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September 25, 1965 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1965-09-25

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Seventy-Sixth Year


English 123-a Handicap to

sensical as it is uncalled for.
Any personwho bears such an
L attitude toward students should'
nbt be a teacher. In fact he should
not even be allowed to work with
human beings.


NEWS PHONE: 764-0552

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

Today's 'Machines' Destroy
The Individual's Identity

WHEN MAN'S MIND, somewhere in the
dim past, began inventing, his first
physical creations were machines. The
original and- sustaining principle of the
machine was the idea of extension of self.
All machines-from the primitive to the
most modern and complex-aim at am-
plifying the faculties of the individual.
All machines are made and used by men.
All machines ultimately provide for the
greater comfort of mankind either in-
dividually or collectively.
But what then of the "machine" which
is seen as a great evil by socially con-
scious university students and others, the
machine which dehumanizes and obliter-
ates humans? Can this "machine" be the
same sort of which simply is an exten-
sion of an individual?
Obviously a new kind of, machine is un-
der attack. Humanity is entering a new
period of development. The abstract
character of the machine has not chang-
ed but the image and uses of it have
changed radically in this century.
AHE MAN is now a part of the machine
rather than the machine a part of the
This reversal can best be explained by
the exploration of two uniquely modern-
developments, the growth of the modern
administrative bureaucracy and the in-
troduction of assembly line methods of
When Henry Ford introduced the as-
sembly line in the production of auto-
mobiles he did more than speed up pro-
duction-he laid the groundwork for the
Many of America's working class peo-
ple are assembly line workers and thus
part of the "machine." Because no one
man produces by-himself any one thing
and perhaps, thousands partake in the
production of one item it is natural that
the individual worker tends to regard
himself as an extension of the factory.
complex, Le., "the machine," rather than
as an individual possessing some unique-
quality which separates him from all oth-
ers. He knows that any other man can
perform his task equally well.
Nearly the whole of the practical sci-
ence known as industrial psychology ad-
dresses'itself to the problem of provid-
ing the separate parts, of. the human
machine with a false sense of individual-

The individual worker, however, re-
mains in the position of a tool to further
the aims of the production line machin-
ery rather than as a person who uses the
machinery as a tool to produce a com-
THE GROWTH of administrative bur-
eaucracy cannot be seen quite so sim-
ply as the offspring of a single phenom-
enon, because it occurred at a slofer and
more gradual pace. Today, the topheavy
bureaucracy has pervaded all facets of
American life. The principles behing big
government, big industry, big unions, big
universities and big bridge clubs are bas-
ically the same as those governing the
assembly line.
Anyone who has dealt with even the
smallest of the big institutions knows how
the administrative runaround works. No-
body k nows exactly what anybody else
is doing. Each member of the institu-
tion has his own narrow set of respon-
sibilities and even the people at the top
of the hirearchy have a limited sphere
of knowledge.
It is apparent that this is for now the
only practical means of operation for an
organization the size of the University
or the, federal government. The effects,
however, are identical to those of the in-
dustrial assembly line. The machine -in
this case is not the mechanical assem-
bly line but the equally mechanical in-
The institution rather than the indi-
viduals who make up the institution has
become the focal point of attention. The
individuals who make up the institution'
are reduced to the level of functionaries-
of the institution.
THOSE, WHO PROTEST the dominance
of the machine are in reality reac-
tionaries who are fighting for a return of
the small and individualistic institution.
This is a very difficult-if not impossible
--goal. A more realistic answer to today's
problems must fall within the realm of
reversing the roles of man and machine
by the evolution of much more effective
communication between humans.
TOMORROW: Communicatiops -
the answer.

SCARCELY a month passes with-
out a distinguished voice being
raised somewhere to chastise the
quality of writing produced by
college students.
The Dean of the Harvard Grad-
uate School of Business com-
plains that an incredible number
of college graduates can hardly
write a passable. sentence. The
State Department establishes a
special writing course for its staff
members who cannot comprehend
each others' memos. A college so-
ciology professor complains that
his students' writing is painfully
The complaints are justified.
But why do college students write
so poorly?
LAST YEAR I was among 2,573
freshmen in Ann Arbor required
to take the basic freshman rhe-
toric course in English 123. And
thinking back on the course, I am
convinced that the poor writing
of college students results from
poor instruction.
English 123 claims the largest
enrollment of any course in the
University. Unfortunately quan-
tity seems to have had an adverse
effect on quality.
I devoted no less than 43 class
hours and at least 60 hours of
studying to the course. Let I be-
lieve I gained virtually nothing
from the class.
Because effective writing is so
necessary today, it seems appro-
priate to take a brief look at how
writing is taught in English 123.
My first assignment came on
the secondday of class-an im-
promptu theme. The teacher
brought in a rusty velvet-covered
chair. We were told to spend 30
minutes describing that chair.
I FOUND IT a chore to grind
out the 250 words necessary to
complete the paper.
Frankly I had no interest in
describing the chair. It was as dull
a subject as could posibly be con-
As the course progressed I found
myself tcld to write papers on
topics that were as trite as they
were meaningless.
The surprising thing for me was
that for the first time in my me-
mory, writing was a burden rather
than a pleasure.
Readings were assigned from
an anthology of essays called "Ten
Contemporary Thinkers."
After reading C. S. Lewis' "Right
and Wrong as a Clue to the Mean-
ing of the Universe," I was told
to write 1000 words discussing his
concept of moral law.
After one ponderous essay, there
was an assignment to write a
theme on the subject "The heart
knows the reasons the mind knows
not of."
Then there was Carl Becker's
"Climates of opinion." The assign-
ment was to discuss a personal

