THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Thursday, October 23, 1969
Poqe Twc THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Those not-so-pleasant 'High School
FRIDAY, OCT. 24
By RON LANDSMAN
Paul Goodman called it com-
pulsory miseducation. I think
anti-education would have been
Goodman, the incessant rad-
ical critic of American public
education, was talking about the
deadening, alienating process
conducted by every American
public school against the stu-
dents forced to enter them.
What Goodman and Herbert
Kohl wrote about, Frederick
Wiseman (Who also made Titi-
cut Follies, a damaging film
expose of a state mental institu-
tion,) turned into a film.
It is called, simply e n o u g h,
high School. It is cinema ver-
ite - no actors, no plot, no
staging - the real thing. The
film which was shown by the
Tutorial Project last Tuesday,
was made at Northeastern High
in Philadelphia, a very typical
white middle-class s c h o o 1 --
not working class, not overly
That is what gives the film
its power. Northeastern is not
a bad ghetto school; it does not
lack money or a physical plant.
What it lacks money will not
The crisis and power of the
film is that this is a typical
American high school that does
everything wrong, not inten-
tionally, but because it wants
to do the wrong things.
The major object of Wise-
man's film is the school ad-
ministration's and faculty's ob-
session with rules and regula-
Lions - what another reviewer
called the "law and order of
high schools" - rather than
Wiseman's axamples are stun-
ning. An assistant principal for
discipline orders a student to
show up dressed for a gym class
despite a doctor's note excus-
ing him - "I'm sick and tired
of you talking . .. We'll deter-
mine whether you take exercise
Another student is suspended
for arguing with a teacher who
gave him a detention for un-
justifiable reasons. "We're out
to establish that you're a man
and can take an order. It's
a question of how we follow
rules and regulations," the be-
wildered student is told.
An old English teacher reads
horrendously a horrendous
poem, "Casey at the Bat." Ano-
ther teacher preaches platitudes
about family structure to a
group of unipterested boys. A
third teacher tells his class of
Michael Harrington's The Other
America with no sensitivity or
And on, and on.
Not that there aren't attempts
to awaken the students. O n e
young, fresh-out-of-college Eng-
lish teacher tries to use Simon
and Garfunkel's "Dangling
Conversation" to show her class
what poetry can be. She fails to
arouse them at all, and the
viewer can't help but feel that
in twenty years she, too, will
read her class "Casey at the
Wiseman is no dead observer,
though. From the "Dangling
Conversation" scene, with the
music still playing, he m o v e s
out to view the school, letting
the irony play itself out.
Wiseman is an artist in other
ways as well. Rather than just
tell the viewer the high schoo'
is oppressive, he subtley op-
presses the viewer - with the
starkness of the school, with the
dry, understated dialogue, with
the discomfiture of everyone in
It is a dangerous technique
that can destroy a film, but
Wiseman doesn't let it get
away. The viewer leaves not just
disturbed with the school, but
is reached emotionally as well
by the quieter effects of the
In fact, it is Wiseman's ar-
tistic and dramatic skills that
most discredit the movie as a
documentary. The reaction of
professional educators to the
movie is to charge that it isn't
representative, that it shows on-
ly the more bizarre side of high
Perhaps. Most of us can re-
member a good teacher in high
school who did excite us, who
did interest us, who wanted to
teach us and knew how.
Wiseman does' not give those
few good teachers a showing.
But we probably also remember
that those good teachers were
few, that they were the oases
in an educational desert. There
Wiseman is on solid ground.
But educators also have an-
other, much more disturbing
reaction to High School. They
see nothing wrong. The school is
functioning the way it should,
keeping the students in line,
maintaining quiet, establishing
law and order.
What this all means is that
the school does not care about
educating each student, about
developing each student to his
g r e a t e s t personal potential,
about challenging him to be the
best and most perceptive person
he can be.
There is, of course, a danger
in these platitudes, which Wise-
man also warns of. The few
times he does show atempts at
good teaching, instructors draw
no reactions from their students.
Teaching is a two-way pro-
position, and while much of the
blame for student apathy must
lie with the educational system,
it is still true that teaching
may be the most demanding and
sensitive profession, one that no
society can ever hope to do well
on a mass basis.
