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April 07, 1967 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-04-07

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Seventy-Sixth Year


The Death of a Hero

Where Opinions Are Free,
Truth Will Prevail


NEWS PHONE: 764-05521

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



A Blow Against SGC

THE OPPOSITION of Interfraternity
Council and Panhellenic Association to
the Student Government Council pro-
posal to allow non-students to participate
in student organizations represents a ser-
ious interference with progress at the
Just what prompted the sudden emerg-
ence of the Greek forces into the politi-
cal scene is hard to ascertain. However
one thing is certain, IFC officers possess
such ignorance of the workings of this
University, they have no business playing
the role of activists. They are motivated
by fear of ideas, not by some genuine
concern for their constituencies.
IT IS PARTICULARLY notable that in
opposing the SGC motion the Inter-
fraternity Council and Panhellenic As-
sociation are committing hypocracy. They
are effectively cutting their own throats.
Fraternities and sororities have tradi-
tionally allowed non-members to partici-
pate in determining the membership of
local chapters. Several fraternities even
have clauses in their national constitu-
tions which :require each pledge be ac-
ceptable to every alumni and active mem-
ber of that fraternity. How can IFC fight
non-student participation in other orga-
nizations while they allow it within their
own ranks.
Sororities are even more flagrant viola-
tors, since it is practically a universal
policy to require an alumni recommen-
dation in order to pledge a girl.
IFC OFFICERS in opposing the SGC pro-
posal, have shown a willingness to evade
the real issue. They emotionally admon-
ish in a large advertisement in. The Daily,
"Don't let outsiders run the University."

The question is not ,whether "outsiders"
should run this University, but whether
non-students as a minority be permtited
to contribute to student organizations.
The IFC, Panhel, IHA advertisement was
a gross appeal to irrationality. An appeal
to a conservative campus which fears a
Berkeley style uprising. They totally ig-
nore the possibility that non-students
might aid campus groups, only seeing
potential negative aspects.
They imply that the proposal is a
dupe to allow SDS to import outside agi-
tators, and are therefore motivated to
oppose it not on principle but because
of their intense dislike for SDS.
CUTLER'S VETO has found a friend in
IFC and Panhel. These groups are con-
sidering communication with the Office
of StudentAffairs in order to encourage
them to veto the proposal.
Such an action represents a childish
departure from democratic procedure. If
IFC and Panhel can't win their way by a
majority vote in SOC, they simply seek
to overrule the majority.,
Any contact between IFC-Panhel and
OSA will surely undermine the progress
made by SGC toward a fair role for stu-
dents in decision making.
THE IFC PRESENTS a rather dubious
official rationale for their opposition.
Citing Mario Savio, they argue that a
non-student member of a student orga-
nization might' badly reflect upon the
student body as a whole.
This preoccupation with public rela-
tions is repugnant to those of us who feel
conflict and controversy are essential to
the educational prqcess.

DENT by William Manchester,
Harper and Row, New York, 1967
B Y THE TIME I had worked my
way through this fascinating,
endless and very readable book I
found myself wondering whether
I had stayed with it so long main-
ly because of a prying and morbid
The book embroiders with a
prodigious amount of detail the
well-known story of the six days
before and after the assassination
of John F. Kennedy. If historians
handle it critically enough they
will no doubt find here a mine
of information about the circum-
stances of the President's death.
For Manchester has interviewed a
great number of people involved in
the event.
But as a contemporary, as one
who sat glued to his television set
and read the news and speculation
in the newspapers, I cannot think
of anything in this book that
throws new light on what hap-
TO READ the book is like scan-
ning a painting with a microscope.
It remains the same painting after
the scanning is over. The Presi-
dent went to Texas in order to
compose a quarrel among Demo-
cratic politicians, hoping to unite
the party behind himself for the
election of 1964.
The city of Dallas was a hotbed
of seething hatred of Mr. Kenne-
dy. The police protection afforded
the President was poor. On the
way back to Washington from Dal-
las a feud broke out between those
who felt that their first and only
loyalty was to Mr. Kennedy and
those who were attached to Mr.
Johnson or rallied to him.
The book tells again what we
saw with our own eyes, Jack Ruby
killing Lee Oswald, the regal bear-
ing of Jacqueline Kennedy and
the bomp and ceremony of the
The painstaking reporting after
the event confirms and ampifies
the original story that we all
saw and heard at the time. The
book makes us realize how well
the country was served in those
days by the newspapers and the
networks, and we are left to won-
der what American journalism
could be if it were always as in-
terested and as concentrated on
the task of telling the true story
as it was in those days.
BIJT IF THE SPOT reporters
failed to tell the whole story, if

