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November 03, 1968 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-11-03

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Sunday, November 3, 1568


Sunday, November 3, 1968 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Mi. Saul Bellow
and man's isolation
Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories, by Saul Bellow. Viking, $5.
Saul Bellow, regarded by many as our outstanding novelist, has
just published his eighth book, his" only collection of short fiction.
Bellow's works to date include three long novels, three novellas and
a play. The six stories in the present selection have,.all been pub-
lished before, in'a variety of journals; they date from 1951 to 1968
and thus cover the years of his major works, from Angie March
(1953) through Herzog (1964) to the present. (His first novel,
Dangling Man, was published in 1944.)
These stories, like the novels, have far-ranging settings; one
takes place in Spain, another in Mexico; the other four are scatter-
ed across the United States from New York to Chicago and the
Utah desert. The richness of his sense of place, the skillful merg-
ing of locale and theme, is a Bellow trademark.'With an infallible
eye, he selects the appropriate details: the seasonal changes, es-
pecially the coming of spring, in the Utah desert; the sights and
sounds and winter cold of Chicago slums; the exotic small birds of
Mexico. Authenticity is lthe result. It characterizes his knowledge of
particular places. Even more, the same quality marks his treat-
ment of people.
Let us take Mosby. He is the central figure in "Mosby's Mem-
oirs," the final, most recent (1968) and title story of the collection.
Mosby is an 'old man, ex-international agent, ex-professor (Prince-
ton has paid him off to retire early), ex-acquaintance of famous
men (he once shook Franco's hand). Now, old and rich, he has re-
tired to Mexico to write his memoirs. But instead of brilliant Bert-
rand Russell-like reminiscences of the famous, he can recall only
the sordid adventures of an international clown, Hymen Lustgar-
ten from New Jersey. The story concludes with Mosby's visit to the
Zepotec tombs at Mitla. He must run out of the cave to get air to
Mosby is like other characters in these stories. Pictured at an
advanced age (cf. old Hattie in "Leaving the Yellow House" or Dr..
Braun in "The Old System"), he contemplates the past ,in an ef-
fort to find, even at this late date, a meaning for existence. In this
-search he is doomed. He is left, at last, alone; a similar fate attends
Hattie drunkenly contemplating the end, the inevitable tomorrow,
and Dr. Braun looking out at the stars, "these things cast out-
ward by a great begetting spasm billions of years ago." One is
reminded of Melville's "isolatoes."
If one of the major themes of these stories is the isolated hu-
man condition (are we like those stars in the cold black heavens?),
Bellow mitigates the harshness with some wonderfully deft touches
of warmth and humor. The relationship of Hattie and her cowboy,
Wicks, The family clashes between Dr. Braun's cousins, Tina and
Isaac. The emotionalism, a key .possibly to the comprehension of
life, that "crude circus of feelings." Or Rogin, angry and ready to
explode, smothered instead in the warmth and brightness of Joan's
"wonderful idea" (she is giving him a shampoo).
A wonderful mixture, then, these'stories. They explore the hu-
man condition with love and a sense of humor. Here are six vari-
ations on the nature of existence itself. The stories are, further-
more, brilliant demonstrations of Bellow's style, a subtle mixture
of the best literary language (poetic rhythms And fine imagery)
and direct folk speech patterns.
But the major achievement of this collection is that we have
a chance to observe Bellow's talent in a new area, the short story.
His success in the novel and novella has prepared us for this vir-
tuoso exhibition.

