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June 14, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-06-14

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Michigan Daily-
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Friday, June 14, 1974
News Phone: 764-0552
Dr. Strange's power play
NOW THAT HENRY KISSINGER has won the adula-
tion of the established press with his airborne di-
plomacy in the Middle East, the same group of press
leaders seem actually to believe that he will resign to
save his honor and save the United States' foreign policy
Instead, however, Kissinger is obviously attempting
to consolidate his power base in the wake of negotiation
success and glowing media coverage.
Dr. Kiss has never been known for his lofty ideals in
the foreign or domestic arena. Why attribute them to him
now, or believe his ridiculous explanation that his "office"
ordered the wiretaps of reporters and government staff
Kissinger is using his recent successes to ensure that
his hero image outlasts whatever vicissitudes are ahead
for the Nixon administration.
It's all very noble for the gambler who's just cleaned
all the money off the table to tell his opponents he'll pick
up and go home if they don't stop picking on him. Like
a good diplomat, Kissinger is negotiating with the press
and Congress from a position of strength.-
Tf"HE OUTSTANDING QUESTION in this morass of de-
nials is why the national media fell so hard for the
Kissinger "miracle" Could it be that the reporters and
editors who hammered at the White House after the re-
lease of the transerints still want to believe that the
Nixon gang is not so bad after all?
Kissinger's resianation threat is quite a dead issue,
considering he is the administration's last asset. His
tangled testimony on the wiretaps before reporters and
congressional committees hardly exonerates, him, how-
ever, despite the backing loyal senators have extended.
The Kiss confesses that he listed names of suspects
for the FBI. So even by his own admission, he played
the accuser and was fully aware of the bureau's abridge-
ment of the reporters' and aides' rights.
One seems to recall the phrase "Secretary of State"
implying some separation from the party politics of the
electoral game. Instead, Kissinger has obviously joined
the Nixon team in its last ditch efforts to whitewash
illdoings. Kissinger's distinguishing mark, however, is
that he has made himself loved by the press through
swindling foreigners instead of Americans.
THE BIG DADDY IMAGE of the President caused much
of the present Watergate trouble; people trusted a
paternal Nixon to watch over things. Now the White
House seems to be cooking up a replacement for the
President's tattered public figure-a kind of world-pow-
erful father, to bring blind trust back to an untrust-
worthy operation.
- - I
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Placement Placem'ent-

HAD A SUMMER JOB on campus, and I was
thrilled. This was my chance to make money
and be on my own in a great party town. Every
one envied me, and I felt very lucky - even if
the job, only paid $2.45 an hour - even if it
was secretarial work - even if my boss was an
unbearable old woman.
I'd come to work every day at about 8:00, and
put my lunch in the office fridge. (You had to
be careful with that fridge.) Then I'd go into the
office I shared with Phoebe Dodge and remove
the cover of my typewriter, open the window
and turn the fan on.
There was usually some typing or filing left
over from the day before, so I'd start on, that.
And then, about 15 minutes later, Phoebe would
arrive. (No one who was anyone in that office
ever came to work on time.)
Phoebe was a widow, but she acted like a
spinster. She had thin gray hair, a beak-like
nose and a round little mouth which she painted
ghoul-red several times each day. She used
to talk about her "girlish" figure and about how
she wanted to age gracefully.In fact, she was
very awkward about getting old.
her that summer. She was my superior at the
college placement agency, and I had to do my
best to get along with her.
Believe me, it was hard. She used to try and
make conversation by asking about my interests:
"Do you sew?" - "No." - "Play bridge?" -
"No, I dont." - "Golf?" - "Nope, sorry." She
really meant well, but I disliked her anyway.
Still, I might have enjoyed the job if it hadn't
been for a certain situation which developed that
summer. The cause of all the trouble was Beau
Morley. He was 36, wore Hush Puppies and had
finally managed to get a Ph.D. in linguistics.
Beau was anxious to get a teaching job, but one
thing stood in his way. He had a terrible per-
I'd seen him operate in classes, raising his
hnd and asking stupid questions. Ile delighted
in badgering professors for as long as he could.
He ended these sessions by storming out of the
room in anger, leaving a surprised class and an
offended teacher.
1ev had apparently offended was F. B. Thumb,
ch'irmnn of his graduate committee and an easy
mtch for Phoebe in the world of incompatibiles.
F. B. didnt get along with very many people. He
wIked around with a part down the middle of
his head, hair slicked to each side with Bryl
"I felt righteous about what
I had done. It was the summer
of Watergate, and I was not
in a mood to consult or obey
Phoebe too strictly."
Creem and a terrible grimace on his face. He
used to get into ferocious fights with other pro-.
fessors about the origins of Proto-Indo-European
and things like that. Morley was one more target
for his bitterness. And when it came time to
recommend this particular student of his, F. B
Thumb was a cruel master.
"Beauregard Morley is no intellectual giant,"
he wrote. "He began his doctoral work in Ro-
mance linguistics, but squandered his time away
on trivial things so that, at length his committee
allowed him to switch to general linguistics. Mor-
ley will work hard to find a place for himself to
earn. He is not a likeable person, but he is loyal
to those who deal kindly with his failings and
WHEN PHOEBE HANDED ME this letter for
Morley's file, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or
cry. Morley way no friend of mine. But then he
was a human being. I could hardly stand by and
let this new academic blow ruin the guy's life.
After a little inner debate, I tucked the letter
away in a place where it would not be seen or
mailed to those requesting a copy of Morley's
credentials. There were only two other letters
from professors in the file. Neither was very
flattering, but at least they gave the candidate a
fighting chance. Phoebe had asked Beau before
if he couldn't get some other references, but he
frankly admitted that people he had worked for
in the past were not very fond of him either.
Beau Morley left town in June, and things went
along smoothly for a while. I mailed out his

