Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, September 6, 1973 THE LETHBRiOGE HIRAID Reviva of old-fashioned mora ity" By Shaun Herron, Herald special commentator The New York Times has been polling sociologists, anthropologists and people of that ilk about the future of the family. As you know, according to a multitude of minnows, the fam- ily has about had it. There is no purpose it can usefully serve, they tell us. and when Doris Anderson writes on it in her monthly morsel of wisdom in Chatelaine, one gets the im- pression that she can't wait till it's all over. The sociologists and anthro- pologists, if the cnes the New York Times has talked to are any guide, do not agree with the minnows (mind you there are plenty of sociological and minnows, but the NYT went for the They consulted Spock. of course, who is neither, but once wrote a book about bringing up babies which more than half the young mothers in America followed like a scripture; then Spock said oops, I was wrong. It did his reputation no harm at all for by this time he had taken up war and peace and no- body heard his corrections. Spock thinks people will go on getting married and raising families: they'll just do it of- tener. Haven't you found often, and to your amusement, that great experts come to us with conclusions the day-to-day facts of life have already told us all about? One of these days one of them is going to rush out of a cubby hole somewhere and tell us in ecstacy: "Man walks It is true, of course, that nYVcn 1973 by KEA, "Remember vjhen 'going through a phase' re- ferred to kids, and didn't have anything to do with the time and again men have lived through great social changes without really noticing them. Perhaps something's happening here that we haven't seen yet. One of the things that is not happening is the destruction of the family and some of the NYT anthropologists and sociol- ogists see as the cheaper purveyors of their sort of wis- dom have not seen that one of the reasons, and the most fundamental reason, for its sur- vival is need. We strive so hard for a flat- tering a self-flattering view of human nature because we need one. Isn't that why we drummed up a case to jus- tify legalized homosexuality? Yet one of the arguments, put up to justify that peculiar step, that there are homosexuals in the animal kingdom, isn't all that flattering to our aspira- tions. A great deal of what we say about prisons is based on this intense longing to believe we are better than we are. But a great English expert on the Soviets, writing the other day on Em Philby, said flatly what many of us don't want to believe: Some men are born bad. We're still trying to pre- tend, in new forms of words, that the villain of all our pieces is "environment." Which is a fancy version of that even one: My mother is to blame. Yet when it comes to assess- ing the staying power of one of our basic institutions, we or some among us seem re- luctant to acknowledge that mere human need is the guar- antee of the continuance of the family. Make the idea of life as dashing as you please, puff us up with the notion of adven- ture, independence and free- dom from restraint, especially the restraints that belong to the corporate life of the family, but the fact remains that the young need to suckle and most women need to bear children and both need a context in which to sustain one another. It is foolish, indeed rather stu- pid, to argue that the inevitable strains that arise as all the members of a family grow older and therefore change their per- spectives, are evidence that the family is doomed. The truth seems to be that living in the midst of change, we are confus- ed by voices trying to interpret change, and since the herd in- stinct is strong in us and ne- cessary to us we follow our chosen bulls without too much thought and take up positions because we can't bear not to have answers to difficult ques- tions. In consequence all of us, but especially the young, (but not only the do you remem- ber June Callwood of Toronto, who ecstatically welcomed Flower Power as the new re- demptive philosophy. Where is it now? But June is still there, now an expert on Monarchy for the Journal of Every New Wind That Blows, (Maclean's magazine) in consequence all of us, but especially the young, are subject to commercial ver- sions of the latest true view. Adults get them in glossy maga- zines, our children get them from the song writers. Have you heard the one about the two young people who didn't need a ring and a contract to live together because they love one another How new is that view? Didn't Book Reviews I hear that one when I was young? Was it you, madam, and you. madam, on whom t tried it when I was young? Mere fornication is as natural as eating; so is genuine love. It is. part of the function of a civil- ized morality to distinguish the one from the other. It is net part of a "progressive" moral- ity to sell to the young sexual gimmicks that are as old as man. And these songs we hear on the radio, fanning the maud- lin longings we all knew at that age, are not the cultural ex- pression of a new morality, they are the cheap talentless imitations of Romantic poetry, produced by talentless Shel- leys and Byrons who probably have no notion that they are in a line of succession, run thin by overwork. They say all this "contempor- ary guff" is coming to an end because of the latest of many revivals in old-fashioned moral- ity. Isn't it more likely that we're just getting tired, and would like to settle down again into comfortable forms, be- cause we need comfortable forms? They do enable us to get on with the business of living. Pevton Place tone "The Two Faces of Dr. Col- lier" by Elizabeth Seifert (Dodd, Mead and In an age when doctors con- tinually, play the superhuman role in TV programs, it was rather refreshing to delve into a story about