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November 25, 1970 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-11-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

iIy £fMid gan Dait
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

books books books

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or-the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



Crime against criminals

Sexism in advertising:
Time for some sensitivity
(The following three views of sexism in advertising w e r e authored by _members of
The Daily's business staff - ED.)

Thomas O. Murton and Joe
THE CRIME, Grove Press, $7.50
Lester Douglas Johnson, THE
versity Press of Kansas, $6.95.
'...There's a farm in Ar-
kansas, got some secrets in its
floor, in decay, in decay . . .
you can tell where their at,
nothing grows the ground is
flat, where they lay, where they
lay. ..
These are the words that begin
"Longline Rider," written by Bob-
by Darin upon the discovery of
three murdered inmates, found
buried in 1968 beneath the farm-
lands of Tucker Prison Farm in
Arkansas. Thomas Murton, form-
er superintendent at Tucker, was
the man responsible for that dis-
covery. Yet, this tale is but one as-
pect of the ghastly story he and
his co-author, Joe Hyams, set
forth in: Accomplices to the Crime.
Their total depiction is a graphic
portrayal of the corruption, ex-
ploitation and human degradation
that Murton witnessed during his
one year as superintendent in the
Arkansas Penitentiary System.
To understand the far-reaching
implications of Murton's exper-
iences, the reader need only sit
back and allow himself to be ex-
posed to the brutal and ugly truth
which the authors unfold.
". . . Someone screams investi-
gate, 'scuse me sir it's a little
late, let us pray, let us pray ...
this kinda thing can't happen
here, 'specially not in an elec-
tion year, out of my way, out of
my way..."
In Arkansas, the machine,
which is responsible for the state's
penal institutions, was, and still
is, headed by Governor Winthrop
Rockefeller, the first Republican
governor of Arkansas since 1874.
In 1966, as the authors point out,
Rockefeller preached extensive
prison reform in his gubernatorial
campaign against Orval Faubus.
When Rockefeller was elected, it
was Murton, former assistant pro-
fessor of criminology at an Illinois
university and an acting chief of
corrections in Alaska, whom
Rockefeller singled out to imple-
ment his campaign promises.
The reader quickly learns that
to say Rockefeller's promises, were
empty ones, is a gross understate-
ment. More important, the authors

discuss at length the skillful mani-
pulating that Rockefeller's admin-
istration employed to stifle any
significant, albeit highly contro-
versial, innovations which Murton
sought to introduce.
The authors also suggest several
critical problems which Murton
faced immediately upon his arrival
at Tucker. For instance, note his
description of the food situation:
"Kitchen personnel said that the
ordinary inmates got one egg per
year, on Christmas morning, and
were never given milk . . . meat
had been served only once a year.
Then they had hog's head stew
and pig's knuckle soup."n
Many of the basic reforms which
Murton attempted to invoke, whe-
ther concerned with the kitchen;
recreational or visiting facilities;
or work details, were enormously
burdened by the inertia of the
governor's office or by the lack of
meaningful activity on the part of
state agencies, as exemplified by
the perpetual "slow-play" of the
state purchasing agency. As such,
the authors regretfully suggest
that all of Murton's policies were
overwhelmed once he was "forced"
to resign as superintendent of
". . Doin' ten to twenty hard,
swinging twelve pounds in the
yard, everyday, everyday . . . I
came in with a group of
twenty, there ain't left but half
as many, in the clay, in the
Accomplices to the Crime is writ-
ten in a provocative style. It is
direct, thorough and ultimately,
profound. This is particularly true
of the second part of the book
where a series ofrelated chapters
express the gruesome inhumanity
Murton faced when he became
superintendent. His first official
act, the reader is told, was to
abolish corporal punishment at
Tucker. To understand the mag-
nitude of this overwhelming task,
the reader is not allowed to forget
the type of institution w hi c h
Tucker was prior to Murton's take
over. As one circuit judge, from
the bench, stated: "Undisputed
evidence . . . establishes that Ar-
kansas conducts at her two penal
institutions, Cummins and Tuck-
er, a system of barbarity, corrup-
tion, terror and animal viciousness
that reeks of Dachau and Ausch-
The inhumanity that was prac-
ticed at Tucker is revealed ex-
pertly by the authors as they fur-
nish inmate records discussing per-

