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February 04, 1964 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1964-02-04

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Gbr £dim4an Daily
Seventy-Third Year
Truth Will Prevail"'
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in a reprints.
Decentralization Threatens
To Destroy Cities
BILTHOVEN, Netherlands-With the in- center of the city from most residential
creasing problems which Americans areas.
meet in their cities, it is interesting to
take a look at the European scene. Most DISREGARDING the economic consid-
American cities suffer from congested erations of buses being more expensive
downtown districts surrounded by a belt than streetcars, some European cities have
of decaying residential areas. Most shop- switched to total bus service. Utrecht,
pers who used to walk downtown have Holland, has instituted two bus systems.
moved away from the city's core, to nicer A local system connects the main points
residential areas. From there, they drive of the downtown area and the inner resi-
to the shopping centers especially built dential belts. The second system provides
to suit their suburban needs. service for the suburban areas.
A similar process may develop in West- However, the ideal solution for cities
ern Europe. As more people buy their of medium size is a streetcar system be-
own cars, they cease patronizing the bus low surface. This method, which has
or streetcar service. As a result, the cen-
ters of the cities are congested and busi- been applied in Brussels, is expensive;
ness processes slowed down. but it is the best way of insuring that
European cities will preserve the beauty
SUCH DECENTRALIZATION would be which makes them worth living and
practical. However, it also represents working in.
a major danger to the traditional resi-
dential belt around the city. Europeans EUROPEANS have long realized that
feel much more tightly connected to their such a service to the public and its
traditional cities than do Americans and economy as transportation must be sub-
sense a feeling of loss when confronted sidized by the city. Especially building
by decentralized cities. projects such as underground or high
Most cities, therefore, concentrate on speed commuter trains require large pub-
the task of accommodating the increas- lic funds. But the businesses in the down-
ing flow of people into and out of the town areas and the city population are
centers. But this is not possible by pri- alarmed enough by the present conges-
vate transportation operating within the tion so that they are actively supporting
traditional network of winding European subsidy of public transportation.
streets. So attention is focused on public In most Western European cities, there
transportation. is still time to save the traditional beau-
The city of Basel, Switzerland, with its ty. City planners have learned from
200,000 population, still uses a streetcar American mistakes and are trying to
system which dates back to the begin- prevent slums from occurring or increas-
ning of this century. New coaches are ing; they are trying to combine the re-
being used and riding comfort is high. quirements of modern traffic with the
One can easily read a newspaper while on objectives of preserving their cities' beau-
his way home, an impossible and un- ty. Viewed from here, it seems not to
healthy task on a bus. be an impossible task, but it will require
Streetcars run on all main lines at six a good deal of community thinking, per-
minute intervals throughout the day. sonal initiative and sacrifice.
Within 30 minutes, one can reach the -ERIC KELLER
Embarrassing Question
Philip Sutin, National Concerns Editor


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'Frieze of Girls':
It's Twain and Thurber

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The author,
Allan Seager, is a professor of
English at the University and the
reviewer, an associate professor of
MR. SEAGER has just published
a wonderfully funny book, an
account of one boy's growing up
during the twenties in America-
in Memphis, in Ann Arbor, in Ox-
ford. It is fictionalized autobiogra-
phy, as Mr. Seager explains:
"Timermakes fiction out of your
memories . . . and if I say that
the pieces in this book are auto-
biographical, they are so only in
this way."
"A Frieze of Girls" is comprised
of 13 pieces, each self-contained;
yet the book has continuity, ac-
cumulates and is greater than the
sum of its components. It recalls
episodes from "Allan's" life, from
the age of roughly 16 to 25.
The characters Allan meets are
sharply etched and stunningly un-
forgettable, and the episodes he is
involved in are arresting - hilar-
ious and poignant. There is the
little Memphis belle, wearing out
five partners at the Charleston;
there is the beautiful and poised
sister of a Chicago gangster, dis-
pensing charm and beer to a pair
of Michigan swimmers in her gra-
cious house on South Halsted
Street; and there is Marta, the
girl at Martha Cook, with the red
4 * M
"A FRIEZE of Girls" is in the
best tradition of American humor
-dead pan; it is something like
a combination of Mark Twain and
James Thurber. And Seager's Al-
lan is more than a little like
Twain's Huckleberry: he is the
same puzzled young naif in an
alien world, and deadly serious;
and his career (like Huck's) is a
constantly developing one-upman-
ship masquerading as one-down-
That theme begins in an episode
in the first chapter. Allan's initial
experience in high school football
has him pitted, as a second-string
center (he is always a second-