a doctor who was very much a human being. To his patients and at socials Dr. Collier portrayed the spar- kling image of a likeable and efficient general practitioner. However, at other times he exemplified the spoiled rich kid attitude that led to illegal drug sales, back-room abortions, love affairs and drunkenness. If the doctor's practice had been in an urban area, his spare time activities would likely have remained private and his Telephone System company During the day you can save money by making DIRECT DISTANCE DIALING a business economy policy, rather than calling person to person. And after 6 p.m. most ODD calls can save you even more. >sDial Direct calls go at the low station-to-station rate, and save you a lot of time in the bargain. Even ?f you only make a few long distance calls, the savings ;can add upvto dollars a month. ?WhV not ftaverali AGT Service Advjser conduct a DDD seminar for your -staff in your office? It'need only tafte 20 minutes. Bui it can make a to.your company's phone bill! DIAL SAVINGS DIRECT public relations capabilities would have stood him in good stead in the social ranks, but in the small town of Two Bridges he was the telk of the town. The author chose to write the book in the first person with a former world famous pianist written into the leading role. As a result of an airplane crash she moves out of the en- tertainment scene into Two Bridges where she visited Dr. Collier regularly for treatment of her injuries. She became ob- sessed with the gossip of the town when she cultivated friendships v.ilh the doctor's wife, mother, nurse and law- yer. The whole plot is rather biz- arre and slightly over-written. The author underestimates her readers by continually repeat- ing characteristic traits which tends to bore rather than aid the reader. Nevertheless, if one wishes to read about the man in white in a Peyton Place atmosphere then the effort to read this book will be rewarding. JIM GRANT Books in brief "Janus" by Robert James, (Dodd, Mead and Company Limited. 248 pages, Janus is the story of Skip MacDonald, a young man wiio wins control of a huge indus- trial empire and wants to use his new power for the greater good of society. The youthful visionary discovers that the realities of the business world make it difficult to achieve his amVaons. Author Robert James is a senior officer in a major cor- poration and has used his spe- cial knowledge "to give us an interesting insight into the pow- er structure of big business. This is a very readable novel with suspense maintained until the last page. TERRY MORRIS "Opposites" by Richard Wil- bur. (Longman Canada Lim- ited, Richard Wilbur, his wife and four children, played the fol- lowing game around their din- ner table; someone would sug- gest a word and the others would join in about its oppo- site. The result of this game is this delightful book which every lover of the English language will enjoy for its unique and humorous rhymes. Protessor Wilbur is known for his poetry and translations and has wxm many awards and prizes. This book shall delight the very small ones if read aloud to them or can be useful for older children for playing games with words. GERTA PATSON "Bicycling for Fun and Good Health" by Kenneth E. Luther (VVilsliire Book Com- pany, 11 fi pages, paperback, The popularity of bicycling can be partly gauged by the number of books being publish- ed about it. This book encour- ages bike riding by providing all sorts of information and in- ducements (health, fun, econ- It includes a novel sec- tion of bicycle games, hints on maintenance, types of bicycles, etc. A useful and attractive book. DOUG WALKER Some random thoughts By Greg Hales, local writer During my term (albeit short) as a teacher I have never heard an admini- strator speak of "the agony of nor of anything synonymous with much less declare that "agony" was the reasrm for "escaping the classroom" and seeking an administrative position. Individuals who speak of the "agony" of teaching when describing administra- tors are perhaps projecting their own feel- ings onto the motives of others. If such is the case, and these teachers do in fact feel genuine "agony" when encountering a group of children, one won- ders why such persons remain in the teaching profession. It seems a basic as- pect of man's nature to avoid pain (agony) whenever possible. And surely it is pos- sible for one to remove oneself from "the agony of the classroom." A certain pedagogy has arisen of late. Its source may be in the rallying cry for "relevancy." This pedagogy has me somewhat con- fused; I possess uncertain thoughts about it. It is not practiced yet at the public school level, but it is well established at the university lei-el and may be encoun- tered in a variety of faculties and disci- plines. The justification for this new pedagogy, or leastwise the one I have heard so far. is that "you get out of the course what you put into it." The immediate query, of course, is that if that is the case, why take the course at all. To get out what one puts in is hardly a purpose for education: for then one would leave exactly as he entered. An an indicator commonly used that learn- ing has taken place, in fact the indicator to which all educators have ascribed in the past decades or so. is that change has occurred in the learner. But if the learner gets out only what ha puts in, will he have changed, will he have learned? these new pedagogues will say, 'the statement is not to be taken liter- ally. It is meant to be a figurative expres- sion only, and what it really means is that if one participates, by contributing to class discussions, one will learn in proportion to one's contribution the more you put in, the more you get out.'1 My concern remains. For if I add five of my opinions and get them back or if I add one hundred of my opinions -and get them back, there is no