

GWENDOLYN, TORONTO

Barometer rising

I delight in the rising career of a young and lucid critic on your pages. Mark Abley is always his own man, as his recent article Poetry That Fell From the Sky (Oct. 8) demonstrates once again. He, alone, is proof against the notion that the garrison mentality inflicts Canadian letters.

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Digging it

I was delighted to read your two archeology stories, The Trowel's Race Against Time and Tide (Aug. 27) and The Mystery of an Old Child (Sept. 3). I look forward to seeing more of them. As a Canadian involved in archeology abroad, I am often astounded to hear, from Canadians among others, that I must have chosen to work outside the country because “there is no archeology in Canada.” This is a deplorable attitude which I hope your articles will help to eliminate.

LUCIA F. NIXON, OTTAWA

Old dogs, old tricks

Why does Barbara Amiel only single out teen-agers as the somatóse ones found in our shopping malls? (Hanging Out at the Shopping Mall—The Somatose Generation Sleepwalks into the '80s, Sept. 3) Is it because they have not yet learned their parents’ trick of hiding their vacuousness under layers of frivolous conversation? When speaking of “blancmange wobbling from shop to shop,” she should include the bored housewives, office workers and discoites. And, really, who does she think she’s kidding when she says yesterday’s teen-agers might still be talking about “relating” and their “Karma.” They’re all in the discos getting drunk.

TOM LYONS, HAMILTON

The goon show

Congratulations to Allan Fotheringham on his timely column on hockey barbarians, “This Leader of Youth Sent onto the Ice His Finest Barbarians and Bench Warmers''(Sept. 17). The goons in the NHL and the minor hockey leagues have destroyed our national game, which has degenerated into a contest between plug-uglies, devoid of any skill. There is just one way to stop it. Stay away from the games. I have better things to do than to watch a bunch of grossly overpaid stumblebums fighting on the ice.

A.R. EASTCOTT, PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.

Having read Allan Fotheringham’s column on hockey violence, I am struck, not speechless, but otherwise. The amazing thing is that such players and such a coach should ever be allowed inside a rink again—in British Columbia, of all places, which is more British than Britain, and where British fair play should reign supreme. All Canadians should hang their heads in shame. Do these rowdies have parents? What is their reaction?

FRANCES CURLEY, MONTAGUE, P.E.I.

No fair hearing

I was disappointed upon reading The Plight That Still Falls on Deaf Ears (Sept. 17) to find that contrary to your subtitle on the Contents page—“The deaf no longer silent”—not a single remark from a deaf person was there. The

article reminded me of a piece you did in which blind people complained about sighted persons assuming self-appointed roles as spokesmen. There is no division in the deaf community over the merits of using sign language—the division is with hearing persons deciding what is best for deaf people. If the article was intended to provoke sympathy for the deaf, it probably succeeded, but deaf persons do not seek sympathy—we seek equal opportunity and access to resources that hearing persons take for granted.

E. MARSHALL WICK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF THE DEAF, RICHMOND HILL, ONT.

Bare essentials

Regarding a number of complaints claiming that the preponderance of flesh in Maclean's is inappropriate in a news publication, I must take exception to this selfish criticism. Don’t let Maclean's be spoiled for the rest of us.

LARRY O’GORMAN, DEPT. OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

A woman’s work...

Regarding Barbara Amiel’s column Today, Courtesy of the WoMovement, Ovaries Can Get You Special Status (Oct. 8), apparently, Amiel doesn’t like women to sneer at other women. So how come Barbara Amiel takes money for writing a column that sneers at women?

ELLA DAVIS, VICTORIA, B.C.

Old Father West Wind

I can only assume that running two anti-Allan Fotheringham letters (Letters, Oct. 1) was a ploy to bring out of the woodwork (kitchen or office) all the many readers who find his wit and wisdom the best antidote to eastern establishment malaise ever to come out of the west.

JOAN SCOTT, TORONTO

The Gilles and Jody show

Why use an article on Gilles Villeneuve As Luck Would Have It (Oct. 1) to put down Jody Scheckter? I feel Scheckter is a better driver and results do count.

JOHN WILLIAMS, PORT LAMBTON, ONT.