caption over the ad. "Guys Slacks,
Girls Lore" it continues, so much that a
girl otherwise naked except for the peace
symbol hanging from her neck has
climbed into them, and is standing, hands
on hips showing them off.'
"Pick-ups are cheaper" runs the title.
The groovy looking prostitute stands, al-
so with h a n d s on hips, watching in
amazement as two '50's freaks pass her
by. Th'ey, being of discriminating taste,
O censorShip
E LITTLE CAESAR'S ad was in bad
taste; the point could have been
brought across much better. A trend
,away from sexist and racist advertising
could indeed benefit all of us. However,
for any group of individuals, be 'it the
business or editorial staff of The Michi-
gan Daily, the Radicalesbians, or anyone
to sit as a board of censorship concern-
ing any printed matter would be against
all the highest traditions of editorial and
newspaper freedom.
The Daily has been guilty in the past
for censorship of political .advertising. In
this respect they have certainly been hy-
pocritical. However, rather than leaning
ink the future toward any regulatory pol-
icy concerning content of the paper, I
would like to see any guidelines stated as
mere editorial suggestion.
Then, if the people did find an ad ob-
jectionable, let them protest by replying
(as did the Radicalesbians) and/or not
patronizing the store involved. If the
public does not know how they are being
"advertised, packaged, and sold as a
piece of beef," then let them be educat-
ed. Let's not take ourselves as self-ap-
pointed spokesmen (or spokeswomen) for
truth. Let's let the power of the people
really be felt.
AS THE SALESMAN who looks after the
Little Caesar's account for The Daily
I would like to present the other h a 1 f
with respect to the ad that ran Nov. 22
in The Daily Magazine. It was obviously
n o t Little Caesar's intention to offend
any of The Daily's readers and they are
just as sorry as I am if this has in fact
The ad in question was the final ad in
a campaign to persuade people that
pickups are cheaper" at- Little Caesar's.
It had run several t I m e s at Michigan
State University with very little negative
feedback and the slogan itself had run
several times here. Although certain wo-
men on the business staff here had voic-
ed their objections before Sunday's in-
sertion it was felt that these people did
not necessarily represent the community
at large.
The whole question of taste in adver-
tising is a very nebulous one for it is easy
to overreact and become very picky when
feelings run high. Any advertiser who is
not an active part of the University com-
munity has a hard time evaluating the
strength of feelings over any particular

know there's a better pick°" p to be had
at Little Caesars; pizza that is.
Each of these exercises in advertising
creativity appeared on Sunday, one in
The Daily and one in The Daily Maga-
zine. Both are blatantly sexist; t h e y
should have no place in this newspaper.
Their presence raises the question of
whether, as the Radicalesbians suggested
yesterday, The Daily needs new or addi-
tional advertising guidelines.
Certainly some change is needed. Ad-
vertisements like this can not continue
to be printed. The level of taste they ex-
press is questionable to say the least and
as such is an insult to both sexes. Their
main thrust, however, is sexist, and thus
is a more direct attack on women. They
show women in stereotyped roles, all for
the purpose of selling t h e advertiser's
product. The woman's presence in each
case is of course, unrelated to the pro-
duct being sold.
The use of the double entendre makes
it possible for the advertiser to play in-
nocent on one level while communicat-
ing a sexually explicit message on anoth-
er level.
WHAT ADS dike this do is laugh at the
tragic situation of certain women,
i.e., prostitutes. In a larger sense, they
present women as objects, whether sex
or otherwise, existing solely to be exploit-
ed by men and selling points for ads.Wo-
men are depicted as being totally depen-
dent on male approval for the affirma-
tion of their worth; totally susceptible to
male rejection for t h e denial and de-
struction of their identity. This attitude
says that women can have no importance
or significance in and of themselves, and
that t h e y lack independent humanity
and validity. Women exist, it- implies, to
be manipulated; not for some studied,
deliberate purpose but simply on the
whim of any male. (Of course she's al-
ways good for a dirty joke!)
SEXIST ADS belong with racist ads, an-
ti-Semitic ads, anti-Chicano ads, an-
ti-Catholic ads, and all ads that slur or
discriminate against any group of peo-
.ple. Sexism is just as objectionable, just
as offensive, and just as degrading as any
other form of discrimination. As such it
has no more place in The Daily than any
other form of discriminatory advertising.
Just as we w o u 1 d be offended by and
should reject the insertion of advertising
which showed little pickaninnies dancing
across the page, selling Hair-So-New, or
Mexicans doing a Mexican Hat D a n c e
around the latest style in meh's hats, so
we should reject without hesitation ad-
vertising that casts women in an equally
stereotyped and degrading role. Why it is
seen as acceptable to reject the one and
not the other, is beyond our understand-
THE PROBLEM involved here is t h a t
The Daily simply doesn't'have guide-
lines on any kind of advertising. Adver-
tisers, in effect, are allowed to print any-
thing they want. The advertising policy
states only that, "The Michigan Daily re-
serves the right to regulate the typograp-
hical tone of all advertisements and to