'Black and white and the ha' that's in between,

Look Out Whitey! black power's gon' get your
mama, by Julius Lester. The Dial Press, $3.95.
America is funny in a twisted way, and al-
ways has been. Nobody much sees the humor of
it, though. In the mid-1800's, businessmen -- Nor-
thern as well as Southern-were too worried about
profits to laugh, and were dead serious about
squelching the Garrisons and Douglasses. White
scientists then were diligent in their "proof" that
the black race was anthropologically inferior.
Today, scientists have turned their attention'
and our taxes to the moon race, but you still can't
teach evolution in Tennessee. American business-
men who print full-page pictures of their black
employees in Time use profits to buy nations and
"Ha," Julius Lester says to all of this. A twist-
ed "ha" that echoes agonized screams from maim-
ed black bodies; a "ha" that comes from behind
white, eyes and between white teeth at the window
of a maroon Cadillac; a "ha" that counts rats and
cockroaches. His is a subterranean, human laugh
that mocks helmets and nightsticks and cruelty
and all the rest of America.
It is funny: those thieves and murderers of
the 19th century were the quintessence of Ameri-
ca; and their values (ha) operate the 20th cen-
tury-just ask George Wallace. America stands for
equality and justice and self-determination, and
good, patriotic Americans elect thieves and com-
mit murder in the name of humanity. It is funny.
But nobody's laughing. They're voting 4nd
killing and profiteering and evading the income
tax, but they don't see the humor of it. Maybe
they aren't laughing because they are scared, or
maybe because they are honest.
Lester's Look Out Whitey! black power's gon'
get your mama Is not much of a laugh. To the
solemn America to which it speaks, in fact, it -isn't
funny at s all. Lester traces the evolution of Black
Power, explaining black attitudes and assigning
definitions to "whiteness." At times he is sardoni-
cally humorous: when James Meredith was shot
in June, 1966, the author notes, "he received su-
perficial wounds and a telegram from Hubert
Humphrey." Elsewhere he talks straight:
"It is clear that America as it now exists must'
be destroyed. There is no other way. It is im-
possible to live within this country and not
become a thief or a murderer.'
Look Out Whitey! chronicles many events in

contemporary black life and briefly places the
1960's in historical perspective. Although millions
of words have covered these same topics, Lester
has made a necessary and important contribution.
Even if all of his facts, quotations and arguments
could be read elsewhere, still shining like white
eyes and teeth through the black ink of these
pages would be the man Julius Lester.
A person -of broad interests and experience,
Lester is well qualified as chronicler of the move-
ment. He spent his boyhood in Tennessee and Ar-
kansas and now lives in New York. He has spoken
out before-as a fierce black poet, blues musician
and songwriter, field secretary for SNCC and regu-
lar columnist for the Liberation News Service and
The Guardian.
He, speaks with simple clairvoyance: it takes
a special sort of vision to be smack in the middle
of something and look at it from without and
within at once. Lester assesses his allies and ene-
mies with equal candor and states the objectiyes
of Black Power without claiming that every black
person in America is at, or even on, his side.
The writer, considers Martin Luther King "a
good and honest man" who "did not condemn
Black Power outright, but sought to temper it with
love." Love, however, is suspect in Lester's view,
because "black expectations of what it might pro-
duce have been betrayed too often." Rather, Les-
ter calls himself one of "the children of Malcolm
X." Malcolm "was responsible for the militancy
of black people .. . his clear, uncomplicated words
cut through the chains on black minds like a giant
blowtorch." The slain Black Muslim leader, in
fact, provided much of the rhetoric for Look Out
Whitey! and the basic ideology for the SNCC of
Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown and, more re-
cently, for all-black CORE and the Black Panther
White liberals are treated harshly by Lester.
He writes that John Kennedy only proposed a civil
rights bill when demonstrations injured the Amer-
ican image abroad and that the bill was "compro-
mised into ineffectiveness when Bobby the K ap-
peared before Senator Eastland's Senate Judiciary
Committee." Johnson surprised blacks with his
fine civil rights speeches, but "the talk was talk"
and his bill created more backlash than freedom.
Moreover, Lester's clairvoyance' points up
another sad fact: "Somehow, nothing is true for
a white man until a white man says it. And al-
though the Kerner Commission report became a
bestseller ha), the void of active response to this

