August 18 2003


August 18 2003


‘In as much as common-law relationships have weakened the family-based society, same-sex marriages will destroy it.’ -billstuart,okotoks,Aita.

Letters to the Editor:

Zeppelin fan fury

Considering the atmosphere Led Zeppelin had and the people who regarded them, this essay (“Record sales and a whole lotta love,” Aug. 4) is almost blasphemous. Don’t get me wrong, there was some good: Peeter Kopvillem seemed to possess some firsthand Zeppelin knowledge and Jonathan Durbin recognized their influence on groups to come. But in their mad dash to exaggerate every negative aspect of the band and to contradict every 70s teen, they have forgotten that there was obviously a certain something about Led Zeppelin, and it was a positive something.

Josée Blouiri, St. Albert, Alta.

I’m not interested in the pants the writer was wearing to his only Zeppelin concert, or the grill on the front of his record player— to quote Kopvillem, “ ‘Noodling’ is the word that comes to mind” when I read this drivel. It asks the question, “How is it that Led Zeppelin, a hard-living roek band that broke up 23 years ago, could still top today’s charts? ” Yet, only in one phrase does it offer one tiny suggestion, merely content in its tedious anecdotes about dated clothing and so on. Please try and do better next time. Tim Egan, Ottawa

Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page were dominating songs with their intense guitar rhythms and solos. Led Zeppelin, however, took their experiment a step further. Robert Plant’s voice commanded its own attention, and John Bonham’s thunderous drums took a stage themselves. And that’s where I think their enduring appeal is: by overwhelming all the musical senses. That’s what appeals to me in their music when I’m stuck in 401 traffic in Toronto, or when I’m enjoying the open road on weekends, blasting their rock ’n’ roll while leaving reality, and the speed limit, a distant memory.

Marriage is as marriage does

Nobody will deny the Vatican’s right to try to influence (The Week, Aug. 11); all should

resist its attempts to control. That marriage is a profound and central institution in civilized society and cannot be tampered with lightly is undeniable. That it is an evolving institution and that its viability depends on that state is irrefutable. Rome’s track record, from Copernicus and Galileo through Luther and down to the Concordat of Rome with Hitler, should leave us with a large dose of skepticism for directives from that centre. Society, like the sheep in the 23rd Psalm, will wander and, like the sheep, will find the right “way” and never be lost when guided by compassion and justice.

William R. Fox, Toronto

I am not insensitive to the nervousness or plain fear that same-sex marriage, this new chapter in human relationships, will cause as it begins its first few pages. I strongly

THEORIES ABOUT THE MEANING OF DREAMS (“THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF,” COVER, AUG. 4) simply illustrate the human tendency to embellish in order to impress, writes Chris Pereira of Holland Landing, Ont. “It seems obvious that dreams are the mind going over the day’s events and thoughts.” But some theorists “can’t accept that we aren’t such deep, complex beings as we would like.”

urge the atheist and agnostic to understand with compassion the misgivings of those with strong religious convictions, and not to immediately accord them to ill intent or ignorance. I also urge the religious community to realize that there is another significant part of the population that has much to contribute. After all, I think many Christians would argue that God created us all the way that we are, and I don’t think anyone should presume to know a higher truth than that. No matter what your beliefs. Christopher Richards, Surrey, B.c.

Back page first

It is nice to be able to read Maclean’s from back to front again. Congratulations on acquiring Paul Wells’s columns for The Back Page.

Gerry and Betty Van Horne, Logan Lake, B.C.

Disarmed forces

Maryjanigan’s column (“Mission Impossible,” Aug. 4) on sending our stretched (and stressed) army to Afghanistan to patrol Kabul sums up a worsening situation in our military. This has been brought on by years of government neglect and should be seen as a national crisis. The future is very uncertain and we are not prepared to face the challenges before us. Chronic underfunding has resulted in personnel, training and equipment shortages. We are losing our military’s professionalism, once the envy of our allies, to patchwork placements in peacekeeping patrols. It still takes a soldier to stand on guard for thee. Give him/her the tools, training and numbers to do the job.

Herb Pitts, Victoria

The problem with the world today is that the rich nations are telling the poorer ones how to conduct their lives. But it is time for the rich nations to repay for the plunder of natural resources they have taken from the poor and paid for with obsolete weapons. That is inviting trouble. Weapons of any kind are made to destroy life; they are useless for building shelters, schools or universities, nor can they be used to till the ground, cultivate or harvest.

