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April 09, 1969 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-04-09

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4e I$Iir44gw DBUI33
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

sieve anzalone .-i uquiet desperation
The Brothers Smother

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 164-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in ao1 reprints.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 1969

NIGHT EDITOR: STUART GANNES

.

No more waiting
on\ ROTC,

THE LSA FACULTY failed to do any-
thing about ROTC at Monday's meet-
ing. The executive committee stymied an
attempt by the curriculum committee to
bring the issue before the faculty. All ac-
tion on the issue has been stalled until at
least next fall - possibly longer,
The executive committee h a s twice
forestalled curriculum committee action,
first on reasonable grounds, now on ques-
tionable grounds.
The first report on ROTC, prepared late
last semester, was returned to the cur-
riculum committee by the executive com-
mittee because it was poorly done and in-
complete. That recommendation had call-
ed for a reduction from twelve to four
hours credit for the four year programs.
The committee took the report b a c k
and a subcommittee chaired by Prof.
Locke Anderson undertook a more care-
ful study.
After a few weeks of studying the ma-,
terials and the personnel in the program,
they decided t h a t a reasonable choice
would be no credit for ROTC. This rec-
ommendation received committee approv-
al without dissent.
But the executive committee once
again turned the recommendation aside.
This time it was argued that ROTC was
being challenged on wider grounds and
academic credit was being used only as a
front. The executive committee decided
to send a report to the Senate Assembly
asking for consideration of ROTC's rela-
tion to the University.

Unfortunately, the report forwarded to
the Assembly was the one used at Stan-
ford University, the weakest of a number
of reports available.
And at the same time, they asked tlat
the faculty not act on ROTC credit, ex-
cept for minor changes that the curricu-
lum committee handled.
BUT THE UNANSWERED question is
why should LSA continue ROTC cred-
it pending the wider consideration'? Such
a report would not change the quality of
ROTC, nor would it take away the right
of the faculty to determine ROTC credit.
While it might eliminate ROTC altogeth-
er, or could conceivably strengthen Uni-
versity-ROTC ties, none of these h a v e
a n y direct bearing on literary college
credit for ROTC granted in the interim.
It is hard to understand why the execu-
tive committee has gone to s u c h great
pains to protect ROTC here, and the fac-
ulty should not let it continue. They
should choose to act at their next meet-
ing.
Prof. Stephen Tonsor a n d his fascist
threats of reaction by the People of the
State, of Michigan notwithstanding, the
faculty should see that ROTC receives
no credit while the Assembly considers,
the broad implications of ROTC's rela-
tionship to the University.
-RON LANDSMAN
Managing Editor

THE AVERAGE television viewer prob-
ably issued a sigh of remorse last week
when Chet and Dave told him that the
Soviet Union had imposed full censorship
in Czechoslovakia.
But his head quickly ducked back into
the sand-or turned aside with chagrin-
when CBS announced later in the week
that it was cancelling the Smothers Broth-
ers Comedy Hour. The similarity between
the two acts of censorship will probably
go unnoticed.
The Smothers Brothers was once one of
the most popular weekly programs. B u t
when they returned to the air last- fall.
wearing moustaches and seeming a little
more irreverant, they w e r e headed for
trouble. The adult audience soon dropped
off and the brothers oriented their variety
show more and more to the college viewer.
As their ratings dropped to 24, CBS be-
came more intolerant of their mild political
asides. The three year feed between the
genial brothers and the network's censor-
ship policies came to a climax when Joan
Baez tried to dedicate a song to her hus-
band, who is about to go to prison for re-
sisting the draft. t
THE SMOTHERS Brothers reflected ari-
other opinion than that of American in-
dustry, who finance the nation's hypnosis
- the boob tube. Their political sermon-
ettes were harmless, but because they posed
even a small threat, they had to go.
Television is a way for the American in-
dustrial establishment to re-inforce t h e
nation's stupidity while pandering to its
racist and fascist tastes. At the same time,
it sells its merchandise.

