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January 22, 1967 - Image 4

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-01-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

010MI-11an aily
Seventy-Sixth Year
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHYGAN
UNDER AUTIJTY oiF BOARD IN CONTROL OF STUDENT PUBLICATIONS
Where Opiion Are Pe' 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MICH. NEWS PHONE: 764-0552
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

Jan. 22: The Crisis at the Crossroads

SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, 1967

NIGHT EDITOR: ROBERT KLIVANS

The Obscenity Laws
Should Be Repealed

By LEONARD PRATT
Associate Managing Editor
It'shbeen a rough two weeks
for the of' 'U.' How old is it?
Should we all smoke pot? What's
your opinion on sex?
The problem with all this ex-
citement is that it squeezes in-
teresting small items out of the
paper. To redress the balance I
thought I'd tell you about some
of the more interesting tidbits I've
found this week:
* Policemen are rather hard-
pressed for a working definition
of obscenity, as last week's Cinema
Guild performance showed. The
problem is that the law only says
that obscenity is illegal, without
saying precisely what it is.
So what they usually do is send
an officer into a suspect movie
to see whether he's sexually ex-
cited by it. If he is, then it's ob-
scene.
This system has become in-
creaasingly known among campus
wags as the Sensitive Antenna
Theory of Pornography,

* Everybody realizes that the
Economics Bldg. is the oldest
building on compus, having been
put up in 1856. This is known as
a tradition of the University fam-
ily.
But not many know, as an econ-
omics professor pointed out last
week, that "the building is plugged
into a time machine." Modern
electrical appliances are wired to
work on 110 volts, but the Econ-
omics Bldg. is wired for 230, the
voltage in common use when it
was first electrified.
This results in all sorts of em-
barrassment. Once Prof. Kenneth
Boulding was being interviewed
by a reporter. "Before I could
stop him," Boulding recalls, "he'd
plugged his tape recorder into the
wall." It was the end of a beauti-
ful Pulitzer.
Officials have thought about re-
wiring the place and getting rid
of the two transformers that run
the lights-and the little ones that
feed electric typewriters-but it
would cost around $3,000, and
they can't find the money.

0 When the Associated Press
moved its last Friday story on
Clark Kerr's firing from the pres-
idency of the University of Cali-
fornia they hapened to mention
that the institution "is in its 99th
year" and would thus be cele-
brating its centennial anniversary
in 1968.
Of course there's no proof, but
wouldn't it be interesting if Kerr
was fired because he had found
out that the UC was actually not
founded until 1888? Can't you see
it now-"The University of Cali-
fornia, the distant cousin of state
universities, regrets to announce
the firing of * .
0 In January, 1946, The Daily
ran a story on the University's
budget request of that year (en-
rollment has risen 80 per cent
since then, while the operations
budget has risen 620 per cent--
hmmm) noting that a proposed
addition to Angell Hall "will make
possible the demolition of several
of the ancient structures dreaded
by students because of their
hazards and inadequate facilities

. . . the Economics Bldg . . . has
unofficially been scheduled for re-
moval."
Mighty unofficially.
* You can too get to the Hill
through the University's steam
tunnels.
* A friend of mine suggested
the other day that students who
use marijuana are more Christian
than those who go to church.
We argued about it for a while
and decided to put it to a vote.
All of you who've read this column
thus far and who are interested in
voting, drop me a card at The
Daily, 420 Maynard St., with your
opinion. If you're the gambling
kind, you can also put on the card
the number of votes matijuana
will get. Whoever comes closest
gets a free copy of "Yellow Sub-
marine" as sung by Leslie Fiedler.
Since you deserve something for
reading this far ("Go ahead and
print it," said Pat O'Donohue,
"people will read anything"). I'll
print the winner's name Wednes-
day.

