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April 14, 1974 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-04-14

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THE MICHIGAN DAIL'Y'

Sunday, April 14, 1974 '

BOOKS

America's folklore: Legends
provide living link to the past

America, of course, often empha-
sizes sexual prowess in males.
Just as values change through
the ages, so does the folklore that
illustrates them. Dorson divides
American folklore into four his-
torical periods: "Colonial Period:
The Religious Impulse," "Early
National Period: The Democratic
Impulse," "Later National Per-
iod: The Economic Impulse,"
and "Contemporary Period: The
Human Impulse."
Through each section, Dorson
successfully surveys the histori-
cal milieu that spurs folklore
and faithfully adheres to a
scholarly conception of what
"folklore" means. Difficult to
rigidly define, "folklore" gener-
ally encompasses a wide variety
of folk narratives, songs, pro-
verbs, riddles, folk speech, folk
festivals, traditional games, and
beliefs which are circulated by
oral tradition.
Furthermore, as D o r s o n
shows, folklore arises within a
group of people, large or small,
who share traditions unknown
to outsiders. In Dorson's "Co-
lonial Period," for instance, the
Puritans of the Massachusetts
Bay Colony formed a folk group
and thus shared a body of folk-
lore.
Although indigenous American
folklore did not appear until the
eighteenth century, the Puritans
embraced folk beliefs of their
homeland-including providences,
sectors, and witchcrafts. Dorson
examines the colony's supersti-
tions and subsequent treatment
of "witches" in light of the peo-
ple's ardently religious charac-
ter. Their religion was inextric-
ably tied to politics; witches
were seen as subversives seek-
ing to overthrow the Puritan
state.
TH THE American Revolu-
tion, says Dorson, came the
development of our own national
f o l k l o r e, highlighted by folk
heroes who embody the spirit of
frontier conquest and populist
democracy. Along with Crockett
and Mike Fink, Dorson presents
Mose the Bowery b'hoy to show
that folklore exists in the city as
as well as the backwoods.
Folklore 6f the Later National
Period - post-industrial revolu-
tion-mirrored the nation's new-
ly important occupations. Like
the Puritans and various religi-
ous groups, workers in occupa-
tions made up folk groups with
t h e i r own esoteric traditions.
Dorson delivers an especially
colorful treatment of miners, in-
cluding a folkloric look at the
s e c r e t i v e Molly McGuires, a
"lurid" chapter in coal mining
history.
Naturally, these occupational

folk groups not only shared an
esoteric folklore; they also in-
spired esoteric folk traditions-
those snapped up by the outside
public. Paul Bunyau is an eso-
teric "folk" hero par excellence.
Though Bunyan's origin can
probably be traced to oral tradi-
tion among lumber camps, the
mass media, according to Dor-
son, made the lumberjack what
he is today. In fact, the Detroit
News-Tribune magazine printed
the first Bunyan tale in 1910, the
fanciful writing of an imagina-
tive reporter.
PERHAPS WHAT Dorson suc-
ceeds in doing best is proving
that folklore is a body of living
traditions, not dusty old legends.
University students may be sur-
prised, if not disturbed, to find
that Dorson studies them as a
folk group. In "The Contempo-
rary Period" he maintains that
because we share certain experi-
ences-hassles over drugs and re-
sulting paranoia - we have de-
veloped r i d d l e s, jokes, and
stories.
Dorson, too old to collect
"druglore" in the field himself,
has reprinted here -the best spe-
cimens his students have amass-
ed. Stories about Owsley, once a
West Coast manufacturer of the
finest LSD, as well as classic
laterinalia ("R o n a 1 d Reagan
mainlines Kool-aid") are sum-
moned to trace the growth of
the "Counterculture."
Students may feel embarrass-
ed to be picked apart like guinea
pigs by an academician who does
not belong to their peer group
and who uses such suspect gen-
eralized terms as "The Move-
ment" and the "youth culture."
However, by using our esoteric
traditions, as well as exoteric
folklore - "dirty hippie" stories
that our elders love to tell about
us - Dorson illustrates the folk
process with great immediacy.
M O R E IMPORTANTLY, he
shows that folklore is not
something false. On the con-
trary, druglore springs from the
nation's p o lit i c a 1 realities.
America In Legend once and for
all proves folklore and history
inseparable.
Diane Levick is a former Arts
Editor of The Daily and a folklore

