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October 29, 1978 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-29
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Page 6-Sunday, October 29, 1978-The Michigan Daily

The Michigan Daily-Sunday, 0

S

Proposition D: Last call)
student drinkers, campus. b

'Darcy Dancer's
Donleavy chronicles
excesses of the Irish

Destinies'

By Terry Gallagher

The Destinies of Darcy Dancer,
Gentleman
By J. P. Donleavy
Delacorte Press *
pp. $9.95
P. DONLEAVY is making a
J career out of maintaining one's
dignity while among the Irish, a
difficult task in any season. His The
Unexpurgated Code is a landmark in
the field of etiquette dealing with such
diverse and novel questions as how to
break wind gracefully when you are in
bed with a woman you hardly know
(with accompanying illustation) and
what to say when you get caughtpeeing
in your host's sink ("An awful habit I
picked up in my youth and damn if I can
correct it") or, even worse, when you
catch a guest peeing in your sink ("For
the love of God, please stop it" or
"Where the hell were you brought
up?"). You can see what a helpful
supplement that book is to your Emily
Post for those distressing and delicate
social occasions she is too timorous to
confront. Donleavy's latest novel, The
Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman,
is more of the same, keeping one's chin
up in a millieu "where churlishness is
always but a breath away."~
Reginald Darcy Thormond Dancer
Kildare was born of aristocrat stock in
the west of Ireland.
His mother, a very tweedy, horsey
woman, takes just barely enough time
out of the saddle to give birth and as
soon as Darcy begins the slap-induced
wail, she is out after the fox again. Not
surprisingly, his mother dies in a riding
accident in Darcy's childhood. The
"Dancer" in his name is due to a long-
shot that paid off for his father on the
day he was born.
Darcy Dancer is seldom far from the
saddle for the rest of the novel; the
vagaries in his fortunes can be traced
by his connection with horses. While
young he is often fox-hunting, an
excellent opportunity to display one's
style and verve, not to mention one's
tweeds, kennel and stable.
After Darcy is disinherited by his
father, for repeated indiscretions with
the housekeeper, he goes to work as a
stable-boy for the family of a
schoolmate. Awfully Stupid Kelly.
Kelly's family is very much arriviste,
subject to sneers and abuse from their
hired help who feel that working for
merchants is beneath their station.
When Awfully Stupid Kelly returns
from school he is shocked to find Darcy
Dancer in his parents' employ when he
is clearly of much better breeding.
'Mr. Michael told me you
Teriy Gallagher,. is,, a' 4HIouing
Security Officer at Mosher=Jordan.

come of very grand ancient
landed people indeed. And
that you had your own private
tutor.'
'Yes, once upon a time,
Kelly. But now, however
mournful and regrettable it
may seem, I am but a mere
stable lad.'
'But of course you're not.
You mustn't say that. How
awfully awful.'"
The Kellys, aware that it wouldn't do
to keep an aristocrat as a menial, send
Darcy on his way, appropriately attired
and with pocket money. Darcy parlays
these assets with his dignified bearing
and posh accent to defraud two of
Dublin's finer hotels out of months of
accommodation and meals, always
concluded with port and cigar, of
course. After several months at the
Royal Hibernian Hotel, amassing
mountainous debts. all seems lost. The
horses have been running out of the
money; the hotel staff has become
suitabley shirty; Darcy can hear the
whispers and feel the stares as he
crosses the lobby on his way to the
track each morning. He changes
strategy and begins to bet impulsively:
"One's luck is in names today. And
that's why mine's Dancer." Darcy
stakes his all on a 100 to 1 shot from
Awfully Stupid Kelly's stables, and
wins, of course: nearly 12,000 pounds,
enough to satisfy all of his creditors .Je
can once again steady his gait and meet

Q.

