November 2021

Contents Related Letters

Re: “Waiting Game,” by Kyle Wyatt

It wasn’t until a few years ago, when my mother was telling me about a great deal she had found and pulled a real-life rain check from her purse, that I had ever laid eyes on one. There it was — the bright yellow promise of a future discount. I was delighted.

My enthusiasm for rain checks only heightened when finally I had the chance to ask a customer service person for one of my very own. I savoured it, relishing the possibility of getting the deal I wanted (and was even more tickled when I saw there was a limit to how many discounted items I could buy — who would want more than six bars of deodorant, anyway). So fear not: you can still get rain checks at Loblaws.

Kevin Keystone
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Re: “The Three Pamphleteers,” by John Allemang

What I’ll say about On Property by Rinaldo Walcott is this: it is required reading for everyone genuinely interested in understanding the origins, history, and racism of policing, and in understanding why it makes sense to abolish the police.

via Twitter

Re: “Loonie Tunes,” by Michael Strizic

Gorgeous meditation on a bird that, as the article points out, is not Canada’s national bird (as we don’t have one) but perhaps should be. News to me that loons are closely related to penguins, and I loved the image of them vacationing “among yuccas, cacti, and palms.”

via Twitter

Re: “Oh, the Humanities!,” by John Fraser

An engaging review of Harvey P. Weingarten’s Nothing Less Than Great, and I am looking forward to buying the book and diving in tonight. (And gee, I ­wonder what Fraser really thinks about the current state of Canadian higher ed.)

I think we do a heck of a lot more good than bad in this sector, but we do sometimes really struggle to innovate. Disciplinary pressures and small-c conservatism are real issues. (Even saying that prompts eye rolls, I know, which makes it hard to even talk about issues.)

via Twitter

Re: “Of an Age,” by Mark Kingwell

I enjoyed Mark Kingwell’s latest piece, but this line made me laugh out loud: “Philip Roth says he has given up writing for good.” That’s not too surprising, given that he died in 2018.

Lee Dylan Campbell
via Facebook Messenger

Re: “A Pearl Anniversary,” by Patrice Dutil

Patrice Dutil deserves no credit. The fact is the rag that he produced was for policy wonks. If anyone, credit goes to Madeline Koch, who, several years later, was having a Dooney’s coffee with Tony Westell when I walked by looking to start a review of books. Tony told me that the Literary Review of Canada was being junked, and I called Carleton University Press who said yes and added that they would happily give me a stamp and some back issues in which I could wrap the ink blot. Denis Deneau and I drove up to Ottawa, paid 800 bucks, and a couple of months later put out the first issue.

There is something rather invidious about the revisionist history you let Dutil publish.

David Berlin

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