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May 09, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-09

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THE
Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, May 9, 1974
News Phone: 764-0552

Censorfp and ei
specter of Fascism

Ypsi law obscene
ONE WOULDN'T EXPECT to find much in common
between Ypsilanti today and Puritan Boston. This
is 1974, and Ypsi has a five dollar weed law. All the
same, a district judge has just upheld an ordinance in
the city which prohibits "any material or performance
whose predominant appeal is to prurient interest." Puri-
tanism is not dead.
Among the most compelling recent arguments against
the suppression of "obscene matter" were presented from
night club stages by Lenny Bruce, during the 1950's
and 60's. Lenny had vested interest; he was repeatedly
busted for his allegedly obscene act. Though his own
material did have "redeeming social value", he often
argued in favor of "dirty" material that did not have
this value. This was one of his arguments:
"Now, the stag movie, the dirty movie ... Let's in-
spect the subject matter. What are they doing, that
couple?
"I can't think of anybody getting killed in that
picture. I can't see anyone getting slapped in the mouth,
rapped around. Is there any hostility in that film? No.
Just a lot of hugging and kissing. And the first time one
instrument of death appeared - that pillow that might
have smothered the chick - it went under her ass .. .
")LEASE TELL ME what the hell the couple is doing
that's that rank, vicious, rotten. The only thing I
find offensive in that film is that from an art concept,
cinematically, it's a bore. Yeah, those schtup pictures--I
forget it, man. No idea of the sensual, no music track,
you know. But as far as hurting your child -- what are
they doing, that couple?"
"The prurient interest is like the steel interest. What's
wrong with appeal to the prurient interest?"
The Ypsi ordinance is a violation of the First Amend-
ment.
There have been no reported cases in the city of
people being forced to view or purchase predominantly
prurient material. Why not let each individual decide what
forms of expression he or she should be exposed to?
-STEPHEN IHERSH
Ford: Letting go
rjsnE GRADUATING SENIORS and their families who
packed Crisler Arena last Saturday were witness to
an event unusual in national politics, and particularly
unique in graduation ceremonies.
Ford, the cleanest of a rapidly dirtier-looking admin-
istration crew, seems to have viewed his visit here as a
wholly political mission. Although he never referred to
Watergate directly. Ford wove his speech around an ela-
borate plea for unity and "discipline," and he drew a
roar from the crowd with a plug for President Nixo.
Ford's defense of Nioxn looks suspiciously like a retreat
stemmilg from the Mitchell-Stans acquittal last week.
Although analysts like to portray Ford as the man who
played too many football games without a helmet, it is
more likely that his public comments are based on a
careful search for a 1976 constituency. With Mitchell and
Stans off the hook, the tide seemed to have turned a
bit in Nixon's favor, increasing his possible usefulness to
Ford.
AND ALTHOUGH the Vice President offered the obliga-
tory personal reminiscences at his commencement
address, he remained a campaigner. Far from the stereo-
typed successful citizen offering counsel to graduating
neophytes, Ford at his campus appearance Was a politician
on the make.
Doubters of the impact of the Watergate scandals
would do well to study Ford's reception here. Although the
Crisler audience remained respectful during most of the
address, they erupted in disapproval at his defense of
Nixon. Even a few of his fraternity brothers were less
than delighted with his connection to the President.
-REBECCA WARNER

