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February 24, 1971 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-02-24

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Wednesday, February 24, 1971


Page Five

Wednesday, February 24, 197'i THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five

Black Hurt

Acting out the


William Walter Scott III,
to Press,.$2.00 paper.
Many books have been written
about the development of the
black man in his American-made
"environment", but few have
dared to get right down to the
basic soul-curdling elements in
the manner of Hurt Baby Hurt.
A This book, published by the au-
thor's own Ann Arbor printing
company (New Ghetto Press) is
often more unpleasant than its
gross cover picture of a baby
with blood-drenched eyes.
William Walter Scott III, who
was awarded a Hopwood last
4year for the manuscript copy,
does not attempt intellectual
stylistics. Instead, he uses the
pragmatic tone of his own every-
day speech to tell the story of
himself and the events which
have shaped his life.
By describing his search for
identity from a "disturbed child-
hood" in a reform institution
Today's toriters...
John Carlisle, a graduate stu-
dent in American Culture, is
doing independent study on
American cinema.
Juanita Anderson is an un-
dergraduate and a D a ijI y re-
Ken Frohlich, a Ph.D. can-
didate at Kent State was in
Kent at the time of the con-
MarkDillen covered the
Kent State tragedy for the

through his participation in the
Detroit riot of July, 1967, Scott
not only presents the events, but
attempts his own self-analysis
while adding an interesting,
sometimes amusing, philosophy.
While sometimes appealing to
his own sympathies in his ac-
count of his childhood, Scott
makes one reevaluate his own
ideas as he poses the question:
"But what do you really say
to people, man, when they ask
you who you are, besides your
name? Like can anybody real-
ly answer that question?"
Scott's rationalization of his
self-hatred as a black child is
something that must be reckon-
ed with. He puts it off on the
notion that all poor black chil-
dren learn that black is bad and
the only way they can be differ-
ent is to live around "pure white
people" to form a self-image.
. Though probably meaning to
be sardonic, his rationale can
easily be misinterpreted. While
his case has often been true in
the past, very few black people
are still hung up on the purity
myth. In this time of black self-
awareness and pride, poor black
children are much more likely to
see themselves in a better posi-
tion than their white counter-
The section of the book dealing
with the Detroit riot provides an
inside view into the lives of the
people directly involved through
Scott's own feelings of their sen-
sitivities, needs and values. He is
blunt in expressing his attitudes
toward white society and its po-
lice force. The idea that white so-
ciety goes out of its way to find

Robert Brustein, REVOLU-
STYLE, Liveright, $5.95, paper
It is fitting to think of
Shakespeare's oft - quoted 1i n e
about "all the world" being a
stage when considering Robert
Brustein's new collection of es-
says. Professor Brustein, who is
Dean of the Yale Drama School,
sees today's world as very much
involved in revolution, and ac-
cordingly, revolution is for him
the theatre or the stage. This
basic concern is followed by a
worry about revolution and the
legitimate theatre. From there.
a short step allows the revolu-
tion to upstage all other con-
siderations in this collection of
essays, which were originally
published in 1969 and 1970 in
New York Review of Books, New
York Times, New Republic, and
Modern Occasions. These essays
have been joined with letters
to the editors, Prof. Brustem's
replies to those letters, plus
other unpublished letters and
speeches to the Yale Drama
School for 1969-70. One has the
slight suspicion that these let-
ters, addresses, and comments
were added to "pad" the book
in the best tradition of collegiate
theme writing!
That the revolution has be-
come basically a threatical ex-
pression is Brustein's most valid
and potentially m o s t valuable
statement for today's society.
The revolution (under which he
lumps anti-military, pro-peace,
pro - Black Panther, anti - com-
mercialism, pro - people's power

something wrong with the way
black people live, rather than
dealing with its own problems, is
quite prevalent.
Though he often exhibits ego-
inflationary tendencies, Scott's
account of his arrest and impri-
sonment are so vivid that the
reader actually feels himself
holding his own bladder and rec-
tum so as not to create addi-
tional stench within the crowded
garages where prisoners were
held like animals.
Scott crumbles the soul like dis-
carded paper as the reader sits
imprisoned in the air-tight ouses
ready to puke his insides out,

while armed guards, refusing to
provide food and water to the
prisoners, stand outside as if "m
anticipation of orgasm."
As the book ends, Scott boards
another bus (Greyhound, this
time) headed for the University
of Michigan in Ann Arbor. But,
for those readers willing to pay
the return fare. he gives a
straight foreward glimpse of 12th
Street Detroit in a language
which is more gut-honest than
any who have made the trip be-
fore-notwithstanding such can-
did accounts as those provided
by Richard Wright, Malcolm X,
or Eldridge Cleaver.

