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April 12, 1970 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-04-12
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at ome,
4 A.
z> -

William .0.Douglas, POINTS
House, 1970, $4.95.
As with democracy, fas-
cism begins at home.
Writing from the con-
siderable. distance of the
highest bench in the land,;
Supreme Court Justice Wil-
liam 0. Douglas has sketch-
ed for us a sparsely writ-
ten, flat out account of the
growth of totalitarianism in
the Land of the Free.
Weighing in at 94 small
pages of large print, the
book is small enough f o r
everyone to read, and in my
opinion it would be a very
good idea if they did so
as soon as they can lay
hands on it. It is not in the
least entertaining, but it
will provide the reader with
a concise guide to one of
the grimmest if least ori-
ginal spectator sports in
human history - the quiet
takeover of a young demo-
cracy by a gigantically pow-
erful Federal Government.
Justice Douglas has tak-
en a grave responsibility
upon himself. At no point in
his book does he declare
that he is 'writing as a
private citizen, a hobbyist,
or as anything at all but an
Associate Justice of T h e
U n i t e d States Supreme
Court. Hence, his Points of
Rebellion clearly stands as
an opinion - though ap-
parently a dissenting opin-
ion - issuing from the na-
tion's Court of Next To Last
Resort. The last is the peo-
ple themselves. He is clear
as crystal on certain points.
The officer who arrests you,
the judge who sentences

you and the warden who
imprisons you may well be
the criminal offenders-un-
der Constitutional law, and
y o u r resistance against
their illegal actions an act
of courageous patriotism.
Points of Rebellion is not
apt to win much acclaim
from scholarly eggheads.
Even before publication it
had been criticized in the
press for deficiencies of
scholarship and defective
grammar, which will leave
many people wondering
why the critics found them-
selves reduced to correcting
the good -judge's spelling.
Others have described it as
the gesture of a seditious
old crank who is now per-
sonally secure enough to be
safe from the revolution he
seems to condone. Possibly,
but there are hundreds of
others in high office who
are just as old and protect-
ed who are saying nothing,
and I for one am grateful
that Justice Douglas proved
to have the spring steel
balls a person must have to
exercise freedom of speech
in this country today.-
By now the book'srplot-
line has had wide circu-
lation. As Douglas sees it,
the nation is moving rapid-
ly to the brink of an armed
revolution, and the position
of today's radical youth
versus the Establishment
closely approximates that
of the country's founding
fathers toward George III
and company in the early
The inspiration - or per-
haps even the vital neces-
sity for revolution - derives

from Big Government's in-
credibly consistent failure
to provide the liberties so
clearly a n-d beautifully
promited by the nation's
fraternal-twin birth certi
ficates: The Declaration of
Independence and T h e
Constitution of the United
States of America, and most
especially by theclatter's
Bill of Rights, that gorgeous
aggregate of personal free-
dom guarantees.
Some of the details of
this failure make for agon-
izing reading.. For the most
part it has been a subtle
but seemingly inexorable
process of, Constitutional
dilution and attrition. The
right to dissent becomes the
right to do so as long as
you do it politely, pleasant-
ly, and - most of all - im-
potently. Freedom of t h e
press slips bver to some
freedom of some presses.
The right to bear arms is
conveniently interpreted to
grant nothing more than
the right of a state-spon-
sored militia to do the
bearing - but are they now
doing this for or against the
But you needn't go to
Washington to feel the
heavy muscle of a govern-
ment that is slipping (has
slipped?) from the hands of
the people. It is in our
homes, our neighborhoods,
our communities - our
very minds and spirits.
There are doctors who pun-
ish their patients for com-
plaining of undiagnosable
ailments and for their ob-
stinate failure to, "respond
to therapy." There are







* ove hatyo
"If" there were not Manhattan, there could not be this Brooklyn
look; for truly to appreciate what one escapes, it must be not only
distant but near at hand."
James Agee, "Southeast of the
Island: Travel Notes" from T h e
Collected Short Prose of J a m e s
Agee, 1969.
Substitute Detroit for Brooklyn.
Was I the only one, aged 10, who sat watching the Jack Paar show
and didn't understand Myron Cohen's jokes about Flatbush, and then
resented my lack of knowledge-or, at least, envy those who did get the
Jokes? Was I the only one to whom a mental image of Nathan's Famous
was loaded with glamour, to whom Jacob Javits (a Jewish Senator! bald,
like my uncle! no matter that the knowing columnists called him
"Jack" instead of the far more satisfying "Jake") seemed anachronistic,
albeit blessedy so? Surely I wasn't alone, growing up in a northwest
Detroit home that carried its Sunday Times (picked up on the ritualistic
Sunday morning trips for bagels and lox) as an index of literacy, social
mobility, and Kultur-surely I wasn't alone, duped by New York's immense
media concentration into thinking that, yes, it was the Big Apple; that,
in the minds of Those Who Count, the entire span of land between the
Hudson River and Los Angeles was but a boring and irrelevant suburb.
I knew I wasn't entirely alone when I saw those Daily colleagues a
few years my senior pack up each year and head off to Columbia
Journalism School, or jobs with Time, or Newsweek, or the networks-
even if they were being assigned to a secondary job in the Detroit bureau,
they were, in image and in mind, Going To New York. And when
the heroed writers came to Ann Arbor, when Mailer or Kosinski or
Arthur Miller came to campus for a day or week-no one bothered to
state that Tonight's Speaker lives in New York; that was an assumed
fact. It was even irrelevant when we learned that Kurt Vonnegut lived
in semi-seclusion on Cape Cod, five hours away from Manhattan-it
was irrelevant because, deep in our heart of hearts, we knew that he
was probably in the City (which we knowingly called it) once or twice
a week for one of those famous publishers' lunches at some East Side
Though most assuredly not alone, I was probably a bit more fanatic
than my fellow Gothamphiles. Whereas a lot of them went to New York
because of a certain relaxed logic, I went driven by what I perceived to
be an -inexorable fate. The rest were slouching toward this particular
Bethlehem, while in my own mind I was heatedly down on my knees
each noontime, bowing eastward. With considerable vanity, I feverishly
read in North Toward Home how Willie Morris experienced the journey
from the University of Texas to the editorship of Harper's. Norman
Podhoretz's Making It became a minor cult object for the voyeurs of
the literary scene, but his triumphant journey across the Brooklyn Bridge
was for me a how-to guide. Only I wanted the porno shops on Times
Square and the spit on the sidewalk as much as the literate and witty
salons .of the East 60's.
I learned.
Some visions:



Ian d the
rNew LeftL
0 4 ..

Carl Oglesby, editor, THE
Press, 1970, $1.50.
Theodore Roszak, THE MAK-
TURE, 1969, Anchor Press,
The Movement can be
crudely divided i n t o psy-
cheoriented a n d institu-
tion oriented 'forces. The
psyche-oriented a i m s at
the re-construction of the
spirit, the creation of new
phychic structures which
make possible new forms of
experience and inter-ac-
tion. The psyche-oriented
espouses teaching innova-
tion, various forms of ther-
apy, poetry, theater, music
or drugs.
The institution - oriented
believe t h a t institutions
must be changed before
men's Spirit can be raised;
its tools are political analy-
sis, radical economics and
action in the streets.
Yes, this is a particularly
bad dichotomy. A mixing of
both often occurs; in the-
ory, aesthetics, politics, in-
tellect, psyche and behav-
ior should not be sundered.
Oglesby's book, however,
is primarily concerned with
institutional change. It is
a collection of writing by
European Marxist theor-
ists, Third World revolu-
tionaries and student ac-
Roszak's book is concern-
ed w i t h psychic change,
"the making of a counter-
culture." Except for a small
appendix, the book consists

mostly of Roszak's articles
on mainstream v. counter-
culture and on several fig-
ures whom Roszak believes
in some way created a foun-
dation for the counter cul-
Oglesby's is the better
book, even though it is la-
den with some quite famil-
iar material of some of the
more w i d e 1 y published
black and white American
revolutionaries. People who
want to test their percep-
tions of the Movement or
who simply want to find
out what the Movement is
about, would do well to read
Roszak's weakness is not
due merely to his concern
with psyche and culture,
even though the Movement
has historically been more
concerned with institution-
al change. Roszak's b o o k
suffers because it is t h e
product of less energy and
greater fear than the coun-
ter-culture it analyzes. Ro-_
szak's opting at the end of
his book for the spirit life
of the primitive shaman is
sentimentally R o m a n t i c
and politically gutless.
Worse, his view of t h e
counter-culture is inade-
quate. Roszak writes about
Herbert Marcuse, Norman
0. Brown, Allen Ginsberg,
Alan Watts, Timothy Leary
and Paul Goodman. All of-
whom are white, thirtyish
and themselves ' critics of
the mainstream culture. Ro-
szak significantly neglects
as sources of the counter-
culture young activists like

Jerry Rubin, Paul Krasner-
and the drafters of the
Port Huron statement.
While Roszak openly begs
off from writing about
black youth culture, he
seems not to recognize that
certain American b l a c k s
are crucial sources for the
white youth culture, poli-
tical figures widely read by
whites like Malcolm X and
Eldridge Cleaver, and mu-
sicians like John Coltrane;
Miles Davis, Sun Ra and
the many major bluesmen,
Generally, Roszak fails to
.recognize h o w essential
music is to the youth cul-
ture. Roszak ignores an ar-
tistic innovator like Andy
Warhol and a visionary
novelist like William Bur-
roughs. L a s t ly, Roszak's
sources are all American,
even though, as Oglesby
notes, the New Left (and
the counter-culture). is an
international move m e n t.
Roszak's is a low - energy,
W A S P i s h, intellectualiz-
ed approach to, the youth
Part of the problem is
that Roszak comes in like
Herbert Marcuse and comes
out like Norman O. Brown,
and has not adequately ab-
sorbed or tested either. In
Marcuse f a s h i o n Roszak
presents a lengthy, justifi-
ably horrifying landscape of
monopoly capitalism, "tech-
nocracy," emphasizing . co-
optation and/or "repressive
When any system of poli-
tics devours the surround-
ing culture, we have to-

A women, perhaps 45, striding angrily up and down the subway
platform; there are perhaps 15 others on the platform. She approaches
a man reading the morning paper. "So fuck you, buddy!" she shouts.
"Pick on a poor little girl like me, will ya? What kind of shit is that?
Huh? Huh? Huh?" The man is incredulous. He does one of those neat
double-takes that are the vocabulary .of so many lousy situation comedies.
He turns to see if she is talking to someone behind him. He throws his
Continued o Page 10


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Page Sixteep THE DAILY MAGAZINE- Sunday, April 12, 1910 Sunday, April 12, 1970

Poge Sixteen


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Sunday, April 12, 1970 Sunday, April 12, 1970


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