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March 05, 1976 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1976-03-05

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npe £idnan Dafig
Eighty-Six Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Borges talks on Argentine culture

w

Friday, March 5, 1976

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

(Editors Note: Jorge Luis Borges is called
by many e'the most famous living Latin
American writer," he is certainly Argen-
tina's most distinguished author. Currently
giving a series of lectures at Michigan State
University, Borges spoke 'at the Univer-
sity of Michigan Tuesday, first to a rela-
tively small group of students and faculty
members in the Hopwood Room, then to a
capacity crowd in the Modern Languages
Building.
By PAUL O'DONNELL
Much has been written, much has been
said, about Jorge Luis Borges, the writ-
er and professor; but the perspective of
this article will center more on "Borges",
(he apparently prefers to be called by
his last name only), the man. An old
man, born in 1899, he prefers to abbrev-
iate discussion about himself as a fam-
ous artist.
When introduced to the overflow crowd
in the Modern Languages Building Tues-
day afternoon, he interrupted Professor
James Maharg's opening statements
about ". . . a very famous Argentine ar-
tist . . .," by saying, "That's good, that's
good."
He dealt almost more with other writ-
ers - Joyce, Shakespeare, Frost - than
about himself. Among his most interest-
ing statements involved the books he'd
read as a child. His father, Borges ex-
plained, gave him full access to his lib-
rary, and he read Dickens, Mark Twain,
Kipling, Spanish classics, and gaucho
poetry, But his father never told him,
"This is a classic," "This is a famous
book." Borges always read books as
books; reading is "a form of happiness."
His father 'advised him, ".. . if a book
bores you, let it down at once . . . never
read out of a sense of duty, that's
wrong." This comment drew much ap-
plause from the student audience in Lec-
ture Room Three.
In referring to his own work, Borges
had a marked tendency to criticize him-
self and to minimize his own importance
as an artist. In answer to a question
about one of his stories, "The Lottery in
Babylon", he declared "since it really
was written by Kafka, I can say it's
quite a good story." At one point, he
mentioned writing by trial and error,
and "I went in for error chiefly," b u t

ing his informal talk with students in the
Hopwood Room on Angell Hall. Despite
his preoccupation with his homeland, he
shied away from talking about the Ar-
gentina of 1976. "My country .is falling
to pieces, I feel very sorry about it, what
can I say?" The Borges thousands of
students met on Tuesday was less the
great artist, professor, and expert on
literatures of many countries, than a
man, and old man, who was willing to
talk to students,. all the while stating that
he is not a public speaker.
AS PROFESSOR Maharg, who had the
difficult task of introducing the Ar-
gentinian author, put it, Borges is a hard
act to follow, or to precede. He is also
a hard act to write about.
There is one salient characteristic of
Borges' vision which perhaps merits
special attention. There appears a fas-
cination with all dualities or polarities:
good and evil, the beautiful and the ugly,
and the pure and the impure. This ap-
pears in his favorable treatment of the
gaucho, whom other writers, such as
the Argentinian Domingo Sarmiento,
characterized as being almost totally evil
and destructive. Borges' interest in vio-
lence and the underworld is seen in His-
toria Universal de la Infamia, where
he portrays dishonest and wicked char-
acters, including murderers, slave trad-
ers, crooks, and "bad gauchos."
This fusion of opposing elements into
one esthetic can also be found in Borge's
own words while speaking at the Uni-
versity:
"Were I a real poet, and of course
I'm not a real poet . . . then I should
think of all moments in life as belonging
to poetry, and I think that the idea of
thinking that, let's say, that sunsets are
all right but policemen are wrong, for
example, or that a sunrise or that the
snow are all right, or this table and the
microphone are wrong, that's a mistake;
all things, they should be right."
This statement reflects Borge's vision
of his art, and his universe, perhaps as
well as any other.
Paul O'Donnell is a senior in LSA.

