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March 10, 1971 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-03-10

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Eighty year
Edited and managed bys
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Editorials printed in The MichiganI
or the editors. T

i a# I i
s of editorial freedom'
students at the University of Michigan

News Phone: 764-0552

Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
his must be noted in all reprints.



'U': Maintaining sexism

THE NATION-WIDE demonstrations
held in accordance with Interna-
tional Women's Day Monday provided a
chance for women to organize programs
exploring their oppression - but the de-
monstrations should not be viewed as a
panacea for women's problems.
Indeed, the problems which existed
when the event was inaugurated in 1910
- low pay, poor working conditions, and
oppressive societal roles - still exist to-
day. This is especially true at the Uni-
versity where the administration h a s
been distressingly *slow in assuring the
equality of female students and employes.
For although it is the participant in an
"historic" agreement with the Depart-
ment of Health, Education and Welfare
to end sex discrimination in hiring prac-
tices, the University's attitude throughout
the dispute, and even after the settle-
ment, is typical of society's treatment of
WHEN CONFRONTED with the charges
of sexism, the University's reaction
was to try and organize other universities
to fight the contract bans imposed by
HEW - a clear attempt to ignore the
allegations of sex discrimination. When
HEW stipulated that the University must
improve the ratio of women admitted to
Ph.D programs because the programs are
connected to employment of teaching fel-
lows and research assistants, the Univer-
sity appealed' all the way to HEW Secre-
tary Elliot Richardson, saying that ad-
missions to graduate programs and em-
ployment are two separate areas. When
the University was asked to rectify the
inequities in its admissions programs,
it did not merely take its time doing so,
it openly fought such proposals.
But if the University did not mean
business, HEW certainly did. Turning
Editorial Staff
Executive Editor ManagingUEditor
STEVE KOPPMAN .. Editorial Page Editor
RICK PERLOFF .. Associate Editorial Page Editor
PAT MAHONEY .. .. Assistant Editorial Page Editor
LYNN WEINER Associate Managing Editor
LARRY LEMPERT Associate Managing Editor
ANITA CRONE........... .... . .. Arts Editor
ROBERT CONROW .. Books Editor
JIM JUDKIS .... .. ......Photography Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Tammy Jacobs, Jonathan Miller,
Carla Rapoport, Hester Pulling, Robert Schreiner,
W. B. Schrock.
COPY EDITORS: Rose Sue Berstein, Mark Dillen, Sara
DAY EDITORS: Linda Dreeben, Alan Lenhoff, Art Ler-
ner, Jim McFerson. Hannah Morrison, Gene Robin-
son, Geri Sprung, Debra Thai.
Cohn, Mike McCarthy John Mitchell, Kristin Ring-
strom, Chris Parks, Zachary Schiller, Ken Schulze,
John Shamraj, Gloria Smith, Ted Stein, Chuck Wil-

down the University's first "affirmative
action" plan, it forced the administra-
tion to adopt a plan which included
equalization of pay between men and
women, retroactive pay to women w h o
could prove they were sibject to discrim-
ination, and the establishment of a
Women's Commission.
A commission "all their own." B u t
what commission? Working without pay
in their own free time, the commission
members can hardly be expected to scrape
the surface of problems in this area. And
when it has the chance to get directly
involved, for instance, in the preparation
of further goals and timetables which
HEW requires, the commission was neat-
ly swept aside by male administra-
tors Who claim that the addition . of
women workers would mean "too many
fingers in the pot."
THE UNIVERSITY also maintains t h e
inferior status of women by discrim-
inating against them in its admission
.policies - although women have attend-
ed the University for 100 years. Though
statistics show women perform better
academically than do men, and indicate
that a higher percentage of women fin-
ish college than do their male counter-
parts, the University continues to admit
a higher percentage of men than women.
Yet ending job discrimination and in-
equitable admission policies are only the
surface problems involved in ending sex-
ism in our society. The real roots of the
problem go far beyond anything that can
be corrected by an HEW report.
Society as a wnole must change its at-
titudes toward women. Women must
come to be accepted as equals, intellect-
ually, emotionally and' in all ways. From
birth, women should not be channeled
into subordinate positions with the sub-
sequent sense of inferiority. Instead, so-
ciety must enable women to realize their
full potential as productive - and not
just reproductive - members of society.
IN THIS context, it is likely that many
viewed International Women's Day
as merely a day to honor women. This is
simply a manifestation of the behavior of
a society which gives women a brief
moment of glory only for greater subjuga-
tion later. Too often women are placed
on a pedestal, in terms of meaningless
manners and rituals, only to be denied
a genuine position of importance in the
Women are not asking to be "honored"
on International Women's Day. They are
asking that the oppression they encount-
er, both tangible. and intangible, be end-

