THE MAIL

June 7 2004

THE MAIL

June 7 2004

THE MAIL

‘Sue Johanson’s show is more appropriate prime-time TV than action heroes doing violent things. At least sex is natural. You go, girl!1 — L¡ndaso¡n¡,Ottawa

Sexual frustration

I was thrilled to see Sue Johanson on the cover of your magazine (“Sex, Sue & celebrity,” Cover, May 17). She is indeed an icon of a generation—my generation. I’m 31 now and I watched her on television when I was a teenager (in the rec room with the volume turned way down so my parents wouldn’t hear) and I watch her now with my partner. She has informed most of Canada about everything from puberty to sexually active seniors. We love you, Sue!

Melissa Menard, Whitby, Ont.

At the risk of being passed off as a Neanderthal, let me lift a lonely voice in defence of sex as it was meant to be, Sue Johanson et al. notwithstanding. Today, with sex wrenched from its proper context as part of a lifelong marital commitment, love and mystery have been thrown out the window. Skill and thrill are in, and bedroom activities are touted as the prime recreation of the epoch. When God invented sex, He had two ends in view: the survival of the human race and a mutually satisfying, loving relationship between a husband and wife. For an increasing number of young couples, there is no longer any magic to the marriage bed. “Been there, done that!” How sad!

Bert Warden, Abbotsford, B.C.

I am 23 years old and have been watching Sue Johanson since I was 14.1 grew up in a household where sex was simply not spoken about. While I did learn some things regarding the “birds and bees” from school, the vast majority of my early sexual knowledge came from watching the Sunday Night Sex Show. If not for Sue, I’m not sure how I (or many others) would have made it through those awkward years. She is a national treasure and is finally getting the recognition she deserves.

Stephanie Tingley, Edmonton

In “Sex, Sue & celebrity,” you have an apparent “expert” on sex educating others on how to be comfortable with their sexuality and how to get the most pleasure out of it, and yet she doesn’t even live with her husband. She “likes” him, and they talk to each other almost every day, but it is quite clear that they don’t “do it.” Dave Bootsma, Vernon, B.C.

You report that one in five U.S. adults has genital herpes. Yet Sue Johanson suggests condoms, sex toys and masturbation. This is the very same mindset of indulgence that’s responsible for this health crisis, not to mention the some 100,000 abortions occurring annually in this country. Wouldn’t sexuality be so much more magical if we weren’t searching for more and more ways to turn it into nothing more than a hobby?

Glen Gagnon, Ottawa

Sex and Sue | How much spice do we need in our bedrooms?

Our cover on Sue Johanson produced mostly positive mail, particularly from younger women. “When I was a first-year student,” wrote Carrie Roy of Clinton, Ont., “she came to speak at my university—and she was just wonderful. Thanks to Sue, I and many other Canadians have become more comfortable with sex and our bodies. We love you, Sue. Never change.”

Picturing prison

The continuing coverage of the Iraq prisoner debacle (“Photo finish?” Iraq, May 17) has blurred the public vision. We are talking about pictures, only pictures. They are surely humiliating, but can they be put in the same context as the recorded decapitation of a kidnapped non-combatant or the murder and desecration of four others? Makes you wonder: given a choice, would the families concerned choose photographed humiliation or the brutal death of a loved one?

Dave Lloyd, Bangkok

I wonder if the citizens of Iraq got all upset and outraged when they were dragging beaten dead human beings through the streets. Did anyone hold an inquest into those deaths? The people they killed were there to help with construction and other tasks necessary to restore Iraq. This is a war, not a social gathering. Iraqi war criminals are being treated much more humanely than those unfortunate innocent workers. God bless America, keep up the good work.

Susan Jennings, Markham, Ont.

Work experience

As an unemployed, Canadian-born, Canadian-educated engineer, I know too well the frustrations of not being employed within my profession or being adequately paid. But, as a hiring manager, I also know the issues around foreign-educated engineers. Some so-called engineers are really technicians or journeymen by our education and work standards. They all have university degrees, but when you investigate curriculum and work experience, it becomes evident that some are actually skilled tradespeople. I know that the various engineering associations are trying to relate foreign education and work experience to their Canadian equivalents, but it needs to be done on an individual by individual basis.