movements among others) has
been forced to become little
more than "theatre" because all
"meaningful political action is
being replaced by radical verbal
display." (He admits in a foot-
note that this was written be-
fore the Madison, Wisconsin,
and Greenwich Village explo-
sions, but certainly the Chicago
Cinspiracy Trial was theatre, if
nothing else.) It is, then, be-
cause of the impotency of the
revolution to m a k e radical
changes in society that the rev-
olution has become "theatre-a
product of histrionic personali-
ties and staged events -which
may explain why a drama critic
has the temerity to scrutinize
it," According to Brustein:
The only revolution barely
possible under present circum-
stances is a revolution of
character, and this can be in-
ititated only through an act
of moral transcendence, hu-
mane intelligence, and delib-
erate will. It is a small enough
hope, but without it, I am
afraid we will remain . . .
blocked off from the reality of
meaningful change.
But, from this hopeful, philo-
sophical level, Brustein begins
to limit the methods by which
this desired "revolution of char-
acter" can occur. For him, the
legitimate theatre has a role,
but it must be a carefully con-
trolled role. That is, the theatre
can present problems, but it
must not be used to attempt P
solution to those problems, for
to present possible solutions re-
moves some of the objectivity
from the stage. If artists do not
control the stage and do not
limit its involvement, the stage
might come under the control of
those amateurs who reject the
traditional limitations. For Bru-
stein, to lack control is bad, for
if there are no rules of accepted
ideas and themes, then why
have a professional stage, "why
use actors at all? This is an
extension of America's love of
amateurism, and looks forward
to a time when there will be no
more spectators, only perform-
ers - arrogant, liberated ama-
teurs, each tied up in his own
tight bag." If amateurs begin to
control and to call for solutions,
Brustein feels all standards will
vanish and only mediocrity will
remain. Thus, to have no stand-
ards is to be mediocre, is to be
"relevant," and is not to be )b-
jective and academic and intel-
From "objectivity" to te
Ivory Tower is not a very fqr
nor a very difficult step.
Brustein makes this step with-
out seeming to realize that his
cries for objectivity and aloof-
ness as the role for the arts and
for the university as a whole
fall on nonreceptive ears. It is
perhaps because of the univer-
sity's aloofness and demand for
objectivity that society finds it-
self in its current position.
"Standards" must be upheld in
the university as well as the
theatre, so Brustein says that
any attempt at relevance by the

university is submission to those
who would destroy the 'stand-
ards." Unfortunately, if me de-
sires relevance, he is requesting
anti-intellectualism. s i n c e the
intellectual is not required---in
Brustein's s y s t e m - to be
concerned about contemporary
problems. Brustein patron es
his readers when he suggets
that those who want relevance
should go into the community to
establish "community colleges
where such things as urban

war. and

problems be solved. In other
words, go make a revolution but
don't come near the professor in
his Ivory Tower and do not up-
set his preconceived ideas of
what is important. intellectual
and appropriate for the univer-
sity to involve itself in.
Thus, in a few pages, the
author moves away from what
seems to be an honest, heartfelt
concern about society and about
how to make it into a oetter

that urban ghetto


books books books

planning, "radical theatre," and
mental health centers can be
provided. "In this way, moral
indignation could be joined to
positive action, self - righteous-
ness could be earned by real
sacrifice, and 'relevance' could
develop a firmer meaning than
its current use as a shield for
the destruction of a c a d e m i c
values and institutions."
Yet, this same man calls for
students and faculty to demand
that the military-industrial ties
of the university be severed,
that the government end tre
r r j. -

place by helping the non-violent
revolution. From this positive
position he moves to a thinly
veiled demand that the revolu-
tion be conducted in abstract,
intellectual and artistic ways-
the ways of non-relevant, Ivory-
Towerism-with no commitment
on the part of the university,
except the commitment to keep
its head in the sand.
Does Dean Brustein ever won-
der why the universities are be-
ing taken over by the students?
Probably not. After all, the revo-
lution is only a play.
Ecology Center
g w the Earth"
resents 2nd Program-

Reviewing the

Kent State crisis


Joe Esterhas and Michael D.
Roberts, 13 SECONDS: CON-
STATE, Dodd, Mead, $7.50.
On May 4, 1970, twenty-six
Ohio National Guardsmen fired
fifty-nine shots in thirteen se-
conds killing four students and
wounding nine others. 13 see-
onds: Confrontation at K e n t
State is a journalistic account
of the tragedy and the preced-
ing events. This chronology
(which includes individual
chapters on the guard com-
mander, the Governor of Ohio,
and each of the four de a d.
students) brings out the hor-
rifying, improbable, and often
absurd chain of events t h a t
surrounded the shootings.
The book was written by Joe
Esterhas and Michael D. Ro-
berts, two reporters for the
Cleveland Plain Dealer. In pre-
paration for writing the book
the a u t h o r s interviewed both
participants and eyewitnesses,
and did background research on
Kent State University and many
#of the officials involved. T h e
results provide an interesting
and illuminating account of the
tragedy at Kent State.
In reading the book one is
aware of the authors' impar-
tiality. Accounts of the events
are presented but not analyzed.
In short, the book is good jour-
rnalism but poor history. Miss-
ing from the book is an histor-
ical perspective on the events of
last May. Somewhere in the
maze of events that climaxed
with the May 4 confrontation,
the authors lost track of the
fact that there were other tragic
events that occurred at Kent
besides the shootings.
During that terrifying week
in May, the Bill of Rights