9 On Jan. 10, 1916, bandits led
by Pancho Villa took 19 employes
of a United States mining com-
pany from a train near Chihua-
hua, Mexico, and shot them, thus
continuing the tragic history of
people caught in the middle. Like
the projectionist for Cinema
Guild,
It seems unfair that history,
biased in favor of big winners and
big losers, ignores these people.
A nice idea, if anyone's looking for
a book topic, might be a. series of
viginettes about them.
For a local entry they could
start with Jay Zulauf, '67, Michi-
gan Union head and member of
the sesessionist Student Govern-
ment Council, who threw 39 people
out of the MUG in December for
singin.
So don't get the idea that The
Daily only picks up the big news
items. There's a lot more going on
than that, and we get it all. Be-
cause of which you can now sleep
better tonight.

CENSORSHIP has long been an issue in
this country. The case of Cinema Guild
has once again brought it into the public
focus. This time, however, the question
is not whether the police were right in
taking the film - they were only doing
their job under the law.
The question is whether or not the ar-
chaic obscenity law under which the seiz-
ure was made should still be on the books
in what is supposedly a free country.
FmST, there is the question of whether
or not the police had the grounds to
seize the film under the present obscen-
ity law. In other words, when does one
have sufficient knowledge of a work to
judge it obscene?
The courts have delivered an answer
by deciding that a work must be 'judged
in its entirety and could not be found
obscene on the basis of a few passages
"which of themselves might be objection-
able." How could the arresting officers
have known whether the film was totally
obscene if they had only watched seven,
10 or even 20 minutes of the film?
BUT THIS LINE of reasoning applies
only if one assumes that anyone can
attempt a definition of what exactly is
obscene, or what is pornographic. It seems
obvious that what one person may con-
sider obscene, another may consider very
artistic; the definition of obscenity de-
pends on each individual's tastes and val-
ues.
To many, the war in Viet Nam is much
more obscene than the film "Flaming
Creatures." To many, that movie had a
great deal of social value, one of the
present criteria for determining whether
or not a film is pornographic.
There are other movies currently on
the market, a couple showing in Ann Ar-
bor, which have been considered by some
to be just as offensive to morals and de-
cency as "Flaming Creatures." The mur-
der movies such as "The Liquidators,"
and "Murderer's Row," depict actions that
go against not only the federal law, but.
against moral law as well.
The definition of obscenity, however,
seems to have been distinctly limited to
sex; only those movies with themes deal-

ing with sex are ever
scene.

judged to be ob-

AS PROF. HENRY AIKEN so aptly put
it, "Pornography should not be a mat-
ter of police action. The individual must
learn to discriminate on his own." Be-
cause each person's values differ, how
can it be possible for one person to say to
300, "You can't watch this movie; it's
bad for you, it's obscene?"
It is not possible. If we were living in
the 1984 that George Orwell depicted,
it would be. The "brain police" could come
and say, "Sex is bad. Do not watch pic-
tures that show sex. Do not read stories
with allusions and depictions of sex. You
will be arrested if you do."
However, in 1967, in the United States
of America, and especially in an educa-
tional atmosphere of supposed academic
freedom, it is unthinkable that there
should be brain police.
Little children need their parents to
tell them what is wrong and right. But
college students, supposedly fairly ma-
ture, are beyond the stage where they
need mommie's guiding hand to tell them
with a spanking that they "shouldn't do
that." And adult citizens should not be
told by an overseeing power that a mo-
vie is objectionable.
LIEUTENANT STAUDENMEIER would
have had an alternative if the law
did not exist. If he found the film ob-
j ectionable, he could very easily have
walked out of the theatre. This would
have been his free choice. The other peo-
ple there, those who wanted to stay, could
have also exercised the freedom of choice
by watching the rest of the film.
But that freedom was violated when
Staudenmeier stopped the film. In fact,
it was violated when the obscenity law
was passed.
The Ann Arbor Police Department is
not at fault in this case. The obscenity law
is. If freedom is to continue as an integral
part of this society, it is essential that
an effort be made to abolish the law.
Perhaps then everyone will be allowed to
view what they want, when they want,
where they want.
-DEBORAH REAVEN

