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September 30, 1973 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1973-09-30

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Page Four

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, September 30, 19 13

Page Four THE MICHIGAN DAILY Sunday, September 30, 19/3

"THIS IS AN ARTIST'S USE OF ANIMATION TO THE Nth
POWER, EXPRESSING SOCIAL VIEWPOINT. BAKSHI MOLDS
ANIMATION TO NEW HEIGHTS OF SOCIAL COMMENT."
- William Wolf, Cue Magazine

SHOW TIMES 7, 8:20, 9:40
Spend a cheap afternoon with Woody Allen"
Two of his biggest hits: BANANAS, WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT
I SHOW AT 3 P.M. SEPARATE LOW ADMISSION

Joe
BO SCHEMBECHLER: MAN IN
MOTION By Joe Falls; School
Tech Press; Ann Arbor, 2S2
pages; $6.95.
By DAN BORUS
THB OBJECT of the game is
simple. The field of play is well
defined. And yet because football
is a game played by men, it is in-
deed complicated.
Football is an American phe-
nomenon well worth watching,
not only because of its effect on
the watchers (documented both
in popular and scholarly jour-
nals), but also because of its ef-
fect on those who live and play
the game.
One* day Joe Falls, Detroit
Free Press Sports Editor and
master of the simple - sentence
simple - minded paragraph, de-
cided that Bo Schembechler,
Michigan football coach, played
boring football, and that anybody
who plays boring football de-
serves a book. Falls decided to
write it. Obvious logic.
UNFORTUNATELY,
sports books are notoriously sap-
py. The prose is generally on the
third grade level, conspicuously
void of probing thoughts or any
polysyllabic w o r d s. Football
books, in particular, deal with
one of two themes: a) how Joe
Football, after overcoming crip-
pling injury or disappointment,
scores touchdown after touch-
down in the Big Game or; b) why
the discipline of the game is a
good guide to life.
Falls' book plays down these
faults, although the. chapter on
discipline, which Schembechler
himself admits he doesn't like,
is typical football book drivel.
Instead, Falls substitutes bank-
ruptcy of style and organization,
Instead of a book about the
engineer of the 'Greatest Upset
of the Century', we get the same

Falls
non-sequitars that dot Falls' daily
newspaper column. Rather than
beaningful insights and analyses
we get Falls' columns reprinted,
and in the most distracting places
in the text. Sometimes the re-
prints have absolutely nothing to
do with the accompanying narra-
tive.
COHERENCY is curiously ab-
sent as Falls jumps from subject
to subject without a thread to tie
it all together.

tackles
Dennis Franklin wants to pass on the p
the ball just a little more than ler com
he does; and that Bo Schembech- Unlikea
ler once wanted to pitch for the Falls, w
Cleveland Indians. The reader ing's ve
does not, learn from where Bo mixes a
got his name. But small matter. with al
Part of Falls' problem is that that do
Schembechler comes off much underste
better in person than he appears the boo
in print - the lambasting he took any exh
in this paper's editorial page what fo
yesterday notwithstanding. In live and
person, he is a lively, spirited If Fal
man willing to talk intensely and for his
incessently about football. have wo
IN FALLS' bungling hands and the ann

Bo:

printed page, Schembech-
es off as flighty and trite.
a competent ghost writer,
xho must be sports writ-
ersion of Norman Mailer,
dvertisements for himself
portrait of Schembechler
esn't begin to approach
anding. Needless to say,
k does little to answer
austive questions about
otball means to those who
work at it.
lls had a greater feeling
subject, the book would
irked. But Falls admits in
oying little notes he heaps

No,
upon the reader, that he didn't
like the chapters about Bo's life
outside football. Attempts to pic-
ture a total man are lost behind
comments like, "Football is his
whole life" and "He is the most
single minded person . .."
AS A RESULT we have in Man
in Motion; not a contribution to
our knowledge like Jim Bouton's
Ball Four, but a distracting ban-
tering - albeit a good natured
one - between Falls and his sub-
ject. The crucial element of trust
between the two is missing en-
tirely.