ligent programs like Omnibus, Slattery's
People, and That Was The Week That Was
pretty much indicate that the public
prefers the monotonous drivel of soap
operas and quiz programs.
Tuie average American TV watcher does
not want to be stimulated toward thought
after he comes home from 'work. The
"best" programs are ones that keep his
mind placidly occupied in the hours before
he goes to bed.
HE IS BASICALLY CONFUSED and
frightened by the rapid changes going on
around him that challenge his accepted
political notions and preconceived moral
values. Television is best for him when it
does not challenge the status tuo or make
him think about a world that he really
does not understand.
That's why censorship does not need
to be =imposed by the government from
above. It is done effectively by local au-
thorities, by sponsors, television networks,
and book publishers at tle public's bid-
ding. It is, then, still possible to pay hom-
age to the idol of free speech and at: the
same time restrict it in the "public in-
terest."
BUT ALL THIS DOES not help the col-
lege student who found the Smothers
Brothers to be the only bright spot in an
otherwise drab week of television. There
were many college students who watched
only that show during the week; now they
can just as well sell their televisloil sets.
It seems to be of little solace that Smoth-
ers Brothers' guest star attractions like
Judy Collins, Donovan, and Joan Baez will
now be inherited by that great friend of
youth-Ed Sullivan.

4

A

There are several ways the networks ac-
complish this. One way is the abundance
of the intellectually-sterile situation com-
edies aimed at the ten-year old imbecile.
These are the comfortably "Unthought-
provoking" shows of t h e "Flying Nun"
genre..
More dangerous are the "sophisticated"
shows designed to program viewers with
the "Vietnam mentality." These are shows
of the "Man from UNCLE" genre. Invar-
iably, they show hip-styled Americans be-
*

ing called in to straighten out the domestic
affairs of foreign countries.
YET IT WOULD BE A mistake to -con-
sider the public as innocent victims 'in a
conspiracy to ruin their minds.
The networks can easily point to the
Smothers Brothers' rapid decline in pop-
ularity as part of the reason why the show.
was cancelled. It is probably true !that the
philistine television audience loathed Tom-
my Smother's politics as much as his
sponsor apparently does.
The eventual failure of relatively intel-

1
1~

Giving RC flexibility

MURRAY KEMPTON
Getting mfortable
O YOU, TOO, COMMENCE to feel the faint embariassment of be-
coming comfortable with Richard Nixon?
As he contemplates the Vietnam war and the anti-ballistic missile
there are the usual alarms about his doing the wrong thing. Yet was it
not his weakness as a politician in 1960, 1962 and even 1968, that, when
in doubt, he did nothing at all; might he not then be the immobile man
whom the times so plainly demand? Immobility in Vietnam means not
responding in kind to the Viet Cong offensive.
- We can hope for no more from him,/and it is just what we need.
The military services show signs at last of losing the only war they
>:< . have waged ever victoriously for 24 years, the conquest and occupation
of the Congress of the U.S. The massive intervention of the President
is the only reinforcement that might now carry them through.
MR. NIXON CONFRONTS, then, a radical shift in the public view
of the military services he has been trained from youth to appease.
Lyndon Johnson believed the Joint Chiefs until fewer and fewer per-
sons believed him any longer; with Mr. Johnson departed the distrust
that was so unfortunately his has now been transferred with consider-
ably more justice to the generals, the admirals and the air marshals.
We are a people who have to blame somebody; and, now at last,
it is their turn. Before long it will take a very brave politician indeed
to announce that he will not turn his back on the Commander-in-Chief
of the Pacific Fleet.
Mr. Nixon is personally brave; but we are blessed by the succession
of personal disasters which taught him not to be bold. He is a man who
has learned to respect an obstacle when he sees one. And, if the ABM
cannot be salvaged in the Congress except by a desperate and uncer-
tain personal fight, Mr. Nixon might be trusted not to try and salvage