Book Review: Fables from Michigan State

By DAVID KNOKE
THE FABLES, Book One, Vol-
ume I, by Ken Lawless, Zeitgeist,
Inc. East Lansing, $1.00.
The Michigan State University
Renaissance in student publica-
tions hit, a peak with the initia-
tion of the "Zeitgeist Supplement"
series. But it has also hit an MSU-
typical snag.
Ken Lawless' outstanding con-
tribution to the satire of art,
education and life in "The Fables"
is a literary high point. but the
snag has come in the suspension
of Lawless and Zeitgeist ad-
visor Gary Groat by MSU for
activities centering around this
and other publications.
A short history is in order be-
fore discussing the book.
Zeitgeist first appeared in Sep-
tember, 1965, and within two is-
sues was banned by the MSU ad-
ministration for alleged obsceni-
ties. The student editors and ad-
visor Groat had used some four-
letter words in a preface announ-
cing Zeitgeist's raison d'etre: a
protest against "the drive and
trivia coming from the pens of
our campus columnists . . as well
as poultry scientists."
Zeitgeist nevertheless has pros-
pered and begun an ambitious sup-
plement series, with a projected
eight volumes of poems and fables,
of which this is the first,
In its fourth issue, Zeitgeist
published Lawless' "Records," a
parody of Hemingway's love-and-
s,e x-i n-the-afternoon approach.
Shortly thereafter rumors circu-
lated that both Groat and Law-
less, instructors in the American
Thought and Language depart-
ment, were to be expelled.
Six weeks of meetings, rallies
and sit-ins followed, capped by the
week-long occupation of a class-
room building by 300 students in

late November. The issue is still
being fought out by the ACLU, but
Groat and Lewless stand to lose
their jobs by next August.
But to digress. Lawless' "Fables"
should stand of fall on their own
merit irregardless of the circum-
stances that have cast him in the
hero-rebel role.
Lawless' fables and anecdotes
reveal him not as the existential

rebel but as rollicking, lickerish
satirist who likes to tell Rabele-
sian stories to little children.
Cast as a series of rambling di-
gressions on a wide range of con-
temporary and bizarre topics,
"Fables'" chief weakness appears
to be only that the author con-
tents himself with obvious and
generally uncontroversial topics.
In one instance, "Mad Ave An-

dy," the author begins in a jovial
mood to tell an obvious caricature
of the gray flanneled suiter and
ends up too indignant and out of
the mood to carry off the satire.
The effect is perfect:
He is praised by his own organs
and feared by those who know
him best, he is less than he
thinks, more than we know,
something else from what he
seems and we are stuck with
the bastard as well as by him ...
Someday I'll tell you a funny
story about Mad Ave Andy. I
was going to today, but I'm not
in the mood any more,
In keeping with the Zeitgeist
tradition, many of Lawless' fables
deal with sexual and scatalogical
targets. Where he superficially
seems to be aiming only for the
gross-out effect, he is simultane-
ously exposing basic truths in hu-
man relations with a deft scalpel.
In "The Man Who Hated Henry
Miller," he describes the censor-
prude's method of "investigating"
an alleged "dirty book." The man
began with the first book of Mil-
ler's trilogy and "managed the feat
of reading only the objectionable
scenes, which his eyes selected by
hawking certain 'key' words,"
On the basis of his appraisal
that the first book is obscene, he
convinced himself, the minister
and dowagers of the community
that the others are progressively
worse and that there is no need
to read them before demanding
the bookseller remove the third
volume from sale.
The scene would be laughable if
only one did not know of the real-
life Citizens for Decent Literature
groups that have at times sent
dozens of identical letters of pro-
test over the sale of "questionable"
literature to post offices and busi-
ness bureaus.

