In reading Genesis 1:26 (“Let him have dominion”), John Macfarlane concludes that “dominion” means possession and absolute control (Editor’s Note, April). Those old enough to remember Canada as a dominion will also recall that our country was limited in its freedom by Crown rights. Similarly, when the Bible speaks of man’s dominion, it speaks of his authority to govern in accordance with God’s law. A more precise interpretation of “dominion” would acknowledge the divine rights implicit in the term.
Henry Van Essen
Macfarlane’s note about sustainability is good, but it nonetheless dismisses centuries of rabbinical and biblical scholarship. He cites a single verse, and ignores the subsequent lines that begin to interpret it. His assessment of Genesis as a “self-aggrandizing fairy tale” and “a colossal conceit” might be apt if the Hebrew word translated as “dominion” meant something other than “sustainability” or “caring for creation.” It doesn’t. Listening to those steeped in the search for biblical meaning is imperative—for understanding ourselves and our relationship with the environment.
David Berlin offers some clever writing (“Chimes of Freedom,” April), but he deals exclusively with the United States. The ’60s happened in Canada, too! Our reform movements involved such groups as the Student Union for Peace Action, the Company of Young Canadians, the Student Christian Movement, the National Indian Brotherhood, and so on. While we may have lacked Tom Hayden’s star power, we had our activists like Arthur Pape, Dal Brodhead, Joan Newman, Ovide Mercredi, and Barbara Hall (who all went on to careers as reformers and citizen advocates); and we focused on citizen participation, Aboriginal rights, and women’s equality. Yes, Students for a Democratic Society and the American civil rights movement inspired us, but Canadian reform took its own distinctive, quieter route. The ’60s continue to resonate here, in local and national initiatives that strengthen democracy and improve the lives of Canadians.
What is it with you guys and the sloppy paeans to the New Left? First Chris Hedges’ delusional screed (“Vigilante Nation,” September 2013), and now this banality. The New Left has contributed much to Western cultural and political life, but surely we can lay to rest some of the impulses (for that is all they are) on display in Berlin’s history.
The Walrus is halfway to being an excellent magazine (admittedly, not hard to do in Canada), but it needs to stop painting itself into an ideological corner. It needs to explore some fresh perspectives instead of spoon-feeding us the same tired claptrap. There is a middle ground between Stephen Harper’s thuggish conservatism and the mushy, divorced-from-reality liberalism on display here. Publications like The Walrus are supposed to find it.
Talk of the Town
— Matthew McKinnon (@matthewmckinnon) April 7, 2014
— Sport in Society (@sportinsociety) April 4, 2014
including porn in sex ed won't take away the awkwardness of puberty. that's just part of growing up. http://t.co/IPHe3KLL03
— Ada Slivinski (@adaslivinski) April 3, 2014
Book of Many Pages
I enjoyed Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda (“Revision Quest,” April), but can we be more realistic about a novel’s impact when a tiny percentage of Canadians will actually read it? It has 1,600 ratings on Goodreads; by contrast, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has 2.4 million. Yes, The Orenda is good, but Charles Foran’s idea that it is a force for cultural change is simply media-driven silliness.
Up the Creek
Conor Mihell’s lament for Royalex left my canoeist withers un-wrung (“Rough Waters,” April). Any material that enables people to bash canoes against rocks will not be missed, except by those who like to do that. A canoe is not a boat, but rather a craft, a fine tool, an extension of the body. Any paddler who rejoices in the ability to bash into rocks and get away with it is no craftsman, and any guide who lets his bowman learn the craft that way is a bad teacher. If the passing of Royalex means paddlers will once again have to learn to respect their craft, then true canoeists will not miss it.
Northern Bruce Peninsula, ON
What about the environmental impact of plastic scrapings on rocks and logs? Maybe going back to cedarstrip canoes would be a good thing. The world is not a better place for legions of rich tourists bashing their way down wild rivers, any more than it is for legions of rich tourists being guided up Mount Everest.
I was disappointed that Jason McBride did not mention Crawley Films (“Slow Dissolve,” April). In 1953, when I joined the company as an assistant art and animation director, it was the second-most important Canadian documentary filmmaker, after the National Film Board. It made some classics in those early days, including The Loon’s Necklace and The Man Who Skied Down Everest, which won Canada’s first Academy Award in 1976.*
Never Been Kissed
Wait—there is no hook-up scene in Ten Tiny Breaths with the hottie down the hall on a vibrating washing machine (“Never Never Land,” April). Disappointing, but not unusual for a so-called reporter.
Hervey Bay, Australia
The April issue incorrectly identified Lego Group founder Ole Kirk Christiansen as Dutch (“Block by Block”). The native of Billund, Denmark, was, of course, Danish.
This appeared in the June 2014 issue.