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November 04, 1973 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1973-11-04

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Page Four


Sunday, November 4, 1973




After Panthermania:
Revising stereotypes

Recalling Kent State:
Nightmarish injustice


Kempton. E. P. Dutton Co., New
York; 282 pages, $7.95.
Michael J. Arlen. Doubleday &
Co., New York; 196 pages, $6.95.
THE BLACK Panthers always
had the stuff of myths about
them. Their exploits were
thought to be more terrible, their
tactics more vicious, and their
numbers larger than they ever
could have been. Against the
idea, or better, the spectre, of
the Black Panthers, their actual-
ity could never be balanced.
Since that spring day in 1967
when 30 Panthers marched into
the California State Bapitol bran-
dishing guns and rifles, a spate of
books have appeared to add to
Every Monday night.
thru Monday, Dec. 10th
Is your husband hypnotized by
the TV escapades of the LIONS,
Dolphins, etc.? Fly the coop! We
welcome "football widows" with
special low admission prices and
oil the popcorn you can eat for
all Football
widows admitted
FOR $1.
of "widows"
and attend these
Butterfield Theatres

their myth-like proportions. Only
in the past year or so have more
"revisionists" authors attempt-
ed to put the Panther phenome-
non in perspective, to show them
as less the rampaging menace
and more the endangered spec-
ies. Two such books are Murray
Kempton's The Briar Patch, and
Michael Arlen's An American
The Briar Patch - a title,
Murray Kempton tells us, inspir-
ed by the Uncle Remus stories -
reappraises the Panther 21, the 21
New York blacks indicted for
dynamiting four police stations
and for planning a series of de-
partment store bombings. 19 of
them were arrested, and 13 were
tried and eventually acquitted
two years later. Kempton deals
with the arrest and detention of
the accused, but his promary
focus is the courtroom.
H ERE, we must assume,
Kempton takes the nod from
Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler
Harris' plantation slave-cum-
fabulist. His intent is not to paint
the trial as a great social drama,
filled with ringing indictments
against the system at large, but
as an intensely human predica-
ment, an illegitimate community
being torn apart by its irreconcil-
able personalities and types. The
characters - the defendants, the
judge, the prosecutor, defense
counsel, and the jury - are fig-
ures locked into a pattern of be-
havior dictated by their court-
room roles. They are like Uncle
Remus' "creeturs" in the briar
patch, animals whose outward
shape is an intrinsic determin-
ant of their thoughts and actions.
Brer Rabbit is swift and re-
sourceful and thus a logical trick-
ster, a conniver able to triumph
over more physically overpower-
ing but lumbering animals such
as Brer Lion and Mr. Bear. The

Arlen Kempton

Panthers, in turn, are logical
Brer Rabbits, "all de time a-pes-
terin' de yuther creeturs, pullin'
der tails an' runnin' off," and
begging reprisals from the bear-
like police and courts.
Kempton's attitude is like Re-
mus', kind, benevolent, and un-
derstanding. He observes the fa-
tal flaws in all his characters,
but reserves chastizing any. He
simply accepts them for what
they must be.
ABOVE ALL, these are crea-
tures of rhetoric - their lan-
guage is as constricting and de-
fining as the briar patch's dia-
lects. The self-professed revolu-
tionaries are particularly caught
between their speech and their
action. Of defendant Richard
Moore, Kempton says: "The
street was his prison, and jail,
dreadful though "it was, almost
the only place where he could
live free . of the difference be-
tween what he said and what he
did, and certainly the only one
where he could feel himself the
authentic possessor of the moral
superiority of the suppressed."
The fact of the matter is that
these Panthers are cautious re-
volutionaries, and the charges
against them seem so momentous
compared to their capacity to
commit such crimes that it is al-
mostembarrassing. For Richard.
Moore, "it would be better for
his pride if the defendants would
all confess to having done what
they had done rather than let
everyone see that they had done
so little and, then, their reputa-
tion for badness restored, try to
persuade the jury that it was a
fine thing for them to have done
what they had not done."
As Kempton sees it, the Pan-
thers do not win their case, the
prosecutor loses it. The jury
does not decide on the guilt or'
innocence of the accused, but
critiques the spectacle before it.
The jury is likened to delegates
at a political convention, who
come uncommitted ready to be
swayed to the side of the more
appealing candidate. As the
prosecuting attorney becomes too
overbearing and ill-tempered and
as the judges condones his re-
marks, the jury must rule for the
accused. There is no justice in
Kempton's courtroom, only a
crudetsense of propriety and eti-
J USTICE does not seem to be at
issue either in the Chicago
courtrooms of An American Ver-
dict. The verdict in the trial of

