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November 03, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-11-03

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Variations on violence with tire irons and pencils

TWO LATE-MODEL CARS, I think a '59 Ford and
a '63 Plymouth, chased down Hill Street, with
brakes churning a n d tires screeching. Simultan-
eously they made a hard left turn' and then cracked
up in front of East Quad. Several guys climbed out,
mid-teens in boots with hard stacked heels.
There was a fast and ugly fight with tire irons;
one of the guys smashed the windows of the Ford
with his iron. Another pulled out some flares and
tried to burn down the Ford. There was more fight-
ing and then running away when at least five police
cars wheeled up, their blue lights twisting,
A problem: it was a very dark midnight, eye
glasses were, at home, the rumble happened very
quickly. So one cannot know how much of this
rumble has been put together by the mind.
IN THE FRONT END of police cars are huge well
ground engines which pull cars to scenes in no
time. In the trunks are fire extinguishers. A couple
of the police in their packed blue jackets turned out
their fire extinguishers to soak the smouldering
upholstery of one of the cars.
Some guys who live in East Quad came out to
watch. Several agitated for a panty raid. One told
me he heard that the guys who were fighting had
driven from Detroit and that there had been some
teenage chick screaming, "Don't kill him, don't kill;

twitching of the muscles at the presence of out-
bursts of intensive anger. Some feeling of nausea,
as if the clanging of tire iron on auto glass jangled
his aesthetic sensibilities.
And what were his thoughts? That the Univer-
sity is a great civilizer or a very cruel tranquilizer
or both.
One would imagine that some of the Quad
tenants watching the police had been perfectly com-
petent drive-in fighters in their teens. But never
again. One either threw bottles or saved one's hands
for drafting pencils. One could not have both.
VIOLENCE. Some things are anachronistic: per-
sons should not try to rack up points by talking
about them. One such thing is physical violence. In
Vietnam physical violence is an issue; here it is not.
The presence of a group of rumblers outside East
Quad proves this. Their physical violence is more
bizarre than a worry.
But since violence is so basic to human affairs.
one should look for non-physical violence around the
University. Violated minds. Truncated imaginations.
Shattered aspirations. Broken dreams.
All this is not new. Plenty of men have been
writing in liberal magazines on non-physical vio-
lence, articles which debunk the idea that sticks and
stones may break one's bones but names will never
hurt one.
But the violators are not exposed. No one calls
the cops when non-physical violation takes place.
OUR THANKS THEN to the unnamed rumblers
for showing us the nature of what is not our violence.

WHAT WERE the observer's
at the occurence of a scene of
usually placid East University

feelings? Surprise
such heat in the
neighborhood. A

C4e £ftdigan a4
Seventy-eight years -of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications
ynard St., Ann Arbor, MichhNews Phone:' 764-0552
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exp ress the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

420 May




On the seventh day,

Daily-Peter Dreyfuss

Capittalist realism in Dearborn.

IF YOU RECOGNIZE and appreciate contemporary,
art vhen you see' it, you're going to get a real
thrill by cruising down Dearborn way for a look at
the new Presto-Whip factory.
The factory, which is in the final stages of com-
pletion, boasts 'a scale trio of aerosol cans. Remi-
niscent of Warhol's comparatively crude soup can
experiments, it is 'safe to say that this exposition
has captu'ed and refined the spirit of those early
efforts and raised it to a general principle.
Only 15 minutes /by expressway from Wonder-
land, Michigan, the three towers grace a commercial/
industrial landscape on the edge of Dearborn, and
are flanked by a New York Central overpass and a
Daley Burger Drive-In.
THE SUREST MARK of the work's acceptance
in the community, and perhaps at the same time a
measure of the aesthetic acumen of the blase locals
is the total indifference shown the work by thous-
ands- of passing motorists. In this situation, the
avant-garde is way behind.
A spokesman for the company appeared from the
factory as I pondered the three towers. He was
anxious to 'explain some of the finer points of the
In the first place, he told me, this revolutionary.

construction is entirely functional. In fact, he said
solemnly, each can contains 8,100 gallons of liquid
Eight thousand one hundred gallons of corn
syrup. Knowing full well that beauty is the promise
of function, I required no further justification for
the existence of this cloitre de canettes.
WHILE STANDING at the foot of the three
friendly giants, I was led subtly, symbolically to
consider the beneficent implications of our advanced
This utilitarian approach to art must be Ameri-
can industry's answer to the rigid soviet'doctrine of
practical art. The three-can set obviously embodies
the basic elements of "capitalist realism."
The Presto-Whip representative turned my atten-
tion from the highlight of the site to the factory
building itself.
ALTHOUGH NO' SO striking as the cans, the
design of the building incorporates many innovative
features worthy of note.
For example, the factory facade, including the
three dimensional foot-deep lettering that stretches
the length of the building, is made entirely of
scalped styrofoam.
"Come back tomorrow," the spokesman urged.
"We're going to cover it with glitter."

