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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 19, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, Auaull 19, 1972 1HE IETHBR1DCI HERALD _ 5 Waver ley Root Muddying the pool of know edge The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK 5. MORLEY pAJUS In my youth, I once sot out to read the Encyclopedia Brllannica and for n while f knew all about everything that hcfjiiii with ;my letter no farther alonjj in tho alphabet than G fcxcopt in tho field of mathematics, for which alt the articles seemed to havo been written hy Kins loin for the sole understanding of Norbert I have been a dovourer of encyclopedias, dictionaries and the like ever .since, and at (bo moment I am up to my neck in reference books in pursuit of the subject of the nature, his- tory and folklore of food. In this process, I have become in- creasingly impressed hy a cur- ious phenomenon the unre- liahih'fy of even the most auth- oritative reference books. I find it impossible to understand how they can lie so useful and in- formative when takeii as a whole, yet so far off on the de- tails. The reference hooks arc ag- gressively erratic about food, but I am beginning to suspect that anyone specializing on a single subject would find them equally inaccurate on that sub- ject lcx> in short, ure they not perhaps often misleading all along the line? Some years ago, for a reason now forgotten, I wanted to find out at exactly what period Ne- anderthal man flourished, it being a Neanderthal can bo described as flourishing. I con- sulted a large English-language encyclopedia in my library for which I had, and for that mat- ter still have, a good deal of respect; three separate articles took up the subject of Neander- thal man, and each of them at- tributed him to a different per- iod. I turned to a large French- language encyclopedia for itration. It had two articles which dealt with Neanderthal man, which gave me two sets of different dates neither of which coincided with any of ths first, three. IE the reader thinks he might be amused by a blow-by-blow account of one of my bottles with the reference hooks, let me refer him to Harper's mag- azine for August, in which I recount the intricacies of an at- tempt to establish the exact identity of caraway. It all start- ed in The International Herald Tribune, when 1 contributed to it an article on anise, in which I made a passing reference to caraway. How far the Interim- lional Herald Tribune throws its beams I discovered when 1 received a letter from a herb- alist in a .small town of Color- ado who wanted to know, pre- cisely, what caraway was. Jt seemed an easy question. I thought I could answer it in five minutes, and I reached confi- dently for a book on spices in my library. Four months later I was still reaching for reference books, hut with less confidence. In the end I got the answer, not from the hookSj hut from seeds -sent to me from Holland, Morocco and, thanks to my correspond- ent, Colorado. Tn the interval, I had discovered that practic- ally everytliing that has been written about caraway in Iho reference Ls wrong, Another example: one of tho most reliable encyclopedias I know reports (hat (he scallion was unknown to ancients and was first introduced into Europe by the Crusaders, who imported it from Ascnlon, hence Us name and in tho same breath it gives the auth- ority for this derivation as- I'liny, if_J am not mis- laken, anletinVd the Crusaders by a thousand years, Less blat- rmlly, a French publishing firm which makes a fpcdally of en- cyclopedias presented me re- cently, in its general encyclo- pedia, with the information lhat the pod of the enrol) bean con- tains "a very sugary pulp" find in it.s gastronomic cnoyclojwxlia that it is ''itisip- id." Tlie same general encyclo- pedia Ihnt I lie carp was imported inlo England in IfiM; it is mentioned, obviously as a fish already commonly known there, in which Shakespeare wrote in tfiOU or I60f.. Similarly, it gives as I he (late when the American cntfi.sh was imported into I'Yancc to tie raised in captiv- ily for tho table hut it was in 1H71 thnt I his belligerent an- imal escaped inlo natural wat- ers in. France and all but wiped out several species of more ufible native lish. ft is [r> wary in dealing me reference and f havo Iho irnpres- .sion that it Is becoming pro- gressively more difficult to avoid (heir errors ns we he- roine more efficient in filing in- formation awl opening access To it; we filo tho misinforma- tion loo, where everybody can pel lo it. How often I havo dredged up a morsel of fact ivhich sconicd on HA faco vatuo lo be unsound, but which I then found was confirmed by other authorities; and how often havo T discovered