there are hidden secrets, they are
still hidden now. For Manchester
takes the view that the findings
of the Warren Commission, to
which he had special access, are
the whole truth. For him, the
death of the President cannot be
a link in a chain of significant
historic events. It was a meaning-
less accident perpetrated for no
known reason by a trivial and dis-
ordered man.
This is the crucial judgment
about the subject of the book, and
it has determined the character of
the book. Unqualified acceptance
of the findings of the Warren
Commission set Manchester to the
task of describing in relentless de-
tail what happened during the six
days when a quite senseless and
meaningless crime was committed.
Manchester is aware that the
senselessness of the murder de-
prives his book of a, significant
theme. "I have to believe," he
wrote in Look magazine recent-
ly, "that the state funeral of Nov.
25 and the wake which followed
were a redemption, a catharsis,
investing the ghastly futility that
had gone before with meaning."
He goes on to say that "Maybe
that craving for significance is a
weakness. Possibly Sartre was
right. Perhaps it was all an ex-
istentialist performance in the
theatre of the absurd."
This craving to find signifi-
cance in the ghastly futility of
the murder is the reason why so
many people throughout the world
have been eager to believe that
the Warren Commission was
wrong, that John Kennedy was
the victim of a conspiracy. For
the official verdict has been a
hard one to believe, because Os-
wald was killed in the police sta-
tion. With the human craving for
significance, men have seized upon
the patent incredibility of the
senseless event.
For Manchester this way out
of the ghastly futility was barred
when he accepted the findings of
the Warren Commission. He knows
a great deal about the Warren
Commission's work, perhaps more
than anyone else, and he has writ-
ten a highly persuasive defense of
the commission's verdict.
He did not, therefore, turn to
a theory of conspiracy to find
significance in the ghastly futil-
ity. And he is not a poet who
could have made the senseless
death of John- F. Kennedy the
burden of a charge against the
wantonness and cruelty of fate.
What then could Manchester
do? He " obeyed his own genius,
which is not that of an historian,

but of a dramatic novelist. He is
also a reporter, and as a reporter
he had to agree that the murder
was a ghastly futility. As a lit-
E-rary artist, however, he was com-
pelled to reshape the material to
a main theme and several minor
THE MAIN THEME, he chose
to believe, is that John F. Kennedy
was transfigured by his death and
thereby became a legendary hero.
In the epilogue, which he tells us
he meant to make his best chap-
ter, Manchester becomes so en-
tranced with the theme of the
transfiguration that he does not
place John F. Kennedy with the
Presidents of the United States.
He places him in a line with King
Arthur, Siegfried, Roland and Joan
of Arc.
At the end, Manchester's crav-
ing for significance has become so
exorbitant that he seems to be
saying that the genesis- of a
modern legend, like the legend of
Lincoln, is that the hero was mur-
dered, rather than in what the

