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in praise of Ruth Miller and Linda McQuaig

I’m proud to tell you that Ruth Miller’s moving and powerful essay about working at the Morgentaler abortion clinic will appear in Thursday’s “Globe.” Ruth is in my home class, after two terms with me at Ryerson; she wrote the piece for class last month, rewrote it after the class critique, sent it to me for a bit of further editing, sent it in to the “Globe,” and only a few weeks later, it will appear. I want to thank you effusively for your wise edits, she wrote to me, but the piece was, from the start, a beautifully written, honest exploration of a difficult subject.
Ruth is a ferocious letters-to-the-editor writer. It’s great that there are people out there reading the news with such a careful and critical eye. And speaking of of a critical eye – I could not recommend highly enough Linda McQuaig’s wonderful column “Harper’s strange victory” in today’s “Star”.
She sums up what has happened to this country in the last five years, beginning by quoting one of Harper’s recent statements. He said in a speech that the Liberals, in trying to bring in universal child care, were disrespecting parents by assuming they were – this is an actual quote – “more likely to spend money on beer and popcorn than take care of their children.”
She marvels “at how Harper has managed for five years to get away with this sort of ludicrous, misleading, deceptive statement,” goes on to present case after case of his government’s abuses, and concludes, “Harper should be getting pummelled for his pro-corporate, anti-people agenda. Instead, he’s strutting about arrogantly accusing his opponents of being disrespectful, even as he heads a government that is the most disrespectful – to the vast majority of Canadians – in our history.”
In the let’s get boringly real I am an idiot department, I noticed a picture in the “Globe” the other day of Madonna in Malawi, with her adopted African daughter and her other daughter Lourdes. In the photo, beautiful Lourdes, who’s surely one of the most fashionable young women on earth, is wearing a purple and grey check shirt. I know where she bought that shirt – at Kate Moss’s Top Shop in London. I happen to know because in 2009, when I was in London, I went to Top Shop, was overwhelmed by the vast quantities of uber-trendy stuff and the manic hordes of 18-year old girls, but still managed to find a nice shirt. It’s purple and grey. The same shirt as Lourdes is wearing. The very same shirt. Yes, it is true. I am THIS close to Madonna.
Fashionista on Sackville! Be still my beating heart.
Okay, not many people understand this thrill. No one, in fact. Except moi. This goes to show that even writers with very deep souls and hugely important topics can be very, very small at times. Whaddya want, it’s the dead of winter. The other night was so cold, I let a tap run a trickle of water all night, because I feared my pipes would freeze. That’s cold.
I try to make sure that I get to the Y often enough to feel that, somewhere under all that wool and fleece, there is, in fact, a body.



5 Responses to “in praise of Ruth Miller and Linda McQuaig”

  1. Estee Klar says:

    In praise of personal thrills!

  2. Beth says:

    Estee – I'll bring the shirt to show you. Very purple and grey. So exciting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was half listening to the radio this morning when I heard a letter being read on Q. I guessed after two sips of coffee who the author might be. Very well written, and not badly read either.


  4. Beth says:

    Thanks, Scott. You can't shut her up – bla bla bla.

    But it's sure that when you issue an inane critique of non-fiction – or even an intelligent critique of non-fiction – I will rise to the bait!

  5. Estee Klar says:

    Wear it to next class!

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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