PASSAGES

PASSAGES

November 30 1987
PASSAGES

PASSAGES

November 30 1987

PASSAGES

DIED: Legendary newsman Gillis (GP) Purcell, 82, a 41-year veteran of The Canadian Press and the general manager of the national news-gathering cooperative for 24 years until he retired in 1969; of pneumonia, in a Toronto hospital, where he had been since he suffered a stroke on Sept. 14 (editorial, page 2).

DIED: Playwright and author George Ryga, 55, best known for his 1967 play The Ecstasy of Rita Joe; of stomach cancer, in hospital in Summerland, B.C. Ryga, the son of Ukrainian immigrants, was a dedicated proponent of social causes and, with rare exceptions, his works lionized people unable to speak adequately for themselves. Ecstasy, which also toured Canada in a version by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, depicted the problems of Canadian Indians trying to survive in white society. His last published book, In the Shadow of the Vulture, which appeared in 1985, chronicled the lives of indentured Mexican farm laborers in the United States.

ILL: Master violinist Jascha Heifetz, 86, with cancer, in the intensive care unit of a Los Angeles hospital, to which he had been admitted under a pseudonym. Details about the publicity-shy virtuoso were sketchy, but a hospital spokesman said that his life was not in “immediate danger.” One of the greatest violinists of the century, Heifetz was born in Vilna, Russia, in 1901, began playing the violin at age 3 and gave his first public performance at 5. He played his last concert in 1972 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, continued teaching until recent years and has maintained regular contact with his former students. Twice divorced, Heifetz has three children.

DIED: Colorful former National Hockey League linesman George Hayes, 67, of a heart attack, at his Beachville, Ont., home. A stubborn man who fought almost constantly with then-NHL president Clarence Campbell, Hayes officiated in 1,549 league games between 1946 and 1965, when Campbell fired him.

PREGNANT: Canadian tennis star Car ling Bassett, 20, who married fellow tennis professional Robert Seguso, 24, on Sept. 26. A Tennis Canada spokesman said that the Toronto native expects to give birth in “late spring” and added that she would be competing actively again in time for the 1988 Olympics in September in Seoul. Bassett-Seguso, who turned pro at 15 and at one point was ranked as number 8 woman player in the world, is now ranked 31st internationally and number 2 in Canada, behind Helen Kelesi. ‘Scoundrels in skirts’

It is dismaying to see yet another badman, good-woman book—in this case, the latest instalment of The Hite Report, Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress by Shere Hite—pandering to the seemingly ongoing need of many women to regard themselves as victims and to villainize all males (“Tapping a mine of female discontent,” Behavior, Oct. 19). This woman-as-martyr chestnut only hampers more mature women’s struggle for genuine equality and financial autonomy. It is ironic to note that it is only such men’s issuesoriented groups as Toronto’s In Search

Men’s issues, including the fight for nonsexist equality in divorce and child custody through mediation, the massive shortchanging of males in some pensions and insurance, the open season of male-bashing in the media and the punitive financial burden of women on men are just a few of the sexual-equality issues that our society and its lawmakers don’t want to face. Instead of working together toward true sexual equality for both sexes, we are all getting jerked around by scoundrels in skirts who tout a very sexist line.

of Justice that are left to promote gender-blind sexual equality today.

-BRIAN DEMAINE,

Westmount, Que.

The spread of AIDS

In his book And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic, American author

Randy Shilts claims that French-Canadian Gaétan Dugas, an Air Canada steward, not only probably brought the AIDS virus to North America but also knowingly spread the disease through multiple sexual contacts in the summer of 1981 (“ ‘Patient Zero’ and the AIDS virus,” Health, Oct. 19). For the record, the HIV virus, responsible for the condition known as AIDS, had not yet been identified at the time, and no one knew exactly what caused the then so-called “gay cancer.” Just like Michael Welsh, a spokesman for AIDS Vancouver who knew Dugas during the summer of 1983, I have difficulty believing Shilts’s descriptions of Dugas’s sexual habits, and as Welsh said, they “remain in the area of rumor.” Furthermore, even if he is connected to nine of the first 19 AIDS patients in Los Angeles, how can that make him “Patient Zero”? What about the other 10 cases? In the same line as some Japanese who blame AIDS on Filipino prostitutes, or North Americans who try to pin it on Haitians or Central Africans, it seems that Shilts wants a foreigner as scapegoat for the 42,000 U.S. AIDS cases.

-BERNARD COURTE,

Toronto

The coups of Thailand

Being a Rotary exchange student and having recently returned from a seven-month stay in Thailand, I found David Van Praagh’s article on the coun-

try interesting, but I was left questioning the writer’s observations and understanding of the country and its people (“Uncertainty in the ‘Golden Paradise,’ ” Dateline: Thailand, Oct. 5). The implication that coup attempts in 1981 and 1985 were signs of growing unrest was not very realistic as they both had very little support and, in fact, went by almost unnoticed by the majority of Thais. Also, it is unlikely that King Bhumibol will abdicate in the near future because he knows he is the country’s only stabilizing force. However, if he were to give up the throne, it would not be to his unpopular son but rather to his daughter, Princess Sirindhorn, who is widely liked and respected by the entire population.

-SAMI BRIDGE, Port Sydney, Ont.

More Canadian news

Regarding “Making waves abroad” (Communications, Oct. 19), we spend winters in Mexico and listen to Radio Canada International every evening. We wouldn’t want to see it discontinued, but the biggest complaint most Canadians have with RCl is that we j want more Canadian news. We’re more interested in what’s happening in Toronto or Montreal than we are in Beirut or other locales. Give us more Canadian news—unless, of course, RCI is not for Canadians. -CY LEMAY,

Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. -,

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, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W 1A7.