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THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE
Tuesday, April 9, -968
Tuesday, April 9, 1968
The Michigan Daily Magazine
N EAL BRUSS, Editor.
ALISON SYMROSKI, Associate Editor
HANK PFEFFER, Business Manager,
3: Professor as Author
Sharon Fitzhenry looks at textbooks written by teachers whose courses she may one day take.
4: "Bay City Has No Race Problem . ..w
Howard Kohn visits a sleepy Michigan town precariously hanging over today's racial revolution.
6: In Ann Arbor, Black Can Be Beautiful
Alison Symroski and David Weir talk to neighbors who are living the new Afro-Americanism.
8: Jim Forsyth's Vietnam Album
A Daily photographer shows what it was to be a medic at the great undeclared war.
10: The Alien Nation of Urban Students.
Kenneth Mo gill searches for "equal educational opportunity" in ghetto schools and finds at best an
12: Inside Northville
Anne Buesser enters the world of the disturbed and finds it difficult to remember that she's just visting.
Eric Burton, Dan Share and Ed Zifkin find that the last frontier is rich in more resources than gold.
16: A Script About Some Familiar Players
Mark Lafer presents some campus luminaries who regularly take to romping on stage.
abound with feats of virility reminiscent
of Jack London's- most exciting tales.
When Windy John, now over 50, can't~
afford a dog team to go trapping, -he
still loads his sled with a couple hundred
pounds of supplies, throws a rope over
his shoulder and packs it alone into
some of the roughest territory in the
province. (That is, if he's not in jail for
drunkenly shooting up a saloon).
Hopefully Windy John will be luckier
than the Swede who immortalized him-
self among Yukon folk by climbing up
a tree to escape a grizzly. The bear's
stomach, 'however,, was more patient
than the Swede's sanity, and by the time
he 'was fou ad, though uneaten, he was
dead from fear.
Ole Medby, who is about 55, remin-
isces about the time he was sitting
around a campfire when suddenly gun
shots went -off all around him. He dived
for cover, fearing that a band of robbers
were after the gold he was taking to
town, only to find out that his sled-dog
had kicked a bucket of cartridges into
But the sourdough's life is not made up
of countless stories which thrill the out-
sider, the cheechako. Life is simplicity
itself. Sourdoughs take"from the land
.what they need to survive and-surrender
their strength. Still, there isn't a. man
among 'them -who would-leave the North
for anything; the quitters left early.
As we drove to Ole's cabin on our trip
we were gripped by the penetrating
beauty and solemnity of the sixty miles
of hills that roll between Dawson City
and Ole's land. In the midst of this vast
and primitive splendor, fifteen miles off
the gravel highway, we immediately rec-
ognized that Ole' was the embodiment
of this incredibly masculine land. He
stepped out of his cabin rugged, un-
shaven, dirty and sloppily clothed, but
with a sparkling smile and twinkle in
his eyes, and a buoyant Norwegian ac-
cent which bespoke life itself. His wife,
the only person he generally sees, was
built remarkably like him. But her voice
was gruffer and she looked as though
she could out-wrestle him -- and most
other men, too.
Ole Medby came to Canada from Nor-
way at 19. He had owned a butcher shop
in Tronheim, but gave it up in search
of wealth and adventure -- after read-
ing the tales of Jack London. He worked
as a logger in British Columbia for a
short time before coming to the Yukon.
Since arriving in the Klondike he has
made and spent several fortunes. At one
point he was making as much as $29,000
But though Ole owns 13 incredibly
rich claims - which he could mine or
sell'for enough to provide him with a life
of luxurious travel and leisure - he
doesn't have an ounce of gold lust in
him. During the -two weeks that we
"worked" with Ole - any day in which
he puts in a couple of hours sluicing is
a "work day" - we made $4,000. Ole
offered us all the gold we wanted al-
though the help we had given him was
When we first drove up to Ole's cabin
he didn't know who we- were - we had
merely gotten his name and directions
to his cabin from a guy in Dawson whom
we had asked if there were any local
miners on whose land we could try pan-
ning for gold. But it wasn't until after
he had invited us inside and treated us
to a delicious moose-burger dinner, that
he finally bothered asking us who we
were. After dinner, we listened to some
descriptions of his way of life, before we
realized that he was sending some tales
our way: a classic case of the sharp city
Burton, Share & Zifkin
slickers being duped by a wizened old-
Ole led us to believe that the Yukon
has giant blueberries so large that three
are sufficient for a pie; or that there
is an animal known as a Rockapeevie
which lives its entire existence on the
very tip of the mountains occasionally
leaping. from peak to peak. Yet over a
pleasant table with homemade wine; a
fire roaring in the wood stove, anything
and everything comes true.