Cook County State's Attorney Ed-
ward Hanrahan and 12 police-
men, charged with conspiracy to
obstruct justice, is a foregone
conclusion - Michael Arlen re-
cognizes that the victims of May-
oor Daley's city are never so no-
table or visible. Shadowy figures
like the Panthers are better sac-
rificed for Chicago's well-being.
In 1968, Hanrahan and the po-
lice felt secure enough from the
pressures of organized crime to
institute a "war on gangs," and
while the Panthers never num-
bered more than 30, they quickly
became the focus of the crack-
down. The culmination of the
campaign was a December, 1969,
early morning raid on an apart-
ment, at which two Panthers -
Fred Hampton and Matt Clark
- were killed, four wounded, and
three jailed-the seven survivors
charged with attempted murder,
armed violence, and unlawful
possession of guns. While the po-
lice and the State's Attorney
painted a scene of policemen
fighting and firing for their lives,
subsequent evidence soon de-
stroyed the case against the Pan-
thers: of 99 shots fired in the
apartment, only one was fired
by a Panther. Fred Hampton
died asleep in his bed, possibly
drugged the night before by a
police undercover agent.
That Hanrahan and the police
are cleared of all charges does
not surprise Arlen. The time is
(Continued on Page 5)

by Peter Davies and the Board
of Church and Society of the
United Methodist Church. Far-
rar Struas & Giroux, New York;
241 pages, $3.95 (all royalties will
be devoted to, continuing quest
for justice at Kent State).
T IS THE photos that tell the
story of Kent State best. In
broad, incontrovertible strokes
they evoke the nightmare of sold-
iers with gas masks and bay-
onets stalking bewildered s t u -
dents over rolling Midwestern
hills. They show clearly how
guardsmen "huddled" and then
turned and killed students hund-
reds of feet away, even though
they were not in danger.
If there is a conscience left
in us, the sight of students lying
in pools of their own blood will
make us sick with revulsion once
Conscience is what Peter Dav-
ies's book is all about. To make
us outraged over an event that
happened May 4, 1970, and make
us demand that the slew of in-
justices it represents be resolv-
ed. "Not because such an in-
quiry would restore life to the
dead," Davies explains, "b u t
because we live by laws that no
guardsman is above and no stu-
dent below."
Drawing primarily from prev-
ious books, articles, and photos
on Kent State, Davies has put
together a classic appeal in the
stirring tradition of Zola's "J'Ac-
cuse." To his credit, his meticul-
ous research is comprehensive.
It encompasses the cluster of in-
justices that Kent State h a s
come to mean.
NOT ONLY the actual shooting,
but what he calls the "real
tragedy," the failure of the Nix-
on Administration to resolve the
disturbing partial answers in-
volved in the case and dispense

justice. Moreover, he has elo-
quently couched the incident ;n
its larger context, a context
which remains painfully rele-
vant today.
Davies' view of the actual
shootings has been hinted at in
other sources. Based primarily
on findings 'of an extensive FBI
investigation of the tragedy,
Davies believes that the shoot-
ings did not represent an indis-
criminate action on the part of
frightened soldiers threatened
with bodily harm - as the of-
ficialdom would have us believe
- but rather "a . premeditated
barrage by about ten experienc-
ed, riot-trained guardsmen, with
the remaining troops firing in re-
The pictures clearly indicate
that there is no menacing mob,
no reason therefore for the thir-
teen second fusillade that 1 e f t
four dead, nine wounded. In ad-
dition, the FBI found that at
least two guardsmen lied about
shooting, and that the self-de-
fense alibi probably was fabri-
cated after the fact. Davies'
theory then remains extremely
The second tragedy of Kent
State began as soon as the first
left off. The Nixon administra-
tion has adamantly refused to
convene a grand jury to probe
the incident despite overwhelm-
ing evidence that students' con-
stitutional rights were trampled.
MORE THAN A year after the
Kent State shootings Atty.
Gen. John Mitchell finally re-
sponded to appeals from Davies
and the parents of the d e a d
students. Mitchell said that there
was no reason for the Justice
Dept. to reopen the case. His con-
clusion flew in the face of the
report of the President's Com-
mission on Campus unrest, which
labeled the shootings "unneces-
sary, unwarranted, and inexcus-
Instead of a full investigatioo,

