July 30 1979


July 30 1979


Anthem or anathema?

I was very interested in your article What Would Hockey Night Be... (May 21) with reference to Roger Doucet and particularly to his rendition of our national anthem, O Canada. I find it abhorrent that a professional singer of little standing other than singing before some hockey games has the right to change the words of a country’s national anthem. I feel that it belittles our national image that we allow this to happen—I cannot imagine the equivalent being allowed to happen in other countries.


Naming names

Nowhere in Allan Fotheringham’s column Here Comes Hunkie Power . . . (June 4) does it explain what Hunkie Power is. If it is meant as a slur toward Ukrainians it is totally unworthy of your magazine. Ukrainians have contributed a great deal to Canada. In this generation we find many Ukrainians who have worked extremely hard to educate themselves and I can only say that ethnic labels are not required in this day. What made Fotheringham’s column rather personal was the drawing accompanying it. I am a Canadian with a Ukrainian background and my last name is Arychuk which I am proud of.


In Canada, most acquaintances find my name a singularly difficult one to mas-

ter. In Hungary, there is no translatable equivalent to my Christian name; my friends there find it exceedingly difficult to pronounce. Over many years, and in many countries, I have observed that those with a modicum of intelligence and any breadth of experience will make a point of learning to pronounce my name. Those who declare, with simpering smugness, “I’ll simply never be able to pronounce that,” expose their intellectual handicap with pathetic clarity to all but themselves. JOAN BAJNOCZI, CALGARY, ALTA.

Tat for tit

I am very perturbed on two accounts. First, the extremely sexist attitude that your magazine exudes and secondly your disgusting portraits of bosom beauties like the one of Dorothy Straiten (People, July 9). If you persist in exploiting one sex you could at least exploit the other. You mention that Playboy is going to feature Canadian beauties soon. Therefore, I see no reason for your family magazine to intercept them on their glorious exposure. I suppose your next move will be to include your own centrefold.


The American Heritage Dictionary defines titillate as “To excite agreeably [. . . See titin Appendix].” They might have added “and People pages in Maclean's” As John Hughes so aptly observed in the National Lampoon recently, “Titillation is often a matter not so much of what you saw as where you saw it.” Catching a shadowy glimpse of most of Linda Thorson’s right breast (People, April 30) was, as would be getting a free tank of gasoline, a surprise as delightful as it was unexpected. On the other hand, seeing any amount of any Playboy playmate (People, July 9) is as easy as finding air to put in one’s car tires. While I would fight to the death to defend your right to publish gossamercore pornography on your People pages, I disagree with your doing it badly. Like money, if you print too much of it, it loses its value.


The price off sweat

I would like to comment on Alison Griffiths’ article Muscles for Money: The Brawn Drain to the U.S. (July 2), which discusses the rising number of Canadian athletes attending American universities on scholarships. I often wonder if Canadians realize how many thousands of dollars pour out of our parents’ pockets every year so that we, the athletes, can have the privilege of training and competing in Canada for Canada. Our parents’ wallets deserve some sort of relief during the university years. We spend all of our out-of-school hours and summer days training. We haven’t the time to get a job to support our sport without it cutting into our rigorous training schedule. Furthermore, what employer would hire an athlete who could only work a couple of hours a day? If Canada wants her athletes at home, she had better come up with the scholarships to keep them. Not many athletes can afford a university education and continue their training; therefore when an American scholarship is offered it is grabbed immediately. (Although many who do accept U.S. scholarships want to, and do, return to compete for Canada eventually.)


The nature of the beast

Alien is the best science-fiction movie ever made, but it is painfully clear from Lawrence O’Toole’s review The Beige Slime in Space (June 4) that he has no appreciation for the entire genre of science fiction. In my opinion, the nest of eggs was not borrowed from Invasion of

the Body Snatchers. The Nostromo bears no resemblance at all to the Enterprise (beyond the fact that they are both space vehicles). O’Toole describes the inside of the Nostromo as “blinding whiteness” while in fact most of the shots of the interior show dark, shadowy and claustrophobic rooms and corridors. The most important part of the movie is the alien itself. I am amazed that O’Toole failed to discern the physical/sexual nature of the creature. He describes the depiction of the alien’s birth as “baroque.” Yes, and it is also gruesome, repulsive and horrifying, which is exactly what was intended.


‘Plus ça change’

Now that I’ve seen the footnote in the article Newfoundland Takes Off (July 2), I no longer wonder why Maritimers sometimes feel that no one is paying any attention to them. Young Bennett Campbell is no longer premier of Prince Edward Island. His Liberals were soundly defeated by Angus MacLean.


For heaven’s sake

Bill MacVicar’s A Carny Barker for God (July 2), a review of Marshall Frady’s supposedly objective and exhaustive biography of Billy Graham, betrays an undiscerning acceptance of unfounded charges, unwarranted inferences and unconscionable conclusions. Conveniently obliterated from the historical record are facts like these: Graham’s insistence on racially integrated crusade meetings in the deep South; his social concern for victims of flood and earthquake in Asia expressed through generous grants; blighted lives made

useful again in response to his clear call for radical repentance; estranged families experiencing the recovery of wholeness through the application of those “smarmy pieties” and “old simplicities” so deplored by cynical detractors. I’m not advocating Grahamian infallibility.

Billy depends on the same gospel grace as I do for acceptance in the sight of a Holy God. But I do want to defend his integrity. And I like his way of doing God’s work somewhat better than his critics’ way of not doing it.


No doubt there are some people who share Bill MacVicar’s opinion about Billy Graham. But what about the hundreds of thousands in Canada who consider Graham to be a true man of God, raised up by God to be a voice crying in the wilderness of this Godforsaking secular age? Does it really make sense to allow MacVicar, under the pretext of a book review, to insult Graham and offend the sensitivities of a great host of admirers?


Look-in at the lockup

In Coleman: ‘So Much of What We Do Is Baloney’ (July 2), John Coleman aptly describes the dynamics of a prison by seeing the inmate as reduced to servility and subjected to boredom, and the guard as becoming cynical and having to maintain a position of toughness. What he might have added is that every inmate knows that his well-being, if not his very life, depends upon keeping a distance between himself and the “screws.” Not to do so is to risk being labelled an informer. On the other hand, earned “good time” and parole depend heavily on reports by the guards. How to please both sides? By becoming a good “con,” learning well how not to play it straight. And can you imagine what happens to a guard who dares to show a caring attitude toward the prisoners? Do we really think such a system leads to rehabilitation? Or that it is possible to improve our penal fortresses? The dynamics within do not change through staff education, better facilities, harder work, inmate training programs or adding more social workers. As a former prison administrator, I feel the penal system itself needs badly to be replaced with programs that make sense.


The no-smoking sign is lit

If I ever saw a roughneck smoking on a drilling rig, as in your cover illustration of June 18,1 would put out his cigarette with a crowbar. A certain gas, HS, has been known to seep out of an open well. It burns very well and that is why it is unlawful, in Canada, to smoke within a radius of 75 feet of an open hole.


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