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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 11, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta If you want the kids to read ban the box By John Croiby, London Observer commentator Thuridiy, October 11, 1973 THE LETK -GE HERALD 5 Complaints that television is a prime cause of illiteracy among children have been denied by Miss Monica Sims, head of Britain's BBC children's programs. Big sur- prise Some day the head of BBC children's programs will admit that television is bad for kids' reading habits and the world will blow up the next day. Miss Sims trotted out all the arguments we have heard before that television actually Increases reading among children because the minute the BBC does EMMA there is a run on Jane Austen at the library Similarly, the Brontes Or Galsworthy. If children look at the BBC long enough, they will be cultured, witty, wise beyond their years. Also, handsome, healthy, six feet tall and enor- mously rich. If you believe any of this malarky, you are out of your tiny mind. The fact is that all television, including BBC children's programs which I am prepared to admit are the world's best (although the French are pretty good, causes illiteracy among children. Television should be banned from the nursery set. No, not rationed. Banned. Altogether. Forbidden. I have reared two sets of children and, believe me, I know whereof I speak Television is not just a sub- stitute for reading; it is an en- tirely different, extremely rudimentary and very much worse method of information gathering. The images flow out of the box like a wave of molasses and envelop the child He becomes blotting paper, not a sentient human being at all Television is mind crippling. On the other hand when you read anything this column, Shakespeare, pornography, it doesn't matter which a very com- plicated, enormously intricate bundle of responses are set in motion BERRY'S WORLD Try a word, any word, say STOP. It's nothing but a hieroglyphic to a child. To you it starts a chain reaction in- volving memory, instant alarm, even muscular action. Try any word girl (good word, blood, money. They instantly suggest a dozen things; the mind is alive, vibrant. Just a squiggle, those words, meaningless until you learn to read. It's a little miracle what a word on a piece of paper can do to the literate. It's what sets us off from the animals, to coin a phrase. But when a child sees one horseman shooting down another horseman on the little screen he is seeing what your dog sees. No more. You're putting him back into the jungle a million years ago. Do you want to do that' I don't Say it's impossible to teach a child how to read while at the same time exposing him to television Obviously it can be done, but it's putting an enor- mous burden on his little mind employing two kinds of in- formation methods at once Television invented reading difficulties The problem was unheard of before TV. The phrase "remedial reading" sprang into being within a year after television became widespread because no such thing had ever been necessary before When I was growing up, my mother and everyone else's mother had exactly the opposite problem She had to prevent, or at least limit, reading to keep me from doing nothing else. Kids used to read books by flashlight under the bedclothes. Reading was a forbidden delight. The reason I'm so violent on the subject is that I've just en- countered the problem for the second time My five-year-old was a real TV addict. Anything that flickered on the screen he'd watch. I even caught him one day watching Wedgwood Benn (Surely that can't be good for a five-year- old child.) He started reading at school with enormous gusto, as all kids do It was a new game, tremendously ex- citing, and he couldn't wait to show it off. He did very well At first. Then progress slowed. A page of print became a page of glue The in- terval between words stretch- ed to infinity. Listening to him read was agony for both of us I banned television. It just takes a little character, parents One day you just say "no more." I expected an ex- plosion of wrath, tears, pitful screams. Actually he made very little fuss It was almost as if he were expecting it. The cure worked like magic Within a week, he was reading well again The joy of reading the sheer bright eyed wonder of words and the flow of imagination they evoke returned instantly After all, books are all he has now Now he wants to read to me a bit more than I want to be read to With a little bit of luck, I'll have the same trouble with him my mother had with me reading under the bedclothes I truly think that letting kids watch television should be against the law, and you mark my words, some day it will be. In some more enlightened time, the idea of exposing in- nocent children to television will be looked upon much like slipping a little gin into their milk to make them sleep. Bar- baric. One more word on the same subject The other day Minister of State Mark Carli- sle of the home office said that television