a grand jury in Ohio was con-
vened to vindicate the powers-
that-be. One of the prosecutor
charged with presenting evi-
dence epitomized the tone of that
probe. The guardsmen "should
have shot all of the troublemak-
ers," he said.
THE GRAVEST of all the as-
pects of Kent State, how-
ever, was the atmosphere t h a t
made the killings possible, if not
inevitable: a fire fierce anti-
student popular feeling, fuek d
by the get-tough rhetoric of pub-
lic and military officials.
STUDENTS were killed a n d
wounded, as Davies recounts,
because of the staggeringly cal-
lous and irresponsible behavior
of people who could have re-es-
tablished control at Kent State.
From Ohio Gov. James Rho-
es, who called protestors "the
worst type of people we harbor
in America", to.Kent State Pres.
Robert White, who said "events
have taken decisions out of our
hands," the authorities consist-
ently abdicated responsibilily in
the interest of political exped-
WHY WORRY about Kent State
if the cluster of injustices
it represents seem so insoluble?
For the answer, we must look
to the genesis of Davies' own
After the Kent State shootings,
Davies, an insurance broker,
wrote a letter expressing con-
cern that justice be met at Kent
State to President Nixon and a
copy to Arthur Krause, father


of one of the dead students.
When Krause called to thank him
for the letter, it "sealed my
commitment to ensure that jus-
tice was done in this cruel and
senseless act."
This reference is particularly
haunting to me, for two years
ago I also talked to Arthur
Krause. I worked for Jack An-
dersdn briefly during the sum-
mer of 1972, and Krause called
to ask for his help in carrying
on his battle for justice. An-
derson, however, did not have
the staff nor the will to take on
such an investigation.
What should be clear after
reading Davies' book is that
fighting the injustices of Kent
State requires a continuing com-
mitment. There is no final vic-
But the cause of salvaging our
humanity is a worthy lifelong
ambition. We certainly have no-
thing to lose.
THIS MEANS a continual
"quest for justice," as
Davies puts it. It means dedi-
cating owrselves - as he has
to reinstituting morality where-
ever callous rhetoric makes hu-
man life banal.
"There is . . . no end to this
book," Davies concludes, "be-
cause the struggle for justice in
a free society never ends.'
Ted Stein, who has spent the
last two swmmers in Washington
woth.ing as a reporter, is Execu-
tive Editor of The Daily.

,, I

The following Russian performers are official repre-
sentatives of the Soviet Union under the Cultural
Exchange Program. They are here to demonstrate
to us the culture of their society. We picket to bring
to light the other facets of the Soviet Regime--the
cruel denial of freedom to their Jewish citizens. Our.
Soviet Jewish brethren demand the right to emi-
grate to Israel. We must support that demand here
in Ann Arbor!!
SATURDAY, NOV. 3-8:30-Leningrad Philharmonic
SUNDAY, NOV. 4-2:30-Hill Auditorium



Ego and Objectivity: Perusing
frailties of the campaign press

Crouse. New York: Random
House; 383 pages, $7.95.
brilliant and graphic book on
the '72 campaign came out, per-
haps no one was more surorised
at the terrific response it elicited,
particularly from the establish-
ment press, than its author:
"I've seen in some of the ad
copy for this book that "only
Hunter Thompson could forge
such an astounding b r e a k-
through in political realism."
Which is ludicrous b - - - - -, be-
cause anybody could do it - and
the reasons why they don't still
puzzle me."
Well Thompson can stop puz-
zling, because his colleague Tim
Crouse has just written The Boys
on the Bus and provided some of
the answers. Crouse is a Rolling
Stone reporter who was assigned

to the '72 campaign to "write
serious backup pieces, keep
Thompson out of trouble, and
carry the bail bond money." That
assignment being a near impos-
sibility, Crouse instead spent his
time interviewing and observing
the press, a project out of which
this book emerged.
GROUSE'S portrait is a wander-
ing one, at once richly an-
tecdotal, multi - dimensional and
filled to the brim with media
gossip. His greatest success is
that he manages to put in per-
spective two crucial phenomena
which contributed to the press'
failures: reporters' inflated egos
(often masking massive insecur-
ity) and their near obsessional
emphasis on objectivity, even at
the expense of truth.
Ego - and its attendant frail-
ties - is a sensitive area for
journalists, many of whom sur-
vive on daily bylines the way
others do on food. Sadly, ego can
create problems both in the serv-