in (he end, some- times f found the same information given by different authors in exactly the sarno words, that what 1 had en- countered was not confirma- tion, but simply repetition. Ev- erybody is rewriting everybody else (including myself, but I try to he so that the same error from the same source is repeated again and again until it Ls accepted as gospel. J came recently across a cur- rent example of this process. Not very long ago an eminent author, entrusted with writing a book on wine less because he was qualified to do so than because his signature was sure to sell books, admitted that he was at a loss to explain ths name of (he French drink call- ed rince-cochon, but he knew what it was whereupon he offered an excellent description of the apertif called Kir. Kir has nothing to do with riuce- cochon. I happen to he old enough to know what rince- cochon is though the term seems to have disappeared from circulation since the war. Kir is a combination of black currant syrup and white Bur- gundy wine; rince-cochon is, or was, a mixture ol lemon syrup, white wine and soda water. Tho name could be translated liter- ally as but its sense is more like "a rinser-out of a for it is a hangover remedy, and not a bad one, as hangover remedies go. (The only real hangover rernedy is lo drink less the night before, but this requires foresight and dis- cipline, qualities not always on tap, which is why 1 know what rince-cochon is.) Shortly after the eminent author's mistake occurred, in a hook which sold more than a half million copies, a magazine with a circulation of a million and a half repeated It, making a second mistake; it attributed the definition, not to its origin- ator, who, after all, Ivad no standing as a wine expert, but lo another author who had. Ap- palled at finding the expert quoted in support of so obvious an error, I consulted his works and found, as I had expected, lhat he tiad never writlen any- thing of the kind. But now the error had hitched to a name which would cause it to be accepted unquestionably. I reflected, as I was cutting out the magazine piece for my files, lhat hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of pairs of scissors wero simultaneously detaching the same page for the same purpose, but that while I knew Hie statement was wrong, most of the others would not. Tho archives of publishers, editors and libraries have now en- shrined irrevocably the mation tiiat Kir and rince- cochon are synonymous, and I suspect that it will shortly be- come an article of faith that they are. It Is becoming increasingly difficult lo gel any correct in- formation past the vigilance of the guardians of the status quo, which means, once an error has been fed into the system, the error is perpetuated. I fi HS- pect thnt Henry Luce started this when, consciously or un- consciously he put sex at Iho service of Time by creating man-woman writer researcher teams, in which eventually (he researcher, charged w i t h checking (he writer's copy for errors, evolved into the court of last resort, the ultimate censor, the schoolteacher correcting the mistakes of her pupil Ihe writer. tern. A publisher presumably engages an author lo write a book on given subject be- cause hn knows more about it than anybody I to I ben turns the manuscript over In y minor assistant who knows nothing in particular about the subject to edit out its mistakes, IxiL us imagine HID author has worked diligently lo ferret out a truth misstated in the reference hooks and set the record straight. What the expert has written sounds strange to tho uninitiated copy editor, for il conflicts with the generally ac- cepted error. What does sho do? She looks up the point in drnibt in the reference and triumphantly restores tho error the author has vainly at- tempted to eliminate. Now wo are turning the files over to computers, which should guarantee that once a mistake gets into the record it will stay there forever. It Ls a form of pollution, the muddying of the pool of human know- ledge, to which so far nobody has paid much attention, Jiut it might a fair question lo ask whether inyn is going to ren- der himself cxtinrt not by stif- ling himself in his own excre- ments, the fate with which we arc currently being threatened, but by rendering his intel- ligence inoperative, smothered under a carefully preserved ac- cumulation of erroneous data. (The International Herald Tribune) Tl ic exa mpl e of the n cws magazine researcher corrupted llyj editorial asslst-ants of liook publishing houses, often given the title of copy editor to com- pensate for insufficient pay, who formerly performed only such useful functions ns making sure lhat the author hnrl not assigned one date to a certain event on page 21 and a