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I`M GRATEFUL FOR Alan Filewod`s perceptive review of my Six Plays (March), recently published by Talon Books -- but what is this about "Now that he is in retirement in British Columbia..."? Has central solipsism gone so far in this country that a man cat* leave Toronto for Vancouver -or for that matter for anywhere -- without it being assumed that he`s gone into retirement? Is Filewod losing his Newfie perspective? Hell, I`m busier than ever. I even have to get back to Toronto now and then to bring the natives up to date. Mavor Moore Vancouver STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS THE ISSUE OF Books in Canada that contained Professor Desmond Morton`s review of my book, Unauthorized Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid (JarmaryFebruary), also contained an obituary of C. P. Stacey by Morton. As was noted in the latter, Stacey`s work is already beginning to be modified by other historians and I am afraid that as regards Dieppe that must include me. C. P. Stacey`s place in Canadian historiography, like that of any great historian, ultimately rests on the standards he tried to uphold, not in the positions he took on individual issues. But making this distinction is sometimes painful and I am not surprised that Stacey`s pupils have some difficulty making up their minds about Unauthorized Action. Had Morton wrestled with the problem instead of simply summarizing the Dieppe story, his review might have had a cutting edge, or at least been more informative. I confess that I had counted on his spotting what other reviewers have missed -- that Unauthorized Action presents a complex analytical frame. The role of a half dozen decision makers and the complex interactions of the different bureaucratic interests that ultimately produced what may be called the "Dieppe Decision" are painstakingly analysed layer by layer. The pun with which Mortons second paragraph begins ("Villa`s villain ... 11), while fetching, magnificently obscures the issue. In fact I explicitly and repeatedly made clear in the last third of my book that I was not making Mountbatten out to be the villain. Had I wanted to do so, I would not have bothered with all those less exciting chapters about the service chiefs. They explain the decision as much as do the chapters about Mountbatten, and show, among other things, the miti gating factors that must be taken into account in any assessment of Mountbatten, The villain theory is also expressly repudiated in the Political Science appendix, titled "Why Governments do what they should not do." After noting the many failures of Mountbatten`s superiors (which I stress more than I do his), I say that if one excludes that the "multiplicity of failures was a coincidence, then one must conclude that something had gone wrong with the process itself, with the structures established for taking decisions." The rest of the appendix explores possible explanations for such systemic failure. My explanation of Dieppe is ultimately structural. I am a little surprised that Morton did not find that approach more congenial than he evidently has. Brian Loring Villa Ottawa A TALENT TO AMUSE MEL WATKINS`S LETTER, The Ring of Truth (January/February), is not Mel Watkins`s finest hour. Now it is true that Desmond Morton was a Waffle-basher, and unlike Mel Watkins, has a sense of burnout that can only be measured in unsplit atoms. Still, Morton is both an excellent historian and a first-rate political analyst. Simply because Morton`s review of Salutin`s 1988 election book did not amuse Salutin and his friends should not be cause for alarm. Mr. Morton is simply not an amusing man. But why should Morton, the "wise historian," demur from politics or reviewing political books? Would Watkins have denied us the scandals and hilarity endemic in the government of Lester Pearson, a former history professor? Would Watkins, the "mere economist," have deprived us of the political economist Mackenzie King, whose crystal balls were certainly better than no balls at all? Is Met really saying one has to be a professional journalist before one can review a book written by a professional journalist? Is Salutin`s book really that tough to read? To my knowledge, neither Morton nor Salutin has a journalism degree. I only raise Salutin`s journalistic credentials because Watkins, in his letter, seems to be hinting that journalism is a profession. But if journalism contains in its ranks people like Salutin and myself, and on occasion Watkins and Morton too -- how could it be? Larry Zolf Toronto DO THE RIGHT THING MARTIN LUTHER KING believed that it is the silence of white people that is most responsible for the stranglehold of racism. Even though I do not agree entirely with Margaret Atwood`s letter (January/February), I do appreciate her willingness to put herself on the line publicly. Having done this myself, I know how vulnerable it makes one to attack, yet I also believe it`s the only way that we whites are ever going to develop our understanding of the complexities of racism, which we unthinkingly perpetuate. I believe the PEN executive did make a serious attempt to have writers of colour represented. I also think that PEN`s relentless insistence on its own innocence comes across as how-dare-they arrogance. Although June Callwood has stated she "regrets" her insult, to my knowledge she has avoided making an apology. Regret is the response that shows concern for PEN`s public image. Apology is a response that shows concern and respect for the actual people who were insulted. PEN should have had every One of Our writers of colour Centre tage, prime time. Besides the fact that they are doing some of the most interesting writing in Canada, they are the writers who are dealing with many of the forms of oppression that PEN is concerned about. Because PEN Canada white writers were so predominant, it does appear to have been a rather self-congratulatory occasion. What is most disturbing is PENs Suggestion that six per cent representation of writers of colour is admirable because this is in line with "their population percentage." just whose interests does this organization have in in mind? Don`t the writers of colour in this country have a backlog of a few hundred per cent, given the extreme repression of their voices! It seems to me that PEN Canada has been Linder attack because it is the organization most likely to hear. This is hard for Lis to understand as white activists who are working against racism. We feel betrayed. I have experienced this too. But it`s crucial that we have the guts and wisdom to open up our ears. Unlearning racism is a life-long process. Betsy Warland Salt Spring Island, B.C. ARTIST AND PATRON READING Books in Canada is an alternately infuriating and interesting experience, which means, to me, that somebody there is doing a good job. But during my reading of the March issue I found I was mostly just confused. One of the things I find most infuriating about writing on the Canadian arts is the blanket assumption that the taxpayer owes the artist a living. So, I hilly expected to be annoyed by the Field Notes article by Richard Paul Knowles, and I was not disappointed. He added to the sacred concept the even more daring one that those who pay for the work are not only not required to like it, they should he exalted by the fact that it makes them feel sick. Mr. Knowles`s article concentrates on the theatre, which is where my confusion comes in. Not two pages later Kenneth Brown devotes his column to lauding the Edmonton Fringe Festival for doing what Mr. Knowles says cannot be done, producing difficult, even obscure, plays at a price most can afford without government funding. It is probably conservative, or reactionary, or fascistic or something of me to posit the concept that art should stand or fall on the strength of the reaction of the viewer. But it was in an effort to democratize art, to bring it to the people and to remove it from the rarefied atmosphere of the select that prompted the groundbreakers of modern art to move away from the traditional, representational styles, which they had already mastered, and evolve a form that spoke to themselves first, and then to many. They did not expect, nor did they receive, instantaneous acceptance, but some people saw merit and supported their effort. If our present-day creators are so far ahead of their time that no one today will support their vision, they should persist until they find a time and a people that do, and in the meantime they should support themselves, as their now-revered predecessors did. If they cannot, as I Suspect, wait for their egos to be gratified, their art is not their vocation, it is simply their job, and they should he fired. Or, worst of all, they can produce something that we, their patrons, actually like. Patronage is a long-accepted practice in the arts; individuals and institutions have played a major role in the produciton of art for hundreds of years, and discussions, arguments, and fights have ranged for 211 those years between the artists, seeking free and unfettered communion with their muse, and the funding agency, seeking return on its investment. But though many funders have been accused, often justifiably, of shortsightedness or blind ignorance or worse, I fail to understand why or when it was established that the funders could not spend their own money whatever way they wanted. It may be, as Mr. Knowles says, that the role of the arts is to shock and insult and question, but it should not be considered a requirement that the very people being shocked and insulted and questioned should pay for the privilege. We buy Books in Canada and occasionally it questions my preconceptions, sometimes I feel it insults my intelligence, though so far it has failed to shock. But it does this with intelligence and sometimes wit while contributing to my knowledge and appreciation of a branch of the arts in Canada. So we buy it. When it stops doing these things well, we will ,top buying it. At that point you should not seek more government funding to insulate you from the judgement of your audience, you should seek again the combination above. And so should all artists. Mr. Knowles argues that the insulating cushion of guaranteed funding is a prerequisite, Mr. Brown illustrates that it is not. I leave you with the question; under which system is the more provocative art produced? Bill Molesworth Durham Bridge, N.B Letters may be edited for length or to delete potentially libellous statements. Except in extraordinary circumstances, letters of more than 500 words will not be accepted for publication.

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