sonal experiences of being beaten
by baseball bats; whipped by rub-
ber horses or leather straps; or
having needles struck beneath
their fingernails. Such punishment
was neither uncommon nor extra-
ordinary for the mere talking back
to a guard or falling behind in
The author's acknowledgement
that most of the citizens of Arkan-
sas were not at all concerned with
such treatment represents an ex-
plicit realization of the type of
persons to whom Morton was ex-
posed. The book is a credit to
Murton and Hyams for ingeniously
delving into the twisted and dis-
torted psychology of the people
whose state was the only o n e
"where whipping was authorized
by law and still practiced."
" . There's a funny taste in
the air, big bulldozers every-
where, diggin' clay, turnin' clay
... and the ground coughs up
some roots, wearin' denim shirts
and boots. haul 'em away . . ."
The most chilling aspect of Ac-
complices to the Crime undoubt-
edly concerns three inmates; two
of them were murdered by a form-
er warden at Tucker, the other
was killed by a rifle beating
from that warden's hench men.
Murton and Hyams thoroughly ex-
plore the reality of the inhuman
and seemingly unbelievable atroc-
ities that continued at Tucker
prior to Murton's arrival. T h i s
discussion culminates in the auth-
or's vivid description of t h o s e
events surrounding the discovery
of the inmates' bodies on Jan-
uary 29, 1968.
Accomplices to the Crime, then,
does not merely depict one man's
attack upon the most repugnant
aspects of a particular penal sys-
tem. It is, instead, a gripping re-
flection exposing the ugly realities
that inevitably arise when t h e
"spiral of reform" becomes fitted
with a 19th century strait-jacket.
The sight is a frightening one!
This same portrayal is again
convincingly recreated by Lester
Douglas Johnson in The Devil's
Front Porch. Johnson's story con-
cerns the ordeals of torture and
brutality that were evident at the
Kansas State Penitentiary in Lan-
sing, Kansas.
Although The Devil's Front
Porch, in its stylistic approach,
differs significantly from Accomp-
lices to the Crime, it similarly
speaks of the inhuman treatment
which inmates must still tolerate.
As an inmate at Lansing for 45
opera h
What this book originally amount-
ed to, then, was a super catalog
of current Victor records, lavishly
illustrated with photos of "Victor
artists" such as Caruso, Farrar,
and McCormack, costumed in
their most famous roles. Billing
these deluxe catalogs as "indis-
pensible to a full enjoyment" of
the Victor opera discs, Victor scor-
ed another merchandising coup,
with a total of twelve different
editions to its credit.
Copies of these earlier editions


Bringing the

OPERA, 13th edition revised by
Henry W. Simon, S i m o n &
Schuster, $10.00.
Prior editions of this book date
back to a time when the world was
just as beset by problems as it is
today, but chose instead to bliss-
fully ignore them-to a time when
Melba was the toast of two con-
tinents (my apologies for the
pun), and Chicken Tetrazzini
reigned supreme. Opera stars like
Caruso and Mary Garden were
front-page fare for newspaper
readers while more momentous
matters such as the plight of the
Blacks or the problems of the
poor were relegated to that fright-
ening shadowy region of the
American subconscious.
The Victor Talking Machine
Company, capitalizing on this pre-
1920's opera fad, fired up middle
class enthusiasm in buying its Red
Seal opera records (78 R.P.M.
shellac discs) to a fever pitch
through one of the most stupend-
ous mass-advertising campaigns
America had ever seen. Its other
product, the Victrola, was an
acoustical hand-cranked record-
player which amplified vibrations
from the records by means of a
glass diaphragm and recording
horn. By 1920, Victor's highly
touted Victrolas and Red Seal rec-
ords had found their way into al-
most every "respectable" (i.e.
middle class) home in the U.S. as
a basic subsistence item. This in-
credible merchandising feat was
accomplished through advertising
pitches such as the following,
taken from the May 1912 issue of
The Etude, an influential music
magazine of the time:
Every home should have a

and has awakened millions to a
proper appreciation of music.
because . . . no home can af-
ford to be without one of these
wonderful instruments.
As an outgrowth of this massive
sales campaign, Victor published
its first edition of The Victor Book
of the Opera in 1912, ostensibly
as part of its crusade to "awaken
millions to a proper appreciation
of music." This prototype edition
consisted of a collection of un-
inspiring, but accurate plot syn-