In another brief episode, Law-
less describes the plight of a dam-
sel who was frigid unless intoxi-
cated, but whenever she made love
"some unfortunate conjunction of
bodily response caused her to
regurgitate at coition." On the
way to solving the beauty's dilem-
ma, Lawless manages to imply
some very pertinent criticisms of
male and female approaches to
sex that don't consider the prob-
lems of the partner.
If book one, volume one of the
"Fables" has a unifying theme,
it is the author's exultation, of a
good beer. The theme of a hazy
drunk becomes a symbol 'for the
un-world of his fables, which in
a way, is a function drinking per-
forms for many people.
"The Land of Free Beer" hap-
pens to be the only place of its
kind: "There is no Land of Free
Wine, 'cause wine drinkers are
either snobby or too down and
out to organize." But beyond this
sociological perception, he has a
revolutnonary pre-vision in which
"free beer is the equivalent of a
Wobblie-romantic's "pie in the
sky."
"You children never forget that
it's there, as real as heaven or
hell, the Land. of Free Beer, and
it Just might be a better place
than the one we've got here."
Lawless has three more books
of fables and a volume of poems
lined up with Zeitgeist. One hopes
he will use his experiences at MSU
for material for some very per-
tinent, hard hitting satire. In any
case, Lawless' first volume is a
readable, important contribution
to the maturation of student cri-
ticism of the status quo in liter-
ature, art and education that Zeit-
geist has brought about.
(On sale at Folletts, Wahrs,
Marshalls, Ulrich and Centicore.)

4

E

1

The President's Committees

Letters: More Support for Cinema Guild

THURSDAY NIGHT, the Student Gov-
ernment Council appointed student
representatives to the Hatcher commit-
tee on the student role in decision-mak-
ing and University policy on the draft.
Hopefully these students will take the
following into consideration:
T1HEUNIVERSITY policy on the draft
has already been decided by referen-
dum at the University-rank should not
be sent to draft boards. Their position
within the committee should be one ad-
amantly opposed to the rank.
It's essential that the committee on the
student role in decision making shoUld
make all information and discussion open
to the student body, and demand open
meetings for the committee itself.
The Daily is a member of the Associated Press and
Collegiate Press Service.
Subscription rate: $4.50 semester by carrier ($5 by
mail; $8 yearly by carrier ($9 by mail).
Published at 420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.,
48104."
Owner-Board in Control of Student Publications,
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104.
Bond or Stockholders--None.
Average press run-SO1.
Second class postage paid at Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Editorial Staff
MARK R. KILLINGSWORTH, Editor
BRUCE WASSERSTEIN, Executive Editor
CLARENCE FANTO HARVEY WASSERMAN
Managing Editor Editorial Director
LEONARD PRATT ........Associate Managing Editor
JOHN MEREDIITH ...... Associate Managing Editor
CHARLOTTE WOLTER ... Associate Editorial Director
ROBERT CARNEY......Associate Editorial Director
BABETTE COHN .................. Personnel Director
ROBERT MOORE..................... Magazine Editor
CHARLES VETZNER .................. Sports Editor
JAMES TINDALL......... Associate Sports Editor
JAMES LaSOVAGE ...........Associate Sports Editor
GIL SAMBERG............Associate Sports Editor
NIGHT EDITORS-Meredith Eiker, Michael Heffer,
Robert Klivans, Laurence Medow, Roger Rappoport,
Susan Schnepp, Neil Shister.
DAY EDITORS-Robert Bendelow, Neal Bruss, Wallace
Immen, David Knoke, Mark Levin, Patricia O'Dono-