S HAPIRO first became aware of
the latest Norman Mailer Ex-
travaganza when the cultural
hucksters at Harper's in the
media's self-aggrandizing tradi-
tion announced to the assembled
litterati that "the favorite target
of women's lib chooses his weapon
-Harper's Magazine" and t h e n
carried this adrenal self -glorifica-
tion one consciousness level fur-
ther by adding, with nary a visi-
ble wince, "Pick up a copy. Be-
fore your newsstand is picketed."
Alarmingly susceptible to t h e
blandishments of the Current, but
deeply offended by Harper's mar-
keting strategy in merchandizing
Mailer, Shapiro, reflecting t h e
amorality of the age, compromised
by picking up - but definitely not
paying a dollar for - a misad-
dressed copy of Harper's which
was lying untended in a public
place without a picketer in sight.
(DAYS LATER upon learning
that Harper's editor Willie Morris.
who promoted the Mailer Extrava-
ganza, had been forced out by the
"money men" who apparently dis-
agreed with Morris' assessment
that "Mailer is a great writer, his
work matters to our civilizatio,"
any number of wry comments and
puckish questions sprung to Sha-
pirq's lips. The Magazine-Swiper
was unable to resist setting down
for eternity a mere assortment,
a veritable Whitman's Sampler
of these bon mots: Was there some
"money man" at Harper's with a
slight touch of whimsy who sold
advertising space in the middle of
Mailer's dense prose for a com-
mercial message peddling "Eve ...
Pretty Eve . . . the first truly
feminine cigarette . . . it's almost
as pretty as you are." The Maga-
zine-Swiper also pondered Mor-
ris' job prospects along the New
York middle-brow intellectual cir-
cuit. What could he do now? Head
the Ford Foundation? Be posthu-
mously bar mitzvahed and given
the editorship at Commentary?)
The deep and ever-lasting sig-
nificance of a rumble from the di-
rection of his pancreas impelled
the Magazine-Swiper to review the
whole complex of his conflicting
thoughts about Norman Mailer.
Shapiro, reflecting the Zorastrian
duality, the dichotomous w o r'l d
view to which he was so fatally
attracted, had always different-
iated between the Political Mailer
and the Literary Mailer.
POLITICALLY, Shapiro, the Left
Reactionary whose non-ideologi-
cal radicalism often left him mut-
tering about the curse of bigness.
Shapiro the political Funster who
wrote-in John Sinclair for Gover-
nor and endorsed .Eldridge Cleav-
er for President, could not help
but be attracted to the quixotic,
comic opera tendencies in Mail-
er's 1969 New York mayorality
campaign with its cry of "Neigh-
borhood Power." With character-
istic perverseness the Magazine-
Swiper at the same time resented
the almost incestuous Village
Voice-New York Magazine origins
of the Mailer crusade.
The Literary Mailer was of equal
interest because the Magazine-
Swiper had been reading him late-
ly. After resisting the best-selling,
prize-winning, cover story allure
of Armies of the Night because he,
having been there, had his own
feelings about the Pentagon
March and didn't need Norman
to put them into perspective, Sha-
piro recently picked up the book
after it was no longer fashion-
able (yes, he paid for it) and



found himself, the Sometime His-
torian, admiring Mailer's attempt
to reach the interior of history, to
reach those private realms of hu-
man experience which seem only
to be the province of the novelist.
The Defrocked Journalist Sha-
piro, entranced with the form and
possibilities of s u c h personalized
writing, yielded to Shapiro, t h e
Camp Follower of Women's Lib-
eration, who admired American
Dream for its fidelity in replicat-
ing the Locker-Room Fantasies,
the emotional debris of masculine
insecurities, the ugly, green, scaly
residues of a lifetime of condi-
tioning to use women as balm for
the ever so fragile male ego. This
fantasy vision was so therapeutic.
so cathartic that Shapiro did not
really care whether Mailer was ap-
proving, disapproving or morally
As he held - nay fondled -
his "hot" copy of Harper's, sudden-
ly there was the flash of insight,
the gasp of an idea, the Kiliman-
jaro of the Soul. Shapiro would
climb out of the mire of indolence
aid write a reaction to Mailer's
"The Prisoner of Sex." But deep,
darkling doubts remained. Was he
man enough to attempt to take on
Norman Mailer at the typewriter?
Could the Magazine-Swiper even
attempt to discuss, women and
their liberation in response to
Mailer - a Mailer who noted
nodestly in Armies of the Night
that "he (like all novelists) prided
himself on his knowledge of
And Shapiro also asked himself,
with uncharacteristic directness,
could he be honest about his own
deep feelings about women, about
his not altogether unchecked ten-
dencies to use women of objects
rather than to relate to them as
people? Also, he wondered, would
he merely write to please, write
what those friends who were deep-
ly involved in Women's Liberation
would vant to hear? The complex
of the questions posed an ines-
capable and existential Challenge
to Shapiro.
* * *
W ITH MAILER, substance, as
f well as style is important. And
here parody fails us. For despite
the arid gaps between subject and
predicate in so many of his long
and convoluted sentences, Mailer
is taken seriously. Both Kate Mil-
lett and Mailer himself agree that
he is one of our leading mytholo-
gists of sex. And when Mailer
writes, thousands of male sexual
fantasies answer.
Strangely enough many of Mail-
er's attitudes towards Women's
Liberation sound vaguely familiar.
When one grasps the deep thema-