QTUDENTS AND faculty in the Residen-
tial College vote today on a refer-
endum which calls into question the very
nature of the two-year old experimental
college.
The referendum centers on last week's
decision by the Representative Assembly
- RC's student-faculty decision-making
body - to implement a student-run, stu-
dent-taught course as an alternative to
one of two courses now required of first
term freshmen - Logic and Language
and Freshman Seminar.
Although the idea for the course has
clearly found favor with the vast ma-.
pority of the RC community, the As-
sembly's premature decision to f ul11y
implement the course has not.
Prof. Charles Maurer, chairman of the
RC German department, immediately re-
signed his seat on both the Assembly and
the RC curriculum committee. Prof. Carl
Cohen of the philosophy department de-
clared he would not teach Logic and
Language if the student option were of-
fered. He claimed the effectiveness of
his course would be undermined.
IRONICALLY, HOWEVER, the b i g g e s t
optery came from the students, whose
representatives had beer primarily re-
sponsible for Assembly's action. Their dis-
satisfaction is manifested in today's re-
ferendum, which could force the As-
sembly to reconsider its decision.
The referendum lists three proposals
suggesting means of implementing a stu-
dent-taught option into the core curri-
culum\courses.
Clearly, the core curriculum must be
open to change, because each of its re-
quired courses are themselves experi-
ments. By definition, therefore, the
courses are not to be considered as ab-
solute pre-requisites to a "liberal edu-
cation," as some of the RC founders
often imply. On the contrary, a 1 a r g e
number of college students have already
claimed the required courses do not come
near being the valuable educational ex-
perienes they were supposed to h a v e
been. Their perception of the situation
typifies the. clear fact' that no course
can be deemed educationally rewarding
for all students.
THE PROPOSED student-run course --
"Communications" - appears to have
the potential of providing an atmosphere
of learning for students who are dissatis-
fied with Logic and Language and
Freshman Seminar. The backers of the
course feel that the "enthusiasm a n d
unmatched energy" of the student-

teachers would more than balance a n y
deficiency they may have in experience
or breadth of knowledge. Furthermore,
they argue that the ability to learn and
the desire to learn can be successfully
passed on by fellow undergraduates,
whereas present faculty members are un-
able to do this.
The course clearly has great potential,
and it must be evaluated so that the pos-
sibility of heightening a student's learn-
ing experience is not passed by.
However, whether the course will in-
deed have this effect is something which
can only be learned from experience. The
first proposal on the referendum seems
to deny this self-evident fact.
THE PROPOSAL - identical to Assemb-
ly's decision - asks that the course
be implemented in Fall, 1970, without any
prior evaluation; to allow 100 freshmen,
about half the incoming class, to opt out
of either of the two normally required
courses, and take instead, "Communica-
tions" - a type of course whose nature
is not even clear to its student planners.
If the course fails, half the freshmen
class will have passed, through their first
requirements without gaining anything.
t The possibility of this occurring can-
not be brushed aside lightly. It is a major
drawback to the first proposal and pre-
vents it from being a tenable method of
implementing the student-taught course.
THE SECOND proposal asks that the
student-taught course be first insti-
tuted as an experimental elective. This
completely avoids the major issue - the
necessity of establishing sound options
within the core curriculum.
Supposedly, the results of the experi-
ment will provide a basis for evaluatjng
the real validity of such a studenit-taught
course as an option to required courses.
But to be a valid experiment, the course
must be an option to the courses in the
present core curriculum - not just an
elective.
THE THIRD proposal offers a solution
that does not have the drawbacks of
the first two proposals. It asks that the
student-taught course be implemented
next fall, with an enrollment wisely lim-
ited to 24 students ppting out of either
Freshman Seminar or Logic and Lang-
uake.
The proposal provides for a valid ex-
periment from which it can then be de-
termined whether to implement the
course in the core curriculum. At the
same time, should the course fail, on 1 y
those 24 students who chos to nartici-

