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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 8, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta TiiMdqr, October 8, 1974 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD S Communications: shaping the mind As a tribute to the one hundredth birthday of the city of Winnipeg, the Great-West Life Assurance Company will hold a centennial symposium at the Centennial Concert Hall, Oct. 27-30. Entitled the Dilemmas of Modern Maa, the symposium has been designed to bring together some of the world's out-, standing thinkers to discuss where man has been, where he's at and where he's going. To stimulate public interest in some of the major areas of concern with which the sym- posium will deal, a seven-part series has been prepared. This is the sixth' in the series. Will the world of the future be surrounded by dozens of. satellite television cameras spying on people and nations? Will newspapers be trans- mitted direct to homes on an electronic screen? These are-a couple of the major questions the world faces in the field of com- munications and which ex- perts will try to answer at the centennial symposium. We all know of the woman who lives the fantasy lives of her soap opera ab- sorbing the more and morals, the ambitions and the frustrations of the characters she sees on her television screen. In fact, the way all of us think is affected by the media, whether it be television, radio, newspapers, maga- zines, or films. They are a part of our daily lives and few of us stop to consider how they can change our way of thinking and feeling. We rely on the media for in- formation, entertainment, companionship, and, to some extent, our national identity. Through television and other mediums we can see and listen to our prime minister and other government figures and learn the way other Canadians behave and feel. But who decides what we shall be given in terms of programming? Does somebody "up there" decide we should feel or think or see certain things? Someone or some people definitely make these decisions for is. Are they manipulating us without our awareness? Could they make us think or feel about something the way they want us to? Could we all be brainwashed by privately- or government-owned media? Are we already? Mr. Pierre Juneau, chairman of the Canadian Radio and Television Com- mission, who will be speaking at the symposium, feels there is an obvious growing public concern that incessant messages to consume may not be in the public interest. What about the people who financially support the media, for instance? Most media revenue comes from advertising. So com- panies can have their products promoted across the country and around the world. Few advertisers have ever dictated policy or interfered with programming. Do the adver- tisers, nonetheless, really ex- ert a subtle but strong influence on the media they help to support? Dr. Davidson Dunton, a former chairman of the board of governors of the CBC and a speaker at the symposium, has noted that in less than a generation television has become universal and cable television seems to be advanc- ing more swiftly in Canada than in a'ny other country. He wonders who will control the cpntent of such television and "how much information will be produced for Canadians by In Canada we have both private and public television and radio networks, so both government and private owners can determine what we see and hear. Are our tastes and opinions being "homogenized" by the mass media, as Alyin Toffler, another symposium speaker, suggests in his book Future Shock? The networks have been quick to point out the diversity of programming available and the fact that other media, including newspapers and magazines, are relatively free to do and say what they want. What kind of programming will we see in the future? A wide variety of programs or government dictated propaganda programs? Toffler believes "we can an- ticipate networks that broad- cast for such specialized and occupational groups as engineers, accountants and at- torneys." The rate of communication is accelerating every day. In the United States, the average citizen spends 52 minutes a day reading newspapers. He also reads billboards, magazines, books, labels, and so on. It has been calculated that he "ingests" between 000 and words a day. He also spends an average of hours a day listening to radio (another words of influence) and about the same time watching television. There has been a revolution in communications and it is still going on. Britain and many European countries are spending billion this year on new telephone equipment in an effort to catch up with the most telephone-conscious group on earth, the North Americans. According to Business Week magazine, the technological revolution on this side of the Atlantic is overwhelming the telephone industry in Europe: "Europe's creaky old electromechanical switches must be replaced and telephone service must be ex- tended to more customers some believe these changes could put Europe ahead of the U.S. in quality and variety of Book reviews communications services by the early 1980s." And what of the printed word in this day of accelerating communi- cations? A decade ago Sol Cornberg, a prophet in the field of library technology, declared that reading would soon cease to be a primary form of com- munication. Whether or not Cornberg is right, the fact remains that the incredible expansion of knowledge im- plies that each book contains a progressively smaller frac- tion of what is known and that billions of books would