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October 07, 1979 - Image 13

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-07
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Page 8--Sunday, October 7, 1979
chomsky

i-vv

(Continued from Page 6)
Do you mean the student move-
ment when you say there was a
challenge to the closed debate
situation?
Yes, the student movement was an
enormous challenge. It has been suc-
cessfully contained, though it has had
residual-effects. One indication of that
is the extent to which the whole
propaganda system is denying the facts
of what actually happened. The 1960s
were very complicated, and a lot of
things happened. But only certain
things are being selected and made the
fundamental characteristics and the
rest is being turned aside. If you look
back, you find a tremendous amount of
moral courage in the American
resistance. It was enormous in scale,
and almost completely altruistic. It was
to save somebody else. The people who
went through it suffered severe damage
to themselves; they were put in jail or
went into exile. But there were a lot of
other elements in the 1960s, too. There
was a lot of mindless narcissism. Now,
there's a tremendous amount of
discussion about mindless narcissism
and very little discussion about the
resistance.
The belief has to be implanted,
especially in young people now, that the
1960s were just a bunch of crazies after
self-gratification. The serious aspects
of the 1960s are being wiped out of
history.
One of the things that happened in the
1960s was that the more ideological sub-
jects, like history and social sciences,
and so on, came under a great deal of
pressure, student pressure. Now
universities are somewhat different in

this regard. If you go back in '65,,it
would've been impossible to find a
single Marxist economist 'in the
economics department in a major
university. Now that's not true.
I've read a lot of interviews with
1960s activists, and it's really struck
me that a lot of them didn't seem to
understand what they were doing. It
seemed as if they couldn 't break
from their middle-class
background. A lot of what they did
looked like a blind reaction to that
base, and although they very much
wanted to create their own base,
they didn't seem to be able to build
organizations that were effective.
There's a lot of truth to that. One
characteristic of the 1960s movement
was that it developed inf a vacuum,
socially and historically. It couldn't
assimilate itself; everything had to be
manufactured ad hoc. Naturally,
people manufactured their programs
and ideas on what was available to
them. As a result, there was a very
short range commitment, and the
inability to construct lasting structures.
Are you an anarchist?
Yes.
What does that word mean to
you?
Well, it's been used in so many ways
by so many people, I almost hate to use
it. But there is one central heart of the
mainstream of the anarchist tradition
which I would have to identify myself
with: socialist anarchism, or liberation
socialism. This point of view believed
in the construction of political in-
stitutions that were highly

unauthoritarian, though perhaps quite
complex, in which the principle of,
organization would be from
below-either rooted in organic in-
stitutions, say communities, or in other
places ' where there's voluntary
association. They were very much op-
posed to the idea of central authority. In
this sense, I consider myself an anar-
chist. But the term has other meanings
for other people that I don't associate
myself with at all..
In The New Mandarins, you
attack the intelligentsia as only
pretending to be a viable force for
change. If you think it's impossible
that change will come from that
group, where do you think it can
come from?
The thesis that intellectuals will be a
force for creative social change is a wide-
spread view and there are people who
put it forth very explicitly. (John Ken-
neth) Galbraith gives the technocracy
asan example of the rise of power of the
atomic physicists, going back to the H-
bomb. If you think about that example,
it's a joke. Suppose they'd been in-
terested in creating some form of
technology which would've been har-
mful to the ruling class interests. They
never would've been able to do a thing.
However, it's always been true, and
it's true today, that the educational and
scientific establishment has some
degree of control over things. They cer-
tainly have a high degree of control in
the ideological sphere-in fact, that's
their main job ... It's very striking that.
the social scientists are much more
concerned with credentials than the
physical scientists are. I've given lec-

tures on math and worked problems,-
and although I'm not a mathematician,
no mathematician has ever demanded
to see my credentials. Yet when I
became interested in politics, everyone
started screaming "What are your
credentials?" But the social sciences,
whatever their contribution, are not in-
tellectually very deep. Anyone with
average intelligence can understand
them. I think that's related to the em-
phasis on credentials. It's to make
people believe that only those with a
special knowledge can understand it.
Is there anything one can do to
defend oneself against the subtle,
diverse repression you describe?
The student government found the
only way of defending itself, and it
worked for awhile. That is, to create
mass organizations that created their
own instruments of analysis and com-
munication. As a result, they influen-
ced, to a marginal extent, the central
ideology, because it had to absorb
them.
But as a collective, there are things
that can be done and were dpne.
Billions of people in the 1960s got a very
different pereception of social reality
as a result of their actions. It seems to
me that now you can find a lot of com-
mitment around many issues, such as
concern over the destruction of the en-
vironment, or nuclear power. That's all
potentially positive. There are other
things that carne out of the 1960s affec-
ting the social structure, say in the area
of civil rights. There's a long way to go,
but the more blatant forms of racist op-
pession that were stranded are no
longer around. There have been lasting
changes.