credentials without telling Phoebe about the small
change I had made. I felt righteous about what.
I had done. It was the summer of Watergate,
and I was not in the mood to consult or obey
Phoebe too strictly. But now and then I did get
a little jittery about what would happen if she
ever found out.
SO, WHEN PHOEBE TOOK her short vaca-

tion that summer, I decided .to fill-in the gap I
had made. I wrote directly to F. B. Thumb in
the most tactful of terms: "Now that you have
read Mr. Morley's thesis, the Placement Office
welcomes changes or replacement letters."
I felt better after that, until the end of July
when Morley telephoned from Texas to have his
credentials mailed out to a junior college in
Phoebe was out to lunch, and having developed
an unfounded loyalty to Morley, I decided to
tell him about the Thumb letter. In fact, I para-
phrased the entire thing.
Morley was immediately outraged and wanted
to speak with higher-ups. I assured him that he
would be unwise to do that - because they were
not to blame - because they were not around -
and because, quite frankly, I'd be killed or worse.
"I-fair saint in this play of
villians and fools-would be
gunned down at my typewriter,
crucified for my generous sec-
retarial act. . .. I left to say
long prayers in the bathroom.
It was strictly against policy to tell students what
was in their file.
quiet and wait for the new Thumb letter. I said
I was sure it would come. But wasn't sure at all.
The days crept by. My job was making me very
nervous. I always grabbed for the phone when
it rang, and when Phoebe beat me to it, I usually
left the room to say long prayers in the bathroom.
Finally it happened. Morley could not be dis-
suaded from complaining forever. He felt he'd
had a right to know about this bad report in his
dossier. And so, early one Monday, he telephoned
Phoebe and ranted long distance for fifteen min-
The moment I realized it was Morley on the
line, it was off to the bathroom. I sat in there for
a while, preparing myself for the worst. I - fair
saint in this play of villains and fools - would
be gunned-down at my typewriter, crucified for
my generous secretarial act. I got up and went
back to face Phoebe.
PHOEBE WAS SMOKING a cigarette and star-
ing out the window when I returned to our office.
She didn't turn around to look at me - and she
went on thinking and smoking. Finally she went
back to her desk. "Well," she said, "What did
you bring for lunch?"
Lucky for me there was a chair behind me.
Down I went, relieved, amazed and very confus-
ed. Had Morley spared Phoebe the details of
my treason? Was Phoebe secretly a kind old ad-
ministrator who worried about people like Mor-
ley and people like me? Whatever the reason, I
was grateful. I gladly went back to my typing,
filing and answering the phone.
The letter from F. B. Thumb came, at last.
Morley had written his former chairman a
friendly note from Texas, and it had done won-
ders for their relationship.
partment for seven years," said Thumb's new
letter. "He is hard-working and attentive to de-
tail. He writes well, and I understand his teach-
ing performance here has been quite adequate.
Morley is a loyal employee who has much to
offer a growing department."
That was the nicest letter F. B. Thumb had
ever written for anyone, and two weeks after the
letter went out, Beau Morley was an assistant
professor of linguistics at a small Florida college.
I might never have known. the news had I not
been walking by the Director's door when I
heard Phoebe boasting loudly to her superior.
"Our service is very effective, you know. But
it's only because I demand the best for our can-
didates," she said. "We had one young man in
with a terrible letter in his file. I just couldn't
send it out like that, so I wrote his chairman
and saw to it that the young man got a more
flattering letter. Today I heard from him. He's
got a teaching position. It's so satisfying to help
THE DIRECTOR BEGAN to praise Mrs. Dodge,
and I went back to our office to sift thru the dis-
carded mail. Under today's butts and ashes, I
found Morley's note.
"I can only thank you and your staff," he

wrote. "I appreciated the help your assistant
gave me. Really I did."
It was hardly cause for celebration, but I was
still making my $2.45 an hour, and the summer
was coming to an end. Phoebe had gotten a pat
on the back (or the butt), Morley had a second
chance, and I would- be quitting soon to stir up
trouble in new places.

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