Ole says he used to make trips to Van-
couver during the winters. In a pent-
house suite he tried to enjoy the best the
city had to offer - but it was no go.
The peace and relaxed harmony of the"
wild were an infinitely more powerful
lure than the rushed pleasures, of the
Money gradually became less and less
important. Finally it became only the
means to buy the things he couldn't pro-
vide himself:' a few supplies and some
equipment to set up his mining opera-
Now, when Ole makes more money
than he needs in a summer he puts the
extra gold under his cabin. If the rain
fails and his sluicing operations don't
come off as well as he expected, he
doesn't worry. Next year will be better
and he'll be able to tide himself over.
Last summer a couple of acquain-
tances of Ole's came onto his land under
false pretenses and ended up stealing
several thousand dollars worth of gold
from his sluice box. Though he claims
he'll get the sonovabitches, it is appar-
ent that he'll never bother to do any-
thing- about it.
ERIC BURTON, a senior in mathematics, aOs a chairman of
this year's Creative Arts Festival.
DAN SHARE, a sophomore who plans a major in history, is
a Daily day editor.
ED ZIFKIN is putting in his basic training at Fort Knox.
The magazine wasn't coming to-
gether all that quickly. What
stories were written were late.
- and developing layouts, photo-
graphs and ads is always a hassle.
The most heartening thing about
the magazine was that several of
the magazine's writers had turn-
ed to their typewriters with an
intense understanding - even a
truly personal experience - of
what they planned to consider.
This seemed especially import-
ant these days, for ilk seems that
along with our various ID cards
comes a certain dis-identificat-
ion, a-feeling that one really isn't
able to know one's world - to
know what is true or right -=let
alone to meaningfully act in it.
The implication was that for
many of today's Year 2000 men
the world had grown void of
meaning, indifferent or hostile
and of course, absurd.
And the reassuring thing was
that the magazine's several writ-
ers had negated all that, they
knew what the world was about
because in some -very untrite
sense they had lived it.
This was the feeling as the
magazine began slowly to put it-
self together, that although there
were some problems, what cer-
tain individuals had personally
achieved made it all very mean-
This, as one might expect, was
the feeling early Thursday night.
Later, the Rev. Martin Luther
King would be fatally shot in
Now I'm not about to add my
prose to the very sincere develop-
ing King epitath. One hardly
looks forward to listening to words
which cannot make up for acts-
forgotten or neglected. FurtheT'-
more, one equally dreads the
learned analyses of what Rev.
King's death symbolizes and im-
plies for race relations in- Amer-
ica. The meaning and implicat-
ions of Rev. King's death are very
But there is perhaps one thing,
which should be said. Many per-
sons have adopted 4ll too easily
to the 2000 man syndrome, feel-
ing too removed too quickly from
the facts, too vexed by a cold
and meaningless world They-are
exactly the persons who most will
be shaken by Rev. King's death,
for those who worked in Rev.
King's ways may have fully ex-
pected it. The point is that the
withdrawn man is not so with-
drawn and indifferent that Rev.
King's death will not overwhelm
Certainly one cannot emotion-
alize away a certain philosophic
skepticism, an intellectual con-
clusion that one cannot know
what really is true. But one can
still deal with whatever it is that-
we find "out there" in the world.
Perhaps more of us should know
some aspects of our world as
thoroughly as the several writers
in the magazine..
And if we are committed to un-
derstand our world, perhaps it
will not be so difficult to go on
to work in it. Rev. King is-dead,
and just today we received a let-
ter from him urging aid to the
Southern Christian Leadershhip
Conference. Many of us failed to
act out of some sense of estrange-
ment with the -world: Rev. King
was active -in a world which was
at times totally' hostile to him
and to everything he wanted to
There- are many things which
can be done, and this is not the
place to begin to name them.
It 'is interesting, however, that an
Afro-American quoted in a mag-
azine story says, "We're always
going to have problems unless the
white intellectuals and radicals
go out and talk to the suburban-
ites, and the white factory work-
ers. We blacks expose our Uncle
Toms; the whites have to do the
Many of us have amused our-
selves for too long with jokes
like "God isn't dead, he's just~
not Interested." Today Rev. King
is dead and hopefully the rest of
us will start being interested.
his food; th
for it, as loi
This code o
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he says it
and need sh
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use it. Men
a starving n
sight - and
Ole lives i
rolled the st
keeping a f
the river are
in front of t
the moose a
feels like w,
he'll work to
Life for Ole
all its fant
ships. His Ii
date life is
on the way
his song, "F
And I wav
When he t
And the be
are an une
A Vietnamese fishing junk sails off the coast of Chu Lai as life for a war-wrecked people presumes to go on as usual
Ole at his sluice