The viewer today also cannot
ignore the changes that have
taken over many high schools,
the "better" high schools, since
this film was made over a year
ago, and certainly since today's
upperclassmen in college were in
Largely as a reaction to the
liberalization and, liberation of
college students, high schools
students have also asserted
themselves and won release from
many odious practices-strict
regulation of all activities, dress
regulations and such.
Indeed, the horizon is brighter
for Soviet Jewry
now than it was three or four
years ago, but it is still far from
A few Northeastern students'
own condemnations of their
school are still too accurate. In
a "human relations" class for
the bead-wearing students, one
"I think in its attitude toward
education, its relations with the
world today, this school is miser-
able. It's cloistered. It's secluded.
It's completely sheltered from
everything that's going on in the
And one of the few black stu-
dents in the school adds, that
while the academic offerings of
the school are fine, "morally,
socially, this school is a garbage
The indictment still stands.
Grads and Undergrads
AT THE HOUSE
1429 HILL ST.
FRI., OCT. 31-8:30 P.M.
$6.50, $5.50, $4.50, $3 50
Tickets available at COBO Box
Office and all J.L. Hudson
stores. MAIL ORDERS: send
check or money order with self-
addressed, stamped envelope to
COBO ARENA Box Office, De-
troit, Michigan 48226.
Produced in association with
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
1421 Hill St.
Leadbelly, seashanties, cowboy
children's songs, Ragtime and
songs, street songs, dances, and
FOLK LEGACY Recording Artist
Guitar, Banjo, 12-string, Kazoo, perry whistle, flagelette, frettless
banjo, mouth harp, jaw harp, and concertina.
ai A i -J I
Order Youi Daily Now-
"Good, but not as good as How I Won the
Fri.-Sat.-7:00-9:15-Aud. A-75c (cheap)
A look insi
OOK RSde NothietInamil
Saturday 2:00 Only
By DAVID DUBOFF
Newsreel is a national or-
ganization of revolutionary
filmmakers and distributors. It
was started two years ago in
New York by a small group of
radical independent filmmakers,
and has grown to include bases
in 10 cities and Puerto R ic o ,
with fraternal relations to sim-
ilar groups in the Third World
In a recent interview Robert
Kramer, a founding member of
Newsreel, said that the organi-
zation has been distributing
Vietnam and Cuban films in
the United States as one as-
pect of their work to counteract
what they regard as the "sys-
tymatic lies and distortions of
the power structure media."
K r a m e r' s films Vietnam
North, made in Vietnam this
summer will be screened tomor-
row night as part of the News-
reel Festival of Revolution
Films, in Aud. A and B, tonight
at 8:00 p.m.
"In general, there were no re-
strictions on either where we
could go, or what we c o u l d
film," Kramer reports. "T h e
only restriction had to do with
the continued military precau-
tions. The Vietnamese maintain
a constant state of readiness,
thinking it not unlikely that the
Americans will start bombing
Kramer says that the treat-
ment accorded American pri-
soners of war, whom the Viet-
namese call "pirates" since
"America has never officially
declared war on North Vietnam."
was "correct." "All the fliers we
spoke with (six) said the U.S.
military propaganda had pre-
pared them to expect the worst."
But they found, their wounds
were dressed and they were con-
veyed through the country side
with no harm done to them.
In an interview with Pham-
Von Dong, the premier of the
North Vietnam, Kramer reports
that Von Dong explained that
his government feels that Nixon
is "intent on escalation and
that the troop withdrawals are
no more than an attempt to pla-
cate American public opinion."
"Group troops, in Pham Von
Dong's opinion," Kramer says,
"are no longer necessar'y to
fight the war inrthe South since
the war is being turned into one
of total destruction from t h e
Vietnam North, which origi-
NATIONAL 9ENERAL COR~PORATION
FOX EAST RN TEATRES
375 No. MAPLE PD.-.7ro1300
Mon. -Fri.--7 :20-9:30
Sat. & Sun.-1:00-3:05-5:10-7:20-9:30
nated when Kramer was asked
to accompany the anti-war de-
legation to pick up three cap-
tured U.S. fliers is an attempt
to portray the "humanitarian
policy" of the North Vietnam-
esa towards the downed Ameri-
Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 23 & 24
dir. JEAN VIGO (1934)
0 Vigo made a film in
1933 called "Zero for
Conduct" about kids tak-
ing over their school and
if "L'ATLANTE" is as
good, then we've got a
hot one. "Don't believe
everything you read."-
7 &9 ARCHITECTURE
And the Nixon Administration
DOC WATSON (a-yup-yup!)