even- tually be required to contain all the information. Many major magazines like Life and Look and major daily newspapers like the Toronto Telegram have already folded or merged with others because of the strong competi- tion of electronic media. Will more and more mass publications cease to exist and will Canada end up with just a handful of them, thereby concentrating editorial power in very few hands? Perhaps, but while mass- appeal magazines have gone under, the newstands have 'been flooded with an amazing variety of special-interest publications. Magazines cater now to almost every hobby or interest, almost every lifestyle. To make a nation cohesive we must rely on shared sym- bols. Language is only a small part of these symbols which include our music, theatre, art, advertising, and other nationally accepted images such as the maple leaf on our flag and the beaver on our coins. If we are unable to pro- ject these images and the ac- companying ideas and thoughts across the country, will we lose this identity7 Canada is now fighting for a separate culture through Canadian content programm- ing and other means. But even so Canadian networks have to provide quality Canadian programm- ing that is competitive with that provided by the giant U.S. networks whose programs can be picked up by the majority of Canadians. Communications it shapes us, individually, and it shapes our nation. Who will be able to say what to whom, where and how, in 1980? Freedom of speech is perhaps our most precious liberty. It also, therefore, imposes the most heavy demands on the maturity, wisdom, and foresight of man if it is to be protected. Provincial competition winners "Bird at the Window" by Jan Truss (Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, S7.95, 178 Bird at the Window, was the winner in the first provincial government sponsored Search for a New Alberta- Novelist Competition. It's an impor- tant "first" in Canadian literature and of special interest to Southern Albertans since author Jan Truss taught school in this area. Angela Moynahan, soon to graduate from a high school in the foothills of the Rockies, discovers she is pregnant. Unable to confide in her parents, she seeks advice from Mr. Olson, her English teacher, and finally goes to England for a working holiday. She makes new friends, meets some dis- agreeable relatives, and then moves to London to await the birth of her baby. When Angela returns to Canada she finds that the problems and agonizing loneliness of the last months have given her strength and determination to cope with new burdens. Jan Truss writes with com- passion and understanding about the problems of a young girl who has to face a heavy ordeal on her own. She has a Inns-Canada Telephone Sjstem in-depth communications study to help you put your finger on everyday business problems! Once you've identified a business communications problem, you're half way to beating it. There's a man who will help you do both. An AGT Communications Consultant is a trained business researcher. He works with you and your people. Gets to grips with information gaps. Helps you to put your finger on communications problems and shows you how they can be eliminated. Whether your business is local, national or international in scope, it makes good sense to talk with an AGT Communication Consultant. His in-depth study costs nothing and can mean greater efficiency and an improved profit picture for you. Scottish Nationalists hopeful By Dr. Ernest Mardon, University of Lethbridge professor TALK WITH A COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT FROM Edmonton 425-2110 Crfgwy 261-3111 Other: DM "O" and Mk for Zenith 33000 (to! fine command of the English language and shows an in- timate knowledge of life in a rural community. This is a very good first novel. TERRY MORRIS "Breakaway" by Cecelia Frey (Macmillan of Canada, 183 pages, Cecilia Frey summarizes her story as being "about the birth and growth of the creative consciousness." Descriptive and accurate as it is, this summary, in itself, would probably encourage only the philosophic and analytic scholar to read Breakaway. The book deserves a much larger audience than that. Written with warm sen- sitivity without maudlin sen- timentality the story is about a family farming in northern Alberta during the thirties. the eyes of Lia, a child in the family, the reader recognizes the variety of sounds, sights and smells that flood in from the very beginn- ing to influence individuals and la add demension to the meaningful encounters of any life. Floodgates of memory will be opened for those readers who grew up in the rural areas of the prairies. With remarkable accuracy, Cecelia Frey has recaptured familiar details of pre war farm life. It is not all painted with sweetness and light; the fun of community parties and the satisfaction of bountiful crops are balanced with a sudden hailstorm and the death of a much wanted colt. Cecelia Frey, who lives in Calgary, is to be congratulated as a finalist in the Search for a new-Alberta-Novelist com- petition. Her book is highly recommended to those who appreciate sympathetic intui- tion and careful writing. ELSPETH WALKER "Lonesome Hero" by Fred Stenson' (Macmillan of Canada, 182 pages, 17.95) Southern Albertans will be particularly interested in Lonesome Hero. Its author was born in Pincher creek in 1961, graduated in Economics from the University of Calgary and is now of Twin Butte. Tyrone, the main character in the novel, is young, like Fred Stenson. There is, therefore, the temptation to wonder if the author is being autobiographical in