A_ d ie Vtverdi t.th trial o.
TM What is it?
How can it help you?
Find out by coming to CENTICORE
to meet
& R
1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
TvTUES., Nov. 6
Following his lecture at the Ann Arbor Public Library

ice of its protection and in the
need to flaunt it. As Crouse puts
it, "They (journalists) often work
as a herd when they should act as
individuals, and they claim their
right to perform as individuals
when they should close ranks and
act as a group."
tors not to deviate from the
line of their major colleague's as-
sessments, reporters often end up
collaborating on stories. One of
the worst results in that one
man's thinking - repeated in 100
stories, may begin to build often
unwarranted momentum. Per-
haps the most flagrant example
of that is the entire press corps
near complete miscalculation
about Muskie's weakness and Mc-
Govern's eventual strength.
A symptom of the same prob-
lem is that reporters often spend
more time handicapping the can-
didates than probing their stands
on issues. Predictions rarry the
prestige (particularly if they're
right); the reporter who probes
issues is somehow too much the
academic. In the '72 campaign,
one related result was that Mc-
Govern's stands were virtually
ignored until California. At, that
point - and Crouse suggests it
was an overreaction from guilt-
the press pounced on McGovern,
probing his every inconsistency
in a far more in-depth fashion
than they ever did Nixon.
EGO WORKS in yet another
way. Reporters covering can-
didates refuse to get together
even in minor ways - such as
following up probing questions at
news conferences. The reporter's
nearly inevitable attraction to the
power and prestige of those he
covers often further vitiates his
effectiveness. Crouse character-
izes this bluntly: "There was a
pathetic aura of pride, a sense
that they were taking part in the
colossal moments of history"-
when in fact "they were journal-

Left to right, some of the Press Wizards as they were: Robert
Boyd of Knight and the Detroit Free Press; Adam Clymer of
the Baltimore Sun; Fred Dutton, a McGovern aide (back to
camera); Bill Greider of the Washington Post; and Richard
Dougherty, McGovern's then-press secretary.

for Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's production of

Nov. 4

7-10 p.m,

sign in PROMPTLY at 7 p.m.
Bring music and be prepared to sing
Nov. 5 & 6-7-10 p.m. Readings.
Music auditions on Nov. 4th only.
All interested persons must come
on Nov. 4th at 7 p.m. PROMPTLY
AACT Building-201 Mulholland Dr.
e RAT T -N.Y. Daily News
"Creates an CATEGORY!" -Richard Schickel,
Intimacy Time Magazine
That Few
_ David Black,
Crowdoddy the
:;, .ym

istic Prufrocks and they mea-
sured their lives in handouts.
Deferential, glad to be of
use ..."
Objectivity was another source
of failure. Richard Nixon, for in-
stance, became a master at ma-
nipulating the paranoia the press
always felt about the fact that
they might have somewhere giv-
en him a bum deal. In, addition,
since most of them had politics
far to the left of Nixon, they felt
doubly cautious about being ob-
jective. One result, in 1968, was
that Nixon "could refuse to come
to terms with the major issues of
the day for nine straight months
without risking a mutiny from
the press for nine straight
months without risking a mutiny
from the press. By 1972, Hunter
Thompson could accurately note:
"Jesus, Ziegler treats them like
garbagemen and they just take
site style is instructive. He

didn't feel bound to an objec-
tivity defined as "reporting what
the candidate says", and instead
followed Brit Hume's dictum:
"The press shouldn't try to be
objective. They should try to be
honest." Thompson could, in good
conscience, call 'em as he saw
'em: Humphrey a ruthless oppor-
tunist, Nixon an isolated, amoral
power monger.
The message is clear: the cam-
paign press should trust its in-
stincts and intelligence. The
public will be far better off if a
candidate's real person is dis-
tilled and reported - instead of
the candidate's own self-serving
The Boys on the Bus is a gra-
phic and rewarding a picture of
the press as Thompson's book
was of the campaign. Its' only
real fault is a tendency to use
portraits and antecdotes to make
important statements and to
reach conclusions. Although this
technique is valuable when it
gives dimension to otherwise dry
points, Crouse occasionally em-
ploys it thoughtlessly, dropping
vicious pieces of gossip to no ap-
parent end. More important, the
book, like an increasing number
of a new-journalism vintage,
treats its thesis too loosely and
msystematically. The reader is
left to make his own sense of it,
while Crouses's proposed solu-

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