Hans Schepers, Guelph, Ont.

Tell me a story

Every Canadian should be as alarmed as Paul Gross was at the recent significant

decline in domestic product on the small screen (“I was absolutely alarmed,” Q&A, July 28). I would hate to lose even one individual as creative and passionate as Mr. Gross to the United States (or any other country for that matter) because he can no longer make a decent living in his home and native land, let alone an entire industry of equally dedicated—not to mention patrioticcraftspeople. Both the commissioners of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Canadian public need to take action before it is too late and there is no national cultural identity left to promote. After all, if we do not tell our own stories to ourselves and the rest of the world, who will?

Christine Pellerin, Kitchener, Ont.

Bravo, Mr. Gross. We need an articulate advocate for Canadian programming as chair of the CRTC. Preferably one who has been in front of the camera and on the production front lines as you have. The CRTC needs you. We need you!

Prisca Campbell, Richmond Hill, Ont.

In raising his concerns about the state of Canadian drama, Paul Gross demonstrates a lack of understanding for the big picture of the small screen. Spending on drama by English-language conventional broadcasters is higher now than in the years immediately preceding the 1999 CRTC television policy. Broadcasters are committed to producing a diversity of shows like Train 48, New Music, Angela Anaconda and Trailer Park Boys, in addition to high-impact drama

specials such as Agent of Influence or Tagged: The Jonathan Wamback Story. The real problem is the apparent disconnect between the cultural and regulatory objectives and the funding required to ensure Canadian voices in Canadian spaces. That is why the Canadian Association of Broadcasters has called on the government to meet with the broadcasting industry to develop a practical business plan to ensure the production of Canadian programming at a level that is consistent with the new level of demand.

Glenn O’Farrell, president, Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Ottawa

Hot air

While Donald Coxe waxes philosophical about portfolios, investments, M-2 and flat beer, there is a real world out there that serves as the cornucopia of all that wealth those investors are scrabbling over (“The bubble master,” Column, July 21). A real world where once-abundant fisheries have been ravished and depleted. A real world where air, water and land pollution are rapidly robbing future generations of quality of life and opportunities. If those investors whom Coxe talks about don’t soon find a way to include protecting that cornucopia of resources in their balance sheets, all of Coxe’s philosophical meanderings will simply be added to the list of greenhouse gases and wasted resources.

William Clegg, Nanaimo, B.C.

Loving the Rock

I’m not sure if I’m just an overly sensitive Newfoundlander, but why is it that articles

like “The city on a rock” (Will Ferguson’s Canada, July 21) gnaw on my bones? It always seems to me that writing like this really serves as a backhanded insult. The most amusing thing in reading it is the irony that a writer from Alberta can visit a place so rich in literary culture and come back with a story about screech, barroom brawls, fish and chips, and flipper pie (all things that the majority of St. John’s natives usually take care to avoid or indulge in moderately). I suggest that Will Ferguson try a little less screech and a Newfoundlander will be less likely to pull his leg.

Dr. Michael Blackmore, Toronto

“I am homesick for St. John’s, and it isn’t even my home,” wrote Will Ferguson. So am I, Will, so am I. And I have seen most of Canada’s cities. I don’t know why, but Newfoundland has hit my soul like a rock. I’m close to 80 now, and I’m still dreaming of thrilling landings in St. John’s, Gander and Deer Lake. For sure, it’s got to be more than its history, or the depth of the ocean, the cliffs of Signal Hill or the ghosts of the pirates. What could it be then? The incredible kindness and honesty of its people, that’s what it is. Lucien Laramée, Montreal

I am a native Chicagoan, but discovered Newfoundland for myself in 1999.1 had just turned 30, was going through a rough time and wanted to travel somewhere I’d never been. Not to mention the desire to see whales and icebergs. This is the first year since that I have not travelled back; my schedule just wouldn’t permit it. I laughed out loud while reading your article. I have so many friends there now and favourite places to visit, and your wonderful article closed some of the many miles between St.John’s and Chicago. Angie Johnson, Lombard, III.

Held without trial

When I taught law it was understood that the Charter was the supreme law of the land to which all other laws were subject (“In defence of freedom,” Essay, July 28). It appears that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act offers precious little protection. It is unconscionable that Mahmoud Jaballah has been held for two years in solitary confinement. It is unjust and discriminatory that Mohamed Harkat has been held since December 2002.

Alistair Thomson, Oshawa, Ont.