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January 19, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-01-19

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Seventy-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom

About Fleming and His University


Where Opinions Are Free, 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Truth Will Prevail

NEws PHONE: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This mst be noted in all reprints.



The State of Dis Union

L ,_
t '

JHE BIG HOUSE on South University is strangely
imposing, austere in its non-descript architecture
and pallid grey facade. A few nights ago the Daily
Editors dined there, guests of the President of the Uni-
versity and his wife.
Inside, the house sprawls. It is expansive and spacious,
with fireplaces in most of the rooms, an indoor green-
house of sorts, and a fine 'Wall-Street type' office with
a picture window view of the backyard garden and the
General Library. Its furnishing is incomplete, as the
Hatchers, who left three days before Christmas, took
most of their furniture with them. Thus the interior
lacks an apparent personality, and one has no real im-
pression of its residents from the way their house is
The Flemings seem good people. She is warm, ap-
propriately 'chatty' and supervised the serving of a nice
supper of chicken casserole. He is similarly unpretentious,
displaying the grace and friendliness of Midwestern
civility. Midwestern civility is important to his style, for
it is not the sparkling urbanity of the Eastern establish-
ment nor the slurp the South reputed to serve up, but
rather Kellogg's Corn Flakes-like solidarity, and as such
it represents the bed-rock foundation of America.
IF AMERICA IS A COUNTRY of Dreamers, and a big
part of our national heritage is the idea that there does
indeed exist an American Dream, the dreams are those
which lend themselves to translation in material terms.
In other words, the prototype American 'dreamer' would
probably be someone like Henry Ford or Thomas Edison,
tinkering in their workshops and in the process estab-
lishing great industries and making personal fortunes.
Men do, and perhaps forever will do, simply for the sake
of doing; in America, though, there was so much that
had to be done that if what you were doing worked, there
was a ready market available.
This spirit of pragmatism is inherent in the Amer-
ican mind, and it is most apparent in our men of power.
The new breed of leader on the Washintgon scene and
in the private sectors seems to be 'the crisis manager,' the
technocrat able to act effectively in moments of stress
and pose solutions to explicit problems. He does not be-
come entangled with philosophic overviews or a need to
maintain an ideological consistency, but he simply comes
up with the best answers, increasingly in terms of cost-
effectiveness, to immediate problems. In the best and
-worst sense of the word, then, he is 'value free'-operating
on the basis of 'reality' and getting what must be done,
balancing off constituencies.

The new President of the University, Robben Fleming,
appears out of this mold. This is not meant to disparage
or indict him, but simply to place him in his context.
If he is a draemer, his dreams seem to be of keeping the
whole show going, making patch-work adjustments to
ease momentary strains. If he has a vision of where the
University is heading and what it is meant to be, it is a
private .one which he was unwilling or unable to share
Tuesday night.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the
University: it is not succeeding in its mission to produce
educated people. While we may grind out 20 per cent
of the B.A. degrees in the state, 35 per cent of the grad-
uate degrees and something like 60 per cent of the pro-
fessional ones (rough approximations of figures Fleming
cited at dinner), nobody can be on this campus for more
than a few days without realizing that this institution
has dismally failed to inculcate in most of its undergrad-
uates, at least, anything approaching an intellectual ap-
petite, a genuine interest in ideas rather than a tacit
acceptance of them.
THE TRAGEDY IS THAT most people come here
looking for something important to happen in their lives,
they enter this school awaiting a grand, liberating trans-
formation. It does not come, and correspondingly a sense
of disappointment and frustration develops, which mani-
fests itself during the freshman and sophomore years with
the general attitude, 'it's not what I was expecting.' They
expect to be introduced to ideas and their world, and
instead are thrust into a place of fraternities and soror-
ities, Saturday night dates made a week early, and foot-
ball games.
None of these things are bad, all are quite enjoyable,
but they were intended to be subsidiary, or at least com-
plementary to something else, an educational enlighten-
ment; yet for most of those here, that which was in-
tended to be secondary becomes primary simply because
what they wanted couldn't be found. After a while the
secondary things to lose their glamour, and in the end one
marks time awaiting his leave of this school, thinking
somewhere else he will find 'where it's at.'
The person who makes it here makes it on his own.
Despite the system, not because of it. For whatver reasons,
he is fortuitous enough not to become submerged, not to
become frantic, to see what he is after and find it alone.
Yet this is what should be presented the student, not
hidden from him in a 250-man .cture objectively graded
final examination where the only time you talk to the