SHE IS A small woman, only five
feet tall, for all of her eighteen
years. Almost everyone at Dooley's
towers above her blonde head as she
inches towards the bar.
"A pitcher of Molson's, please," she
requests. The 19-year-old bartender
winks.
Pitcher and frosted mug in hand, the
woman squeezes through a clump of
visiting Michigan State fans, past
Shaky Jake, who whistles and hoots at
the oversized television screen, around
a group of fraternity brothers who are
hailing the victors, and finally sits at a
table with several friends.
"Happy birthday!" one of them
shouts. And the woman pours her first
legal beer.
This scene may never be repeated if
Proposition D, a ballot proposal that
would raise the drinking age in
Michigan to 21, passes on Nov. 7.
Proposition D has been lambasted,
lauded, scoffed it, and editorialized
about throughoutithe state since July
when it was officially placed on the
ballot. The proposal is surrounded by
conflicting statistics and emotional
arguments. But one thing is certain.
There are people in Michigan who think
18 to 20-year-old adults should not be
allowed to drink.
The drinking age already has been
raised to 19 by a bill sponsored by state
Sen. James DeSana (D-Wyandotte).
That bill, according to DeSana's aide
Pat Harrington, was designed to filter
alcohol out of high schools. Signed into
law last spring, the 19-year-old rule is
effective Dec. 3.
Unlike Proposition D, however, the
new law contains a grandfather clause,
which means that only those who will
turn 18 this Dec. 3 and afterwards will
be restricted from drinking until their
19th birthdays. Proposition D would go
into effect 10 days after certification of
the election, and would apply to
everyone under.21.
Rev. Paul Bailey is a Methodist
minister and coordinator of Coaliton for
21, an umbrella title for several
organizations that support the strict
drinking age. Bailey thinks 19 is not
high enough.
"It's a worthless piece of legislation,
a complete waste of time, a facade for
legislators to show their constituency
they're doing something," Bailey
charged last summer.
Bailey and Rev. Allen Rice, another
Methodist minister and executive
director of the Michigan Council on
Alcohol Problems (MICAP) have
worked in conjunction with Bill Finlan
of the Macomb County Parent-
Teachers Association to convince
Michigan voters that lowering the
drinking age in 1972 was a mistake.
Back then, says Rice, no one knew
what effect a lower drinking age would
have on Michigan. Now, Rice asserts,
"It's wiser today to have the drinking
age at 21."
Whether or not any group can justify
it, a higher drinking age will cause
headaches for those in the alcoholic
beverage industry.
In Second Chance the lead singer of
Mugsy swivels almost obscenely as he
parades across the stage in his white
Elizabeth Slowik is co-editor of
, the Sunday Magazine.

pants. Sweat clings to the edge of his
upper lip. He stops to watch a dozen
couples perform a dozen frenzied
versions of identical dances. One drum
solo later the band is ready for a break.
"How many people here are under
21?" the singer suddenly bellows into
the microphone.
More than half the crowd responds
with cheers.
"There's a proposal on the ballot," he
continues, "that would raise the
drinking age to 21. It's important that

loses your tax revenue. There will be a
shifting of burden to others out there.
This proposition has economic
consequences to every taxpayer in the
state of Michigan."
Besides losing young customers, bars
would probably have to pay higher
rates for liability insurance as a result
of Proposition D's approval, according
to Foltz and Carver. If a drinker is
served at'a bar and later that day is
involved in a, car accident, the bar is
legally responsible. Most barowners

By Elizabeth Slowik

No longerv
be jamme
frespersonsc
won't run dr
there will be
officials are c
enforce a
residence hal
As manag
security se
charged wit
alcohol polic
a committee
discuss dorir
Foulke ba
status quo
"With the ex
Lawyers' Clu
will be under
an individua