By PAUL O'DONNELL
s AN AVID movie and thea.
tre goer, and a "newsprint
addict," literary, artistic a n d
journalistic censorship h a v e
been of great interest to me
during my foreign studies, es-
pecially since my arrival in
Spain. When Carrero Blanco
was assassinated on December
20, 1973 is was perhaps the news
coverage of the event (banning
of certain foreigntnewspapers,
official govemnment announce-
ments on TV and radio rather
'than the regular news pro-.
'grams,, etc.) more than the
increased security contingents
and repeated I.D. checks on
Barcelona streets that caused
me to write my article of Jan-
ury 30 (Spain 1974: Fascism in
tourist town).
When thetaforementioned ar-
tidle was attacked by one Uni-
versity Professor of Spanish and
Portuguese (Daily, Feb. 19) as
being "replete with ambivalent
and sometimes inaccurate de-
tails," as well as "his own pre-
judices and some cliche factual
material," I felt obliged to re-
but some of the criticisms in
that letter (and to admit the
validity of some others)
WHILE MANY of the profes-
sor's comments are worthwhile
and even compatable with the
main themes of my article, I
fear that in labeling my ar-
ticle "sometimes inaccurate"
and reflective of my own pre-
judices about Spain, that he him-
self has fallen into some of the
same faults that he had accused
me of. Some examples:
" His statement that I was
incorrect in reporting that there
were "no news broadcasts a 1 1
day" on the day of the assas-
sination. All the Barcelona ob-
servers (profesors, journalists)
to whom I showed my article
supported my statement that
there were no regular news pro-
grams on December 20, 1973.
What the Spanish and interna-
tional TV and radio audiences
heard were official government
announcements, broadcast by
state-controlled mass media. Ac-
cording to the December 29 edi-
tion of the Spanish magazine
Triunfo, the original announce-
ment of the Spanish president's
death (made more than two
hours after the explosion) con-
tained no reference to the fact
that Carrero's death could have
been the result of a planned
assassination (calling it "an im-
portant explosion whose ca's s
are yet unknown"). The newss
that Carrero's death had not
been accidental was not made
public until approximately 4:30
p.m. (seven hours after the ex-
plosion). Can this kind of gov-
ernment coverage be called
"news broadcasts"?
* His statement that "One
does not have to go to France
to find out what is happening in
Spain." This, and not his claim
that foreign newspapers a r e
easily available in Spain, are,
unfortunately, not always true.
I can cite several instances in
which foreign newspapers were
banned in Spain becatse they
contained unfavorable articles
about the Franquist regime.
(from Le Monde, January 6-)
One such "banned" article
is included with this article to
the Daily, and is at the disposal
of any student or faculty mem-
ber who wishes to see what kind
of articles the Spanishcensors
prohibit.
HERE IS what the Intern-
tional Herald Tribane has to
say about Spanish radio and TV
news programs (from an arti-
cle entitled "Spain Radio, TV
Avoid News Of Conflict in Do-
mestic Life"): "In the Spain
depicted on radio and televis-
ion, conflict of any kind - a
strike, a demonstration, an op-
posing opinion - almost never

casts a shadow over the nation's
political or social scene. If a

misfortune is reported . . . it is
always something beyond the
control of those who lead the
nation." The article goes on to
discuss a greater journalistic
freedom extent in Spain since
the adoption of the 1966 press
law which "abolished prior cen-
sorship and theoretically estab-
lished freedoni of the press."
The article maintains, ht a w-
ever, that the' reality of the cur-
rent Spanish journalistic situa-
tion is not what it should be
under the 1966 law: "Editors al-
so report frequent phone calls
fromeofficials forbidding abli-
cation of a news item, ordering
the newspaper to take a certain
stand, or prescribing how they
should present newss... Papers
were recently forbidden, in tele-
phone calls, to print death no-
tices on President Salvador Al-
lende of Chile .. '." (these quo-
tations taken from Herald Tri-
bune of Nov. 23, 1973).
. His observation that "ab-
solute claim reigned" in Madrid
when he arrived there, three
days after the assassination. Al-
though numerous observers
were surprised at how little the
Spanish people reacted to the
event, there were places in
Spain where the "calm" seen by
visitors to Madrid was non-exist-
ent, according, to the French
magazine "LExpress": "Road-
block security checks, search-
es, arests; . . . for the moment,
an extensive manhunt is taking
place in Spain. In the Basque