A tour of contemporary hell:

gain
Schembechler himself was less
than pleased with the final re-
sults. Asked at a recent press
luncheon what he thought about
the book, Schembechler quickly
retorted, "No comment." As-
tonished sportswriters quickly
looked into their salads and
Schembechler, with an impish
grin on his face, added, "How do
you like them apples?"
Not too well, Bo. Not too well.
Dan Bonus is Sports Editor of
the Daily, and a long-time Bo-
watcher.

Subscribe to The Daily-Phone 764-0558

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Schembechler

Despite its drawbacks the book
will certainly be informative and
entertaining to Maize and Blue
Fans. It tells a bundle about the
Michigan football-program. The
reader learns that Wayne Wood-
row Hayes is a lousy handball
player but a great grammarian
("If I were he", Woody corrects
an assistant coach); that defen-
sive tackle Pete Newell never
failed to make the weekly honor
roll of athletic achievement in
the 1969 and 1970 seasons; that

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Fine,
THE SUNLIGHT DIALOGUES
by John Gardner; Alfred Knopf,
New York; 673 pages, $8.95.
By JOCK HENDERSON
The Sunlight Dialogues guides
the reader through such a fine
and funky tour of our absolutely
contemporary hell that I hardly
know- how and where to begin
without lying. So, lie I shall.
Here is the first lie which
comes to mind. If by some
chance you favor profundity, I
might discuss the historical sig-
nificance of The Parable of the
Cave and the Idea of the Good in
Plato's Republic. I might labor
like the.female of some primate
species while giving birth to such
stillborn remarks: "Like all hu-
the cave is two-faced, its first
and theoretical face that of book/
writing as a mode of conception
or imagination, its second and
practical face that of book/writ-
ing as a tool of technology or
action."
In theory, the first face leads
the philosopher/writer upwards
to the Idea of the Good. Plato's
experience while writing moves
the philosopher out of the belly
and up to the mouth of the cave
into the sunlight. Note however
that Platotsits on his practical
ass while the theoretical philoso-
pher claims to. have seen the
light.
IN PRACTICE, the second face
prefigures the subsequent course
of human history. The technician
and the man of action (scient-
ists, leaders, bureaucrats, entre-
preneurs, functionaries, e t c.)
strive in blind practice towards
the sunlight at the mouth of the
cave, theoretical ass backwards
no less. The Idea of the Good and
the Ascent to Sunlight are per-
fectly analogous to Hegel's Abso-
lute Spirit and Marx's Revolution
into Classless Society, except that
Marx has come to grips with the
second and practical face of our
Parable. On the theoretical side,
Book VII of the Republic follows

unk
from Book VI just as surely as
on the practical side, Karl Marx
follows Hegel.
Gee! There is onl.v one catch.
A Big One. Marx perceived the
practical side of human history
through the theoretical side and
saw correctly that Capitalism
was a self-annihilating monster.
His solution to the problem was
dictated by the internal neces-
sity of the concrete historical and
material practice of the human
speecies. Ahh . . . the catch
emerges. Hidden behind his solu-
tion was The Idea of the Good.
He believed, on faith, that some
solution was possible. We know,
better now. The dictatorship of
the proletariat is the dictatorship
of nature over man; the self-"
annihilation of c a p i t a 1i s m is
merely the partial form of the
self-annihilation of the human
species. So if your absolutely
contemporary life is fucked up,
just remember that the, times
are out of joint.
Q: What is the absolutely con-
temporary significance of the
sunlight at the mouth of the
cave?

