April 5 1982


April 5 1982


Behind the bells

Regarding your March 22 cover story, The Long Shadow Over Parliament: because the Right Honorable Joe Clark is desperately trying to cling to his position as leader of the Conservative party, we have a member like Erik Nielsen holding the Canadian public as hostages. —MABEL MASON,


A literate standard

Not since the demise of Time has a Canadian magazine given the arts the coverage it rightfully deserves. With your March 22 issue and Marshall Webb’s coverage of our Milne exhibition (One Hundred Years of Solitude, Art), you set a literate standard which, one hopes, will continue. —MIRA GODARD,

Mira Godard Gallery, Toron to/Calga ry

How much hair is enough?

I was quoted in your March 22 article (The Bald Cure, the Naked Truth, Canada) about Melwood J. Steele’s formula for growing hair and would like to clarify my position in regard to this “discovery.” I have no doubt that it can grow some “adult” hair. I am aware of at least four different products that will grow terminal or adult hair on patients who have male-pattern baldness. The problem with all of them is that, while they can grow some adult hair, the amount is not sufficient to convert a previously balding man into someone

who appears to have a reasonably full head of hair. After seven years, Mr. Steele has never demonstrated even a single patient who has regrown a substantial portion of his hair.

— WALTER P. UNGER, MD, Toronto

Undue emphasis on sexuality

As a track-and-field athlete, I read your profile of Debbie Brill ( The Loneliness of the Bionic Mother, March 15) with much interest. Though the article was generally informative, I did take exception to the undue emphasis accorded Brill’s sexuality as exemplified by this j quote from Brill’s coach: “Debbie had great boobs when she was pregnant.” In

profiling a fine representative of a sjfbrt long unheralded by Canadians, the relevance of such digressions escapes me.



Few renegade cancer cures work

I am writing to protest against the uncritical manner in which the work of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski (A Renegade Doctor With a Cancer Cure, Medicine) was presented in your March 1 issue. Although the article closes with appropriately cautionary comments, most readers would, I am sure, be more impressed by the enthusiasm expressed by the author in his opening paragraphs. Certainly the choice of adjectives (“cruel” side effects for conventional treatment vs. “stunning” results of antineoplaston therapy) leaves one little doubt where he stands. This uncritical approach is a disservice to the public, since past experience has shown that few, if any, of the “renegade” cures are of any use.

— JOSEPH L. PATER, National Cancer Institute of Canada,

Kingston, Ont.

Sneaky not squeaky communists

The dialogue from my book The Will of Heaven, as quoted in your March 15 review (A Story Lost in the Translation, Books) is indeed “hilarious.” But it was [because of a typing error] incorrectly quoted. Instead of “.squeaky sons of bitches," the Communists were called “sneaky” in my book. Not as hilarious, perhaps, but it does make more sense.

— NGUYEN NGOC NGAN, Prince Rupert, B.C.

Killing seals ruins our image

Congratulations to Farley Mowat on the forcefulness and factual accuracy of his Podium (Politics Kill Seals, Don't They?, March 15), and to you on the timeliness of its publication; it reached your subscribers on the day after the Strasbourg vote by the European Parliament on the seal hunt, when Canada was judged by the nations it would like to regard as its peers—and found wanting. We should not allow the wails of politicians obsessed by a few swing constituencies in Newfoundland to blind us to the fact that the vote in Strasbourg shows the irreparable damage the policies of the Canadian department of fisheries have done to our image in the world. —GEORGE WOODCOCK.


Besides the annual slaughter being totally repugnant to many Canadians, it is bloody embarrassing to be known to the rest of the world as the country that condones this horror. —BARBARA FOX,

Milton, Ont.

Perhaps if the holier-than-thou Farley Mowat had to earn a living this way he might not be so intolerant and opinionated! —HUGH SMITH,

London, Ont.

It is amazing that anyone who professes to have as much knowledge of the natural world as Farley Mowat should appear to be unaware of an essential fact about the annual seal hunt: that the noncommercial rationale for killing seals is not that they eat fish, but rather that they have a devastating tendency


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to spoil fish catches by aiding the life cycle of parasites, which travel from a fish eaten by a seal through the mammal’s digestive tract and into the sea, where entire schools of fish become infested. —GARY HODDER,


Thanks, Farley! And the seals thank you, too! —FLORENCE OWEN,


The glorification of a criminal

After reading your March 8 article, about Claude Charron, I feel I have to voice my opinion (Requiem for a Shopping Spree, Canada). I am totally angered by the actions of the French journalists who are heightening the already absurd feelings of the Québécois by glorifying a criminal and turning the whole story into another day in the life of the French of Quebec downtrodden by the voracious English hordes. I see no easy solution to this dangerous situation but I do think that perhaps Pierre Trudeau, who without the French vote would not be in power today, should stop trying to solve the world’s problems at our expense and use his diplomatic savvy to control, and eventually put a stop to, what I see as Canada’s main underlying erosion. —IAN BOX,

Kanata, Ont.

The Parti Québécois, which is hell-bent on separating this province from Canada, blames everything, including Claude Charron’s theft, on the English.

Its mastery of brain-washing techniques reminds one of the Nazis, who blamed everything on the Treaty of Versailles and the Jews. Caveant Consules! —HENRIKAS NAGYS,


Something more on Thomas

After saluting Dylan Thomas as “the foremost lyric poet of his generation” (Passages, March 15), you went on to indulge in cheap shots as unworthy as they were unnecessary. Surely had you tried you could have unearthed something more about this genius than references to “unbridled access to drink and pliable women” and his death from acute alcoholic poisoning. Shame!


Consequences of self-indulgence

Marian Engel has written a very sophisticated piece of prose (Opting for the Right to End Life, Podium, March 8). Her rationalization of the right to choose to kill rates an “A.” That doesn’t mean it is right. The hedonistic philosophy has no room in it, no mechanism to handle the consequences of actions arising from self-indulgence. If something annoys or inconveniences, the hedonist simply sweeps it out of the way. There would be no need for the Pill, for other contraceptives or abortifacients if selfrestraint based on high moral standards were a part of a person’s very fibre. — J. CLAVELLE,

Saskatoon, Sask.

I am not unaware of the complicated and often tragic circumstances behind unwanted pregnancies. I am highly sympathetic to the hardships they impose. But hardships do not change the fact that life is sacred. —ELAINE PEQUEGNAT, Willowdale, Ont.

The argument for abortion appears to be approaching its final form: “It is here and we just have to accept it.” When one looks at the way the medical profession, hiding behind abortion committees, has flouted the law, perhaps Marian Engel can be excused for believing that abortion as a matter of private consent is legal. Doctors have, in large measure, sacrificed the integrity of their profession by turning blind eyes to what abortion does to women. In addition to the physical trauma, the psychological and emotional scars can last a lifetime. —M. SKINNER,


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, 1+81 University Ave., Toronto, Ont., M5W1A7.