That’s entertainment?

October 6 1980

That’s entertainment?

October 6 1980

That’s entertainment?


In your article Chicken One Day, Feathers the Next (This Canada, Sept. 1), rodeos are presented to your readers as spectacles of brave cowboys demonstrating their skill and courage, but they are, to my mind, actually spectacles of cruelty, suffering and violence inflicted on animals. Before the animals used in rodeos are forced into the chutes from which they enter the arena, they can be seen standing quietly in the pens. They are not wild; they are domesticated. In my opinion, rodeos are neither entertainment nor sport.


By all means “let the public in on the subtleties of rodeo.” I suggest the media focus sharply on the use of the bucking strap that torments both horses and bulls into bucking. Certainly some footage should be devoted to a telescopic shot on the use of electric prods at the chute. Calf-roping should really be shown in slow motion. One can then appreciate the pain suffered by the calf who is running at a speed of some 40 km, brought to a painful, neck-pulling stop by a lasso around its neck and then slammed to the ground by the cowboy. Please, for now, keep the rodeo in the West. We’re doing our level best to keep it from spreading in the East.


Price on his head

If Canadian motorcyclists wish to doff their helmets in defiance of government’s mandatory helmet laws, they should certainly be allowed to do so (.A

Tip of the Hat to Death, Canada, Aug. 25). However, when they have an accident that causes head injury and subsequent complications, they should not expect “Big Brother” to foot the bill for hospital and post-medical care. I will be my brother’s keeper as long as my brother co-operates to some degree. But when my brother fights or declines my help, then he must face the consequences alone.


A national nobody

There are times when your claim to being a national newsmagazine seems rather specious. The cover story Where Is Fred Johnsen? (Aug. 25) is a case in point. This event was hardly of national importance when it took place a year ago, let alone now. And the story you did was only a rehash of what has appeared sporadically in local newspapers since that time.


Satisfaction not guaranteed

Allan Fotheringham in his column All That Book Learning hut Still in His Father’s Shoes (Sept. 15), aghast at the acquisitive passion of the Lord Thomsons, fils et père, wonders, “Why does anyone want so much? . . . What is the satisfaction, really? Overkill? Drool?” I asked that question of Roy Thomson in an interview some years ago. His response was: “If you’re a chemist, say, or a philosopher, the reward for extraordinary excellence is a Nobel Prize. If you are a writer, the tribute to your extraordinary talent is a Pulitzer Prize. The accolade for a businessman is the accumulation of wealth. He may not care about money and he can’t possibly spend what he amasses, but it is his ultimate accolade, the testimonial that he is the best among his peers.” I add no comment on the merit of spending one’s life seeking such a testimonial, I simply pass it on by way of a response to Fotheringham’s anguished puzzling.


Same game, different name

In industrial Europe “guest workers” are imported to fill the jobs when the boom is on. When the boom is over, unemployment is kept down by sending the guest workers home (Kicked Out and Kicking Back, Business, Aug. 25). In the United States jobs are exported by establishing branch plants in Canada when the boom is on. When the boom is over, American unemployment is kept down by closing the branch plants. No guest workers to send home, since they are already there.


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Offence taken

Why does Maclean’s continue to allow Barbara Amiel to use its pages for antihomosexual propaganda? (The Politics of Prostitution—Devaluing the Sexual Mystery, Column, Aug. 11.) Her latest jibe crowns all. At the conclusion of an otherwise-reasonable article on prostitution, Amiel suggests that the inclusion of a provision in the Human Rights Act outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation would only encourage necrophilia. (Yes, necrophilia.) May I point out to her that the Cana-

dian Human Rights Commission has been pushing for such a change in the federal Human Rights Act for several years. Moreover, Quebec’s Human Rights Charter has contained such a provision since 1977. To be blunt, Amiel’s attacks on homosexual Canadians are misguided, ignorant and prejudiced. And Maclean’s should be ashamed for publishing her diatribes, which belong to the tradition of yellow journalism. They are not the sort of thing one expects in a magazine with a reputation for fairness and a sense of justice.


A TV set-to

Bill MacVicar recognizes the intensity of the current battle in his piece Screen Wars (Cover, Aug. 18). But while he reflects, as old generals are inclined to reflect upon catastrophes, he is wrong to imply that educational television has been noncombatant. Since 1973, TVOntario’s audience has grown by about 30 per cent per year. It even grew in that dark year of 1977 when others went down. Disproving MacVicar’s contention that “the electronic explosion should guarantee that video entertainment is taken out of the hands of the market researchers ..our success has to do with careful market research. We have identified the audiences to whom we may “narrowcast” our programs. And, today, those audiences collectively put our weekly circulation in Ontario at about 1.7 million. This isn’t wildlife and talking heads!


Publicity seekers

I am certain that members of the Big Party scene would find consolation in the remarks of Charles Costello and Deputy Chief George Angus in your article Getting Together for Beer and Destruction (Behavior, Aug. 11). These punks want publicity and for anyone to contend that this violent behavior is something society must endure “until the young grow up and find their own place in society” is merely to encourage more of the same damage. For every punk there are 10 or more decent lawabiding adolescents who will not need our tax dollars to repair the results of their parties but who, on reaching maturity, will fit into our society and contribute positively to our culture. And what will their reward be for remaining reputable? Total anonymity. If these ne’er-do-wells received some of the same violence they dish out, they’d soon settle down. I suggest a few licks with the cat-o’-nine-tails.


Mistaken identity

The photograph in your article on Canada’s defence policy, Tin Stars in the Galaxy (Backstage, Aug. 18), was not of the cockpit of an F-18 fighter plane. The F-18 is not a side-by-side fighter with enough headroom for dad and a family of four.


Ed. note—It was the CP-UO Aurora.