different one on page .109 or seeing to it that DOTSO Koszto- lanyi's name was spelled Iho same way every lime it appear- ed. This valuable employee used to nail the aulhor's alien- lion to any passage where sho thought he might possibly have slipped hut what does licr coun'.erpart of today do? Con- scious of her powor as tho judge of whaf. Is right or wrong, she brashly "corrects" the copy of Hie nutiior without bothering him with Iho miserable details; and since she oflen gels tho last crack al Ihe text before it COGS to Ihe printer, it is often her idea of Ihe correct version, not Uie author's, which gels Inlo print, For hook publishing, at least, It is Inherently a vicious sys- Waiting for the gleaners Photo by Bill Groenen Comments on a variety of books "What's High! With Us Parents" hy Grace Nirs Fletclirr (William Morrow, S7.50, 179 pages, distributed by Cporjje J. rJ1HIS is a probing look at the parent problem in to- day's society. Mrs. Fletcher takes a positive look at the role parents struggle with ami comes to tlie conclusion that most of ILS do better than think. It isn't, easy being n parent these days what, drugs, open .sex, the communication gap find changing moral prin- ciples. Rut in her ninny inter- views a cross section of professional ptunple, children, laymen, parents, pUiiJeiil.s, so- cia I v, orkei ,s ,n nil t he 1 ike, (bo author discovers must young people feel t'icir parents a rcn' t I Ix-d ly. This bonk offers comfort to parents unsure of the influence they bring to hear on tlii'ir children. MARGARET LUCKHTRST "Dreams, Dusl anil Depres- sion'1 hy Philip S. Long (Cy- pirss Publishing, Cnlgary, 22S WHAT was it like lo live during tho Depression the Dirty Thirties as it was known to mnny? This hook Jjold.s tlie onsu'or, Philip was a young man on a farm in northern Montana when (bo Depression hit and this is lite story of how he and his family survived one hard- ship aficr another waiting. fur the rain lhat could liavp me mil good times again Uie rain Mud never cnrne. It's not jn.sL a sad family united against adversity somehow brings out the host in people. Warmth nnd humor nro not uncommon in Long's .story. The impact of Ihe book i.s greater because it is a trite ac- count of the nutlinr's own early life. Long dune a good job Uus book. Those who were fortunate enough lo es- cape living duritig Uie Depres- sion can learn from it. Those who weren't quite so lucky can read it and remember. ROX CALDWELL "If It Had Happened Other- wise" edited by ,T. C. Squire (Sidj'ulck nnd Jackson, 320 "JV1 iVG A G-ING in d rea in s of J "what if" i.s one of the most pleasant pastimes avail- able and, anyone can do it. In this volume, several prominent historians have entered (ho world of "iftlom" to speculate on how the world might havo been affecleci if certain signifi- cant historical events hnd had a different outcome. Milton Waldman o nders would havo happrnod if Booth hnrl Lincoln. Sir (iporfie Trevelyan specula! cs on the effects ol" a victory ;it Waterloo and Sir Churchill gazes info his crystal hall to see what might have happened if Leo had not won the Battle of Gettysburg, One catch to thorough en- joyment of this book is that an adequate knowledge of history has to Ix; a basic ingredient of the reader's repertoire. Tho non historian could find it dif- ficult to differentiate licl ween fart and fiction. RON "Science, Sex, and Sacred Spoofs on Scienee ihr Worm flunncr's Pi- firsl" edited by -lames .McConnrll And Marlys .Srlnit- jcr (flarroiirl Tiracr .Fftvano- ricli. Inc., S7.SO, 1S.T pages, distriluitrd by IxiiiRman Can- .ida a humble person h u m o r, argiic.t Janips V. Mcronncll in Iho r> Ireduction lo this small boo'.1 Tlie totally serious individual fears {junior it punc- Will the family survive? ('HKISTIANS tlirough the world are alarmed by the delilxiratc effort of Hie Swedish government to destroy Ihe family, particularly tho Christian family. Last year Swedish Christians made an ap- peal to U 'Diant and a group of Lutherans has appealed to the Commission on Human nights of the Council of Europe. The Swedish government plans to abolish all marriage ceremonies, to make children de- pendent on the state for financial support rnd independent of the family, and to make day nurseries compulsory from the age of six months. Bishop Bo Giertz of Gothenburg contends lhat Ihe government program of compulsory religious education aims at promoting atheism. The state will not permit "orthodox zealots." according to Mrs. Myrdal, "to split society" and the government is waging war against parents who "poison children with Christian moral- ity." Children born out of wedlock have larger state subsidies and other privileges than those of the family. A determined effort was made to