MAIL BAG

January 22 2007

MAIL BAG

January 22 2007

MAIL BAG

‘Whether or not the RCMP concocted a dog massacre, the Inuit felt that they had’

‘JAILBAIT' KIDS

YOUR PICTURE of a young girl in a tank top and a micro-mini really caught my eye (“Why do we dress our daughters like skanks?” Cover, Jan l). And your interview with author Celia Rivenbark summed up what I’ve been arguing my entire life—if I am truly cute, wouldn’t it be redundant to wear a shirt that says so? Rivenbark makes the connection between inappropriate fashion and songs like Nelly Furtado’s Promiscuous. I am 20. As a nineyear-old listening to the Spice Girls’ song Naked, I had no idea what the lyrics meant. The majority of kids just like the music and being part of the pop-culture scene. That’s also why they gravitate toward the clothing. Still, I hope a few parenting trends change before I have to deal with “Jailbait” and “Juicy” children of my own.

Hilary Copp, Orillia, Ont.

A MORE PRESSING QUESTION would be, why would we refer to our daughters as skanks? After all, clothes don’t make anyone a slut. If we are so appalled that young girls would focus their energy and attention on eliminating visible panty lines rather than on their intellectual growth or on being physically active, it is worth wondering why adult women are encouraged and very often expected to do the same. Considering the indignation and protests against hyper-sexualized images of young girls to push products and generate profits, the cover photo you chose is an interesting one. “Made you look” indeed. Katharine Hopkins, Calgary

I FOUND the interview to be incredibly ageist, offensive and condescending. It treats young people like mindless adherents to pop culture, and is problematically one-sided. At 20, I say the sexual liberation of young people is long overdue, and I welcome the end of conservative, moralistic, so-called family values that imprison young women in chastity and make them ashamed of their bodies.

Kevin Bracken, Toronto

IN OUR OPINION, the real pervs are those who dream up and market the ads and clothing. They are the ones who, at whatever the cost, are determined to enlarge their haul of consumers. This is where parents should direct their ire; if they boycotted the offending stores, we would soon see a change in

what reaches the racks. Furthermore, parents should take the opportunity to say “No.” It is an important lesson for children to learn that they can’t have everything they ask for. June and Ralph Meyer, Sechelt, B.C.

ALMOST ALL the clothing you see on young girls is screaming, “Come take me; I am yours.” I have to go further on Rivenbark’s comment about attracting perverts at the mall, and say that almost anyone who even looks at the constant barrage of nakedness being thrown at him—or her—is in danger of seeming to be a perv.

Nwamaka Munonye, Surrey, B.C.

HEY, DADS, tell your daughters how beautiful they are and take the time to listen to them. It may be possible to keep them from dressing themselves as skanks. This dress code screams “help.” It began because we paid more attention to clawing our way to the top and improving our golf swings. Earlier in ’06, Maclean’s said we dads didn’t measure up. A good New Year’s resolution for us would be to start taking care of our families! Paul Damsma, Orangeville, Ont.

BESIDES THE GULLIBILITY of parents and the money to be made by sexually exploiting children, there is another latent, more serious problem: the vilification of sex. It is a perfectly noble body function with a specific use, that of preserving and propagating our species. That goes for all living things. Why then do we lie to our children when they want to know

where they came from? Children know when parents are embarrassed to tell them the truth. Is it any wonder that they treat sex with disrespect? This skank business is not just scandalous exploitation, it is a sign that we live a great big lie and that we will sell our moral values for money any time.

Gilles Danis, Drumheller, Alta.

OUR JAN. 1 ISSUE of Maclean’s magazine was lying on our living room coffee table. Our five-year-old daughter came in after having a bath and asked to wear a T-shirt, pantyhose and a skort. I asked her why those clothes in the midst of a Saskatchewan winter. She pointed to the magazine cover and said, “I want to look like her.”

Lori Weiler-Thiessen, Saskatoon, Sask.

Due to a technical malfunction, a few lines from Lianne George’s story were dropped, and a few lines were repeated. We apologize for the glitch. The complete story is at www.macleans.ca.

DOGGED PURSUIT

I AM RANKLED by the presentation of RCMP self-investigation as truth and first-hand accounts by Inuit as fiction in Peter Shawn Taylor’s article about the death of dogs in the Arctic from 1950 to 1970 (“The myth of the sled dog killings,” National, Jan. l). Headlines such as yours that pit native lore against white history, your sunny image of a healthy dog and quotes throughout the article add veracity to RCMP findings in their own report of a full exoneration. Whether or not the Mounties concocted a dog massacre, they did leave the Inuit feeling that they had. Addressing this cultural divide would seem more important than producing 750 taxpayer-sponsored pages that do nothing but try to clear their name. If there is an interest in getting to the bottom of this issue, and in building sound cross-cultural relationships, then an independent investigation is warranted. Miriam Stucky, Peterborough, Ont.