Poetry at the Del Rio Bar
(dedicated to iii):suffering betters)
the frogs are climbing out of the pond and the crows
are low
low under the sky
orr orr or raab raab raab or orr orr orr
raab orr raab
elves are feasting round the stumps pale brown and
crowded
hares hop through the brushes rustling
silence
was it Mozart or Beethoven appearing suddenly in
the mist of myths
or maybe a young stolid housewife saying DAMN
and looking like
a fifty-cent bologna sandwich
brownish yellow good to eat
anyway it's not the night for singing
juice and blood and hallucination and nightmare
one thousand sensible threads are laid out down into
the weed
it's the night of tomorrow going
raab raab orr orr raab orr
sweating on stones
-Wolfgang Steuhl
Wolfgang Steuhi is a doctoral student and
o teaching fellow in the English Department.
DAILY OFFICIAL BULLETIN

U

Sunday, April 14
Day Calendar
Music School: Alexander Hanway,
piano, Recital Hall, 4:30 p.m.
Music School: Horn Student Recital,
Cady Music Rm., Stearns Bldg., 8 p.m.
Music School: Susan Kant, harp,
Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
Music School: Robert Glasgow, or-
gan, Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Monday, April 15
Extension Service: Ninth Annual
Symposium on Remote Sensing of En-

devotee.

MOUNTAIN BIVOUAC HAS A N N ARBOR'S LARGEST SELEC-
TION OF SOFT PACKS AND FRAME PACKS.
If you're Hitch Hiking you may not want a frame. Bivouac has Body
Packs, Rucksacks & Climbing Packs by:
DENALI
FORREST MOUNTAINEERING
CHOUINARD
UNIVERSA L
SACS MILLET
If you are back packing you probably will
want a frame pack. Bivouac has a large
selection by Frame Packs by:
TRAILWISE
DENALI
UNIVERSAL
CAMP TRAILS
Also a selection of the finest
SLEEPING BAGS, TENTS, HIKING BOOTS,
------- CLIMBING EQUIPMENT & ACCESSORIES.
REfilC

vironment (April 15-19) Rackham 8
a.mI.
Tennis: U-M vs. Michigan State, Var-
sity Courts, 2:30 p.m.
Music School: Collegium Musicum,
Thomas Taylor, director, lecture-dem-
onstration, Cady Music Rm., Stearns
Bldg., 2:30-5:30 p.m.
MERIT: A. Moluf, Mich. State Univ.,
"PASCAL Language," Sem. Rm., Com-
puting Ctr., ยง p.m.
Senate Assembly: Schorling Aud.,
1202 SEB, 3:15 p.m.
Applied Mechanics, Engin. Sci.: A.
Robinson, Harvard Univ., "The Mid-
Ocean Dynamics Experiment (Mode-
No. 1) : Mesa Scale Eddies and the
General Circulation of the Ocean," 229
W. Engin., 4 p.m.
Physics: C. A. Ayre, "n-p Cross Sec-
tions at NAL," Colloq. Rm., P & A
Bldg., 4 p.m.
Low Energy Seminar: F. Williams,
Bell Labs, "Resonant Raman Scatter-
ing from Simple Systems (With [2 as
an Example)," 2038 Randall Lab., 4
p.m.
Soc. Sc. 220: Robert Meeropol, son
of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, slide
show and lecture on his parents' case
and the cold war, Residential College
Aud., 7 and 9 p.m.
Music School: Constance Avsharian,
soprano, Recital Hill, 8 p.m.
Career Planning & Placement
3200 SAB
ANNCT. FOR WOMEN: Battelle Col.
Labs, in accordance with Affirmative
Action guidelines is esp. encouraging
women applicants for prof. research
positions. Shd have M's degree in:
Econ., Bus. Ad., Urban Planning, or
Nat. Res. plus systems & comp. em-
phasis, Soc. w/ quantitative orienta-
tion, Pub. Policy plus comp. set. or re-
lated fields. For more info. contact Ja-
nina Latack, Women's Prog., CP&P.
INTERVIEWING ON CAMPUS: DE-
FENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, Apr. 18 &
19. Jobs suitable to any college major
under FSEE. Positions GS-5 & 03-7
with training & progression to GS-9.
Seeking: Lib. Arts (B's or M's),
Engrgs., Acctg., Chem., Bus. Ad., etc.
Apr. 24, TEACHER CORPS, 2 yr. prog.
for Lib. Arts grads leading to an M.
plus TC. Spend % time in school &
% time in community. $90/wk plus 15
for each dependent. Phone: 764-7456 to
make your interview appt.
SOON! 1

WR - MYSTERIES
OF THE ORGANISMS
Rrilliant, yarininaI

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