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Taverns deserved better, says former history student
Regarding James Martins recent story on tavern research
by Anouk Bélanger and Lisa Sumner (CTR, Dec. 5, Sociologist
documents Montreal taverns):
Taverns catered to adult males, from corporate chief executive to blue
collar worker, and right on down to researchers doing fluffy busywork.
By no stretch were patrons almost exclusively blue-collar.
Tavern location was a function of zoning law, not proximity to factories.
Thus Westmounters patronized taverns not in Westmount, but beyond the
city limits of their tidy suburb, usually near their places of work in
A taverns resolute classlessness and an aversion to imposing concept
bar-type schemes on patrons were its most distinguishing features. (Some
sported mementoes of retired hockey pros connected with them, and many
more were good places to watch crucial televised games, but these features
never dictated who was welcome and who wasnt, the case in many bars.)
Sid Lamb, a distinguished chairman of English at Sir George, described
taverns better than anyone in a talk he gave on CBC radio (later published
in The Illustrated Companion History of Sir George Williams University).
He also had interesting things to say about their monosexual nature.
So far as food goes, the taverns which didnt serve it were few
as Sir George/Concordia student, faculty and administration veterans of
Toe Blakes, the Stanley and other establishments in the neighborhood
well know. Toes was famous for knuckles and kraut; the Stan
for liver and onions. Magnans, a tavern the story mentions, enjoyed
a wide reputation for its roast beef. Are Bélanger and Sumner seriously
suggesting these and hundreds of other establishments operated outside
the law serving food?
Taverns closed in the early evening? They stayed open till midnight where
business justified it, the aforementioned being examples.
Was the topic of taverns too lowbrow to warrant serious effort?
Joel McCormick is a former Concordia history student and information officer
now living in San Jose, CA, and Montreal.
Performing arts and China
I was intrigued by your article about the Fine Arts exchange visit to
China (See CTR, Jan. 30). Any and all forms of cross cultural exchange
should be encouraged, particularly with countries which have been, until
recently, fairly isolated from the West.
I was puzzled and somewhat disappointed, however, to learn that no members
of our performing arts departments of Music, Dance, and Theatre were included
on this junket, particularly since the primary host of the
visit was the Academy of Chinese Traditional Opera, representing
as it does an ancient art form which is an amalgam of our Western arts
of music, dance and theatre.
It would have been particularly valuable for some our theatre faculty
members for example, to have been able to visit the Chinese schools to
witness the teaching methods employed in their art forms forms
which have been very influential in stimulating many of our modern theories
and techniques of acting and actor training. Perhaps on future exchange,
the dean will be able to include some representatives of this other part
of the Faculty.
William A. Reznicek,
Associate Professor Emeritus, Theatre Arts
More on presence vs. occupation
As a journalism student, Christopher Hazou should know the facts before
stating his prejudicial views (See Letters, Jan. 30).
Israel acquired the West Bank when Jordan invaded Israel during the Six-Day
War in 1967. Israel pushed Jordanian forces back, and then occupied East
Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel could have sent all the people living
in the West Bank back into Jordan. But Israel gave them the choice of
staying under Israeli rule or going back to Jordan. Almost everyone chose
I was in the West Bank and East Jerusalem several times over the past
25 years, and all the Palestinians I spoke to said their standard of living
was much better under the Israeli government than it was when they were
part of Jordan.
In all these years, you never heard Jordan pushing to get their land back.
King Hussein of Jordan was hated by most Palestinians, and he certainly
did not want the Palestinians back in his country.
Since Israel took back their land that was originally populated by Jews
years ago, after first being attacked by Jordan in the 1967 war, most
people who know the facts think Israel deserves to keep their land.
If Israel decided to give the West Bank back to someone, it would give
it back to Jordan. But Jordan does not want to take the Palestinian people
back. Gaza was taken from Egypt when Egypt invaded Israel during the Six-Day
War. Now Egypt doesnt want to take Gaza back, because they fear
the Palestinians also.
You can use any word you want for Israels presence in the West Bank
and Gaza, but you should know the history and facts first.
Steven Carter, Concordia alumnus