Nixon journey: Pathetic

now "I know something of the rudiments
of the game." Despite his slow-going, re-
flective speech pattern and encyclopedic
eloquence which seemed to hold the at-
tention of everyone present, he claimed
he is not a public speaker and is basi-
cally a shy person. He claimed to have
gone home after certain lectures and to
have felt like a "humbug," as if he were
"taking people in."
BEYOND THE simplicity and humility
of Borges' style, the audience was
impressed by his deep appreciation for
Anglo-American literature and lmaguage.
He admired the English language, he
maintained, for being both a Germanic
and a Romance language, and provided
examples: mixtures of long Latin-based
words and short Germanic words in
Shakespeare, as well as untranslateable
onomatopoeia in Joyce's novels. Eng-
lish, according to Borges, "is perhaps
the most physical of all languages .
In English you have . . . 'fall down' and
'pick yourself up;' now you can't do that

Daily Photo by STEVE KAGAN
in Spanish . . . both things are impos-
sible."
Borges did not, however, ignore or
downplay the importance of his own lang-
uage: "Spanish is my destiny," he de-
clared on several occasions, adding "I
can attempt no other language, but
I think I can attempt Spanish . . . at
least people have led me to think that."
He ended his conference by reciting
some of his own poetry, in Spanish. He
did so at the request of a member of
the audience who wanted some of Borg-
es' own "flavor and accent." The most
famous living Argentinian author ex-
cused himself for being a "mere por-
teno" (inhabitant of Buenos Aires), ex-
plaining that "I can't give you the Cas-
tilian."
Despite his reference to his "impure"
Spanish, a recurring theme in his pre-
sentation was his pride in country, his
city, and the Argentinian language and
cult'ire. His neighborhood, Argentina's
history, the gaucho and the Indian were
themes he touched upon, especially dur-

FORMER PRESIDENT Nixon's re-
cent trip to China can only in-
spire feelings of indignation, disgust
and, finally, incredible pathos. He is
a broken, corrupt shell of a man re-
turning to the scene of his greatest
triumph in public office, and vainly
trying to relive it.
There he was, pressing the flesh in
Peking as if he were stumping in New
Hampshire for the presidential pri-
mary unfolding half a world away.
Like a latter-day Napoleon escaped
from the Elba of San Clemente, Nix-
on glowed in his grand delusion of a
return to international influence.
Yet we must be at least a little con-
cerned over this strange misadven-
ture. In having accepted the Chinese
invitation, Nixon can only appear to
be representing American interests
and policy. Relations with the Peo-
ples' Republic of China is the sole
concern of the President and his
State Department, and Nixon has no
business -- if he is as committed to
America's cause as he claims - cast-
ing aspersions on U. S. policy in the
Far East or anywhere else in the
world. The incident has embarrassed
the nation and has had no positive
effect; what can Nixon possibly
hope to accomplish besides an en-
hancement of his own dark reputa-
tion?
THE REASONS FOR China's extend-
ing its hand to Nixon are im-
possible to figure with certainty. But
apparently the friendly feeling to-
TODAY'S STAFF:
News: Glen Allerhand, Phil Bokovoy,
Phil Foley, Jenny Miller, Della
Spann, Rick Soble, David Whiting
Editorial Page: David Garfinkel, Steph-
en Kursman, Jon Pansius, Tom
Stevens
Arts Page: Jeff Selbst
Photo Technician: Pauline Lubens

ward the former President is due to
his China policy. Nixon was some-
thing of a hero for the Chinese; his
unprecedented summit in Peking in
1972 opened an era of supposed
friendship between the two nations.
And his Watergate transgressions
must not have seemed serious to the
Chinese. For the officials in a one-
party government, Nixon's role in
the undermining of the opposition
party had the appearance of noth-
ing but shrewd, pragmatic politics.
Unfortunately, however, nobody
but Nixon and the Chinese govern-
ment know the actual reasons be-
hind the invitation and trip.
The pathetic irony of the whole
incident of Richard Nixon - ex-Red
baiter and McCarthyite - being
welcomed at the scene of perhaps
the most bizarre gesture of interna-
tional relations of the century,
should serve as a sober reminder of
our narrow escape in the summer of
1974.
Editorial Staff
ROB MEACHUM-E n BILL TURQUE
Co-EditoErs-in-Chief
JEFF RISTINE.........Managing Editor
TIM SCHICK .. Executive Editor
STEPHEN HERSH Editorial Director
JEFF SORENSEN .................Arts Editor
CHERYL PILATE ...... Magazine Editor
STAFF wRITERS: Susan Ades, Tom Allen, Glen
Allerhand, Marc Basson, Dana Bauman, David
Bloncuist. JameshBurnszKevin Counihan,
Jorli Dimica. Mitch Dunitz, Elaine Fletcher,
Phil Foley, Mark Friedlander, David Garfinkel,
Tom Godell, Kurt Harju, Charlotte Heeg,
Richard James. Lois Josimovich, Tom Kettler,
Chris Kochmanski, Jay Levin, Andy Lilly, Ann
Marie Lipinski, George Lobsenz, Pauline Lu-
bens, Teri Maneau, Angelique Matney, Jim
Nicoll, Maureen Nolan, Mike Norton, Ken Par-
sigian, Kim Potter, Cathy Reutter, Anne
Marie Scbiavi, Karen Schulkins, Jeff Selbst,
Rick Sobel, Tom Stevens, Steve Stojic, Cathi
Suyak, Jim Tobin, Jim valk, Margaret Yao,
Andrew Zerman, David whiting. Michael Beck-
man, Jon Pansius and Stephen Kursman.

