As the last notes of the Well-Tempered Clavier fade and the superlatives run beyond the Everyman vocabulary, Glenn Gould smiles contentedly for those who know how to listen (Glenn Gould: 1932-1982, Cover, Oct. 18). Music, God’s generous gift to mankind, has many deserving ambassadors, yet few with his insight, intellect and profound convictions about how to interpret composers of yesteryear. To call him a genius is to elevate others so described to undeserved heights. He was, he is: Glenn Gould, pianist, composer, conductor and indisputable proof that the mind triumphs over matter.
—R.H. VELVART, Willowdale, Ont.
Pinch-hitting for Foth
Upon receiving your Oct. 18 issue I immediately turned to the last page, as is my custom. I was sorely disappointed to find (vacationing) Allan Fotheringham’s column missing but I need not have worried. Dian Cohen’s piece, Eight Steps to Salvage the Nation, was as droll and satirical as any of Fotheringham’s works. —JAMES H. GERLACH,
Learning to handle liquor
Some of the remarks made by your writer in the last paragraph of his review of James Gray’s book Bacchanalia Revisited: Western Canada's Boozy Skid to Social Disaster came as a surprise to me; especially the comment “of course we drink much more these days . . . but unlike that earlier generation ... most of us have learned to handle our booze” (A Little Soused on the Prairies, Books, Oct. 11). I was under the impression that today there are more people who are suffering from some form of alcoholism than ever in the past. In any event, your writer’s opposition to Gray’s suggested solutions seems to be agreeable to the publishers of Maclean's. Forty per cent of the advertisements in the same issue are for liquor.
— W. STRUCK,
In dismissing Gray’s efforts, your reviewer says about drinking, “Surely we do not need temperance people or temperance tracts or old-maid governments to tell us when to stop.” I think it was decent of him to confess his ignorance. But what about those statements he makes as facts? Since when was “drinking to get drunk” the norm?
—ERIC WELLS, Winnipeg
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Biting the hand that feeds
To Barbara Amiel for her column on global allocation of money and resources (Grounding the Spaceship Earth, Sept. 27) I extend a sincere and heartfelt “well done!” It’s about time that Communist rule in the workers’ paradises of Africa, Latin America and Asia was exposed for what it is: a corrupt and inefficient economic and political system. Besides this, these people’s republics survive on the proceeds of the capitalist system (through grants and loans at low interest rates from the West), which their ideologists say is a system doomed to failure. If this does not prove the impracticability and hypocrisy of the Communists, I don’t know what can. —TONY PRUDORI,
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Finally someone has stripped the curtain away from that festering mess known as foreign aid. Not that I am, in principle, against foreign aid, not at all. I believe that we must try to help those less fortunate than ourselves. But I want to be fairly certain that the common people are really getting my money’s worth. —GARY DELL,
Encouraging labor’s militancy?
I have been encouraged by some recent moves by labor, most specifically the settlement negotiated in the B.C. government workers’ dispute. Both unions and management are starting to show some innovation and flexibility. In such a time, therefore, I find it very counterproductive to see a cover headline indicating that the unions are being defeated (Labor’s Big Retreat, Sept. 27). I think we all want to see a softening of some stands by the unions, but a headline such as this makes unions look like losers and will perhaps make them even more militant. , —JIM MCCONNELL,
Creating intellectual failures
As a Canadian academic, I read with interest your account of Academia’s New Migrant Workers (Education, Oct. 4). Having subsisted for eight years on a series of year-by-year contracts before finally securing a permanent teaching job, I would like to offer two additional points to readers. First, during the 1970s enrolment did not, on the whole, decline. Today many universities have more students than they have ever enjoyed in their history and certainly more than they can educate effectively. Second, the article gives the impression that the universities have had no choice other than to stand by while cynical
governments, in league with venal university administrations, have created a generation of intellectual failures. This is only partly true. The universities themselves created the policy whereby new members of faculty were hired for twoor three-year periods as a cost-cutting measure (temporary employees need not be considered for promotion or increases in salary). They were under no formal or official pressure from governments to implement such a policy and, therefore, must shoulder a good deal of the responsibility for the situation as it now exists. —T.J. MATHESON,
Condemn Begin, not the Israelis
It was always a myth that Israel’s Menachem Begin was a peacemaker. But, when this man with a terrorist background became prime minister, and especially when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he achieved an undeserved aura of respectability. Now, after his actions in Lebanon (Israel on Trial, Cover, Oct. 4), the Nobel committee must publicly withdraw its award or lose all credibility and demean the prize for all those who deserve it.
—MARTIN R. HAASE, Chester, N.S.
I note that while your Oct. 4 issue gave much space to the massacre in Lebanon and the reaction in the Diaspora, you failed to cover the protest demonstration of 400,000 Israelis. Condemn some acts of the current Israeli government we might but we should also loudly applaud and commend the moral fibre and compassion of the Israeli people.
— WILLA MILLER, Calgary
We are told that U.S. President Ronald Reagan was “horrified” by the recent slaughter in Lebanon. Yet he continues economic relations with Israel. It seems as though all leaders operate on the premise of “I feel for you but I can’t reach you.” — A.C.L. HUGHES,
The facts of life in Waterton
The This Canada article of Sept. 27, Discord in Peace Park, does a disservice to Waterton Lakes National Park and the vast majority of people who live and work in the area. There is no “long-simmering feud” between Parks Canada and the business community. Nor are the ranchers “traditionally hostile to the park.” And I certainly do not regard the park as a dictatorship. The comment that “Either way, more tourists in the park will not be welcome” is not my opinion. We are friendly people living in
a beautiful area which we like to share with other Canadians. And Parks Canada is upgrading the townsite, including streets, according to a publicly reviewed plan. Do come and visit Waterton, where the Prairies meet the mountains. You are welcome here. — B.C. LIEFF, Superintendent, Waterton Lakes National Park, Waterton Park, Alta.
Why is it that modern journalism depends so much on reporting conflicts? You would have to hunt a long time to find a more mellow and beautiful place than Waterton Park. It was with pride that I attempted to portray the love that we hold for this park and the area surrounding it when Maclean’s interviewed me. As a rancher, I am not an “exception” because I have these feelings. And it is not a “tradition” for ranchers to be “hostile to the park.” If you dig deeply enough, you can always find negativity in any community.
—CHARLES RUSSELL, Twin Butte, Alta.
It appears obvious to many people that the condition of streets, sidewalks and lamps would have to rate as somewhat less significant than the more appalling fact that Parks Canada allows the shooting of numerous Columbian ground squirrels every year in order to maintain a better golf course. Also disturbing is the chemical spraying of weeds within the Waterton Lakes National Park’s boundary. —GARY OGLE, Pincher Creek, Alta.
Here are a few facts of life for some people in Waterton. Rents tend to go up in inflationary times. Canada is bilingual, even in Alberta. Waterton simply cannot get any bigger unless we start building on the mountains. And the condition of the roads and sidewalks in the. nation’s capital is at least 10 times worse than it is in Waterton.
— ANDREA BOISONNAULT, Ottawa
Tired of Trudeau and gloom
Al, please lay off those columns for awhile about the dreadful state we’re in. Turn out some of those funny-ashell, witty pieces you used to do—hell, I taught you how—when you were on The Vancouver Sun. I now know more than I want to about Trudeau and Big Al and the rest of that weird mob. Frankly, I’m punchy. —BARRY BROADFOOT,
Letters are edited and may be condensed. Writers should supply name, address and telephone number. Mail correspondence to: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, U81 University Ave., Toronto, Ont., M5W1A7.
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