tic affinity between Mailer's at-
tempt to achieve a cosmic survey
of Women's Liberation and soc-
ialist critic Irving Howe's review
of Sexual Politics in the December
Harper's, a definite pattern of
masculine myopia begins to
Dwelling on the intellectual kin-
ship between Mailer and : H o w e
is emotionally satisfying because
both castigate Millett (who Nor-
man with rare subtlety and taste
calls "Kate-baby") for such pe-
dantic sins as too liberal a use
of ellipsis and a lack of critical
fidelity. Sounding vaguely like a
racist academic muttering about
the low level of black scholarship,
Mailer writes, "He did not know
why a lack of such literary nice-
ties as fair quotation and measur-
ed attack should bother him more
in women. Was it because a male
critic who practices such habits
could not get far - the stern
code of professionalism in other
men is bound to cut him down
lowship of the spirit between Mail-
er and Howe extends to a mutual
failure to understand why Wo-
men's Liberation does not limit
itself to political action toward
such reformist goals as vocational
equality and free day care centers.
Both male critics whine, why
should women feel oppressed since
they have so much power over
men already?
Mailer expresses this quaint no-
tion in personal terms using the
military imagery he cannot seem
to avoid when writing about wo-
men. "Four times beaten at wed-
lock, his respect for the power
of women was so large that the,
way they would tear through him
. . . would be reminiscent . . . of
German tanks crunching through'
straw huts on their was across a
border." Presumably women
should abandon their struggle for
liberation and devote all their
energies to tearing through Norm-
an Mailer.
But these are trivial concerns,
mere dots on the landscape when
compared to the horizon-filling
blindspot in both Mailer's a n d
Howe's treatment of Kate Millett.
What is so breath-taking is the
utter refusal of these two m a 1 e
critics to face Milett's seemingly
inescapable theme that the de-
piction, and often the glorifica-
tion, of women as sex objects is an
integral element in almost all of
our major modern novels.
The shock value, as well as
the critical and polemical import-
ance of Sexual Politics is that it
provides abundant documentation
of this literary truism, reflecting

as it does the dominant cutural
tendencies of our sqiety. Any pro-
tracted discussion of Millett's pro-
fessional integrity, her paraphras-
ing of Freud, her fairness to Henry
Miller or any of the other tedious
concerns which have been recently
filling so many pages in Harper's,
merely diverts, our attention from
this fundamental theme.
EVEN IN HIS current article,
where others might be circum-
spect, Mailer gleefully provides in-
numerable examples of his con-
stant view that women are mere
appendages of the male ego. Mail-
er confesses that he had felt help-
less before the wordsmiths at Time
"until the mighty occasion when
he captured the mistress of a Po-
tentate of Time! . and waskso
intent on retribution that it took
him months to recognize that the
dear pudding of a lady in whom
he was inserting his fast-rusting
barb was a remarkable girl, almost
as interesting, complex, Machia-
vellian, and spiritual as himself."
Mailer has become so entwined
in his own sexual ideology that
he fails to see that there is some-
thing at once both deliciously ab-
surd and horribly dehumanized in
fucking a woman merely to vent
one's spleen at a slick magazine
with a bright red border.
Although it would be unchar-
acteristic, Mailer could justify his
behavior by arguing that the mis-
tress he captured (again that mili-
tary mind) was herself "on the
lookout for the particular sweet
fellow who would most outrage her
Boss." Yet there should be little
justification and even less s u r-
prise in discovering that 'some
women have absorbed many of the
sexual attitudes of the dominant
male ethos.
Although Mailer seems blithely
unconcerned about his own reifi-
cation of women, he has an al-
most neurotic fear of a sexual
Brave New World "of vibrators
and plastic dildoes" in which men
are expendable and women are
freed from the burdens of child-
birth. Utilizing some of the prose
left on the cutting room floor of
his moonshot book, Mailer likens
Millett to a "technologist who
drains all the swamps only to dis-
cover that the ecological balance
has been savaged."
fears are not test-tube babies, but
the demystification of sex. For
Mailer is our leading sexual mys-
tic, a self-appointed guru in the
carnal wilderness, who can op-
pose birth-control because it
would deprive "women forever .
(of) the existential edge of know-
ing that to become pregnant,
might mean their death, yet not
to be pregnant might bring on the
worst of illness ..."
Sex is the road to self-aware-
ness, that's Mailer's gospeL Wax-
ing lyrical, he writes, "For when-
a man and woman conceive would
it not be best that they be able
to see one another for a trans-
cendent instant." Yet sex is also
the ultimate testing ground, t h e
veritable mirror of thesoul. "Give
meaning to sex and one was the
prisoner of sex," the self-describ-
ed Prisioner intoned, "until every
failure and misery, every evil of
your life, spoke their. lines in its
With these spiritual insights it
is almost as if Mailer believes that
his entire life is just a long and
arduous preparation for that one
transcendent fuck, that orgasm
which will rattle the pillars of