largely white-written document suggests that
white politicians, at least, don't even take their
own brothers seriously.
In and around Chicago's stockyards last Au-
gust, a lot of whites found out how it felt to be
groundhogs up against elephants. Now if they
(and others) will recognize the clear parallel be-
tween these plights, they can understand;,if only
by proxy, the rationale of Black Power. Perhaps
such knowledge and a reading of Look Out Whi-
tey! will scare some people to honesty and some,
honest people to change.
Lester's vision is not so' narrow as to ignore
other aspects of the contemporary American
nightmare. He states that money is "the essence of
power" and cites the Vietnam war as "the most
glaring example at present of the 'American way
of life'."rThe author argues that the attitude to-
ward blacks at h1ome is translated into foreign
policy - two years ago President Johnson articu-
lated this theory when he reminded U.S. troops
in Korea:
"Don't forget, there are only 200 million of
us in a world of three billion. They want what
we've got and we're not going ,to give it to
The black poet likewise exposes White Power -
what LBJ says "we" have and won't give up -
by analyzing the federal budget for 1967. Defense
appropriations accounted for 44 per cent of the
$172 billion budget, while "welfare and social pro-

grams" amounted to 34 per cent of the funds.
While personal and payroll taxes financed 59 per
cent of this budget, corporation taxes provided
less than 20 per cent of the year's expenses.
Meanwhile, Lester notes, thesecorporations own
a big piece of the world and control most of what
the American government does. (Ha - this is
White Power.) And when their foreign domina-
tion is threatened, they holler "Communist" and
send the Marines; when challenged at home, they
yell "anarchist" and maybe whisper "nigger" and
send the dogs.
Black Power's answer is loud and clear. The au-
thor asserts that it is not a movement to distrib-
ute White Power but to destroy it. No more Un-
cle Bens arid Aunt Jemimas, living according to
white America's conception of how Negroes ought
to live. Now the struggle is upon us and the black
ethic is: "To die in the attempt to humanize
America is preferable to being an American as
America is now constituted."
Julius Lester makes sense of the evolution of
Black Power and: clearly indicts the prevailing
complex of power and attitudes to which his move-
ment responds. And he argues that whites who
respond with him must deny their whiteness and
eliminate White Power. The signs all point to
racial war, the author states, unless young whites
"convince blacks, through their actions, that they
are ready to do whatever is necessary to change

Melting the

barrier: Great Britain and the U.S.

The Great Rapprochement:
England and ;lte United
States, 1896-1914, by Brad-
- ford ,Perkins. Atheneum,
To a generation that has wit-
nessed the demise of Great
Britain as a Great Power since
the end of Hitler's War : the
incredible restraint of Wood-
row Wilson in the face of Brit-
ish blockade practices in 1915-
1916, Anglo-American unity at
the Versailles Peace Conference
in 1919, and FDR's "all aid
short of war" may all seem of
little consequence. Today, Great
Britain is considered gssentially
as an American satellite in the
slowly receding Cold War con-
flict. However, there was no
conditioning factor of greater
prominence on the foreign po-
licy of the United States in the
20th century than the growth
of Anglo-American friendship.
The beginnings of this de-
velopment coincided with the
British rejection of her "splen-
did isolation" and the polariza-
tion of European politics before
World War I. The development
of German power under Bis-
marck, the growing friendship
between France and Russia,
and the Mejei Restoration, all
demanded that England revise
'.her foreign policy. In Japan,
she secured an alliance which,
allowed her to divert warships
to more critical areas of the
world. In the United ; States,
the years under the Repub-
lican administration of McKin-
ley, Roosevelt, and Taft form-
ed the underpinnings of a
friendship whose course was to
be vastly accelerated by Amer-
ican participation in World
War I.