string something), against a young
giant out of the hills: "He fell on
me just once. I felt as if I were
squirting out like a tube of tooth-
paste. After that, when he snapped
the ball I jumped back. He crashed
to earth steadfastly every time
and I would run up and stand on
him, scanning the play as from a
little hill, and I made a couple of
fancy tackles from behind." But
of course he is kicked out of the
game for rough play - but of
course the crowd acclaims him.
The theme is there again late in
the book, when Allan the Rhodes
Scholar fails to "psych out" the
Oxford final exams; yet he ends
up with a "Second" - like magna
cum laude.
* , - * "*
THE BOOK is not merely epi-
sodic and picaresque. Mr. Seager
writes of the episodes, "I have not
the effrontery to think of them as
The Education of a Young Man."
Yet that is about what it comes
to. It does develop Allan's charac-
ter. We follow his schooling in the
three B's (as he might say) -
books, broads and booze; if this is
a frieze of girls it is also a fresco
of bottles. We chuckle our way
through his learning how to drink,
what makes Woman tick, the sham
of conventions, that while we can
pick our friends our relatives are
imposed on us, what it means to be
free, and what it means to be an
intellectual adult-in a word, how
one grows up.
The whole is presented as hu-
morously as can be. The memor-
ies are, of course, touched inevit-
ably with nostalgia; there is a note
of wistfulness in the humor. Not
all the episodes are comic. Some
few, like "The Old Man," which
deals with Allan's grandfather
(rather like Ephraim Cabot in
O'Neill's "D es i re Under the
Elms"), are of another sort; they
give the book balance and, I think,
greater richness.
The book is in no sense didactic
-it points no morals; the episodes
are simply there. Reading "A
Frieze of Girls" then, is a bit like
watching a Chaplin movie - the
blend is familiar.

ONE OF Irving Wallace's least
offensive books has been made
into a most offensive movie. Now
at the State Theatre, "The Prize"
is a spiritless attempt to make a
mystery out of the, Nobel awards.
It concerns the Communist kid-
napping and impersonation of an
award winner, Edward G. Robin-
son, and the subsequent series of
rescues by Paul Newman.
Paul Newman dominates the
scene with his arrogant indiffer-
ence which he passes off for act-
ing. He swaggers across the screen
in an eternal semi-stupor and
tries, but not too hard, to get the
girl, whom he never quite gets.
THERE actually are a few clever
moves in this symbolism drama of
ineptitude. Paul Newman falls off
a building into a canal. Paul New-
man escapes from a freighter by
hiding in a car. Paul Newman
drops into a nudist meeting.
(Don't lick your chops; it's a blow-
out.) Paul Newman smart-alecks
his way through press conferences.
The subplots of the two doctors
feuding and the adulterous French
couple, expanded fully in the book,
are rendered inane by cutting their
substance from the film.
There is really no music to speak
of, but the film has plenty of Local
Color and Cinemascope. Elke Som-
mer struts admirably.
HOWEVER, if you're looking for
sex, the preceding Tom and Jerry
cartoon has more. If it's continu-
ous suspense, the Tom and Jerry
cartoon has more. If it's cleverness
or blood n' guts, the Tom and
Jerry cartoon has more.
If the night is clear and the
stars are out, then you may won-
der, if these are the men to whom
we give our highest awards, and
if these are our best, then why go
through the expense?
-Michael Hyman