ceased to exist for members of
the Kent State Community.
Freedom of speech and assembly
were curtailed. Thousands of
rooms were searched without
warrants. People were arrested
in their own apartments under
false pretenses. While churches
all over the country held me-
morial services, local churches
were prohibited from doing so.
Besides violations of Constitu-
tional Rights, other appalling
incidents occurred. Troops were
sent onto a campus without the
knowledge or consent of Uni-
versity officials. A local prose-
cutor was able to secure from
a local judge an injunction
closing a state university to its
21,000 students, its faculty and
even its president and board of
trustees. Apparent also in the
aftermath were absurd reac-
tions by officials who believed
every wild rumor (e.g. LSD in
the water, thousands of armed
Weathermen converging on
Kent, etc.)
The book 13 Seconds, while
mentioning the above and many
other similar occcurrences, sees
them only as events surround-
ing the shootings and not as
having import in themselves.
Yet, in spite of its short-
comings, I would recommend
13 Seconds: Confrontation at
Kent State. Its balanced report
does not excuse or minimize il-
legal acts by students. It does
not try to assign blame for the
tragedy, and it doesn't presume
the innocence or guilt of the stu-
dents and officials. It does pre-
sent all the events in an accur-
ate chronology and as such pro-'
vides informative and provoca-
tive reading.

New York Review Book, $1.9i
Like most political commenta-
tors, I. F. Stone has developed
his own following who, anxious
to read views that confirm their
own, rush out to devour any
reading matter their spokesman
produces. These people will
doubtless add Stone's latest ef-
fort about the Kent State trag-
edy to their collection. In a way,
it will be unfortunate that these
people will find themselves
alone. Stone has some pretty
good things to say.
The people who could bene-
fit most from Stone's short ser-
ies of essays won't get beyond
the cover. Those already famil-
Jar with Stone will attest they
were treated to anything but ob-
jecivity. The work's subtitled
"How Murder went Unpunish-
ed" sets the tone for the ac-
I'd like to argue that Stone's
indignation takes away from his
work's effectiveness. He belabors
points to raise emotions where
the gruesome details are enough
to make the most despassionate
observer a bit angry. Perhaps it
is expecting too much for Stone,
who spent a good deal of time
in Kent's apathetic environs, to
separate his emotions from the
facts, but it hurts the narrative.
Another thing which hurts
(perhaps most of all) is the
haste in which the book w a s
obviously constructed. Stone's
contribution consists solely of
three essays reprintedf from his
journal "I. F. Stone's Bi-Week-

ly," and takes up only half the
book. The other half contains
four apendices': The Knight
newspapers' extensive report on
the incident, a transcript of
Vice-President A g n e w 's con-
versation with David Frost
(where Agnew admits the Na-
tional Guard was guilty of
"murder"), correspondence be-
tween publisher John Knight
and J. Edgar Hoover and t h e
Portage County Grand Jury's re-
port of last fall.
Most of the appendices could
be omitted as Stone quotes most
of the significant material in
his essays. One need only read
a few paragraphs of the Jury's
report to grasp the attitudes of
those who wrote it (the Jury in-
dicted 25 Kent students and fa-
culty on riot charges while find-
ing the Ohio Guardsmen devoid
of guilt.) Hoover's and Angnew's
comments add very little. Those
who are unacquainted with these
personages' beliefs would be ill
prepared to handle any reading
on the Kent State matter.
It must be emphasized though
that Stone's work is good for
the what it does produce. Cor-
rectly analyzing the bits of the
story which most of the news
media failed to cover, he cor-
rectly focuses on the fact that
the guardsmen involved in the
shooting did fabricate their ac-
count given to the FBI. Also In-
cluded is a telling account of
how conservative political ele-
ments in Portage County have
been able to control the entire
legal system there at the ex-
pense of any semblance of jus-
In passing, whi1e praising
Stone for what he does accom-
plish, it is dismaying to realize

how much more is lacking. Like.
most recent upheavals, Kent
State has received a lot of pub-
licity with a modicum of insight.
Most youth, I am inclined to
think, will be little surprised
when they read Stone's account.
They can interpolate what Stone
misses. However, what still is
needed is a complete account
written to open the'eyes of those
still unfamiliar with what nap-
pened. And for those people, the
facts must still be explained.
~ - ~~ - - ~t e
$ I art *1
., tl std O

"Aqua Culture-Food of the Future"
THURS., FEB. 25 UGLI Multipurpose Room
7:30 P.M. U-M Campus
Sharing Our Ultimate Concerns
An informal seminar designed to help participants
discover, express, and share their attitude., feelings,
and doubts about God, themselves, religion, and life.
Open to all interested persons. Led by Lloyd Putnam,
Office of Religious Affairs.
February 25, March f 1 and 18
GUILD HOUSEr 802 Monroe S1.
Sponsored by the Office of Religious Affairs
2282 SAB 764-7442

#( 3! 7i +tk tjp' . . t 4 !d T 4F* ev m4. f :s{+ay F# I

S 1 4 "h


For the student body:
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