October 12 1981


October 12 1981


Noble, not Nobel

Every person who loves freedom has been impressed and inspired by the achievements of Lech Walesa (Lech Walesa’s Flaming Spirit Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, Editorial, Sept. 28). But historically the Poles have displayed a disturbing tendency to overplay their cards and wind up with nothing. The U.S.S.R., in contrast, knows when to compromise and when to stand firm. Anyone who understands the Soviets knows that they will never tolerate an independent Poland. If Walesa stops now and renders the gains permanent, he will truly be one of the heroes of the 20th century. If he doesn’t, he will be one of the chief architects of a disaster. For that reason the Nobel Peace Prize is premature and your editorial is irresponsible. —ED WHITE,


The blob with a heart

The claim that fetuses possess feelings ( Tapping the Memories of Life in the Womb, Behavior, Sept. 28) is certainly not new. When I was a nursing student 23 years ago an instructor taught us that regardless of what anyone said to the contrary, babies in the womb have feelings. She felt that the mother’s emotional well-being during pregnancy was definitely transmitted to the child. After carrying three children, I now sincerely believe her. —NANCY TOWN, Woodstock, Ont.

I believe that Toronto psychiatrist Thomas Verny is on to something and I hope he continues his research. Those who oppose him, including his colleagues, are those who would have us believe that a fetus is simply a blob whose existence can be terminated at whim. —LORRAINE GUILLON,

Surrey, B.C.

Off base on the off-shore

Your story on the resignation of Newfoundland’s energy minister, Leo Barry (A Sudden Split in a United Front, Canada, Sept. 21), contained a number of personal opinions. Barry was not re-

sponsible for the development of offshore oil and gas regulations as this was done when Brian Peckford was energy minister. You likened Peckford to Joey Smallwood in that they both had dictatorial qualities. But it was Barry who wished for considerable personal control of off-shore negotiations and Peckford who was insisting on a team approach. And it is debatable whether Barry placed a respectable third at the 1979 P.C. leadership convention.

— BRENDAN J. BARKER, St. John ’s

Whetted appetite

Your recent interview with German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Prodding German Memory, Q&A, Sept. 28) was almost as interesting and provocative as the accompanying photo. However, it only whetted my appetite. I would have savored more insights into the person and mortal being, along with a more analytical approach to his thematic and technical expertise.


A very tiny difference

Hideki Yukawa was a theoretical physicist and could not be said to have discovered a new particle (Passages, Sept. 21), but he did predict, in advance of the discovery, the existence of the meson, not the electron. A meson is a particle of mass between that of an electron and the normal constituents of the atomic nucleus, the proton and neutron. —BEN HOGG,


Dance to the music

What a shame that someone who doesn’t know the definition of “folk” or “folk ballet” takes it upon himself to write and complain not about what is shown, but what (in his misunderstanding) should have been (Peasants Under Glass, Dance, Sept. 21). The Veryovka is a folk dance company, not a contemporary one. In this century there is no true “folk.” Folk dance can only be represented as it was, with some contemporary stylizations and adaptations. I also resent such phrases as “empty-headed,” “turnip-digging” and “ethnic drag.” They indicate prejudice toward a nationality. And the review certainly indicates how little you know in the first place. —ORYSIA TRACZ,


Your Peasants Under Glass is right on target. Thank you for your insightful comments on the timing and content of the Veryovka troupe’s tour of Canada.

—SALLY TRETIAK, Broad Valley, Man.

A big molar to go?

It seems that dentistry is about to adopt the “Ronald McDonald” system for the future (Department Store Dentistry, Consumerism, Sept. 14). Dentistry has yet to explain itself properly to most patients. How will patients ever learn with the we - doit - all - for - you approach—in one door, out the other? Prevention, which is supposed to be every dentist’s goal, will ultimately be forgotten. —ELLEN ROSS,

Fort Smith, N. W. T.


Send correspondence to Maclean's, Box 1600, Station A, Toronto, Ontario M5W 2B8

The final word

You did well in presenting Eric Gowen’s case (Back to the Only Game in Town, Canada, Sept. 21), but why wasn’t a funeral director interviewed? The Funeral Services Act in Ontario is designed to ensure that individuals offering funeral advice, services or supplies have at least basic training for the understanding of grief, death, dying and funerals. The solution to Gowen’s “plight” is straightforward: operate within the law and invest 21 months in a course to learn how individuals react to a death. And from there it matters not whether he offers cardboard boxes or mahogany caskets. He will soon realize that the funeral is not the casket, nor the casket the funeral.



Ontario Funeral Service Association, Islington, Ont.

Humanity in the balance

Bravo Les Bewley (Amputating the Judicial Arm, Podium, Sept. 21)! It is increasingly evident that the wrongdoers of this world are treated like pussy cats. The “easy parole,” “no corporal punishment” do-gooders and their families have obviously never been mugged, robbed or raped. As for incarceration, certainly it costs—but do these bullies and sickies need conjugal visits, steak on Sundays and fancy cell decor? Give justice back to us through the courts and our learned judges!

— RUTH EDWARDS, Willowdale, Ont.

A lake in disguise

I was quite astonished to see Allan Fotheringham writing enthusiastically about wilderness and the possibilities for wilderness education in Canada ( Wilderness and Its Delights, Column,

Sept. 14). The problem is the attitude of our leaders to the wilderness itself. The beautiful lake Fotheringham mentioned is in fact a hydro reservoir which is being polluted by a copper mining operation, and also extensive clear-cut logging has been carried out in the park. The work of Jim and Myrna Boulding is legendary, but this cuts no ice with Bill Bennett and Pierre Trudeau.


The Sierra Club of Western Canada,


Too early in the mourning

Once again Maclean's has treated the Canadian public to its abysmal ignorance of anything that takes place outside a 50-km radius of Toronto, by pompously stating that “no other Canadian city [besides Toronto] can boast three morning dailies” {Mourning Afternoon Dailies, Press, Sept. 14). Montreal is (still) a Canadian city and it actually has four morning dailies: La Presse, Le Devoir, Le Journal de Montréal and The Gazette. -DENNIS LORD,


The teeth in the tune

Maclean's readers who were waiting for Barbara Amiel’s double-damn to fall after she faintly praised a new Soviet film were not disappointed {Humans Will Be Humans, Column, Sept. 14). Like most reactionaries, she never tires of wrangling that old saw: socialism is against human nature and destroys incentive, whereas capitalism, however sick and irrational, complements it.

—W.J. OXENDALE, Calgary, Alta.

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