OUR CANDIDATE pounds on h
and promises us four years c
fortune and good will.
If humanity remembers anyth
the phenomena of electoral po
will not be the canned speeche
vacuous promises. It will probabl
McLuhanesque flowering of pos
buttons and bumper stickers. In a
throw-away beer cans, self-destro
tomobiles and fish-wrapping new
bumper stickers have unheralde
ity. They won't go away.
That the paraphernalia shoulc
the promises is not so absurd. Co
outlive their contents. Books outl
WHAT IS disillusioning is the1
sumption that campaign
have no substance. What is furth
tering is the assumption that n
ises are anchored in truth.
Part of the blame rests with+
verse concept of democracy. We
neged on our personal will and
the authority of some omniscien
ity which exists only in textbook
the minds of fanatics.
Because this fictitious majority
er-impersonal we can not relat
wishes and we drift carelessly ft
trum to waste basket. Should wf
you? Why? You're just a minorit

is pulpit OUR FOREMOST THINKERS have con-
of g o o d sidered this problem and decided that
the workings of democracy and burea-
ing from cracy (which seem synonymous these
)litics, it days) will eventually work toward good-
s or the ness and truth. Our politicians, who are a
ly be the bit more pragmatic, have decided that the
ters and people should f i r s t be educated before
an age of democracy can work.
)ying au- Both our thinkers and our politicians
wspapers, exhort us to patience, telling us that the
d tenac Leaning Tower of Pisa wasn't bent in one
d outlive But the fallacies of their arguments are
ntainers obvious. Certainly an unfeeling and unbe-
ive their lieving people, no matter how much edu-
cated or how long processed, cannot cre-
ate on a public level what the do not live
tacit as- on a personal level.
promises S0 YOUR FEARS that the political sys-
ner shat- tem will repress you are unfounded.
o prom- It has already robbed your instincts to be-
lieve in others and has castrated y o u r
our per- ability to be true to others.
have re- It has used ruses like the convenience
accepted of knowing that everyone else is out grub-
t major- bing for grades or grabbing for headlines
s and "in too. It has solidified your sterility by giv-
ing you what you think you want.
y is sup- You are fooled. You will never realize
te to its that the majority is no bigger or no bet-
rom ros- ter than you. You will never know that
e believe the will of the majority can be no more
ty of the responsive or more human than your own
But maybe there is no reason for you to
understand as you sit idly among your
campaign miscellany and mutter sadly
"What the hell?"-

Dustng off the father
of liberal educao
T WAS AN OLD tattered picture. You can see it for yourself
3 right in Haven Hall. Go up to the third floor and into the
history department lounge. Turn to your right as you walk
in the door and'look behind the periodicals and the cardboard
boxes stacked on top of the filing cabinets.
'You would think that someone would hae. attempted to
destroy the evidence. But no, its still there, so covered with
dust that you don't want to even pick it up. The once-gold
frame is spotted with wear and the oil cloth has pulled away
from its old cardboard backing and flops stiffly down in front
of the face when you pick it up. The great, noble face looks
straight ahead pondering who knows what, probably the deep
problems of his time.
I PICKED ST UP and showed it to my friends on the
steering committee on the history student assembly. We had
just met with the faculty to discuss some points of depart-
mental reform.
"You can barely tell who it is," said one, "The color is
almost gone." "It looks like it's been dropped a thousand
times. "
It's a symbol of our age." "hat's why we're here."' "You
mean what are we doing here!" We laughed at that last one.
And I set the tattered picture of Erasmus, humanist and
father of the liberal education, back on the filing cabinet.
I'm really not kidding you. You can see it for yourself.
Tattered, worn, and half-destroyed, on the third floor of
Haven Hall.




Sunday morning

ONE OF THOSE sunny Indian summer Fri-
day afternoons in late September when
going to classes is a crime and you can wear
baggy corduroys with bare feet all around
campus, we all dropped mescaline together,
about ten of us, (It was my first time).
It takes about a half hour to hit you, or so
they had said. We all piled into Jack's Bar-
racuda and took ,to the streets like dying In-
dians in battle, waiting to go straight to heav-
en, and savoring those last few moments of
life and reality.
You do not notice when it hits you, only


, on me
THE DIAG - Oh, god, we brought our-
selves limping and on stretchers,'of the mind
to the golden Diag and we flopped down on
the life-breathing grass, our maternal land
and earth, and opened our forum of verbal
"My god," someone said, "there are at least
50 people here stoned out - I can't believe
it!" They had all come, like us, fearing iso-
lation and the lonesome reality of facing one-
self, to the Diag, seeking Mecca in others'
The straight people were filing by on the
sidewalks. some noticing, others not . .. it

Thtag in
him . . he would have to struggle with it
himself, as he repeated it over and over, trying
to make us believe how selfish the world was,
trying to drag us down into his pit of truth.
BUT WE REFUSED. "Let's go for a walk,"
I said. We floated into the stream of people
drifting away from the Diag, until we saw
it only from a distance. Then we stopped, and
looked back in awe.
"Greeks," I said. "They are ancient Greeks
gathered at their aged marble amphitheatre.
for learning and debate . . . look at them."
The Diag was a beehive. The center of ac-



and r e a d it. "Death to the University. De-
struction. Join Us."
"This must be a joke," I said. This one is
actually trying to convince people of some-
thing or other.
Doesn't he realize that nothing is of any
consequence? 'Shouldn't we go back and talk
to him and explain everything?"
"No. He's straight. That's the difference."
WE SAT DOWN again and ritualized, nod-
ding up and down just for the sheer feeling
of it if not in agreement. We looked around
us and saw a fantastic zoo. A man was wear-

hurried by time and the bells' urgency. Time.
"You, know," I said lazily, I could die right
now and it wouldn't even faze me."
"That's right. . : it wouldn't be any dif-
ferent from anything else," someole agreed.
A leaf floated down and we admired its
brown, crisp deadness.
* **
LATER I SAT alone in my room, after I
had left them all, and wondered what would
happen next - if I would ever really come
all the way down. I'didn't know if I wanted to.
Then she arrived, half unexpected. She had
been looking for me all afternoon. We looked


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