bus, it is obvious that the heads
of English 123 are as contemptuous
of their teachers as they are of
their students.
For example two pages are de-
voted'to a chart that expressly
says what the teacher should do
during each of 45 class hours.
Take for example the third class
meeting dring the fourth week,
"Paper due, assign Lippmann,
TCT 301. Introduce and assign
LRE reading 38-57 for Sept. 30,
57-62 for Oct. 7."
There are express instructions
for how the teacher should act
on the first day, "Begin with a
cheery good morning (or after-
noon), mention that this is Eng-
lish 123 Section - introduce your-
self . . . best perhaps to write the
assignment on the board."
It appears that the department
has little confidence in the ability
of the people they hire. Certainly
such instructions imply a distrust
in the ability of the teaching
WHILE MOST beginning teach-
ing fellows tend to adhere to the
department structuring of the
course, some of the more exper-
ienced ones strike off on their
It is in these few classes that
students are really learning how
to write. One instructor, for ex-
ample, makes up his own assign-
One such assignment dealt with
Arthur Miller's Death of Sales-
men. The students were then given
two passages to read. The first
was a letter from a theatregoer
to the drama editor of the New
Cork Times criticizing Death of a
Salesman. The other was an evalu-
action of the play by a Soviet
The students were told to write
a theme agreeing, disagreeing or
qualifying the interpretations of
the play. As an aid the teacher
supplied a comment Miller once
wrote about his outlook on trag-
This is a perfect example of th
way a freshman writing course
should be taught. Death of a/
Salesman is an immensely inter-
esting play. The assgnment re-
quired thought and stimulates
creativity. It actually made a stu-
dent want to write. And this I
half the battle, for if a studenu
wants to write he will learn how
The powers that be in Englisb
123 would be wise to emulate the
kind of assignment given by this
imaginative instructor.
But as the way the course stands
now, it's no 'wonder students
can't write good;.


THE OFFICES OF THE English department provide an opportunity for counseling-but the time avail-

able for counseling is much too s
experience based on the subject
of flimates of opinions.
AND SO the topics went.
To help us out there was a book
called "The Logic of Rhetoric and
Exposition," which one student ap-
propriately renamed ""The Logic
of Rhetoric and Exhaustion."
It was a book which discussed
stipulative definitions, definien-
dums, overinclusions and other
matters. A verbose, lifeless book,
it was hated by everyone, includ-
ing, I believe, my teacher.
She remarked several times that
she cared little for the book per-
sonally but felt obligated to deal
with it because material from it
would be on the final examina-
I should hasten to add that
there was a bright moment or
two in the class. George Orwell's
famous piece "Shooting An Ele-
phant, was interesting enough.
I also found the' scheduled pe r-}
sonal conferences with my teacher
to be valuable. The little bit I
gained from the course was most-
ly during the conferences. Un-
fortunately five fifteen minute

sessions (one every three weeks)
were not nearly enough.
The undeniable fact remained
that the course centered on writ-
ing about boring or irrelevant
As the course progressed I be-
gan to face the typewriter with a
certain dread. I have always en-
joyed writing, so this was a
strange experience for me.
BUT I AM NOT the kind of per-
son that can write well on some-
thing he is not interested in. To
me writing has always implied a
real urge to try to express some-
thing on paper.
When there is an incentive to
produce a logically written piece
I can produce. But when the only
incentive was fulfilling a require-
ment I can't.,
And I believe this is why I and
most of my fellow students gained
little from the course. Effective
}writing is the product of keen in-
terest in a subject. When the sub-
ject is garbage the writing won't
be much better.
A boy who is not interested in
playing football cannot be taught