in asserting that almost any
cheap transistor can receive
foreign broadcasts, especially on
clear nights. His references to
and knowledge about foreign
stations seems to confirm re&,-
erathan contradict my claim that
one needs to listen to foreign
stations to be well informed
about Spanish.affairs.
. Although I can't agree that
I "merely aired (my) own pre-
judices" in my article, it would
be lens than candid to state that
there aren't certain aspects of
the Spanish political scene that
I find rather disturbing. More-
over, I am not the only Ameri-
can to be shocked by vestiges of
what one writer for Le Monde
called "Spain's flirt with Nazi
Germany." T1he French maga-
zine Le Point describes Vice
President Gerald Ford as being
"impressed and troubled" by
the thousands of spectators
whom he observed giving t h e
raised-arm "Heil Hitler" salute
during Carrero Blanco's funer-
al procession. Ford is quoted as
saying: "But what is this?
You'd think you were in Nurem-
burg." The article goes on to
say that one shouldn't be fooled
by appearances, that this "ul-
tra" tendency has little real
power in the Spanish govern-
ment. It is worth noting, how-
ever, to those who thought that
the fascist salute was some-
thing seen only in movies about
World War II, that the specter
of fascism is still extant in
Spain.

"Editors also report frequent phone calls
from officials forbiddir j publication of a
news item, ordering the newspaper to take a
certain stand or prescribing how they should
present news ... Papers were recently for-
bidden, in telephone calls, to print death
notices on President Salvador Allende of
Chile ..

provinces . .many people do
not dare sleep in their own
homes at night. All Basques un-
der 30 years of age were order-
ed to turn their passports into
the >lice, until further notice",
(from "L'Express" Dec. 31,
1973).
. His comparison between the
Spanish "forces of order" and
the French police. Anyone who
has visited the Latin Quarter in
Paris since 1961 realizes that
the CR.S. (French riot po-
lice) are a very visible part of
Parisian life;. these members of
the "Republican Security Corps"
are also known to be very vio-
lent when in action. I would
maintain, however, that they go
into action much less frequent-
ly than their Spanish counter-
parts, the "grises." In the year
I spent in a French university,
called by many an "especially
turbulent year," the p o ic e
didn't once enter the university
buildings, even when the Liter-
ary School was occupied by stu-
dents. In the less than t h r e e
months that the Spanish univer-
sities have been open this year,
the Police have "cleaned out"
the university at least twice;
since the execution of Puig An-
tich (see Daily March 16)
groups of riot police in relative-
ly large numbers (20-SO) are
visible in front of the Univer-
sity on the majority of school
days.
S1 must concede that t h e
Professors criticism of my im-
plication that one needs "a pow-
erful radio" to listen to fore-
ign broadcasts is totally justi-
fied. The professor is correct

I TIIANK the University pro-
fessor for giving me this oc-
casion to expand my original ar-
ticle, but I'm afraid that
through his sometimes v a I i d
criticisms, he has managed to
obscure the whole point of the
article. The themes of my ar-
ticles are rather simple: 1) that
despite 35 years of Franquist
"peace", Spain is still a re-
persive dictatorship without
denmocratic structures, 2) that
despite the amazing boom that
Spain has experienced during
the past decade, Spain is still
the poorest country in Western
Europe beside Portugal.
One example of this "obscur-
ing process" in the professor's
letter is his reference to Spain's
"obsession .. with entry in the
Conamon Market." In mention-
ing the Common Market, he ne-
glects to say what is obvious to
him but which all Daily read-
ers might not know: that Spain
cannot enter the Common Mar-
ket because it is run by a dic-
tatorship.
Here I am reminded of ano-
ther University professor of the
School of Social Work, whom I
met in an airport in New York.
When told that I was on my
way to Spain, he eeptessed an
opinion somewhat different from
that of the University professor
who wrote to the Daily: "I don't
think that I'll ever got to Spain.
I'm one of the war generation,
and have friends who fought
in the "Abraham Lincoln" bri-
gade against Franco's forces. I
wouldn't go to Spain while
Franco is still in power."

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