abol- ish the family in Russia, but today state and family exist in uneasy tension. Marx declared that rights of children had to be proclaimed, because their parents were exploiting them" and the individual bourgeois family had no sacred right to continue its "befouled existence" A gov- ernment survey estimated that 12 work- ing hours per day were needed to carry on Individual family life and that 36 mil- lion work hours were spent in Russia on the preparation of food alone. The writer Sergei Mikhalkov describes the Soviet offi- cial propaganda. A father tries to reason with his five-year-old how bad- !y you behave you don't obey Papa and Mama. We do everything for show you every concern." The son replies, "It is not you who show concern for me. It Is the party and the government who provide for me." The breaking of family ties in Canada Is dramatized by the thousands of young people hitchhiking across the continent or in Europe. Also one encounters, largely as a result of urbanization, homts that no longer function normally because of di- vorce, separation, alcoholism, marital dis- cord, poor housing, crime, and a variety of other causes. Marriage itself is decreas- ing] y revered. Thousands of young people are living together outside wedlock. The employment of women and the "Women's Lib Movement" have done much to de- stroy the traditional family life. In 1941 less than four per cent of married women participated in the labor force, but in the percentage had risen to 28.3. Religious decline makes for family decline. Surveys have shown that a much larger percentaga of families who attend mass have a stable relationship than those who do not. More young people liave economic independence now and they are also questioning all yes- terday's values and behavior patterns. Generalization regarding the family Is difficult in Canada because of the variety of ethnic origins and consequently differ- ent traditions. It is noteworthy that where family relations are strong, as among the Jews, crime is low. This leads to some fascinating corollaries which demonstrate how basic and essential to a healthy so- ciety and personality the family Is. MARGARET LUCKHUR5T Soups and stews tures liis illusions of the im- portance of himself and his undertakings. Awareness of the need for the ministration of liurnor among scientists, who are prone to take themselves loo seriously, has led to tliis collection of spoofs. I began tho book eagerly because J enjoy this kind of humor but there is n sameness about the pieces and they soon became tedious. Pcriinps if scientists are in special need of spoofed they do not need to begin with anything really funny. DOUG WALKER "Japanese Polk Tales" by Kunio YanngUln, (Longman Canada Limited, 100 pages, TPIffi AUTHOR, founder of folklore studios in Japan hns colfectcd in tins book tales from ihe oral literature of his country. The folk talcs have n similarity to Aesop's fables and in them find the sense of nearness to nature, humor, wisdom and piety and much lhat iVveals the charac- ter of the people of Japan. Adults as well ns children will enjoy them. GERTA PATSON "Cily hy IKc Sea: San Fran- cisco" hy Fukuda Ilobnnilo (1'iikniin Ilnhnmln Co. Ltd., 43 pages, distributed by I.onginim Canada fOLOR photographs of Hie chief attractions In San comprise (lie main part of this There are also street and area maps as well as hits of information for tourists. Printed on very heavy stock, it should prove to dur- able if it is handed around or consulted frequently. Much free literature has as many pic- lures and even more informa- tion which makes one wonder where the market will Iw for this book. DOUG WALKER YES. that's me up there under all that big print, and I'm not very comfort- able carrying it. But Doug Walker had a standing head made up for my column be- cause, a. it saves time; b. it hits readers smack In the eye and they can read it or turn the page, whichever, c. it gives uni- formity to all regular columnists. T told Doug when I first saw the lead type, well, it's okay I suppose, but privately I hud some misgivings, and they later proved to be justified. Whet I opened the page and saw me standing out there bold as brass, I felt exactly the way I did Ihe time the iceman caught me years ago, clad only in my stepins, washing my face in the summer kitchen. Quick thinking, I draped my entire head In a towel, hoping he'd think maybe I was my sister. "Hello, Pete Chirped cheer- fully as ha strode by the icebox, "I know it's you 'cause Anne's got better legs." Well, the cheek! I was so mortified I yanked the washstand into the kitchen proper, scolding away at everyone and everybody as I did so. I even threw In a scowl at my smirking sister for having better legs. "I don't see