and write in flame across the sky,
"Norman, this is what it's all
about. Only You did I make in
My image. For who could f u c k
like that. except a God."
There is an undeniably roman-
tic appeal to this concept of trans-
c-ndent sex. but the ideology be-
comes oppressive, as well as banal,
when one realizes that women are w
merely convenient vessels through
which men can attempt to achieve
their self-awakening, eternity-
rattling orgasms.
This is made abundantly clear
when Mailer glorifies D. H. Law-
rence's attempt to overcome h i s
latent homosexuality through the 4
subjugation of women. No wonder
Lawrence "worshipped his phal-
lus. he above all men knew what
an achievement was its rise from
the root." For Maile~r it is a short
step from here to Lawrence "was
ill and his wife was literally kill-
ing him each time she failed to 4
worship his most proud and deli-
cate cock."
In terms of understanding the
sexual politics which afflict us all,
it is not enough to merely under-
stand what Mailer is trying to say.
Perhaps even more significant is
the role played by Mailer and W
other talented sexual gurus in
creating and nurturing masculine
erotic fantasies.
FOR MANY, novels provide the
earliest and most lasting source of
vicarious sexual experience. It is
the novelist's desperate search for .
the ultimate sexual metaphor
which has led many men to be-
come victims of all sorts of des-
tructive, plastic myths about all-
consuming sex.
The novelists have succeeded
too well. They have left too many
men with the lurking suspicion ,mj
that the sexual myth-makers are
having srotic experiences which
bear almost no relation to their
own. How many men have the
gnawing fear that Norman Mailer
is having better sex than they are?
How many men, are disappointed
upon achieving orgasm to discov-
er that in real life thunder doesn't
roll and the heavens don't light
up with fire?
Given this peculiar masculine in-
security, it is a logical next step
for males to begin to regard
women as almost Stations of the
Cross which one penetrates at will
while striving. with almost relig-
ious fervor to duplicate the sex-
ual feats of Norman Mailer and
those other talented chroniclers of


SMALL WONDER that the dia-
lectics of this "notches on the bed-
post syndrome" remain unfathom-
able to Mailer. For rarely, if ever,
has a writer become more securely
entangled in a web of his own sex-
ual myths. Poor Norman, it's just
a terminal case of too much
Army, too much ego and too much
Walter Shapiro, now a history
grad student and once a Washing-
ton political writer, returns to The
Daily with the first installment of
a projected series of .columns.
Letters to The Daily should
be mailed to the Editorial Di-
rector or delivered to 'Mar y
Rafferty in the Student Pub-
lications business office in the
Michigan Daily building. Let-
ters should be typed, double-
spaced and normally should
not exceed 250 words. The
Editorial Directors reserve the
right to edit all letters sub-


heaven, and God will

come out


Trapped in




T WO WEEKS have passed since the most
recent effort to raise radical conscious-
ness on this campus. Hopefully participants
in the mass meetings, sit-ins and march
that marked the weeks before spring break
will have had time to think about what
went wrong.
The glaring lack of effective politics and
tactics during that week, indicated t h a t
there is a lot to be learned from the abor-
tive, but gallant, attempt to once again
move this campus to action.
When the invasion of Laos and the peace
treaty convention stirred the members of the
sleeping radical movement in Ann Ar-
bor, certain erstwhile campus leaders came
out of semi-retirement to once again try
organizing a strong, or at least active, left.
The handle they used to bring the war
home was a list of six demands: abolish
ROTC, end war research, ban recruiters
from companies that discriminate, establish
a free 24-hour child care center, g r a n t
students control over Course Mart, and
give anti-war groups use of University fa-
By the time the sit-in started the Mon-
day before break, support for the six de-
mands and protest against the Indochina
War had been supplemented by anger that
two persons had been arrested at the Re-
gents meeting the previous Friday (when the
Regents also decided to negate the effective-
ness of the Office of Student Services Policy
Board's progressive recruiting policy).

