Letters McGill University

| Skip to search Skip to navigation Skip to page content

User Tools (skip):

Sign in | Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Sister Sites: McGill website | myMcGill

McGill News
ALUMNI QUARTERLY - winter 2008
McGill News cover

| Help
Page Options (skip): Larger
Home > McGill News > 2001 > Summer 2001 > Letters

Great memories

How much I enjoyed reading the short article by Pat Brown de St. Croix in the Alumni Activities section of the Spring'01 McGill News. The McGill Outing Club was an important part of my McGill days and I made lasting friendships and learned valuable skills. MOCers taught each other cross-country skiing (I broke three pairs one winter), snowshoeing, rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking, woodsmanship, year-round camping, square dancing, singing in key and often valuable lessons in leadership.

Special links were forged with OCers from American universities, even if some of us attended "Benedict Arnold High School." (Yes, we were "Talking to Americans" even then.)

Christmas and New Year holidays were a time for the Shawbridge house to be a family home away from home for international students. Thank you, Pat, for your invitation to join reunions and for reviving memories of happy times.

Peter Kevan, BSc'65
(President of MOC 1994-95)
Cambridge, Ont.

Good writing, good timing

I read with interest Jim Panos's Epilogue contribution, "Last Things First," in the Spring 2001 McGill News. Panos is a first-class writer; a teacher of history as well.

He quotes Socrates that "the unexamined life is not worth living." Indeed, life is too serious not to be taken seriously.

A few days ago, I happened to hear on Public Radio that wonderful waltz by Johannes Strauss the Younger, "Morning Newspapers." It starts with lively and cheerful passages; then suddenly, there comes a lovely slower passage. I could feel that the composer meant to commemorate a certain page in the morning paper. He had spotted a bit of news bringing tears to his eyes: perhaps an "obit," that of a former girl of his. This part of the waltz was sweet, melancholy and beautiful.

James George Panos arrived just in time to explain the enigma of the "Morning Newspapers." Many thanks for another good article.

John Caron, MDCM'52
Oxford, Miss.

P.S. I'm sure Jim Panos was a fine columnist with the McGill Daily in the 1940s.

AIDS information

I recently have had the opportunity to read a question and answer interview with Dr. Mark Wainberg, BSc'66, by freelance writer Sylvain Comeau in the Winter 2000/01 issue. Your readers might be interested to know that we are in the process of constructing a web site, Blockaids.com, which will be supported by several registered domain pointers. In fact, the site will act as an information portal in addition to an electronic journal on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Narendra Joshi, MSc(Agr)'61, PhD'64
via email

Kind words from the West

I have just finished reading your Spring'01 Editor's Notebook. I found it to be an excellent editorial. Keep up the good work!

Vincent Jolivet, BEng'52
Seattle, Wash.


Unreal Russia

How sad it is that our alumni mag would feature the yuppie adventures of Heidi Hollinger in Moscow ("The Heidi Chronicles," Spring'01) -- not once touching base with reality.

The face of Russia that she (via the article) presents includes no mention of rusting Russian submarines leaking radioactivity into the North Sea, the dirty war in Chechnya that kills women and children with numbing regularity, endemic crime and corruption, 250,000 homeless children running around in the streets, a life expectancy for men that is lower than in Stalin's time, stolen capital fleeing the country at the rate of $20 billion a year, and on and on, all capped by restoration of an anthem by President Putin that makes millions in Eastern Europe shiver. None of this, apparently, exists as Heidi flits from one upper-crust photo shoot to the next.

"Successful alumni" profiles are one thing. Misrepresenting what is actually going on in a country that, for all its pretensions, is slipping toward third-world status is another.

Juris Mazutis, BEng'62
Ottawa, Ont.

Ed. note: There is no question that a young woman as bright as Heidi Hollinger -- or as any of our readers -- could be unaware of the problems facing Russia. They have been well documented for years by the media. Our story on Hollinger's remarkable rise to prominence in journalistic circles in Moscow was just that, and not an attempt to represent an entire country. Heidi discussed the difficult economic conditions faced by Muscovites. We're not sure that mention of the war in Chechnya or radiation leaks would have added to the article.

Showing his party affiliation


I always enjoy the McGill News. I particularly enjoyed the unintentional (I assume) humour of the juxtaposition of the question on biomedical ethics to Dr. Kathleen Glass ("In the past the assumption was that if the subject consents, that's all researchers need?") and her reply, and the pictures of Russian politician Zhirinovski in his underwear along with the quotation from Heidi Hollinger ("I guess they don't always realize what it could lead to. But I don't think I've ever led anybody astray. I even asked Zhirinovski for permission to publish the photos.").

The potential damage to a politician of those photos was probably greater than the damage done to me by an investigation of one of my lungs by a doctor I thought was going to look at my sinuses. Medicine is not the only place for informed consent.

Robert S.D. Thomas
Winnipeg, Man.

Ed. note: Frankly, it's hard to feel much sympathy for Vladimir Zhirinovski. While it's not uncommon to strip down to one's skivvies for a medical examination, we can recall no occasion where another politician felt compelled to reveal quite so much about himself -- at least not in front of a journalist's camera.

We welcome letters to the Editor. Or, like Jim Panos, you may wish to send along a submission to our Epilogue page. We'll consider well-written essays on almost any subject of general interest. Submissions should be around 850 words. Our contact information is shown on the Masthead page.

view sidebar content | back to top of page