what you're so worked up Mum said mildly, "you have twice as much on now as you had this morning in your shorts and halter." No matter, had I been dressed !o the nines and covered with a mother hubbard I still resented having my ablutions inter- rupted by anyone. They were to me then, and siill are (although with several kids underfoot for years I've had to unbend a little) private and personal. I feel a little the same way about shar- ing some of my recipes. I'm a pretty good cook and enjoy experimenting with new recipes as much as I do repeating the old favorites I know will not fail me, the ones I repeat over and over again, week in week out year after year. As a matter of fart, I bet if I could stack up all the pies I've made in my lifetime they'd reach right up under Gabriel's drool- ing mouth. My devil's food cake would reach almost as high, but doubtless the ethereal hosts (or guests they'd be in this case) would regretfully feel an obligation to reroute this mouth-watering specialty of mine. In any case, although some women guard their culinary secrets jealously, I've always been happy to give my recipes to whoever asks for them, feeling flattered to be able to share them. That Is, all recipes except the pitch and toss kind. "What is this- delicious soup a visitor asked recently, as sha cleaned up oa her second bowlful. "It's Leftover our daughter assured her candidly, before I had a chance to reply. "Mum lines up all leftovers then dumps them one, two, three, Into salted boiling water. Then she adds an onion and lets it all cook. If it comei out tasting okay, It's a surprise." I was a little nettled at this frankness reducing my good soup to such a menial level, but on the other hand If my guest had asked for (he recipe what would I told her? The same familial attitude applies lo my casseroles. No mrlter how fancy the In- gredients may be lobster, shrimp, crab, or just plain leftover roast beef and veg- etables, anything that's jumbled together the kids generalize as I can slave all day over a chicken eaccdalore, place in it a oven dish, garnish it with parsley, fancy the lable up with good dishes and silver and guess what the kids will have to say, and you're right. "Not stew What's all that got to do with me In big print? Well actually I'm trying lo be alle- gorical. My little stories are, in a way, pretty personal sort of "stepin" features you could say only for the sake of our family newspaper, please don't. Then too, like my soups and stews, there's no for- mat to them, tlwy're just pitch and toss. Our other columnists deal with social Is- sues, education, nature and wildlife, poli- tics in general, Issues you can get your teeth into. As I can't write about those cause of sheer lack of opinion, I stick to soups and slew and hope lhat without a recipe they'll still be digestible. So next time I appear here I'll be back to Ihe smaller type, it suits me. Doug will grumble perhaps, but after all this time I have found ways of dealing with him. This time I think I'll make him a pie of his choice, that should shut him up. See you soon in fine print. The principle of the 'sacred By Joe Ma J USED TO THINK that the cotKXff. at free- dom of the pross originated in the West. That was until a Korean journalist friend of mine reported that the principle of the "sacred fact" was established in China as early us 548 B.C. I ain compelled lo re-in- troduce a passage in the scripture "Spring and In Chi. one of the prinreiy states of an- rienl Ohinn, Ihe King riicd and there fol- lowefl feuds among tlie princes. One of the court officials, Tsui, supported one of the princes. Chung, for the kingship. Soon, Tsui killed Chung and placed another prince, Ching, on the throne, while eleva- ting himself to Iho position of stale minis- ler. In fact, this was a court coup d'etat be- i-ausc Tsui arbitrarily killed the living king. Tl'e cliicf recorder of the court put tie to' cident in the court book writing that Tsui "murdered" the king, Tsui, the strongman of Hie day, was dis- pleased with Uie selection of the verb and killed the recorder. Then the son of the re- corder assumed the job and he. too, used "murdered" instead of "killed" to describe the incident. Tsui killed him. When another son, assuming the job. wrote the samo word, Tsui finally gave in. saying he could not kill three men in a row. In facl, after the death of Ihe first twn recorders, a number of other recorders rushed lo the capital, ready to offer their services and keep Ihe record straight should the third recorder be killed too. This was the story of more than years ago. Thanks lo the letter written in blood, we know what actually happened in the Chi court al that lime. Of course, tha killed recorders were very stubborn people. ;