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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 5, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Tuesday, November 5, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 The lofty art of keeping a diary By William Safire, New York Times commentator Diaries are no longer dear; as the invention of the telephone began the decline of letter-writing, the invention of the tape recorder has led to the atrophy of the personal diary. Many of us record our words but few of us record our thoughts. Why is a diary stereo typed today as the gushing of a schoolgirl or the muttering of a discontented politician, un- worthy of the efforts of a busy- person? Perhaps because we are out of the habit of writing, or have fallen into the habit of considering our lives humdrum, or have become fearful of committing our thoughts to paper. When I urg- ed a White House friend to keep a diary through the fall of a president as a service to history, he sadly replied that he had better not notes and diaries could be subpoenaed. But the fear of Nosy Parkers and Pepysing Sams, ought not to deprive us of the satisfaction, nor history of the benefit, of keeping a fairly regular account of our per- sonal observations. Consider what diaries do- Diaries remind us of details that would- otherwise fade from memory and make less vivid our recollection. Navy secretary Gideon Welles, whose private journal is an in- valuable source for Civil War historians, watched Abraham Lincoln die in a room across the street from Ford's Theatre and later jotted down a detail that put the reader in the room: "The giant sufferer lay extended diagonally acK-ss the bed, which was not long enough for him Diaries relieve us of our frustration. William Inge, dean of St. Paul's early in this century, said that diaries per- mitted "the repressed self to stretch his legs." When G. K Chesterton blasted him in print. Dean Inge said nothing publicly but "I retaliated in my diary by hoping that the public would soon get tired of the elephantine capers of an obese mountebank. These flowers of speech happily did not find their way into print. Diaries reveal ourselves to ourselves as well as to posterity. George Washington, not a man for self-doubt, made this entry in his diary as he left for his inauguration: "About ten o'clock I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity, and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express, set out for New York with the best disposition to render service to my country in obedience to its calls, but with less hope of answering its ex- pectations." Diaries can be written in psychic desperation, intended to be burned, as a hold on sanity "I won't give up the diary wrote novelist Franz Kafka, "I must hold on here, it is the only place I can." Or written in physical desperation, intended to be read, as in the last entry in arctic explorer Robert Scott's diary: "For God's sake look after our people." But what of people who are neither on trial nor freezing to death, neither witnesses to great events nor participants in momentous undertakings? To most of us, a diary presents a terrible challenge: "Write down in me something worth the neatly dated page says; Prove that this day was not a waste of time." For people intimidated by their own diaries, here are a handful of rules: 1. You own the diary, the diary doesn't own you. There are many days in all our lives about which the less written the better. If you are the sort of person who can only keep a diary on a regular schedule, filling up two pages just before you go to bed, become another sort of person. 2 Write for yourself. The central idea of a diary is that you are not writing for critics or for posterity but are writing a private letter to your future self. If you are petty, or wrongheaded, or hopelessly emotional, relax if there is anybody who will understand and forgive, it is your future self. 3. Put down what cannot be reconstructed. You are not a newspaper of record, obligated to record every first time than man walks on the moon. Instead, remind yourself of the poignant per- sonal moment, the remark you wish you had made, your predictions about the outcome of your own tribulations. 4. Write legibly. This sounds obvious, but I have pages of scribblings by a younger me who was infuriatingly il- literate. Worse, to protect the innocent, I had encoded cer- tain names and then misplac- ed my rosetta stone; now I will never know who "JW" was in my freshman year at college, and she is a memory it might be nice to have. Four rules are enough rules. Above all, write about what Book Review Aid to drama teachers Planning, teamwork and courage have resulted in a positive gain for every employee in the general service bargaining unit of the provincial government. per month or whichever is greater, will be added to their salaries as an interim adjustment. Our mem- bers' steadfast support of their union resulted in these positive negotiations. And you can be sure that future negotiations will result in even more gains. CiviK Service Association of Alberta "The Mime Book" by Claude Kiponis, (Fitzhenry Whiteside, Ltd. 216 This is a book that will appeal particularly to theatre lovers, participants or spec- tators, and should prove an in- valuable aid to directors and drama teachers. In the swing to the Stanislavski method of acting, technique has often been overlooked in emphasizing the importance of "feeling" the part. This works well for the talented adult, and those with natural bodily ease and grace, but for the average teen ager it is not easy. However, work- ing on the mime exercises described in this book, beautifully illustrated by ac- tual photographs, would be pure fun for a young amateur, and would help generate the emotion needed for the role. Just as attempting Commedia dell 'Arte or stylized Restora- tion comedy makes conven- tional acting seem com- paratively easy, so grounding in miming would simplify or- dinary stage movement and relax awkward limbs and tor- sos. Bonus