bears a major responsibility for the increase of violence on the streets Weil, well, I thought We're going to hear all the old arguments again. My epodness. violence on TV doesn't make you 'commit violence. Not at all1 What it does, see, is release your own pent-up sadism (you didn't know you were a sadist but you are, you are) harmlessly into the air, like a belch Instead of actually going out and raping a lot of little girls you just watch it on TV, and that gets it out of your system and you actually become a better man for it Television people have to say things like that and, what's more, believe them or how would they face themselves in the mirror next day. But you don't have to believe such bloody nonsense Book reviews RCMP historian's presentation 1973 by NEA. Inc "Lef's watch this show about the outdoors. There's nothing like getting back to "The Pictorial History of The Royal Canadian Mounted Police" by Stanley W. Horall. (McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., 256 pages. Stanley Horrall, the RCMP historian, traces the history of the force from its adventurous beginning to today's highly sophisticated police force Available in either English or French, this book is far more than a pictorial history It is a well-written, interesting ac- count of Canada's famous red- coated Mounties One noticeable error in the book occurs on page 59 where pictures of Crowfoot, Chief of the Blackfoot, and Blood Chief Red Crow, are transposed. Southern Alberta gets vast coverage in the book One amusing story concerns liquor smuggling in Lethbridge in the 1880s Notorious Fort Whoop-Up is also featured, and if you ever wanted to quit drinking, you'd give it up for sure upon discovering what was in a jug at the old fort quart of whisky, a pound of chewing tobacco, a handful of red peppers, one bottle of Jamaica ginger, a quart of molasses, and a dash of red ink Quite a concoction. Creation of the force was due primarily to the work of Canada's first prime PHILCO and ACME TELEVISION LTD. present their FALL featuring PHILCO COLOR TELEVISION LIMITED QUANTITIES Many, Many, More Unadvertised Specials MAS SHIGFhfIRO PHILCO 25" COLOR TV fl I IK CO' Ipn pO'Try nil i I n shi d in maich Aiimn iluros itu UK c HirvtslSiHSpKiil S529 PHILCO 26" COLOR TV finisiiorl popular Spinish Poem and W ilnut Ft'Unrps incliirii HMVtST SALE SPECIAL S649 PHILCO 26' COLOR TV HinrlSI Sill Spicill 569 PHILCO 26" COLOR TV F no r Uv "P w mil I n si Fpili ff iilmlt HARVEST SALE SPECIAL 599 Harvest Sale Specials available at botn locations. ACME TELEVISION LTD. 13th StrMt North "We Service What We Sell" Collcgt Mall Sir John A Mac- donald On Aug. 30, 1873 an Order-m-Council was signed by Governor-General Lord Duffenn, bringing the force into existance on paper at least By Sept 25, 1873 the first officers were signed and the enlisted men soon followed Among the early recruits was the son of the renowned author Charles Dickens. The Mounties are now a liv- ing legend, brought about in many respects by the silver screen, and the likes of Nelson Eddy, Jeannette MacDonald and Allan Ladd Paintings, TV (shows, (remember CBC's 'Maintain the Right, wisely ig- nored by the radio, comics like Sgt Preston of the Yukon and King of the Royal Mounted all helped the Moun- tie become world recognized On the serious side of the legend, there was the force's work in preventing Indian trouble during its early days, the tragedies like the manhunts for Almighty Voice and the mad trapper, Albert Johnson; the lost patrol, the labor disputes, and numerous other events throughout the country that have seen the Mounties give their lives for the service of their country The book traces, through photos and text, the force's evolvement from use of horses, dog teams and forts to the employment of airplanes, ships, helicopters and snow- mobiles. It is a well presented book, not deep and involved, but informative and in- teresting all the same GARRY ALLISON Books in brief "Fielding's Super Economy Europe '73" by Nancy and Temple Fielding (George J. McLeod, Ltd., 911 This is the seventh edition of Nancv and Temple Fielding s Super Economy guide to Europe This is the guide the two well-known authorities on travel put out for the Europe- goers who want to save themselves some monev Like all the Fielding's guides, it is practical and 'tells you what vou need to know for daily life abroad JUDI WALKER "Suzy Prudden's Creative Fitness for Baby and Child" by Suzy Prudden and Jeffrey Sussman, (George J. McLeod Limited. 