to be a good football player. A
student who is not interested in
what he is writing will not be a
good writer.
I never suspected for a moment
that my informed, intelligent
teacher was the source of the
problem. It always seemed to me
that she was merely carrying out
orders from some higher powers.
NOT LONG AGO I chanced to
get ahold of the orders the reign-
ing powers in ,English 123 hand
down to the instructors.
They come in a 22 page single-
spaced syllabus called " A Hand-
book for Instructors."
A brief glance at the handbook
clearly shows the source of the
problem in English 123.
The attitude of the course to-
ward the students was aptlysum-
med up in a section entitled,'
"Notes on the conduct of the
course or what to' do."
"Socially the teacher has to
recognize that the students in his
section, however inepb their prose
and surly their manner, are basic-
ally reasonable human beings."
Such condescension is. as non-


Detroit Election Results-Discouraging

The UN Gets Deserved Support

FOR THOSE AMERICANS who still con-
sider the United States a potential
force for inaugurating world peace, the
Johnson administration's actions on the
India-Pakistan-Communist China show-
down were most heartening. The gov-1
ernment's approach was old and reliable,
but not recently employed-it made use
of the United Nations.
The events surrounding the UN's ac-
tions followed precedents in United Na-
tions history. Secretary - General U.
Thant's intensely serious mission to Asia
last week was reminiscent of the efforts-
by-air of his predecessor, the late Dag
Hammarskjold, d u r i n g revolutionary
.times in Africabefore his death in 1961.
Thant and his predecessor have perhaps
between them exerted the most strenu-
ous efforts for peace in history-in the
name of the United Nations,
ed States refrain from unilateral in-
volvement in localized problems. When
such intervention occurs, minor incidents,
become major crises. By using unilateral
force in attempting to settle localized
problems, great powers such as the U.S.
risk further war.
The United Nations exists so that such
actions need not be taken. The opposite
of such unilateral involvement is not yes-
terday's isolationism, but rather the
Editorial Staff
Managing Editor Editorial Director
JUDITH FIELDS .........Personnel Director

greatest of all international participa-
tion, use of the United Nations. When
great powers meet at the United Nations,
they set aside immediate use of their
power and concentrate on diplomatic
bargaining to settle conflicts.
The importance of containing localized
conflicts cannot be underestimated. The
defense of American interests is often
best served when the nation supports UN
mediation rather than undertake medi-
ation through its own resources.
THE UNITED STATES has in the past
supported the United Nations by con-
sistently channeling its most competent
statesmen into service there. The late
Adlai Stevenson and his predecossor,
Henry Cabot Lodge, failed in attempts
at the presidency and vice-presidency,
This tradition of exceptionally honest,
moral, and intelligent ambassadors con-
tinued recently with the appointment of
Arthur Goldberg. By appointing one of
the U.S.'s top jurists and its most dynam-
ic labor mediator, the Johnson admin-
istration showed that the United States
will continue to devote its most excellent
resources to the pursuit of peace at the
United Nations.
The United States' actions in encourag-
ing the United Nations during the re-
cent crisis was worthy of the best of its
traditions. By encouraging the use of UN
facilities for the settlement of such dis-
putes, the United States avoids the dan-
gers which arise when it unilaterally in-
Whether the -India-Pakistan-Commu-
nist China problem can ever be compre-
hensively solved by the UN alone is ques-

ON SEPT. 14, Detroit held a
Mayor-City Council primaryr
election which devolved around
heated debate of civil rights is-
As in most American cities, De-
troit is beset with the problems of
racial fear and bigotry. These
areas of community disharmony
center on two basic subjects.
First is the demand by a large
section of the Negro community
for an open occupancy ordinance,
which would prohibit racial dis-
crimination in the buying and
selling of real estate. Negroes de-
mand their right to buy any house
they desire, while the white home-
owner claims he has the preroga-
tive to sell his home to whom-
ever he.chooses.
Vast areas of fine residential
districts in Detroit's far west and
east sides are strictly- white in
racial makeup and are closed to
Negroes by general, unwritten
agreement. In these sections,
homeowners' groups have been
organized with the express pur-
pose of excluding Negroes from
their neighborhoods.
Negroes deeply resent this bla-
zen. unsubtle form of bigotry and
wish to alleviate the unbearable
situation by legislation. Open oc-
cupancy ordinances, however, have
been repeatedly defeated by the
Detroit Common Council.
what many frightened Detroiters
refer to as "Negro crime." The
city has been hit with a sharp up-
surge in murders and assaults.
To many white citizens, this in-
ciease is attributable strictly to
the Negro sector.
The Detroit Police Department
has continually concentrated its
attack on crime on the low-income
sections of the city. These areas
have a disproportionate number of
Negro citizens.
In exercising their authority,
Detroit police have frequently been