Subic's hostesses
grapple for hope

The continuing
saga of MSA

By MATT MILLER
OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines
(PNS) - Nearly half the chil-
dren of this city have never seen
their fathers - American sail-
ors long since departed. Their
mothers are among Olongapo's
12,000 prostitutes.
Olongapo City - swollen from
5,000 before World War II to
160,000 today - lies next to
Subic Bay, home of the U.S.
Seventh Fleet. Abandoned chil-
dren roam the streets. Babies
are often found floating in the
bay.
At the height of the Vietnam
war, 18,000 sailors marched
nightly out of the Subic Bay
compound, across a small bridge
and into the waiting arms of
"hostesses" stationed in hun-
dreds of night clubs.
NOW THAT NUMBER has
been cut by two-thirds. For
Olongapo City, like the rest of
the overgrown Asian hamlets
which burgeoned with the Amer-
ican presence, peace has spelled
economic disaster.
For the prostitutes who make
up almost one-tenth of the popu-
lation, the shrinking supply of
American servicemen has
meant a constant fight against
hunger.
At night Olongapo's neon-lit
main drag is still filled with
Americans in T-shirts and blue
jeans. Scores of Filipino wom-
en - talking among themselves
in Tagalog, cajoling Americans
with cries of "Hey man, come
here!" - strut along the crowd-
ed sidewalks.
OTHERS, THEIR FACES hea-
vy with makeup, stand outside
dark rooms blaring with music
and beckon mechanically to
the men, "Come on in! What
ship are you from?"
Further down the road, where
black Americans outnumber
whites, signs outside the bars
read "Soul Music." Filipino
women are as boisterous as the
men, mimicking the black slang
they've picked up.
But inside a club, 20 hostess-
es compete for four sailors. In

clubs frequented by 50 hostess-
es, there are often only ten
customers per night.
When they can find business,
hostesses in Olongapo work on
commissions. If a sailor buys
a girl two drinks for about
(U.S.) $4, the girl gets half and
the night club owner gets the
other half. If she spends the
night with her "boyfriend," the
owner splits the profits.
ON A GOOD EVENING, a
hostess might make $6.25.
Many hostesses are runaways
from neighboring provinces,
some as young as fourteen. The
city government, which licenses
the hostesses, rarely checks age
or returns a runaway minor to
her family.
Mrs. Amelia Gordon, former
mayor of Olongapo, says the
women have almost no place to
go for help. She told of two
hostesses who came to the Red
Cross, where she now works,
with babies of three and six
months.
"They wanted us to take the
babies. Even though it was
against policy, we took them and
gave the girls money to get back
to their provinces. Maybe they
could start a new life there."
MOST WOMEN are not so
fortunate. "Once they're in,"
Mrs. Gordon said, "they stay in
until either they get too old
or they marry an American."
But only a few hundred each
year manage to woo Americans
into marriage. The rest, once
they are too old to be hostess-
es, become pimps, do menial
jobs or beg.
Legally, nightclub owners
must pay Social Security and
health insurance for the hostess-
es - but an estimated 75 to
80 per cent don't pay, even
though many deduct the money
from the women's commissions.
The Manila newspaper has re-
ported hostesses' complaints
about wages and benefits, but
the Labor Department hasn't in-
vestigated.
"OUR LABOR DEPARTMENT
only acts on matters brought