Bradford Perkins in the
Great Rapprochement, boldly
steps across the traditional lim-
its ip order to analyze the
foundation of this developing
courtship. His essential aim, in
this very unique approach, is
"to give a rounded treatment
of the great transformation-
particularly the shift in Amer-
ican sentiment which was to
be so important after Europe
went to war" and to explain
the origins of that shift.
Diplomatic history hasj too
often been isolated from the
great tides of emotion that de-
termine the destinies of states.
American diplomatic historians
have all too often stressed the
careful archival approach to
appreciate why the nation ac,
quired Oregon or why Jefferson
and Madison sent the nation
blundering into war in 1812,
without!understanding the na-
tional drives of Manifest Des-
tiny or widespread national de-
pression. Prof. Perkins of the
University's history department
instead places before himself
a most difficult task: to pro-
vile an integration of national
mood and sentiment-of Eng-
land as well as America-with
the diplomatic postures of
American and British diplo-
mats, then to place this inte-
gration into the rapidly chang-
ing diplomatic context, char-
acterized as "The International
Anarchy." The result is a lucid
and cogent analysis, an in-
triguing and delightful volume,
considering; the weight of the
burdens he carries.'
In 1911, the German Ambas-
sador to Washington, Count
Johann von Bernstorff, report-
ed: "the British efforts (to cul-
tivate America) are meeting
with a certain return of pla-

tonic affection. The old rooted
dislike to England is gradually
vanishing ... But it is not ac-
companied by any wish to offer
anything in return." This
shrewd observation, Perkins as-
serts, is crucial to an under-
standing of the great rap-
prochement. As each conflict
between the two nia t i o n s
emerged (Venezuela, Alaskan
boundary claims between Can-
ada and the t.S., the Clayton-
Bulwer Treaty, the tolls ques-
tion), Great Britain perceptive-
ly sought to transfigure possible
hostility into political accom-
modation. She quickly retreated,
from an unfortunate combina-
tion with Geriiany to secure
pre-revolutionary debts from
Venezuela, concluding t h a t
American public opinion would
feel that the Monroe Doctrine
was being insulted, and would
force the Republicans into a
hostile diplomatic mood. She
bludgeoned Canada into ac-
cepting American demands for
the Alaskan boundary. She
fully recognized the dangerous
influence of Anglophobia in
American politics, which, Per-
kins asserts, had come to rep-
resent more of a symbol of
past grievances than a reaction
to present crises.
Besides. England's great ca-
pacity for toleration and con-
cession, a racist theme played
a role in driving the nations
closer together. "Anglo-Saxon-
ism .. . a combination of cor-
rupted Darwinian ideology and
faith in limited government...
suggested both superiority, and
.. a vaguely shared angle of
vision." The feeling of a great
common brotherhood of the
English speaking reached its
peak in 1898 (when Great Brit-
ain showed incredible restraint

In passively supporting Amer-
ican action against Spbain), and
"shaded into a less strident ad-
vocacy of friendship between
the English-speaking peoples.
They seemed to have special
talents and particularly de-
sirable qualities not possessed
by others. Their countries were
the garden places of a troubled
Spokesmen for each country
felt that the other was taking
a road that had brought the
one immense political advan-
tages. After the Spanish-Amer-
ican War, Perkins asserts, both
nations became "concerned to
preserve the new status quo of
their imperialistic possessions.
Imperialism in the Caribbean
and in the Pacific brought the
United States to the recogni-
tion that order was the essen-
tial priority to her rapidly ex-
panding industrial economy.
This was an order that sought
a clear delineation of rights and
privileges in China as well as
growing American control of
Latin American markets..
After the Liberals came to
power in Great Britain (with
Teddy Roosevelt symbolizing
to vigor of Progressive reform
in America), the proximity of,
political systems became more
aparent: "the Liberals . . .
quickly established, particularly
by their domestic program, a
position of respect in the eyes
of Americans." The growing
aggressiveness of the "Wil-
helms and Holsteins and Bern-