says, because there is always the risk

for the stability of a small, clean

unabashedly the stares of the hotel that she might -marry an Irishman. apartment somewhere, "with a view of
staff. That's a very sound objection if we the lake perhaps" (do you recognize
There is a little stylistic innovation in believe Donleavy's capsulization of the yourself, here?) until he realizes that
"Darcy Dancer." The alliterative title Irish male in The Destinies of Darcy that suburban quietude is the seductive
is familiar: Donleavy ends most Dancer, Gentleman: appeal of ossification, death.
chapters, here as in his other novels, "There were of course Donleavy plants himself in Ireland
with a brief verse; his narrative style, parties. Every night. They because the possibilities for sublime
as always, depends heavily on bring back drink from the pub. excess are greater there than anywhere
fragmentary sentences. Also familiar Everyone becoming drunk. So else on Earth: take my word for it. His
are the rich, sensuous, nearly tactile prescription in The Destinies of Darcy
descriptions of commonplaces: the boring. They sing, then they Dancer, Gentleman is "Hold death
taste of Irish cooking, the smells of the the. wash off the blood,shak away by intemperance, unchastity and
stable, the warmth of the bosom of Miss e ffe extravagance." The Irish, it is widely
von B., his housekeeper, very obviously hands. And drink again. And reported, take a backseat to no nation
a mammal. then fight. Night after night it when it comes to those characteristics.
What is most recognizable to is like that." Darcy Dancer explains his country to a
Donleavy's readers is his continuing Why then does Donleavy choose to foreigner: "I am sorry. But we in
abuse of the Irish: "But the bad name live his life in such a place? Why does Ireland do not think it unfit for there to
of the Irish spreads all the world and is he find Ireland so compelling as to set be some dust and cobweb about."
only improved when they become a most of his novels there? Answering The dignified pose, the assertipn of
laughing stock." If we allow the these questions, we uncover the equanimity for Donleavy's characters
American-born but long-term Irish prevalent theme in his canon. is a sham. The wisest of them always
resident Donleavy.to identify himself as realizes that life is best lived while
Irish, it is this capacity for national. In Donleavy's novel The Onion being buffeted, emotionally, physically,
self-flagellation that puts him squarely Eaters, the protagonist lives in a and fiscally. Donleavy closes this novel
in the course of Irish literature. derelict castle in Ireland that is with a terse assertion, cloaked in the
In Donleavy's most famous novel, crowded with outrageous characters, book's controlling metaphor, hoseback
The Ginger Man, a woman is asked if infested with poisonous reptiles, riding: "Lose no nerve when unhorsed.
'- undermnippsleby °?n ahemical .drilling . Mount again.-Go well Fly fenrce,'liedge
she might ever merry..She wetr.1 scheme ,andl :taffpo, iostly by saupcy - andwall'Till the Huntsman's,blowing
a solid "no." She v,il1 ejiy r na , she servant-wenches,'e gmetimes yearns his long slow notes. ' ,

everyone register to vote." He turns
and quickly pads off staff to join his
band.
Second Chance manager John Carver
confides that the bar may have to
become a restaurant to attract an older
clientele if Proposition D is approved.
"Our overhead's too big," he explains.
."We couldn't crack a nut on just
weekends." Weekends, says Carver,
are when college students pour
themselves and their money into
Second Chance.
"P ROPONENTS SAY bars can
change their style over night,"
says Gary Foltz, a general manager at
Dooley's in East Lansing. "That's a
pipe dream. You just don't become
something overnight. That's an illusion
that proponents like to throw out."
Although Foltz says there are no
changes ahead for Dooley's, he is,
careful to add, "There's a current
market. If that constricts, so will we."
Foltz says he expects some bars,
especially those that cater to young
adults, to go out of business. And those
lost businesses will eliminate jobs and
cut back on potential tax revenues, he
claims. "If your revenue and success,
go down the -fe,the'local government

take out insurance in case of a lawsuit.
Approximately six per cent of his gross
income goes for insurance.
"This (proposal) creates a large
number of unlawful consumers on your
premises that will go out into the
community and do some damage,"
explains Foltz.
"We will not be able to keep 18, 19,
and 20 year olds out, because that would
be discrimination," notes Bill
Marzonie, owner of Don Cisco's, a local
disco. "Once in the club, we'd have to
check every single person's ID all over
again to make sure they're old enough
to drink. It's a disadvantage from an
efficiency standpoint."
"It won't stop those who are not
legal," warns Foltz. "They're going to
continue to drink, and a certain number.
will continue to drink at Dooley's.
They'll be resourceful and get fake
IDs."
MOST STUDENTS on campus are
not ready to give up booze. They'
say they'll rely on older friends to buy
alcohol for them. Fraternity and
sorority spokespersons declare they
will continue to host alcoholic TGs. It is
the dorm residents who will be forced to
-curtail party plans.

and consume
activities
prohibited."
That is
"keggers" a
prevalent on
"Obviousl
problems wit
to drink on
having that
we aren't i
condone flag
Foulke p
enforcement
Because a r
will be of age
alcohol will
But, sponso
alcohol is si
document st
year-old han
He indice
method of i
dorm partie
resident's bi
and require
at parties. E
be impleme
new meal ca
Some claim
See DR
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