A question of taste

September 22 1980

A question of taste

September 22 1980

A question of taste


I wish to say that I read your magazine regularly and with enjoyment. However, I refer to an issue where I believe bad taste was shown in immediately following a story on the African Tragedy (Dateline: Nairobi, Aug. 4) of starvation with one on Summertime and the Lickin' Is Easy (This Canada, Aug. 4). After reading the two pages describing the many thousands of people starving in East Africa, it was a shock to turn the page and read about the dilemma of choosing flavors of ice cream.


Having just opened up this week’s copy of your magazine, I was rather horrified to note the juxtaposition of the story on the imminent famine in East Africa with the following article about middleclass Calgarians having nothing better to do than feed their faces with ice cream.


To pay or play?

I think that it is very unfortunate that Canada’s major symphony orchestras (and other performing arts organizations) should have to operate with heavy deficits and the threat of bankruptcy continually hanging over their heads. (Some Sympathy for the Symphonies, Music, Aug. 4). The debt of all of these organizations would be a drop in the bucket for the federal government. I agree that inefficiently managed organizations should not be artificially supported. Nevertheless, dollar

for dollar, grants to labor-intensive arts organizations provide more employment than most government aid. If our orchestras are to continue to improve and gain more recognition throughout the world, it will be by devoting their fullest efforts to the making of music rather than the covering of the next paycheque.


Just in case....

Thank you for printing that extensive and thorough article on DES ( Ten Years Later, The Bad News Gets Worse, Health, July 14). Anyone in Canada who thinks they may have been given DES during their pregnancy or anyone who thinks their mother may have been given DES while pregnant with them can get further information on finding out if they were DES-exposed by writing to: DES Action National, Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y. 11040, U.S.A. Thank you on behalf of DES-exposed people in your country.


Olympian gods

Larry Woods is to be commended for so succinctly summarizing Canada’s hypocritical stance on the Olympic boycott (The Olympics Sting, Podium, July 28). Apparently it is all right to sell goods and buy cars from the Russians, but we can’t contaminate ourselves through athletic competition. I would, however, take his article one step further. We must recognize that the Olympics are indeed dead, discredited by the assassinations at Munich and the corruption at Montreal.


This is a letter to Larry Woods and all those other athletes who supported the government’s boycott of the Summer Olympics. I can understand that you may be disappointed in the actions of your government in the days since you made your decision. All those points mentioned by Larry Woods disappoint me too, but that does not mean that you made the wrong decision. I still think you were right. If you had decided to go you would have done so for yourself, but your decision to support the boycott was made for the people of Afghanistan and for your country. You have become for me not just sports heroes but thoughtful and considerate human beings, and I am far prouder of you now, knowing the sacrifice you made, than I would have been if every one of you had won a gold medal in Moscow. You did not “abdicate your responsibility and truth,” you demonstrated a singularly high degree of it. Thank you for representing my country.


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Judge and be judged

Upon reading the article Courting Regression on Rape (Justice, July 28), I was amazed at the low level of intellect demonstrated by the all-male Supreme Court in the decision of Regina vs. Pappajohn. It is obvious to me that if a man can be found not guilty of rape because he “honestly believed” that the woman consented, conversely a woman could have a man charged and convicted on the grounds that she “honestly believed” she was raped. Further, I think it is impossible for a man to innocently believe that because a woman is resisting sexual intercourse she desires to be raped.



I am concerned about the statement “value judgments have no place in the law,” which appeared in your Justice section. If value judgments do not determine what is legal or illegal, what does? The whims of the Supreme Court? Value judgments are the foundation of our law. The belief that people should be protected from criminals and their actions is a value judgment, not a conclusion arrived at by reason. Without value judgments our laws become a meaningless set of rules that do not maintain the right and fight the wrong, but are merely a means by which a government can keep its citizens in line.


Peggy Mason doubtless has a true complaint against Chief Justice Bora Laskin but her language leaves me befuddled. She says “value judgments have no place in the law.” But law has something to do with rights, hasn’t it? And do we give ourselves rights to things that have no value? Far from having no place, value judgments seem to be right at the basis of law. The judge in this article fails to convince not because he made a value judgment, but because we don’t see reason enough to agree with it.


The labors of Caesar

Your article on caesarean birth brought back with chilling reality the memory of my son’s delivery—a memory that has faded little with the passing of time. After two normal deliveries I was apprehensive about the drug-induced labor suggested by my specialist. Nothing can describe the terror of my flabber-

gasted husband and myself as, with only seconds to adjust, we faced the death of perhaps myself and the baby. Nor can anything describe the dreadful pain, leaving me waiting for the next morphine shot and the dreadful fear of death as the nurse held my hand hour after hour after the caesarean. I neither saw nor asked to see my baby. Pain was all-encompassing. I want more children, but the fear of another caesarean is too much. Thank you for bringing this tendency to normalize caesarean deliveries to the attention of the public.


The current increase in obstetrical intervention described in your article Doctor’s Choice, Mother’s Trauma (Medicine, July 28) certainly gives cause for concern. However, your somewhat sensational article implies caesarean births are exclusively painful and dangerous. A caesarean birth can be a joyful and positive experience and in spite of being major surgery does not necessarily involve severe pain and immobility. I have had two children by caesarean. The first under general anesthetic, the second after the administration solely of an epidural. The two experiences were worlds apart. Convenience cutting will remain a disturbing phenomenon as long as the medical profession shields its more irresponsible and unfeeling members, and certainly the exposure of their practices is a valid function of responsible journalism. But rather than dwell solely on medical horror stories, let’s also give credit and encouragement to progressive, considerate medical care.


I must object to your scaremongering article on caesarean section deliveries. The only people truly qualified to judge the pain of a section are those who have experienced both labor and caesarean. As one who had 36 hours of labor, followed by a section, and then a second expected section, I can assure you that a caesarean is almost painless by comparison. It is also not true that sections are for rare situations. My grandmother was in labor for several days with her first child, and the baby died a few months later. My mother was in labor several days when I was born and she died two months later. Although she technically lived through childbirth, it was a major factor in her death. When I think of the mother I never knew, when I consider my own two healthy caesarean children, when I think of all the brain-damaged children, I consider surgical deliveries a medical miracle.