mise on which to base a second
lie. Catalogue. TIME & PLACE:
A convincingly realistic, Batavia,
New York. 1966. MAJOR CHAR-
ACTERS: Hon. Arthur Hodge
Sr., onetime U.S. Congressman,
deceased. His S children, 1 wo-
map and 4 men, aged between
40 and 50 in 1966. Also, their
spouses, in-laws and children.
Fred Clumly. (b. 1902), Police
Chief of Batavia, N.Y. Esther

and

modes t

A: Intercontinental ballistic
phalluses will introduce the new
order of things. The nuclear or-
gasms which release the sperm-
load will shine like billions of
suns on the fact of the earth."
PHEW! I FEAR the labor of
profundity comes off like a cae-
sarian section with no anaesthe-
sia. I would like to say, "So
much for sunlight" now, were it
not all too likely that my morbid
sensibility has warped your per-
ception -of Gardner's book. So
make a note: in contrast to my
heavy-handed treatment of sun-
light; the ominous and prophetic
meanings of his book are quietly,
modestly presented, so unob-
trusively in fact, that you will be
able to ignore them if you have
a well-cultivated knack for ig-
norance.
But we are in the middle of a
book review, right? A good pre-

r.

Clumly, his blind wife. The Sun-
light Man, a lunatic magician.
Two Indians paroled out to mem-
bers of the H o d g e family.
BROAD LINESHOF PLOT: The
two Indians are arrested in con-
nection with the death of a wo-
man; The Sunlight Man (SM) is
arrested for painting 'LOVE' on
the taxpayers' streets. One In-
dian 'and SM escape, killing the
guard by accident and eventual-
ly killing a couple of others, also
by accident. Police Chief Clumly
masters a major effort to bring
the fugitives to justice. MAJOR
THEMES: The Death of the
Family, the Individual, Society,
Absolutes, Vocation, etc. MAJOR
TERMINAL LOCATIONS: The
Police Station, various House-
holds.
ALL- THESE TIDBITS merely
further this egregious fit of lies
as I also- begin to recognize why
no one would pay me to review
books, indeed to do anything
whatsoever. Like facts without
value, a universe of discourse
without humans, the above cat-
alogue -omits the whole experi-
ence of reading The Sunlight
Dialogues. Why it would even be
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possible to construct a terrible
novel which included all elements
of the catalogue?
This second lie screams im-
peratively for a third. Why
don't I express -my impressions,
my immediate experience of
reading, of the rhythms, colors,
textures, equilibriums, major de-
signs and devices of Gardner's
stylistic performance and of his
dramatically rendered meanings?
Gardner maintains a conven-
tional order with respect to the
larger unities of time, place, plot
sequence, _and character (with
one exception: The S u n 1i g h t
Man). There are no -eccentric in-
congruities, no abrupt disloca-
tions. The conventional plot reso-
lution and surface order function
in contrast .to the chaos which
accretes and expands in the
background. K e e p i n g in mind
that the social milieu of the
novel has been the, family, The
Sunlight Dialogues destroys an
effigy of wisdom, of ritual and
spiritual knowledge, by disinte-
grating its main characters' lives
and families.
THE EXHAUSTIVE portrayal
of the conflicts of a private, non-
conformist family-in opposition
to public institutions and voca-
tions is complemented by the
structural device of The Sunlight
Man, who conducts articulate,
probing, y e t slapstick Socratic
dialogues on social organization
and history. His straight man is
none other than his friend and
enemy, Chief Clumly, the best
captive audience a true dialec-
tician ever had. SM turns out to
be the youngest, unliuckiest, and
most talented of the five Hodge
children. With this two - sided
character, Gardner's o v e r a 11
strategy interrogates simultan-
eously the mystery of self, the
joints and details of society, the
genesis and course of history.
BY LOCATING himself in the
eye-center of a historical situa-
tion which cannot hold, by means
of an all-too-ordered plot which
runs down into chaos, just as in-
creasing law and order distinte-
grate human society into chaos,
Gardner opens room for himself
to demonstrate his mastery of
narrative equilibrium between
character and event, individual
and society, plot and narrative,
man and nature, light and dark,
order and anarchy.
Apropos of our basic dictum,
"all book reviews are lies," my
availaple space has disappeared.
But this truth remains I believe:
John Gardner's novel, The Sun-
light Dialogues is a grim, funny,
sometimes h a u n t i n g lament
which stands well with major
books of the-human race.
Jock Henderson is an Ann Ar-
bor writer who can often be found
play ng basketball on the courts by
East Quad.

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