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February 03, 1971 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-02-03

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Wednesday, February 3, 1971


Wed9esdoy, Febrciory 3, 1971 THE MICHIGAN DAILY



to prams

Henry Adam

Edward Hannibal, ('1O('-
W E EKS, Houghton Mifflin.
Chocolate Days, Popsicle Weeks
is an update of a traditional tale,
the American dream tirned sour,
Its author, Edward Hannibal. has
fortunately managed to inject
vitality into what could have been
a yawn-inducing subject, prob-
ably the reason hie received the
Houghton Mifflin literary award.
Through the medium of a mod--,
ern Horatio Alger, the novel
graphically but indirectly ilfus-
trates how past attitudes pro-
duced current problems: over-
industrialization, a sense of fu-
tility and facelessness--all the
factors lading to a treadmill
The anti-hero-the only logical
Today's Writers .
Richard Wilson is working on
a Ph.D. in American Culture
and has a strong interest in late
,9 h Century art.
Hanna Morrison, a Daily re-
porter, picked this b o o k be-
cause its title reminded her of
her favorite dill-pickle flavored
ice cream.
Robert White, reviews regu-
larly for the Daily.

label for him 4s a Bostonian of
Irish Catholic parentage. Io
se ms fitting and almost inevit-
able that, following college and a
peaceful stint as an Army offIc-
er. Fitzie took hi; growing family
and plunged into the rat-race 'f
Newv York advertising, precisely
because it was not New Eng
Madison Avenue has been no i-
inated by many as the embodl-
iment of a sick society, the me-
dium for publication of its ills.
The disease is contagos.
shown by the life of a victim. -"-
fore breaking, all Fitzie wanted
was enough money to save hi
wife and children from the se-
cure but marginal life from
which he came. But the tr cdrnil
does not release the rat so easily.
The creature is forced to con-
tinue until it drops from exhaus-
tion-or dies.
Fitzie perceived such rachani-
cal forces even in his "'think"
Job and communicated this by
ccmparing his career to produc-
ing popsicles from a huge Tank.
his former summer job. Through-
out the book the parallels are
drawn repeatedy: the advertis-
ing-Tank resembles any other.
The worker is slve to the ma-
chine as well as to his emplovers.
No, matter howu- superior your
new method, it must be p1re-
sented in th context of custom-
ary procedures. Fitzie discovered

s b.th in the ice cream factory
and the advertising agency. In
ne. he speCed up operations so
workers had a shorter week.
17e was rewarded by their anger
r causing them to lose over-
time pay. In advertising Fitzie
learned it was not the idea that
mattered, but how it was ex-
PI essed. You had to capitulate
and use their terms, otherwise
your popsicles, regardless of in-
Irmsie value. would not be ac-
eped at social teas. To quote
Filie. 'Never say anything's
great or terrific or funny or a
akeoff. Say only how everything
serves the strategy, underlines
.'e efficacy claim, gets the point
over,. registers the flavor story,
implies the convenience benefit."
Pure Madison Avenue-ese.
Fitzie faked out his superiors
so successfully that at age thirty,
he was appointed vice-president
of a prestigious firm. Sadly
erough, he faked himself out in
the process too,
At this point, the novel cap-
tures the essence of the mean-
ing of 'cooptation by the sys-
tom." The principle is: By the
time a person reaches a posi-
tien of influence, he is so thor-
oughl y igrained with prejudics
that he feels a vested interest for
maintaining a particular order.
For instance, Fitzie was un-
able to turn off Madison Ave-
nlue h hen he left work at night,

At home, his resentful w if e
punished him with recurring
silences. Fitzie could not patch
up their marriage with material
goods - such as a spacious
home on Long Island; so when
he later flew to California on a
business trip, he toyed with the
idea of making it forever.
The escape was an exercise
in futility. Whether at a party,
working, sightseeing or making
love - Fitzie's past pursued
him relentlessly, coloring his ex-
periences. It blocked communi-
cation between himself and oth-
He returned with a new out-
look which he shared with his
wife, "It's all lousy and it won't
stop being lousy. Fuck them all.
I don't have to do anything any-
more. I'll do what I can so we
can live, but that's all it'll be."
Those few sentences comprise
the prescription for the machine
age: The answer to cooptation,
computers and competition is
Fitzie's means of escaping the
Tank was to make babies, not
money - a throwback to his
Catholic upbringing. As he said
to his wife, "I've decided every-
one is rotten except you and me
and I want to get a lot of US
running around to piss them all
off." That's one solution but
what about overpopulation, Fit-

Ernest Scheyer, TIE CIRCLE
ARTIST, Wayne State Univer-
sity Press, $8.95.
The relationship between the
artist and the intellectual has
always been an intriguing b u t
thorny' problem, especially to
those who are seeking a con-
nection between the two. It
should surprise few readers of
Henry Adams' Education t h a t
he had an interest in the arts
and was a friend or acquaint-
ance of a large number of late
19th century artists. Most of
those whom Adams namts