Dick Gregory:
Comedian in Protest

"J DIDN'T have any trouble giv-
4 ing up smoking . . . I don't
mind putting down something
white," Dick Gregory said in his
performance here Saturday night.
Because he "doesn't mind put-
ting down something white,"
Gregory has received widespread
popularity. When he left Southern
Illinois University to become a
comedian, being a Negro didn't
hinder his opportunities, he re-
lated. Gregory was a "new thing"
then, a Negro who wasn't afraid to
put down whites as, well as Ne-
groes, and this appeal remains to-
This popularity remains because
the "white liberal" audience which
most seems to enjoy his humor
would feel either nervous or in-
sulted if a white comedian were
to tell Gregory's jokes.
GREGORY expressed some in-
teresting views on the present civil
rights situation in an interview
before his performance. And since
he has become a central figure in
the Negro protests in the South,
he is all the more outspoken.
He participates in Southern
rather than Northern demonstra-
tions because he must "hit where
it'll do the most good. The whole
world knows about it when there
is a famous person participating
in the demonstrations, and this
publicity helps the cause."
Showing the force of publicity,
Gregory said that "Bull Connor
(former chief of police in Birm-.
ingham, Ala.) did more for the

Negro movement than any Negro
in the history of the United
"You must understand," he add-
ed "that there is a different type
of Negro living in the South than
in the North. Job-wise, the South-
ern Negro doesn't have much to
lose by getting out on a picket line,
whereas a Negro in Chicago, for
example, may have debts of $10,-
000, and will think twice before
he risks his job by picketing."
I ASKED "Greg" whether he
would consider picketing in a city
such as Ann Arbor. He said that
he probably would not, but it de-
pended on the situation and what
the picket was for. ,
"You don't need the 'big guns'
on the line where the laws give
more protection to the picketers,"
he said. "When people here picket
something like a barber shop, they
don't have to worry about the Ku
Klux Klan attacking them on the
line or the police arresting them.
These things happen in the South
though, and if there's no reason
for publicity, such as my presence
would be, people will never hear
about them."
Gregory said that his participa-
tion in civil rights demonstrations
has not damaged his chances of
getting work even though he has
been jailed several times.
Undoubtedly, this is because his
experiences add a touch of realism
to his act and make his audiences
feel even more at ease, a feeling
which is very important to the
success of Gregory's act.

NEW YORK-The college editors sat po-
litely and laughed at the jokes used
to bring the point home, but were un-
moved as James Weschler and his fellow
journalists urged them to be crusading
newspapermen. This lukewarm reaction
of college editors at the Overseas Press
Club international affairs conference is
indicative at once of a maturity in the
American press and a creeping lethargy.
This is clearly not the era of the cru-
sading, muckraking newspaper. Few pa-
pers consistently embark on crusades to-
day. This, to a great extent, is not a bad
trend, but it means newspaper vigilance
in public affairs must take other forms.
A crusade is a simple-minded thing.
It requires a black-and-white issue with
a clearly identifiable villain and an un-
complicated course of action to elimi-
nate the evil. The crusade appeals to
the emotions. It evokes gut reactions
which the newspaper hopes will be con-
verted into positive action.
UNFORTUNATELY, the world today
faces complex problems. They cannot
be reduced to black-and-white terms.
They are caused by many factors and
their solutions must be broad and many-
faceted. No single viewpoint may be en-
tirely correct; rather each view holds a
little bit of the best solution.
A newspaper cannot effectively crusade
if everyone is a little bit right for it may
dangerously oversimplify the matter and
thus create misunderstanding and even-
tual failure. A notable example was a
1960 anti-crime crusade by the Detroit
newspapers. The city had experienced a
series of brutal, unsolved murders. The
papers demanded a police crackdown.'
They got it, but police concentrated on
the city's Negro community, forcing many
Negroes to suffer the indignities of search
and interrogation while innocently going
about their business.
Instead of arresting the culprits and
preventing crime, the crackdown need-
lessly raised racial tensions. At the next