qualitative differ- ence. the new pedagogues will insist, "the point is being missed again. For not only will one person be contributing opin- ions but the rest of the class will be con- tributing theirs, and surely everyone will gain." Perhaps. But I am in need of more con- vincing. Presumably one takes a course, not because he is master of it in any way. but precisely because he is not. What results then is that one speaks, mainly, out of ignorance. And nothing exists which would suggest otherwise or any of one's fellow students. A pooling of ignorances on the subject occurs. Is this the benefit one is to derive from the course? Is this the meaning Of the statement "you get out of the course what you put into K it is, I am still concerned about the educational efficacy of the matter. For I find that a cafeteria af- fords me just such an opportunity, if only I will take advantage of it. So I confess, I am still confused by this, new pedagogy. If someone can offer me further clarification on the matter I shall be deeply indebted. T have the suspicion there is something pertinent for educators in this Sufi pro- verb: "Show a man too many camels' bones, or show them to him too often, and he will not be able to recognize a camel when he comes across a live one." (Mirza Ahsan of ANDY RUSSELL saiv-w. WATERTON LAKES PARK "When out- doors in the evening in the forested re- gions of western Canada in early spring, it is not unusual to hear a long series of short whistling calls sounding something like a man sharpening a carpenter's saw with j. file. This is the mating territorial call of the little saw-whet owl a male proclaiming to all and sundry that this is his homestead. Sometimes this whistling will continue without a break for 15 or 20 minutes and with the regularity of a ticking clock at half-second intervals, then there may be a pause for a few minutes before it starts again. The saw-whet is a tiny owl only seven inches long over-all an inch and a hah! shorter than the average robin. Its head is round with no ear tufts and has two blackish marks at the .back spaced in dup- licate of its eyes. So even when it is turn- ed away, it gives the illusion of being on the watch behind it. Like all owls, it is largely nocturnal in habit, although during stormy times in win- ter it will hunt around the clock. It is a predator largely feeding on mice, though in summer it may take frogs, small birds and large insects. Many people who live in its territory may never see the saw-whet owl. although it is not classed as a rare bird. But once one has observed this little owl and knows what to look for, sightings are not so un- usual. My first look at a saw-whet came on a wintry day years ago when I was selling a mink trap in a grove of big cottonwoods by a small stream. I was suddenly aware of a presence not two feet in front of my nose and there sat a little owl in a niche on the side of a big dead snag looking solemnly into my face. Like all of its kind, it was relatively tame and unafraid giv- ing me plenty of time to examine it, be- fore it flew off in search of a mouse. I trailed it for a way and saw it suddenly flash down into a tangle of low brush and take a fat mole with all the fierceness and dispatch employed by its big cousin, the great horned owl. 'In the intervening years I have become a camera hunter, a kind of artistic sport including about everything akin to nature, and one of my long-sought subjects for a close-up has been the saw-whet owl. But filming a saw-whet owl has its complica- tions, "for the bird usually sticks to heavy cover and this, coupled by its night-time habits, makes it extremely difficult to shoot with a camera. The whole thing is fur- ther complicated by the fact that opportu- nities always come" unexpectedly when the chances of being ready with the right equipment are slim. But a few days ago I was sitting on a slope not far from timber in front of my house armed with a brand new camera. It is a Nikon, one of the most specialized in the world, with built-in light meter, au- tomatic lens system, a shutter speed reach- ing to 2000th of a second and a lot of other finely crafted sophistication. It was fully loaded and mounted with a 300 mm tele- photo lens giving six power magnification. The outfit was fitted with a power drive motivated by batteries allowing continuous shooting with, no movement other than pressing the trigger an innovation ideal for close-up work on birds. In short, I was "loaded for bear" and ready for anything. There were many songbirds fluttering in Lhe trees close by and I was waiting for a chance at some of these, when there was a quick flash of wings right beside me, and before I could wink an eye, a saw-whet owl landed on a dead snag just a few feet away. It was so close, I had to slide back about three feet to bring it inside the mini- mum focusing range of the big lens. The low sun was shining over my shoulder lighting up the bird's eyes like little lamps as it gazed at me. Without moving another inch I was able to shoot about 30 pic- tures while 't turned in various poses two or three of which turned out to be world beaters. One never knows what luck will bring and the pay-off is gathered in by being ready. Never out of mind By Doug Walker "When got. said Fern Bouchard, on the golf course one day, "I intend to do some jobs around the place wives appreciate that, you know but I guess I don't have to tell you that, "You're I replied, "I've been mar- ried nearly 26 years it doesn't seem very long either." "I've been married for 32 said Fern, "and our wedding day seems just yesterday." Guys like Les Wildman and Niels Klop- penborg who think golf blots out all other thoughts including tender ones about wives, will be surprised to read this little piece and so will Mrs. Bouchard since Fern added to his tribute: "Of course, I would never tell my wife that."