Richardson, La Farge, the
Hunts. St. Gaudens, McKim,
the James's, Vedder, Story. and
Stanford White) summon up a
vision of dark sepia tones, or
boring chapters in art text
books, of eclecticism, and of
dusky, dimly lit museum rooms
quickly passed by.
Inevitably, scholars would
wonder about the relationships
of these artists to one of 19th
Century America's most prom-
inent intellectuals. Certainly
there must have been something
to the fact that the great archi-
tect H. H. Richardson was a
friend of. and built a house for,
Adams. Adams was an intimate
friend and a co-discoverer of

s andj
Japanese South Seas art with
the painter and stained-g 1 a s s
artist John La Farge. Also, one
of the most significant sculp-
tural pieces of the 19th Century,
the Adams' memorial in Rock
Creex Cemetery, by Augustus
St. Gaudens. was commissioned
by Adams. Finally, Adams was
intensely interested in the inter-
play of art and history as ex-
emplified in his Mount St.
Michel and Chartres.
There is plenty 'of room for
speculation then, as Adams him-
self often mentioned, on the
connection or 'unity' between
these artists, and intellectuals.
But unfortunately something is
lacking, either in Ernest Schey-
er's study, The Circle of Henry
Adams: Art and Artist, or in
Adams himself, Scheyer is dili-
gent: he has read all of Adams'
books and letters, he has survey-
ed most of the studies on Adams
and a few on his compatriots,
and he has assembled most of
Adams' remarks and thoughts
on art, even to including his
wife, Marion's, feelings.
Adams had some remarkable
insights on the course of Amer-
ican society, on the unity of the
arts and sciencesin the Middle
Ages, and on, the importance of
a few of his artistic friends.
But there are gaps. He s a w
nothing in our so-called "mo-
dern art" (i.e. Impressionism,
Post Impressionism, Whistler,.
et. al.). Adams never had an
understanding of oriental art
such as La Farge was able to
develop. His actual influence on
St. Gaudens' great work is dub-
ious. With Richardson the rela-
tionship is below expectations;
Adams complained about costs
and disliked Richardson's de-
coration. The influence of
Adams on Richardson is nil, al-
though Richardson might have
had some on Adams. Adams' in-
terest and knowledge of the
arts was better than the aver-\
age. man's, but not advanced or
avant garde. He was a member
of the aristocracy of culture of
the late Victorian period; his
taste was "later idealism," and,

his relationship with
more social than crew
The problem witI
such as Scheyer's i
doesn't go far enoug
enough. Reprinting o
from letters and identi
the fictional chai
Adams' artistic novi
merely skim the surf;
Scheyer takes literally
claim that he foundec
tic circle with himse
center and V-arying c
membership. A comi
interests is perhaps
term that would incl'
architects, writers, co
tellectuals, and othe
interest in the. arts.
head or central foc
found is doubtful, bu
est thing was probabl
munity in New York


not in Washington,-D.C
some of the major figur
19th Century, Ruskin E
let Le Duc, who undoubt
some bearing on Ada
only briefly mentibned.
Scheyer's work is in
but it leaves the read
some doubts as to Adam
ence on the visual arts
hap, for the- more in
tive reader, a sense of d

Happy road


Lately Thomas, STORMING
McPHERSON, William Morrow,
In the fall of 1918. as Woodro '.'
Wilson headed for Versailles wilh
a plan for world peace tucked
under his arm, thousands of
others packed their bags and
bravely turned westward, seik-
ing escape from national and p(-,
sonal tensions h, the warmth of
the California sunshine.
Among them was a young 'o-
man and hqr mother--Aimee

gelus Temple was completely
"built, equipped. and paid for.
And today, in spite of the fact
that Aimec and her mother hax e
long since passed away. teir
Four-square Gospel Church eo
tinm in en Uder
the direction cf Ainmce's son.,
Rolf MePlersen. the clhu"i
boasts more han Th rmone
churches in the United Staes
and Canada not counting over
seas missions, and a membet sip
which exceeds 198.900. .
The author, of the account (4
this prodigious rise to gloiw is
the w ell-published. but pseud.-
nymious. Lately Thomas. ln dvi
1ion tot his earlier worK en A e
McPherson (th7e Vanishing lx -

