The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 8, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Can't the poor be allowed anything? January I, 1974 THE LETHSRIDOC HERALD 5 By Carl T. Rowan, syndicated commentator WASHINGTON Something extraordinary has happened in New York since it liberalized its abortion laws. More black women are receiving abortions than white women in New York City even though that community has twice as many white women of child-bearing age as black women. In a recent 12-month period some 70.000 abortions were performed in New York City, with 48 per cent of the women involved black and 39 per cent oi them white. The percen- tages are the reverse of what they were a few years ago when rigid laws made abor- tions illegal, costly and medically risky except for the very affluent. Why the sudden upsurge in the number of black women getting abortions? For the same reason that far more poor white women are getting abortions: for the first time in history they can legally abort an unwanted pregnancy under medically safe conditions at a price they can afford. In fact, they can and do use Medieaid to pay for abortions. What we are seeing is a medical-social revolution among poorer women, many of whom do not have a lot of education, have not been properly counselled in contraception and other techniques of family planning and have not had access to contraceptive devices. But these women still nur- ture dreams of economic up- lift, of social mobility, of equipping whatever children they do bring into the world with the capacity to break the vicious circle of poverty ig- norance more poverty which has imprisoned their families for generations. To put it more bluntly, the least sophisticated woman in the ghetto knows that to have a baby a year for a dozen years dehumanizes her. cripples the children and burdens the rest of society. So by ignorance or accident, they still get pregnant, but for the first time they know that they don't have to have the baby. The Supreme Court said a year ago that in the early months of pregnancy, whether to abort is a decision between a woman and her doctor. And do not overlook the fact that in poor, minority neighborhoods where the rate of births out of wedlock is high, many a single, girl is availing herself of the right to an abortion. Relatives who once felt resigned to the em- barrassment of an il- legitimate birth in the family, and who sometimes went to the expense of sending Sally off to" visit distant relatives for a few months so the baby could be put up for adoption without the hometown folks knowing a thing, are today taking their daughters in for abortions. That so many black women are turning to abortion is es- pecially remarkable when you remember that they have been bombarded with super- stud talk about how abortion is genocide. These women know that, as long as someone else does not force an abortion on them, it is not genocide. But the right to an abortion dike most everything else worthwhile) is going to be taken away from the poor if the anti-abortion fanatics have their way. Sen. James L. Buckley, the New York Conservative, is pushing to make it illegal to pay for an abortion through Medicaid. Incredibly, he would take us back to the days when the rich got abortions and the poor had babies. This is ironic, for it is normally part of the conser- vative catechism to say "rich, smart people" can have all the babies they want, but someone has got to stop the "dumb, poor people" from breeding. Then, the anti-abortionists are lobbying Congress feverishly in behalf of resolutions to amend the Con- stitution and overrule the Supreme Court. They want to make abortion illegal, period, and every year perhaps a million women will again risk their lives with quacks and butchers and commit the crime of refusing to have a baby. The anti abortion fanatics offer another kind of vicious circle to the poor. Force those poor women to have babies, curse them when their children go on welfare, deny the children even a minimum level of decency, then wait for them to get pregnant at age 12 or 13 when you can tell them, "No abortions, you must have babies." Then if anyone asks Buckley Co. why they seem to hate poor people, they can give you that old saw that "God loves them see how he makes so manv of them." The hangover A collection of brief book reviews "Esquire's Handbook for Hosts" by Roy Andries de Groot (George J. Mcleod Limited, 476 This seems to be the ul- timate guide to elegant enter- taining. The book not only gives tips of how to be a memorable host at home or at a restaurant but also how to set up a wine library and a bar. Detailed planning and ad- vance preparation of menus and wine selection is included in addition to 50 of the author's personal recipes. It is particularly helpful if one hasn't all that much money or time. GERTA PATSON "How To Make Your Own Sewing Patterns" by Donald H. McCunn (George J. McLeod Limited, 301 pages, For the creative woman who loves to sew, this is a timely piece of work. Make your own custom fitted gar- ments using interesting ideas from leading fashion magazines. How To Make Your Own Sewing Patterns presents an interesting set of basic pattern drafting methods and a great variety of alterations to incorporate the styles and trends of today. Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions charts, demonstration lessons and a section on fabric suitability makes this book well worth every penny. ANNE SZALAVARY "The Little Prince" (An- niversary edition) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Longman Canada Limited, 91 There is no other story more beloved in the world than this enchanting fable that has touched the spirit of children and grown-ups alike. For a short while it opens up a vision of such tender and poetic beauty that changes the world forever for every one of its readers. GERTA PATSON veteran bazaar organizer, and she gives an in-depth guide on how to hold a variety of successful bazaars. Many seasonal themes are included, plus 40 patterns with step-by- step instructions for the mak- ing of many unique and inex- pensive items. Business aspects of the organizing, co- ordinating and operating plus the various committees necessary for a well-run event are adequately covered to give both a newcomer and an oldtimer an extra boost of self-confidence for her next bazaar. ANNE SZALAVARY "Jug Night" by Robert Malstrom Michael Orceyre (Longman Canada Limited, 197 pages, Messrs. Malstrom and Orceyre joined forces to write a novel. The result was this slight story about a private school in severe financial straits, a reunion of old pupils, and an enormous sum of ready cash in the hands of the local Mafia. The way in which' gangster cash is donated to a worthy cause makes an interesting piece of light reading. TERRY MORRIS "No Tall Buildings in Nazareth" by Tom Johnson (Harper and Row, distributed by Fitzhenry Whiteside, 102 This attractive little book is a big disappointment. Design- ed to be parent-child conver- sations on God and religon, it fails to come through at any level. The idea was good; the format appealing and the title imaginative. Too bad the text is so artificial. ELSPETH WALKER "Far Pastures" by R. M. Patterson. (Gray's Publishing Ltd., 290 pages, If you enjoy R. M. Patter- son's works, you'll enjoy these further adventures of this master story teller. Of interest to people of this area will be the paragraphs concerning Guy Weadick. Joe and Jim Bews and Patterson's favorite character. Alberta Faillie. What can one say about a Patterson book, ex- cept try one, you'll like it. GARRY ALLISON "Space I" by Richard Davis (Longman Canada Limited, 155 pages, Richard Davis has compiled an anthology of science fiction stories written by some of the best writers. Although these eight stories were especially selected for young people they Author examines new cults 2 Complete Book Of Baiaars" by Dorothea S. Brittoa (Longman Canada Limited, 254 pages, If. Dorothea Britton is a Editor's note: This is the se- cond part of the review of "Cults of Unreason" by Dr. Christopher Evans. The first part appeared on page five on Saturday. At the outset Evans posits the failure of the great world religions with their "out- dated, timeworn and im- plausible concepts" to satisfy modern man as the reason for the success of the cults. It might seem strange that people who have abandon- ed an old religion because of its implausibility could sub- scribe to another which seems more implausible. In some cases the explanation may be that the new religions couch their "message" in the more contemporary language of the second half of the twentieth century. "It is a language with a technological and psy- chological ring, with phrases drawn from science fiction, from psychoanalysis, from computer technology, yet sub- tly blended with the spicy flavors of Eastern mysticism." This apparently does not mean that the language has to convey clear concepts. Near the end of the book Evans refers to the frequently enigmatic nature of much cultic expression and says that the great religions of the past "have always thrived on their mysteries and have weakened once they feel obliged to unravel them." Then he adds an aside about the self-defeating 'nature of producing new translations of the Bible that "rob it of its vast and potent imagery." The notion that reason is destructive of wonder and thus of the hold of religion on people is not new. In his Apology for Wonder, Sam Keen has a significant refuta- tion of the proposition. He points out that for a child, "the growing ability to reason is correlated with a growing sense of wonder about the world that reason enables him to discover." This is in sharp contrast to children in whom reason does not develop who show a low degree of delight and wonder. As for the new translations of the Bible, all that needs to be said is that the original languages employed in the writing (especially so in the case of the New Testament) were the' common, unadorned ones of the day and if the power of the writing depended on highflown phrasing of an ob- scure nature it is a mystery how they appealed in the beginning. Of course religions have never been dependant entirely on conceptual images. Evans mentions the important factor of giving people some individ- ed personal attention. "In our society the neurotic individual dives for such systems as yoga, health food fads, Scien- tology, etc. simply because the orthodox doctor has neither the skill, the time nor the patience to spare for the chronically insecure in- dividuals." He might have gone on to develop the significance of belonging to an intense fellowship and how be- ing strength. In the end, Evans proposes that cults of unreason are flourishing today because "technical mastery of science has moved too far ahead of our philosophical and social expertise." The glowing un- certainties of the universe and the enigma of man's existence and 'purposes have been revealed too clearly. Uncer- tain souls, appalled by this, are seeking peace. Well, it's a fascinating sub- ject for investigation. Valuable as is the contribution of Christopher Evans, I feel there is more to be said. DOUG WALKER Humor in high places By Eva Brewster, local writer COUTTS "The most lost day of all is the day on which we do not is an ancient Chinese wisdom that can be applied not only to the end of a day but, with equal jus- tification, to the end of a year. What happen- ed to our sense of humor in 