teacher is for a two minute blurb outside of class of when
you go into his office looking for 'instant truth.'
In Norman Podhoretz's newly published autobiography,
"Making It," the Commentary editor writes of the great
influence the literary critic Lionel Trilling had on him
while an undergraduate at Columbia. Podhoretz was more
than his student, apparently, and emphasizes that from
Trilling he learned much of what the act of thought in-
volves. I wonder how many on this campus, now, could
cite a similar professor who has given them such an in-
sight-not professors who taught enjoyable classes or
were interesting men, but genuinely plugged them into
the world of the mind?
AT TUESDAY'S DINNER Fleming was asked what the
University would be like in 10 years. His answer was
quite vague and unsatisfying. He was asked what was
wrong with the University now, and again he seemed to
lack any animation in his answer. When asked, however,
to defend the University's appeal to PA 379, his answer
was vibrant and persuasive. This display is revealing.
I asked him if, when the weather was nice, he ever
sat on the Diag simply to see what the world he ruled
looked like and to speak casually to students. He said no,
he never had, andthen added that he didn't think many
students would be very interested in talking to him.
This answer was devastating and showed perhaps
how little hope there is for this campus. Were I President
of this University there would be few things more im-
portant than periodically going back to where I came
from and finding out in human terms what the place
was all about. Far from the mahogonied walls and Re-
gental consultations and legal briefs.
THE QUESTIONS ON THIS campus, the major ones,
don't revolve around women's hours or J.J.C. regulations
or sorority recommendation requirements. These are im-
portant but peripheral. The question is how to halt the
drift that the University undergraduate community' is
making towards something worse than mediocrity, and
that is absolute indifference. An indifference towards
perhaps even life itself, bred by the size, immensity, ruling
mentality of the campus. If vitality cannot be instilled
here, it is likely doomed forever.
What we need now is not a crisis manager but a
visionary, one whose concern transcends simply the tech-
nical questions of operation, but who can get down to the
'nitty-gritty' of the place itself, understand what is work-
ing and what isn't, and be able to do something about it.
One hopes Fleming can be such a leader.




"We are waiting for a signal from Hanoi . .."

AS THE INSIDERS in Washington so
sagaciously p r e d i c t e d, Lyndon
Baines Johnson used his State of the
Union address to reveal the new image
he is cultivating for election year 1968.
This was not Johnson as Quixote,
building Great Societies with heroic
fanfare, waging bloody wars against
poverty and slums at home and the
craven Communist conspirators of
Southeast Asia. In place of the pana-
ceas, the President offered specific
programs with tangible aims: $2.1 bil-
lion for a manpower program which
would create 500,000 jobs in three
years; six million new housing units in
the next 10 years; 100 additional As-
sistant United States Attorneys to en-
force narcotics laws, as well as 100 new
F.B.L agents "to protect the individual
right of every citizen."
In line with the pundits' speculation,
the President emphasized economic
problems. He renewed his demand for
a 10 per cent surcharge on corporate
and individual income taxes, requested
the removal of the gold cover, and
proposed a tight $186 billion budget
which would add only $300 million to
non-defense spending.
But. the real change of clothes the
President undertooknin his speech had
nothing to do with the nitty-gritty of
programs and policies. Except for LSD
("it is time to stop the sale of slavery
to the young") and infant mortality
("in saving the lives of babies, America
ranks 15th among the nations of the
world. . . . This is a tragedy that
America can, and should, prevent"),
the President touched few new topics.
The innovations in emphasis he did
suggest were hardly the stuff history
is made of.
WAT DOES EMERGE from the State
the Union address is the grow-
ing realization that everybody has got
Lyndon all wrong. Far from the cyn-
ical, calculating political manipulator
friends admired, enemies detested, but
both acknowledged-Johnson is really
a pathetic, woefully ignorant man. The
platitudes about peace in the face of
escalation aren't propaganda; he
means them, "with all his heart." The
repression of dissent-the blackmail of
denouncing anti-war opponents at
military funerals, the go-ahead Gen-
eral Hershey got for his efforts to
round-up and draft anyone he dislikes
or disagrees with, the arrests of Spock,
Coffin, Goodman and Raskin-this is
not the work of a man greedy for
power, already in complete control
and eager to maintain it; rather, it is