features in this book are the boxes containing learned quotations from ex- perts in mime dating from the Greek Lucian of the second century, through the years to contemporary Woody Allen and Marcell Marceau; and the flip pages containing frames of mime poses along the edges, which when manipulated correctly turn into moving pictures. MARY HEINITZ Books in brief "Israel in the Period of the Judges" by A. D. H. Mayes (SGM Press, 59, softback. "l56 pages, distributed by G. R. Welch Co. The supposition that prior to the establishment of the monarchy Israel was a tribal confederacy, united by the worship of Yahweh at a central sanctuary, is challeng- ed in this monograph. Dr. A. D. H. Mayes, lecturer in Hebrew and Semitic languages at Trinity College in Dublin, after exhaustive ex- amination of the biblical evidence concludes that there was no formal confederation, no central shrine and no office of judge of Israel who fixed tribal boundaries This is number 29 in the se- cond series of Studies in Biblical Theology, monographs of special interest to serious students of the Bible. Both the cost and the technical nature of the studies will discourage casual readers DOUG WALKER got to you that day, the way a parched John Barrymore did during a trip to Mexico in 1926 when he discovered a bar that to him was an oasis "The beer arrived draft beer in a tall, thin, clean crystal of Grecian propor- tions, with a creamy head on it. I tasted it the planets seemed to pause a moment in their circling to breathe a benediction on that Mexican brewer's head...then the uni- verse went on its wonted way again. Hot dog! But that was a glass of That is the art of the diarist in its pure form, unafraid, in- timate, important in its in- significance, nngingly free. Who can compare Barrymore's frothy recall with the insecure jottings- down of most of us on little ex- pense ledgers or office time schedules, which we only do to satisfy tax men or tantalize investigators? Wish I still kept a diary But you see. I get very tired at the end of the day, and besides, nothing interesting happens anv more And so to bed. Prevention is better than a cure By Eva Brewster, freelance writer Sarid, ISRAEL Even before last year's October war, security measures on El Al, Israel's airline, were taken for granted. Nobody liked the idea of having their cameras, tape recorders and other costly equipment reduced to small heaps of screws, wires and batteries but, since it was always expertly assembled again, passengers put up with it for safety's sake. Yet, if anybody thought that practice severe, he'd get an eye opener if he went to Montreal's International Airport now. In fact, you don't have to go much further to find out what Israeli's fear and, at the same time, why one feels so safe on their planes as well as in their country in spite of rumors and reports of terrorist ac- tion in the air and on land. El Al's ticket counter is difficult to find these days. It was moved from its central position opposite the duty free shop to an ob- scure corner at the farthest end of a passage. There, it is the only one of the world's many airlines whose area is roped off against all normal traffic and which is swarming with Israeli security guards. Nobody can get in or out of its few square yards without special permission and severe scrutiny. If you happen to sit on a seat near those ropes, all eyes are trained upon you and, depending on whom they look, the young men may appear friendly and sympathetic or hard and dangerous. I saw the guards' expression change in a flash from the kind of delightful smile my own son would reserve for me to a steel grey threat of a tough agent ready to pounce whenever an unauthorized person, especially one of Arabic or Asian origin, approached the fenced in area too closely. Even outside the ropes, security men walked around with walky talkies and Geiger counters. When the latter started clicking on one occasion, the cause was quickly investigated One man even went from ashtray to ashtray, lifting the tops to make sure no suspicious objects were placed inside containers. If recent news has just revealed that some Red Army Japanese or a Palestinian Libera- tion splinter group have claimed responsibili- ty for the latest air disaster or hijacking, one may be glad to have this kind of protection. Passengers may even forgive the carriers for playing havoc with their time table because EL AL's has the vaguest schedule in ex- istence If you expected to take off at p m... you may be lucky if you leave Canada at midnight and, obviously, your arrival time at your destination is equally doubtful, (for which the weather in New York or Quebec may well be blamed.) What's more, nobody except perhaps the crew knows whether there is an interim stopover and, if there is, whether it's going to be in London, Amster- dam or Pans until you get there. If that con- stitutes a bit of a mystery tour, it also en- sures there is no time-bomb waiting for you at the other end. Similar security is applied within Israel's borders All we ever hear, in Canada is the bare fact that the Israeli army has made yet another excursion into Lebanese territory and attacked some terrorist hide out, but seldom do we find out why it was done or what was discovered. I saw the latest find recently. It was an arsenal of sophisticated weaponry that would make your hair stand on end, capable of wiping out a town. Only afterwards did I learn that Arabs had broken through the border fences in two places and were caught with this cache. One of the young soldiers involved grinned and said casually "I'd much rather go out looking for Easter eggs but, you must admit, searching for weapons is a good second best. After all, prevention is better than a cure, especially when there might be nothing left to cure." Small children would take my hands and laugh every time I winced at an explosion "Haven't you ever heard a supersonic boom, they ask. "A rocket makes a different sound." A little girl led me to the as yet unrepaired school library whose windows were hit during