5undag

l 1

apocalypse
(Continued from Page 5)
in Conrad's Heart of Darkness), who
descends into the Vietnamese jungles to
"eliminate" Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a
murderous American colonel who's
lorded it over a tribe of-primitives.
In the final sequence, Willard con-
fronts the crazed Kurtz, who spouts
quotations from T.S. Eliot and Sir
James Fraser as well as his own
twisted platitudes. For all its surface
"surrealism;" the scene seems less
luminously metaphysical and more
stagey than intended.
Coppola, though, feels the film suc-
cessfully rises out of Vietnam and "into
the bigger subject matter." He added
that Apocalypse was never intended as
an adaptation of Heart of Darkness.
Although Apocalypse borrows
heavily from Conrad's short novel,
Coppola is right. In fact, for sheer
emotional resonance, the movie owes
less to Conrad than to Michael Herr's
Dispatches, a crazy-quilt of fear and
exhileration that Coppola expands to
epic intensity. (Interestingly, the voice-
over narration Herr wrote for

Apocalypse is probably the worst thing
in the film.)
"I'm so sick of the movie, as you can
imagine," Coppola said at one point. "I
could tell you how I felt about this or
that. But what the film really accom-
plishes, maybe the filmmaker's the last
to know.
"The movies that I want to make in
the future are so unlike anything that's
ever been made, that my biggest hope
now is that I can figure out how 'to
mount the resources they would take.
Compared to what I'm thinking about,
Apocalypse Now looks like You're A
Big Boy, Now (Coppola's first
feature)." He added, jokingly, that he
was finished with "easy, predictable
projects, and looking forward to some
really difficdlt stuff in the future."
Despite a few moments of wanton ob-
scurity, Apocalypse Now rests securely
in the tradition of Coppola's Godfather
films-an attempt to blend personal
statement with the broad outlines of a
popular epic. Perhaps that's why Cop-
pola looked insulted when a questioneer
asked if he'd made Apocalypse
deliberately difficult.
"I made films for my audiences,"

Coppola said proudly. "But I want to
give them the best that can be, and not
just constantly serve them up the same
plate of food, warmed up in a
microwave oven." This Friday, when
the movie opens across the country,

Coppola's audiences will finally get
their chance to see what the director's
been up to for the last five years. Of
course, the critics have already spoken.
But one feels that for Coppola, the real
judges have yet to be heard.

clifford

(Continued from Page 6)
told me still be a kid
or he was going to break my
head open
just like he never had a
hard on
That's what a neighborhood is sup-
posed to be like: where the thug who
lives next door loves you enough to
warn you that growing up is no fun. And
the timing of those last two lines is in-
spired.
Not all of the poems, sad to say, are
so fine. In some good poems there are
some awful lines. One has the unlikely
opening "Down the road in a valley
from heaven" and another begins "a
train that is silver but black with

smoke/moves like a hula hoop down the
cracks of/the rails." These smack of
"Poetry," a curse Clifford has avoided
so skillfully elsewhere. Both these
poems end well, though, marked by
that cold eye for the telling image and
the clean style that are Clifford's main-
stays.
Clifford's best quality, and the best
reason to read this book, is his honesty,
what Dugan called "his courage and
frankness." This whole book is thick
with emotion, but emotion that does not
fall into sentiment; nor is there any of
that self=flattery that nurtures con-
fessional poetry. Clifford has thrown
away all that is facile or false and made
poems out of honest responses to
believable situations.

theater

(Continued from Page 7)
come to the University the previous
year. Until his death in 1956, Windt led
the faculty in producing some 25 freshly
written one-act and full length shows.
He was to aspiring playwrights what
Von Washington was to blacks in the
department later on, only more prolific
and, God knows, longer-lasting. -
Bender seems somewhat sour on new
plays these days. He notes that as the
days of major original shows wore on>
into the,1950s, theirquatity plummeted.
He claims it is almost impossible for

even the most artistically sound ones to
make money, and can think of only a
solitary full length play, Robert Shed-
de's Summer Solstice (1948), that did.
While Bender's reservations about
the feasibility of original theater may
have some merit, enough publicity cer-
tainly could bring out audiences even
for the most modernistic avant garde
spectacles. The stimuli of Hopwood
Awards and good playwrighting
professors have worked in the past.
Who i to say that they,, in league with,
"the -uidying spirit.ofValentne.Windt,
could not have their way again?

5undag
Co-editors

Owen Gleiberman

Elizabeth Slowik

Associate editor
Elisa Isaacson
Cover photo by Maurben d Maliey

Supplement to The Michigan Daily Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, October 7, 1979

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