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January 19, 1975 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1975-01-19

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Sunday, January 19, 1975


7 . { .. ..

Sunday, Jan 19-8:00 p.m.
Michigan Room, Michigan League
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The problem with men is you can't live

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with 'em.
George Gilder. New York:
Quadrangle / The New York
Times Book Company, 180 pp.,
MEN, by Warren Farrell.
New York: Random House,
380 p., $10.
edited by Joseph H. Pleck and
Jack Sawyer. Englewood
Cliffs, New Jersey: Spectrum
Paperback - Prentice-Hall,
A NOVELIST, Larry McMur-
try, reviewed the current
crop of books on men's libera-
tion for the New York Times'
January 5 issue and said the
content could easily be put in
one third the space and save
everybody a lot of boredom. The
authors, all men, are too serious
with their fevered urgency and
self-pity. The books are sloppy
and the prose is bad. For these
reasons McMurtry salutes their
intentions and closes his review
just wishing their writing were
up to their message.
One book McMurtry missed
was the one edited by Joseph
Pleck and Jack Sawyer. If he
wanted humor he could have
found it here aplenty in the little
essay by Julius Lester. He's just

.s an you cant live with 'em
asked a girl to dance with him linity are not nearly so mirth-. 'ARREN FARRELL is a soc-
and: ful. Their intensity, seriousness, iologist whose book, The Lib-{
My penis, totally disobeying bordering on the tedious and erated Man, is based on his ex-
the lecture I'd given it before the repetitious, is a result of perience in setting up con-
we left home, was as rigid as the contributors being people off sciousness-raising groups across;
Governor W a 1 1 a c e 's jaw the street, all of them coming to the country. Where P 1 e c k
would be if I asked for his grips as b e s t they can and Sawyer compile a var-
daughter's hand in marriage. with changes in their lives and iety of c h a r a c t e r s who
God, how I envied girls at consciousness. These are auto- are primarily coming to terms
that moment. Wherever it was biographical essays describing with themselves, it is the genius
on them, it didn't dangle be- a motley array of men from all of Farrell's book to portray how
tween their legs like an ele- walks of life who had to come to social roles limit people's rela-'
phant's trunk. No wonder boys terms with the limited mascu- tionships with each other.
talked about nothing but sex. line roles they had been play-
That thing was always there. ing. Through them there's the Farrell is ultimately interest-1
Every time we went to the john, sense that society, American ed not in that amorphous, de-
there it was, twitching around society, expects them to go on personalized peopledom which
like a fat little worm on a fish- playing these constricting roles, may lead to a unisex modernis-
ing hook. When we took baths, and that finding alternatives is tic state, but in the truest ex-
it floated in the water like a a most arduous affair. So one pression of people's unque per-
lazy fish and God forbid we can forgive them their tedious- inAmesriadtociet se toses
should touch it! It sprang to ness and their "pedestrian qual- prnAmerican society stifle thoset
life like lightning leaping from ities." personalities, ad Farrell shows
a cloud. I wished I could cuthow to avoid these problems by
ait off, or at least keep it -tucked A curious thing in the Amer- first understanding them.
beween my legs, as if it wereican culture is the sense that George Gilder throws the!
a tail that had been mistaken- society iisial,.c os nmy'i wrench in the works. In his
ly attached to the wrong end. an artificial, constricting thing ew it is not just society that
But I was helpless. It was agat From th e svnteenth puts men in limiting predica-{
there, with a life and mind of Iagainst. From the seventeenth ments, but biology. His book,'
its own, having no other func- retuls an ceries f an Naked Nomads, is a successor
tion than to embarrass me. t rituals and ceremonies of an' ohserirSxa ucd,
tiontha to mbarassme. Old World, down to today, when to his earlier Sexual Suicide,'
Fortunately, the girls I danc- Americans can stay safe and and the mesage is the same.
ed with were discreet and pre- free in their individual auto- Men are what they are because.
tended that they felt nothing mobiles, it is a great natinal testosterone, the male h o r -'
unusual rubbing against the instinct to pursue happiness, al mone, makes them that way.
as we danced. But I was always iways with the constant susac-' Their only hope is that women;
convinced that the next day ion for paranoia) that society will somehow domesticate them,
they were all calling up their- all the customs, rituals, so they won't have to go on be-
friends to exclaim: "Guess ruieisiuinrls n ing hunters and competitors -;
what, girl? Julius Lester got routines, institutions, roles, andaked nomads in the streets of
one! I ain't lyin'!" relationships - is somehow America and in the bars, foot-
T[HE OTHER essays in Pleck chafing, constricting, and suf- ball stadiums, alleys, pris ms,
and Sawyer's Men and Mascu- focating. 'mental hospitals, gangs, auto'