played a leading role in the turn-
ing point of the cold war, who
opened the way-not himself un-
derstanding it too well-to the new
economics, who gave a mighty
push to the second reconstruction
and drew into office a new genera-
tion of public men.
IT GOES withoutsaying that in
the attempt to tell the whole story
as if it were a complete and ubiqui-
tous newsreel of those six days,
Manchester has slipped up and
made some mistakes. I would not
dwell on them here were it not
that in the mistakes I know about
there is the same pattern: always
the mistake is a fiction which in-
tensifies the drama of the story.
The first mistake is of no im-
portance, but I noticed it because
it is about myself. Manchester was
telling where various people were
and what they did when they
heard the news of the murder.
According to Manchester, I
"reached the Washington Post and
collapsed." In truth I reached the
Washington Post, heard that the

telling of it Manchester has be-
come so obsessed by a passion for
detail that his book is pervaded
by a dumb and ruthless realism
which engulfs the-hero.
Only when I read the whole book
in all its appalling detail did I
feel I understood why Mrs. Ken-
nedy was so revolted by it and
denounced it as tasteless. I can-
not believe that her revulsion was
due solely to the passages she cit-
ed as especially objectionable to
her, personally. Those passages
have been deleted, and I have
not seen them or wanted to see
them. But I have a fair notion of
what they were like.
They were not scandalous. There
was no taint of malice or preju-
dice in them. There is no break
in Manchester's love and admira-
tion for Jacqueline Kennedy. But
the objectionable passages did
make sharper the dominant fault
of the whole book. For the family
and intimate friends of John F.
Kennedy, the book stains the white
radiance of eternity in which John
F. Kennedy dwells.


Reaction Against a University

WITH REGRET, I predict the next dis-
patch from the University of Minne-
sota will be news that the Board of Re-
gents has been hanged in effigy.
You have probably read with some bit-
terness and humiliation how the univer-
sity, on the verge of naming Robben W.
Fleming of Wisconsin as its new presi-
dent, was sandbagged, slickered and dry-
gulched by the University of Michigan.
As a result, Fleming is going to be presi-
dent of the University of Michigan, which
not only has soundly thrashed Minneso-
ta in the mounting fury of their rivalry
this season (49 to 0 in football) but must
now stand accused of pouring it on.
All of which leaves the university's em-
barrassed regents with their mortar
boards unglued and their academic
gowns down. To appreciate the awk-
wardness of the situation, imagine what
it would have been for the Viking owners
if the Detroit Lions signed Bud Grant
while the owners had him stashed away
in the Leamington Hotel.
Our one note of thankfulness here is
that the regents are not in charge of.
recruiting football players for the uni-
consider the nature of the competi-
tion. The University of Michigan has al-
ways imagined itself as the Harvard of
the cornbelt and, while it has never quite
achieved that status, the school remains
The Daily Is, a member of the Associated Press and
Collegiate Press Service.
Sunscription rate: $4.50 semester by carrier ($5 by
mail; $8 for two semesters by carrier ($9 by mail).
Published at 420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.,
Daily except Monday during regular academic school
Daily except Sunday and Monday during regular
summer session.
Second class postage paid at Ann Arbor, Michigan.
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104.
Editorial Staff
MEREDITH EIKER. Managing Editor

rather scornful of its neighbors. It is, in
fact, occasionally described as Buick Uni-
In its stumbling fashion, the Univer-
sity of Minnesota has tried to compete.
It defied Michigan 60 years ago by steal-
ing the Little Brown Jug, and so what is
so far-fetched about another traveling
trophy, symbolizing success in the war
for professors, the Easter Egghead Tro-
i Who knows to what lengths Michigan
went to land Fleming? A no-cut con-
tract? Three draft choices to be named
at next year's commencement? A trade
in which Wisconsin gets two political
science professors plus a blonde labora-
tory technician in exchange for Flem-
Michigan, I think, is capable of these
manipulations. How else does one ex-
plain Fleming's preference of Michigan
after so publicly being offered the Min-
nesota job? Money? The state of Min-
nesota, now that it has disowned the
city of Minneapolis, has tons of it.
Romney. Minnesota has LeVander. A
tossup. Outdoor status? Their rivers and
lakes are no more polluted than ours.
Industry?-They have GM, we have 3-M.
No, it has to be something more inti-
mate than that. I think you have the
answer in the disclosure that Fleming
visited in Minneapolis a few weeks ago
and, in the natural course of things,
probably was required to park an auto-
mobile at the university. Having under-
gone this shattering experience, Flem-
ing was happy to return to his job of
holding hands with beatniks on Wiscon-
sin's Madison campus.
Minneapolis Star Journal
March 30, 1967
Swedish Sex
UNITED PRESS International re-
"The Swedish Pupils Central Organi-
zation (SECO) today rejected a teacher's
suggestion that high schools install 'sex
rooms' for their Dupils.