hardis s e e m e d threatening
'enough to force rapproche-
ment" for "the two nations
seemed bastions of parliamen-
tarianism in a world troubled
by autocracy." These factors,
primarily the British drive to
opt Ior concession in face of
European challenges to "her"
balance of power, are the ma-
jor forces that brought Anglo-
American relations into a state
of, if not harmony, at least
understanding and restraint.
Yet there is another virtue
of the Perkins account, besides
the analytical perception: the
incredible balance he is able to
maintain throughout the vol-
ume. More than any other fac-
tor that contributes to this
deftness is his solid knowledge
of British sources and attitudes.
He is not content to base his
interpretation on the American
experience alone; he is equally
familiar with British Liberals
lican Progressives of the Her-
.bert Croly stripe, Conservatives
bsrt Croly stripe, Conservatives
close to Lord Salibury as with
Republicans near John Hay.
And, he is capable of provi-
ding excellent summaities when

he is ready to place this scheme
of attitudes into a diplomatic
perpsective and context. His
account of Roosevelt's crucial
role in the Portsmouth peace
negotiations and at Algeciras
makes for easy understanding.
To this list, one could add the
capsules of Venezuela, Panama,
Alaska, and the Spanish-Amer-
ican War.
The Great Rapprochement
clearly places Perkins in the
forefront of American diplo-
matic historians. Two earlier
works had concentrated upon
chronicles of Anglo-American
relations during the formative
years (The First Rapproache-
ment, Prologue To War) while
another - Castlereagh and
Adams - had charted the in-
fluence of these two important
personalities on Anglo-Amer-
ican relations from the Treaty
of Ghent to the promulgation
of the Monroe Doctrine. The
Great Rapprpachement, much
more of an interpretative work
than any of the other three,
clearly illustrates the width
and breath of Perkins's ability
and quite logically follows from
the comprehensive knowledge
displayed in the earlier works.

Today's writers. . . 1
MARVIN FELHEIM, professor of English, is currently on
leave from the University, working on a book on the American
novella. In addition to his duties in the English department, he
serves on the faculty committee of the American Culture pro-
Sometime student DREW BOGEMA reviews a book writ-
ten by a professor whom he has had the opportunity to observe
as both a teacher and an author. It is his first effort for the
Daily Book Page.
JEREMY JOAN HEWES is a graduate student in American
Culture. Last summer she studied in the Radcliffe College spe-
cial publishing institute, and looks to the day when she will be
reviewing books somewhere on the West Coast.

loin the q uest
for the world's
largest cheese!I


Franklin Pierce, you will recall, had a
pet marmoset living with him in the
White House. Jonathan Swift, on the
other hand, observed in Polite Conver-
sation, "'Why, everyone as they like,'
as the good woman said when she kissed
her cow." President Lyndon 9. Johnson
put it another way when, reporting to
the nation in the aftermath of the
Detroit riots of July 1967, he observed,
"Righteousness and peace must kiss
each other." It's all part of the
same thing. The Italian Waiters'
Convention at Yellowstone Park
had the right idea. They're
part of a Cow Cycle, of
course, as is The Cradle
Tmb at Westminster. ~
(It must be admitted, <;-.'-'
however, that the "r
latter is part of , :
an Aborted Cow

It's about time somebody invented a
new literary form again. The mantle
has fallen on the ;manly, young shoul-
ders of Christopher Cerf, editor, song-
writer, singer, citizen soldier, film
maker, and former editor of the Har-
vard Lampoon. He's had. help from
Michael K. Frith, who drew some pic-
tures. These are not to be confused
with the author's drawings. What more
do you want? Cheese? On to the Wis-
consin Pavilion at the New York
World's Fair! Once you have read
Mr Cerf's book you too i com-
prehend as never before the mys-
teries of symbiotic relationship
between animals, fruit, girls,
dreams, and cheese.


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Mosby's Memoirs and other Stories
-by Soul Bellow

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