are, in any case, same faul !in-
herent in Thomas's 'social his-
torian' approach. For the past
twelve years <(,he time it took' to
write the bock) Thomas las
seemingly rummaged through old
newspaper clpPings. radio trans-
sci ipts legal documents, and
alarently., even the attic trunks
of a few old ladies in Pasaden..
The results, to put it mildly, are
ox'er ,xhelming. As one reaches
the conclusion of this 350 page
hook. he feels as if every possib>
detail had been' unscrupulosl y
&redged up and placed before
hint in a generally bemusing,
but all;too frequently. embaras-
;ing, fsin To wvit : at the time
of Aimee McPherson's funeral
in D94., seventy-five city po-
licemen controlled the throng"
wh-le 'fifty thousand mourners
passed the bier" to see Aimee
resting in a bronze casket lined
with quilted white satin" which
weighed --tx el hundred pounds
and cost ten thousand dollars."
Somehow o ne has the feeling
i 'c., Wikani Manchester nit-
picking about the Kennedy assas-
s<ation all over again. But in
his se the leading figure
hardly seems worth the bother.
Tt' underlying assumption in
such writing is that by means of
consently bombarding the read-
er with the ininiscule facts of the
catse. he will inherently receive
a clearer pciception of the whole.
But does le really? The mere re-
petition of what may very well
be erroneous facts to begin with
leam1ed 1r the most part from
e Los Angeles Times) can
hrdly bring focus to an already
distorted picture.
What one must ask of Mr.
Thomas. and this is wnere his ap-
proach lets the reader down, is
for some kind of critical evalua-
t n. What strange metaphysic
of gospel and.sunshine, for ex-
ample. gave Aimee and her

mother the phenomenal success
they attained in California? 'Be-
fore striking out for the west,
they had already attempted their
crusades with much less heart-
ening results in Florida and New
York.) Here Thomas, apparent-
ly quite by accident, does provide
a few clues. But, unfortunately,
they seem to be all the wrong
ones. Chief among them was the
shrewd business acumen display-
ed by Aimee's mother when she
took full rein of the financial end
of the operation. Yet, this hardly
explains the peculiar social at-
mosphere that made Californians
'more than others) so susceptible
to the millenial spirit in the early
1900's. Whether or not one's ac-
counting operation is in good
stead, it can hardly make much
difference if either the drawing
power is not able or the audience
is unwilling.
When the Puritan minister
Jonathan Edwvards so success-
fully lured his flocks to North-
ampton it was due in great part

to the fear of what m ght hap-
pen to the "Sinners in\th, Hands
of an Angry God." But Aimee's,
message was different. It was, in
Thomas's words, a "nonstop out-
burst of joy, joy, joy, ' and an
appeal to those who wanted to
"ride the Happy Road to Heav-
en." At this juncture one would
have hoped that Thomas could
have divulged information on the
motivations of those "joy seek-
ers" who seemed tireless of the
quest even after Aimee and her
mother became endlessly em-
broiled in courtsuits over their
dubuious handling of rhurch
funds. If there was no threat of
the Puritan's angry God, then,~
the reader must ask, was it
merely the glamour of the per-
formance that kept the thiongs
coming? And if so, what did
Aimee offer that Hollywood
didn't? Unfortunately, until a
not-so-social historian as Thonas
someday appears answers to
such questions must, by neces-
sity, go unrecorded.

In finally summing up Thomas',
book, however, it seems only fair
to conclude on a favorable note.
For when methodology is put
aside, it must be conceded that
Storming Heaven is a wonder-
fully entertaining, action-packed
book. Perhaps one may quibble
that too often the action is that
of the courtroom, but nonethe-
less, as long as Aimee and her
mother were running the show,
one could rest assured that the
curtain would never fall before
the final' act. And in Aimee's
case (with due credit to Mr.
Thomas) even that final act was
done with a grand flourish-to
the tune of 75 policemen, 50,000
mourners, and a beautiful bronze
casket with a white satin lining.
for information call
Tickets are avoil'ble
at Travel Bureaus or
the Michigan Union
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s. E
of A

Semple McPherson and Minne
Kennedy-who were destined to
force a pernmanent imlprint (.n
this land of pronise and, as %was
too often the case, disenchamu-
ment. Stornming Heaven. then, is
the Ctory of the fate of these tvx
women intermingled with tho
promise of their "message'" and
the disenchantment of their per-
sonal scandals.
Just before Christmas day. in
1918, Aimee and her trave-
weary entourage arrived in Ls
Angeles with imposing questh min
of "Where will you spend eter-
nity?'" emablazoned on the side of
their battered Oldsmobile. In
latert yars, Aimee lik to " -
call that their sole possess>1 ins
at the time were 'ten dollars mid
a tambourine." For years lat:er.
as testimony to her powers of
evangelical persuasion. the An-
For the student body:

ang'elist), Mr. 'Thonmas his six
cltidin he Frt 1esdn
Johnson. And should the ra
question Thomas's cirdetials. ne
may turn to the dust jackt fl:)
wxhere Allan Nex is deserm~s
Thomas a "the finst social s-
torian writing today.''
Presumably. this accolade is
worthy of the writer, but the


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