I am a chartered accountant and a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia. I have fiery red hair and piercing blue eyes. At five foot five and 114 pounds, my slim frame just loves the camera. At this point, you are likely wondering how my appearance is at all relevant to my practice as a chartered accountant, my graduate studies, or this letter. Well, that is exactly the reaction I had when reading Micah Toub’s “Just Do It” (September).
Toub refers to psychologist Emily Impett as “the trim thirty-nine-year-old” with “more than a passing resemblance to the actor Sarah Polley,” and to her colleague Amy Muise as “a stylish thirty-two-year-old with a heart-shaped face made for television.” As sex researchers, Impett and Muise are already forced to defend the legitimacy of their work, and Toub does them no favours by focusing on their appearance. I wonder whether such extraneous details would have been included had the researchers been male, or the writer female.
North Vancouver, BC
Advice columnist Dan Savage encourages you to be good, giving, and game, but not to be dumb and hurt yourself. The interviewee Leah’s reference to Savage reminds me of the admonition to not be so open-minded that your brains fall out. Being GGG means looking for ways to say yes, as opposed to ways to say no. It doesn’t mean you’ll always find them.
Not that I don’t agree with everyone’s comments regarding Dan Savage, but the quotation was from someone who was interviewed about her sex life—not an authoritative expert, but a person experiencing some dysfunction in her relationship. That Leah’s misinterpretation of GGG was included in the article isn’t the most grievous journalistic sin. This may shock some of the more savage Savage defenders, but people, especially lay people, occasionally get things wrong.
Indeed, for those more ardent Savageists, this is insight into how some people may misinterpret Savage’s core message.
Lots of hoo-ha about Dan Savage. Many are probably missing the point and missing the sex.
Not so Fast
The title “Loaves and Fishes” (September) shows brilliance and irony. The loaves and fishes story is so central and important that it is told in all four Gospels. Its message is that in God’s vision of governance, no one in this or any other country should ever go home hungry—a theme that would add some traction to prayers with eggs and ham on the Hill.
A joke’s a joke, but Mark Mann’s piece on the National Prayer Breakfast was more mean spirited than funny. Substitute any other faith for Christianity and he’d be pulled up short for violating the Charter, or for being intolerant of minorities. Referring to Christian martyrs as “street lamps” and “dog food” shows a shocking disregard for the value of human life.
North Vancouver, BC
The connection drawn between the Fair Elections Act and voter suppression alarms me (“Block the Vote,” September). I consider the Fair Elections Act to be reasonable. After all, most Canadians have such government-issued IDs as health cards and driver’s licences. How does having to produce these documents make voting more difficult for Aboriginal people, students, or the poor—who all have access to them? To claim that the act is “insidious” and that the government is making voting more difficult for marginalized groups is not well founded. The new requirements do not come close to disenfranchisement.
Canadian women first voted in a federal election on December 17, 1917. Three months earlier, Robert Borden’s Conservative government had passed, through closure, the Military Voters Act and the War-time Elections Act. The main purpose of the legislation was to increase the number of electors favourable to the sitting government, as Borden wanted to avoid defeat on the highly contentious issue of conscription in the upcoming election.
The Military Voters Act enfranchised approximately 2,000 nurses, the so-called Bluebirds—and the first Canadian women to get the vote. The War-time Elections Act conferred it on the spouses, widows, mothers, sisters, and daughters of any person ( male or female, living or dead) who was serving or had served in the military, provided they met the age and residency requirements in their respective provinces or Yukon.
The president of the Canadian Suffrage Association remarked at the time that the acts would have been more honest had they simply disenfranchised anyone who didn’t promise to vote for the Conservatives.
Mind the Gap
“If We Build It, They Will Stay” (September) misses some potential “bold action”: A bridge across the Strait of Belle Isle, to link the island of Newfoundland with Labrador. The twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway from coast to coast (already in progress). A bridge across the Strait of Georgia, from Vancouver Island to the mainland. Perhaps John van Nostrand’s focus on developing infrastructure in the mid-Canada corridor clouded a truly “national vision.”
That’s Chestnut canoe, as in the manufacturer, not chestnut canoe, as in the wood (“The Map-Maker,” September).
New Harbour, NL
“Just Do It” (September) quotes a subject named Leah concerning her view of sex columnist Dan Savage’s advice on sexual exploration by partners. Savage disputes her characterization of his advice, saying it is absolutely wrong, which is supported by readers’ responses both online and in these pages. The Walrus apologizes for any misunderstanding the quotation may have caused.
This appeared in the November 2014 issue.