David Moffat, Toronto

Two solitudes remain

If Peter Donolo wants to show that the “two solitudes” concept no longer exists and that Québécois today have embraced Canadian values, he should not raise such sophisms as the sudden anti-American sentiment in Quebec and the so-called “normalization of its relationship with the rest of Canada” (“The indistinct society,” Quebec, May 17). First, there’s a big difference between being antiAmerican and being anti-war. Furthermore, it is because Quebec’s culture is so distinct from the rest of Canada’s that Québécois do not need to be anti-American as a means of defining themselves. Secondly, it is illusory to think that Quebec’s relationship with the rest of Canada is suddenly “normal.” The same constitutional problems exist, but they have become of secondary importance since major cuts in federal-provincial transfers have turned Quebec’s attention to other concerns such as its health system. If Quebec has supposedly embraced “a Canadian approach,” maybe Mr. Donolo can explain why support for sovereignty still oscillates between 40 and just below 50 per cent. Mathieu Brouillette, Montreal

America’s true colours

Your article on Red America vs. Blue America (“Red America, Blue America,” Essay, May 17) is just what is needed to awaken Americans to the sorry state their country will be in if they continue to sit on their laurels. The obsessive, war-mongering, deceitful nature of George W. Bush’s White House needs to be put front and centre, plastered over every newspaper and TV screen, so that middle America will realize what a dictatorship (practically a theocracy) they have lived under these past four years.

Michael More, Vancouver

I have been having a lot of difficulty with my feelings towards Americans, and Bob Levin has clarified things immensely. His essay made me realize that the citizens of the United States are made up of a wide variety of people with a huge variety of political views. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that the U.S. was a large bloc of people with similar views to those promoted by Bush, but this is not true. Fear is the weapon being used to weld people together, even if they have their doubts. It is an unstable time.

Ted Little, Tiverton, Ont.

I was in the U.S. air force in 1973 when “America: Love It or Leave It” bumper stickers abounded. Our family drove across Canada from Victoria to Niagara Falls that summer, and it was a great relief to be in a land where the bumper stickers read “Canada: Think About It/Pensez-Y En.” Yet I believe both countries know what it is like to live in a house divided—it is rarely as simple as slogans and bumper stickers portray. The “Red” states have far more diversity than a caricature of hyper-religious Neanderthals would acknowledge. Reds and Blues alike need to rise above seeing each other as evil incarnate. Jack Brannelly, Ashburn, Va.

"Middle America must realize what a dictatorship (practically a theocracy) they have been living under

The glories of war

Your report “Neighbours in arms” (War, May 17) brought back memories of the Anzio beachhead. The breakout from Anzio on May 23, 1944, was only part of the Allied action that led to the capture of Rome. On that day, the 1st Canadian Corps and the 5th Canadian Armoured Division cracked the Hitler Line, the last fortified positions of the Nazis before Rome. However, they were bypassed by the American 5 th Army, which was given the glory of entering Rome on June 4, 1944. The Canadians in the joint Canada-U.S. elite First Special Service Force you wrote about were the only Canadians to take part in the capture of the first Axis capital, but they would not have been recognized as such by the cheering crowds as they wore American uniforms.

Peter Stursberg, Vancouver

Real estate rising

In your recent article on real estate prices (“Did someone say bubble?”Cover, May 10), you quote Carl Gomez on the condo markets in Toronto and Vancouver, but make no mention of Montreal. In fact, the single comment you make about that city is to say property prices have doubled in certain areas, which seems significant enough to warrant more attention. Vancouver is great for Rollerblading, hydrangeas and Hong Kong-style towers, and Toronto has its mysterious hybrid of British manners and American functionalism, but I think despite its low Ferrari count I live in Canada’s most elegant and fascinating city. Its recent awakening from a long sleep is in itself an interesting story with many an urban-renewal angle for the real estate journalist. Couldn’t you have dug a little deeper to find something pertinent to say about Montreal?

Errol MacDonald, Montreal

You write “just about everywhere in Canada residential markets are on fire” and that property values “in most of the country” have risen anywhere from 25 to 50 per cent. But “just about everywhere” in this article refers only to Canadian cities to the exclusion of rural Canada, which is not enjoying the same booming economy. As rural Canada suffers setback after setback caused by ongoing crises such as BSE, the softwood lumber dispute, reduced social services and the exodus of families to urban centres, rural real estate values in Canada continue to fall. This perspective is insultingly absent.

Mandy Johnston, Calgary

When I saw the average prices for two-storey houses in various cities in Canada, I couldn’t see what you were upset about. I am visiting from Germany, where housing is much more expensive. But I’m pleased that you are taking a stand against the price increases, so that people from other countries can still be jealous of how good you have it here!

Annemarie Militzer, Carman, Man.

The economy appears to be strong, but it’s not—just wait a few years. One characteristic of a bubble is that nobody really believes the asset will one day deflate, or “pop.” David Bilodeau, Montreal

Medical priorities

Isn’t the very fact that health care is the No. 1 election issue an indictment of 10 years of Liberal health policy (“The medicare money tree,” Politics, May 17)? If Paul Martin had adequately addressed health spending in any of his nine budgets, we could instead be debating other substantive Issues facing Canadians. It’s not as if health care suddenly became an issue. The Liberals have chosen to squander surpluses on dozens of pet projects instead.

Craig Smith, London, Ont.