describing the experiences, frustrations and dreams of his "lonesome hero." Certainly other young men, trying to find their own "iden- tity" will understand Tyrone's quest for uniqueness and his straggle with learning to cope with the parents and peers of his life. Perhaps the author tries overmuch to be trendy in his writing. The story picks op in interest and polish as it progresses. Fred Stenson is to be en- couraged to continue writing. Lonesome Hero was chosen as a finalist in the Search for a new Alberta Novelist com- A wind of change is moving across the Highlands towards the Lowlands of Scotland that possibly may result in an independent Scottish nation by the end of the present decade. The British general election, the second one this year, is slated for October 10th. It is ex- pected to produce many surprises. One sur- prise that is within the realm of possibility is that more than half of the 71 Scottish seats in. Westminster may be captured by the Scottish National Party. In the 1970 general election Labor obtained 47 per cent of the votes cast in Scotland. This was compared to 37 per cent for the Conser- vatives and 11'per cent for the Nationalists. Traditionally Scotland has returned a majori- ty of Labor candidates to Westminster. In the recent general election, the Nationalist vote was increased to 22 per cent of the total. In February.Labor obtained 37 per cent while the Conservatives held on to 33 per cent. Seven per cent went to the Liberals. The stan- dings in the last House of Commons were 40 Labor members, 21 Conservatives, 7 Nationalists and 3 Liberals. A recent secret report drawn up by Labor party researchers, indicated that at least 17 formerly "safe" Labor seats could tumble to the Scottish Nationalists. Many of the traditionally "safe" Conservative seats are also threatened. It is worth noting that the SNP vote has been doubling in each of the past three elections. One cause for the upsurge in national senti- ment has been the discovery of vast petroleum deposits off the east coast of Scotland. The North Sea oil has given financial credibility to the more than 200-year dream of Scots for complete independence. Petroleum revenues, which are expected to run into the billions of dollars by the end of the decade, would give the proposed nation of five million persons a viable financial base. During the past hundred years, more than two million Scots have been forced to leave their homeland because of lack of opportunity and jobs. Many an exile would like to return to the glens. The Nationalists have declared that it is inevitable that independence will come. The Scots believe they have a nation and a culture apart from the English. The national aspirants are joining forces and feel victory will be theirs. The nationalists would repeal the 1707 Act of Union which joined the two kingdoms under one Parliament. But they would go farther; they would hold a referen- dum on membership in the European Common Market. And the chances are that an Independent Scotland would become like Norway or Switzerland. It has always rankled the Scots that their independence was lost in a bloodless coup because of the political manoeuvring of the small pro-English party in the country during the reign of the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne. However, now there is a belief that Scotland can go it alone on a sea of North Sea oil. During recent years neither the Labor nor Conservative parties have taken seriously the aspirations of the Scots. Both parties have been guilty of ridiculing the national sen- timent. However, in recent months both have decided to attempt to woo Scottish voters. The minority Labor government has just published a White Paper on the proposed devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales. This government document 'suggested assemblies with limited powers. This may be too little and too late. These proposed half measures may have been acceptable in the 1960s. Most Scots would today accept as fair a Canadian style federalism. But the White Paper does not go this far. The October election may see a further drift away from the old-line parties towards the Nationalist movement and could result in the rebirth of an independent Scot- tish nation. Democratic responsibility Editor's Npte: Any Canadian who con- sistently reads the monthly "letter" of the Royal Bank is much the better citizen and person for it. These essays are wise, interesting, timely and versatile. The Oc- tober letter, in discussing democracy, deals mostly with the federal and provincial scene. The following excerpts are of equal impor- tance to the civic elections this month. Democracy is a form of government for free and upright people who take pride in governing themselves, and who do govern themselves. It is not by chance, but by enlightened development, that government in Canada provides what people all over the world desire: a liberal environment; a fluid society free from class barriers; opportunity to choose and to progress in profession or trade according to one's ambition, ability and energy; liberty to stand up and speak out for things in which one believes; and the power to choose those who are to have the authority to maintain these freedoms. Canadians have confidence that their aspirations can be met within this system. Many other nations have democratic con- stitutions that are as perfect as Canada's, but Canada has added an ingredient: she has given a valuable demonstration that tolerance must be an intrinsic part of any real democracy. Ours is representative government, con- sisting in the people's power