160 pages, This is the first book I've seen about exercises for babies It's full of photographs showing exercises for babies and children The writer started an exer- cise class with six two-year olds in November, 1968, and by February, 1969 had 100 tots going through the routine She adds stories and games to the exercises and by the time they graduate into kindergarten they've got the world by the tail Lots of fun1 A great program for tiny tots D'ARCY RICKARD Problems, problems, problems By Louis Burke, local writer Problems and education go together like man and wife Wherever the one is the other is sure to be found, and in Lethbridge, there surely exist problems in students, problem-parents, teachers, of- ficials, administrators, even a problem- public grown fat and somewhat apathetic to every kind of problem especially those related to education Although we have significant local problems, they grow pale when matched with others elsewhere. The U S has a declining birthrate, seemingly a victory for the ad- vocates of abortion and chemical contracep- tion But it needs 2 1 children per family to keep its society at zero growth It produces, however, only 1 8 children per family and has been doing so for some five years now The result is to be seen in the thousands of grade one classrooms which are empty this year. That nation has gone from a baby "boom" to a baby and there is no lov in that nation when the implications are reckoned with National disaster in very form looms on the horizons' Education in England is far from happy these days. In the attempt to equalize educational opportunity, racial war rages on the school grounds in many large cities and spills over into residential areas in Liverpool, London and half a dozen other cities. Sometimes, in big comprehensive in- stitutions, it takes the form of gang warfare between those classed as non-academics and others belonging to the academic streams. The knife is not uncommon as wearing ap- parel and has been used resulting in some playground murders Student strikes occur with increasing frequency Nor are both Ireland and France without their problems For decades, amoral officials have been setting examinations designed to fail maximum numbers in both countries Ireland introduced free education for all at the secondary level, but failed to provide ade- quate structures to cater for the great in- creases which occurred It took a student revolt in 1968 to shift France away from the "Lycee" system strictly a grammar- school-cream-of-the-crop form of education. It stressed the learning of facts to the nth degree leaving no room whatsoever for in- dividual differences or equal educational op- portunity, and all that in the land of equality! Switzerland, the land of perfect design, cranks along on 25 different, antiquated, educational entities Each province, or can- ton, has its own system and for reasons related to educational mechanics, language and religion, it is next to impossible to move from one part to another without great loss m school credits The country is a clock shop containing 25 time pieces each ticking along in its own merry way none showing the same or correct time1 That, however, is no excuse for those runn- ing Alberta's schools Although our problems fade somewhat when focus is applied elsewhere, it means there are better oppor- tunities here to establish a more perfect form of education Most certainly, problems exist in Lethbridge. too A meow, meow here By Chris Stewart, Herald Staff Writer Something has to be done about the mounting stray cat problem in Lethbridge and surrounding district The city's pound makes no provision for their pick up They will keep cats (picked up in Lethbridge) for a day or two providing residents bring them in, but they essentially provide a service for Lethbridge dogs (not rural dogs) and certain- ly not cats. Meanwhile incidents of cruelty to cats including cats with their tails cut off and being speared with fishhooks are mounting A handful of 35 dedicated residents, trying to cope with this spiralling problem, organiz- ed the Lethbridge and District Humane Socie- ty three years ago They are trying to operate without a budget, no business phone, office premises or animal shelter They pick up, feed and house stray animals, meeting the ex- penses out of their own pockets and use their annual membership fees and receipts from bake sales to pay for vet's costs They realiz- ed from their last bake sale with of it going for vet's services The president Mrs George Kandel has housed as many as 15 stray cats in her basement kitchen Members are plagued with out-of-town re- quests to pick up stray animals On one occa- sion it took the president 2Vz days and finally reverting to giving the animal transquilizers to quieten a frightene'd, stranded and vicious dog and her three puppies before Mrs Kandel could approach them In many cases a caller with several vehicles sitting in her driveway will wait all day (while interrupting Mrs Kandel by phoning at intervals, enquiring "Why haven't you come yet9'') until Mrs Kandel s husband can pick up the strays after work Finding homes for the strays is a regular job for executive members who phone friends and acquaintances requesting thej house the stranded animals 'It s getting so now that the minute a friend answers the phone and recognizes my voice she immediately announces. 