1973? Looking back on the year's laughs, it seems even the best of humorists found little to poke fun at other than the Watergate Affair, cor- ruption, hi-jacking, blackmail, inflated prices and, lately, an energy crisis. Rather than sum up the events of a singularity unfunny year and add to general despondency, I adapted another Chinese proverb to our needs: "Rather paint your bathroom pink than com- plain about gloom." I can thoroughly recom- mend taking up a paint brush to anybody see- ing nothing to be happy about in either inter- national affairs or on the domestic scene. The reflected glow of newly painted walls colors a jaundiced outlook on the world as fast as dripping paint dyes hair, face and hands. A rosy view from the one place in the house most conducive to deep thinking is a reminder that there are always hope and compensations in even the worst of situations. Ensconced among ladder, paints, roller and brushes, I heard, for instance, a British inventor on television not only confirm my view that the majority of us are "gas bags" but explain how he had already made capital out of this fact to alleviate the energy crisis. He discovered that natural gas can be ex- tracted from pig manure in viable quantities and, from just a few animals, is producing enough to supply all the power needed in his own home. Our research station is taking this experiment even further to include all types of animal and human waste. Invariably, the best inventions have been dictated by necessi- ty and we might therefore confidently look forward to a world self-sufficient in the perpetual production of energy, free of dangerous atomic residue from nuclear should appeal to all science fiction enthusiasts. "The Teddysaurs" and "No Jokes On Mars" tell of futuristic gun-happy hunters who, like some of their pre- sent day counterparts, want to annihilate all wildlife. "Mercy Ship" is an adventure story about space pirates. "Mistaken Identity" and "Neighbours" describe two unconventional alien in- vasions. The other three stories deal with time travel, some most unusual children, and the dangers of selling your soul to the devil. An excellent book: highly recommended. TERRY MORRIS "Pedigree Unknown" by Dorothy Lyons (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, distributed by Longman Canada Limited, 172 This is a story for young people, written by a woman who is an expert in horse knowledge and who feels great affection for horses and horsemanship and for those who also enjoy riding. A mix- ture' of romance and ex- citement, the story will appeal especially to the teen- ager who appreciates the horse scene. ELSPETH WALKER "Escape from Sonora" by- Will Bryant (Random House, 307 Escape from Sonora is a fun book to read, the kind of novel that just nicely fits a Sunday afternoon. And to use a cliche once you pick it up Basically the story goes like this: a radical labor leader, a convict, a Pinkerton agent, and two other folks end up in Mexico in 1916, during a revolution. They are captured by renegade revolutionaries, but manage a daring escape in an old, battered-up 1907 Thomas Flyer, over the top of a moun- tain. Like all good novels, there is more to it than just suspense; there is warmth, humor and a glimpse of life in revolution-torn Mexico. Even the description is WARREN CARAGATA power stations or dependency on unreliable or soon to be exhausted markets. While this question of producing natural gas was the first that came to mind from my appropriate vantage point, there are other sections of concern needing encouragement, not least of all, women who rightly feel their quest for equality has made slow progress in 1973. It occurred to me, standing on top of my ladder shouting for somebody to hand me a brush, that there are distinct advantages in being left on the pedestal men put us on since it is so much easier to give orders from such an elevated position. Also, if you look at it sanely, a woman has two chances to man's one of becoming a success. If she can't get what she wants being smart, she can usually get it by playing dumb. Doing so, between you and me, she doesn't really make a fool of a man she merely gives him an opportunity to develop his natural capacity. If you think I am being unkind in quoting the Persian philosopher who said: "Kindness can charm a snake from its remember, that has been tried too, but the snake often turned out to be poisonous and killed the charmer. Joking aside though, it seems to require a catastrophe be it war, recession, an earth- quake, drought or an energy crisis to bring out the best in people. And that might well be the most positive aspect of the world situation. Even our young people are more hopeful now that a world-wide lack of oil will take us back to our neighbors instead of ac- cumulating energy consuming gadgets and the money to buy them. They also suggest that shortages will, hopefully, bring war machinery everywhere to a grinding halt. Whether this trust in the future is right or not, it is a fact that, since the beginning of time, "every dark night had a bright ending" and I join everybody in the wish for all mankind that this eternal truth may carry our world into a brighter and happier New Year. The energy crisis hits home From an advertisement in California papers Everybody in California is asked to reduce use of electricity by not less than 10 per cent. Due to the energy shortage, the California Public Utilities Commission has ordered California utilities to urge all customers to conserve energy 'voluntarily or face the possibility of mandatory curtailment. Californians. including homeowners, those in business, on farms and in industry, are urgently requested to start at once to cut down power and lighting use by at least 10 per rent based on use during the same month a year ago. I'nless everyone pitches in to help, blackouts could occur. The commission order said "the degree of success of voluntary par- ticipation will be indicative of whether more restrictive, mandatory curtailment procedures will be required." There is a worldwide shortage of oil. and there are extreme difficulties in locating, ac- quiring and bringing oil to fuel electric generating plants in'California. 