The most earth-shaking finger-picker alive
FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY
October 24-26 Doors open at 8, Ears at 9
at the coffee house that dares to be indifferent . .
Sunday, October 26-2 P.M.
On Sale in Fishbowl, Union and League
From October 21st thru 23rd, Ann Arbor Resistance
is sponsoring the Ann Arbor Festival of Movement
Films . . . the largest collection of revolutionary films
ever shown in Michigan. Nearly all of the more than
35 films produced by NEWSREEL in the last two
years, and more than a score of foreign films im-
ported from fraternal organizations are being shown.
These films are being screened in thematic groups
and each group is being accompanied by a workshop.
"Go see 'Putney Swope.' A pacesetter with outrageous wit, courageous
creativity, guts and intelligence. Tells it like its never been told before."
-Judith Crist, N.B.C.
'It is funny, sophomoric, brilliant, obscene, disjointed, marvelous, unin-
tellible and relevant. If anybody tries to. improve it, he should be sen-
"EXQUISITE DELICIOUS COMEDY!"
"LIKE CHAMPAGNE BUBBLES!"
-Ann Arbor News
TONIGHT AT 8:00
"'Putney Swope' is a string, zinging, swinging sock-it-to-them doozey. It
is going to take off and be one of the most talked about flicks in recent
times. By all means I suggest, hell, I damn well insist you see 'Putney
Swope' and be prepared for the nuttiest, wildest, grooviest shock treat-
ment. Will leave you helpless with laughter." -Westinghouse Radio
"'Putney Swope' is attracting crowds day and night in New York that are
exceeded only by the fans of 'I Am Curious (Yellow).' But Downey's
trump card isn't sex, it's his refusal to honor the taboos that Hollywood
"It's all, as 'Mad Comics' would have it, 'humor in the jugular vein.' It
has the raucous truth of a cry from the balcony or the bleachers. There's
vigor in this vulgarity. 'Putney Swope' is a kind of 'Laugh-In' for adults."
-Richard Schnickel, Life Magazine
Lp MaJison Ave
WHITE NIGGERS White youth and students are working their
way out of the sterile tensions and alienation of life in the cor-
porate society. They have been experimenting with more freely
cohesive, self-defining social forms, and undertaking collective
self-expression and self-defense. This aroup of films, based on
community action on the Lower East Side of New York, and Son
Francisco's Haiaht-Ashburv. covers the drop-out, hip life-style
movement in some depth, as well as police and army pressures
anai national actions.
PIG POWER--students take to streets and police "preserve dis-
LAST SUMMER WON'T HAPPEN--formation of hip poliicol
HAIGHT-"children of love" forced to defend their culture.
HIDE 'N SEEK--fantasv of querrilla struggle in U.S.
GARBAGE-garbage dumped in Lincoln Center--a national sym-
bol of "cultural eleaance."
THE BRIG--Filmed on the Stage of the Living Theatre and
th the Qriginal cast, Kenneth Brown's night-
marish picture of life inside a Marine Corps
ioil has been tightened and condensed by the
selective filming of Jonas Mekas-Presented
at Festivals in Venice--New York-London.
YIPPIEI-Spaced-out view of 1968 Democratic Convention dem-
PEOPLE'S PARK-history and analysis of confrontation over
People's Park in Berkeley.
RIOT CONTROL WEAPONS--explanation of government weapons
for the cities.
VIETNAM WAR and NATIONAL ACTION-The entire move-
ment-student, youth and working people-sometimes marshals
its forces to establish a presence on national issues-in recent
years primarily the continuinq, vicious war against the people of
Vietnam. This group of films examines movement consciousness
and evaluations of its actions, and places these actions in the
world context of liberation from U.S. imperialism.
TIME OF THE LOCUST-Film of Vietnam War-prizes at Leip-
zig, Mannheim, Florence.
,. 0'A .&rIC fnnrlnn --k ~-- +1- Vann ',.-, 01 1 Q A7