Further, they should call large meetings
of interested students-teach-ins, for ex-
ample-to test student feeling on the
issues being discussed.
Finally, they should not approve any
official report without the approval of
the student body in a referendum.
THE VALIDITY of these committees has
been questioned by many students. The
committees, say the critics, are just an-
other set of the administration's evasive
tactics. They may be right.
It is up to the students chosen to steer
these committees from such a fate. If they
can't, they should resign.
--BOB CARNEY
Associate Editorial Director
No Alternative
But Protest
KNOW LITTLE about the war in Viet
Nam. I haven't been a Marine. I
haven't been to Hanoi. My government,
whom I would like to trust, tells me little
--and only when it feels the nation can
face the reality of the situation.
So, knowing little, I am left with only
one choice. Until our government tells us
why it is, fighting, for how long, and in
what manner; until our government will
admit the relative basis of its "divine"
right to rule; until my government will
take the responsibility for the situation,
I must protest the killing on both sides in
Viet Nam.
I have been given no alternative.
--MICHAEL DOVER
Correction

To the Editor:
WE, the undersigned, support the
Cinema Guild in its court ac-
tion against the Ann Arbor police.
Cinema Guild is a prominent
force in the artistic community,
introducing new and challenging
ideas and providing a forum for
the expression and presentation of
current art forms. The Guild is,
therefore, performing a necessary
service and function on the cam-
pus, and its operation should not
be hampered by outside forces.
WE FEEL that the principle of
freedom of expression on this cam-
pus has been seriously challenged
by the recent confiscation of
"Flaming Creatures" and by the
arrest and arraignment of mem-
bers of the board of Cinema Guild.
If the board makes decisions which
are in bad taste, it is up to its
audience, and not the police de-
partment, to voice its disapproval.
But it is not the taste of Cinema
Guild which is at issue.
The chief of police of Ann Ar-
bor has assured us that if the re-
cent censorship action is upheld
by the courts, then we can be
sure that similarhactions will be
taken in the future.
What, then, is to stop the police
from purging our bookstores and
course lists of required readings
of material which they consider
objectionable? What is to stop
them from coming into the class-
rooms and arresting people who
make statements which they find
objectionable.
THE UNIVERSITY administra-
tion has not taken a stand on the
issue and principle involved. In
this area, we feel that it has
been avoiding its responsibility to
the University community.
The administration must take a
stand against the threat to the
University's atmosphere of freedom
of expression.
-Mark Zuckerman, '70
-JTame L.Plummer. 170

told me that neither would be in-
nocuous.
While the first movie, "Flesha-
poids," was met with amusement
and perhaps a small measure of
appreciation from the overflow
crowd, the second received the
studied attention of not only the
regular audience but also the Ann
Arbor police-who confiscated it
after about 20 minutes.
THE MERITS of "Flaming Crea-
tures" notwithstanding, p 0 l i c e
censorship of Cinema Guild mo-
vies is a very serious matter. Since
when does the city of Ann Arbor
take upon itself the unnecessary
task of guarding Universiay mor-
als?
The crowd was, to all intents
and purposes, made up entirely of
college students andother adults,
all of whom are surely old enough
to judge for themselves what is
and what is not morally objection-
able. Anyone offended on any
grounds by any film at Cinema
Guild can certainly leave.
On the other hand, perhaps the
Ann Arbor Police Department con-
fiscated the film because it is city
policy not to allow freedom of in-
dividual choice. Not to extend nor-
mal civil liberties to Cinema
Guild? Not to miss the "dirty'
pictures" that come to town? What
possible rationale can they have?
IN BEHALF of everyone who
feels that the morals of the Ann
Arbor police are not necessarily
his own, I call on the A.A.P. to
explain this arbitrary, unpalatable
and fascistic exercise of power
never vested in them by the Uni-
versity community.
--Steven Gold, '69
Since When?
To the Editor:
SINCEWHEN are the police of
Ann Arbor able to infringe
upon the right of free choice of
the studeants arnd rofessors of the