ed the indignities of the previous winter
and helped throw the mayor out.
HOWEVER, the abandonment of the
crusade should not mean the deser-
tion of civic concern. Rather, newspa-
pers must adopt a greater sophistication
than was seen in the crusading era and
continually warn readers of errors and
injustices in society-at-large, govern-
ment and foreign affairs.
Weschler's dictum that a newspaper
is designed "to comfort the afflicted and
afflict the comfortable," should be modi-
fied by Harrison Salisbury's demand that
"newspapers have to ask the unpleasant
and unpopular questions and present the
unpopular viewpoints, for history may
prove them right."
David Halberstam told newspapermen
to follow their conscience, work well, but
not to unquestioningly accept the es-
tablishment line. Hopefully, the college
editors who heard these stirring remarks
will take them to heart as should their
elders in the professional press.
THERE IS MUCH to be done. Why is
there poverty in the United States,
the most affluent society the world has
ever known? Why has it taken so long
for the American people to realize the
full implications of discrimination and
bias? Is America misunderstanding the
needs and aspirations of the emerging
underdeveloped nations? These are just
a few of the broad questions that have
been mishandled in the past by the press
and which will be of increasing concern
in the future.
The newspaper must, and is best equip-
ped, to ask the embarrassing question. In
a complex, rapidly changing world, it
must inform its readers of significant
events with an increasing degree of so-
phistication and interpretive analysis.
But it must not follow the establish-
ment line. The newspaper must probe
beneath the surface and ask the em-
barrassing or unpopular question. For

Student Doubts Advent
Of Third Semester

4' i

To the Editor:
IN KAREN Weinhouse's article
"Trimester Creates Conflict,"
the plight of the mid-year high
school graduate and his deferred
entrance into the University was
very sympathetically explained.
Yet, and I am sorry that I must
differ with Miss Weinhouse, the
situation will not "be virtually
eliminated" by the summer of 1965
when "the University goes into
full year operation." The frequent-
ly discussed "third member" of the
trimester will not be a reality
for far too many future two semes-
ter academic years on a tri-semes-
ter calendar.
* * *
THIS supposition is based on the
substantial argument that the
time required by the various de-
partments to find, train and or-
ganize the personnel necessary for
the additional trimester will be
such that, even if I am able to at-
tend graduate school, I will prob-
ably never participate in the pres-
ently "missing trimester." It will
never exist.
When the Legislature grants the
University the necessary funds,
and this finally appears to be the
year, only then can the depart-
ment chairmen start trying to fill
the many vacancies that this
change will require. A professor
has pointed out to me the crucial
problem the faculty is now facing
when a vacancy has to be filled in
the present two semester system.
The University has almost lost its
capacity to attract competent pro-
fessors on its name alone. The re-
cent austerity budgets have forced
the University to give up its high
position on the salary scale.
IF THIS is the situation with
only two semesters, what happens
when there will be three? Teach-
ing fellows instructing upper-class

To the Editor:
ALTHOUGH the civil rights
struggle has received wide-
spread publicity, scores of little
humiliations which Negroes are
made to suffer daily are seldom
noticed and rarely rectified.
Such an incident occurred at
Hill Aud. the night of the Dick
Gregory performance. An usher
showed a Negro couple to their
seats (immediately in front of me
on the aisle), only to find them
occupied by a white couple. On
examining the white couple's
tickets, the usher informed them
that their seats were on the other
side of the section, and requested
that they move.
The request was ignored. The
usher then immediately told the
Negro couple that they would have
to move to the other seats. After
a long moment of humiliation,
they walked slowly up the aisle.
* * *
MR. WALTER Blackwell, chair-
man of AAAFHA-CORE, and I
informed the head usher, Mr.
Warner, of the incident shortly
thereafter. We requested that he
reprimand the usher and apolo-
gize to the couple during the in-
termission. Mr. Warner effectively
stalled through the intermission,
explaining that the ushers were
"volunteers" over whom he had
little control.
Since the intermission was over,
I suggested that Mr. Warner hand
a note of apology to the couple
(who were seated next to the
aisle). When he refused, I offered
to hand them the note myself.
He refused to write any note.
Mr. Warner graciously offered to
call the couple personally, if I

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