Letters to the Editor

Reply to Fleming
To the Editor:
I WRITE THIS letter in response'"
to President Fleming's open
letter of March 28, 1969, because
I feel that the questions he raises
about the representativeness of
SGC serve only to obscure the real
issues at stake.
First of all, a question of fact.
President Fleming is quite right in
calling the turnout in the SGC
presidential runoff low. However,
the unusual circumstances sur-
rounding that election make it the
exception rather than the rule.
The normal percentage turnout
in SGC elections compares very
favorably with, for instance, the
percentage attendance at LSA
faculty meetings. Yet I have heard
few administration voices raised
against the legitimacy of recent
votes and decisions at these meet-
ings.
It is easy to question the im-
partiality of people who do not
quibble at the retention of Ian-
guaee requirement by a vote of
eight per cent of the faculty but
reject the election of SGC council
members by twenty per cent of the
stlirents as unreorecentativo.
Could itbeb that the president
wvould be told to mind his own
busin-ss if he Drobed too deeolv
into the fsculty's internal affairs?
,erhans I could offer a similar
suopestion from the students
but let that pass.
FROM THE RUNOFF election.
figures. President Fleming makes
the deduction that SGC is not
representative of its constituents.
What does he propose to alleviate
this problem? He would have SGC
composed of delegates from the
governing student groups in the
schools and colleges, since they

effort to pack the student govern-
ment with administration and fac-
ulty appointees. Perhaps this is
not the president's desire; I sin-
cerely hope not. For the present,
there is little evidence of facui Ly
willingness to tolerate really ef-
fective student governments.
Until this situation changes, and
democratic student groups do or-
ganize in all the schools and col-
leges, selecting SGC members by
schools is a fraud.
THE ABOVE DISCUSSION only
skirts the main problem, however,
which President Fleming com-
pletely ignored in his letter. Most
students have little interest in
SGC because SGC is fundamental-
ly irrelevant to them, not because
of a sinister plot to deny them
representation.
As long as substantially all
authority and decision-making
power remains in the hands of the
administration and the faculty.
the representatives of the students
can do very little to significantly
improve living conditions or aca-
demic life.
When SOC is powerless to effect
much of anything for students'
most pressing needs, it is not sur-
prising that students' devotion to
it is not exactly passionate. Lack
of interest will not be cured by
any electoral or structural gim-
mick, especially one as ill-con-
sidered as that proposed by Prfesi-
dent Fleming.
The only solution is to allow
SGC enough authority, enough of
a financial base, and enough room
to maneuver to let it get sa~me-
thing accomplished. The more in-
fluence that SGC can exert in
favor of its constituents, the more
interest will be developed among
therR in setting the goals toward
which action is directed ,iid in
participating in achieving those
goals.
Considering that only in the last

PRESIDENT FLEMING'S letter
is but another example of the
continuing refusal of those in du-
thority in the University to face
the hard fact that they must share
that authority with students, not
on condition that we be good little
boys and girls; butsunconditional-
ly; for it is necessary for ius as
human beings to assume the pri-
mary responsibility for our' own
lives, and .our own futures.
-Marty McLaughlin, '71
President, Student
Government Council
April 8

it.
After four years of his exercise of that -caution one suspects in him,
we may be ready again for bemusement by a Democrat who wants this
country to get moving again. In the meanwhile, let us enjoy the respite
while we can.
IT IS THE COMFORT FROM Mr. Nixon that, despite certain rhe-
torical flurries in this direction, he inspires few of us with the illusioh
that represents for this nation the means of grace and the hope of glory.
Eric Goldman held out for Mr. Johnson the image of the President
as "'the steward' of the needs and aspirations of the general popula-
tion, the symbol of the national interest."
"If people want a sense of purpose," Harold Macmillan once told
Henry Fairlie, "they should get it from their archbishops." With that
definition of the decent limit of politicians at last imprinted in our
minds by the memory of Mr. Johnson, there is genuine comfort in the
suspicion that Mr. Nixon is. at bottom, so purposeless.
Doris Fleeson said once that the one thing about Vice President
Nixon she could not forgive was that he was unable to leave a bad sit-
uation alone. But perhaps his disasters have taught him that; if so,
there is nothing he cannot be forgiven.
(C) New York Post

4

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._- ",:o

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