A Gibsons, B.C. reader wrote in response to my review of Press Gang Publishers' catalogue (Geist 1), including that it was "not stapled, so recycle worry-free." She advises that recycling-wise, staples are much more acceptable than glue and are pulled from pulped paper with magnets. Happily, Press Gang's catalogue has neither glue nor staples. And hey, that staple news is a relief to anyone who has—conscientiously, ignorantly, and not without minor personal injuries—torn them out of recyclable paper for two years. (I'm not mentioning any names.)
Speaking of recycling, you can stop feeling good about yourself when you chuck stuff into the Blue Box instead of the garbage. Learn the awful truth in the 23-29 August 1990 issue of Now magazine (a Toronto weekly mooch paper), which bears the screaming headline ECOLOGISTS TRASH BLUE BOX PAGE 10. Wayne Roberts reports that Alcan lobbied the Ontario government for three years to let pop companies phase in non-re-turnable containers. In 1985 the government said yes, in exchange for Blue Box startup funds. What a deal for Alcan! What a deal for the pop companies! No more labour-intensive bottling, and no more responsibility for cleanup,with deposits, returns, washing, and re-using to take care of the waste! Blue-Boxing diverts guilt, not garbage. But I still do it, do you?
Another reader wrote to complain about my "arrogant and patronizing" remarks about aboriginal Canadians, re: Lost Harvests (Patricia Carter, Mc-Gill-Queens University Press), which was mentioned in Geist 2. Yikes! I inferred from the catalogue blurb that the book was a treatment of the Canadian government's goofy attempts to make farmers out of Indians — after they'd stolen their land. OK, I now have a copy of Lost Harvests, which is about the government's refusal — subtle and overt — to let prairie natives become farmers when they set out to do so. I think everyone should read this. If someone writes a book about what I thought this one was, read that too.