to it," said a local official.
"Most of the girlstare scared.
If they report to the Labor De-
partment, they get fired."
Nightclub owners also usually
refuse permission to transfer
from one club to another. And
Health Department officials,
who under law have sole pow-
er to refuse transfer, say they
won't give clearance without
the boss's permission.
One ex-owner said the no-
transfer policy was the only way
to keep good hostesses. Another
owner called it a method of "in-
ternal discipline." Women are
also fined for tardiness and for
leaving the club without notify-
ing the manager.
The plight of the hostesses
has gone largely unnoticed.
Tony Malikan, who is trying to
organize them into cooperatives
using a government credit pro-
gram, is one of the few work-
ing with the women.
HIS PROGRAM offers them
medical benefits, life in-
surance and funeral expenses
after a year's membership. Aft-
er two years they can borrow
up to $625 to start a business
or go to school.
Until now, Malikan has met
little opposition to his organiza-
tion. But he believes the own-
ers will fight it once it gets
off the ground. "The women
are not used to handling mon-
ey," Malikan says. "Now we
are going to train them how to
handle money and plan for the
future. We expect opposition."
The curfew is midnight in
Olongapo. At 11:30 p.m., those
women who have yet to find a
bed partner start grabbing the
footloose Americans. They know
that if they can't make an
American for the night, they
won't eat the next day. It's that
simple.
When asked about the future
of Olongapo, Mrs. Gordon and
some other city dignitaries
agreed that it is grim. What
can save them? Another war,
perhaps, they replied.
Ma/I Miller is a freelance
journalist in the Philippines.

By KEN BERNEIS
It is the function and the duty
of a student government to re-
present and be responsive to its
students, no matter how varied
their needs.
In 1973, the Regents, after see-
ing a st'udent government that
continued to be unresponsive to
the student community, ques-
tioned the need for an all-cam-
pus student government. In an
effort to prevent the Regents
From withdrawing approval of
an all campus student govern-
ment, students, faculty and staff
members formed the Committee
to Study StudenthGovernance
(CSSG).
I, , ,
'Now that MSA is in
operation and begin-
ning to build momen-
tum, you as students
must help. Not only
can you help by giv-
ing time and recom-
mending projects
which might better
student life 'and edu-
cation, but also by of-
f e r i n g constructive
criticism wihere w a r -
ranted.'
AFTER ONE and one half
years of research on student
government structures and oper-
ations, the CSSG issued a re-
port to the Regents. The Re-
gents decided to seek input from
different elements of the Uni-
versity community before acting
on the report.
In the fall of 1974, the heads of
13 school and college govern-
ments got together to discuss
mutual problems and the CSSG
report. It was the consensus of
this group that they should sup-
port that report, which contain-

ed recommendations for chang-
es in school and college-level
government as well as in the
central student government.
In the ensuing months, this
group went before the Regents
twice in support of the CSSG re-
port, and also sought the Stu-
dent Government Council's
(SGC) backing.
AS TIME WENT on, however,
it became apparent that the only
way that the CSSG report would
be implemented was for the
school and college governments
to do it themselves.
During the summer of 1975, re-
presentatives from nine student
governments worked together to
write amendments to the SGC
Consitution. These amendments
were to implement the CSSG re-
port and make certain other
changes which the school and
college representatives felt were
necessary to create a responsive
all-campus student governmen.
In the fall, 1975 all-campus
election, the'student body ap-
proved these amendments. Al-
though intended to be imple-
mented in the Spring, a s u i t
before the Central Student Judi-
ciary (CSJ) resulted in immed-
iate inauguration of the Michi-
gan Student Assembly in place
of the SGC. The MSA has now
been in existence for a little
over two months, although
school and college representa-
tives have only been seated for
three weeks.
This little history shows that
the development of the MSA was
a two and a half year endeavor
by students and school and col-
lege governments seeking to
create a student government
which would work for students.
Now that MSA is in operation
and beginning to build in momen-
tum, you as students must help.
Ken Berneis is President of
the Michigan Student Assembly.
He is a second year medical
student, and formerly served as
Medical School Student Gov-
ernment President.

Letters

to

ihe

Daily

DNA 2. Is science beyond social
and human controls, so that
To The Daily: freedom of inquiry implies the
AS THE GREAT debate on absence of usual social restric-
the DNA research reaches its tions which we all, as citizens,
temporary climax here at the obey, respecting the social con-
U of M (Forum, March 3 & 4), tract?
let us not he snowed with the 1 Arp 1u cai e ni l -

some lives can be "traded-off"
for -the sake of research?
5. Is it not our responsibility
now to realize that when genet-
ic engineering becomes "ap-
propriated" by the military and
the pharmaceutic industry, it

having vested interests in it)
to attempt to intimidate their
critics by invoking the Ghost
of Inquisition? Is not criticism
a vital component of science
which is alive?

Henryk Skolimowskl
Professor of Philosophy
Dept. of Humanities
- Member, University
Values Com.
Feb. 26, 1976

U kX&If7

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