the October war. "You needn't said the five year old, "that happened just once last year. Our soldiers find the rockets now before they are thrown at us." I had to bow to the superior wisdom of my experienced little informant. Dilemmas of modern man Toffler on the future of democracy By Doug Walker, editorial page editor Reflective people are uneasy about the future today The planet on which they live is plagued with problems: shortages of food and energy, excesses of people and pollution: political, economic and value systems under severe strain; breakdowns in health delivery, transportation and decision making machinery: and so on. The dilemmas of modern man seem endless. Some of these perplexing issues were look- ed at recently at the Winnipeg Centennial Symposium on Dilemmas of Modern Man. a special project sponsored by the Great West Life Assurance Company. The subjects dealt with by groups of speakers were, world perspectives, genetics, aging, com- munication, education and economics. At no time was an explanation offered for the choice of topics and perplexity over why some were included probably matched puzzlement over those that were excluded. One participant in the audience, for instance, expressed a regret that religion and philosophy had not been part of the inquiry Others probably wondered how such things as nuclear proliferation, urbanization and pollu- tion could be bypassed. There was no obvious connection between the six topics chosen for consideration. Not even the keynote address by Alvin Toffler provided the glue to hold them together. Strangely, there were times when the dilemma was not made clear. Yet there was plenty of meat and it deserves to be shared with a wider audience than those who assembled in the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg. Much of what Alvin Toffler had to say in his keynote address would familiar to those who have read his book Future Shock. In that book he gave articulation to the effects of accelerating change, especially the effect of shock the disonentation resulting when the future arrives too fast for people to adapt to it In his talk Dr. Toffler locused chiefly on the prospects for the survival of democracy. It is his contention that a revolution is taking place in the 25 industrialized countries of the world the super industrial revolution The industrial system with its materialist values is dying or being threatened with death All the old mechanisms of the industrial society are running out of steam. There are not enough resources to enable the familiar patterns of consumption to continue. Even the supplies that are available can no longer be appropriated or wheedled from their owners nor can cheap labor be expected from minority groups. Change is taking place too rapidly for industrialism to accommodate; the decision making process is breaking down. Today there is no normalcy in national and international affairs. Crises occur with such rapidity that yesterday's can't be remembered. Lasting coalitions are difficult to put together. Social metabolism is speeding up making it necessary to make decisions more rapidly. One of the most noticeable tendencies in the super industrial revolution is for ethnic groups to assert themselves, and sometimes seek to secede. This can be interpreted as a survival strategy. Monocultures are vulnerable, as single crop farmers have found out and as oil dependent societies are dis- covering. Diversification is thus a survival technique. Diversification, however, puts a strain on political systems. It becomes much more dif- ficult to make decisions and make them fast enough The old political games need changing. The question is whether new political models can be designed in time to cope with the new situation. Unless they can the slide toward chaos seems certain to continue. About the only hope Alvin Toffler seemed to offer was for people to recognize that the job is not to save the industrial system It is a thin hope, especially when he offered no evidence that this recognition might be taking place. This is a distressing thing in view of how- much dependency there is on government to get us through the crises that come like waves. Several succeeding speakers saw the resolution of the dilemmas they talked about as being in the ambit of political decision. But. of course. Alvin Toffler is only one analyst of the contemporary scene and he could be wrong A trip down Highway 36 By Marie Sorgard IRON SPRINGS People have a tc-ndency Jo forward 1o the day when they can visit a distant spot, and in their minds visualize the beauty of things such as a sandy beach with palm trees gently swaying in the breeze or perhaps the splendor of Niagara Falls, which, incidentally, is greatly magnified when it is illuminated at night However, the earth abounds with beauty and all too often we are completely oblivious to the intriguing pan- orama 1hat unfolds More our eyes in our evervday life Right here in southern Alberta, particular- h al 1his time of year. Mother Nature uses all Ihe colors of the spectrum when she wields her paint brush and bfauiiiu] scenes for us lo enjoy The CrowsnrM Psv; is '.i 1 Hatcrlr r> Park is. as il i? at anv tirnr M >rar something to behold We had occasion lo travel on Highway 36 from Hanna to Brooks and here another vista of life was unveiled Above us was the dome of a beauliful blue Alberta sky. while to the southwest the gilt edge of a pink lined chinook arch was barely visible Horses were playful- ly kicking up their heels on the Calgary Stampede Ranch, and on (Tins Chnstianson's ranch near Duchess the buffalo were peacefully grazing Hundreds of Canada geese, in migrating formation, were winging their wa> southward, while high overhead a tone eagle soared On the outskirts of Brooks Iwo old pheasants were attentively watching a cove> of partridge AS we observed the oil well pumps but sltadiK pumpirg near Lake Newell we were reminded of our dependence on the earth are gradually being (ic-pleled and which directly or indirect! v affecl almost every facet of our lives ;