wrecks, playboy clubs, r o c k
groups, and massage parlcrs.
Wh'>ere woman's touch (or womb)
is absent, men go amuck.
Gilder has the statistics to
prove his point: single m e n
need women.
S" ILDER'SPOINT is not sim-
7 ply that a woman's lap is
comfy, but that she already has
- in her womb, her sex, her
nature - a primary identity,
one that has evolved over hun-
dreds of thousands or millions
of animal years and given her
a sense that men do not and
cannot have without her. A
man's sex is crude and simple:
he has an erection and orgasm.
His emotional capacity may le
narrow and it may be great. A
woman's emotional capacity on _
the other hand, is tied to more
than the external sex organ that concerns Gilder. Through
men have, it's tied to powers this potential for procreation,
that are deep in them, powers this sense of consequences in
not cultivated by empathy but time, inalienably within ' e r
by their potential for procrea- body, deeply, permanently in
tion. her, y woman has something
This is the point at which lib- that counts, and that, for Gild-
erated women rebel, for who ecounts for something cruc-
should be tied down by their ial.
bodies, so completely 'umited, A man doesn't have this kind
identified, and enslaved? of connection into time; he soes
Gilder insists. ,f nntttm:e s

(jNE MAN OUT of a h'nd:ed,
can impregnate a hundred;
women; the other ninety-nine
men are all completely disnen-
sable, except in terms of what-
ever outside work they, find to1
do. And even the one man who
impregnated the women is d s-
nensable, for at the end of the
day (albeit a busy day) witn
his Inst ejaculatidon he _s trulyj
finished.sA women has the con-
s~equences. (Now is not the. time
to debate whether she also has<
the dishes and the diapers.) It's
this primarv sense of identi:y,
this sense of a place in time,

not have it so internally, so ex-
ternal it has to be. Gilder un-
derstands men's necessity and
drive for achievement in these
The private club, the family
business, the ethnic guild, the
church all contribute to the in-
tegration of man into a society
where connections and respon-
sibilities have sinew and blood,
memory and promise - in
which the man being attacked
in the street is a brother, a cou-
sin, a colleague, a parishioner,
a cohort, a member.
Those are the ideal connec-
tions for men. Naked Nomads,
however, is about a society,
American society, where men
are losing such domesticated
roles becaise, Gilder says, wo-
men are refusing to let men
relv on their own sexual na-
tures any more. So the men
are being driven, literally, into
the streets, where they become
roamini beasts. Americans are
going t6 become more nomadic,
Gilder says, so long as women
keep abandoning their sexual
ties and the chance that gives
men to settle down.

The 'golden age' in America:
Sweatshops and horse manure

-Peter Schieldahl Otto Bettmann. New York:
New York Times Random House, 207pp. $10.00
"Sometimes porno- hard-cover, $4.95 paper.
graphic, generally
subversive, but By CHARLES STORCH
always brilliant." ]?ED UP WITH stagflation, en-
-Martin Mitchell ergy crises, pollution, and the
After Dark trappings of modern life, Ameri-
"A SENSUAL cans have been only too happy
KEYSTONE COMEDY" to belittle the present by glorify-
-Pauline Kael ing the past. "Look at the
1930's," one of the disgruntled
might exclaim as he or she sized
Ss lirt"It's ambition, visiion and up the present woes, "Now, in
artistic courate make it more those days they knew how to
y W~~U I ~marvelous than anything we hoedytyknw owo
Si I "might have expected from have a Depression!"
that ill-fated form, the se- Combatting this slide into
auel!" -Paul D. Zimmerman, reminiscent reverie is Otto Bett-
Newsweek reiicnreeiisOtBt-
mann and his The Good Old
SATURDAY-SUNDAY AT 1:00-4:45-8:30 P.M. . T i
MONDAY AT 8:15 ONLY-RATED R Days-They Were Terrible.
-COME EARLY FOR GOOD SEATS Using the resources of the
41 -I-world's great picture libraries,
Bettmann amasses more than
300 engravings, cartoons and
photographs to prove that ifto
day's is not the best of all pos-
sible worlds, it certainly isn't
the worst.
This savvy Pangloss focuses
"uion the period from the end of
"A worthy successor to it's predecessor!" the Civil War to the early 1900s,
-Richard Schickel, Time Maciazine America's so-called Gilded Age,
and finds that for most of the