to select and replace the executive charged with the task of administering the country's business. Instead of a town meeting we have govern- ment by elected representatives. That government represents the electors by mak- ing decisions in their behalf. Representation by selection is a very great thing. The members of Parliament form a deliberative assembly with one interest: that of the whole nation. Its members cease to be parochial. They owe the nation their broad- gauge unbiased opinions, their mature judg- ment, and their enlightened consciences. They may receive the advice of their con- stituents, but they are not obliged to follow that advice if they believe it to be inconsistent with the general interests of their country. As people of conscience they have full freedom to act as their judgment prompts them to act Every person elected to Parliament is a leader in that he represents thousands of per- sons in their effort to build a community in which they can live safely and happily. The future of Canada depends upon the willingness of the people to be led by compe- tent and conscientious representatives in government, and on the willingness and abili- ty of the leaders to serve the people upon such terms as the democratic people will accept. Leaders need to be sensitive to what is significant and what is trivial and to be prepared to rise above sectional and selfish interests. They need to have minds attuned to coping with events and crises. They should cultivate the capacity Churchill showed when he united the British people and lifted them above what divided them. No member should allow himself to be oppressed by granitic convictions on a sub- ject under debate. He should be willing to hear what is said to him by his constituents, his party members and those opposed to biro. On the other he should beware of slipping into the groove of governing by public opinion polls. Depending upon the man- in-the-street for advice on a legal measure or on the conduct of business with a foreign country is about as futile as for the captain of a ship to consult his passengers upon problems of navigation. The public figure go- ing around always with his ear to the ground is in an ungainly posture, and it is difficult for him to look like a leader. Parts of a leader's duty is to persuade his fellow citizens to pursue not that which seems most pleasant, easy or profitable at the moment, but to prefer that which is just and honorabje and best in the long run. The representative of the people in a parliamentary democracy would be delin- quent in his duty if he presented a picture postcard view of the promised land as the ideal to be aimed at. The building of Utopia must be in line with the resources of the country. Plato, in designing his ideal Republic, lived in an age so stinted in necessities and so scanty in comfort that he bad only to provide that there would be enough territory on which to grow food, and that the inhabitants must not let their wants exceed the bounties of nature. Utopia cannot be anything else but a place where men and women will mind their business and do their assignment of work diligently for the'sake of living well. Nevertheless, the educational value of painting Utopias has repeatedly been es- tablished by the fact that many Utopian ideals have been realized through the democratic process. The good society is above all a society that is examining and learning and putting into practice. It attends to what needs to be done today, but it has eyes for the horizon toward which it is moving. Every member of Parlia- ment should look for and work toward better things: indeed, if he does not do so bow can he be a wise guardian of present things? Then, in co-operation with the people, he can address himself to expanding the satisfactions of life, by binding the parts of Canada together not only in geography out in the bond of participating citizenship. Instead of seeking merely a higher standard of living, Canadians will try unitedly to improve the quality of life. pook review. The inexpensive log cabin petition. ELSPETH WALKER "How to MM Home in tfte Wooto" by Bradford Angler (George J. McLeod, Ltd., 310 pages, Anyone can build a log cabin. No special skill, such as axmanship. is needed. Logs can easily be squared into position by saw alone. Log constraction has been called costly. Yet one of the cabins described in these pages was built by one man in three days for less than two dollars. Windows can be installed with lumberjack finesse for the price of the glass alone. Trappers have a number of ways of making stoves at no expense other than that of pipe. The wool-shrrted pioneers who hewed log houses out of the North American wilderness were, in large part, inexperienced men, working in a maximum of haste with a minmram of tools. If there had been anything complex about log work, they would have turned to some other type of building. Log cabins are still at the disposal of poor and rich, weak and strong, inept and skilled alike. The folly of "spending the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty daring the least valuable part of it" was ridiculed by Henry David Thoreaa who elected to make his home in the woods over a century ago. He pointed out the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. They make themselves sick thai they may lay op something against a sick dry. Their inces- sant anxiety is almost an incurable form of disease. There is still room in the world for those who woald make the procession back to the land and the inexpensive log cabin and this book shows yon bow. _____ CHRIS STEWART ;