Weapons in Space
Thank you for Paul Webster’s “The Ultimate High Ground” (June). It chronicles Canada’s policy ambivalence in simultaneously supporting disarmament through the United Nations and co-operating in a plan to arm space. It also shows we are much closer to arming space than I had supposed. Do we want Canada to contribute to a trillion-dollar investment that benefits only the aerospace and arms industries? Do we have to start the arms race all over again — only, this time, in space?
The Barbarian Invasion
Clive Thompson’s article about the inner workings of the Internet gaming world (“Game Theories,” June) was fascinating, not just as an economic study, but as a social study as well. How I wish Marshall McLuhan were alive to witness the extension of people’s lives through technology in ways that I doubt even he, the prophet of a new socio-technological world, would have thought possible. The chance to watch the evolution of a new social order is a thrilling opportunity. I hope The Walrus will offer further glimpses of life in this virtual petri dish.
Sticklering It To Us
I read Paul Wilson’s thoughts on the importance of proper punctuation (“For Want of a Comma,” April/May) with delight. And it was nice to learn of another stickler, Lynne Truss, who advocates near-guerrilla tactics in her battle against carelessness and ignorance.
So imagine my dismay when, in my usual fashion, I was flipping through the pages, reading each entry for the Outlook calendar, and I reached April 30, Day of Witches in the Czech Republic. There, for all to behold, was a classic comma splice: “The Soviet era restricted many of the celebrations, however the day has recently made a comeback.”
Now, I’m not suggesting that this lapse will actually “undermine a civilization,” as Wilson suggests, but I am disappointed that your magazine, which I enjoy and which I hope thrives as a part of a vital Canadian culture, would allow such a slip.
Richard F. Giles
I am, without a doubt, a stickler (though some might, erroneously, refer to me as a pedant) when it comes to the comma. For the record, the correct punctuation of “A woman without her man is nothing” is as follows: “A woman without? Her man is nothing.”
Since reading Paul Wilson’s short article, I have read Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. My Australian husband points out that in his youth the example was “eats, roots and leaves,” “rooting” being an activity engaged in by consenting adults. This accounts for why official Canadian Olympic Team gear achieved instant collectibility during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, having been designed by and bearing the logo of a popular Canadian sports-wear company.
I am not sure what Michael Adams was driving at in his article “Continental Divide” (April/May). Why should our current prime minister “draw strength” from some bland platitudes about Canadian autonomy delivered by Richard M. Nixon three decades ago – and probably, in any event, ghosted by William Safire or some other speech writer? Why should Canadians take much comfort in Adams’s not-so-surprising finding that, despite the astonishing level of economic integration since that time, we’ve kept our socially progressive values intact? This is as absurd as saying that rape isn’t so bad as long as you don’t enjoy it. Given that our two major federal parties are led, respectively, by (1) the former self-appointed leader of a taxpayer revolt whose policies are virtually indistinguishable from those of the U.S. Republicans, and (2) our country’s most notorious tax evader, who starved social programs for nearly a decade, I’m wondering if the coming federal election will prove that Canadians actually do enjoy it.
Correction: Houshang Bouzari (Larry Krotz, “Houshang’s Promise,” June) was offered the ambassadorship to Venezuela, but did not serve, and he occupied the same cell that once held Iran’s present spiritual leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, not the Ayatollah Khomeini. We regret the errors.