years, Johnson dwells expertly on
the crude and primitive torturing
devices that had been employed
by that prison's administration.
His writingris astoundingly force-
ful and objective as he recounts
his exposure to break-outs and
the sexual perversion that existed
at Lansing.
The most significant contribu-
tion which Johnson makes con-
cerns his historical perspective of
prison life within the Kansas
State Penitentiary in the late 19th
century as contrasted with the re-
forms occurring at Lansing today.
Johnson states that "the brutal-
ities and the tortures of the past
are no more," and adds that what
is prevalent at Lansing today is
rehabilitation instead of punish-
ment. Johnson speaks proudly of
the rehabilitative measures ad-
vanced at Lansing. He focuses in-
depth discussions upon educa-
tional, religious and recreational
reforms that have induced and re-
inforced the rehabilitative treat-
come Wi
in comparison), to the truly
charming (Bori and Farrar) and
profoundly moving (late Caruso).
In an apparent attempt to hit
the crest of the Public's present-
day craving for nosalgia, Simon
and Schuster has now reincarnated
the old series of The Victor Book
of the Opera in a "thirteenth new-
ly revised edition." Unfortunately,
the caveat "don't judge a book by
its cover" applies eminently well
to this "reissue," since it combines
one of the most fascinating jack-
ets I have yet encountered on a
music book with a largely vacuous
text and a shockingly unimagina-
tive selection of photographs.
To start with the highlight, the
burnished color cover is a photo-
graph containing such nostalgic
memorabilia as batons of Tos-
canini and Bruno Walter, Olive
Fremstad's score to Salome, and
snapshots of Farrar, Caruso, and
Garden. The publisher's preface,
"The Evolution of the Victor Book
of the Opera, is worthwhile and
informative. Beyond these attrac-
tions, however, lies a bitterly dis-
oppointing body. The basic format
of the previous editions is retain-
ed: there are synopses of approxi-
mately 120 operas (including some
added contemporary and Baroque
works) intersticed with over 400
illustrations. All available com-
plete LP recordings of each opera
are now grouped together as an
appendix instead of after the in-
dividual synopses. This appendix
is a waste of space since no re-
cording is given preferred rating,
or even discussed: more reliable
information can be gained by con-
sulting any recent Schwann Cata-
log. It would have been far more
interesting and valuable for the
editor to list historical recordings
of individual arias, ensembles, and
orchestral excerpts re-released on
LP within the context of each plot


ment an inmate is subjected to
when he has become disobedient
or hostile to those around him.
Most important, Johnson is able
to include an introspective analy-
sis of his own dynamic change
within his expansive summary of
inmates and life within a prison.
The book's impact is thoroughly
enhanced from his subjectivity as
it reveals a most convincing and
startling insight into the evolution
of those attitudes embraced by one
who has served 45 years in one
penal institution.
Both books, in sum, provide the
reader with the uninhibited truth
of a too often slighted topic. It is
interesting to note that with re-
gard to Accomplices to the Crime,
a young motion picture producer
has also recognized the worth of
the Murton and Hyams story. If
the movie is allowed to take on the
dimension of the book, it will be
a credit to the producer for re-
creating one of the most signifi-
cant stories ever written.
white. And, as one can well ima-
gine, nothing is as meaningless
artistically as seeing Chagall set-
ings reproduced in halftone.
The most irksome aspect of the
book for me, though, is its insen-
sitive selection of photographs,
artistically and historically speak-
ing. As previously noted, the great
value of the earlier editions of
the book lay in their inclusion
of period shots portraying both
Golden Age singers in their most
significant roles and musically im-
portant productions of the past.
This edition excludes many of
these photos, and the ones re-
tained generally occupy an un-
obtrusive spot in the format. In-
stead, pictures of more recent pro-
ductions, which one can find bet-
ter reproduced elsewhere in color,
command the focal point of atten-
tion. Hence there is no picture of
Ljuba Welitch's Salome, none of
Farrar's Butterfly, Bar's Manon,
or Kipnis' Boris, just to mention
a few notable omissions.
Even the synopses are more
poorly handled here than in prior
editions in that no musical quota-
tions whatever are provided. An
intelligent reader endeavoring to
familiarize himself with the Wag-
nerian music dramas will search
this book in vain for any leit-
motivs, and a mere sketch of the
plot without musical examples of
such basic motives is worthless to
a meaningful comprehension of
the Wagner operas represented In
this volume.
In sum, then, I would advise
prospective purchasers of this book
to save their money for worthier
acquisitions: try Ernest Newman
for first-rate synopses of opera
plots, The Golden Horseshoe for
an excellent selection of period
photographs of legendary opera
singers and productions. The die-
hard opera enthusiast who insists





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