ONE WONDERS whether the
officials nominated Sept. 14 in
Detroit will be able, to carry the
serious burden presented by these
Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh,
a progressive liberal with a strong
record in the field of racial har-
mony, seems well equipped to
shoulder this responsibility.
Detroit is very proud of the fact
that it has had no major incidents
of racial strife during his past
four-year term, a time when every
other city in the nation was
wracked with such incidents.
Running with relatively insig-
nificant opposition, the Mayor
succeeded in capturing 65 per cent
of the total vote. He seemed to be
in no trouble. His opponent, Wal-
ter L. Shamie had publicly an-
nounced that he wanted io "bigot
votes" and then, just prior to the
primary, began courting the
Greater Detroia Homeowners'
Council, a group which claims to
have 200,000 members.
The possibility of Thomas Poin-
dexter, founder of the Home-
owners' Council and a member of
the Detroit Common Council, go-
ing to work for Shamie is slim,
however. Mr. Poindexter has high-
er political aspirations of his own
and does not want to build up any
future opposition.
THE RATHER hopeful victory
of Cavanagh was countered, how-
ever, by the results of primary
voting for the Common Council.
This voting, which yielded eigh-
teen candidates for the nine coun-
cil seats, seemed to be a strong
indictment of the moderate fac-.
tion of that body.
The first place finish of liberal
Councilman Edward Carey, a for-
mer U.A.W. leader and Democratic
State House Minority leader, was
expected. Carey had received a
designation as "City Council Pres-
ident" on the ballot because of
possible confusion witheanother
candidate of a similar name.
But the second and third place

paign on a theme of making all
Detroit's streets safe for women
and children. A former social
worker and previously a champion
of.Detroit's child welfare program,
Miss Beck has changed her poli-
tical stripe in recent years. Mayor
Cavanagh had recommended in a-
public announcement that the'
voters defeat Miss Beck, but this
seems only to have inflamed her
many supporters.
ONLY 6000 VOTES behind Miss
Beck, but in seventh place was
Thomas Poindexter, the darling of
Detroit's racists. Claiming he is
the chief spokesman for "white
people" on the council, Poindexter
boasts as his major achievements
a homeowners' rights ordinance
and the defeat of two Detroit
school tax proposals.
The Homeowners' Rights Or-
dinance passed in a summer ref-
erendum last year, despite vigorous
fopposition by every religious group
in the city. The ordinance sup-
posedly protects property owners
from prospective Negro purchasers.
The constitutionality of the law
is presently being tested in the,
courts, since the State Constitu-
tion specifically prohibits such or-
dinances on a local level.
Poindexter recently achieved
notoriety with a council resolution
prohibiting spitting and swearing
at police officers while they are
on duty. Mr. Poindexter has the
spirited support of 'the Detroit
Police Officers' Association.
What surprised many Detroit
politicians was the poor ninth
place showing of Councilman Ed-
ward Connor, who had finished
second'place four years ago. Con-
nor, a national expert on munici-
pal government, has been a strong
force for common sense and rea-
son on the council. Moderation,
however, seems not to be a popu-
lar' political issue in Detroit.
IT IS NOT only the poor show-
ing of liberal candidates in gen-
eral, however, that has caused

tinued fighting between opposing
Negro church and labor groups,
with the charge of "Uncle Tom"
being. thrown at everyone..
The two serious contenders
among the Negro candidates are
Nicholas Hood, who ran eleventh,
and Jackie Vaughn III, who ran
REV. HOOD, a minister in a
large Negro church, has been a
member of Detroit's Commission
on Community Relations. He is
the only Negro candidate with a
considerable following in the white
community and is being pushed
hard by the Detroit News.
Jackie Vaughn III, an Oxford
graduate and winner of a Ful-
bright scholarship, had been given
a good chance for victory, but
some strange inconsistencies in
his qualifications have been re-
vealed in the News. The News has
claimed that Vaughn is 12 years

older than his filing form states.
The article cost Mr. Vaughn the
valuable endorsement of the
Wayne County AFL-CIO.
Vaughn, moreover, has reacted
violently with charges against
what he calls "the white power
Unless the Negro community
can consolidate its forces, the
chances are dim of seeing a Negro
elected in November.
serious problems in the next four
years. It 'seems unlikely that a'
council as nominated on Sept. 14
would be a source of the harmony
and understanding which is so
desperately needed in the com-
munity. Hopefully Detroit voters
will examine the men and the
issues objectively and not in the
light of their racial prejudices and



"I Thought I'd Take The Baby
Out For A Little Airing"


,j~N~~TI.a Z~.W%4tI i"\~I Ii '1 ft


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