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July 10: Tennis whites, and other letters to the editor (Alastair Grant/AP)
July 10: Tennis whites, and other letters to the editor (Alastair Grant/AP)

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July 10: Tennis whites, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Tennis whites

Jackie Robinson had much to do with the desegregation of baseball but little to do with influencing young blacks to play the game (No One Following In Williams’ Footsteps – Sports, July 9). There was no dearth of black baseball players when Robinson’s breakthrough came. On the contrary; blacks had been playing baseball in the Negro leagues at a level as high or higher than their white counterparts for decades before Robinson joined the Montreal Royals. That is not, apparently, the case in tennis.

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Wayne Dowler, Toronto

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First mate

To illustrate the rot at the centre of our culture, you could hardly have chosen a better essay than Jumping From The Ship Of Heartbreak (Life – July 9). In it, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox describes why she and her friends are heroes for divorcing their decent, stable husbands. They are doing it for love, specifically “love of self first,” listening to that “stubborn inner voice telling them they deserve more.”

The voice that tells us we deserve more is not a rare and beautiful thing. It is our default impulse, otherwise known as selfishness. That same voice drones through every magazine and television commercial telling us that no matter who we are, we deserve the best products and services that money can buy. The voice tells us we shouldn’t have to be patient and imaginative in cultivating our relationships. No, somewhere out there is the soulmate who will treat each passing hour spent in our presence as a divine gift.

Imagine an essay by men celebrating their divorces and their search for replacement spouses who will appreciate them more.

Anya Hageman, Kingston

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Summer schooled

Re Are Kids Failing At Summer? (July 7): I never would have guessed that, when I took OAC calculus the summer between Grades 12 and 13, I was on the leading edge of a very distant trend. Although I had a summer job, I decided to take calculus just for fun (I was weird like that). I was the only student in the class who was taking it as a new course, rather than to make up for a poor grade. I wasn't trying so much to get ahead, but rather to keep boredom at bay.

Twenty-one years later, however, I still shudder at the memory of the teacher leaning over his desk on the very first day and cackling at us, “Hah! Five hours a day of math: your worst nightmare!” Indeed.

Melanie Antweiler, Vancouver

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Are kids failing at summer? The answer is a resounding “yes,” judging by the photo of a notice reading, “Accelerated courses (posted on pillers).” Unless, of course, “pillers” (sic) are people who dispense subject specific knowledge to advanced students through newly developed pharmaceuticals.

Dennis Casaccio, Clementsport, N.S.

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Behind his counter, our pharmacist has a small sign that says, “Pharmacists are the nation’s pillers.” I’ve never really seen anything posted on him, and assume the sign depicted doesn’t really apply to him, but the photo gives little confidence in the quality of the upgrading provided.

George Maicher, Fredericton

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Bumper crop

Re Produce To The People and Take The Romance Out Of Farming (Focus – July 7):

Over the past 50 years, I have watched Canadian agriculture move from a 100-acre, seven-day-a-week life sentence to an occupation affording adequate financial returns to provide for the amenities of life that urban dwellers enjoy, even take for granted. For the “back-to-the-landers” who opt for producing those rows of lettuce and beans and selling them at the roadside, that is their choice. But to suggest, as some have, that this is the way of the future?

The farmer’s market and the roadside vegetable stand are all pleasant hallmarks of the countryscapes around us and we should enjoy their quality and social interface. But the real farmers are producing food to feed the world in effective quantities, capitalizing on our transportation and distribution systems and bringing relatively low-priced food to Canadian store shelves and families.

Martin Pick, Cavan, Ont.

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If Margaret Wente is growing too many tomatoes in her backyard, perhaps she should consider trading her surplus within her neighbourhood for other locally produced fruits and vegetables. Instead of hoarding her tomato sauce, perhaps she should donate some to her local food bank. Her own practice of locavorism is only wasteful because she has not fully examined how to capitalize upon her surplus. Would she like to exchange some of her tomatoes for some of my rhubarb?

Marshall Horne, Calgary

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By all means, let’s ignore local smaller farmers for the sake of corporate farming. Yes, of course, let’s buy the beautifully bundled, homogenized-looking garlic and other vegetables and foods imported from China. It is no doubt good for us to eat foods that have been transported thousands of kilometres. Never mind that by doing so, we add to the pollution of already stressed oceans and skies.

No, I am afraid it’s local farms and local food for me. It’s been harvested in the morning and at the farmer’s stand the same day. It’s not entertainment but a more sustainable way of living.

Ursula Cattelan, Picton, Ont.

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Turkish models

Re your editorial To A Dual Entente (June 27):

Turkey has no claims or aspirations to be a “model” for the Middle East. We are ready to share any experience and provide any possible support if asked, and wish for the best. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has clearly outlined this when he said Turkey was ready to do its fair share to promote democratization in the Middle East and facilitate this momentous transformation.

If Turkey is seen as an inspiration that Muslim nations can advance through democracy, economic reforms, popular dynamism and stable democratic governments, let it be. If this is seen as a “Turkish model,” we have no objection. But some try to muddle minds by referring to another “Turkish model,” namely, a bizarre concoction of a shadow-military government that remote controls the civilians. An anti-democratic system, where elected governments are curbed or sidelined through various pretexts. It is true that a sham called “custodian democracy” ruled Turkey before the election of the AK party in 2002 – if writers need a “model” for this sham, the correct term is the Baathist model. This is the model currently in charge in Damascus. It won’t last long, and certainly cannot be imposed on Cairo.

Egemen Bagis, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs, chief negotiator

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Mistrial

While agreeing with one of your erudite correspondents that most lawyers keep their clothes on in the courtrooms of our nation (Dirty Dancing – letters, July 6), I have seen a couple of the clumsier ones drop their briefs.

Bryan Caddy, Red Deer, Alta.

 

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