the police said it was in bad taste.
Susan Sontag, a well-known movie
reviewer, termed the movie re-
rnarkable and beautiful in The
Nation on April 13, 1964. I found
nothing offensive in this film and
I think the seizing of it while
on the screen was a poor case of
judgment on the part of the po-
lice force.
If they were going to take this
movie, why didn't they review it
and confiscate it before an SRO
audience had paid to see it, avoid-
ing much trouble for everyone in-
volved.
-Joseph A. Exe
Obscenity
To the Editor:
THE "LETTER of the law" is not
an idle phrase. The law cannot
function without its letters.
The attempt to define "obscen-
ity," 'pornography," "f i l t h y,"
"lewd," etc. and blah into letters
has made utter fools of some of
the highest courts in the land.
IT WILL BE interesting to watch
Ann Arbor legal machinery slush
through the "Flaming Creatures
Case."
If the persecutors follow through
with similar eclat as that dis-
played in the farcical seizure of
the film Jan. 18, respect for the
city officialdom will surely reach
a new low.
Crimes are to be judged in court-
houses, films in cinema houses and
the most "obscene" spectacles in-
variably take place in those city
halls which fall prey to our out-
dated police mentality.
On with the show.
-Travis Charbeneau, '67
Clark Kerr
To the Editor:
AS A GRADUATE of the Univer-
sit nf Clifornia. T would like

sity, chancellor at Berkeley, Gov-
ernor Brown and student leader
Savio). This was certainly one of
the reasons for Reagan's victory.
In recent months, using the
same type of logic which justified
our increasing involvement in Viet
Nam, California's educational pol-
icy-makers have dealt with their
dissatisfaction by escalation, mak-
ing their opponents (the students,
who else) fight that much harder.
The next step in this escalation
is for the Board of Regents to
appoint a conservative disciplin-
arian (reactionary State Superin-
tendent of Public Instruction Max
Rafferty, perhaps). The students,
joined probably by many profes-
sors, will respond to the first big
incident with a strike. Education
will become less and less impor-
tant as each side attempts to ruin
The only benefit out of all this
might come to other states, in-
cluding Michigan, who could per-
haps get a decent president in
Clark Kerr.
-John Greenwood, Grad
Students Can Vote'
To the Editor:
Y(OUR THURSDAY article about
Jerry Dupont, the Law School
senior running for City Council
was excellent. Clearly we do need
to solve the problems of rising,
rental cost and declining housing
quality, of inadequate bus service,
of traffic jams and inadequate
parking, and of too few recrea-
tion facilities.
Unfortunately though, when the
April 3rd election results are
known, too many students will
again have said "These issues don't
affect me even though I live in
this city nine months each year."
If past history is a guide, too
many students will continue to
write letters, give speeches, and
advocate action, but too few will
register with the city clerk. They

transportation, or anything else.
just ask if he really means what
he says. Ask if he is registered to
vote in Ann Arbor. Aren't nine
months of each year too long to
live in a city without any repre-
sentation at all?
And if you want to learn how
to register at the city hall or what
ward you live in or how to help
elect a dedicated and responsible
student to City Council, then tele-
phone 662-8800, 663-4606, 764-8965.
-Christopher Cohen, 167L
War Referendum
To the Editor:
CITIZENS for New Politics, an
outgrowth of the Boulding cam-
paign, is working to bring the is-
sue of the war in Viet Nam to
the attention of the- general pub-
lie. We are trying to involve peo-
ple directly with the issues of the
war and the social conditions and
attitudes which perpetuate it.
erendum, in which 40 per cent of
Judging from the Dearborn ref-
the voting population voted for
immediate withdrawal of Ameri-
can troops, we believe that other
referenda should be held.
It is necessary to petition for
this referendum. The amount of
names of registered Ann Arbor
voters needed is only some 1800.
If you are a voter in Ann Arbor
and would like to sign, if you
mow people who would sign, if
you would be willing to ask oth-
ers about the question, either door
to door or simply among your
friends-all these approaches are
needed and welcome.
We feel one of the most im-
portant points in this matter is
to start the voter thinking - let
him realize it is not "disloyal" to
disagree. Even your signature can
help this effort.
IN ORDER that this question
appear on the April ballot, the
names must be in by February

A

A.

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