hero achieved. But surely a mod-
ern historian must not forget that
Lincoln became fixed in the minds
and hearts of our people not be-
cause he was murdered in Ford's
Theatre, but because he saved
the Union and emancipated the
The Kennedy legend will flour-
ish or will languish because of
what Mr. Kennedy did, because
of what he left behind him that
endures. The historic foundation
of a Kennedy legend will be that
with him the generation born in
the 20th century came to power
and that under* him there were
new beginnings in the life of the
substance and the significance of
John Kennedy's work as President.
lies the root of all the troubles
that this book has caused every-
body involved with it, the family,
the publishers, the author. In
thinking about how Manchester
wrote a 600-page book on the
death of the President without
writing about what John F. Ken-
nedy did as a President, I learned
something from reading Manches-
ter's earlier "Portrait of a Presi-
That book was, so to speak, a
sketch from life, and it is said
that because President Kennedy
liked the book, Pierre Salinger pro-
posed Manchester to the Kennedy
family as the author to write the
story of the President's death.
Like the present book, the ear-
lier book is very readable and full
of entertaining detail. But read-
ing it one would never understand
how the wry, witty rich Boston
Irishman with his beautiful and
fashionable wife was the man who

.. .and his King Arthur.
President was in the hospital, but
still alive, thought the crowd was
too noisy around the tickers and
the television sets and rushed for
a taxi to go home to hear the rest
of the news.
In the taxi on the radio I heard
that the President was dead. The
mistake- i, of no importance ex-
cept that the truth is much less
dramatic than the fiction.
The second mistake concerns
that excellent soldier, Gen. Clif-
ton. According to the first Man-
chester version, which has since
been corrected, Gen. Clifton lost
his head and, forgetting his sense
fo duty, first telephoned a mes-
sage to his wife before he tele-
phoned about security matters
which were his special charge. The
story was not true at all, but the
spectacle of a gallant and effi-
cient soldier losing his head made
it a better story than the prosaic
The third mistake is that at the
swearing in of Lyndon Johnson
aboard the airplane the ceremony
was boycotted by the Kennedy
men who were on the plane. The
story is not true. Lawrence O'Brien
and Ken O'Donnell were present,
though their faces do not show in
all of the photographs. O'Brien
was hidden by Judges Hughes who
was swearing in President John-
son. O'Donnell was to the left of
Mrs. Kennedy and was not caught'
in all the photographs. Again the
mistake is one which hots up the
truth and intensifies the drama.
MISTAKES of this sort can and
no doubt will be corrected. In
spite of them the book remains
a dedicated effort to tell with re-
lentless detail the story of the six
days of the murder. But in the

The trouble is that the book as a
whole shows in horrid and painful
detail this mean and sordid real-
ity in which the epic story of the
aero's death was enacted. That the
death of the young and brilliant
President was senseless was an in-
tolerable event; it was bearable
only if it was extricated from the
muck in which it in fact took
It was terrible that the Presi-
dent was dead. It was injury add-
ed to injury that the hero was on
a trivial mission among inglori-
ous Texas politicians._ For the
Kennedy family, to have brought
Camelot down to this has been
Manchester's transgression.
AS THE STORY develops in
Manchester's pages it has neith-
er .elegance nor grandeur, and the
author's gluttonous appetite for
anecdotes does not spare the fam-
ily or the reader the horor of
the carnage inside the automobile,
the insufferable insensitiveness of
the clowns and mountebanks and
louts at the Dallas hospital or the
macabre details of the autopsy at
Bethesda and of the undertakers'
work. Thus, the search for the
significance of the senseless death
wallows on in a flood of noisome
It is no service to John Kenner
dy's reputation, historic or leg-
endary, to put together an infinite
number of tidbits'and to dwell not
on his historic achievements, but
on the glamour that emanated
from him and his family and on
the trivial facts surrounding his)
murder. For this belongs to what
the French call "petite histoire,"
the little stories that are the
small change of history.
(c), 1967, The washington Post CO.