'No, -I can t take any more reports the ex- asperated president Members have received praise for their ef- forts from the Lethbridge city fathers but found they accomplished nothing when they recommended recently that the city's bylaw be broadened to include stray cat pick-up. Their suggestions were never implemented. A check with the animal shelter revealed it would be necessary to increase the staff (there are four at present) and possibly add an additional vehicle (there are now two pick- jp trucks) if cat pick-up was to be im- plemented But being complimented for their commen- dable work doesn't pay the mounting costs Humane Society members are facing They have now decided to seek a civic grant What is needed is a healthy contribution by the and surrounding towns served by the society (in many cases it is the preponderance of abandoned cars in rural areas that provide breeding, places for the felines) Enough money is needed to cover members' out-of-pocket expenses, including their gas and vet's fees, as well as providing the society with a business phone (at present distress calls are taken by any member receiving calls at home) No one caring for stranded animals as these pet lovers are do- ing should be asked by an area as large as Lethbridge and district to pay the expenses as well Escape doesn't lead to better life From the Spokane Spokesman-Review Disenchantment with the American way of life hits all of us at one time or another but we may learn some lessons from Americans who have moved to Australia Here in America we often dream of escap- ing the hassles of urban and suburban life by tearing up our roots and moving to some ex otic "far off place with an inviting climate of freer movement. Australia, however, like many places in the world is changing. Americans there are finding they not only have to deal with the same problems we have here but with some added discomforts Cities are becoming overcrowded because few want to settle in the hostile midland The result is the emergence of traffic problems drugs, crime and racial the Americans tried to escape Although these problems are just gathering strength, an inflation increase of eight per cent annually certainly won't help matters Naturally, to avoid the bumper-to-bumper urban world, Australians move to suburbs and Americans there who do the same find themselves in the same suburban slump they tried to escape Some Americans claim that the slower Australian pace makes it easier to fall into a dull daily routine They also find it difficult to take part fully in Australian life because Australians, although friendly, are not willing to allow Americans to make many decisions that affect Australians Americans soon discover they have to con- form to Australian standards of behavior and that Australians are not so tolerant when it comes to decisions in professional life It may be a difficult reality to grasp, but, despite disturbing problems here, we are better off than most nations If we can't sur- mount the problems that exist here, there is even a stronger likelihood other nations will have a tougher time tackling the problems as we move into the space age The American experience in Australia, nevertheless, can be a beneficial experience It ma> enlighten us enough to push harder to understand human needs in a sometimes crushing fast-paced society To simply give in to the notion that the hopes and needs represented by the Australian dream can't be realized in America is giving up the idea that we as individuals can make any changes for the better. ON THE USE OF WORDS By Theodore M Word oddities. We generally think of a base as the lowest part, and if we do, the following sentence sounds ridiculous "The base price is the highest price charged during the month just before the freeze went into effect Ap- parently the base can be both the bottom and the top How come' The answer is that although the primary meaning of base is the lowest part, it has other meanings, too One of them is a starting point for an action 01 operation, and that is the sense m which it is used in the phrase base price. Well, at least we've gotten to the bottom of that Not so much. A common but really correc- table error is exemplified in the following sentence "Janusz Korzak is being honored not so much for a final act of self-denial but for the rich life leading to that final act, much of it recorded in volumes for and about children But is properly used when we are saying, "Not A but It would be proper if the foregoing sentence read. "He is being honored not for a tmal act of self-denial but for the rich life, etc However, when we are saying, "Not so much A." the proper conjunc- tion is as. The error usually occurs not so much because the writer doesn't know better as because he gets involved in a longish- sentence and forgets that he has written not so much. The solution to this problem, as to so many others in English usage, is to read over what has been written and read it with a critical eye Dash to cannibalism. How punctuation can alter meaning has been discussed here previously Now Bernard Hillman of Philadelphia comes up with a chestnut that il- lustrates that thesis further It consists of two sentences as follows 1 'What are we having for dinner. Mother'' 2 "What are we having for Cute9 ;