mately shown him hollow. He must
compromise with the generals, for he
cannot refute their premises or deny
their expertise. Escalation does seem
inevitable to him, so he must escalate.
Nor can he convincingly cope with the
doves. He does want peace; everybody
wants peace. Because he has never
figured out for himself just how much
peace is worth, however, he has no
practical calculus to guide his deci-
sions. And he wants poverty to end;
and he believes in a society where all
may live with integrity and pride; and
he doesn't understand but wants to
end violence; and he aspires to stomp
out crime. Unlike most politicians,
Johnson offers all things to all men
every year; his lack of priorities re-
flects nothing' more than a lack of
Johnson is more than a pragmatist.
He is an automaton, and automatons
operate in a moral vacuum. He gets
things done, or did, but once he has
run out of obvious things to do, his
efficiency is worse than worthless.
Without values of his own, he doesn't
know quite what to do. So he does
BUT JOHNSON is ignorant. He doesn't
understand public opinion, for all
the polls he carries around in his
pocket, How else could he ask a ques-
tion like "Why then this restlessness?"
Worse, how could he answer, "Because
when a great ship cuts through the
sea, the waters are always stirred and
troubled. And our ship is moving-
moving through new waters, toward
new shores."
From his announcement that after
three weeks, the administration is still
"exploring" the Trinh peace feeler, it
is painfully obvious that Johnson has
decided that the war can end only in
military victory. Since by the calcula-
tion of objective experts the United
States is not making significant pro-
gress toward the "military victory"
or any "victory" in Vietnam, and will
not soon make any, this means that
the country may be committed to an-
other five or even 10 years of war on
the continent of Asia, of dead soldiers
(13,000 already), of untouched social
problems, of xenophobia and reaction.
Johnson may add this to the great ship
as a possible explanation of "restless- .
ness in the land."
IN FACT, BETTER than anyone else,
Lyndon Johnson knows exactly why
there is a restlessness in the land. The
tex, f his mesaoe oCo fngress nd the

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Detroit's Papers: Strikes and Spares

Last of a Two-Part Series
WHILE the prospects for a
quickly forthcoming end to
the Detroit newspaper strike seem
dubious, and the post-strike sta-
tus of the morning Detroit Free
Press is even more in doubt, a
few enterprising - some call
them profiteering - people are
gleaning all they can get out of
the situation.
The publishers of Detroit's two
strike papers, the Detroit Daily
Press and the Detroit Daily Ex-
press (a third, the Daily Dis-
patch, folded a month ago) have
managedto create a situation un-
precedented in urban newspaper
strike history: competition with-
in the ranks of "strike papers."
Eager to follow the precedent of
the 1964 version of the Daily
Press (during that strike, the
Daily Press' publishers earned a
reported $500,000 net), the "vul-
tures" (so called in an article in
"The Reporter" by Free Press
staffers Gene Goltz and Bill Ser-
rin) are back in the swing, with
a combined daily circulation in
excess of 350,000.
Their history is only more
questionable than the journalis-
tic atrocities they produce. With-
in three days of the initial strike

very young, but are
and enterprising.

equally bright


Included in their ranks is Mi-
chael Dworkin, a graduate stu-
dent in economics at the Univer-
sity. Dworkin and his associates-
particularly Albert Holtz, a re-
cent law school graduate and a
former Free Press copy editor -
gained enough experience (and
money) in the last strike that
they have been able to lend some
semblance of professionalism to
their paper's bumptious operation.
Dworkin, in fact, was so suc-
cessful the last time out that im-
mediately after the 1964 strike
was settled he attempted to set
up a strike paper in Baltimore
while that city's papers were not
publishing. The venture proved
abortive, however, and Dworkin
lost $40,000.
staffers continue to pick up rela-
tively small paychecks at both
the Daily Press and the Daily Ex-
press, while News editorial em-
ployes are still kept on their
firm's payroll, though at only
80% of full pay (the "no layoffs"
setup at the News is a technique
used at a number of the nation's
newspapers that want to keep the
American Newspaper Guild out of
the city room. By guaranteeing 52


the head of the Detroit Teamsters
local, had a paper out the Mon-
day following the weekend of the
strike. Elsewhere, a group of men
far removed from professional
journalism managed to print the
abortive Daily Dispatch, and in
the offices of The Fifth Estate,
Detroit's "underground" weekly,
plans were underway for the
stillborn Daily Times.
The result has been a competi-
tion so fierce that tactics have
not stayed entirely on the up-
and-up. The Daily Press, which
enjoys the benefits of prior ex-
perience, has managed to stay

uct of a Daily Press writer's
imagination, ,who thought it
"clever" to use a British first
name and a French surname. In
actuality, Dubois is merely a
cliche-ridden rewrite of copy
pirated from other papers.
other hand, has had some far
more questionable tactics in re-
cent use. Among them is the
much-publicized purchase of De-
troit News circulation route lists
for the Daily Express delivery sys-
tem. This has enabled them to
out-circulate the Daily Press,

of the Daily Press are not only
ing. In their mad efforts to out-
sell each other, The Daily Press
and the Daily Express have re-
sorted to Hearst-ish sensational-
ism. Crime news gets the biggest
play, and both papers have put
top reporters on the police beat.
References to 1920ish archaisms
like "Gun Moll" and "Ax Man"
fill their headlines, and both
papers have focused their crime
stories on the most lurid details.
(This policy even extends to trial
coverage. In a piece on the man-
slaughter conviction of a man
charged with the murder of a de-



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