Manchester's Book.. .

Letters: Is This an All American City?

THERE ARE those social critics
who decry the decadent state
of the American society. I have
never particularly ascribed to such
pessimism, but was prompted to
wonder if perhaps such statements
may have some validity when I
scanned the Thursday Ann Arbor
News and the Friday Daily, and
learned that Ann Arbor is an "All-
America" city, one of only 11 in
the nation.
This raises my hackles, for if
Ann Arbor is one of the very best
then perhaps our society is in a
decadent state. The only American
standards by which AnwArbor
should win such an award are
mediocrity and the entrepreneur-
ical spirit under which business-
men strive for greater riches. Ann
Arbor indeed possesses a unified
community spirit when it comes
to loosening greenbacks from the
students (or checks-oh, those
service conscious, eager-to-please
local banks).
In the four years since I first
arrived in this city I have failed
to note a single significant item
of progress on the part of the city
--the city should be condemned
for its inability to cope with an
-viormnaTni rz%-.1m. a Tnvr

city workmen can be depended
upon to continue trimming trees.)
Instead of making efforts to
constructively solve the parking
problems the city has embarked
upon a system of draconian en-
forcement of irrational regula-
tions; the theory must be that the
greater inconvenience placed on
those with cars will result in a
diminution of them. It won't work:
the vicious economic circle in ef-
fect here means that the Univer-
sity draws predominantly upper
middle class students, many of
whom desire and can afford motor
merit an award for the efficiency
of its police-if the award were
based on the quantity,,of parking
and traffic tickets written. When
it comes to rapes and thefts and
real crime, of which there is a
considerable amount, they seem to
be out to lunch,.
The attitude of most of the
members of the police force can
only be termed as hostile to stu-
dents, and I doubt whether they
can boast a desire to recruit col-
lege graduates, as the Berkeley,

fic will bear. I have done some
informal checking, and have been
unable to discover any city with
higher food and cleaning prices,
for example. And as for the local
gouging real estate cartel, com-
plaints in this basic economic area
are legion. I've been told that the
local rate of return for landlords
is exceeded by few cities in this
country. Admittedly, local real
estate taxes are high, but this
doesn't warrant exorbitance. And
this leads to the question of what,
the local government is doing with
the tax money, for the services
provided are far from superior.
The city is poorly laid-out to
begin with. Thus, with the base
of poorly planned streets the traf-
fic problem is compoundedhby the
lack of efforts being manifested
to alleviate them. And supposedly
the award was founded in part
on the Ann Arbor parks-who's
kidding whomn! And the city had
the audacity to make a bid for
the new AEC site, finally awarded
Weston, Ill.
make it as a tourist attraction.
There's the Hanging Gardens of
Babylon-City Hall. And the tour-
i .a 1.A .n A o +nn -ll - n ny

Bitter? No, maybe it's just been
a long, rough winter. In general,
this is a good place to go to school.
I don't expect perfection, but Ann
Arbor seems headed in that direc-
tion. And I hope that the city
fathers don't let this award go to
their heads.
If they felt humble when they
accepted it they had good cause.
-Michael Bobroff, Law '68

The Daily has begun accept-
ing articles from faculty, ad-
ministration, and students on
subjects of their choice. They
are to be 600-900 words in
length and should be submitted
to the Editorial Director.

-' ,r
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