population, it was a horrible i
era. "In most of our nostalgia i
hnc" wip ptmn h

to cross again," writes Bett-


oo s, wrtes xettmann tne
period's dirty business is swept Housing conditions were i
under the carpet of oblivion, wteneents lap eadeqa
What emerges is a glowig pic- plumbing or ventilation. M
ture of the past, of blue-skied and women labored in swe
meadows where children play shops and children workedi
and millionaires sip tea." mills and factories for slay
wages. Criminals and stre
W7HAT EMERGES from Bett- gangs roamed the streets, u
mann's pictures and text is bothered by the inept and co
I a description of a living hell in ruption-ridden police. forces
both the cities and the country- the era. City life was so mise
side. In the cities, the air is able, Bettmann says, that th
filled with smoke and the streets only comforting thought w
caked with animal wastes and that conditions were general
slops from the clogged sewers. worse in the country.
Pigs r o a m e d through many
large cities in the 1860s, and "URAL LIFE WAS far fro
I they were tolerated because they idyllic. In the towns, th
ate away at the garbage piled streets were filled with a yellov
high on sidewalks. brown ooze contributed by th
The pigs' only competition as horses and cattle, which mad
chief poisoner of the air were the air that of a m a la r i a
the horses that pulled the car- I swamp. On the farms, we
riages, trucks and t r o ll e y s. water was never pure, sinc
Those who yearn for the horse- wells were dug close to barn
and-buggy days, says Bettmann, In the summer, insects wer
forget what the horse dropped everywhere; in winter, settler
and the buggy spread. locked themselves indoors, slow
ly choking to death on the a.
Streetcars and trucks clut- from the smoky stove. Th
tered the streets to create traf- greatest drawback to rural lif
fic jams unrivalled by those of Bettmann holds, was the isola
our time. Crossing the street tion and the mind-dulling lac
was such a dangerous and tricky ' of intellectual stimulation tha
undertaking, that, according to drove many settlers insane:
Bettmann, pedestrians had to It is no wonder that Bettman
lay out a plan of attack. "His-I
tory tells us how Moses crossed finds the present a more sati
the Sinai Desert with his people fying period than the Gilde
and that Caesar crossed the Ru- Age. Bettmann's good-nature
bicon with his men. But the polemic, however, does not at
pedestrian . . . of yesterday's te ' t to abuse the ast as muc
urban America is unremem- ptempt to p cthnpsta mu
bered. There was simply no as it attempts to place nostalgi
glory in it, only the uncertain in proper perspective. The Goo
knowledge that he would have Old Days is a "missionary'

in kFIT'S A LONG standing debate
ve in American culture as to
et who abandoned what first. D. H.
'n- Laurence says Americans are
simply those Europeans w h o
of couldn't deal with the sensual-
'r- ity of the renaissance and came
he to the New World where they
as a could go on putting on one dis-
ly guise after another - always
knowing in their hearts that
their society was a sham. Wil-
m s " liam Carlos Williams says that
e Americans are basically incap-
w- .. able of dealing W ) the l i f e
he force in any of its ways; they
e he good old days? try to defy it and are blown,
d1 or flee, across the North Amer-
ican continent like shriveled
-e book,"a personal attempt to The great strength of the book seeds. Henry Adams was per-
s. redeem our times from the as- is naturally the collection of pic- haps the greatest chronicler of
e persions cast upon them by nos- tures gleaned from the Bett- all of how Americans have al-
rs talgic comparisons," Bettmann mann Archive. Bettmann has ! ways refused to deal with the
- writes. selected pictures so appropriate implications of sex and the life
ir . that they often make the text force and how the men married
ie Bettmann's purpose is achievissuperfluous. When Bettmarn's machinery. Adams ended up .go-
e, ed -the evidence presented is words begin to drag, there are ing back and forth across the
a-overwhelming - but somewhat always his pictures to buoy .he ocean to Chartres cathedral
k at the expense of his readers. book and make it, on balance, a where he could imagine what
t Bettmann writes with flair and rather enjoyable casual his- it was like in the twelfth cen-
charm and he manages just the tory. I tury when women domesticated
right combination of anecdote I man with the Church.
n and detail; however his presen- Without doubt, Bettmann's The m
s- tation is repetitious and tedious. Good Old Days will allow future, Joseph Pleck, Jack Sawyer,
d The book is broken up into one- nostalgia buffs to cluck: "Look Warren Farrell, and G e o r g e
d and two-page sections of text at the 1970s. Now, in those days, Gilder are all more interested
- and pictures, and this lack of they really knew how to put to- in real American society than
variation in length soon wears gether a picture-book!" the beautiful world of imagina-
h thin. After the first 20 pages the tion that Henry Adams created
a book becomes very predictable C/.arles Stor h recently re- for himself. There are political
d and this tends to mar the in- reited a masters degree in jour- solutions and personal solutions
triguing premise. nalism. -I- if you can call them that. But
then, Americans have been
trying to change their society
(and everyone else's). since
American time began. Maybe
Have a few extra moments I the endemic sense that society
is bad means that somehow the
during the day? Need connection is bad between the
personal lives of Americans and
something to occupy your mind customs, values, and social roles
which are outgrowths of per-
sonal lives. Maybe the authors
of these books on men's libera-
THEN, tuck a copy of tion are trying to refine our
sense of what society is and
... what we are. Maybe as Amer-
icans we will alwaysdhopeless-
ly divide the two, and so what
used to be called the battle of
Crossword Puzzle the sexes will be seen as but
another sideshow in the Ameri-
under your arm. can scene.
Phil Balla is a graduate stu-
dent in American Studies.
mediatrics presents


20th CENTURY-FOX and
prodtuction o! AY
Pro~jred by IRWIN ALLEN "0Dreced by PO*0NN01MIAMIN
l"W ed -00 nveJIMpu741W." by RICH4ARWMAR1W4 $VW4 aOW

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