did not know why they were theie, they
also didn't know why they were using the
sit-in tactic.
As one facet of building a political base,
radical leaders must interest their audience
and potential base of support.
But that Friday when there were 200
people at People's Plaza waiting to be led,
the radicals pursued the nearest interest-
ing and relatively low-risk activity - tak-
ing the LSA Bldg. While this is admittedly,
not a crucial blow to the University, it does
have a certain amount of dramatic impact.
- When that impact thinned, the next tactic
was to march around campus chanting poli-
tical slogans, winding up in an engineer-
ing college recruiting office - after all,
one of the demands involved recruiting.
After that, back to the original building, to
plan for the next week's action.
The next week's action started in the
LSA Bldg. Monday with a sit-in that be-
gan with 150 people and dwindled to 50 by
nighttime. (A sit-in of course, because peo-
ple would be interested and come to support
it, the demonstrators hoped.)
HOWEVER, NOT ONLY is a 50-person
sit-in at the LSA Bldg. entirely irrelevant
to the University's ability to function, it
gets dull and tiring after a light of playing
poker and bridge and eating peanut butter
sandwiches. Some of the excitement also
died when the University said it would
allow the action to continue.
Although the danger of arrest had been
removed, the possibility of sitting in forever

remained in the building for 27 hours, sent
out two leaflets, and called a mass meet-
ing, it was clear that massive groups of
people were not becoming instantly radical-
ized and flocking to the cause. As a matter
of fact, the mass meeting Tuesday afternoon
had managed to gather about 150 people,
slightly less than the number that started
the sit-in with the brief occupation on Fri-
Obviously, the leafletting and non-violent
sit-in had, at least in this case, proven
miserably ineffective. Perhaps the hard core
of radicals should have given up there, but
it is a tribute to either their innate optim-
ism or their action-orientation that they
"TAKING THE LSA Bldg. is kind of a
drag," one experienced radical had com-
mented a few days earlier. "I've been here
so many times before.". He added that the
symbolic value of taking a building would
be maximized by taking the Administration
And so the 150 marched to the second
floor of the Administration Bldg., only to
find that no miracle had occired, a n d
they still were without active student sup-
At the Administration Bldg., the Univer-
sity decided to crack down, and the other
alternative inherent in the sit-in tactic be-
came real - getting arrested.
Finally, faced with internal disputes, the
possibility of arrests, and the grim indica-
tion that nobody out there cared, the group

in the tactics used. Leafletting is just not
enough-students have seen and continue to
see too many leaflets about too many things,'
and have learned to be immune to their mes-
SIT-INS, TOO, may be a thing of the past,
with the choice between being left alone to
disappate through sheer boredom and exhaus-
tion, or being disappated by the hard clubs
and heavy penalties of staying until, the bust
Unless a movement has so many people
that it can neither be effectively ignored, nor
effectively busted, there seems little hope
that sitting in will either organize more par-
ticipants, or coerce the administration to ac-
cede to anything.
The solution to the tactics problem is not
simple to find. It may, in fact, be impossible.
It could be that there is no way left to effec-
tively organize large masses of students
numbed and frustrated by too many actions
too boring or too violent, and always inevit-
ably too futile.
But the left in Ann Arbor must try again to
mobilize enough people to act constructively
upon the issues that need acting upon-one at
a painful time.
"Let's face it," said one veteran of radical
actions as Tuesday's sit-in drew to a close,
"sometimes we lose."
And the left lost this time.
It was not the first, nor will it be the last
time that the left has lost, but if the actions
were more than just "an old rads slumber

seemed to agree that it was clearly
impossible to get all, or even some of
the demands approved and implemented.
It is now obvious that the radicals, rath-
er than gaining the broad base they wanted
by having demands that appealed to every-
one, were instead discouraging support by

The all-encompassing character of the
demands made evident the purely educa-
tional nature of the campaign, and any
pretense of gaining concessions from t h e
University was thus lost.
Besides the impossibility of supporting all
six demands strongly, there was a crippling
tack of ronn unity amon the n nna uwho

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