JUSTIN TIME

I HAVE JUST READ your story on Justin Trudeau and his plans to run for the Liberal party in the next election (“His secret’s out,” National, Jan. l). I found it snide and malicious; thus, fitting very comfortably into the general attitude of Maclean’s to any pro-

gressive, moderate approach to Canadian politics. I understand that you have no interest in developing a readership among those on the political left. Is it safe to say that you have as little interest in attracting readers who are of a centrist disposition?

John Carrick, Scarborough, Ont.

TELL US SOMETHING we didn’t already know, Justin. Your decision to run for office was inevitable. Like a Clinton or a Kennedy, there is something magical about your last name. Your challenge now is to rise above your heredity and let us see you in a new light. Jim Newton, New Dundee, Ont.

HOUSE SHOPPING

THANK YOU for the revealing article about the backlash to soaring real estate commissions (“Money for nothing, lawn sign for free,” Businessman, l). For me, it is timely. I’ve been thinking of selling my home on the Muskoka River for about a year. In that time, I’ve had a parade of agents, all of them looking for about a six-per-cent selling fee. They have told me my place is worth anything from $300,000 to $400,000, depending on their selling goals. What a bunch of baloney merchants! While the gormless will continue to play their game, I’ve had it with them. Bruce Litteljohn, Bracebridge, Ont.

THE ARTICLE on real estate commissions is skewed and misinformed. Your writer Shelly Sanders has gone after the story she wanted to find, rather than the facts. First of all, the “skyrocketing” real estate commissions she mentions are limited to a few select places in Canada. Secondly, during boom times in real estate, cut-rate companies emerge. During economic downturns and slowdowns, these same companies are the first to disappear. The Canadian real estate sales system is one

of the best in the world. You strip salespeople of an honest living, and the impetus for vibrant sales that increase personal wealth dries up. You get what you pay for.

Rhys Wyn Trenhaile, Manor Windsor Realty Ltd., Windsor, Ont.

GOOD RIDDANCE TO RUMMY

MY EVERLASTING IMAGE of Donald Rumsfeld (“A few kind words for poor Rummy,” World, Jan. l) is from one of his early press conferences from the Pentagon during the democratization of Iraq. Rumsfeld’s reference to the “humanity” of the American bombing campaign was a warning flag for some of his subsequent irrational behaviour. Poor Rummy? Good riddance! His inglorious departure is deserved and years too late. Ben Macht, Calgary

BITCHING AND SNITCHING

THANK YOU BARBARA AMIEL for your most insightful piece (“China liked snitches. Now we do too.” Opinion, Jan. l). Finally someone has put their finger on what has been bothering me about Canada and Canadians in general since I moved back here this past July. Where is that hard-working grittiness, that ability to overcome adversity by putting your head down and fighting through the challenges at hand? All I see are a bunch of complainers. Canadians have one of the highest standards of living, longest life expectancies, wealth, opportunities, low crime...and all we do is bitch—and snitch—about everything. Stuart Andrie, Victoria

PLANET EARTH PLEASE

I AM THRILLED with the additions you have made to Maclean’s over the past year. Your magazine is full of articles about the crisis in the Middle East, politics in Canada and just about everything else currently affecting our

‘I have not washed my hair in 55 years. I’m 82 now. Thanks.’

lives—except for the changing environment.

I wonder why, besides such short stories as the one on the changing U.S. fuel efficiency ratings (“Driving gets real,” Environment, Jan. 15), there is very little concerning the environment each week. As a high-school student, I don’t need to see any more articles about fashion, especially not in a highly respected current events magazine. I would be happy to see more articles on climate change and the environment. It would put to rest my fears that no one cares about what is happening to our planet.

G abridle Arkett, St. Pauls, Ont.

THE LAST WORD ON HAIR

YOU MADE MY DAY, week, year with your story about people who do not advocate washing their hair (“Kick the habit. Grease is the word.” Help, Dec. 18). I haven’t washed my hair in 55 years. I’m 82.1 have short hair (white), but I do have a ponytail. I’m making copies of this article for all my friends and framing this. Thanks!

Joe Clark, Sturgeon Falls, Ont.

CORRECTION

IN OUR JAN.1 ISSUE of Maclean’s, we reported that Andrew McKelvey, ex-CEO of Monster Worldwide, resigned over the manipulation of stock options he received. Mr. McKelvey did resign over the controversy, but did not personally receive any options. Maclean’s regrets the error.

IN PASSING

Yvon Durelle, 77, boxer. Dubbed the Fighting Fisherman, the light heavyweight champ from New Brunswick fought Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali during his 16-year pro career. In 1971, he was charged with murder after a patron at his bar was shot to death; Frank McKenna, lawyerturned-premier, defended him successfully. Durelle was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

E J. Hughes, 93, painter. British Columbia landscapes were his subject for seven decades, and his work was compared to that of Emily Carr. Hughes studied with the Group of Seven’s Frederick Varley. Some of his paintings, which sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, hang in the National Gallery.