1'G E has enough generating capacity to meet today's demands, but there is not natural gas to run the plants as usual, and there have been delays in getting nuclear plants into service. As a result we must burn oil to run our power plants and there is not oil to do the job. Thus we all run the risk oi power cur- tailments which could result in in- convenience, some hardship, and perhaps even some unemployment if we all do not start at once to conserve energy. Ten things you should do at home: 1. Turn off all lighting that is not essential lor household operation, safety or security. In some cases, light bulbs should be replaced with lower wattage bulbs. 2. Cut back on TV viewing time. :i. If weather permits, dry clothes outdoors rather than in the dryer. 4. Don't preheat the oven to bake, keep oven door closed and bake an entire meal at once. Never use the range top or oven for room heating. 5. Some refrigerators have optional It-atures such as automatic ice makers that can be turned off independently of normal refrigerator operation, thus saving energy. ti. If the washing machine has settings for water temperature, set it on cold and use cold water detergents, thus eliminating the use of hot water. 7. If a dishwasher is used, eliminate the electric drying cycle. K. Change thermostat settings by at least three degrees. For example, if the heating level is set at 70 degrees, reset it at 67 degrees or lower. Close rooms not occupied or used regularly. t'se cold water in disposers, not hot water. 10. Minimize use of power tools for hobby work REPORT TO READERS DOUG WALKER Book list to be reviewed Two seemingly contradictory facts too many unpublished book reviews on hand and too many books not yet reviewed by their recipients are forcing me to a revision of my practices as book review editor. It is not right that people should labor over the com- position of reviews and not have them appear in print and it is wrong for us to accept books from the publishers without keeping trust by drawing them to the attention of the public. Our record in publishing book reviews is impressive. The number of books reviewed has grown steadily from 126 in 1969 to 551 in 1973. But at the same time the number of books not reviewed out of those received and distributed is disturbing. In 1972 there were 215 books not reviewed out of 643 received and in 1973 there were 532 books not reviewed out of 941 received. A good number of the 1973 books will be reviewed in the next few weeks (reviews for 91 of them were on hand at year end and more are coming in every day) but the failure rate is likely to be at least as bad as that for 1972. Perhaps the publishers are satisfied to run the risk of having a third of their books go un- reviewed in order to get the other two thirds before the public. Still, the fact that we re- quest books and then don't review them and in such large numbers troubles my conscience. Some of my reviewers diligently write something about every book they receive, even if they only write a few lines of criticism. Others have requested and receiv- ed as many as two or three dozen books with scarcely any reviews having been returned. I cannot believe tfiere was any intent to deceive me or the publishers; I suspect the individuals were overwhelmed by other demands on time. The fact that women have been worse offenders than men may bear this out they have so many more respon- sibilities than men! The suggestion has been made that I should impose a limit on the length of book reviews. Certainly reviewers should not often expect to have published long reviews that are more suitable for academic journals than for new- spapers. Yet some books deserve more atten- tion than others and sometimes reviewers can make a contribution to a subject beyond what is to be found in the book under con- sideration. Another suggestion that has been made is to rule out the review of certain kinds of books sports books, run-of-the-mill novels, detec- tive stories, hobby books, cook books, children's books, and so on. There is some justification for occasionally indulging such special interests but generally, when space is at a premium, it is books that impart infor- mation, wrestle with ideas and generate dis- cussion that should have priority. Elitists contend that it debases the art of book reviewing to permit any but the highly educated to engage in it. No doubt some of our reviews are really little more than notices but by encouraging ordinary people to write about books that interest them the likelihood of communicating with other or- dinary people, who constitute the bulk of the readership of a newspaper, is increased. I am pleased that 52 people shared in the book reviewing in 1973. While 19 of them only submitted one review each another 14 did 10 or more reviews apiece. The most frequent reviewers were: Doug Walker Garry Allison Elspeth Walker Terry Morris Anne Szalivary Gerta Patson Herb Legg Hans Schaufl Elsie Morris Chris Stewart Margaret Luckhurst D'Arcy Rickard Jim Fishbourne Judi Walker So I propose to continue encouraging others to share in reviewing books but when the catalogues are passed around henceforth I will expect restraint in making requests and will review the lists and do some eliminating where the restraint has not been sufficient.